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Coyne et al cheer on censorship — it is time to take notice . . .

Yesterday, UD News  headlined a case of radical secularist censorship in Los Angeles being cheered on by Jerry Coyne et al. The case concerns the removal of the following sign (shown under fair use) that was formerly present at a Museum of Natural History in that city:

censored_sign

Notice, what Coyne says in exultation over the removal of the sign:

If I get any other information I’ll convey it, but for now I’m pleased that God is out of the Museum and no longer gets credit for “creatures.”  It’s a victory for secularism, for sure.

Something is blatantly, deeply wrong.

Wrong with the push to censor. Wrong with the willingness of the museum’s leadership to be intimidated by Darwinist thuggery — and yes, this is thuggery. Wrong with professors who should value academic freedom, freedom of expression and diversity but instead are cheering on censorship.

And — most importantly, wrong in a civilisation that is so rapidly losing its way, that it too often does not see a warning-sign for what it is.

By way of illustration, let me contrast a second sign that seems to have been put up (at Advent season, nothing less) by the Freedom From Religion Foundation in the Illinois State legislature building . . . which IIRC, is the same state where prof. Coyne is based; a sign reportedly put up by the FFRF in the name of freedom of religious expression:

AtheistsSign

The stereotypical, scapegoating accusatory message and significance of its timing at the Christmas season could not be clearer.

(Let’s ask: have Mr Coyne and ilk loudly called for removal of this blatant piece of bigotry and scapegoating hostility that refuses to acknowledge the most obvious facts that — despite the inevitable sins that any movement with a track record in history will also have to deal with  –  Judaeo-Christian theism is a legitimate and intellectually serious worldview with thousands of years of positive contributions to our civilisation including advancing humanitarianism, civil liberty, learning and science? I doubt it. [And while I am at it, let us remember: if we are to make sensible policy choices, we must compare real with real in light of material pros and cons, not real with utopian ideal or whitewashed . . . as in, strawman tactics make for poor and often unjust or abusive and corrupt policy. Cases in point are obvious, all around and on the ash-heaps of sound history. Which, we had better learn and value as a record of hard-bought experience and lessons; lest we repeat its worst chapters.])

{BTW: if you doubt the direct connexion between the two, ponder this comment by NewEnglandBob in Coyne’s Combox:

Critical thinking – 1, Superstition – 0.}

I took time out to comment on the news post, and as it is beginning to slide down the page, let me now headline that comment:

________________

>> This pattern of intolerance and censorship of legitimate and historically important perspectives begins to call forth an analysis of motives, attitudes and habitual patterns.

For instance, Jesus — in a psychologically deeply insightful observation — warns that we should beware and seek to address the plank in our own eye when we want to take the speck out of someone else’s eye, and says that he who is faithful/unfaithful with little will be much the same with greater power and responsibility. So, while the temptation for objectors to design theory etc is to try to twist this about and project it accusingly against us, given their refusal to acknowledge history (BA77 [OOPS: Barb] is so right to point to Newton and by extension many others down to today . . . ) and to pretend that those on our side can only be ignorant, stupid, insane or wicked, we need to hold up a mirror.

For instance, Egnor reports how Coyne exults:

The anonymous donor quote at the NHM has been removed. My second-hand source tells me it will not be replaced. No doubt your efforts, coupled with those of a science reporter at KPCC looking into the mess, compelled the administration to finally do the right thing. Without doubt, you and your WEIT audience were the driving forces, for which I’m grateful.

This is censorship of a legitimate perspective on science, from a context that is educational.

It is part and parcel of an increasingly widespread pattern that projects blame, base motivation, hatred/enmity to science and shrill accusations of intent to create a theocratic, right wing tyranny.

This outrageously false and unbalanced scapegoating is beginning to look like blame the victim/ blame the perceived other, projection to me.

Where, writ large and backed by growing radical secularist power, it is manifestly part of a blame the target turnabout accusation that all too easily becomes a big lie propaganda agenda.

Where also, of course, such a lie can and must be shown to be a case of speaking with willful disregard to the truth one knows or should know, hoping to profit by what is false being perceived and acted on as if it were true. In this case, through outright censorship of a donor’s plaque.

And where we are cautioned, on the mirror principle, to note with Freud et al (and I here cite Wiki speaking against interest):

Psychological projection was conceptualized by Sigmund Freud in the 1900s as a defense mechanism in which a person unconsciously rejects his or her own unacceptable attributes by ascribing them to objects or persons in the outside world.[1] For example, a person who is rude may accuse other people of being rude . . . .

Projection tends to come to the fore in normal people at times of crisis, personal or political,[13] but is more commonly found in the neurotic or psychotic[14]—in personalities functioning at a primitive level as in narcissistic personality disorder or borderline personality disorder.[15]

Carl Jung considered that the unacceptable parts of the personality represented by the Shadow archetype were particularly likely to give rise to projection, both small-scale and on a national/international basis.[16] Marie-Louise Von Franz extended his view of projection, stating that: “… wherever known reality stops, where we touch the unknown, there we project an archetypal image”.[17]

The philosopher Ludwig Feuerbach based his theory of religion in large part upon the idea of projection, that is the idea that an anthropomorphic deity is the outward projection of man’s anxieties and desires . . .

That last part is revealing: Feuerbach (who is where Marx began from, and IIRC is notorious for his you are what you eat materialist view . . . ) has simply swept away the serious reasons for a mature worldview that takes God seriously — and thus rightfully sees him as the Father of compassion and God of all comfort — and instead paints a ridiculous strawman caricature. Which itself invites the counter- analysis that asks, what is he afraid of in his own system that he projects to others. Not, as a mere rhetorical turnabout, but in the context of the well warranted observation that the portrait projected is manifestly a strawman so it invites analysis on mirror psychology grounds.

Now, let us apply to Coyne et al.

1 –> Obviously, they have begun by not doing duty of care to truth or fairness, about the easily discovered Judaeo-Christian theistic roots of modern science, and the historically important and quite legitimate view that echoes Boyle, Kepler, Newton, Pascal, Pasteur, Kelvin and ever so many others down to today:

in science we seek to think God’s creative and sustaining thoughts after him, serving him and others by exploring our world to more accurately understand it and so be better stewards of it and its resources . . .

2 –> There is nothing illegitimate or unduly threatening in such a view of and approach to science. That is obvious. Indeed, we do the public and especially children a disservice if we leave them with the impression that this view has not been historically important, a source of much good, and continues to be an important view today held by many working scientists, engineers and medical practitioners in all sorts of fields.

3 –> Likewise — as as BA77 hints at just above by citing the US Declaration of Independence of 1776 (which speaks to God no less than four highly significant times, and makes rights endowed by our Creator the pivot of its argument) — it is a manifest distortion of historically anchored truth we know or should know to pretend that faith in God is an inevitable prelude to tyranny. (And yes, we are aware of and address the sad history of the sins of Christendom, cf. here on. The problem is that we are not dealing with balance here, but a persistently repeated one-sided litany designed to stir up fear, suspicion and even hate leading to destructive anger. Instead, let us state the obvious: no influential movement of consequence in history will not have its record of sins as amidst wheat poisonous tares will forever spring up. As humans we are finite, fallible, morally and intellectually struggling, and too often ill-willed and even hypocritical. The moral hazards of being human which we must all struggle with. Hence Jesus’ counsel on planks in one’s own eye: first remove the plank then you can see clearly to help the other with the sawdust in his eye.)

4 –> Just the opposite, when — in Ch 2 sec 5 of his 2nd treatise on civil government — Locke (building on a foundation laid by theologians and Christian thinkers, writers and statesmen during and before the Reformation) set out to ground what would become modern liberty and democracy . . . and not least through that same US DOI of 1776, he cites a comment by “the judicious [Anglican canon Richard] Hooker,” where in his Ecclesiastical Polity that worthy comments on the neighbour love ethical principle that is at the pivot of Biblical morality:

. . . if I cannot but wish to receive good, even as much at every man’s hands, as any man can wish unto his own soul, how should I look to have any part of my desire herein satisfied, unless myself be careful to satisfy the like desire which is undoubtedly in other men . . . my desire, therefore, to be loved of my equals in Nature, as much as possible may be, imposeth upon me a natural duty of bearing to themward fully the like affection. From which relation of equality between ourselves and them that are as ourselves, what several rules and canons natural reason hath drawn for direction of life no man is ignorant . . . [Hooker then continues, citing Aristotle in The Nicomachean Ethics, Bk 8:] as namely, That because we would take no harm, we must therefore do none; That since we would not be in any thing extremely dealt with, we must ourselves avoid all extremity in our dealings; That from all violence and wrong we are utterly to abstain, with such-like . . . ] [Eccl. Polity, preface, Bk I, "ch." 8, p.80.]

