Why science can’t answer everything

I’ve made the point here that while science is very good at analyzing and testing observable data, it cannot help us transcend the natural world or answer the deeper existential questions that also must be answered. It cannot answer why science, or why there’s even such a thing as the natural world. These are philosophical questions.”

This is the point I was trying to make in “The Naturalist’s dilemma.” I’ve also pointed out the irony that this worldview is actually narrow-minded and irrational. It’s refusing to see there are other ways, in addition to science, that help us get a more fully-orbed view of reality. And there are scientists a lot smarter than me who agree with me. I will show clips from three of these scientists here. In the interest of full disclosure, they are Christians, but they’re respected in their field of study and teach in top universities.

First, here’s Ard Louis, Professor of Theoretical Physics at the University of Oxford, explaining the limitations of science.

This worldview that says science defines all reality is called scientism (as opposed to science). This is the “religion” of many militant anti-theists today. They appeal to scientism in order to dismiss any existential questions about how we can know something. They see the metaphysical and the existential as a lesser reality.  But is this actually true?

Ian Hutchinson, professor at MIT in Nuclear Science and Engineering, and author of Monopolizing Knowledge disagrees. He says the following about scientism:

“Where does this antagonism come from that we hear so much about in the modern world between science and religious faith? I would say, it comes from, very predominantly, what I call scientism. Scientism is the belief that the only meaningful knowledge is science.” (@ 4:56 in video below)

Further on, Hutchinson says, “Scientism is, ironically, not a finding of science.” Here’s a short clip where Hutchinson explains this erroneous belief system.

In his book, Hutchinson examines what he calls the three pillars of the militant atheist’s arguments: (1)that science has disproved religion, (2) that science has explained religion away by pointing to psychological or evolutionary causes, and (3) that religion is evil. He says that the first two pillars are founded on scientism. (For more information on his book, go to an interview  video titled, “Monopolising Knowledge: A Refutation of Scientism” from the Faraday Institute.) Hutchinson’s thesis is that the incompatibility is not between science and Christianity but between scientism and Christianity.

For a deeper discussion on scientism by Ian Hutchinson, you can watch a much longer video clip titled, “The Scientism Delusion.” It’s very good and worth watching the whole thing. If you want to skip ahead to his brilliant summation of the Christian worldview and what science can and cannot answer and how we should think about it, go here. There’s also Q&A with students afterward that is good.

Here’s a short clip where Hutchinson answers a student on why we should consider theism, refuting the student’s popular premise that atheism and agnosticism are based on more concrete and logical thought, arguing that the theistic position is more consistent in answering all the questions: “Why Should I Consider Theism? A student at Emory asks Ian Hutchinson.”

Finally, here’s a clip with John Lennox, Professor of Mathematics (emeritus) at the University of Oxford. He talks about how science exploded from a Christian worldview in the 16th and 17th centuries in Western Europe, and why it didn’t grow in other parts of the world who embraced other worldviews. He also explains the limits of science and uses an example as follows:

“Here’s a lady who’s baked a cake….and I ask you to analyze the cake and you reduce it down to its elementary particles. You give me a brilliant description of it. But then I say to you, ‘Why did she make the cake?’ You’ll immediately find your science is at an end. You will not be able to determine, even if you brain-scan her, why she made the cake unless she reveals it to you.” (starts @ 2:33)

Lennox also discusses the fascinating implications of the three billion letter word code found in DNA (Human Genome Project) and other points of interest. It’s worth watching in you’re interested in this discussion.

About Mel Wild

God's favorite (and so are you), a son and a father, happily married to the same beautiful woman for 39 years. We have three incredible adult children. My passion is pursuing the Father's heart in Christ and giving it away to others. My favorite pastime is being iconoclastic and trailblazing the depths of God's grace. I'm also senior pastor of Cornerstone Church in Wisconsin.
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285 Responses to Why science can’t answer everything

  1. Well said. I really like the first clip, Ard Louis. Scientism is a religion and even the language of scientism is religious, with people demanding to know what you believe in, “do you believe in the theory of gravity,” for example. “Belief” lives in the realm of faith, not science. We’ve gone all upside down, so that today we demand hard, concrete, facts and testable evidence for faith, but run about as if scientism were all about belief, faith, and what what creeds you might affirm. That’s not science at all,that’s religion.

    One can have an open mind and be an observer in faith, a scientist repeating experiments, like the power of prayer, or testing the spiritual ideas people have been putting forth for a few thousand years, but that itself requires an open mind,one must be willing to take a leap of faith and conduct a long range experiment, one that may take a lifetime even.

    • Mel Wild says:

      “‘Belief’ lives in the realm of faith, not science. We’ve gone all upside down, so that today we demand hard, concrete, facts and testable evidence for faith, but run about as if scientism were all about belief, faith, and what what creeds you might affirm. That’s not science at all,that’s religion”

      What you said here is so true. We do have it upside-down, confusing scientific method with faith. But, as Ian Hutchinson said, when we say only what science proves is “concrete” and “tangible, it just shows how deeply embedded scientism is in our cultural thinking. Scientism becomes our epistemology. There are elements of theism that are just as concrete and tangible, just not derived by scientific method, like intuition, love, transcendence, intention, and experience. Science cannot address these, nor will it ever negate them. This is why I think it’s myopic to insist that only science can explain all reality. Ironically, scientism is an untenable position in the “tangible” world.

  2. tildeb says:

    Two points.

    One: Nobody practices scientism – certainly no scientist or atheist I have ever encountered.

    No one.

    This intentional slur is a red herring from the get go, but of course, you don’t care about that. You don’t see it that way at all because – like the confidence you import to your particular faith – you simply believe it into existence and then smear it liberally on others who criticize your merit-less beliefs as if the charge must be true. That’s why you keep misrepresenting methodological naturalism. Hutchinson has been corrected for this error many times to no avail… and continues to peddle this crap because the consumers of his misrepresentation pay him well in many ways to continue to do so: just like you do by affording him a respect for being so disrespectful against those who understand knowledge about reality is not a partisan issue and who refuse to go along with the charade that there are different kinds of knowledge to make wiggle room for faith-based claims. There aren’t different kinds of knowledge or twits like Hutchinson would demonstrate it. The rule is simple, Mel: make a claim about reality and then demonstrate support FROM reality to back up that claim with a preponderance of evidence. Can’t do it? It’s not the fault of science. It’s not the fault of reality. It’s the fault of anyone who presumes their claims about reality only need faith to make it align. It’s a thinking mistake. Reality doesn’t work that way. Ever. So this assumption you make that there are different kinds of knowledge about reality doesn’t work to produce knowledge. Ever. THAT’S A HINT!

    Two: it’s true that science cannot answer ‘why’ questions beyond demonstrating causal links to selected effects. So the next mistake you make over and over is presuming this gives you wiggle room to insert whatever ‘answers’ you want to ‘why’ questions using whatever faith-based belief you wish. The problem is that these ‘answers’ don’t answer anything independent of your contribution. That’s why these ‘answers’ are not answers at all but merely another way to present a hypothesis you happen to favour as if it were definitive. It’s not. They’re not. In other words, it’s true science can’t answer these questions BUT NEITHER CAN YOUR RELIGION OR METAPHYSICS. And that’s the truth, no matter how little you might care to read it. And the proof is in the dependence on your faith-based contribution for these pseudo-answers. It’s not reality producing these answers and it’s not from reality you adduce them. It comes from YOU. They are merely projections masquerading as knowledge, masquerading as answers, masquerading as evidence deduced or adduced from reality. That’s why you continue to be criticized for misrepresenting your beliefs as something they are not: independent of you.

    • Mel Wild says:

      One: Nobody practices scientism – certainly no scientist or atheist I have ever encountered.

      I find that a rather ironic statement coming from you, Tildeb. As they said, no one THINKS they’re practicing scientism. But let’s put it to the test. You said this…

      The rule is simple, Mel: make a claim about reality and then demonstrate support FROM reality to back up that claim with a preponderance of evidence.

      So, what is your definition of a “preponderance of evidence.” Be specific.

      • tildeb says:

        It’s a graduated standard, Mel, by which more convincing evidence and its probable truth or accuracy matters more than just the amount of evidence. (Remember, evidence is what can be shown to LINK a chosen effect with a suggested cause.) When this minimum standard is acquired, then we move on to clear and convincing evidence. This is a more rigorous standard but considered a medium one because it asks only for a majority burden of proof. And so on… right up to the pinnacle called a ‘Theory’.

        Because science works on a graduated scale and never reaches certainty, anyone who knows anything about the scientific method and respects honesty knows perfectly well that excessive belief plays an ever reducing part. The term ‘scientism’ is gutted by the truth before it even begins… to anyone with intellectual integrity, that is. But it is is used by miscreants of the truth who do not respect the method’s graduated rigor (intended to reduce as much as possible the role belief plays in scientific conclusions [high with hypotheses, low with conclusions] and to elevate the strength of comporting evidence). This is where dishonest religious apologists particularly continue to intentionally misrepresent methodological naturalism as if it were simply another set of vague and prevaricating beliefs – like an alternate but equivalent kind of religious belief – rather than the disciplined method it actually is in practice.

        Safe to say, whenever someone raises the charge of ‘scientisim’ against an entire field of study – say, evolution – you know you’re dealing with either a complete ignoramus or an outright liar. Harsh, I know, but true.

        • Mel Wild says:

          I understand the graduated field of study with observable and measurable things like evolution, biology, mathematics, and physics, etc. I agree with that. I am not against the scientific method. It works so well BECAUSE of its limitation in its scope, as Ard Louis said. But that’s not the only knowledge there is. We’re talking about a different kind of knowledge, like intention, intuition, perception, experiential knowledge like “knowing” my wife (interpersonal relationships), or the arts and humanities. These things can not be analyzed in a reductionist way. Or even jurisprudence since it often requires a judgment without having all the possible facts. While scientific data is extremely helpful, you cannot “graduate” a verdict. That’s why they call a guilty verdict “beyond a REASONABLE doubt.” Nor can you properly evaluate faith in religion with the scientific method, anymore than you can brain-scan me to determine why I love my wife. You cannot truly determine intention unless one reveals it to you. And we’re not even talking about spiritual phenomenon here. This is just in the natural realm. This is why this issue will never go away no matter how much science progresses. These things must be talked about in other ways than science, like philosophy, humanities, and religion.

          So, saying that science will eventually do away with all these things IS scientism, by definition. Not only that, it’s a faith statement since you have no way of proving that will actually happen in the future. And when you make empirical data found through scientific method more important than this other type of knowledge, you are describing scientism.

        • tildeb says:

          Nobody is saying that science will “do away” with all this kind of familiarity. But you think it’s like a pillar of some ideology you can attack and then replace with a different religious windmill. But all you’re doing is tilting at make-believe issues, Mel.

        • Mel Wild says:

          Nobody is saying that science will “do away” with all this kind of familiarity.

          Really?

          Alex Rosenberg From “The Atheist’ Guide to Reality” (2011)

          “Science provides all the significant truths about reality, and knowing such truths is what really understanding is all about.”
          “Once you adopt science, you’ll also be able to cease treating the humanities as knowledge.”

        • tildeb says:

          Yes, really.

          Because reality dictates what is true about it – which is the knowledge Rosenberg is talking about and not the familiarity you’re talking about – it is not the humanities that investigates reality but our various and highly varied responses to it.

          You’d know this if you were educated.

          The method used to investigate reality itself is science. That’s the method you use everyday in almost every way navigating reality. That alone – not the humanities – is the basis for all the therapies, technologies, and applications you use every day. Yet by doing so you do not practice this ‘scientism’ any more than scientists do.

          The term is used solely as a slur to misrepresent those who allow reality to dictate and inform our knowledge concerning what we think is true about it rather than allow your kind of supernatural, science-denying faith-based beliefs to be imposed on it and then demand that these incompatible religious claims about reality be considered an ‘alternative’ truth equivalent in knowledge-merit. (They’re not. Even in the slightest.) That’s your intention. And so you go along with the gross misrepresentation of methodological naturalism we all use and trust with our lives using the slur ‘scientism’ in order to serve not the truth about reality, not to further our understanding of it, not to gain insight into reality, but to serve your incompatible religious beliefs that you unquestionably try to impose on it.

        • Mel Wild says:

          The method used to investigate reality itself is science. That’s the method you use everyday in almost every way navigating reality. That alone – not the humanities – is the basis for all the therapies, technologies, and applications you use every day. Yet by doing so you do not practice this ‘scientism’ any more than scientists do.

          You are expressing textbook scientism here, Tildeb, and confusing science with scientism. Science is a method of obtaining knowledge. Scientism is the belief that all valid knowledge is science. You are saying that the humanities do not give us knowledge or reality itself but only investigate it. That is nonsense. As I already pointed out, the love someone has for another person is just as valid of knowledge as what you will discover in a science lab, but you will never be able to come up with why that person loves by the scientific method. That’s the limitation of science. But you deny any kind of knowledge other than empirical or analytical knowledge, lowering it to “familiarity” status.

          What’s ironic about people like Rosenberg is that he’s a philosopher, not a scientist! He has converted science into a philosophy of knowledge. It’s an opinion about the way that knowledge can be obtained and justified.

          The term is used solely as a slur to misrepresent those who allow reality to dictate and inform our knowledge concerning what we think is true about it rather than allow your kind of supernatural, science-denying faith-based beliefs to be imposed on it and then demand that these incompatible religious claims about reality be considered an ‘alternative’ truth equivalent in knowledge-merit.

          No slur, just pointing out the obvious. And I could say you are trying to impose your naturalist worldview and deny any other possibility, justifying it with your circular reasoning that only science can give us reality. Not only that, your worldview is a type of faith-based religion. As Hutchinson has stated, “In so far as scientism is an overarching worldview, it is fair to regard it as essentially a religious position. It is so because a key aspect of religious conviction that scientism shares with most organized religions is that it offers a comprehensive principle or belief, which itself cannot be proved (certainly not scientifically proved) but which serves to organize our understanding and guides our actions.”

          You have clearly stated, over and over again, that this is your overarching worldview. You are apparently so deeply entrenched in this paradigm, you don’t even see it yourself.

        • tildeb says:

          “Scientism is the belief that all valid knowledge is science. You are saying that the humanities do not give us knowledge or reality itself but only investigate it. That is nonsense.”

          Wrong.

          Try again.

        • Mel Wild says:

          Wrong about what, Tildeb? That I’m misstating what you said or that you deny that you embrace scientism? You clearly embrace scientism so I can only infer you mean the former.

        • tildeb says:

          I am not saying what you think I am saying.

        • tildeb says:

          Back to the ‘worldview’ crap again, I see.

          Good grief.

          My point is that knowledge about reality remains descriptive no matter what you or I think about it. Neither you nor I import any affective beliefs into the matter. Reality rolls along just fine without anything you or I might believe about it.

          Mel, your cell phone works not because of someone’s ‘worldview’. I don’t know why you have such trouble grasping the obvious. It doesn’t operate by ‘love’. It doesn’t work because people charm it with snakes, dead chickens, and poetry. It works because we understand how reality operates independent of all these human responses to reality. Science is a method to gain this understanding by trying very hard to detach our beliefs about reality from the inquiry. And it is this applicable understanding we gain by detaching our beliefs from the inquiry that we call ‘knowledge’. Respecting this knowledge is not my worldview, Mel. This body of growing knowledge is worthy of our mutual respect because it really does come up with the right answer to the why question, ‘Why does your cell phone work?” And the only answer that possesses knowledge is that cell phones work because they are applications made into functional conveniences FROM the understanding we have about how reality operates. Whatever other beliefs we now import about cell phone technology and the understanding that makes such an application possible does not increase our knowledge about reality even if it addresses our various and varied responses to it.

        • Mel Wild says:

          I agree that reality rolls along just fine whether we agree with it or not, or whether I import religion or you import your naturalism to define it. And I fully embrace science for what it can do, but it’s only one method of finding knowledge, and you cannot prove that it will ever fully define reality. That is a faith-based statement because you cannot use the scientific method to prove it.

          So, yes, this is exactly about “worldview crap,” Tildeb. I’m at a loss as to why YOU can’t see this. Using a cell phone as an example only proves my point. You are trying to equate scientific knowledge (technology) with non-scientific knowledge (inter-personal relationships). You only accept reality that is within the realm of scientific method. And, again, I fully embrace the scientific method. Yes, it’s wonderful for developing cell-phone technology and helping us understand biology, etc. It’s so powerful BECAUSE of its limitations. Science only focuses on what can be observed, tested, or calculated.

          But you’ve made it an overarching worldview, that science is only legitimate way to understand what is real, which is textbook scientism. Why don’t you get this?

        • tildeb says:

          You over-extend, Mel. Just because science cannot answer why questions doesn’t mean this is a deficiency. It means you’re asking the wrong question in the sense that there is no knowledge-based singular answer. There is a wide range of ever-changing responses which are very poorly described by you as ‘answers’. They’re not answers. They are RESPONSES. You keep conflating a response to be equivalent to a knowledge statement about reality.

          IT’S NOT!!!!!!!!!

