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Guest Paul

Science and religion

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Guest Paul

One important issue highlighted by the proselytizing teacher episode is the relationship between science and theism. (I use the term theism instead of religion because not all religions invite a conflict. Buddhism, for example, does not propose the existence of a god, and Humanism is a religion one of whose highest values is the scientific method.) This is a topic that is increasingly gaining attention across the world, but perhaps not so much attention locally. So I wanted to post this thread to see if we might discuss it.

For me, the most commonly overlooked point, fundamental to this relationship between science and theism, is that their methods of thought are profoundly different:

1. All scientific truths are provisional, meaning they are always subject to further evidence, examination and change. By contrast, while theistic beliefs change in practice over time, many theists claim their beliefs to be unchanging and eternal.

2. Science begins with a hypothesis, and proceeds through the collection of data toward theory. By contrast, theism begins with doctrines and dogmas, sometimes looking at evidence along the way but sometimes ignoring the evidence to preserve current belief. Interesting enough, scientists sometimes do that too, but once it is recognized, it is considered a departure from the scientific method.

3. Sometimes hard-line theists (not all theists fit this description!) mock people of science because their theories are constantly changing over a broad span of time. What those changes represent is growth. There's little to be proud of in never changing. It means there is no growth. The hard-line theistic argument assumes that the natural state of affairs is for humans to know the final answers to the greatest of all questions, when the fact is we don't even know what questions to ask or how to ask them.

4. Many theists can reconcile their beliefs with science. For example, some have no difficulty accepting evolution of species and still believing in the Bible — they interpret the Bible symbolically and spiritually. Others take a hard-line, literalistic approach to scriptural interpretation. Inevitably they run into major conflicts with science, and inevitably over time, they lose. Copernicus' idea that the earth revolves around the sun is one example. Today, evolution of species is another.

I'd be interested in people's thoughts on evolution of species as it pertains to the relationship between science and theism, or for that matter between science and religion. Most people do not realize how thoroughly well established evolutionary theory is, how thoroughly modern biology depends on it, or how many of the recent medical advances that have extended lifespans in the developed world by more than a decade in the past generation or two are based on it. They also do not realize the size or extent of the enormous data base that now supports evolutionary theory, or how many different ways the theory is tied together and proved beyond any reasonable doubt to most knowledgeable scientists all over the world. This is among the most striking points listening to the early sessions in Matt's "history" class this season.

Finally, that word "theory." The common misconception is that "theory" implies an absence of proof. Just the opposite is true. A hypothesis is an organized explanation of phenomena or events that lacks sufficient supporting evidence to be considered reliable. A theory is an organized explanation that has sufficient supporting evidence to be considered reliable. A theory can also be a fact. A hypothesis can also be a fact. The difference is in the degree and quality of the evidence supporting it.

Of course, that last sentence will not satisfy those who demand final answers even as we just begin to ask the questions. That last statement is a good illustration of the difference in the scientific and hard-line theistic modes of thought. It also explains why having a discussion with some of the folks who post here is practically impossible.

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Most people do not realize how thoroughly well established evolutionary theory is, how thoroughly modern biology depends on it, or how many of the recent medical advances that have extended lifespans in the developed world by more than a decade in the past generation or two are based on it. They also do not realize the size or extent of the enormous data base that now supports evolutionary theory, or how many different ways the theory is tied together and proved beyond any reasonable doubt to most knowledgeable scientists all over the world.

I had almost been fooled by the general feeling that there wasn't very much evidence to support evolution until very recently when I did some actual reserach and fact-finding myself. In fact, a new, still unnamed species of butterfly has recently evolved from two other butterfly species in the Sierra Nevada mountains, and was just reported on in the journal Science News. (December 2, 2006, Vol. 170 for anyone who would like to read more about it.) There really is much more information out there than most people would lead you to believe.

I would also like to point out that many people hold the misconception that evolution is supposedly this random thing that changes organisms into new organisms. However, this is not the case, and anyone skeptical of this idea would be thoroughly right. Evolution is NOT a random process.

Mutations occur in the genes of all species from time to time, as our cells and the processes they carry out are not perfect. Sometimes, these mutations give an organism an advantage in natural selection because of the conditions it lives in, and this organism may live longer than others of its kind. As a result these mutated genes are passed on, and eventually, change occurs in a population. While the mutations are random, natural selection is not, and so evolution is not randon as well.

The process is not as unlikely as many people make it out to be.