5 –> These facts are not exactly obscure or hard to learn, so there is no excuse for the sort of persistently willful distortion and projections that we are seeing, which are now manifesting themselves in cases of abuse of law, administrative power and influence, here to impose a characteristic mark of growing tyranny — undue censorship of public education.

6 –> Where, patently, there is nothing that is genuinely obscene or unduly offensive in the following inscription which was removed due to agitation, without proper accountability:

“The Nature Lab is a gift to Los Angeles to celebrate all of God’s creatures and enable NHM to broaden our understanding of the natural world through the process of scientific discovery.” Anonymous Donor 2013

7 –> So, we have serious grounds for now applying the mirror psychology principle to Coyne et al and their censorship.

8 –> Obviously, such fear God and fear that the world of nature and of human experience of the inner and outer world is so replete with signs that point to God and to our duty under him, that to advance their agenda of teenager rebellion writ large, they must do everything to induce us to fear, loathe, suspect and exclude God from our reckoning and to act with hostility to those who act through acknowledging God. (Cf here on and here on in context.)

9 –> They are also obviously deeply angry, as the all too persistent shrillness of their rhetoric reveals. But also, deep seated anger is a key motivator of the dark triad manipulative and abusive pattern of narcicissim, machiavellianism and sociopathy that is an increasing concern today. That is, the darker side of “cool,” and it is a big red warning flag. (And yes, I come from hurricane country. I know storm signs and warnings when I see them.)

10 –> Where, obviously, such anger and threatening attitudes are easily projected to others who are designated, stereotypical, strawmannised scapegoats. Which in today’s age, increasingly obviously, is what Christians — let’s be direct — are typically set up to be by radical secularists.

11 –> And as Aristotle warned, in The Rhetoric Bk I ch 2, when he discussed the persuasive power of pathos, ethos and logos, our judgements when we are pleased and friendly are very different from those we make when we are pained and angry.

12 –> So, it is time to expose the attitudes and behaviours of Coyne and others who are already resorting to and cheering on censorship, that they are beginning to build up the same pattern of “a long train of abuses and usurpations” that dismisses concerns and remonstrance, that warrants taking serious action to carry out reformation in the teeth of those who by their persistent behaviour — cf the case in view here, outright censorship — show themselves threats to liberty and self-determination and self-government of and by a free people. >>

_________________

Folks, the warning signs and flags are going up all around. Time to take heed, before things spin utterly out of control. END

PS: By way of a small push-back to Coyne et al and FFRF et al also at , let me put up two 101 level videos that speak to the general public.

First, as the idea that God is Creator is being attacked and censored, Strobel’s The Case for a Creator:

embedded by Embedded Video

vimeo Direkt

Second, in reply to the dismissal of “Religion” at the Advent season as empty and destructive superstition, Strobel’s The Case for Christ:

embedded by Embedded Video

vimeo Direkt

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56 Responses to Coyne et al cheer on censorship — it is time to take notice . . .

  1. F/N: Let’s highlight prof Coyne’s declared attitude and motives behind cheering on censorship:

    If I get any other information I’ll convey it, but for now I’m pleased that God is out of the Museum and no longer gets credit for “creatures.” It’s a victory for secularism, for sure.

    Revealing.

    KF

  2. Quote => Heaven is full of people who said “Thy will be done”, while hell is full of people who said “My will be done”.

  3. CC:

    Thanks for sharing a thought.

    Here is more from Coyne’s Combox, by a JGago:

    Excellent news! This was the right decision by the administrators. I have already received an email from a colleague at the Museum and this are in fact great news. I know the curators and managers at the Museum played the main role by confronting the administrators, so thanks to them and to those of you who sent emails to the administrators.

    This looks a lot like a deeply entrenched institutional problem to me.

    Also, notice this declaration of intent by another commenter, calling himself Kevin Meredith:

    Here’s what I predicted/speculated in the comments to the first post:

    “Now, what would be really funny is if there’s enough of an outcry, or anonymous is outed or something, so that he/she/them agrees to let the sign come down, but doesn’t insist on donation refund so as not to look any more ignorant.”

    The first part seems to have come true. The second part, re. what happens to the money, would be tougher to verify. Anonymous probably won’t ask for a refund of past cash, but I bet they withhold future payments, next year’s grant or whatever.

    I wonder if these folks understand what they are revealing about themselves in light of their words and the mirror/projection principle given the underlying distortions, strawman tactics and hostile stereotypes? (As in why would someone clinging to a position that has to view/treat others as shown, project to others that they are “ignorant”? And why is he thinking in terms of “out[ing]” people — as in target-painting?)

    KF

  4. Wrong with the push to censor. Wrong with the willingness of the museum’s leadership to be intimidated by Darwinist thuggery — and yes, this is thuggery. Wrong with professors who should value academic freedom, freedom of expression and diversity but instead are cheering on censorship.

    Valuing academic freedom is dead as a public ideal, save for when the academic freedom is being bestowed upon those who you favor. It can only exist when all sides value it – when one side fails to, it no longer makes sense for other sides to value it anymore.

    The short of it is – answer thuggery with thuggery. Find a ripe and juicy target. Protest, pressure, and push to have the target altered as you see fit. I don’t know of any offhand, but I’m certain there are some out there. After all, it’s not as if you need to have a justified case to push for what you want, anymore than Coyne’s thugs were intellectually justified in what they were doing.

  5. I think use of the term, ‘secular fundamentalists’, whenever we refer to these people, would be of immense help in this war of words.

    The term, ‘fundamentalist’, itself, of course, is a term of virulent disparagement and ridicule in the mouths of those miscreant fanatics, as they apply it to Christians and Intelligent Design adherents. It would, since they are moral relativists, wouldn’t it?

    But it is of prime importance to deride them using words that are meaningful to them as terms of obloquy, no matter how insane the designation in itself. I’m, thinking of a brilliant Dutch soccer-player, who was pilloried by the Celtic authorities and their media minions for remarking that the pay increase they had offered to him would have insulted a homeless person.

    If the Apostles had been called, ‘indigents’, it would have been taken by them as a compliment to their other-worldly priorities; not a million miles from those of the homeless today, actually, however subliminally).

    So, although I wouldn’t endorse Christian fundamentalism as an entirely satisfactory perspective on the Christian faith, and I respect its adherents in good faith, it is nevertheless the case that with bad people you have to frame what you say by way of deprecation in a form meaningful to them. In this case, ‘fundamentalism’ is used by the atheists as a term of obloquy and derision, ergo, so it needs to be thrown right back at ‘em with bells on.

    Hence the importance, imo, of repeated use of the term, ‘secular fundamentalist’. I feel it could be particularly effective in court-cases, to highlight the vapid hypocrisy of their demonising of religious faith as vacuous fundamentalism.

  6. Null: I am interpreting this as tongue in cheek. We do have a right to protest and petition for redress of grievances but a duty to be just, truthful and fair. Of course, if remonstrance fails, then we have reform, and if reform by ballot box — institutional, community or national fails, secession and creation of new institutions with the right to defend these from those who set out on the road to tyranny. But, I suspect sooner rather than later the folly we see will self destruct. KF

  7. An apt comparison for their fanaticism would be the literal witch-hunts and burnings, which took place not more than a couple of hundred yards from where I’m now typing this post. Or the McCarthy trials, the purpose of which was to sideline potential liberal activists who might have contested the merits of the war in Korea.

  8. 8
    sagebrush gardener

    Freedom of speech does not exist if it does not apply to those with different views. Whatever happened to “I do not agree with what you have to say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it”? Remember this incident the next time you hear someone accuse Christians of “forcing their beliefs” on others.

  9. Axel: We have varied views on all sorts of topics under the tent of ID, and of the wider design view of the world that goes back to Plato and beyond. My own thought is that “fundamentalist” is a kidnapped word held at gun point and forced to say what the cynical spinmeisters demand by way of a broad-brush smear. I suggest that exposing the Plato’s cave endarkenment [lets just coin the word and be done . . . ] under the false colours of enlightenment, with particular reference to materialist question-begging on origins, the self-referential incoherence on the credibility of mind that results, the pattern of irrationality that cannot acknowledge self evident truth, the ideological captivity of science to materialism and last but not least the amorality that opens the door to nihilism are enough. KF

  10. SG: Freedom of expression is of course a basic right, though one that has always been understood to be properly limited by the issue of defamation as tort. In the cases above, when FFRF went to the point of smearing “Religion” at advent season — thus the Christian faith by direct implication — it passed from freedom of expression [the first part] to defamation by libelling identifiable others in order to create an atmosphere of polarisation and stereotypical scapegoating. And when Coyne et al cheer on censorship of speech well within free expression, that speaks volumes. Never mind, that I thought the donor a bit naive to think that his money would be used in a way that respects his sentiments (assuming it is a “him”). After all we are dealing with an ilk that has no compunction to seize state institutions and force us to fund defamation in the name of art and materialist indoctrination in the name of education. And worse, much worse given what has been happening with abortion as just one example. I still say, mass blood-guilt (which is exactly what mass abortion on demand leads to in a culture) is the most corrupting influence of all. KF

  11. What I find most interesting about Coyne is that he does what he does merely for the sake of recognition. It screams “I’m here! I exist and I want to be one of the popular kids too!” so loudly that I can’t help but be embarrassed for him.
    Note to Coyne: you will die and be forgotten. You’ll likely be forgotten long before you die. Your blog will pass away, your work will be discarded, all you own will end up in a landfill or in someone else’s hands. Nothing you do can change that. For all your squawking and squirming nothing you do is of any lasting importance. Nothing you do or have done is memorable. You are as insignificant as an ant and as disposable as the adult diaper that looms in your not too distant future. And that’s the ultimate truth of the secularism you so fiercely defend. You should devote more time expounding on those aspects of it. But we know you won’t.