          The response is a relative statement. It is fully subjective. It is arbitrary. It is subject to change from moment to moment. That’s not KNOWLEDGE, Mel. For crying out loud, comprehend please. Knowledge is DEFINED to be about facts, data, information, and understanding independent of the person considering them. You continue to make this false equivalency. Get over it.

          Just because science recognizes this border between reality and the beliefs we import to it does not mean it is somehow deficient in acquiring knowledge or that knowledge is suddenly relative to subjective interpretation. Yet you try to abuse it exactly this way, by masquerading your faith-based claims to be another ‘kind’ of fact, another ‘kind’ of data, another ‘kind’ of information independent of you but entirely dependent on you.

          Good grief. Can’t you see what you’re doing to the language to serve your religious beliefs? That’s a clue, Mel. You shouldn’t have to distort the language to such an extent as to make black seem to be another ‘kind’ of white, up another ‘kind’ of down’. But you have to torture the language this way in order to present your faith-based hypothesis to masquerade as an inferred knowledge-based conclusion. You just don’t like to be challenged on this deception.

        • Mel Wild says:

          Knowledge is DEFINED to be about facts, data, information, and understanding independent of the person considering them.

          Tildeb, this is TEXTBOOK SCIENTISM! Sheesh! You are one not getting it here. I can “know” things that science cannot explain. Sure, it can be subjective, but it can also be true. And science cannot prove it one way or the other. And if God (or intelligent agency) exists, He could exist independent of scientific knowledge. To say that He cannot, in spite of all the non-scientific evidence we have, is pure, unadulterated scientism. It’s a faith-based statement because you cannot prove it.

          And I am not distorting the language, only refuting scientism. Knowledge is defined as “a familiarity, awareness, or understanding of someone or something, such as facts, information, descriptions, or skills, which is acquired through experience or education by perceiving, discovering, or learning.” (Wikipedia)

          What you are doing is what you accuse me of doing, importing your particular belief that other kinds of knowledge are not as valid as scientific knowledge. Again, I am not minimizing scientific knowledge, only stating that science cannot give us all knowledge of reality. I really don’t think you understand that scientism is the water you’ve been swimming in, so you can’t see beyond your naturalist fish bowl.

        • tildeb says:

          Good grief, Mel. The definition for knowledge depends on what constitutes a fact:

          fact
          fakt/
          noun
          1) a thing that is indisputably the case.
          2) used in discussing the significance of something that is the case.
          3) a piece of information used as evidence or as part of a report or news article.

          A fact MUST BE independent and different than beliefs or opinions.In other words, a fact cannot be a fact and be relative. BY DEFINITION.

          No wonder you have such trouble comprehending what knowledge means.

        • Mel Wild says:

          Good grief, Mel. The definition for knowledge depends on what constitutes a fact:

          No, Charlie Brown, it doesn’t! Now, you are changing the definition of knowledge, narrowly defining it as scientific facts. That is simply not true. And you cannot say it’s objective truth either, since you cannot prove that. I can say that the existence of God is objectively true, but I can’t prove it with scientific method. I know it to be true by other means than scientific method.

          Knowledge is defined as “a familiarity, awareness, or understanding of someone or something, such as facts, information, descriptions, or skills, which is acquired through experience or education by perceiving, discovering, or learning.” (Wikipedia)

          Notice that it says, “SUCH as facts,” not only facts as you have defined it. Indisputable facts are one way we gain knowledge but not the only way. You are conflating scientific facts with knowledge. That is, by definition, scientism. Indisputable facts and knowledge are not always the same thing. And there is much to life that will never be indisputably proven, but it’s knowledge just the same.

          I do understand what knowledge means and I’m not going to let you highjack it with your Scientistic worldview.

        • tildeb says:

          I was raised on the OED, which states the definition of knowledge to be,
          1. Facts, information, and skills acquired through experience or education; the theoretical or practical understanding of a subject.
          1.1 The sum of what is known.
          1.2 Information held on a computer system.
          1.3 Philosophy: True, justified belief; certain understanding, as opposed to opinion.
          2 Awareness or familiarity gained by experience of a fact or situation.
          3 archaic: Sexual intercourse.

          You’ll note there is a specific reference to what knowledge is NOT regarding philosophical understanding, namely, opinion when outside of the fundamental meaning based on facts independent from thee and me. Yet that is exactly how you’re trying to sell it, as if your experiences shape a personal truth that produces a different ‘kind’ of knowledge, and thus creates a justified true belief.

          Nu uh. Nope. Wrong. You’ve got it exactly backwards.

        • Hello Tildeb, I have followed the conversation so far and I appreciate the point you put forward.

          You still sound like you do not see that the scientific method is restricted to a particular scope of observable and repeatable experiments in our physical world. It’s quite obvious that even some of the physically relatable materials in our world can only be assessed in a limited way by science.

          The use of C14 dating for example may tell to a degree approximate ages of earthed materials, however, what scientific method could tell exactly what some of those very unfamiliar objects were used for at that time? Can the scientific method explain why the materials were specifically shaped by the makers (with absolute certainty as we want to make for scientific experimentations in our laboratories today?).

          Certainly, the logical explanations for resolving this transcends the scientific method and goes it comparative history and psychology, as well as philosophy, etc.

          I do not see a tilting at make believe issues from Del. What I see is a tilt of make belief issues from the scientists trying to give credit to the scientific method that it doesn’t deserve. Why try to make it look workable outside its scope? Is it too big to acknowledge the limits of its functionality and that there are other more rational ways of relating with more intangible areas of our physical world?

          I think you may need to reconsider your stance.

        • tildeb says:

          Thanks for my daily chuckle, ELA.

          Probably the single most important lesson I learned from my undergraduate studies was to learn how to ask the right questions. (Ontology recapitulates epistemology, so to speak: what we think is determined by how we think.) Asking the scientific method to produce meaningful answers about subjective ‘why’ questions (beyond linking claimed cause to selected effects) is like asking a dog why it licks its own gonads. What answer are you really seeking with such a question? Well, usually such a ‘serious’ question isn’t seeking an answer from the dog at all: it’s seeking to pretend the answer is being seriously sought rather than assumed. And as soon as an answer (cloaked as a singular explanation masquerading as ‘knowledge’ derived from the very serious question) is provided by the questioner, we should recognize dishonesty and deceit hard at work… because we know from reality that the dog isn’t capable of answering that question. Someone else is making up an ‘answer’.

          And that’s what ‘why’ questions really are: a means to elicit various and varied responses that are not seeking to be statements of knowledge about reality independent of the questioner but highly subjective personal explanations for an immediate motive. In other words, a response. Calling these various and varied explanations ‘knowledge’ that ‘answers’ the question is the wrong term, the wrong conclusion, because the ‘answer’ is immediate, varied, and various. It changes moment to moment, which is a pretty good clue that we’re not dealing with knowledge independent of the object being asked the question but a means for the questioner to create a space into which the questioner can THEN insert whatever he or she wants and PRETEND we now have an ‘answer’ independent of us, independent of the questioner.

          How can we know this dishonesty and deceit is at work? Well, just ask your dog the question and see what answer you get that doesn’t come from you.

        • I deem it fit to point you to the topic once again: “Is the scientific method limited in its scope?” Can you give a closed ended answer to this question (yes or no)?

          You speak about various kinds of questions, including the ‘why’ questions. Which of these questions is the scientific method built to answer, the ‘what’, ‘why’ or ‘how’?

          If you state that the ‘why’ questions could be a tool to propagate dishonesty by the inquirer, then are you affirming that the scientific method is not built to answer certain ‘why’ questions, hence outside its scope the enquirer resorts to other more applicable forms of logical methods?

        • tildeb says:

          Is brushing your teeth outside the scope of algebra? Is answering why questions outside the scope of science? Neither question makes any sense because the two are not related in any way. Apply the term ‘scope’ as if it somehow reveals an inadequacy is itself dishonest.

          The point that Mel refuses to recognize in this ‘Science cannot answer certain questions’ trope is that neither can religion. These ‘why’ questions are not knowledge-seeking but belief-affirming statements unrelated in any way to honestly inquiring into how reality works and trying to figure out what it contains. The dishonesty is pretending to do the latter by asking the former.

          And you can know this approach to present faith-based beliefs as if inferred from reality is deceitful because it regularly and reliably and consistently produces ZERO knowledge… zero knowledge yesterday, zero knowledge today, and in the highest likelihood zero knowledge tomorrow. That’s a clue about its ‘knowledge’ value, E. Luminous Aghosa. No knowledge. Ever.

          So presenting it as such, as if these faith-based claims as if they were another ‘kind’ of knowledge, is really a case of bearing false witness to reality itself. It doesn’t work to produce knowledge. It doesn’t yield knowledge. That’s the brute fact that people like Mel wave away and then pretend otherwise. That’s the deceitful behaviour in action. That’s the lack of intellectual integrity in action. That the modus operandi of religious apologetics, to make the square peg of faith-based religious belief fit into the round hole of reality and pretend it’s a seamless fit when it is in fact the antithesis. It’s equivalent in all ways to lying, which is why we atheists call this ‘lying for Jesus’. It’s typical. And other religious believers seem either unwilling or incapable of holding these people to account to speak truth to power but go along with the charade as if it’s somehow okay because it’s religious. And what does THAT say about the value of truth to so many believers compared to their mindless urge to appear pious and part of the flock?

          That’s a clue, too, about the value of religion.

        • Hello @tildeb.

          Instead of answering the first question: “is the scientific method limited in its scope (yes or no), you decide to beg the question” (another fallacy), while you skip off to a disproportionate criticism of Mel’s.

          If you are ready, here is the question again: “is the scientific method limited in its scope?”

          Just in case the first question seems ambiguous to you, here is a paraphrase:

          “are there areas of inquiry (relating to the physical world) which the scientific method (that is based on observable and repeatable experimentations) fails in being able to assess due to its criteria for inquiry?”

          I believe you are smart enough to understand the question. Thanks.

          To address your ‘why’ response, you are generalising again. Are you saying that you have resolved by the scientific method that every theist inquiring into the ‘why’ questions does so with dishonesty? Everyone? Why will that follow, because they do not come in agreement with you?

          The pioneer scientists such as Isaac Newton and Nicholas Steno (a founding father in geology according to Thomas Wood) who related their scientific process to their Christian faith, yet came with ground breaking contributions to science are rated as adding no value of knowledge?

          What about the creationist defense of “the appendix as not being a vestigial organ” even though naturalists claimed so. Who gets justified by the scientific method? The creationists do because the appendix is now known for playing a good part in immunity. And why did the creationists get it right? They had the correct premise that the Greatest Intelligence Who has shown Himself relatable and non random must have a purpose for whatever structure He has put in His designed impression.

          What about the finding of red blood cells in dinosaur bones claimed to be millions of years old? Do you know how it makes certain scientists at loss of words and beg for excuses?

          You see, the scientific method within its scope does well as long as it is properly interpreted.

          What I see here is that on the premise of a naturalistic view, the scientific method strains with serious difficulty to produce evidence for what is not. However, under proper creationist guide, the scientific process gives remarkable evidence and there are many more to come.

          Keeping it short seems good. Thanks.

        • tildeb says:

          Oh good grief, ELA, you’re one of those trope peddlers, too.

          I didn’t beg the question (which means an inherent question that does not need expressing); I answered why the question assumed a correlation between its parts that was not linked. Hence, why the question itself was senseless. But you should be smart enough to figure that out by the examples I offered.

          As to your much better phrased question, my answer is no. There are no areas of inquiry into the physical world (including physics, chemistry, electromagnetism, and quantum mechanics) in which the scientific method fails to be able to assess. That’s how you get out of bed and find your way to the bathroom, and provides you you with all the applications, therapies, and technologies that help you to survive your day to day living.

          Anyone who pretends faith-based claims are inferred from reality independent of the person supposedly doing the inferring (or by someone equally convinced who then indoctrinates a vulnerable mind to go along with this charade) is indeed being dishonest. All of us ask why questions all of the time. That’s not the problem. The problem is lying about the knowledge value and merit of the so-called ‘answers’. Believe what you want. That’s fine. But don’t misrepresent faith-based beliefs to be another kind of knowledge. That’s the Big Lie. And advancing the Big Lie makes one dishonest and deceitful.

          I made the comment about ‘one of those’ because of your reference to Newton and then suggested that his good science (he did a lot of bad science, too, specifically with alchemy) was in some way influenced by his religious beliefs. No. His religious beliefs played no part in the actual science. As soon as he tried to include it, his science became junk and he wasted most of life on this. But anyone who honestly wants to know about what constitutes by demonstration good science knows this perfectly well. Faith-based belief plays no part except to hinder the gaining of knowledge about how reality operates.

          I also was disappointed in the absolute bunk about the ‘Greatest Intelligence’ and other references to creationism. It’s utter junk. And if you followed it like an honestly interested person, you’d realize that what you’ve regurgitated is creationist nonsense. Especially concerning the soft tissue fossil and what it actually means. Only a creationist already absolutely convinced by certainty in a faith-based claim would be so arrogant as to call the deep time age of things ‘so-called’. You have to be ignorant of so much to think this point has any merit at all. And that takes a sealed mind… hence the charge of being ‘one of those‘. And that’s truly a shame. You’ve drunk the Kool-Aide and boarded the train for Crazy Town. Only you can get off of it.

        • tildeb says:

          ELA, this is why I continue to insist that when people talk about God this and God that we have the equivalent range of various and varied ‘answers’ that we have from asking our dog the ‘why’ question about licking gonads. Whatever these so-called ‘answers’ might be, they are not knowledge statements but statements of belief imported and imposed on the dog.

          That’s honest.

          All the other accusations about not accepting the pseudo-answers believers love to express as if in possession of knowledge they have deduced or adduced from reality are meant to divert the rest of us from recognizing a faith-based belief when we hear or see one for what it actually is: not an answer, not a deduction, not an inference, but a statement equivalent to just another hypothesis reformatted to masquerade as a knowledge-based conclusion, a statement of belief masquerading as a statement of knowledge rather than a faith-based assumption, assertion, or attribution.

        • Mel Wild says:

          @ Tildeb. Your gonad-licking dog analogy won’t work, at least when talking about religion. The dog cannot communicate to the observer in a way he or she can understand. However, we Christians claim that God communicated His intentions to us in a tangible way by sending Jesus Christ. He verified His identity by His miraculous works and authoritative teaching. We have tangible evidence that He lived, that He was crucified and buried, and that His body was found missing three days later. Furthermore, we have eyewitness accounts of His postmortem appearances by over 500 people at various places and various times. We claim that God vindicated who He was by raising Him from the dead. And the only honest response that skeptics can give to this is based on the fact they don’t believe in miracles, which is circular reasoning, as I have pointed out before.

          So, no, our faith-based knowledge is nothing like trying to figure out why a dog is licking his gonads. You’re just being ridiculous.

        • tildeb says:

          Ridiculous analogy? I don’t think so.

          At least the dog is right there and you can directly observe the behaviour. In comparison with your faith-based beliefs, you got a guy who knows a guy who once knew a guy who says he was there, who wrote down some stuff in one language that was then translated into others, from which we get copies of copies of copies we have access to, and read about what he was told by this other guy from the guy who was there that says he did this and that and – oh, the miracles! Right. Mind you, no corroborating evidence. No autobiographical material. All hearsay. In fact, there is even a significant lack of corroborating evidence where it should be plentiful (I mean, seriously, zombies walking the streets and no one takes notice! Seriously? All these ‘witnesses’ – 500, you assert! – and no one jots down a word. This list goes on and on.)

          So it is into this void that you direct your ‘why’ questions and here we encounter yet another miracle: you think you gain knowledge-based answers! I mean, wow. Answers, that, oh by the way, are incompatible from others who have also asked the same questions but who have ‘received’ contrary ‘answers’! Fancy that. Didn’t see that one coming…

          My chances are much higher with the dog.

        • Mel Wild says:

          Well, when the dog tells you why, let me know. But there were people who observed Jesus and heard Him speak. But, ironically, history is another form of knowledge that cannot be proven by scientific method (it can help us understand history, but not disprove it). History cannot be repeated by experiment. Every reason you have given for your position only further confirms that you embrace scientism. The fact that you only accept scientific knowledge as “reality” is a faith-based worldview (since you cannot prove that with scientific method).

        • tildeb says:

          ” The fact that you only accept scientific knowledge as “reality” is a faith-based worldview (since you cannot prove that with scientific method).”

          That’s not a fact, Mel. In fact, it comes fully from you and is then imposed on me as if true. You do this all the time and then run with it.

          To be clear, I didn’t say this ‘fact’; I don’t believe this ‘fact’; I would not agree to this ‘fact’. There is nothing about the ‘fact’ that is factual.

          You have not extracted the correct meaning from my words. Try again, Mel. You’ll comprehend eventually.

        • Mel Wild says:

          Seriously? All these ‘witnesses’ – 500, you assert! – and no one jots down a word. This list goes on and on.)

          Actually, it was jotted down, Tildeb. Paul wrote down a very familiar oral creed at the time, a creed that most scholars agree dates to within a year of His crucifixion.

          3 For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, 5 and that he appeared to Cephas, and then to the Twelve. 6 After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. (1 Cor.15:3-6).