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One important issue highlighted by the proselytizing teacher episode is the relationship between science and theism. (I use the term theism instead of religion because not all religions invite a conflict. Buddhism, for example, does not propose the existence of a god, and Humanism is a religion one of whose highest values is the scientific method.) This is a topic that is increasingly gaining attention across the world, but perhaps not so much attention locally. So I wanted to post this thread to see if we might discuss it.

For me, the most commonly overlooked point, fundamental to this relationship between science and theism, is that their methods of thought are profoundly different:

1. All scientific truths are provisional, meaning they are always subject to further evidence, examination and change. By contrast, while theistic beliefs change in practice over time, many theists claim their beliefs to be unchanging and eternal.

2. Science begins with a hypothesis, and proceeds through the collection of data toward theory. By contrast, theism begins with doctrines and dogmas, sometimes looking at evidence along the way but sometimes ignoring the evidence to preserve current belief. Interesting enough, scientists sometimes do that too, but once it is recognized, it is considered a departure from the scientific method.

3. Sometimes hard-line theists (not all theists fit this description!) mock people of science because their theories are constantly changing over a broad span of time. What those changes represent is growth. There's little to be proud of in never changing. It means there is no growth. The hard-line theistic argument assumes that the natural state of affairs is for humans to know the final answers to the greatest of all questions, when the fact is we don't even know what questions to ask or how to ask them.

4. Many theists can reconcile their beliefs with science. For example, some have no difficulty accepting evolution of species and still believing in the Bible — they interpret the Bible symbolically and spiritually. Others take a hard-line, literalistic approach to scriptural interpretation. Inevitably they run into major conflicts with science, and inevitably over time, they lose. Copernicus' idea that the earth revolves around the sun is one example. Today, evolution of species is another.

I'd be interested in people's thoughts on evolution of species as it pertains to the relationship between science and theism, or for that matter between science and religion. Most people do not realize how thoroughly well established evolutionary theory is, how thoroughly modern biology depends on it, or how many of the recent medical advances that have extended lifespans in the developed world by more than a decade in the past generation or two are based on it. They also do not realize the size or extent of the enormous data base that now supports evolutionary theory, or how many different ways the theory is tied together and proved beyond any reasonable doubt to most knowledgeable scientists all over the world. This is among the most striking points listening to the early sessions in Matt's "history" class this season.

Finally, that word "theory." The common misconception is that "theory" implies an absence of proof. Just the opposite is true. A hypothesis is an organized explanation of phenomena or events that lacks sufficient supporting evidence to be considered reliable. A theory is an organized explanation that has sufficient supporting evidence to be considered reliable. A theory can also be a fact. A hypothesis can also be a fact. The difference is in the degree and quality of the evidence supporting it.

Of course, that last sentence will not satisfy those who demand final answers even as we just begin to ask the questions. That last statement is a good illustration of the difference in the scientific and hard-line theistic modes of thought. It also explains why having a discussion with some of the folks who post here is practically impossible.

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Guest Paul
I had almost been fooled by the general feeling that there wasn't very much evidence to support evolution until very recently when I did some actual reserach and fact-finding myself. In fact, a new, still unnamed species of butterfly has recently evolved from two other butterfly species in the Sierra Nevada mountains, and was just reported on in the journal Science News. (December 2, 2006, Vol. 170 for anyone who would like to read more about it.) There really is much more information out there than most people would lead you to believe.

I would also like to point out that many people hold the misconception that evolution is supposedly this random thing that changes organisms into new organisms. However, this is not the case, and anyone skeptical of this idea would be thoroughly right. Evolution is NOT a random process.

Mutations occur in the genes of all species from time to time, as our cells and the processes they carry out are not perfect. Sometimes, these mutations give an organism an advantage in natural selection because of the conditions it lives in, and this organism may live longer than others of its kind. As a result these mutated genes are passed on, and eventually, change occurs in a population. While the mutations are random, natural selection is not, and so evolution is not randon as well.

The process is not as unlikely as many people make it out to be.

You're right. The old saw from those who did not wish to believe that evolution occurred was that no one could see evolution happen, or prove directly that it did happen. That is no longer true, as you point out.