  12. The administrators should publicly call them ‘animals’; preferably in a court of law. Justify it to the judge as their own self-definition; and ask why the opinions of individuals who consider themselves as nothing more than a bunch of molecules, should not – far from being respected – be despised and ridiculed.

  13. If god exists, he better show himself soon because his team seems to losing all over the world. It certainly would be a shame for christians to be persecuted for nothing. My advice to you would be to join the winning team. Don’t waste your life being ridiculed for nothing. No one is coming to save you from any of this. It’s just you guys and us. Nothing more. Give it all up, KF. Don’t you see that you are suffering for nothing? Has god done anything to heal your son and reward your persecution for the faith? I would say medical science has done more than any deity has.

  14. JLAfan2001,
    By “winning team” you surely mean the Seattle Seahawks who are a mortal lock to win the Super Bowl. Darwin himself said it best: defense wins championships.

  15. North America, specifically the US, is the last bastion of creationism. Most of the world has embraced evolution and moved on. You guys are the minority and you’re wasting your life on gibberish. Nihilism is reality.

  16. JLA:

    I thank you for your attempted comment, though I must note that it is inadvertently revealing on what we face — down to the unfortunate grudging God of a capital letter.

    The ad hominem and Job’s comforter attempt fails, as there is no general promise that Christians — as is my son — or good people in general will not suffer the usual ails of life. Indeed, we are warned of additional ails, persecution. And in fact there WERE miracles of guidance that opened the way, as well as that given the complexity and zero margin for error, success is itself a case of answered prayer. (And, on the wider problem of evil cf here in context.)

    As for the Rabshakeh attempt to demoralise by announcing the inevitable victory of your favoured materialism, it fails also.

    First, you are out of date: the strongest global trend is the ongoing Southern Christian Reformation, where for instance the fastest growing churches in the world are in Iran — yes, Iran [hence part of the desperation of the Mullahs] — and China. In the Islamic bloc, they have been reduced to putting a price on the head of men such as Fr Boutros of Egypt.

    You are confusing a local apostasy with a global trend.

    As for the idea that the progress of evolutionary materialism dominated science guarantees victory for your ideology, the rise of an information age is decisive against materialism. And sooner rather than later, a lot of people are going to ask, wait a minute, you are trying to explain complex DNA software and molecular nanomachines to run it on blind chance and mechanical necessity? Preposterous.

    Third, notice what you did: confronted with undeniable censorship and indefensible defamation backed up by state power, you tried to shift the subject through an ad hominem meant to be below the belt.

    The hollowing out of moral common good sense triggered by an amoral ideology you just revealed is a striking case of a damaging inadvertent admission against interest.

    I think you need to go, think again, look in the mirror and do better.

    KF

    PS: For those who need to know, my son is steadily improving, is out of hospital and is himself. Back to asking about time, infinity and the like.

  17. PPS: JLA, you are directed to the Weak Argument Correctives, especially 1 – 8, to understand the difference between design thought and Creationism. In addition, note that design theory is consistent with common descent, even — cf Behe — universal common descent. What it is not consistent with, is what (despite many attempts) has never been shown as empirically warranted, and is highly dubious: that blind chance and mechanical necessity can and do produce functionally specific, complex organisation and associated information. By utter contrast, FSCO/I routinely comes about by and is a known highly reliable sign of design. And the gap between the evidence and the reigning orthodoxy grows day by day. Indeed, resort to censorship, abuse of influence in institutions and defamation, etc, are not signs of strength, but of projective behaviour and acting out driven by inner instability. It is hard to kick against the pricks.

  18. I love science more than religion but I wouldn’t condone such stupid act. It’s just a sign showing the donors faith in God. In what way is it going to affect anyone in the building is beyond my understanding, and it is height of stupidity to bray about removal of the sign as if it was some abominable dictator’s removal.

  19. Might want to make sure the sign didn’t come down to some sort of pre-arranged time limit for the donation. But, if not, if this is bigotry against religion:

    The way to fight this is to start an email/social media campaign to pressure the administrators to put the sign back and admonish them for bowing to pressure from ideological terrorists.

    Post on their facebook:
    https://www.facebook.com/nhmla?ref=ts

    email them at:
    [email protected]

    twitter:
    https://twitter.com/nhmla

    Suggested post/content:

    Dear sirs,

    I read recently where the Natural History Museum in Los Angeles decided to bow to the thuggish pressure of ideological extremists by removing a donor appreciation sign that referred to “God”. Is this correct, or is there some other explanation? If not, I can no longer in good conscience support the NHM with my donations or visitation until you correct this egregious capitulation to those intolerant of religion and theism in general.

    If an explanation is not forthcoming, I will spread word of this outrage to all my friends and colleagues through all the social media venues I can. This kind of bigotry is not acceptable.

    Signed,

    XXXXXXX

    I already sent a tip to http://www.truthrevolt.org/ – they’ve been able to pressure some very large corporations into action, though I don’t know if this is their kind of thing.

  20. North America, specifically the US, is the last bastion of creationism. Most of the world has embraced evolution and moved on. You guys are the minority and you’re wasting your life on gibberish. Nihilism is reality.

    If nihilism is reality, what isn’t a waste of time, including your gibbering on about it?

  21. 21

    KF: In case I was unclear above, it was Coyne et al that I was criticizing — not your response. They are doing everything they can to undermine the right to publicly express viewpoints they disagree with.

    By the way, I am very glad to hear that your son is doing better.

  22. 22

    JLA @ 13:

    I don’t believe in the God you don’t believe in either. Where did you get the idea that he would exempt Christians from persecution? With the current popularity of the perverted “prosperity gospel”, I can’t put the blame entirely on you for your misunderstanding, but from Cain’s murder of Abel to the present day, the righteous have suffered persecution. In fact Jesus said, “you will be hated by all for my name’s sake.” The Bible includes a history of a few worldly victories, yes, but more than that, the suffering of the righteous is a common theme from Genesis to Revelation.

    But (spoiler alert) I have read to the end of the book and our team wins — for eternity! Isn’t that the side you would rather be on, regardless of some temporary earthly suffering?

  23. From my blog at: http://ayearningforpublius.wor.....your-face/

    I’ve grown accustomed to your face.

    The following scenario is familiar to most of us, particularly as we grow older:

    We walk into a crowded and noisy room full of mostly strangers and unfamiliar heads bobbing up and down. Then off to the side and slightly behind we hear and recognize a familiar voice … we turn our head searching for that old friend we know is there, and after a short search … there she is, head slightly turned away from our view, but recognizable none-the-less. We are surprised and pleased to meet our old friend once more after some number of years and begin renewing the friendship.

    The recognition of the voce and face is instinctive and very quick; and we take it for granted with no thoughts of anything unusual other than the mere co-incidence of the meeting.

    But behind the scenes in our ears, eyes, nerves and brains is a marvelous and miraculous process called pattern recognition. A pattern recognition that is able to pick out and recognize individual faces and voices out of the billions of faces and voices surrounding us in the world. So let’s take a brief tour of what’s involved in meeting up with our old friend.

    The hearing system that most of us have is a partnership between our ears and brain along with the connecting nerves between the two. This stereo audio system is able to sift through the many amplitudes (volumes) presented – the multitudes of widely spread and finely differentiated frequencies – the various timbres presented by the many voices surrounding us in that room full of strangers. And we are able to pick out that distinctive and familiar voice among the multitudes. And by the way, that same set of ears, in the form of the semi-circular canals, is instrumental in our balance system which keeps us from stumbling around in that crowded room.

    And the eyes … my gosh what a gift … a gift of obvious design which enables us to stand in awe at the many wonders of our everyday world.