          Almost all scholars accept this letter as valid. And this testimony was given while some of these witnesses were still alive, and while their antagonists were still alive, who could’ve easily refuted it. We accept other historiography as factual with much less evidence and documentation. They only reason you don’t accept it is because of your prejudicial bias against miracles and the existence of God.

        • A deviation may be necessary here just in order to relate your concept of ‘faith’ with the scientific method.

          May I ask you if you believe in the “molecules-to-man evolution”? By this, I mean the belief that inanimate materials over billions of years became animate materials such as man (for example) today? Your answer to this question may be helpful to illustrate what faith-based belief means when you consider the laboratory evidence for this claim.

          On the point of people knowing God, you commit the fallacy of generalization. Can you affirm your stand in all these cases by the scientific method? By this, I mean can you use the scientific method to disprove all claims people have of having related with God?

          We realize the subtle bias of people hiding behind the scientific method to propel a “religion of anti-religion” when the scientific method itself has nothing to offer with respect to providing evidence for their desired “non religious scientific claims”.

          The inanimate material(s) which some scientists have enough FAITH in to believe in its ability to produce animate materials after waiting for billions of years are very much unlike the God whose fingerprints are seen in the world we can observe.

          As Mel stated already, God speaks and relates with His creation and has a personality of His Own which is independent of what anyone tries to make of Him.

          Keeping it brief may do for now.

        • The post above is directed @tildeb. Thanks.

        • tildeb says:

          I understand why evolution is true, how life changes over time, that this process is a fact beyond dispute. I don’t know about the turning of inanimate material into animate but I did see a patch of ice @ -70 C yield blue and green algae with sunlight and ice-melt once the winds died. Does that count? As for abiogenesis – the beginning of life on Earth – I have no clue past pre-Cambrian blood worms.

          Science is a method, ELA. It is a method by which we inquire into reality and produce a sliding scale of likelihood for modeled explanations. When we try the creationist model, it utterly fails matching to reality. That’s not my belief; that’s just the way it is. What you do with this failed explanatory model is up to you but I won’t invest any confidence in it’s likelihood to be true. Reality doesn’t fit. But I suspect your faith is privileged enough in your own mind to deny reality it’s role arbitrating claims you make about it.

          I would rejoice to be wrong in my suspicion.

        • The word “evolution” now has about 5 different specifically varied meanings as applied by the naturalists. Take “cosmic evolution”, “chemical evolution”…”micro evolution” for example. You will do well to state exactly which you accept.

          Your acknowledging a gap in knowledge on the origin of life from non life could be a step forward if you will apply same to other areas.

          The blue green algae example given doesn’t count (politely). This is because a previous generation of algae has deposited something that gives rise to a new generation of algae (under favourable conditions).

          One of the points in the cell theory is that “life comes from preexisting life”. This is what we observe repeatedly in the visible world and the scientific process has shown this several times over.

          Have you read of Loius Pasteur’s disproof of abiogenesis? This will serve as a good background of how the scientific method functions well within its scope.

          The problem arises when some scientists try to make out claims of faith in abiogenesis using billions of years as an excuse. The point here is that the scientific method cannot help them in justifying their faith-based claims of life originating from non life by naturalistic processes.

          I do not know what creationist model you have investigated, so I do not know whether or not it adds up.

          Keeping brief still seems good.

          Thanks.

    • john zande says:

      @E. Luminous Aghosa

      Your answer to this question may be helpful to illustrate what faith-based belief means when you consider the laboratory evidence for this claim.

      Are you aware of the laboratory work?

      In 1953, Stanley L. Miller and Harold C. Urey set out to test Alexander Oparin’s and J. B. S. Haldane’s hypothesis that conditions on the primitive Earth favoured “chemical reactions that synthesized organic compounds from inorganic precursors,” and through their experiments successfully cooked up the first manmade Amino Acids in the lab. Since then NASA’s Stardust probe triumphantly returned to earth in 2006 with Amino Acids it’d captured after intercepting the comet 81P/Wild (Wild-2) around Jupiter, proving that these fundamental building blocks of life occur naturally on earth and are found equally naturally in space.

      In 2009, Dr. Gerald Joyce of the Scripps Research Institute and his graduate student, Tracey Lincoln, pretty much nailed primitive ‘life’ – a progenitor of life if you like – when they developed a molecule composed of nothing but RNA enzymes in a test tube that replicated and evolved, swapping genes for just as long as the conditions were right to do so. Doing what molecules do it Xeroxed itself by using its own basic structure as a scaffolding from which to build new copies from pairs of smaller molecules. Incredibly, when incorrect copies were made mutations arose and the molecule quite happily passed on those changes to the proceeding generation, and so it slowly evolved. Although not technically speaking ‘life’ Joyce and Lincoln’s work was an astonishing in-road into a beautiful albeit strikingly simple process first teased-free by Darwin five generations ago.

      Also in 2009 John Sutherland of the University of Manchester went even further when he successfully cooked up two of the four ribonucleotides found in both RNA and DNA molecules and by doing so created the first stirrings of life on earth. Unlike other researchers before him, Sutherland and his team did not jump right into sugars and nucleobases rather they started first with a host of simpler molecules most likely around in earth’s primordial goo. They diluted the molecules in water, heated the solution, and then allowed it to evaporate so as to replicate sequential changes in conditions which was then irradiated with ultraviolet light; a process which left behind hybrid half-sugar, half-nucleobase molecules. To this residue they again added water, heated it, allowed it evaporate, irradiated it, and repeated the process over and over. Remarkably, with each passing phase the molecules became more and more complex and when phosphates were added in the very last stage Sutherland found himself staring at two ribonucleotides; half a naturally built RNA molecule.
      “My ultimate goal,” said Sutherland, “is to get a living system (RNA) emerging from a one-pot experiment. We can pull this off. We just need to know what the constraints on the conditions are first.”

      Even more recently and perhaps even more remarkably researchers led by Phil Holliger at the Medical Research Council Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge announced in early months of 2012 they’d successfully made the first synthetic RNA and DNA molecules which they called, XNA: xeno-nucleic acids. They achieved this mind-jarringly colossal leap in constructing artificial life by building synthetic versions of RNA and DNA’s nucleobase ladder rungs. By synthesizing enzymes (what they’ve called, polymerases) they could then bind the XNA molecules to DNA or reverse the process back to a single RNA strand; passing genetic information between the natural and synthetic molecules at will, leading MRC scientist, Victor Pinheiro, to observe “Thus heredity and evolution, two hallmarks of life, are not limited to DNA and RNA.”

      • @ john zande

        Thanks for the compilation of laboratory work you shared. I read through and I appreciate your kindness.

        I have some questions.

        Have the synthesized amino acids from Stanley’s 1953 experiment come alive 64 years after?

        What about Gerald’s 2009 evolving Ran, has it come alive too?

        Do you notice how the scientists think their way through the synthesis? They make very well planned laboratory experiments to describe what they think would have happened in a “primitive earth” with no such abilities as they use in the laboratory. Did the “primitive earth” think its way through the synthesis too?

        Notice again that in describing John’s 2009 experiment, they assume the kind of molecules they BELIEVE (most likely) were on the “primitive earth” (they imagine). This feels unscientific.

        According to this report, John finds a way to synthesize RNA from simpler materials. He deliberately carries out his experiment in the laboratory. Let us hope someone else also was experimenting with the production of life from non life at that time in the imagined “primitive earth”.

        The deliberate activity of the scientists is also obvious in the 2012 experiments. Even at that, 5 years later, we are still waiting for the XNA to be a fully clothed cell by some other process.

        It is strange that these scientists try to prove that somehow, the laws of thermodynamics can be rendered invalid (or weren’t these laws at work at the time of the imagined primitive earth?). By this, I mean that systems generally run towards disarray, that is, randomness, however, the scientists are trying to show that the reverse is true (getting such calculated high degree complexities from an extremely random process).

        Assuming there ever was such a system, the probability of it giving rise to such complexities is lame.

        Just examining the facts.

        • john zande says:

          What is your (the) definition of life?

        • I may not attempt to give a personalized biological definition for the term “life”. One of the reasons for this is that we are considering scientific papers which require a “general” (not personalized) notion as to how living organisms behave.

          In this respect, biologists generally do not directly try to define ‘life’, rather they try to describe the characteristics of organisms which they do know have ‘life’.

          With the above background, I may then state some basic characteristics of living things, all of which are expected to be shown by any organism called a living thing.

          Growth, Nutrition, Reproduction, Metabolism, Adaptation, Irritability, and cellular organization.

          Thanks.

        • john zande says:

          Well, you were trying to talk about life as some essential benchmark, a “thing,” yet it appears you can’t actually define that thing.

          What in a cell is “alive”?

          A living cell is simply a contrivance of dead matter being moved—chemically or mechanically—by the unthinking, enormously discourteous laws of the universe. It is a protein based machine hosting millions of chemical reactions every second, yet it is composed of nothing but “dead matter” being moved.

          Atoms arranging themselves in such a way to dissipate heat (and by doing so retaining their grouped structure) is, in essence, a sign of “life.”

          So, unless you can clearly identify this thing, life, and by doing so distinguish it clearly from just increasing orders of complexity, you are hardly in a position to comment on the lab work of others who have successfully replicated those essential parts that move.

        • Hello John Zande.

          I will like to know what background your tertiary education is. Is it science? I ask this question so I will know how to relate with your understanding of why biologists prefer to use the system of the characteristics of living things to judge whether an object in question is a living thing or not.

          The answers below are suited as introductory to basic biology.

          Take these two points for a background:

          Enzymes are organic catalysts. They can relate with molecules for which they are suited. This could mean generating a great deal of heat sometimes or even the reverse at other times. They may also require a source of energy to kick start their processes. At surface value, they seem to have some characteristics of living things. However, enzymes are not considered living things because they do not reproduce, grow, or show adaptation to their environment (by this, I mean more than being temperature sensitive, etc.). Rather, enzymes are considered essential parts of living things.

          Secondly, consider the DNA. Under proper conditions, together with its accessories, it could show some characteristics of living things. However, this is still at surface value. DNA may replicate itself, however, it doesn’t carry out nutrition, neither does it grow or make excretory products, etc. DNA does not show cellular complexity. Summarily, DNA is not a living thing, however it is considered a vital part of some living things.

          One of the basic points in the cell theory is that: “all living things are made up of one or more cells”. Just put this in view in considering claims of producing life in the laboratory.

          Living things are not made of non living things. Everything in a living things shares in that hidden virtue of life. When a living dies, you can be correct to say that it has become dead matter.

          Thanks.

        • john zande says:

          Yes, I’m fully aware of the multiple definitions.

          This does not alter the brute fact that a living cell is simply a contrivance of dead matter being moved—chemically or mechanically—by the unthinking, enormously discourteous laws of the universe.

          So, where is life? At what point along the line of increasing complexity does something gain the title “alive”?

        • A properly trained biologist will not assert your claims (which you even call brute facts), but will tread this path with caution.

          As I mentioned earlier, biologists generally agree that anything which shows all the characteristics I already listed as typical of living things are “living things”.

          To paraphrase: “an object in question is said to be “alive” when it shows all the basic characteristics I mentioned that biologists accept as being typical of living things.

        • john zande says:

          Where’s the need for caution? It is a brute fact that a living cell is nothing but a protein based machine hosting millions of chemical reactions every second, yet it is composed of nothing but “dead matter” being moved.

          There is no controversy there. Nothing in a cell is actually “alive.”

          And by your stated definition, a fire is alive. It consumes fuel, grows, responds to stimulus, adapts, reproduces, and dies.

          Is a fire alive?

          Now, what is it you’re trying to say here? I’ve completely forgotten, and I’m growing quite bored.

        • And the fire also shows cellular complexity, not so? Is a fire made up of cells?

          I told you that all parameters must be met by the object in view.

          Point of correction again: “the parameters for identifying living things I listed is a consensus in biology.” It isn’t “my” description or meaning.

          If you have have an issue with it (which would be as a result of your being a non biologist though), you can ask a high school biology student to help you out. They are supposed to have this knowledge better than you have right now (politely said).

          Since you are rushing off with preconceived notions about a scientific field you can barely even articulate, I will look out for your next comment and if it still shows your propensity to ague over what you should spend time learning (even the basics), I will politely ignore this thread.

          Thanks.

        • john zande says:

          You’d do yourself a favour by loosing the juvenile puerility. I remind you, it was you who didn’t know the current state of research into reconstructing the elements of this thing we call life.

          Now, are you going to articulate where you’re going, or are you just happy floundering about?

  3. Arkenaten says:

    He verified His identity by His miraculous works …

    False. This is a faith claim. You have no independent evidence whatsoever to support this.

    So you are being willfully ignorant or a liar.

    • Mel Wild says:

      Of course, it’s a faith claim. We weren’t there. All historiography requires a certain amount of faith. But we have testimonies from people who saw Him do it. You only think it’s false because you don’t believe in miracles.

      Again, would you tone down your accusations, Ark. It’s gets very tiresome. I have a right to my view. And it’s not willful ignorance. You cannot prove He didn’t do these things, or that these witnesses were lying. You are making a conclusion based on your a priori bias against miracles. But, unlike the dog, we have written testimony of these things. That was my point.

      • Arkenaten says:

        You cannot prove He didn’t do these things, or that these witnesses were lying.

        Of course I cannot, any more than you cannot prove the miracles claims of Mohammed didn’t happen,or the modern day miracle claims of Sai Baba.

        And no you do NOT have testimonies, as the gospels are no more witness accounts than me claiming my grandad visited me last night and we went for a walk around the garden at 2am.
        In fact the gospels account are less so.
        And only indoctrinated people believe such nonsense.
        Ask a devotee of Sai Baba.
        And you are making an a priori claim based on your credulity as you believe you are a sinner and think that Jesus the Nazarene will be your ticket to heaven.

        So, to use a touch of vernacular – you are simply ”making s**t up”.

        • Mel Wild says:

          Of course I cannot, any more than you cannot prove the miracles claims of Mohammed didn’t happen, or the modern day miracle claims of Sai Baba.

          That’s my point, Ark. You cannot prove any of these claims are false. But, even so, that’s not the same claim we are making with Jesus Christ. We’re not just claiming miracles, we’re saying that God bodily raised Jesus from the dead. His tomb is empty. This is not the same claim made about Mohammad. And I gave reasons why this is feasible in past posts so I won’t repeat them here. It’s not just making stuff up. Their testimony is historically attested. You just don’t accept it because you don’t believe in miracles. Jesus Christ is our tangible evidence for God, but since it is a historical event it requires faith to believe (just like a lot of other historical events do).

        • Arkenaten says:

          You don’t accept the claims of Sai Baba, or Mohammed because you are prejudice.
          And the average Muslim wil expliam this to you if you ask and has theoir evidence to back u p their claims that the Nazarene did not die on the croiss or was even crucified. I have such textual evidence and it is very very convincing.

          Furthermore a lot of people believe Mohammed rode on a winged horse to Jerusalem.
          Who the hell are you to say such claims are false. Were you there?

          Sorry, but you really are simply repeating things others are claiming with out any independent or verifiable evidence.
          In other words …. making s**t up.
          And a billion plus Muslims agree with me.

        • Mel Wild says:

          I didn’t say I don’t accept miraculous claims about Mohammad. I believe in miracles. You are the one who doesn’t believe them. You are the one with a problem with Islam’s claims because you are an “infidel” unbeliever. So who the “hell” are YOU to say their claims are false, Ark? Go to Mecca and take it up with them and see how far you get.

          What I said is that the claims we make about Jesus Christ are not the same thing as saying Jesus just did miraculous things.

        • Arkenaten says:

          Ah, so you DO accept the miraculous claims of Mohammed. Excellent!
          What evidence do you have for him receiving the Qu’ran from Gabriel and
          him flying to Jerusalem on a wingèd horse?

        • Mel Wild says:

          I said I believe in miracles. You don’t believe in them so, in principle, you have the greater problem with Islam than I do. If they want to make these claims, that’s their prerogative. They can make their case for these claims like we would do. I’m not Islamic so it’s not my responsibility to make their claim.

        • Arkenaten says:

          I said I believe in miracles.

          Exactly! So obviously , as you believe in miracles then the terms …. a supernatural intervention from a deity …. will be the same or similar.
          After all, the Islamic god is the same as your god.

          And it is worth remembering that your god informed Mohammed that He was the last prophet.

          Therefore by not accepting this miracle, or if you prefer, divine revelation you are going against the will of your god.

          And this then begs the question … why are you a heretic?

        • Mel Wild says:

          Now you are giving Islamic doctrine. I am not Islamic, so your question to me is irrelevant. To make any more out of my statement than that I believe in miracles is misrepresenting what I said. If you have a problem with Islam’s claims take it up with a Muslim.

        • Arkenaten says:

          Then you must define the terms of what a miracle is, please. That way we can distinguish between what is a bona fide claim and one that is spurious.

        • Mel Wild says:

          The normal definition of miracles will do.

          Miracles (noun) “a surprising and welcome event that is not explicable by natural or scientific laws and is therefore considered to be the work of a divine agency.”

        • Arkenaten says:

          There we go. So Mohammed experienced a miracle when God spoke to him via Gabriel,
          And he was declared the last prophet.
          ergo … you are a heretic.