Understanding evolution of species, and evolutionary principles generally, requires study and effort. We're all busy, but now that we're in the 21st century, and so completely dependent on modern science, people should at least understand the basics of the theory and how thoroughly well-established it is. In 1925, when the Scopes trial took place in Dayton, TN, evolutionary science was nowhere near as advanced as it is today. With the collection of millions of additional fossils, the advent of DNA testing and practical applications of evolutionary theory, the truth and usefulness of evolution are no longer deniable in any society that hopes to compete with the rest of the world.

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An Atheist was taking a walk through the woods. What majestic trees! What powerful rivers! What beautiful animals!" he said to himself. As he was walking alongside the river he heard a rustling in the bushes behind him. He turned to look. He saw a 7 foot grizzy charge toward him. He ran as fast as he could up the path. He looked over his shoulder and saw that the bear was closing in on him. He looked over his shoulder again, and the bear was even closer. He tripped and fell on the ground. He rolled over to pick himself up but saw the bear right on top of him, reaching for him with his left paw and raising his right paw to strike him. At that instant the Atheist cried out: "Oh my God!..." Time stopped. The bear froze. The forest was silent. As a bright light shone upon the man, a voice came out of the sky: "You deny my existence for all of these years, teach others I don't exist, and even credit creation to a cosmic accident. Do you expect me to help you out of this predicament? Am I to count you as a believer?" The Atheist looked directly into the light, "It would be hypocritical of me to suddenly ask You to treat me as a Christian now, but perhaps could you make the BEAR a Christian?" "Very well," said the voice. The light went out. The sounds of the forest resumed. And then the bear dropped his right paw, brought both paws together and bowed his head and spoke: "Lord, bless this food, which I am about to receive."

Think about this! What is the moral to this story? This covered everything-God, Atheist, creation, the "big bang" and the hypocrite.

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Guest 2smart4u
I had almost been fooled by the general feeling that there wasn't very much evidence to support evolution until very recently when I did some actual reserach and fact-finding myself. In fact, a new, still unnamed species of butterfly has recently evolved from two other butterfly species in the Sierra Nevada mountains, and was just reported on in the journal Science News. (December 2, 2006, Vol. 170 for anyone who would like to read more about it.) There really is much more information out there than most people would lead you to believe.

I would also like to point out that many people hold the misconception that evolution is supposedly this random thing that changes organisms into new organisms. However, this is not the case, and anyone skeptical of this idea would be thoroughly right. Evolution is NOT a random process.

Mutations occur in the genes of all species from time to time, as our cells and the processes they carry out are not perfect. Sometimes, these mutations give an organism an advantage in natural selection because of the conditions it lives in, and this organism may live longer than others of its kind. As a result these mutated genes are passed on, and eventually, change occurs in a population. While the mutations are random, natural selection is not, and so evolution is not randon as well.

The process is not as unlikely as many people make it out to be.

This theory of evolution is nonsense. If anyone reading this is seriously interested in educating themselves on the subject of Intelligent Design as opposed to Charles Darwin's theory of evolution, they should pick up Ann Coulter's book "Godless" and read chapters 8, 9 and 10.

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Guest Paul
An Atheist was taking a walk through the woods. What majestic trees! What powerful rivers! What beautiful animals!" he said to himself. As he was walking alongside the river he heard a rustling in the bushes behind him. He turned to look. He saw a 7 foot grizzy charge toward him. He ran as fast as he could up the path. He looked over his shoulder and saw that the bear was closing in on him. He looked over his shoulder again, and the bear was even closer. He tripped and fell on the ground. He rolled over to pick himself up but saw the bear right on top of him, reaching for him with his left paw and raising his right paw to strike him. At that instant the Atheist cried out: "Oh my God!..." Time stopped. The bear froze. The forest was silent. As a bright light shone upon the man, a voice came out of the sky: "You deny my existence for all of these years, teach others I don't exist, and even credit creation to a cosmic accident. Do you expect me to help you out of this predicament? Am I to count you as a believer?" The Atheist looked directly into the light, "It would be hypocritical of me to suddenly ask You to treat me as a Christian now, but perhaps could you make the BEAR a Christian?" "Very well," said the voice. The light went out. The sounds of the forest resumed. And then the bear dropped his right paw, brought both paws together and bowed his head and spoke: "Lord, bless this food, which I am about to receive."

Think about this! What is the moral to this story? This covered everything-God, Atheist, creation, the "big bang" and the hypocrite.

What is the moral of the story? Is it that making up anecdotal stories about events that never happened makes a point about the origins of species? It doesn't. A story like this "means" something only to those who've already decided that they're satisfied with stories instead of facts. That tells us much about why people believe in certain religions, but it tells us nothing about what is objectively real.