    The eyes, as with the ears, are continually involved in a massive process of pattern recognition that allow us to function smoothly within our very busy, active and dangerous world. Eyes that are quick to warn us of the dangers of that car moving too close to us on the freeway. Eyes that quickly recognize that old friend even in a crowded and busy room.

    In our modern technological world we have analogies to that busy room. Our Navy ships scan the depths of the ocean with sonar. The pulses transmitted from the sonar antenna bounce off; the ocean floor, schools of fish and even the surface of the ocean, returning a bewildering stream of noise that the computers of the sonar must sift through, filter and cluster to present the operators and commanders an array of potential hazards and threats to the fleet. These sophisticated sonar system require sophisticated computational systems and large amounts of memory storage to accomplish the task in real-time. But most fundamentally they require intelligent designers to create the systems required.

    Pattern recognition in the visual world is no less wondrous. When you take a picture of that group at a reunion with a modern state of the art camera, have you noticed the little boxes surrounding the faces? Somehow some very smart scientists and engineers have figured out how to program a computer in your camera to recognize that human faces are part of the picture and visually highlight them for you. And after you take them you can ‘tag’ the individual faces with names in programs like Facebook. Again, sophisticated computational power and large amounts of memory storage are required for the job. And, as in the case of sonar processing, intelligent designers are necessary to create the systems required.

    Pattern recognition is not a trivial task in the engineering world. Read some snippets in a Wikipedia article on “pattern recognition” at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pattern_recognition: to get a feel for the mathematical complexities of such a built in human and animal capability.

    So I ask you my friends who believe that Darwinian Evolution … a belief in unguided, unintelligent and strictly natural processes; is it reasonable and rational that such a process could guide you to that reunion in a crowded room?

    And to those of you who denigrate and insult those of us who believe such natural capabilities are the result of an Intelligent Design (ID), I would ask … which of us is the IDiot?

  24. @ Axel

    Secular fundamentalist? …I like it.

    @ KF:

    Great to hear your son is doing better KF. On a side note, I just want to say that if you’re ever wondering if the ID community is having a positive impact in a world of competing ideas, it is. Case in point; my wife was out for lunch one day with a few co-workers and she over heard a conversation that was ensuing between a few University students. The conversation these students were having centered on how Intelligent Design, as a theory, was gaining ground in its ability to explain the complexity of nature and that future research in the area human origin, lied within the theory of ID. My wife, who really has no interest in the subject of ID, pointed out a few things to me which I thought were interesting. One, these students were very excited about the prospects of ID and two, the University they attended is a prominent secular university.

    Keep up the good work at UD..

  25. KRock, I came across it quite a while ago now, in the Guardian, of all places. They have a religious section, and I believe it was in an article in it by a clergyman.

    I’m sure there are terms and phrases one can use in polemics, lobbying, etc, which are inordinately powerful. It must be one of the key jobs of ‘spin doctors’ to identify them, and the potential overtones of all words being used within a given context. The beauty of this one is that they’ve done all the donkey-work, the Goebbels repetition, with it and now it’s ripe to be turned against them.

    I mean it is the malefactors’ mirror-image of Christian fundamentalism, in that it is passionately reductionist; fanatically vindictive into the bargain in their case – shrill and fear-driven, as well it might be.

  26. Sagebrush

    The prosperity gospel is in effective because of passages that state god will take care of the people who love of him, that is of course when he doesn’t take care of them because he loves them. Christianity is to atheism as evolution is to creationism….it can’t be falsified. He answers our prayers, he loves us. He doesn’t answer our prayers, he loves us. He takes away our suffering, he loves us. He allows us to suffer, he loves us.

    I’m familiar that the bible teaches that you will suffer for his sake but all I’m saying is you better make damn sure he is real or else you wasted you’re only life for nothing.

    BTW, prove to me that the end story of revelation is true. Many christians believe that this fable happened in the first century. If that’s the case, who’s return are you waiting for? Didn’t jesus say that his generation would not pass until the things he mentioned came true (which they didn’t). You ask me wouldn’t I rather be on the winning team. Prove to me that you have the winning team because so far science tells me that you have the losing team.

  27. @ JLAfan2001: For people who are interested in science, and not wishful confirmation of their fear-based world-view, bornagain77 proves on here, just about every day, that we have the winning team.

    With characteristic inanity, however, your team complain about him, ‘spamming’! If you paid attention, he wouldn’t have to keep on repeating the irrefutable evidence of quantum mechanics. But you people only like your own Multiverse fantasy-magic, not God’s now empirically proven magic.

  28. Another term I believe cries out to be used to describe their own ‘faith’, is Unintelligent Design – ironically oxymoronic.

  29. Axel

    All BA77 does and has ever done is quote mine. Has he ever looked into the arguments for the other side on the topics he quotes? I would guess not. He finds what supports his theism, snips quotes from it, posts it on UD and never has a clue as what he is defending. Never looks at the opposite evidence I bet.

    Quantum mechanics hasn’t proven any kind of god ever. That’s just what you want to think. There are many other people who study this field and haven’t come to belief in theism.

  30. @ JLAfan2001

    I thought you were Nihilist?

    “I’m familiar that the bible teaches that you will suffer for his sake but all I’m saying is you better make damn sure he is real or else you wasted you’re only life for nothing.”

    If God wasn’t real, It would be hard to waste a life that never ended up really mattering in the end in the first place, wouldn’t it? What I mean by that JLA is that, if its all for nothing in the end, who’s ever going to let you know this? There’s no score kept. Life would be futile, no matter what worldview you adopted, but yet equal in the sense it never really mattered anyways… thankfully, I don’t believe that’ll be the case…

  31. @ Axel (#25)

    Awesome stuff… Thanks!

  32. Coyne and the Freedom From Religion Foundation want the moral benefits of a Christian society without the burden of having to relate to their Creator and Lord. This is an impossibility. The more they preach atheism and win converts, the less they will experience the benefits of Christian morality.

    Coyne et al are making the same tragic choice that Adam & Eve did. I highly doubt it will turn out any different for them this time. But it is hard to learn from history it seems. We humans seem to repeat the same mistakes over and over.

  33. JLAfan, if Nihilism makes you happy, go for it! It’s a free world. If Christianity makes me happy, then, please tell me how a Nihilist can criticize me for choosing that worldview.

    If nothing matters at all, you might as well try to be as happy as possible, right?

    As a Christian, I have the best of both worlds! I have a relationship with my Savior and Lord that fulfills my life here and now AND I have a wonderful hope for the future that is guaranteed by God Himself! If I’m wrong, I’ll never know it, but I still have the satisfaction of knowing that my life is meaningful. I’m covered either way.

    If everything is meaningless, why do you even bother to fight for what you believe? In the end, what does it matter? Your actions betray your beliefs and show that you are unable to live according to your own worldview.

    The obvious question then becomes “Is Nihilism/atheism really true?”

  34. JLAfan,

    Here is an interesting article on the problem of evil from a creationist perspective. It can be found on crev.info and is entitled:
    Natural Evil: How Good Germs Can Go Bad

  35. JLAfan,

    Here is an interesting article on the problem of evil from a creationist perspective. It can be found on crev dot info and is entitled:
    Natural Evil: How Good Germs Can Go Bad

  36. JLAfan2001:

    Wow. You’ve managed to unload more weapons-grade stupid on this forum. I replied to you in an email back in July with questions, and you haven’t responded yet. That says a lot about your beliefs and your trolling.

    The prosperity gospel is in effective because of passages that state god will take care of the people who love of him, that is of course when he doesn’t take care of them because he loves them.

    Not all Christians believe in, or follow, the prosperity gospel. The Bible teaches us to live simple lives unencumbered by needless debt and the anxiety that goes along with it (see 1 Timothy 6:9,10).

    Christianity is to atheism as evolution is to creationism….it can’t be falsified.

    The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the cornerstone of Christianity, so if anyone found the bones of Christ, that would falsify Christianity. However, given the assurance that he did rise by means of the holy spirit, we can be confident that Christianity is true.

    William Lane Craig explains this here: http://www.reasonablefaith.org.....ian-belief

    He answers our prayers, he loves us. He doesn’t answer our prayers, he loves us.

    The Bible does not suggest that God removes all our difficulties now. However, God does impart the strength to cope with “all things”—including depression. (Philippians 4:13) Divine intervention was hardly the norm, even in Bible times. For the most part, God answered the prayers of his servants, not by miraculous intervention, but by helping them to “be filled with the accurate knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual comprehension.” (Colossians 1:9, 10)

    Yes, God helped by strengthening his people spiritually and morally—giving them the wisdom and knowledge to make wise decisions. When Christians were in a difficult situation, God did not necessarily remove the trial. Rather, he provided them with “the power beyond what is normal” so that they could endure it!—2 Corinthians 4:7; 2 Timothy 4:17.
    Likewise today, an answer to your prayer will probably not involve something dramatic. But as he did in the past, God can give you his holy spirit and strengthen you to handle whatever situations you face. (Galatians 5:22, 23)

    He takes away our suffering, he loves us. He allows us to suffer, he loves us.