        • Mel Wild says:

          No, it doesn’t follow, Ark. Just because I believe in miracles doesn’t mean that every miracle claim is true. So you will need to take that up with the Muslims, not me.

        • Arkenaten says:

          Oh, I agree. Your belief in miracles does not mean that any miracle claims are true.
          You only have a belief , but absolutely no evidence whatsoever to back such a claim.
          Much lie intercessory prayer,
          The point is,all miracle claims are as valid.
          Or, put another way, your claims are equally as unsubstantiated as any other miracle claims and thus, can be dismissed with the same lack of regard.

  4. Arkenaten says:

    @
    E. Luminous Aghosa

    By this, I mean can you use the scientific method to disprove all claims people have of having related with God?

    The only requirement here is for the individual making the positive claim to demonstrate their claim is true.
    Ergo … in this case one such as you.

    And scientists have already recreated a so-called god-experience, as you should likely be aware.
    here is a good example …

    https://www.wired.com/1999/11/persinger/

  5. Dear @tildeb,

    I wouldn’t assume what you meant. If you think you cannot give straight forward answers, then you understand why.

    I see also that you selected a handful of topics that quite fall in the scope of the scientific method and then answer a “no” to the question put before you.

    Remember that we started off by examining if the scientific method has limits within which it could function well and outside of which it becomes functionally lame.

    A good example to consider is not physics, chemistry or the other examples you gave. Try history. Try the social sciences. I am waiting for the answer you would come up with, and an explanation as well.

    As regards Isaac Newton, he remains one of the most renowned scientists of the 20th century and even if you fail to acknowledge his contributions as you ought, his work lingers on, and his perspective of the Divine Hand which shaped his non random thoughts still abide.

    You happened to be at a loss of words for the “appendix being a vestigial organ claim”. I understand.

    I laid down quite some words that the scientific method has shown that red blood cells cannot last recognizable for a million years, not to talk of hundreds of millions of years. So what happens when your own cherished method defeats your claim?

    In as much as we have continued this conversation, you have been much subjective with less objectivity. The evidence (scientific examples) I put forward are not in order to win an argument, however, they are to ignite thoughts of reconsideration of your stand.

    “And you shall know the truth and the Truth shall set you free”.

    “Prove all things, hold fast to what is good”.

    The above are treasured words from the Bible that encourage right actions in inquiry.

    Even if we get to differ on topics like this and you get heatedly offended at my writing (I never intend getting on your nerves), it matters little compared to my joy of you finding Truth.

    I can only love you (God is Love).

    • Arkenaten says:

      I can only love you (God is Love).

      You are referring to Yahweh, yes? The same one who apparently annihilated humanity and most of the fauna in Genesis. This is the god of love you worship?

      • Mel Wild says:

        @ Ark. Since you like to take potshots and judge God, you should answer the question I asked you before,

        Again, my hypothetical question. You are God. You created human beings to be in relationship, to love, have families, fill the earth, be fruitful, and to live in harmony with nature. You gave them free will because love requires it. But because of unchecked violence and murder, over time they became so wicked that if nothing was done, every single human being would be lost. What would YOU do? You are the judge.

        • Arkenaten says:

          But I don’t believe in gods … yours or anyone else’s and there is no evidence to supports this belief.
          So therefore all the onus is on you to demonstrate that gods exist..
          Therefore, to this end, as you clearly believe in miracles can you direct me to sworn testimony from an amputee who has lost a limb that has been regenerated as a result of a miracle, please?

          This would be an excellent place to start.Also, please bear in mind that I am not ”tempting your god” I merely want evidence of his work in this field of endevour; as it is claimed he has cured so many people.
          Thanks.

        • Mel Wild says:

          No, Ark. No more diversion tactics with your red herrings. You made an accusation. You must answer.

          By judging God in the Genesis flood story you’re assuming He did this, otherwise you would have no grounds to judge (because He didn’t actually do it). So, IF God is the monster you say He is, then answer how you would’ve handled my hypothetical situation more justly. It’s a very simple question.

        • Arkenaten says:

          No, I KNOW he did not as the science proves it is all a load of nonsense.
          Thus, we can chalk up yet another biblical story as a load of crap.
          You want to have a shot at another one?
          Adam and Eve Tower of Babal or … the Exodus?
          Grow up, Mel
          If you wish to sound off liker a bloody Creationist and biblical innerantist then you go for it, and you can make your self a bigger idiot than so many people already think you are.

        • Mel Wild says:

          No, I KNOW he did not as the science proves it is all a load of nonsense.
          Thus, we can chalk up yet another biblical story as a load of crap.

          Then your accusation is pointless. If this didn’t actually happen then you cannot say God is genocidal. After all, if it’s fiction He didn’t do it. The only way you can argue your point at all is to assume it’s true. You are tilting at windmills here.

          If you wish to sound off liker a bloody Creationist and biblical innerantist then you go for it, and you can make your self a bigger idiot than so many people already think you are.

          Sorry, but you don’t sound very smart when you rant against a God you don’t believe exists and judge what you know nothing about.

        • Arkenaten says:

          I can say it with as much conviction as I can say of any character in a piece of fictitious literature.
          That the character is a work of fiction does not make his actions any less genocidal or make him less of a monster.
          It just means he is not real.

          I am arguing against the fact that Yahweh and the stories in the bible are taught as fact.

          Now, if you want to have a decent discussion on this topic then we need to establish exactly what you consider is fact and fiction in the bible.

          So let’s drop all the nonsense and discuss this as rational, critical thinking adults.
          Can we agree that the Pentateuch is nothing more than geopolitical/historical fiction?
          If you disagree with this statement then please list the parts of the Pentateuch you consider are historical fact. And by now you should fully understand these terms.
          Oh, and suggesting there was likely a limited flood and a limited Exodus is tantamount to acknowledging the point I am trying to establish here.

          Let’s start …..

        • Mel Wild says:

          Yes, but your vitriolic conviction must be based on moral standard you think has been violated. So, even if this story is fiction, what would you do, Ark. You be the judge.

          Again, we’ll use my hypothetical question to test your judgment. In this fictitious story, you are God. You created human beings to be in relationship, to love, have families, fill the earth, be fruitful, and to live in harmony with nature. You gave them free will because love requires it. But because of unchecked violence and murder, over time they became so wicked that if nothing was done, every single human being would be lost. What would YOU do? You are the judge. Answer my question.

        • Arkenaten says:

          Ah, and the goalpost-mover shows up once again.
          No, we will not discuss metaphysics or hypotheticals.
          If you want to have a discussion then stop with the hand-waving and state which parts of the bible are fact and which you consider fiction.

          Seriously, it is not that difficult and it will demonstrate you are at least prepared to engage in the spirit of good faith (sic)

          So, the Pentateuch: Do you agree that it is nothing but geopolitical/historical fiction?
          Yes or No?

        • Mel Wild says:

          No goalpost moving here, Ark. My question never assumed whether the biblical flood is true or not. It actually doesn’t matter if it’s true or not. You made a moral judgment on God. My hypothetical question is to help me ascertain the validity of your accusation. I based it on the flood narrative. If you don’t want to answer the question, I will just mark it down as more avoidance and baseless accusations, as per the usual with you.

        • Arkenaten says:

          But you see, Mel, we have to establish which parts you believe are fact or fiction as you will teach this to those in your flock.

          How on earth could you face them if they find out you have been misleading them with your beliefs if you do not actually state what they are?

          So let’s clear the air on this first of all, shall we?
          Do you believe the Pentateuch is fact or historical fiction?

        • Mel Wild says:

          Just answer the question, Ark.

        • Arkenaten says:

          I will. Do you believe the Pentateuch is fact or historical fiction.

        • Mel Wild says:

          No more conditional responses, like you did with the Hamlet question. Either answer the question or stop making ignorant accusations.

        • Arkenaten says:

          How on earth is it an ignorant accusation?
          I feel fairly confident in stating that both you and I would agree without hesitation that Hannibal Lechter is a monster, so there seems little to argue about that a character who annihilates humanity in a global flood is also a monster.

          But if you wish to try to establish positive bona fides for Yahweh we have to establish what parts of the bible are fact and which parts are fiction.

          So, do you consider the Pentateuch to be fact or historical fiction.

        • Mel Wild says:

          Ark, you are diverting, It has nothing to do with whether the story is fact or fiction. You have made a judgment on God. Your ignorance is in that you obviously don’t understand the story. If you can answer my question, then I can see if your moral judgment on God is just. It’s not that hard. You obviously have a reason for making such an accusation. And since you believe to be fiction, I posed the question as it were fiction. So, tell me how you will be the judge in this story,

        • Arkenaten says:

          But I do not believe in gods.
          Are you saying that the god in the bible who destroyed the world in a global flood is real?

        • Mel Wild says:

          If you don’t believe in God, then stop talking about Him! Sheesh! It’s just stupid to rail against something you don’t believe in.

          YOU are the one who made the moral judgment. On what basis did you make this judgment. My hypothetical question pretty much describes the narrative.

        • Arkenaten says:

          I talk about him because you beleive your god to be real.
          All I am trying to establish is which parts of the bible you consider to be fact, and this way we can establish the bona fides of Yahweh’s character.

          So, do you beleive the Pentateuch is fact or historical fiction?

        • Mel Wild says:

          Okay then, PROVE that God was unjust with the alleged flood narrative.

        • Arkenaten says:

          Proof is the domain of mathematics, I believe?
          Do you believe the Pentateuch is historical fiction or fact, Mel?

        • john zande says:

          How on earth could you face them if they find out you have been misleading them with your beliefs if you do not actually state what they are?

          Rabbi Adam Chalom, Ph.D

          “Would you willingly lie to your children? Would you say this is what happened when you know this is not what happened? There’s an ethical question there. The truth is out there. They’ll find this archaeological, evidence-based version of Jewish history… and then they’ll say, why did you lie to me?”

        • Mel Wild says:

          Okay, John, since you want to play righteous judge, too. I’ll let you answer my question so I can ascertain the validity of your judgment.

          In this fictitious story, you are God. You created human beings to be in relationship, to love, have families, fill the earth, be fruitful, and to live in harmony with nature. You gave them free will because love requires it. But because of unchecked violence and murder, over time they became so wicked that if nothing was done, every single human being would be lost. What would YOU do? You are the judge. Answer my question.

        • john zande says:

          I was replying to Ark’s observation that you’re lying to your flock.

          At least the rabbis are honest.

        • Mel Wild says:

          Oh, another accusation. How am I lying to my flock. And Ark is the one being deceitful because he makes accusation and moral judgments that he cannot back up. And when he is challenged, he tries to change the subject.

        • john zande says:

          You believe Moses to be a real historical character, do you not?

          The overwhelming majority of rabbis don’t… and it’s THEIR story!

          That shows courage.

        • Mel Wild says:

          What difference does that make, John? It has nothing whatsoever to do with my question! Either answer my question or stop making moral judgments about God. You are not showing courage by contributing to Ark’s avoidance.

          It’s very easy to accuse, but cowards don’t back up their accusations. They just run away and change the subject.

        • john zande says:

          I answered your question. See below.

        • Mel Wild says:

          No, you didn’t answer the question, John. You copped out.

        • john zande says:

          Yes, I did answer it.

          You just do’t like my answer.

        • Mel Wild says:

          That’s a non-answer because you changed the conditions. If this is how you’re going to answer a question like this then you have no right to judge God.

        • john zande says:

          Again, you just don’t like my answer.

          Are you going to answer my question now?

          Would you have cast man into a world that had already failed?

        • Mel Wild says:

          Okay, I will answer your question like you did mine. I would not have created people. Why go through all the insults and defamation of my character, to be rejected, spit on, and insulted so? Who needs it.

        • john zande says:

          Mel, that didn’t address the actual question.

          Please answer the question:

          Would you have cast man into a world that had already failed?

        • Mel Wild says:

          I answered your question exactly like you answered mine. That’s all you’re going to get until you actually want engage in honest dialogue.

        • john zande says:

          Please answer the question:

          Would you have cast man into a world that had already failed?

          Yes or No, Mel?

        • Mel Wild says:

          How hypocritical of you. No, John, answer my question first. You changed the conditions of the question so you did not answer it properly. Here are the conditions again:
          1) You are God.
          2) You made creatures with free will because love requires it. Your desire was for them to be fruitful, raise families, walk in love and take care of the earth.
          3) Your creation becomes so evil and corrupted that if nothing is done all would eventually perish and humanity would cease to exist.

          What could you do in THIS situation? You are the judge.

        • john zande says:

          Hypocritical? LOL, that’s rich.

          1) You are God.
          2) You made creatures with free will because love requires it.

          Okay, stop right there. I am God, an aseitic being, perfect. All is perfection. All is love. All is me. By creating something artificial I KNOW I will be destroying that perfection.

          Therefore, I would not create.

          That would be evil, and I am incapable of performing evil.

          End of story. Question answered.

          Your point #3 is interesting, though. Your creation becomes so evil and corrupted that if nothing is done all would eventually perish and humanity would cease to exist.

          Of course things would grow diseased… Creation was already diseased! I put innocent souls into a house that was already corrupted, already on fire. It would be the height of wickedness for me to then blame them for burning up.

          Answered, now please answer my actual question:

          Would you have cast man into a world that had already failed?

        • Mel Wild says:

          Yes, hypocritical. Rather than answer my question, you ask me a question and criticize me for not answering it. That’s hypocritical.

          I didn’t ask you to critique my question, I asked you to answer it. It’s just a hypothetical, you should have no trouble since you like to judge. BE the judge, John.

        • john zande says:

          OK, following your exact articulation: I would do what i could to help. I would do so because I was at fault. I am to blame. I put those creatures into a world that was already on fire, a world that had failed terribly and was diseased. My creation was an abject failure. I knew this, and yet I acted in a way I should not have. In a moment of unconscionable madness I created more creatures, men and beasts, and threw them all into the fire I alone was responsible for.

          Seeing my error, I would do what I could to stop the suffering. If that meant cancelling creation altogether, then so be it. That is what i would do. That is all I could do, as I was the one responsible.

          Blaming the created for my mistake would be wicked.

          Now, will you please answer my question?

          Would you have cast man into a world that had already failed?

        • Mel Wild says:

          Fair enough. But you haven’t articulated how you would you “help” without interfering with their will? And why are you blaming God here? He didn’t make them wicked. They’ve always had a choice.

        • john zande says:

          Choice, in a world that was already diseased?

          Creation. In. It’s. Entirety. Had. Failed.

          What I did was unconscionable.

          Will you now please answer my exact question?

          Would you have cast man into a world that had already failed?

        • Mel Wild says:

          Choice, in a world that was already diseased?
          Creation. In. It’s. Entirety. Had. Failed.

          Failed? How so, John? That is precisely the point. WHO failed? God’s creatures are always given a choice to do the right thing. You cannot ask for freedom and then blame God for your poor choices! That’s absurd. You are just like Adam and want to shift the blame.

          And, according to the narrative, God placed Adam in the Garden, and as long as Adam trusted God, no harm would come to him. How is that unconscionable?

        • john zande says:

          Mel, please answer the question:

          Would you have cast man into a world that had already failed?

        • Mel Wild says:

          I answered you. You just don’t like my answer. 🙂

        • john zande says:

          Mel, please answer the question:

          Would you have cast man into a world that had already failed?

        • john zande says:

          Your refusal to answer my question speak volumes.

          The answer you can’t bring yourself to type is, quite clearly: You would not cast man (an innocent creature who did not ask to be created) into a world that had already failed… a corrupted and diseased world.

          You would no sooner do this than throw your own children into a fire…. Which is precisely the story the Christian narrative presents.

          By the bibles own chronology of events, the angels were created before the earth, and the earth before man (Job 38:4-7). Evil, however, entered Creation before the earth, and therefore before man… an event witnessed in the fall of Yhwh’s most beautiful creation, Lucifer (Ezekiel 28, Isaiah 14). Creation, therefore, was diseased before the earth was even shaped, and the tumour Christianity blames on Adam was already growing before Yhwh fashioned man. The angels fell before man. Original sin does not lay at Adams feet, but the angels.

          Yhwh, by your own narrative, threw man into a diseased world

        • Mel Wild says:

          Well, my answer was every bit as good as your answer which speaks volumes about your hypocrisy. Your question was front-loaded with accusation and judgment and blame-shifting. I already said I would put the man in a garden where he would be safe from harm as long as he trusted me. But, like the angels, he had a choice. Instead of trusting me, he chose his own way and suffered the consequences of his foolishness.

          Adam had no sin before he chose not to trust God. You can’t blame the angels for Adam’s choice. He knew the consequences. But in spite of his foolish choice, God established a way to restore him with His plan of redemption.

        • john zande says:

          I don’t recall “blaming” anyone.

          Merely drawing your attention to the fact that, by your own chronology of events, Creation had failed before Yhwh created man and inserted him (without invitation) into this already diseased and corrupted artificial scape.

          To me, that speaks of incompetence, or evil.

          Hence the question, Mel: Would you release your children into a house that was already on fire?

          Why would you do this when didn’t have to do it?

          What would you gain from doing it?

          These are questions which should needle your every waking moment.

        • Mel Wild says:

          Merely drawing your attention to the fact that, by your own chronology of events, Creation had failed before Yhwh created man and inserted him (without invitation) into this already diseased and corrupted artificial scape.