Speaking of bears eating people, is there is a god who created our world in such a way that most of the sentient creatures in it would have to kill and eat each other to survive? That's another excellent question, which Matthew asked Paszkiewicz in class (wonder where he got it!): If there is a god who made all the creatures on Earth, why do most of the sentient ones have to kill and eat each other to survive? Why would a loving and omnipotent god make the world like that? Free will is no answer, because according to Christian theology, the animals did nothing wrong, and for that matter neither did any of us before we were born. Even Paszkiewicz admitted in open class after Matthew pressed him on it that he didn't know why "God did it that way." Does anyone who believes that the world was created by an omniscient and omnipotent god have an answer that makes sense? If so, what is it?

Of course, none of this has anything to do with the facts that prove the truth of evolutionary theory.

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Guest Paul
This theory of evolution is nonsense.  If anyone reading this is seriously interested in educating themselves on the subject of Intelligent Design as opposed to Charles Darwin's theory of evolution, they should pick up Ann Coulter's book "Godless" and read chapters 8, 9 and 10.

It chills me to the bone to know that the person who wrote this is probably serious. How can this be happening in the 21st century, ten miles outside one of the greatest centers of culture and learning in the world?

Ann Coulter has no training to qualify her to discuss this subject. She's obviously biased. This is like saying consult a voodoo practitioner to do brain surgery.

Far better books to read on the subject include the following:

Ernst Mayr, What Evolution Is

Niles Eldridge, The Triumph of Evolution and the Failure of Creationism

Daniel C. Dennett, Darwin's Dangerous Idea

Or, if you really want to dig into modern evolutionary theory, try reading:

Stephen Jay Gould, The Structure of Evolutionary Theory

Jerry A. Coyne and H. Allan Orr, Speciation

John C. Avise, Molecular Markers, Natural History and Evolution

Jeremy B.C. Jackson, Evolutionary Patterns: Growth, Form and Tempo in the Fossil Record

the list goes on and on --- just look on Amazon starting with any of these books

These and other scientists have spent their lives studying this subject, and they have a proven track record of results. Mayr, for example, has been in this field for more than 70 years (Harvard) --- I think he knows a wee bit more about it than Coulter. It's frightening that some people literally prefer ignorance because it's comforting and easier to comprehend.

If you seriously want to educate yourself on this subject matter, read works by people who actually know something about it. And if you wish to discuss the subject on the merits, feel free to post something substantive.

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This theory of evolution is nonsense.  If anyone reading this is seriously interested in educating themselves on the subject of Intelligent Design as opposed to Charles Darwin's theory of evolution, they should pick up Ann Coulter's book "Godless" and read chapters 8, 9 and 10.

Ann Coulter is a great one to hold up: didn't she say the widows of the 9-11-01 victims were happier with their million dollars, than their husbands and families!!!

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Guest Paul
This theory of evolution is nonsense.  If anyone reading this is seriously interested in educating themselves on the subject of Intelligent Design as opposed to Charles Darwin's theory of evolution, they should pick up Ann Coulter's book "Godless" and read chapters 8, 9 and 10.

Here are just a few of many real books by real scientists on this subject. Again, just look on Amazon for a much longer list.

This subject may be controversial among the general public, but it is not controversial among respected scientists. There is no scientific merit to creationism or intelligent design whatsoever. That is not to say there is no god --- merely that there is no scientific merit to any of these hypotheses, and therefore no good reason to believe they are true.

Philip Kitcher, Abusing Science: The Case Against Creationism

Committee on Science and Creationism, National Academy of Science, Science and Creationism: A View from the National Academy of Science

Robert T. Pennock, Tower of Babel: The Evidence Against the New Creationism

Matt Young (editor), Why Intelligent Design Fails

Mark Perakh, Unintelligent Design

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What is the moral of the story? Is it that making up anecdotal stories about events that never happened makes a point about the origins of species? It doesn't. A story like this "means" something only to those who've already decided that they're satisfied with stories instead of facts. That tells us much about why people believe in certain religions, but it tells us nothing about what is objectively real.