    You really know nothing about God or the Bible. See above.

    I’m familiar that the bible teaches that you will suffer for his sake but all I’m saying is you better make damn sure he is real or else you wasted you’re only life for nothing.

    The Bible teaches that Christians will be persecuted (as Jesus and his followers were). That they willingly suffered for their beliefs is powerful evidence for the truthfulness of Christianity. Who would die or be tortured because of believing in something they knew was false?

    BTW, prove to me that the end story of revelation is true.

    Why should anyone do this, considering the utter lack of respect you show to religious people? And what would constitute proof to you? After all, the book of Revelation is written mostly in prophetic language, meaning that much of it is not literal. I trust you understand this much.

    Many christians believe that this fable happened in the first century.

    So, now it’s a fable. That you want proven true to you.

    *yawn*

    More atheist/nihilist stupidity.

    If that’s the case, who’s return are you waiting for? Didn’t jesus say that his generation would not pass until the things he mentioned came true (which they didn’t).

    What things didn’t come true?

    The scripture you paraphrase is Matthew 25:34. British scholar G. R. Beasley-Murray observes: “The phrase ‘this generation’ should cause no difficulty for interpreters. While admittedly genea in earlier Greek meant birth, progeny, and so race, . . . in the [Greek Septuagint] it most frequently translated the Hebrew term dôr, meaning age, age of humankind, or generation in the sense of contemporaries. . . . In sayings attributed to Jesus the term appears to have a twofold connotation: on the one hand it always signifies his contemporaries, and on the other hand it always carries an implicit criticism.

    Jesus also stated, “Jesus said to them: ‘. . . These things must take place, but the end is not yet.’”—MATTHEW 24:4-6.
    Jesus foretold that there would be wars, famines, pestilences, earthquakes, hatred and persecution of Christians, false messiahs, and a widespread preaching of the good news of the Kingdom. Then the end was to come. (Matthew 24:4-14; Mark 13:5-13; Luke 21:8-19) Jesus said this early in the year 33 C.E. During the following decades, his alert disciples could recognize that the foretold things were in fact occurring in a significant way. Yes, history proves that the sign had a fulfillment at that time, leading to a conclusion of the Jewish system of things at the hands of the Romans in 66-70 C.E.

    During the hot Judean summer of 66 C.E., Jewish Zealots led an assault on Roman guards in a fort near the temple in Jerusalem, sparking violence elsewhere in the land. In History of the Jews, Professor Heinrich Graetz relates: “Cestius Gallus, whose duty it was as Governor of Syria to uphold the honor of Roman arms, . . . could no longer witness the rebellion spreading around him without an effort to stem its progress. He called his legions together, and the neighboring princes voluntarily sent their troops.” This army of 30,000 surrounded Jerusalem. After some fighting, the Jews withdrew behind walls near the temple. “During five successive days the Romans stormed the walls, but were always obliged to fall back before the missiles of the Judæans. It was only on the sixth day that they succeeded in undermining a part of the northern wall in front of the Temple.”

    In the years leading up to 66 C.E., Christians would have seen many of the preliminary elements of the composite sign being fulfilled—wars, famines, even an extensive preaching of the good news of the Kingdom. (Acts 11:28; Colossians 1:23) When, though, would the end come? What did Jesus mean when he said: ‘This generation [Greek, ge·ne·a?] will not pass away’? Jesus had often called the contemporaneous mass of opposing Jews, including religious leaders, ‘a wicked, adulterous generation.’ (Matthew 11:16; 12:39, 45; 16:4; 17:17; 23:36) So when, on the Mount of Olives, he again spoke of “this generation,” he evidently did not mean the entire race of Jews throughout history; nor did he mean his followers, even though they were “a chosen race.” (1 Peter 2:9) Neither was Jesus saying that “this generation” is a period of time.

    Rather, Jesus had in mind the opposing Jews back then who would experience the fulfillment of the sign he gave. Regarding the reference to “this generation” at Luke 21:32, Professor Joel B. Green notes: “In the Third Gospel, ‘this generation’ (and related phrases) has regularly signified a category of people who are resistant to the purpose of God. . . . [It refers] to people who stubbornly turn their backs on the divine purpose.”

    The wicked generation of Jewish opposers who could observe the sign being fulfilled would also experience the end. (Matthew 24:6, 13, 14) And that they did! In 70 C.E., the Roman army returned, led by Titus, son of Emperor Vespasian. The suffering of the Jews who were again bottled up in the city is almost beyond belief. Eyewitness Flavius Josephus reports that by the time the Romans demolished the city, about 1,100,000 Jews had died and some 100,000 were taken captive, most of those soon to perish horribly from starvation or in Roman theaters. Truly, the tribulation of 66-70 C.E. was the greatest that Jerusalem and the Jewish system had ever experienced or would ever experience. How different the outcome was for Christians who had heeded Jesus’ prophetic warning and had left Jerusalem after the departure of the Roman armies in 66 C.E.! The anointed Christian “chosen ones” were “saved,” or kept safe, in 70 C.E.—Matthew 24:16, 22.

    You ask me wouldn’t I rather be on the winning team. Prove to me that you have the winning team because so far science tells me that you have the losing team.

    There is so much proof that you are on the losing team that it’s really sad to see you continually troll these forums demanding explanations and proof. Look for it yourself, if it’s that important to you.

  37. JLA isn’t a nihilist. Nihilists don’t go running around whining about what other people choose to believe or how they live their lives. He’s a disenfranchised theist of some sort daring god to step in to save him, or hoping someone will have some magic words that will force him out of his self-destructive hysteria.

  38. Thank you for taking the time to provide such a detailed and insightful answer, Barb!

    For anyone else, I’d like to point out that the true Way is the opposite of religion in many respects. It does not rely on philosophical insight, on a large body of doctrine, cash donations, elaborate ritual, punishing asceticism, or many other typical requirements.

    Most religions require sacrifice, however in the true Way, God already provided the sacrifice for you, his son (that some former Hindus consider to be the one true avatar of God). Jesus said of himself, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” He also said, “My yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

    No one is persuaded by force of argument into a relationship with God, nor would God want to coerce anyone against their will. A relationship with God is based on your willingness to trust, not some power of intellect or iron determination. The result is peace and joy, and a profound desire to reciprocate the love received regardless of the immediate circumstances. In other words, a radically changed life.

    A dear friend of mine challenges people who are sceptical but serious and willing, simply to ask the living God to show them in some way—perhaps through prayer, fasting, the Bible, or circumstances—speaking to their inner person, that he exists, really does care for you and desires your reconciliation and inner healing. My friend claims it takes about three days (which is what it took him).

    I’ve also personally seen a life change very quickly! He was a young, and very drunk Mexican kid (his eyes were half closed and he could hardly keep his balance) who pounded on our door very late one night. After talking with him about what God was offering him, he became miraculously “undrunk” in front of our eyes as he asked Jesus to forgive him and come into his life! Frankly, it was hard for me to believe and I was there!

    So, my sceptical reader, why couldn’t something like that happen to you? It’s there if you honestly want it.

    -Q

  39. Recently i started posting on ‘why evolution is true” and had a few posts printed and then BANG. cEnsored, censored, censored.!1
    What credibility does any forum or cause have when it censors opponents?!
    None I say. Its hilarious. its like what a poor script for a movie of the bad guys would have them do.
    They can’TTTTT take it.
    i’m pretty good but to fear little me is just telling me they see themselves as threatened in the world of arguments.
    I”M CENSORED ON THIS guys blog. There is more cats commenting then creationists.
    I don’t think these folks are very confident in taking on North America.
    If creationists had more publicity I think things would move even faster for the good guys,
    They can’t hide forever.

  40. Recently i started posting on ‘why evolution is true” and had a few posts printed and then BANG. cEnsored, censored, censored.!1
    What credibility does any forum or cause have when it censors opponents?!
    None I say. Its hilarious. its like what a poor script for a movie of the bad guys would have them do.
    They can’TTTTT take it.
    i’m pretty good but to fear little me is just telling me they see themselves as threatened in the world of arguments.
    I”M CENSORED ON THIS guys blog. There is more cats commenting then creationists.
    I don’t think these folks are very confident in taking on North America.
    If creationists had more publicity I think things would move even faster for the good guys,
    They can’t hide forever.

  41. Folks:

    A lot overnight.