          John, you have a very twisted view of the narrative. That is not what the Garden narrative says or means. It was not a “house on fire.” It says that God placed man in the Garden (Eden means “pleasure”), which implies He moved him out of the rest of the world and into a paradise. This also speaks of protection and provision. This garden provided all of his needs and was especially suitable for him. He was to be the beachhead of God’s kingdom on the earth, in partnership with God, to till the ground, be fruitful and take care of God’s creation and expand the Garden outward. He was given a lot of autonomy to carry this mission out (like naming the animals). It was Adam’s choice to come out from under God protection by not trusting him.

          Why would you do this when didn’t have to do it?
          What would you gain from doing it?

          Why would God do this? You might as well ask why your parents brought you into this truly diseased world. Why? Because of love! What you’re not getting is that God’s other-centered, self-giving love wants to share that love with another autonomous being, and that requires choosing, responding, being vulnerable to the another. If you take away our freedom of choice, no matter how badly we may screw up, it’s better than no choice at all. The adventure of life is having choices, overcoming fears, solving problems, being creative, having purpose, etc. Love requires great risk that God’s creatures might reject Him and choose evil, but it’s much better than having no choice and being put in a perfect cage as one of His automatons.

        • john zande says:

          twisted view of the narrative.

          I don’t believe I’ve spoken at all about the content of the narrative, just the chronology.

          Feel free to read back through the thread and confirm this for yourself.

          It is the chronology of events (and the implications of that chronology) you don’t seem to wish to acknowledge.

          You might as well ask why your parents brought you into this truly diseased world.

          We’re not talking about human parents, are we Mel.

          No.

          We’re talking about a being who, according to you, created human beings. Created human beings when there was no actual need to do so. By your narrative, creation was imposed on us.

          We didn’t ask to be here, did we?

          And, by the chronology of your narrative, inside what did we find ourselves?

          We found ourselves inside a world that had already failed… Although this part is never actually spoken aloud in the narrative.

          Blame is placed at the feet of man, but this is, excuse my language, bullshit.

          It’s fiction. A pure fabrication. A distortion of the facts as revealed in the chronology of events.

          I see you’re not questioning the chronology, just trying your best to ignore it.

          Trying desperately to ignore the implications of that chronology.

          So, the question the Christian is left with is, why?

          Why would Yhwh create man (when he didn’t need to) and toss him into a world that he knew was corrupted and diseased?

          Was it incompetence, or an act of willful evil?

        • tildeb says:

          JZ, speaking of chronology, I don’t understand how Christian can go along that this ancient myth – around for over a thousand years – is best ‘explained’ by a later and supposedly historical blood sacrifice. That view unquestionably must be exactly backwards because the order is wrong and so his view is a textbook example of how NOT to interpret a myth.

          For Mel to believe this backwards approach is somehow reasonable and then have the temerity to call your view of it twisted by asserting this is not what the myth means, is really as astounding as it it is ludicrous.

        • john zande says:

          A blood sacrifice that didn’t change anything. The Monday after was exactly the same as the Monday before.

        • john zande says:

          Mel,

          Would you have cast man into a world that had already failed?

        • john zande says:

          Mel, I answered your exact question.

          Will you now please answer my exact question?

          Would you have cast man into a world that had already failed?

        • john zande says:

          It’s quite the question, isn’t it, Mel?

          Here’s hoping it makes you think… for once.

          That is, after all, the stated chronology of events you’re trying to defend.

        • Mel Wild says:

          Right…whatever…you hypocrite.

        • john zande says:

          Would you have cast man into a world that had already failed, a world already corrupted and on fire?

        • john zande says:

          But in answer to your question:

          I would not have created human beings. I would not have created an artificial world. Being an aseitic being everything is perfect. Why would I wish to break that perfection? To do so would be an act of pure, conscious evil.

        • Mel Wild says:

          That’s not answering the question. The world was already created. You have the points I outlined. Answer the question.

        • john zande says:

          No, the world was not already created. This artificial scape was created. Prior to that there was only me, an aseitic being.

          Why would I break what was perfect?

          To do so would be evil.

          By the Christian chronology, your god cast man into a world that had already failed, which is evil.

          I wouldn’t do that either.

          Would you?

    • tildeb says:

      “A good example to consider is not physics, chemistry or the other examples you gave. Try history. Try the social sciences. I am waiting for the answer you would come up with, and an explanation as well”.

      These areas can produce knowledge… as long as they use the methods of science objectively, namely, empiricism, rationality, testability, falsifiability.

      So I agree with Jerry Coyne that it is a virtue to hold convictions with a tenacity proportional to the evidence that supports them. Not granting high levels of likelihood to subjective faith-based beliefs divorced from reality (and often contrary to how we understand it to work) but maintaining the requirement for a preponderance of compelling evidence independent of the person considering this evidence.

      That is what is called a justified true belief in philosophical terminology.

      Granting confidence to the weighted belief of evidence IS science broadly construed and to call this understanding of matching the strength of beliefs about reality to reality ‘scientism’ – which is used strictly as a pejorative term – by those eager to make room for claims about some form of Oogity Boogity! through the magical mechanism of POOF!ism across some mysterious border with some other reality outside our own to be a source of a different ‘kind’ of knowledge thus falsely portrays this virtue to be a vice practiced by those ‘faithless’ people. This hypocrisy is transparently dishonest because using these same methods of science is exactly how each and every believer navigates the world successfully… but wouldn’t dream of calling themselves a card carrying member of ‘scientism’ when they rely on their cell phone to work without a blood sacrifice or burnt offering.

      It is not my job to teach you about evolution, about why it is the strongest scientific theory ever described by mankind. This you can do yourself once you put aside these ridiculously ignorant and incredibly stupid creationist tropes. But as long as you try to peddle those under the guise of piety, you are not worth my time and effort because your mind is already fully shuttered to anything reality has to say in the matter so there can be no shared common ground between us. Once you reject reality and jettison any respect for it in the quest to maintain creationist beliefs, your contribution to any and all reasonable and sane dialogue is null and void.

      • Your comment just makes me smile because it is self defeating.

        How do you apply the scientific method (which requires repeatability) to historical events (which are know to be non repeatable)?

        It’s been nice meeting you @tildeb.

        • tildeb says:

          I already explained, by using the same set of scientific tools, namely, empiricism, rationality, testability, falsifiability. You seem to have this notion that science requires test tubes and a laboratory. But remember, science is a method.

  6. Arkenaten says:

    I was replying to Ark’s observation that you’re lying to your flock.

    It may be a bit unfair at this point to accuse Mel of lying as we haven’t established whether he believes the Pentateuch to be historical fiction or fact.
    Let him rather make answer first, John okay?
    Always give a bloke the benefit of the doubt first, yes?

    • Mel Wild says:

      No, Ark. No more of your devious avoidance and shifting blame. You made the accusation about God. YOU answer my question for a change.

      • Arkenaten says:

        I WILL answer your question. All want to know first is which parts of the bible you beleive are fact and which parts are fiction.
        So, do you consider the Pentateuch to be fact or historical fiction.

        • Mel Wild says:

          No, Ark. I’m not answering another of your endless questions until you start answering mine. Put up or shut up.

        • Arkenaten says:

          But I will answer. As I gave you my word I would answer the Hamlet conundrum, but you were not prepared to answer my simple question.

          Do you believe the Pentateuch t be fact or historical fiction?

        • Mel Wild says:

          B-A-L-O-N-E-Y. I don’t believe you, Ark. I have no reason to believe you. You can’t hide behind these avoidance tactics and expect to be taken seriously.

        • Arkenaten says:

          Have I ever lied once during the entire time we have dialogued?
          No. Not once. And I don’t intend to start now.
          I gave you my word regarding the Hamlet conundrum which you were not prepared to engage me on and and I give you my word on this.
          Why on earth would I lie for?

          All I need to know is whether you consider the Pentateuch fact or historical fiction.
          How difficult is that?

        • Mel Wild says:

          Forget it. You just won’t answer. I won’t answer you either.

        • Arkenaten says:

          So you are afraid to answer?
          This is a platform for your beliefs. Surely you are not embarrassed to defend what you stand for?
          I most certainly am not!
          I mean you have to stand in front of your flock every week and conduct a sermon I presume?

          Do you really preach from a perspective that the Pentateuch is fact, Mel?
          Or are you simply afraid to admit on a public forum that it is historical fiction?

        • Mel Wild says:

          No, Ark, YOU are apparently afraid to answer, as you continually demonstrate by your hypocritical avoidance. To be clear, I will not answer another one of your questions until you start answering mine.

          YOU made the accusation against God. I challenged you with a question FIRST. You are the judge now. Either answer it or stop making ignorant accusations about God. It’s that simple.

        • Arkenaten says:

          If you recall, my first comment regarding this particular part of the thread was this ….

          I can only love you (God is Love).

          You are referring to Yahweh, yes? The same one who apparently annihilated humanity and most of the fauna in Genesis. This is the god of love you worship?

          He has yet to answer but you decided to jump in.
          The comment above was not an ”accusation” but an accurate observation based on the text in the bible as written.

          You both express the view that your god is one of love yet the annihilation of all of humanity bar one soon to be incestuous family on a wooden boat would suggest to any normal person that the perpetrator of this act was a monster, whether it be fact or fiction.
          Omnipotent deities don’t really have to kill people as they have other tools at their disposal that will not interfere with free will.

          Now, from a fictional point of view it really does not matter as it is just a story, and there are plenty of stories about vengeful gods, and one would hardly equate this action as one of love, would you?

          Where it makes a big difference is how one views such a story and others like it.

          So before we embark on what might well be lengthy discussion I need to know how you view the Pentateuch as it will outline for me the approach you intend to take.
          So ,please, do you think the Pentateuch is fact or simply historical fiction?

        • Mel Wild says:

          I don’t agree with your premise. You have not established that God was vengeful in the Flood narrative. By answering my question I can ascertain your version of moral judgment.

          And what other tools are you going to use to stop the total extinction of humankind without interfering with their will?

        • Arkenaten says:

          Aah … so you do believe the Pentateuch is fact.

          At last!

          Just confirm this for me and
          we can move on.

        • Mel Wild says:

          What are you talking about? I’m still waiting for your answer.

        • Arkenaten says:

          And I will most definitely give it, but I was trying to be polite and allow you the opportunity to confirm your previous comment that you do in fact believe the Pentateuch to be fact.
          I am watching a movie at the moment so if you need a little time to consider, Mel, just to make absolutely sure then no problem,I understand.

        • Mel Wild says:

          Nice try, I asked you the question first, Ark. First things first.

        • Arkenaten says:

          Really,Mel?
          For one who claims he is a genuine Christian you will do anything to present yourself as anything but.
          You really do struggle being honest don’t you?

        • Mel Wild says:

          Haha…you’ll say just about anything to make an accusation. Too bad you never back up your statements. Sorry, you have no credibility. You’re wasting my time again. I guess there’s no way to get you to answer a question.

        • Arkenaten says:

          Of course there is. Why not be honest for once in your life and simply confirm that you believe the Pentateuch is fact.
          How hard could that be for you?
          You do believe in telling the truth and honesty do you not?

    • Citizen Tom says:

      This is why I banned you and John from my blog. Since you have ridicule and fact twisting confused with rational debate, what is the point of a discussion?

      You want to know why God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah? Any of us can observe the pride, the hatred, and the anger we contain. Why does God put up with us at all?

      Do I believe the Creation account in Genesis and in Noah’s Flood? Frankly, I am not certain what happened. I was not there, but I believe the Good Book is truthful. Still, the Bible can sometimes be a bit difficult to understand. I am uncertain how to reconcile what I find in Genesis with what some scientists say happened billions and millions of years ago. Of course, if I express some doubt those scientists are right, I just earn the immediate condemnation of people who don’t know any more than I do. Since it is so unscientific, scientism is an odd delusion.

      Contemplate this passage.

      Romans 8:28-30 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

      28 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. 29 For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; 30 and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.

      Think about what it means to cause ALL THINGS to work together good. God is infinite. You and I are finite. All we have the capacity to understand is that we have no way causing ALL THINGS to work together good. We don’t even know exactly what God intends for us, and we probably are not ready to understand.

      For some reason God created Adam and Eve, and He allowed them to be disobedient. For some reason God created lots of men and women, and He allowed them to be disobedient. It seems that without free will love is meaningless. It seems we also have to learn to love, and yet love is so precious and rare it is worth a great sacrifice.

      • tildeb says:

        CT (and others), regarding how we moderns interpret scripture is itself an interesting case study. So, to pique your curiosity, you may be interested in giving this a listen. It’s about 25 minutes long but I found it quite interesting and thought you might, too.

        • Mel Wild says:

          @ Tildeb. Some of her translation is rather loose, but her basic point is valid. The Bible does use parody and play on words all the time (in the original languages). And it’s written to the lowest common denominator (illiterate), especially the Old Testament, in rhymes and other mnemonic devices so they could easily remember what they couldn’t read (like nursery rhymes). But, as she said, it’s also very sophisticated, rich, poetic, and multi-layered. Even things like demoting the sun and moon to the fourth creation “day” was a statement mocking the gods of ancient world who worshiped the sun and the moon. There’s also internal debate going on between the kings and priests overemphasizing the ritualistic aspects of worship and the prophets telling them they’re full of it.

          Overall, I appreciated what she said. Very good on understanding what is being said in the context of the culture it was written to. Also appreciated how she emphasized the beauty of what is being said rather than a stainless steel legalistic view. Her book, “The Face of Water” sounds interesting.

        • Citizen Tom says:

          @tildeb

          I refer to the public broadcasting networks as the triple “L”, liberals loving liberals. Not much original thinking goes on in such places, but they do put on airs and strive to convince themselves of their originality.

          Is there humor in the Bible? Yes. I don’t think there is much doubt of that.

          What is the point of humor? Well, there is not just one point, but I think one thing we get from humor is something Sarah Ruden observed but may have forgotten to apply to herself. To avoid taking ourselves too seriously, we have to learn to laugh at ourselves. It not about us; it is about Him. Whenever we begin to think it is about us, we have to stop and laugh. It is a so preposterous to put ourselves ahead of God it is funny.

          People have been studying the Bible for two thousand years. We can easily find dozens of translations on the Internet, and some try to bring out the humor, To suggest that Sarah Ruden is the first to observe the humor is silly; she also will not be the last.

          Sarah Ruden strikes me as well meaning, but she has the same problem as most of us. She forgets her own point of view is not the only one that matters. What seems funny to us is not funny to others. Take the story of Jonah, one of her own examples. To Jonah the people of Nineveh were the most awful human beings, not funny at all. The people of Nineveh joyfully and sadistically terrorized their neighbors. Yet how much difference was there to God between Jonah and the people Jonah hated? Not much, apparently. Jonah, our hero in the story, had to learn to see the people of Nineveh from God’s point of view.

          Is it funny that the people of Nineveh dressed even their animals in sackcloth? I suppose so, but I doubt they saw the humor of it. For years they had terrorized their neighbors. Now they experienced terror and repented, at least for awhile.

          There is an old “joke” that the movies have portrayed occasionally. The bad guy gets out a revolver and starts shooting at the hero’s feet, commanding him to “dance”. That is very funny at least from one point of view. Not so funny from another. To fully appreciate the scene, we have to see it from multiple points of view, especially God’s point of view.

      • john zande says:

        This is why I banned you and John from my blog.

        LOL. Actually, I believe you banned me, at least, because you got embarrassed by not being able to name a single new or original thing Jesus said or did.

        But keep telling yourself that pantomime version of reality. You have a lot in common, I see, with Trump and the way he deals with reality. You voted for Trump, right?

        • Citizen Tom says:

          Still repeating the same refrain. You act like a child with your fingers stuck in your ears.

          Here is a whole book for you.
          https://citizentom.com/2017/03/30/who-is-this-man-by-john-ortberg-part-7/

        • john zande says:

          Repeating, because you keep lying 😉

        • Citizen Tom says:

          Lying? Well, my “lie” right out there for anyone to to see and judge for themselves. That makes the truthfulness of your accusation easy enough to evaluate.

          If anyone cannot name a single new or original thing Jesus said, here is a whole book for them.
          https://citizentom.com/2017/03/30/who-is-this-man-by-john-ortberg-part-7/

        • john zande says:

          Yes, I did a post on it: CITIZEN TOM CONCEDES JESUS DID NOT SAY ANYTHING NEW, ORIGINAL, OR EVEN MARGINALLY USEFUL.

          It’s a great read. After your six (or was it seven?) posts trying to name something original or useful Jesus said or did, you finally came up with an analogy of a rescuer.

          That’s it. An analogy.

          Impressive stuff.

        • Citizen Tom says:

          Impressive stuff? Yep! Immediately after Pentecost people started joining the church Jesus’ apostles started. Not long after that the authorities started persecuting Jesus’ church, and but it continued to grow anyway.

          Your babble and insults? That’s what unimpressive. People giving their lives to serve Jesus? That’s worthy of some notice.

        • john zande says:

          39 people gave their lives in 1997 to join a spaceship travelling in the tail of Comet Hale–Bopp.

          Funny what people will do.