Speaking of bears eating people, is there is a god who created our world in such a way that most of the sentient creatures in it would have to kill and eat each other to survive? That's another excellent question, which Matthew asked Paszkiewicz in class (wonder where he got it!): If there is a god who made all the creatures on Earth, why do most of the sentient ones have to kill and eat each other to survive? Why would a loving and omnipotent god make the world like that? Free will is no answer, because according to Christian theology, the animals did nothing wrong, and for that matter neither did any of us before we were born. Even Paszkiewicz admitted in open class after Matthew pressed him on it that he didn't know why "God did it that way." Does anyone who believes that the world was created by an omniscient and omnipotent god have an answer that makes sense? If so, what is it?

Of course, none of this has anything to do with the facts that prove the truth of evolutionary theory.

You asked why God made the world like this, maybe one of the mysteries to test our faith. You should be grateful that he did or you wouldn't be here!!! And you obviously aren't as smart as you think you are or you would know the moral to that simple story!!!

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Here are just a few of many real books by real scientists on this subject. Again, just look on Amazon for a much longer list.

This subject may be controversial among the general public, but it is not controversial among respected scientists. There is no scientific merit to creationism or intelligent design whatsoever. That is not to say there is no god --- merely that there is no scientific merit to any of these hypotheses, and therefore no good reason to believe they are true.

Philip Kitcher, Abusing Science: The Case Against Creationism

Committee on Science and Creationism, National Academy of Science, Science and Creationism: A View from the National Academy of Science

Robert T. Pennock, Tower of Babel: The Evidence Against the New Creationism

Matt Young (editor), Why Intelligent Design Fails

Mark Perakh, Unintelligent Design

Since you've read so much on the subject, then you must be aware of the fact that there is no evidence to support evolution. After one hundred years of serious archiology around the world, no one has ever found the "missing link" to prove man has evolved from an ape. Many remains of early man have been found and also that of monkeys and apes, but not one fragment of a "missing link. Until physical evidence is found, evolution is mearly a theory, and an unproven one at that.

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Since you've read so much on the subject, then you must be aware of the fact that there is no evidence to support evolution.  After one hundred years of serious archiology around the world, no one has ever found the "missing link" to prove man has evolved from an ape. Many remains of early man have been found and also that of monkeys and apes, but not one fragment of a "missing link. Until physical evidence is found, evolution is mearly a theory, and an unproven one at that.

"the fact that there is no evidence to support evolution."

You may want to re-think that statement. And probably lots of your other postings.

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Guest Paul

You asked why God made the world like this, maybe one of the mysteries to test our faith. You should be grateful that he did or you wouldn't be here!!! And you obviously aren't as smart as you think you are or you would know the moral to that simple story!!!

In other words, the only evidence you'll consider is whatever supports what you wish to believe. Everything else is ignored, as are all the possibilities except for the one you choose to believe. If it's all such a mystery, then on what basis do you claim to know what is true, except that you declare true whatever you choose to believe?

I understand the several morals you were trying to imply. My point is that they have nothing to do with the facts of nature and reality.

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Guest Paul
Since you've read so much on the subject, then you must be aware of the fact that there is no evidence to support evolution.  After one hundred years of serious archiology around the world, no one has ever found the "missing link" to prove man has evolved from an ape. Many remains of early man have been found and also that of monkeys and apes, but not one fragment of a "missing link. Until physical evidence is found, evolution is mearly a theory, and an unproven one at that.

That is contrary to the scientific consensus all over the world. In other words, people who actually work in and understand this field completely disagree with you. Moreover, the "missing link" argument has fallen out of favor in recent decades as additional pieces of the evolutionary puzzle have been filled in, and every piece of data confirms the truth of evolutionary theory.

Have you read any of the books I cited in the above posts?

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What is the moral of the story? Is it that making up anecdotal stories about events that never happened makes a point about the origins of species? It doesn't. A story like this "means" something only to those who've already decided that they're satisfied with stories instead of facts. That tells us much about why people believe in certain religions, but it tells us nothing about what is objectively real.

Speaking of bears eating people, is there is a god who created our world in such a way that most of the sentient creatures in it would have to kill and eat each other to survive? That's another excellent question, which Matthew asked Paszkiewicz in class (wonder where he got it!): If there is a god who made all the creatures on Earth, why do most of the sentient ones have to kill and eat each other to survive? Why would a loving and omnipotent god make the world like that? Free will is no answer, because according to Christian theology, the animals did nothing wrong, and for that matter neither did any of us before we were born. Even Paszkiewicz admitted in open class after Matthew pressed him on it that he didn't know why "God did it that way." Does anyone who believes that the world was created by an omniscient and omnipotent god have an answer that makes sense? If so, what is it?