    SR:

    I love science more than religion but I wouldn’t condone such stupid act. It’s just a sign showing the donors faith in God. In what way is it going to affect anyone in the building is beyond my understanding, and it is height of stupidity to bray about removal of the sign as if it was some abominable dictator’s removal.

    A refreshing response.

    Unfortunately, we are dealing with those who seem to have been indoctrinated to think God is a cosmic dictator to be overthrown.

    Here is the consequence of such folly:

    Jeremiah 2:13 my people have committed two evils:
    they have forsaken me,
    the fountain of living waters,
    and hewed out cisterns for themselves,
    broken cisterns that can hold no water.

    A sad and ultimately fatal state of affairs.

    WJM:

    If you look at the original post and early comments, you will see that on boastful testimony it is activists within and without the museum who pushed and pushed the administration. The donor may have been intimidated into going along with the removal of the sign, under threat of being publicly ridiculed or worse.

    Inasmuch as this is by inadvertent admissions against interest, this is probably close to the truth.

    Have we seen a wave of protest from other museums and responsible professionals? Seems not but let us see — though the track record in recent years does not raise hopes.

    If that is the attitude of professional technical staff and managers in critical mass in museums, institutes and colleges etc, that tells us that we can have no confidence in the displays in such a museum, the TV shows and web presence that comes of it, or the contents of textbooks or the contents of college courses etc.

    That is the price you pay for ideological censorship and defamation: destroying your institutional credibility and professional reputation. And if things keep on like this, it gets worse, not better . . . nihilism crouches at the door, as some sulphur-breathing Nero-like monster waits for admission to the halls of power.

    JLA:

    Wake up.

    You have made up a caricatured common-g god in your head, and projected that hateful, resented father figure unto Christians and the sky.

    Your overgrown teenager rebellion rooted assertions have as little to do with what we can discern of God from the book of nature — and that is of course an echo of the founders of modern science — as they do with the Scriptures of the Judaeo-Christian tradition.

    You have also swallowed the assertions, distortions and dismissals of the ideology-driven fringe skeptics whole.

    FYI, atheistical sites etc, Discovery and History Channel, the Jesus Seminar and successors, Dan Brown et al are NOT where you go to get a reasonable understanding of the balance of evidence and reasoning on the merits. (Many go there to prop up where they want to go, and — frankly — to put on a veneer of sophistication on something they want for other reasons that cannot bear the light of day, but that is another thing entirely.)

    I suggest as a beginning you may want to take two hours or so out — much less than you have invested in lapping up skeptical fulminations and regurgitating them here at UD etc — and just watch the two videos at the end of the original post.

    That is just to open up your mind a tad.

    And if you really want to get a look at where a 101 level beginning to a sounder view on things might begin, I suggest you take a little time and invest in reading here on (in context) first . . . on grounding a worldview.

    Yes, this one is tough going and will cut across the sort of things you have picked up and imagine to be unquestionably true to the point that you may think it ridiculous. But so did the denizens of Plato’s cave when their former den mate came back to try to help them understand that they were living in a world of artfully calculated shadow-shows.

    Here is a warning, from someone far wiser than you or me:

    “The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness! . . . “

    (Can you, without Googling, tell us who said this pointed remark about endarkenment — let’s just use the coinage — under false colours of enlightenment, in what context? If not, it does not speak well of the basis on which you have taken your stance. And even if you do recognise it, can you soberly respond to it and warrant your views as a credible worldview from foundations up? I(n short, on what grounds do you hold that your mind’s eyes of understanding are good and not bad, why? [If your views are rooted in evolutionary materialism kindly cf here on on this, paying particular attention to what Crick and Haldane had to say.])

    Having got the straight thinking principles and contexts sorted out, then come back and read here on in context . . . for more details on the historically anchored foundations of the Christian faith. (Pay particular attention to the minimal facts issues and approach and the table of alternative explanations. The Christian faith is simply not a fable, and your dismissal is an inadvertent admission that you don’t know the first thing about literary genres. BTW, on the assumption that you are probably within close memory of college or the like, glance here on the legacy of William G Perry for current education thought.)

    Then, you can have a more reasonable basis for t5hinking through life and eternity.

    Barbs, Axel, Q, KRock, SG, Yearning, TJG and others:

    Thanks for illuminating thoughts from various perspectives.

    No time to focus on and tease out all, sorry . . . especially when I am dealing with the aftermath of antihistamines that made me light headed for most of yesterday after I posted and did initial comments. Looks like I picked up a touch of the annual Christmas pilgimmage London flu. (At least, this does not seem to be a bad case.)
    _______

    The focal issue for this thread remains: activism that egged on, carried out and cheered censorship in favour of the new materialist magisterium, evidently scalping a donor in the process.

    THAT is what evolutionary materialist amorality, radical relativism and nihilism lead to, as a beginning. Might and manipulation make ‘right.’

    Can anyone tell us as to whether we had sound responses to the intimidation and censorship situation from the usual anti-design sites?

    Or are they busy pretending nothing happened and all is well?

    Much is at stake, and if these are signs of a breakdown of credibility through radical ideologisation — and that has been a trend for sure — then we need to be thinking seriously about building and donating to alternatives.

    Ten to twenty years ago, it was professionals and students being scalped and threatened with outing and defamation — a revealing word — to push through ideologisation, now it is donors.

    Time to wake up, folks.

    KF

  42. 42

    It’s ironic, Atheist would consider themselves to be open minded (critical thinkers) mean while censoring anything that questions their worldview and this article one of the long list of examples.

    and they say that the bible has no reliability, I beg to differ: 1 John 2:18 and the evidence keep piling up.

  43. If only I could initiate a slow-clap for KF over the internet for that post.

  44. 44
    sagebrush gardener

    JLA @ 26:

    Better men than I have thought it worthwhile to “prove” the existence of God. But for me this is neither possible nor necessary. The burden is not on the creator of heaven and earth to submit himself for the approval of puny and arrogant creatures such as ourselves; the burden is on us to humble ourselves and seek him. On his terms, not ours. God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble. If he is hidden from you it is by his design, not by any inadequacy on his part.

  45. In other words you have blind faith. It’s not possible or necessary to prove god and yet you believe in one. Bertrand Russell came to mind as I read this. He basically said that it was god’s problem that people were going to hell because he should have made the evidence clear. It’s funny how he doesn’t want anyone to go to hell and wants to be with everyone and yet keeps himself hidden really well. Maybe it’s your brain tricking you into thinking and believing that you’ve connected with something divine. The brain can make us see and think things that aren’t real, you know.

  46. JLA:

    I will give you this much indulgence, instead of gavelling you for a thread hijack from a soberingly important issue you have consistently ducked and diverted from.

    Kindly, go and take the time to work through the suggested viewings and readings just above — and yes, the task to actually take time to investigate rather than spout talking points is a test of your seriousness or lack thereof.

    One thing you will need to know is, no-one has come up with a good absolute proof that other people have minds, are not zombies or figments of imagination etc. Any number of things can be doubted and dismissed if one is insistent. But the issue soon comes to alternatives and comparative difficulties. I commend to you the point that there is moral certainty so that one is irresponsible to act as if something were not sufficiently warranted. By that standard, I assure you there is abundant warrant for believing in and reaching out to God, whom you grudge even a capital letter of respect. (Try here for a short summary on five ways.)

    And on that basis, millions have humbled themselves in penitent prayer and have met God in life transforming power.

    In my case, absent that — and absent a miracle of guidance to the right doctor, I would be dead over 40 years now. (Hence, the significance to me of a similar miracle of guidance for my son recently.)

    So, now, I have given you this much indulgence as a test. Let us see if you are serious or are simply playing at derail- the- thread that is pointing where you don’t want to go.

    KF

  47. jlafan2001:

    Still ducking my responses from earlier columns, I see. For all your fierce nihilistic bravado, you have the personal spine of a jellyfish.

    Why don’t you take up your personal animus against literalist-inerrantist Christianity with your Mummy, Daddy, fundamentalist pastor, former fundamentalist congregation, etc.? It’s clear that it is these people you are still fighting against, not ID. They continue to have a hold on you even though you declare yourself free of their beliefs. You aren’t satisfied to be liberated from those beliefs; you feel the need to crush them in public, to confirm your liberation to yourself. A psychologist could have a field day analyzing your motivations.

    Maybe when you’ve got all that anger and resentment against your former fundie friends worked out, and have actually taken the time to read some serious science and serious theology (i.e., not the popular crap you are reading off the internet, but serious books and articles such as one would find in a university library), you will be of some use in a rational conversation about origins. At the present, you’re of no use at all. I suggest you take your nihilist road show elsewhere.

    I also hope people here will have the good sense to recognize attention-seeking behavior when they see it, and cease replying to you.

  48. I also hope people here will have the good sense to recognize attention-seeking behavior when they see it, and cease replying to you.