        • Citizen Tom says:

          Instead of debating rationally, you attack and attack, mostly with irrelevant nonsense and lies. Why? What is the point? What does a mass suicide have to do with Christianity? Nothing, of course. But you so hate Christianity that is the sort of stupid attack you resort to.

          Your attacks don’t characterize Christianity. What they tell us is what is in your heart.

          Mark 7:18-23 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

          18 And He *said to them, “Are you so lacking in understanding also? Do you not understand that whatever goes into the man from outside cannot defile him, 19 because it does not go into his heart, but into his stomach, and is eliminated?” (Thus He declared all foods clean.) 20 And He was saying, “That which proceeds out of the man, that is what defiles the man. 21 For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed the evil thoughts, fornications, thefts, murders, adulteries, 22 deeds of coveting and wickedness, as well as deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride and foolishness. 23 All these evil things proceed from within and defile the man.”

          If you had anything to gain by destroying Christianity, you would be at an impossible disadvantage. Argument cannot work. What I have to say in response to such as you was written long ago, and it is far better than anything you can contrive. As it is, the words in the Bible are still your best hope, if you ever decide to believe them.

        • john zande says:

          Correct me if I’m wrong, but you seemed to imply people giving their lives to some cause was evidence of that cause’s veracity.

          Appears you don’t quite like that argument as much anymore.

        • Citizen Tom says:

          Now you are posturing. Don’t be an idiot. To know the difference, do you have to look up the words martyr and suicide.

          Put yourself in the shoes of those who have murdered people who disagreed with them. What makes you different? You are right?
          😆

          That has been the excuse of every such killer. If you think Christianity is so useless, then why do waste your time fighting it?

          Remember the words of a certain teacher of the Law. Here is what he advised when the apostles refused to stop preaching.

          Acts 5:33-39 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
          Gamaliel’s Counsel

          33 But when they heard this, they were cut to the quick and intended to kill them. 34 But a Pharisee named Gamaliel, a teacher of the Law, respected by all the people, stood up in the Council and gave orders to put the men outside for a short time. 35 And he said to them, “Men of Israel, take care what you propose to do with these men. 36 For some time ago Theudas rose up, claiming to be somebody, and a group of about four hundred men joined up with him. But he was killed, and all who followed him were dispersed and came to nothing. 37 After this man, Judas of Galilee rose up in the days of the census and drew away some people after him; he too perished, and all those who followed him were scattered. 38 So in the present case, I say to you, stay away from these men and let them alone, for if this plan or action is of men, it will be overthrown; 39 but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them; or else you may even be found fighting against God.”

          Why wouldn’t that advice work for you?

        • john zande says:

          They didn’t commit suicide. Not in their minds, at least. In fact, they loathed the word. To commit suicide was “to turn against the Next Level when it is being offered.” The body, to them, was just a “vehicle” helping them along to the next level, and admission to that next level (TELAH) meant doing away with all earthly things, including the “vehicle.”

          Applewhite believed he was a descendent of Jesus, the earth was about to be recycled, and “The Crew” (his followers) had to free their spirit, at a precise time, so as to board the TELAH spaceship.

          That, CT, is devotion to a belief.

          Like I said, people can do the strangest things when they’re convinced of something… and superstitious people can be easily convinced of almost anything.

        • Citizen Tom says:

          Now you rationalizing. That is what those people who committed suicide did. They literally took their own lives, but to give themselves an excuse they provided themselves a rationalization.

          I suppose you do need to look up the definitions of the words “martyr” and “suicide”, but if you going to rationalize like this it probably won’t do you any good.

        • john zande says:

          And anyway CT, didn’t Jesus commit Suicide by Centurion?

        • john zande says:

          I, and The Crew, could care less about your opinion, CT. They believed it. They really believed it.

          Believing something is what we’re talking about, isn’t it?

          And anyway CT, didn’t Jesus commit Suicide by Centurion?

        • Citizen Tom says:

          All this dialogue and you don’t care about my opinion? How does that rationalization work?

        • john zande says:

          And CT, perhaps you should read your bible.

          Didn’t Jesus commit Suicide by Centurion?

        • john zande says:

          Oh, so he didn’t want to die? That wasn’t his mission, to be a blood sacrifice for the atonement of sin?

          That’s interesting.

          Strange, if I remember correctly, you seem to have said something completely different in the past…

          I remember, yes, it was at the end of your 6,000+ words trying to answer my challenge: name something new, unique or genuinely useful Jesus said or did.

          Here’s what I wrote back then in my post:

          And with that, Citizen Tom admitted (by default) that he had failed to defend his objection with anything tangible. What he did offer as the towering product of some 6,000 words was a vaporous theological opinion: that Jesus came to atone for sin through his suicide.

          Awkward.

        • Citizen Tom says:

          Next time someone takes a bullet for someone try telling the man whose life he saved that the fellow who died for him just committed suicide. I think the expression on their face will say more than any words I have.

          Perhaps these will do.

          John 3:16 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

          16 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.

        • john zande says:

          Yes, I heard you the first time.

          Jesus didn’t, apparently, want to die.

          According to you, now, he didn’t come to earth with a mission to be killed.

          In the future, CT, could you try and keep your story straight.

          These stunning contradictions make it difficult to take what you say seriously.

        • Citizen Tom says:

          I think I begin to understand what drives Democrat Liberals to change the meaning of words. We think in words. Words both connote and denote meaning.

          When someone sacrifices their life for the sake of someone else, no one considers that suicide. Yet to rationalize away what Jesus did, you insist upon the word suicide, as if changing meaning of the word could change what He did.

          Consider how Jesus viewed his imminent death.

          Mark 14:32-42 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

          Jesus in Gethsemane

          32 They *came to a place named Gethsemane; and He *said to His disciples, “Sit here until I have prayed.” 33 And He *took with Him Peter and James and John, and began to be very distressed and troubled. 34 And He *said to them, “My soul is deeply grieved to the point of death; remain here and keep watch.” 35 And He went a little beyond them, and fell to the ground and began to pray that if it were possible, the hour might pass Him by. 36 And He was saying, “Abba! Father! All things are possible for You; remove this cup from Me; yet not what I will, but what You will.” 37 And He *came and *found them sleeping, and *said to Peter, “Simon, are you asleep? Could you not keep watch for one hour? 38 Keep watching and praying that you may not come into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” 39 Again He went away and prayed, saying the same words. 40 And again He came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were very heavy; and they did not know what to answer Him. 41 And He *came the third time, and *said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? It is enough; the hour has come; behold, the Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of sinners. 42 Get up, let us be going; behold, the one who betrays Me is at hand!”

          Suicide? No. A sacrifice for the sake of sinners, like you and me? Yes.

          Anyway, I have no argument more convincing than the text itself. If you want to twist things, it does not matter. The text of the Bible is quite capable of defending itself.

        • john zande says:

          Oh, so he did want to die.

          Suicide by Centurion.

          Isn’t that what I said… Quoting you?

          Now, shall I hold my breath until you contradict yourself again…?

          Goodnight, CT. Enjoy your carefully censored echo chamber.

      • Arkenaten says:

        Biblical interpretation becomes more creative as science as advances.
        The only question I asked was whether Mel considered the Pentateuch fact or historical fiction.
        As he refuses to answer maybe you will, Tom?

        • Mel Wild says:

          No, Ark. I’m not letting you get away with your little diversionary game anymore, I’m not avoiding anything. I’m trying to get you to answer the question I asked you first. You are the one dragging it out.

        • Citizen Tom says:

          I already did. Shrug.

          You have yourself confused with someone important, the purveyor of ultimate truth, I suppose. Like the rest of us, you are just another confused and desperate human being. If I look to Jesus for my salvation, what is it to you? You still have a problem and no resolution. Why don’t you fix that?

        • Arkenaten says:

          @ Tom
          May I ask exactly what this problem is?

        • Arkenaten says:

          Actually CT, I don’t. If you are going to throw out this sort of thing I would appreciate it if you did not hide behind rhetoric and were specific with your somewhat cowardly accusations, thanks all the same.
          So, please what do you consider is this ”problem”?

        • Citizen Tom says:

          Look in a mirror. You problem is you. There may be someone who has a bigger problem than what they see in a mirror, but you are not that exception.

        • Arkenaten says:

          You are still not helping.
          Being smug and self centered is not helping, and neither are your cryptic allusions to what, I really do not know?

          Are you talking about my atheism, me being a supposed sinner, or what?

          All you have to do is spell it out.
          Say exactly what you mean.
          Mel has his finger on the Moderate Button so you are perfectly say from me and any thing I might respond with …. beleive me on this point!

          So spit it out. What is this specific problem you believe I have?

        • Citizen Tom says:

          None are so blind as those who refuse to see.

          I have no power to help you.

        • Arkenaten says:

          I am not asking for your help. I think you are abhorrent.
          You cannot even help yourself.

        • Citizen Tom says:

          True. I cannot help myself. The difference is that I know that, and I have accepted help.

        • Arkenaten says:

          Really? May ask the name of your psychiatrist, Tom?

        • Arkenaten says:

          Oh, and you did not answer the question:
          Do you beleive the Pentateuch to be Fact of Historical fiction.
          Your answer should simply be one or the other.
          That is all I am asking, Tom.
          Nothing more.

        • Citizen Tom says:

          Are you still beating your wife? Yes or no.

  7. Arkenaten says:

    @John

    He also banned me. I beleive Tom struggles with honesty and the direct approach. Where there is no intended subterfuge this tends to confound him.

    As mentioned above, as science advances biblical interpretation is obliged to become more creative and as we see, the hand-waving becomes somewhat exaggerated as well.

    The answers to questions Christians face, either by asking themselves or those asked by others vary in degree of difficulty depending on their own particular beliefs.

    The more intelligent the believer the more they shy away from answering as they quickly realize that they are so often questions they may not have faced before, a scenario that has caused many people to take stock and in certain cases deconvert.

    The real pain is acknowledging that during one’s upbringing and then if one takes belief into adulthood is when the truth hits home hard.

    After reading so many stories from those who have de-converted the overriding feeling is that for these people it hurts, and hurts bad! Not least after discovering they have been duped, oft times unintentionally, but also lied to

    • Mel Wild says:

      Ark, you are a major hypocrite. No one avoids answering questions more than you do.

      • Arkenaten says:

        Not at all. I simply do not enjoy the ”Gotcha!” approach you have a habit of employing, largely based on your presuppositional worldview that always includes capital ‘G’ and an assumption that your god is the one and only.

        If you answered questions straight away as asked without all the dancing maybe our dialogue would be more productive and you would have less need to hide behind your own skirts?

        Tom is exactly the same. You can see this by his ridiculous ”I was not there” throw-away line; a classic Ken-Ham style approach which is dishonest and disingenuous.

        • Mel Wild says:

          I simply do not enjoy the ”Gotcha!” approach you have a habit of employing…

          It’s not a “gotcha!” approach. I’m trying to get you to back up your contant accusations by actually explaining your premise with a hypothetical situation. If you have sound reasoning for the accusation then you should be able to prove your point. But, instead, you become diversionary and shift the blame. That, in itself, is very revealing about you. So, I am not going to let you just throw out any accusation you want without backing up your claim.

          If you answered questions straight away as asked without all the dancing maybe our dialogue would be more productive and you would have less need to hide behind your own skirts?

          Yes, Ark, I wish YOU would! This is what makes you so hypocritical. Plus, you will ask a half-dozen questions that have NOTHING whatsoever to do with the subject of the post. And many of these questions are so broad (like the Pentateuch), it’s impossible to give a single, simple answer.

          So, why don’t you be a little less judgmental and accusatory and engage in some honest dialogue instead of trying to get soundbites from me so you can dismiss me and declare some mythical victory over another stupid Christian. I’m used to people engaging in mature, honest, and respectful conversations. Obviously, this is not what you have in mind. You have not demonstrated that you know how to have a conversation without being belligerent and fallacious.

        • Arkenaten says:

          Everything is relevant where it concerns your religion.
          Ground rules of belief have to be taken into consideration, which then have to be viewed in context of the fact there are over 35,000 different sects that all have varying degrees of belief toward doctrinal issues, not least the Catholics who invented your religion, and whom a large number of Protestants consider are not even Christians!

          So if you wish to do a post such as this one, is your approach the same as all the other sects in your religion?
          You already slammed me over citing a different sect the other day.

          I am not hypocritical a I consider every sect of Christianity to be wrong and Christianity as a whole to be quite disgusting, whereas you will happily entertain someone like Wally, as you are supposedly commanded to yet your own doctrinal beliefs vehemently reject YEC, vehemently reject his version of Hell and yet you condemn me at the drop of the proverbial hat!
          Tgus is whyt ot is crucial to establish exactly what you beleive to fact and what you beleive to be historical fiction and what you beleive to be wholly (holy?) fiction about your religion
          me a hypocrite?
          Methinks the apologist protesteth way too much m’lud.

          I can converse with pretty much anyone.
          All I ask is for that person to be straightforward and honest.

        • Mel Wild says:

          Everything is relevant where it concerns your religion.

          No, Ark it is not. That is called fallacious argumentation, constantly changing the subject of the post to your agenda. Yours is a totally undisciplined approach, throwing out all your anti-theist talking points in the comments. It is totally irrelevant, disrespectful, and time-wasting. It doesn’t deserve an answer.

          I am not hypocritical a I consider every sect of Christianity to be wrong and Christianity as a whole to be quite disgusting…”

          Do you know the meaning of words, Ark, or do you just say whatever you want? What is hypocritical is that you avoid questions, change the subject, and then turn around and blame me for doing it! There is no one commenting here more hypocritical than you. Your combative manner of trying to highjack the conversation is what is truly disgusting.

          Methinks the apologist protesteth way too much m’lud.

          Haha! That’s the MOST hypocritical thing you’ve said so far! Why are you here, Ark? Why do you care? You troll Christian sites and spend hours mocking and accusing Christians. Why do you do this if you think it’s all fiction? You are the one here protesting too much.

          All I ask is for that person to be straightforward and honest.

          Then BE straightforward and honest, Ark, when I ask you to THINK through your accusations and prove them by way of example. You are the one wasting my time going down endless rabbit trails and merry-go-rounds. Did you ever notice that I don’t have to go on merry-go-rounds with the other commenters? I don’t because they at least attempt to answer the question without playing these ridiculous diversionary games. So, look in the mirror when you say such things.

        • Arkenaten says:

          Then when I ask you to offer a straightforward answer please do so …

          And I am still waiting for a straightforward answer to the question of the Pentateuch.
          Fact or Historical fiction?

        • Arkenaten says:

          No, you didn’t … nevertheless, I can live with your reply for now. Please list the areas/tales of the Pentateuch you consider fact ( we can limit the list to fact as these should be noticeably fewer)
          In fact, I’ll compromise and simply ask for six things that you consider are historical fact and if you feel inclined please provide details of why you think so.
          Thanks.

        • Mel Wild says:

          It will have to be another time. I’ve used up all the free time I have for now. I have a lot of work to do today. But if you understood my post on how I understand the Old Testament, you wouldn’t need to ask the question. Clearly. you have a hidden agenda for asking.

        • Arkenaten says:

          Clearly you are afraid to offer an honest answer so clearly you have an agenda for not answering.
          The truth will ultimately compromise your god, Yahweh.
          You know this all too well, which is why you duck and dive, hand wave and use flowery language.,
          At least Craig and his ilk as deplorable as they are will stand up and defend Yahweh.
          In this regard your responses are somewhat cowardly.

        • Mel Wild says:

          This is why you’re so annoying, Ark. You pout and rant when people don’t spend all their time answering all your questions, taking adolescent accusatory potshots instead. Sorry, but unlike you, I don’t have all the time in the world to go down every rabbit hole you wish to take me on. As Nero Wolfe would say, “I can dodge folly without backing into fear.”

    • john zande says:

      He bans EVERYONE who dares challenge his fragile belief system.

    • Citizen Tom says:

      Do you have a monopoly on the Truth? If you do you are hiding it well.

      So long as they teach their children reading, writing, and arithmetic, what others teach their children is their business. There are some things that we could rightly call child abuse, but instruction in the Bible is clearly not one of them. Well, maybe it is for snowflakes, but those are not children. They are “adult” brats.

      The very fact that people can convert to Christianity or de-convert as you put it means we all have the opportunity to learn the truth for ourselves. Being what we are that does not mean we will accept the truth, but that is a personal problem each of us has to deal with.

      If you don’t want to live in a free society and accept the fact that others will think differently from you, that’s a pity. Yet that is what your complaint amounts to.

      • Arkenaten says:

        Yes, and based on what people reveal after they have deconverted strongly suggests that what you are punting is simply lies.
        Chances are that you do not recognise this as such, but this is the power of indoctrination.

        If or when you are ever to produce any evidence whatsoever for your theistic claims then I will be more than willing to pay you due respect.
        Until then , you are simply an indoctrinated, delusional fool.

        And yes, passing this nonsense on to kids is child abuse, whether it is officially classified as such not.

        Maybe you should chat to someone such as Johnny Scaramanga?
        He has just finished his doctorate on the dangers of ACE ( Accelerated Christian Education) , a YEC schooling system he spent some time in as a youngster and since he left has been campaigning ( not least the British Government) to have these ”schools ”closed.