Of course, none of this has anything to do with the facts that prove the truth of evolutionary theory.

You asked why God made the world like this, maybe one of the mysteries to test our faith. You should be grateful that he did or you wouldn't be here!!! And you obviously aren't as smart as you think you are or you would know the moral to that simple story!!!

In other words, Angel, you admit that the story makes it look like the god you imagine does not exist. Then you imagine that this god-you-assume must be hiding himself to test our faith. Of course, that's nothing more than your guess, without which you would have to concede a point you're obviously not ready to concede. And of course by your own story he didn't hide himself from your so-called prophets like Moses: if they weren't harmed by directly speaking to this god-you-imagine, why are we?

Now let's accept your assumption, and see where that leads us. If you were the universal parent and wanted your children to love and worship you not only by the fact of their lives but by your identity (since in your theology "God" wishes to be identified as Jesus' father, etc.), why would you deliberately conceal your existence? I enjoy my children's admiration, too, but I wouldn't expect it if they had reason to doubt my very existence. And you can't say people have no good reason to doubt the existence of the biblical god, because most of the world does not believe in it, and they're just as sincere in your beliefs as you are in yours. And then if you're going to argue that all non-Christians are insincere and therefore "belong in hell," you create the conditions that have led to religious warfare throughout history, thereby serving evil. Is that what you want your religion to do --- because if you do it that way, it is exactly what you are doing, and no amount of good intention on your part will change the fact that this sort of belief serves evil by dividing the world (God's children if you prefer).

It is no answer to say it is a test of faith, because all that amounts to is guessing which of the many gods to believe in among the approximately 2,500 gods people have believed in throughout history. As God, you've concealed yourself, made it look like you're not there, and now you're going to punish everyone who guesses wrong, with exquisite and unremitting torture in a fire that burns but never consumes, no less! Would you really do that, Angel? Do you really suppose that anyone's eternal happiness versus damnation and exquisite torture depends on something so flimsy as that? Or is it possible that what is flimsy is your theology?

In other words, Angel, is it POSSIBLE that you might be wrong?

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Guest Thomas Ram
Since you've read so much on the subject, then you must be aware of the fact that there is no evidence to support evolution.  After one hundred years of serious archiology around the world, no one has ever found the "missing link" to prove man has evolved from an ape. Many remains of early man have been found and also that of monkeys and apes, but not one fragment of a "missing link. Until physical evidence is found, evolution is mearly a theory, and an unproven one at that.

OH MY GOODNESS. I am at a loss of words....I don't know which is more frightening...the fact that the above quote comes from an adult who may reproduce or the hilarity that they actually have a screen name "2smart4u". Simply put, to say there is no evidence to support evolution is the most astounding statement of idiocy i have ever heard. too strong? sorry. maybe if this person actually knew anything about science, genes and hereditary traits they might, just might temper their statements. In fact, every credible (and credentialed) scientific mind would fall over to hear such a statement. Actually, every advance in genetics has underlined and shouted its support for evolution. Please do not spread such foolishness - my Gosh, what has the world come to.Shame on you.

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Guest a proud american
This theory of evolution is nonsense.  If anyone reading this is seriously interested in educating themselves on the subject of Intelligent Design as opposed to Charles Darwin's theory of evolution, they should pick up Ann Coulter's book "Godless" and read chapters 8, 9 and 10.

Before commenting to much on Ann Coulter, there is book by John Dean called Conservatives without Conscience. In the book it talks about Authoritarians and how they attempt to influence people to their way of thinking. He breaks down the different types of Authoritarians. Ms. Coulter fits the worst type of authoritarian. But in order to understand her you need to read Deans book because he explains it better than I can.

She writes her books to target certain segments of americans who think like her and her ilk. While she sounds convincing, she is giving "her" interpretations of different issues. So when she speaks to anything that is consistent with her views one must be suspect. I don't believe that it is any secret that the religious right is attempting to introduce creationism into class rooms where they control the School Boards of different Municipalities and have been stopped by the Courts from proceeding. When the well funded scientific creationists were asked to produce any evidence to support their claims, they could not. It wasn't the lay person asking but the scientific community. It seems like every so many decades as one group or another attempts to sway the majority to their opinion sides are taken and in this instance it is no different. Hopefully in time the pendulum will swing back and we will be free to discuss other issues that we disagree with.