    That is the essence of the internet and the most surprising thing is the number of people that rise up to feed this behavior. Like the person is interested in a honest discussion and just in need of a little guidance to see the right way.

  49. JLAfan2001 continues at 45:

    In other words you have blind faith.

    No, we have faith based upon evidence that Christianity is true. One, we haven’t found the bones of Christ that would disprove the resurrection and, two, we have evidence from first century Christians who died for their beliefs. How many people do you know that would willingly die for a lie?

    Biblical faith is not credulity, no matter how much you want to believe that it is. Biblical faith is built on a bedrock foundation, with enough evidence to convert hardened skeptics like C.S. Lewis. I should point out that Lewis is an intellectual and you, on the other hand, are proudly ignorant of all things religious.

    “It is impossible for God to lie.” (Heb. 6:18) Here we have assurance that anything that an all-powerful God wants to do will be done in His due time.

    Does his past record show that he can be depended upon to fulfill his promise? “You well know with all your hearts and with all your souls that not one word out of all the good words that Jehovah your God has spoken to you has failed. They have all come true for you. Not one word of them has failed.”—Josh. 23:14.

    Because of God’s authority, power and reliability, we can have an assurance, or confidence, similar to that of a person who has the title deed to property. Having faith in God’s promises because of his integrity is like having faith that we own property because of possessing a deed to it.

    This faith in God is best defined for us in the Bible at Hebrews 11:1 in these words: “Faith is the assured expectation of things hoped for.” In the book Word Pictures in the New Testament A. T. Robertson says of this scripture: “We venture to suggest the translation ‘Faith is the title-deed of things hoped for.’” He points out that the Greek word for “assured expectation” has the meaning of what stands under anything, a contract, or a promise.

    So faith in God is more than a desire or a hope. Faith is something added to hope. Faith is the absolute assurance that what God says is going to happen will happen.
    Faith should not be confused with credulity or wishful thinking. There is a vast difference. Credulity is defined as “a disposition, arising from weakness or ignorance, to believe too readily, especially impossible or absurd things.” To be credulous is to be “easily deceived; gullible.”

    Much of what passes for faith in the world today is not true faith, but is credulity. Many, without carefully observing and studying God’s ways, jump to hasty conclusions that often are greatly out of harmony with the spirit of divine truth. Acting and teaching according to such credulity dishonors God and brings great reproach upon his name. Many times credulous ones claim to have the strongest “faith.” But what they feel so strongly about often is what God did not say, and they frequently have no inclination to hear or heed what God did say.

    It’s not possible or necessary to prove god and yet you believe in one.

    Hypocrite. You demand proof for God’s existence and then you state that it’s not necessary. Please make up your muddled atheist mind.

    Bertrand Russell came to mind as I read this. He basically said that it was god’s problem that people were going to hell because he should have made the evidence clear.

    What did Russell mean by “clear”? The evidence is clear enough that well over a billion people believe in God. Does Russell–or you, for that matter–need to have it spelled out for you as though you are a first grader? Or do you not have an intellect to search for the truth?

    English philosopher Bertrand Russell argues that it would be good if in time “every kind of religious belief [would] die out.” In his myopic view, the removal of religion is the only lasting solution to all of mankind’s problems. However, Russell chooses to ignore the fact that those who reject religion can engender just as much hatred and intolerance as those who espouse it. Religion writer Karen Armstrong reminds us: “At the very least, the Holocaust showed that a secularist ideology [can] be just as lethal as any religious crusade.”—The Battle for God—Fundamentalism in Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

    It’s funny how he doesn’t want anyone to go to hell and wants to be with everyone and yet keeps himself hidden really well.

    “Draw close to God, and He will draw close to you,” the Bible tells us. So it’s not simply a matter of there being evidence in plain sight. Effort is required to come to know God. And you haven’t made that effort. God is certainly not hidden from anyone with the intellectual ability to find him. This speaks more about you than anything else.

    Maybe it’s your brain tricking you into thinking and believing that you’ve connected with something divine. The brain can make us see and think things that aren’t real, you know.

    Maybe you’re just a sad little atheist troll.

  50. 50

    JLA @ 45:

    Everyone else here seems to think you are just a troll, but for now I will give you the benefit of the doubt and respond as if you are sincere in your questioning. I also want to apologize to KF for going along with this diversion of his excellent topic, though I think the current conversation may give some insight into the mindset of people like Jerry Coyne.

    You cannot (or will not) see, yet you call those with faith blind. Is the God of the universe obligated to respond to your petty objections, that you might do him the favor of believing in him? I don’t seek “proof” in a scientific sense, yet I am still convinced of God’s existence and in his love for me. I often ask him to reveal himself to me, and he does. But I am asking out of a loving desire to know him more, not demanding that he prove himself to me as if he owes it to me to show that he exists.

    When the critics of Jesus asked him for a sign to prove himself, he responded, “An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign will be given to it…” When Jesus was being condemned to death, the temple guards blindfolded him, spit on him, and struck him saying, “Prophesy! Who is the one who struck You?” When Jesus was dying on the cross, the chief priests mocked him saying, “Let Him now come down from the cross, and we will believe Him.”

    Jesus would not even “prove” himself to save his own life. God does not respond to the taunts of the arrogant but to the sincere inquiry of those who humbly seek him in faith.

  51. Barb

    You do realize that you used the bible to prove the bible, right? Hardly an effective way to prove god’s existence if the bible itself is suspect.

    Timaeus

    Sorry, must have missed your last post. I don’t recall what the last burst of outrage was about. I don’t think that any of the great christian thinkers of past and present will say anything different than I’ve already read on the internet. I’ve read the different arguments for god and all their refutations. I still maintain that if god was real there would be at least one undeniable, irrefutable piece of evidence that atheists just don’t have an answer for.

    Also, if you believe in anything other than YEC fundamentalism, you’re wrong in those beliefs. The bible clearly reads as if Genesis is literal. Moses, Paul and Jesus all thought so. Your version of christianity tries to save face by reconciling that which can’t be reconciled in order to be respectable in the public square. Maybe Augustine and Origen took Genesis as metaphor but the majority of the christians from that time didn’t. It was taken literal until Lyell and Darwin smacked them all on the head with reality. It’s been proven wrong again with Adam and population genetics. Why do you think the church is desperate to find a way to reconcile these findings with a historical Adam? It’s because the major christain tenet will take a serious hit.

    No need to find christ’s bones because there was no Adam and original sin to die for. No Adam, no sin, no fall, no saviour, no ressurection, no afterlife. Christianity falsified.

  52. “if god was real there would be at least one undeniable, irrefutable piece of evidence that atheists just don’t have an answer for”

    By logical extention, this would indicate that materialist have an pat answer for any evidence presented as an inference to design.

    Is this your contention?

    I’ve done a fair amount of research on the phenomenon of semiosis, being the physical basis of the capacity to organize the cell. Semiosis requires a necessary physical discontinuity between the nucleotide medium and the amino acid presented at the peptide binding site. This is what a physicist would call a non-dynamic relationship, and it must exist there for the system to function. And because it exists, the system requires a physical pathway past the discontinuity that connects the medium to its effect while simultaneously preserving the discontinuity. This is a physical architecture that is only associated with semiotic systems, and does not appear in our physical record until it first appeared as the basis of life on earth. The medium and the resolution to the discontinuity form an irredicibly complex system that preceded Darwinian evolution and information-based organization. The reason I bring it up is because the architecture of the physcial system, with its several unique and identifying properties, is only found one place else in the cosmos – and that is in language and mathematics.

    So if what you are saying is true, then the materialists you defend here can demonstrate the rise of such a system from a non-information-based initial condition, thereby refuting the inference to design.

    Either you can point to that demonstration, or you can’t.

  53. JLA:

    It is time to stop playing trollish distractive games.

    You were given a bit of indulgence, an opportunity to examine and investigate at 101 level the sort of things you seem to have been dodging from one thread to another. You give no evidence of having done so, I now doubt that you have even bothered to glance at the videos at the end of the original post or clicked on the linked in 41 above.

    For, had you even simply taken time to watch the second video, you would have seen how the NT documents are easily shown to be C1 historical primary sources that can be evaluated as historical documents without any circles of argument. And in fact FYI, Luke-Acts, the historical backbone of the NT, is one of the best supported pieces of historical literature from classical times, which has been known to be so for 100+ years now. And, as painstaking accuracy is a habit, that gives us high confidence when we see the description of what you are probably using a question-begging argument to dismiss all: the miraculous. (Where, that miraculous FYI, whether or not you want to acknowledge it, continues down to today, with literally millions of credible cases of transformed lives through encounter with the living God. Something which is easily accessible to anyone who is but willing to reach out to and seriously interact with people who have that experience. Thee is no excuse for ignorance of such a widespread fact of God-transformed lives.)