        They teach that the earth is no more than 10,000 years old and dinosaurs existed with humans along with a myriad other delightful God inspired lessons,
        Yes, I can imagine you are warming to the idea already Tom.
        Hypocrite.

        http://www.patheos.com/blogs/leavingfundamentalism/

        • Citizen Tom says:

          There are over seven billion people in the world. It is possible to find someone who believes almost anything. It is possible to find someone like you, so stubbornly spiritually dead his avatar is…….

          What is getting scarce is good manners and a genuine desire to be tolerant. Since you have no desire to exhibit good manners and are actively intolerant, ….. Well, I have better things to do.

        • Arkenaten says:

          You are a member of a religionn that burned women at the stake. That historically is virulently anti-semitic.

          You have no manners because you were raised to have little tolerance of your fellow human who did not fall in line with your vile
          superstitious primitive beliefs.
          A reason why your Christian ancestors enacted probably the largest genocide in human history.

  8. Arkenaten says:

    @Mel

    I can “know” things that science cannot explain.

    Can you give a few examples, and explain why science cannot explain.

    • Mel Wild says:

      Did you read the post? Watch the videos? There’s a whole list there.

      • Arkenaten says:

        I watched the Hutchinson video.It was a hand wave and did not answer the question the audience member asked.
        Please try to understand, that this continual bombardment of theist slanted worldvirw rolls off me like water off a ducks back.

        If I ask a question, Mel it is always because want a direct, straightforward and honest answer, rather than a merry go round if catch me it you can.

        So please, simply give me a few examples as I have asked.
        Thanks.

        • Mel Wild says:

          I watched the Hutchinson video. It was a hand wave and did not answer the question…

          And you are the master at hand-waving, changing the subject, and not answering questions, so you should know.

          Please try to understand, that this continual bombardment of theist slanted worldvirw rolls off me like water off a ducks back.

          Of course. You are stubborn and totally closed to any opposing view. That’s obvious. I didn’t put the video in the post for you. You have no interest in honest discussion, only finding things you can use to dismiss or accuse the other person.

          If I ask a question, Mel it is always because want a direct, straightforward and honest answer, rather than a merry go round if catch me it you can.

          Haha! That’s a ridiculously hypocritical statement! Ark, are you serious? You NEVER just answer my question (when I’ve asked it first). You just change the subject, ask another question, or put a condition on answering it. YOU are the one creating the merry-go-round. For instance, it took dozens of comments just to get you to give a simple answer to my last question. But, then, you try to put it back on me, like I’m not answering. You are the disingenuous one here. You continually waste my time with this childish nonsense. There is nothing honest about what you say. You just make baseless accusations without ever backing them up. You can delude yourself all you want but these are the reasons you get banned from other people’s sites.

        • Arkenaten says:

          And look what happened when I did?
          You hand-waved again and simply refuse to offer a straightforward answer, as you always do, and as I knew you would.
          And this is primarily the only reason I bothered to answer so those reading along can see what a schlenter you truly are.
          Tildeb has called you out on your behaviour in this regard more times than I recall.

          And Hutchinson did not answer the question posed to him. >yes he gave an answer, but not one that answer the audience members question.
          And you method of response pretty much mirrors his.

          It is simply dishonest.
          But you know this already, do you not, as this is what apologetics is all about.
          Eusebius was a craftsman.
          But he was still a liar, nevertheless.

        • Mel Wild says:

          You hand-waved again and simply refuse to offer a straightforward answer, as you always do, and as I knew you would.

          How so? I answered your question as straightforward as possible. You are asking a simplistic truth/fiction question to thousands of years of history. Which part are you asking about? And how are you defining truth? If you mean, true according to intent and purpose, then yes. If you mean historically factually accurate, that is impossible to prove or disprove.

          And this is primarily the only reason I bothered to answer so those reading along can see what a schlenter you truly are.

          Which proves my point. You have a hidden agenda to your questions, which makes you a hypocrite for blaming me of doing the same thing. Ark, I have no doubt you think you’re honest but you are not in any way. You have no intention in engaging in real conversation; you only want soundbites you can use to dismiss me and declare your mythical victory over another Christian. I’m sorry but you’ve been exposed for what you truly are.

          But you know this already, do you not, as this is what apologetics is all about.
          Eusebius was a craftsman.
          But he was still a liar, nevertheless.

          Yes, everyone is a liar except you. And calling everyone a liar just makes you sound more ridiculous, not to be taken seriously.

  9. Arkenaten says:

    Again, my hypothetical question. You are God. You created human beings to be in relationship, to love, have families, fill the earth, be fruitful, and to live in harmony with nature. You gave them free will because love requires it. But because of unchecked violence and murder, over time they became so wicked that if nothing was done, every single human being would be lost. What would YOU do? You are the judge.

    If love requires free will then then the action you god took, annihilation, was obviously the wrong action to take as, according to you, humanity still has free will is still here to be in relationship, to love, have families, fill the earth, be fruitful, and to live in harmony with nature.
    and based on history seems to repeat many similar mistakes over and over.

    Therefore, based on the evidence, to the impartial observer the action taken by your god looks like nothing more than a megalomaniacal temper tantrum.

    If I were the resident god-in-charge, as it were, my creation would have built into my creation a genetic code that recognised the necessity that survival of the species was paramount and this gene would kick in if the species became threatened with global genocidal tendencies.
    This is simply off the top f my head and I realise it requires work, but basically humans would have a built in fail-safe.

    Now, will you please answer the question.

    Do you think the Pentateuch is Fact of Historical Fiction?

    • Mel Wild says:

      If I were the resident god-in-charge, as it were, my creation would have built into my creation a genetic code that recognised the necessity that survival of the species was paramount and this gene would kick in if the species became threatened with global genocidal tendencies.

      Thanks for finally attempting to answer the question. Your answer was already answered by God. We already have a need for self-preservation. We already know right from wrong. In fact, according to the narrative, Adam ate from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Their need for self-preservation is also what made them kill another human being they thought was a thread to their survival.

      What you’re trying to do by way of a back door is make it so we really don’t have free will or a choice. But at least you gave me an answer.

      Do you think the Pentateuch is Fact of Historical Fiction?

      You are asking a very broad question that covers thousands of years of biblical history. You can’t answer it truth or fiction. I already wrote a general post on it (“How I Understand The Old Testament”) and other posts in the past. Some of it is a political narrative, it has creation stories, some of it is scribal interpolation, some of it actual history as we would know the term. All of it is inspired for the reasons I gave. One example, in the creation story, the sun and the moon is placed on the fourth creation “day” as a mockery of the surrounding culture’s worship of the sun and the moon. It’s a very simple yet sophisticated set of books.

      • Arkenaten says:

        What you’re trying to do by way of a back door is make it so we really don’t have free will or a choice. But at least you gave me an answer.

        This is a blatant falsehood.
        If we had an omnipotent designer then there would have been nothing hidden from him/it /her.
        The only possible answer was he/she/it did not know what would happen .

        Human beings are already moving toward an era in our development where reliance on religion is diminishing and secular humanism is becoming more the obvious choice.
        And it is the best choice for our long term survival.

        You are the one looking for a back door.
        And the fact you quote from the rather childish narrative suggests how silly your response is, I’m afraid.

        The more you try to work out how your god could have made us the more evolution becomes the natural, obvious answer. No god required.

        You can’t answer it truth or fiction.

        I did not ask this question.
        Once and for all. I asked if you thought if the Pentateuch is Fact or …. and please read this carefully this time. Historical Fiction.
        Again, if you are unfamiliar with this term, then for goodness sake, look it up!

        I am not looking for a lengthy exposition, but a simple straightforward answer to the question.

        • Mel Wild says:

          Human beings are already moving toward an era in our development where reliance on religion is diminishing and secular humanism is becoming more the obvious choice.
          And it is the best choice for our long term survival.

          Finally, you made a relevant point to this post! You are making my case. You truly do believe in scientism, not science. It’s a philosophy and a faith-based religion of militant atheists because it cannot be proven by scientific method.
          Well, prepare for disappointment.

        • Arkenaten says:

          No, my assertion is based on evidence, as I try to always ensure, and the societies that are moving away from dependence on religion and embracing secular humanism are more, stable in practically all areas of human interaction than those that are more religious.
          You’ll get the odd anomaly but that is also part of being human.

          Possibly there will always be some form of religious belief but humanity as a species will eventually regard it as some sort of quaint superstition much in the same way to would look upon Tree Worship, I imagine.

          Why on earth would I be disappointed in a world where human beings appreciate and love each other simply because we are human?
          Why would I be disappointed when the type of inevitable conflict inherent with god-belief is a thing of the past?
          Of what possible benefit can god-belief in any form actually offer genuine benefit to human beings?
          If you care to enlighten me, then please, go ahead?

        • Mel Wild says:

          It is true that our culture has moved away from a theist worldview, which science first sprung from, to a scientistic worldview (as apposed to scientific). The philosophy of scientism has replaced theistic philosophy, for the most part. But that is changing, as more and more scientists are coming to faith, like Collins and others.

          As far as benefits, I don’t have time to elaborate on them all now because I have a lot of work to do today, but I can name one. Ironically, we would not even have modern science without theism. The belief in God led to whole reason that there’s an order to things, laws that can be formulated to observe nature. This lead to the major boom in science during the Enlightenment period. There are many things you take for granted that come from God, but I will have to elaborate later. Gotto go.

        • Arkenaten says:

          It is true that our culture has moved away from a theist worldview, which science first sprung from,

          Now THAT is a funny statement.
          I am not sure the pre christian societies would all agree on your take not the historians of today for that matter.

          more and more scientists are coming to faith, like Collins and others.

          I naturally disagree with this but I will apologise if you can provide verified statistics, no problem.

          Ironically, we would not even have modern science without theism

          This is a false assertion and you have no evidence to back it up. But I would be interested to see you try.

          So, no actual benefits for humans.

        • Mel Wild says:

          Now THAT is a funny statement.
          I am not sure the pre christian societies would all agree on your take not the historians of today for that matter.

          I meant modern science, as I stated later. The scientific method as we know it today came from the assumptions of theists like Robert Boyle and Isaac Newton who assumed the settled laws of nature from their faith in God. This is where we get the scientific method in chemistry (Boyle) and fundamental laws of physics (Newton). What you’re arguing from is scientism, not pure science which is what they argued from. But it’s not totally your fault, we’ve all inherited the slow shift to this humanistic philosophy that started a couple of centuries ago. Now, we confuse the two as being the same thing.

          And, in case you don’t believe me…

          Boyle is largely regarded today as the first modern chemist, and therefore one of the founders of modern chemistry, and one of the pioneers of modern experimental scientific method…. He was a devout and pious Anglican and is noted for his writings in theology.(Wikipedia, emphasis added)

          Sir Isaac Newton was an English mathematician, astronomer, and physicist (described in his own day as a “natural philosopher”) who is widely recognized as one of the most influential scientists of all time and a key figure in the scientific revolution. His book Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica (“Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy”), first published in 1687, laid the foundations of classical mechanics….He was a devout but unorthodox Christian…” (Wikipedia, emphasis added)

        • tildeb says:

          *sigh*

          Upon whose shoulders did Newton frankly admit he stood in order to see further, Mel? There’s your earlier source for the scientific method and sure wasn’t Jesus or Augustine or even Thomas Aquinas.

          Those shoulders belonged to people who actually practiced good science and developed useful products from that form of inquiry. Religion played zero part.

          Once again, you mistake the depth of achievement for the surface appearance of piety, the good science of Newton for the religious patina he wore (like everyone at that time). You then attribute the science and math produced to be caused by religious belief and this is pure, unadulterated, Grade A apologetic garbage.

        • Mel Wild says:

          Thanks for your passive aggressive sigh and condescending rebuttal. Of course, I don’t mean science started there. Most people credit what we know today as scientific method to Boyle and the laws of thermodynamics to Newton. It doesn’t mean they came up with those in a vacuum.

        • john zande says:

          Long, long, long before even Christianity (which contributed nothing to science), Mozi (470BCE) arrived at the fundamental laws of motion, attributed (wrongly) to Newton.

          ‘The cessation of motion is due to the opposing force… If there is no opposing force… the motion will never stop. This is as true as that an ox is not a horse.’

          Damn that militant scientism

        • tildeb says:

          Most people I know (meaning those who get paid to do science) consider Bacon and Galileo more worthy as the progenitors because they are the ones who began to demonstrate the method’s power to inform explanations with applicable knowledge about the world rather than the metaphysics and natural philosophy inherited from Aristotle and Ptolemy and taken to heart by the Church as if from on high. The fact that Newton himself referenced ‘giants’ upon whose shoulders he stood so that he could see farther should have clued you in that you were selecting someone too recent. But I understand this urge to shape history so that it says what you want it to say rather than deal with messy facts that put a crimp in your apologist agenda. What’s one more misrepresentation between friends?

        • Mel Wild says:

          I will give you that. Of course. But we don’t call it the Galilean laws of physics, we call them Newtonian laws of Physics. And besides, Bacon was a devout Anglican and Galileo was a Catholic, although he had his run in with the political state church. So, we’re still dealing with people who had faith in God.

        • tildeb says:

          As did virtually everyone at that time. You are trying to make a causal link between the religious beliefs of scientists and their contribution to science. This is like claiming there is a causal link between the Catholicism of priests and their desire to rape children. You presume a causal connection whereas neither science nor rape is an effect of religious belief but is done contrary to its tenets.

          As I pointed out, as soon as Newton tried to actually incorporate his faith-based belief into the science he was doing, the product was pure junk. As long as a religious scientist keeps his or her faith-based beliefs out of the science they are doing, good science can still be done. Collins is an excellent example of this, as is the climate science work by evangelical Katharine Hayhoe. Precluding faith-based belief from any science is not an ideological condition as you keep implying but a methodological necessity if one is after knowledge about reality.

        • Mel Wild says:

          I understand the point you’re making. My point is that their belief in “intelligent design,” as it might be called now, led them to believe that the universe could be scientifically addressed with laws. This was the whole “clockwork” mechanism as a deterministic metaphor of the universe from Boyle, Galileo, and Newton. This paradigm dominated that scientific culture (still does), even though quantum mechanics is proving it inadequate now. But the point is still valid. Because they believed in a designer, they felt the universe could be reverse-engineered, if you will. Results could be predicted, which was proven to be true.

          I also want to be clear that I’m not arguing for religious doctrine to play a part in science. I agree that we shouldn’t force particular theistic beliefs into scientific inquiry. I think that’s what Collins does well. And I certainly don’t want particular religious doctrines shutting down advancement in biology, climate, etc. But I agree with Lennox that only considering a naturalist worldview actually closes down scientific inquiry unnecessarily. We tend to only go as far as our expectations. And making wrong assumptions can take us down wrong paths. I’m just saying that a theistic worldview should be in the mix of possibilities in scientific inquiry.

        • Arkenaten says:

          So all those people that came before … do not count, suppose?
          Weren’t the Mayans fairly clued up with their calendars at one time?

          And what about all those clever chappies from Baghdad before the Muslims arrived and put a stop to all this science stuff?

          As for you assertion, De Grasse Tyson fully explains why these scientists were all god believers in their day.
          Would you like to listen to his very erudite explanation?
          And I notice you did not bother answering your arrogant assertion that more and more scientists are coming to faith.
          So please, at least do me the courtesy and provide a citation.

        • Mel Wild says:

          So all those people that came before … do not count, suppose?
          Weren’t the Mayans fairly clued up with their calendars at one time?

          Of course, nothing starts in a vacuum. My point is that we got our modern notion of scientific method and natural laws from people like Boyle and Newton. We didn’t get the laws of thermodynamics from the Mayans. If you weren’t so argumentative, looking for a way to accuse me, you would get the point.

          And I notice you did not bother answering your arrogant assertion that more and more scientists are coming to faith.

          I already told you I only have a moment here and there to answer a question. I’m answering your response to my comment, not every additional question you want to pile on, so stop with your childish accusations.

        • Arkenaten says:

          Ah, so in this ”moment” you only have you choose to cherry pick your responses while throwing out exaggerated claims with zip to back them up.

          Yes …. how very … er …. christian? .

          And the explanation from de Grasse Tyson as to why all those scientists
          believed in your god back in the day?

          It is straightforward, by the way and makes perfect sense.
          Would you like to hear it?

        • Mel Wild says:

          Ah, so in this ”moment” you only have you choose to cherry pick your responses while throwing out exaggerated claims with zip to back them up.

          No, I’m responding to your comments on WHAT I ALREADY SAID, not answering ADDITIONAL questions. Sheesh! There is nothing honest or straightforward about you, Ark. You twist my words so you can bring more accusation. Maybe if you didn’t waste my time with your ridiculous nit-picking and accusations, I might have time for more questions.

          Is it even possible for you to have a respectful conversation without accusation? I haven’t seen it yet. Why should I answer any of your other questions? It’s obviously just a waste of time.

        • Arkenaten says:

          You assertedm more and more scientis like Collins were turning to god-belief . I challenged this and also said I would apologize if your qualified citation backed this up.
          I am not interested in the percentages of scientists who already are Christian from Google searches either – I already know the percentages, more or less – only your claim that there are ”more and more” scientists becoming Christian.
          So ….. Sheesh yourself!