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  You asked why God made the world like this, maybe one of the mysteries to test our faith. You should be grateful that he did or you wouldn't be here!!! And you obviously aren't as smart as you think you are or you would know the moral to that simple story!!!

Actually, this story doesn't have so much of a moral, it's really about the inconsistencies and general impossibility of the chrisitan God to be accurate in the world we live in. The bear saying grace over the athiest he is about to eat is more a stab at the cruelty of the god that christians proclaim to be all-loving, but then give vengeful and vindictive qualities like causing the bear to eat the athiest and using his fear to toy with him. An all-loving god would not allow any of his children to suffer pain, no matter what the circumstance, just as you would love your children and would protect them no matter what they may do. Surely God would have far superior powers of love than any human.

I don't see how this story shows christianity in a good light in any manner, and I would be ashamed of any religion that would promote that type of God.

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Guest Guest
Since you've read so much on the subject, then you must be aware of the fact that there is no evidence to support evolution.  After one hundred years of serious archiology around the world, no one has ever found the "missing link" to prove man has evolved from an ape. Many remains of early man have been found and also that of monkeys and apes, but not one fragment of a "missing link. Until physical evidence is found, evolution is mearly a theory, and an unproven one at that.

Just because it hasn't been found does not mean it does not exist. Until realtively recently, the earliest forms of life were thought to be soft-bodied invertebrates like trilobites that lived about 600 million years ago, but with new technology fossils of eukaryotic organisms were found dating back to 1.5 billion years ago, and prokaryotic organisms as far back as 2.5 billion years ago.

Phylogenics uses genetic material and physical structures of organisms to find where they connect to common ancestors, and simply because some have not been found does not mean they do not exist. Many other "species links" have been found and to dismiss the evidence we do have and claim the entire theory is not true is merely believing what you wish to believe.

New things are discovered and created everyday, and to not acknowledge and use these changes for scientific advancement is merely ignorance.

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Guest Paul
Before commenting to much on Ann Coulter, there is book by John Dean called Conservatives without Conscience. In the book it talks about Authoritarians and how they attempt to influence people to their way of thinking. He breaks down the different types of Authoritarians. Ms. Coulter fits the worst type of authoritarian. But in order to understand her you need to read Deans book because he explains it better than I can.

She writes her books to target certain segments of americans who think like her and her ilk. While she sounds convincing, she is giving "her" interpretations of different issues. So when she speaks to anything that is consistent with her views one must be suspect. I don't believe that it is any secret that the religious right is attempting to introduce creationism into class rooms where they control the School Boards of different Municipalities and have been stopped by the Courts from proceeding. When the well funded scientific creationists were asked to produce any evidence to support their claims, they could not. It wasn't the lay person asking but the scientific community. It seems like every so many decades as one group or another attempts to sway the majority to their opinion sides are taken and in this instance it is no different. Hopefully in time the pendulum will swing back and we will be free to discuss other issues that we disagree with.

For more than a generation now, the radical right has been whining about a supposedly liberal media, political correctness, etc. For a generation, Americans have been buying it. The truth is that the excesses of the previous, comparatively liberal period in American history pale in comparison to the atrocities perpetrated by the right, culminating in the gradual erosion of the rule of law, the obscene redistribution of wealth toward the top, and now in the nation being lied into a war.

It is time --- no, it is long past time --- for the majority of Americans to re-assert genuine, time-tested American principles, re-assert the rule of law over the whim of individual men and women, and above all, perhaps, stop being bullied by people who can be appeased but never satisfied. As is clearly obvious from the posts on this site, the radical right cares not one whit about the facts. Cite them to the leading authors in evolutionary science, and they'll make a completely irrelevant point about whether John Scopes was put up to it. (Apparently the prosecutor was an ACLU stooge, too.) Whether the battleground is politics, education, religion or science, all they care about is their ideological agenda. Reality is crafted around belief, instead of belief being based on the facts --- exactly the opposite of what reason, and for that matter a civilized society, requires.

If you assume that these people think like you do --- like any reasonable person would think --- none of this will make any sense. Once you recognize the radical right game for what it is, and stop taking it seriously, it all makes sense. This is the key shift Americans must make if they are to free themselves from the strangle-hold of radical right-wing thinking --- and I use the term "thinking" loosely.