    In that context, had you taken time to look at the minimal facts that are generally accepted across the spectrum of serious scholarship based on historical investigatory principles, you would have seen that the inference to best explanation challenge gives highly significant results. In simple summary, there are only two serious remaining candidate explanations for the origins and thriving of the Christian faith: (i) an unprecedented mass hallucination . . . contrary to the known psychology of hallucination, (ii) accurate reporting of experienced reality. Where, for instance the miraculous nature of the resurrection of Jesus is NOT rooted in spectacles but in implications.

    Common men of ordinary intelligence easily recognise friends of close acquaintance, save when they do not expect to see them. They also can tell the sequence of events A, B, C, D . . . Where in C1, eating a supper with a friend was a commonplace. Sadly, so was seeing a friend snatched from their company, subjected to a kangaroo court, whipped and nailed up on a slow-gibbet, the cross. The point of the NT narratives, is that there were two (actually three and a breakfast) suppers with a friend across the course of several days then stretching on across weeks. Only, the first supper was BEFORE the friend was judicially murdered, and the other meals were AFTER it. Nothing extraordinary about eating with a friend, nothing extraordinary — in that day — about a murderous travesty of justice. Nothing extraordinary about the passage of hours, days and weeks, during which ordinary experiences happened. But, the timeline! [And in case you have absorbed the attempts to present radical dis-harmonies as dismissive disproofs by claimed contradiction, kindly examine the argument and evidence here, in reply to a skeptic who raised just that objection some years ago. Once there is a harmony that is reasonable possible, the accusation contradiction falls flat, where also it is the normal pattern with honest and diverse witnesses that hey will have different perspectives, some of which will be hard to reconcile, but the core of the pattern will correspond to the framework of events.)

    FYI, one can — and many have (including Strobel and others) — start from that evaluation of historical sources and then find in them a basis for trust that then finds further reason to see these documents as record of a revelation from God by both words and deeds. Such being multiplied by what you seemingly refused to observe in your former context: the empirical fact — and I dare to call it a fact — that people by the millions across 2,000 years have met God in the face of Christ through the gospel, and have been positively transformed thereby. In my case, that I am alive today is the result of a miracle of guidance . . . something that has recently happened with my son in the face of a major medical challenge, and which (having learned of the general situation) you rudely and ignorantly, sophomorically tried to use as a rhetorical knife.

    But obviously, anger and rebellion are blinding emotions, and unless and until you deal with them, you will never be able to get anywhere towards a reasonably founded worldview.

    There has been enough discussion on this side-track above, and unless you show signs of actually doing a serious investigation that actually interact with other perspectives in a serious way, I ask you to stop side-tracking a very important thread on an issue that it seems you have no interest in addressing.

    Only, in diverting from.

    And remember, the issue on the table is censorship, and cheering on censorship, in a wider context of defamatory behaviour and a trend of abuse of power linked to such.

    Distractive rhetorical games over, back to serious matters.

    KF

  54. jlafan2001:

    A partial list of your non-responses:

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....e-of-life/

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....150-years/

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....evolution/

    Of these, the last is the most important, as it addresses the heart of the problem — the core hang-up which drives you and corrupts all your thinking on these matters.

  55. jlafan2001, you made a number of very dubious statements. I’ve reproduced them below, with responses indicated by asterisks.

    “I don’t think that any of the great christian thinkers of past and present will say anything different than I’ve already read on the internet.”

    *How can you possibly know what they will say, if you haven’t read them?

    “I still maintain that if god was real there would be at least one undeniable, irrefutable piece of evidence that atheists just don’t have an answer for.”

    *Why would you assume that God wants our belief in Him to be based on ‘irrefutable evidence’?

    “Also, if you believe in anything other than YEC fundamentalism, you’re wrong in those beliefs.”

    *YEC fundamentalism is a johnny-come-lately doctrine, a recent response to the Enlightenment, higher criticism of the Bible, and evolutionary theory. It certainly does not represent the mainstream of Christian thinking, not even the mainstream of Reformation thinking.

    “The bible clearly reads as if Genesis is literal.”

    *You mean, Genesis strikes *you* as a chronicle or historical piece of writing. Learned Biblical scholars mostly disagree with you.

    “Moses, Paul and Jesus all thought so.”

    *A very uncertain conclusion, based on very limited data. We have only snippets of the Biblical exegesis of Jesus and Paul, not enough to safely generalize on such a question. As for Moses, I’m unaware of any passages in Exodus through Deuteronomy where he discusses the literary genre of the text of Genesis. Perhaps you can locate such passages for me.

    “Your version of christianity tries to save face by reconciling that which can’t be reconciled in order to be respectable in the public square.”

    *If I were worried about being respectable in the public square, I wouldn’t be an ID proponent. Perhaps you have confused the motivation of ID proponents with that of many TEs, who clearly are concerned that secular and atheistic scientists should think of TEs as scientifically competent. I once read the head of BioLogos grovelling in print in before Dawkins and Coyne, begging for academic respect for TE from the atheists. You’d never see Dembski or Behe stoop that low. All of the ID leaders have been willing to endure endless charges of being bad scientists, or non-scientists, from various quarters of the public square.

    “It’s been proven wrong again with Adam and population genetics.”

    *You can say this without having read the book by Ann Gauger et al. and without having assessed its arguments? You can be sure one group of scientists is right without having read arguments on the other side by equally qualified scientists?

    “Maybe Augustine and Origen took Genesis as metaphor but the majority of the christians from that time didn’t.”

    *Does the majority have the authority to determine doctrine in either Protestant or Reformation theology?

    “It was taken literal”

    *Literally.” (Sheesh!)

    “Darwin smacked them all on the head with reality.”

    *Only if “smacked them all on the head with reality” means “persuaded them with masterful rhetoric of the truth of a very speculative theory for which he could provide no detailed model”; Darwin had never seen the inside of a cell, and didn’t even know what a “gene” was. Many of his speculations about inheritance were revealed to be downright wrong by later research. He certainly had very little understanding of biological “reality” at the level of genetic or developmental mechanism.

    “Why do you think the church is desperate to find a way to reconcile these findings with a historical Adam?”

    *What “church” is “the” church that you are talking about? The Roman Catholic? The Episcopalian? The Missouri Synod Lutheran?

    “No Adam, no sin, no fall,”

    *The idea of sin and even of fall can be formulated apart from a historical Adam, should that prove necessary; but it may not prove necessary, as the population genetics arguments are not nearly as strong as you have been brainwashed (by the atheists) to think they are.

    Your argument — that the truth has to be either literalist, inerrantist fundamentalism, or atheism, and since literalist, inerrantist fundamentalism clashes with scientific knowledge, atheism must be true — is based on an entirely faulty premise. There are more than the two options you’ve outlined. There are many ways of being Christian outside of the way that used to hold your loyalty. But you’ve willfully refused to try those ways, either intellectually or existentially. Like so many ex-fundamentalists, you’ve thrown out the baby (belief in Christianity, or even in God) with the bathwater. This shows how spiritually bankrupt your former fundamentalist religion was, that once it proved inadequate, it could not correct itself out of its own resources, and become a stronger, better form of Christian belief, but had to collapse into atheism.

    You’ll never understand any of this, until you do some serious theological reading. Let me know when you have. Start with Plato’s Republic, Augustine’s Confessions, and perhaps some of Kierkegaard’s writings. Get back to me when your conception of Christianity — and of religious truth more generally — is that of a mature adult. Then we can discuss whether or not modern science has “disproved” Christianity, or has “disproved” the existence of God.

    Barring some evidence of your having done the reading I’ve suggested, this will be my last response to you. I’ve no time for people who form opinions without first laying the necessary intellectual groundwork to make their opinions worth listening to.

  56. JLAfan2001 continues:

    Barb

    You do realize that you used the bible to prove the bible, right? Hardly an effective way to prove god’s existence if the bible itself is suspect.

    No, I was responding to your post in which you quoted (paraphrased) a scripture. I merely expounded on your point. I’m not trying to prove the Bible to you or anyone else. But if you want evidence for God’s existence, it’s one of the places you’re going to have to look.

    And nobody said the Bible was suspect. It’s not. The only thing that’s suspect is how atheists like you attempt to interpret it.

    Abuse of censorship is feared. It rightly should be, because in this example, we have people claiming that their opinion is the only valid one worth considering. This is blatantly false.

    Freedom of speech extends to everyone, including those who hold opinions diametrically opposed to your own. Freedom of speech should only be limited in the instances where someone is saying or publishing libelous things about others or make a false public outcry that would endanger the safety and lives of others. No human government guarantees absolute freedom. The rights and freedoms of others must be taken into account.

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