The radical right has openly abandoned reality-based thinking in favor of what they call "faith-based" thinking --- a disparagement of real Faith if ever there was one! They're operating from a fantasy world that exists only in their thick heads. I hate to be that mean to anyone, but having witnessed the authoritarian personality first-hand, I know that the only way to deal with it is to understand it, and not take it seriously. Take an authoritarian seriously, and he's got you, because he's "never wrong" and he's always on the offensive, by any means necessary, fair or unfair (but usually unfair), logical or illogical (but usually illogical). Once Americans wake up to that, the game of the radical right is over, and we can get back to being "one nation" again. It's no accident that the USA is more divided now than ever before --- that is what happens when radicals take power. The majority of us, who are not radical-right ditto-heads, must fight back. Whether liberal or conservative, reasonable people ought to be on the same side of this battle.

Re-introducing real science into the public schools is important on its own terms, regardless whether one sees it in context of this larger picture. Several have wondered where the school board is in all of this. Excellent question: Where, indeed?

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Guest Paul
Actually, this story doesn't have so much of a moral, it's really about the inconsistencies and general impossibility of the chrisitan God to be accurate in the world we live in. The bear saying grace over the athiest he is about to eat is more a stab at the cruelty of the god that christians proclaim to be all-loving, but then give vengeful and vindictive qualities like causing the bear to eat the athiest and using his fear to toy with him. An all-loving god would not allow any of his children to suffer pain, no matter what the circumstance, just as you would love your children and would protect them no matter what they may do. Surely God would have far superior powers of love than any human.

I don't see how this story shows christianity in a good light in any manner, and I would be ashamed of any religion that would promote that type of God.

You're right, of course, but many people who call themselves Christians would laugh in delight as the atheist gets his "just desserts." (Or did the bear finish off the meal with some honey?) The fact that these would-be Christians find this story funny is the saddest part of the tale, and they don't even see the irony or the glaring denial of the best lessons in their own religion, making it all the more tragic. What they really crave, of course, is not unity with God (however one might define God), but to be re-assured that they are right, no matter how pathetic or how destructive their attempt to "be right" may be.

It puts me in mind of one of my favorite passages from the Bible: "He who would save his soul will lose it, but he who would lose his soul for my sake or the gospel's sake, will save it." Remember, "gospel" means truth. Oh, and if I've paraphrased, it's because I quoted from memory.

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Guest Paul

Has anyone here seen the evolution exhibit at the Natural History Museum in New York City? It is perhaps the finest teaching tool I have ever seen. The exhibit occupies the entire fourth floor, and as the visitor proceeds clockwise around the exhibit (starting at the southwest corner), the entire evolutionary history is traced. Each offshoot in evolutionary history has an alcove or two where the visitor can use interactive technology to see what changes were represented at that point in the evolution of species. Leading paleontologists explain the specific differences from one form to another as seen in the fossil record. This is a real opportunity to see almost first-hand how compelling evolutionary theory is. I recommend the exhibit most highly, and wonder if anyone here has seen it.

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Guest HS Biology Teacher
Just because it hasn't been found does not mean it does not exist. Until realtively recently, the earliest forms of life were thought to be soft-bodied invertebrates like trilobites that lived about 600 million years ago, but with new technology fossils of eukaryotic organisms were found dating back to 1.5 billion years ago, and prokaryotic organisms as far back as 2.5 billion years ago.

Phylogenics uses genetic material and physical structures of organisms to find where they connect to common ancestors, and simply because some have not been found does not mean they do not exist. Many other "species links" have been found and to dismiss the evidence we do have and claim the entire theory is not true is merely believing what you wish to believe.

New things are discovered and created everyday, and to not acknowledge and use these changes for scientific advancement is merely ignorance.

To say "Just because it hasn't been found does not mean it does not exist" is stupid. It would be more logical to say "because no evidence has ever been found, we cannot say it ever existed".

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Guest #16, #19 and Paul-Sometimes you have to use a different method to get someone to listen. The moral to the story is plain and simple. You deny God don't expect him to be there when you call. Remember, he held the door open, the Atheist closed it.

God doesn't send people to Hell, they do it to themself. That is called free will. If you sin, all it takes for forgiveness is admitting you did wrong, taking responsibility for your actions, being sorry for what you have done, and try not to do it again. Jesus died on the cross so sins could be forgiven.

In the end what will happen-

If I'm wrong I'll still rest in peace.

If the unbeliever is wrong then they will have there proof. But what price will they pay,when all they had to do was know him and live by his word.

So we will see, won't we?

Each person is free to worship or not to worship as they choose. God is my choice.

Peace to all.

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