        • Mel Wild says:

          I am not interested in the percentages of scientists who already are Christian from Google searches either…

          What do you mean, not already Christians, Ark? The list I gave you were former ATHEISTS who BECAME Christians. Obviously, they’re all Christians now! Otherwise, they wouldn’t be on the list. I can’t give you a list of atheist scientists who may become Christians in the future. This is how you waste my time, constantly niggling with these inane questions.

        • tildeb says:

          If “more and more” scientists were becoming believers, then aggregate census data should indicate this trend. It doesn’t. In fact, the opposite is true: a lower and lower percentage of working scientists indicate belief in a God or gods. The Discoveroids tried to indicate this same trope (yes, trope because it has been shown false repeatedly to no effect on the Determined Apologist) by collecting signatures of those scientists who disagreed with the tenets of evolutionary biology. So a counter and much larger list was made and published only of those scientists named ‘Steve’ who agreed with the tenets of evolutionary biology. The percentage in evolutionary biology is pretty stable around 94% but in all the sciences in the US there is a reversal of percentages between the general public and scientists concerning various questions about religion, religiosity, and faith. That’s a pretty good indication why science itself is constantly attacked by religious apologists. The truth and reality are not the allies of the religious but adversaries.

        • Mel Wild says:

          If “more and more” scientists were becoming believers, then aggregate census data should indicate this trend.

          Okay, let me rephrase what I was thinking when I said that. I wasn’t trying to make a statistical claim but a perception one. But your claim isn’t true either. As former atheist Alister McGrath, PhD in molecular biophysics at Oxford University, who is now also a theologian, wrote a book called, “The Twilight of Atheism,” on the decline of hardline atheism. He also really spanked Dawson in his book, “The Dawson Delusion.”

          We are seeing high-profile scientists becoming Christians or theists. Like Francis Collins, who was the former director of the Human Genome Project, who grew up an atheist and became a Christian. Or, Gunther Scheizle, a nuclear physicist who works for the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) and is also a professor of Physics at a Swiss Institute. He was a die-hard atheist who had an encounter with God and became a Christian. I could list other atheist scientists who have become Christians in the last decade or so.

          In fact, the opposite is true: a lower and lower percentage of working scientists indicate belief in a God or gods.

          That’s actually not true. What’s actually surprising is that atheism hasn’t taken over the sciences, since the assumption by atheists was that religion would eventually be replaced by scientific advancement. In over the last 80 years the percentage of atheists scientist has basically stayed the same.

          The recent survey of scientists tracks fairly closely with earlier polls that gauged scientists’ views on religion. The first of these was conducted in 1914 by Swiss-American psychologist James Leuba, who surveyed about 1,000 scientists in the United States to ask them about their views on God. Leuba found the scientific community equally divided, with 42% saying that they believed in a personal God and the same number saying they did not.
          More than 80 years later, Edward Larson, a historian of science then teaching at the University of Georgia, recreated Leuba’s survey, asking the same number of scientists the exact same questions. To the surprise of many, Larson’s 1996 poll came up with similar results, finding that 40% of scientists believed in a personal God, while 45% said they did not. Other surveys of scientists have yielded roughly similar results.

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

          To have virtually no change after 80 years of significant scientific advancement is actually a loss if we take expectations into account. It definitely disproves the theory that science will eventually replace religion.

        • tildeb says:

          Militant atheist? Militant?
          Yet another apologist trope. You’re covering the playbook , Mel, I’ll grant you that.

        • Mel Wild says:

          Yes, absolutely, Tildeb. It’s the perfect term for you, JohnZ, and Ark. Militant means combative, belligerent, aggressive, etc. The fact that you troll Christian sites with your combative tone is proof in and of itself. You hide behind your pseudo-intellectual rhetoric and pretend you are disinterested or unbiased. Nothing could be further from the truth! If you weren’t militant, you wouldn’t even be here making these kinds of comments. I have atheist friends who are truly disinterested and they never employ the militant tactics you employ. They are respectful, not arrogant, and we can have a mature and mutually respectful conversation about our ideas as adults. This is anything but the case with you.

          And calling everything a trope is just your way of dismissing any dissenting view from your lofty opinion. It means nothing.

        • tildeb says:

          As is absolutely typical, you fail to grasp the meaning of the term, the heart of the definition so to speak, that differentiates challenges and criticisms and arguments from being combative (in what way), belligerent (in what way), aggressive (in what way). And this vital part of the definition that differentiates militant behaviour is “extreme, violent, or confrontational methods”, none of which Ark, JZ, or I are guilty of. The term, again, is used as a slur, as a pejorative, and is employed by religious apologists at the first sign of challenge by a non believer who is willing to face up to the misrepresentations, deceit, and dishonesty you peddle and takes the time and makes the effort to reveal why your apologetics is neither honest nor informed with respect to reality. It is snake oil and uses the same discredited talking points over and over and over again. That’s why they are correctly described as apologetic tropes. You introduce nothing original that doesn’t come directly from absolutely typical – and typically dishonest – religious apologetics. The ‘militant’ slur is just another in a very long line of tropes you recycle yet again.

        • Mel Wild says:

          That’s total baloney, Tildeb. There is no one that’s ever been on my site that is more combative and belligerent and aggressive than you, Ark, and JohnZ. Ark is the most obnoxious and annoying, but you are the most arrogant and condescending. Every one of your comments is combative and insulting. You don’t just respectfully disagree, you scold us like school children. Ark goes on his diversionary and fallacious rabbit trails and then accuses me of not answering his endless questions. He wastes my time with endless nit-picking and accusation. I can honestly say that there is no one more disrespectful than you three. You don’t engage in conversation, you look for reasons to attack and ridicule. I have a lot of respect for people who honestly and respectfully disagree with me, and I said before, I have atheists friends I respect, but I absolutely have no respect for you three. You really don’t deserve any respect. I have tried to be gracious and allow you to rant on and on here but I see all I get is more insults and baseless accusation. Why don’t you just go away if you think we’re so stupid? Does this feed your ego or something? Are you trying to teach us all a lesson? Sorry, but that dog won’t hunt.

          I’m sure you’ll come up with some devastating reply to this but, frankly, I could care less what you think.

        • tildeb says:

          In every other linguistic setting, militants indicate people willing to engage in violence, often consider the most extreme of behaviour. The root is used for our Armed Forces – the military. What you’re doing once again is torturing the language to suit a purpose other than respecting what’s true. And, once again, I’m simply calling you on it.

        • tildeb says:

          Yup, it sure has made the rounds, hasn’t it? Criticize religious belief and admit one is not a believer and, POOF!… another militant atheist (meaning someone who doesn’t go along with showing ‘proper’ respect for religious sensibilities).

  10. Arkenaten says:

    Take your pick, but I didn’t make up the term.

    Then recognise it for what it is …. especially in context, and stop using it.

    And then perhaps you could address the genuine militant (read violent) actions from the religious organisations/individuals across the globe?
    Simply pick any religion and I am pretty sure you will find what you’re looking for quite easily.

    • Mel Wild says:

      And then perhaps you could address the genuine militant (read violent) actions from the religious organisations/individuals across the globe?

      I agree, Ark. There are violent religious nutjobs. These are extreme Fundamentalists of various religions. They are criminals and I am not defending them at all. But the word, “militant” can just mean combative, belligerent, intolerant, aggressive. And I’m not the only one who used the term that way. If you don’t like militant, I will use one of its synonyms.

      • Arkenaten says:

        Then we can apply the term t you Christians as you threaten people with Hell either overtly or tacitly.
        Shall we simply insert the word militant in front of Christian every time we use it?

        Christianity in inherently militant and always has been.

        • Mel Wild says:

          No, Ark there are militant Christians and there are those who are not. Just like there are extreme Fundamentalist Anti-theists like you and there are reasonable atheists.

        • Arkenaten says:

          Your entire religion is founded on militancy.
          It is violent through and through and its two core doctrines are blood sacrifice and eternal true and damnation for non- compliance.

        • Mel Wild says:

          Now, you are lying (or just ignorant). My entire “religion” is based on the teachings of Jesus Christ. The Bible has militancy in its history, but that is not what Christianity is based on. You don’t know what you’re talking about but you sure like to throw out the accusations and sweeping generalities. It’s two core doctrines are not blood-sacrifice (not in an appeasement sense) or eternal damnation. That is a total straw-man fallacy based on the worst versions of Christian theology. All of Scripture is based on other-centered, self-giving love (Matt.22:37-40), not on man’s wickedness, pagan scapegoating, and religious distortions about God.

        • Arkenaten says:

          I have told you enough times already, I do not lie. I am not a Christian.
          I have no need to lie.
          Christianity’s primary doctrine revolves around a Blood Sacrifice, but its foundations go further back as I know you believe in the prophecy of the Old Testament.

          Failure to acknowledge the action of the blood sacrifice and what it supposedly stood for means eternal damnation in Hell, a doctrine taught for thousands of years and still taught.

          It is a violent, heinous religion that has brutalized most part so the world.

        • Mel Wild says:

          I have told you enough times already, I do not lie. I am not a Christian.
          I have no need to lie.

          That is a stupid statement that does not deserve a response.

          Believe whatever distortions you want. They just won’t work on any thinking person. I’m not going to waste any more of my time here.

        • Arkenaten says:

          What, no ”whatever” to finish off?

          You are a man of little integrity.
          Aren’t you supposed to tell the truth first before pumping your insidious brand of apologetics?
          Or is lying for Jesus as acceptable now as it was for Eusebius?

        • Mel Wild says:

          Haha…look in the mirror. You are the one making baseless accusations. There is nothing integrous about you. Here’s a better word than “whatever… Good-bye.

  11. Arkenaten says:

    He was a die-hard atheist who had an encounter with God and became a Christian we

    A lie
    He had an OBE and we damn well know what causes such experiences and they can be repeated under lab conditions.
    And once again we see you thoroughly abusing language and terms to simply suit you preferred dogma with no regard whatsoever for honesty.

    • Mel Wild says:

      “A lie”

      Ark, you just sound desperate trying to explain everything away with science. And, again, you make baseless accusations. I am not lying. But you obviously are much smarter than Scheizle. I’m sure he never thought of OBE’s! I guess he’s just another dupe who fell for Christian superstitions.

      First, it’s not a lie that Gunther Scheizle was a hardcore atheist; in fact, he was ANTI-theist. According to the article, “Everyone familiar with Gunther knew him as a self-described “no-nonsense, anti-religious atheist. Scheizle himself said, “I once threw a heavy physics book at one of my students just because he even mentioned the possibility of Intelligent Design in the universe.”

      Second, don’t you think an atheist with the scientific stature of Scheizle would consider OBE’s? Or, if it was just some brain inducement? I suppose you’re going call Scheizle a liar too. Either way, it doesn’t matter if it was literally angels or not, why would it totally shake a very intelligent scientist to the core? Why wouldn’t he just write it off like you would, Ark? No, it was more than just a brain inducement.

      “Although I was unconscious and my body lay paralyzed on the floor, I felt like I was outside my body and could hear and see all the commotion my heart failure had caused around me,” he explains. “That is when beings of light came and comforted me. They did not say anything, but I knew I was going to survive and that my mission on earth had not yet been accomplished. I knew I was not dead. All I remember after that is waking up in the ambulance in excruciating pain.”

      Full article here… http://www.godupdates.com/atheist-scientist-becomes-a-christian-after-a-visit-from-angels/

      You know, your constant accusations just ring hollow and sound desperate after a while. Keep on explaining everything away if you want. Good luck with that. But I am not a liar and I get very tired of your baseless accusations. Don’t you know how to talk without accusing people you don’t agree with? It’s very annoying.

      • Arkenaten says:

        As I stated. You claimed it was an encounter with god.
        This is a bold faced lie.
        Out of Body Experiences have been explained by neuroscience, and the experiences can be repeated in the lab.
        That people like you don’t want to accept the facts is not my problem , but yours.

        I already read the article beforehand which is why I called you a liar.
        You have been accused of lying by others on yours blog but I have been somewhat hesitant to bandy this term around.
        I now reconsider my assessment.

        • Mel Wild says:

          So, you know better than these people because it’s been reproduced in a lab. Okay. Whatever…

          It still doesn’t make him or me a liar, Ark. I’m beginning to wonder if you even know what the word means.That is just a stupid judgmental accusation that has no merit whatsoever. You don’t know what happened for sure. You could say we’re wrong or deluded, but to call us liars is unjustified and prejudicial and just plain adolescent. You just sound desperate and overly dismissive. And because you continually make these baseless accusations, no one should take a single thing you say seriously.

        • Arkenaten says:

          I did not say he was a liar, and I still don’t .
          But you are a liar.
          Yo were emphatic that he had had an encounter with god.
          You lied.

        • Mel Wild says:

          No, Ark, I was reporting what the article said. And Scheizle reported “beings of light” that comforted him. What would you call that? A “beings of light” encounter? I am not lying. You are just looking for ways to accuse me. It’s totally unjustified and disrespectful and wrong.
          As it was written in the article:

          “But to the shock of all who know him, Gunther’s opinion recently changed dramatically after a divine intervention!”

          You are unjustly accusing me of something I was not doing.

        • Arkenaten says:

          You stated he had an encounter with god.
          That is a lie.
          You could have phrased it differently and offered a more honest approach, but no.

          You are now trying to change your claim by using weasel words.

          You knew exactly what you were doing, so yes, I’m afraid you lied.

        • Mel Wild says:

          Then you must be dense, Ark. An encounter is the appropriate summation of what he said. Having an experience with “beings of light” is an encounter. Are you going to keep on this stupid line of reasoning?

          If you were honest with yourself, you just don’t like any approach to the story, other than to reduce it down to insignificance.

          All you do is quibble and nit-pick so you can defend your baseless accusations. Please stop being so annoying. I am not lying and you know it. You’re just trying to justify your accusation.

        • Arkenaten says:

          The beings of light could have been aliens. They could have been fairies or they could have been because of serious trauma as a result of his heart attack.

          You lied.
          I think you ought to make restitution and at least offer an apology to your readers.

        • Mel Wild says:

          Prove that I lied then, Ark. Were you there? Do you have eye-witnesses? Can you verify that they were aliens, and that I knew they were, and purposely deceived everyone when I made my comment?

          Otherwise, if you don’t have something intelligent to say, keep it to yourself.

        • Arkenaten says:

          You lied because of your statement.
          There is no need to repeat it.

        • Mel Wild says:

          You lied.
          I think you ought to make restitution and at least offer an apology to your readers.

          No, Ark. You owe me an apology for making baseless accusations. And you owe my readers an apology for being so obnoxious.

        • Arkenaten says:

          Obnoxious?
          You are a leader in a religion that burned woman at the stake for supposed witchcraft.
          You are a leader in a religion that discriminates against gays because of religious convictions.
          You are a leader in a religion that is anti science and damns people to hell.
          You are a leader in a religion that was once largely responsible for one of the worst genocides in history.

          Do you think I really care one iota that you consider me ”obnoxious”?

        • Mel Wild says:

          Burning women at the stake for witchcraft is an example of superstitious religious knuckleheads, not one of following Christ all.

          It is a false statement that Christianity is anti-science. This is just anti-Christian propaganda. There’s an interesting discussion between Ard Louis and Max Tegmark (“The Elegent Universe – Ard Louis and Max Tegmark at MIT”). Tegmark, who is not a Christian, said that according to studies, only about 11% of [American] Christians belong to a faith that could be considered anti-science. Most have either a neutral or positive view of science. Here’s the clip forwarded to that part of the discussion…

        • Arkenaten says:

          (Burning women at the stake for witchcraft) Believing that a human blood sacrifice will supposedly atone for all the claimed sins of humanity is an example of superstitious religious knuckleheads, not one of following a positive healthy commonsense lifestyle (Christ) at all all.

          Christianity attempt to ”marry ” science with superstitious belief but ultimately it has no real, ling term interest in science as its goal has to do with confession of sins and eternal life after death through belief in a narrative character found in the bible.

        • Mel Wild says:

          Believing that a human blood sacrifice will supposedly atone for all the claimed sins of humanity is an example of superstitious religious knuckleheads, not one of following a positive healthy commonsense lifestyle (Christ) at all all.

          And I don’t agree with that premise! That is not a true understanding of the God’s redemption. You are parroting one theory that many Christians disagree with. It was not a human sacrifice and God did not need our blood. That is a fallacious example of misplaced literalism. I have written a lot on this on this blog so I won’t go into it here.

          Christianity attempt to ”marry ” science with superstitious belief but ultimately it has no real, ling term interest in science as its goal has to do with confession of sins and eternal life after death through belief in a narrative character found in the bible.

          All you are doing is parroting your intolerant scientistic (not science) philosophy, constructing a straw-man that you can attack and knock down. You obviously didn’t watch the video, but you really should take what Max Tegmark says to heart, instead of ignorantly making your prejudicial accusations. Your unqualified opinion not only means nothing, your view is just as much the problem as that of extreme anti-science Fundamentalists. You are just on the extremist anti-theist end of the spectrum.

        • Arkenaten says:

          I do not care if you do not agree with my premise. It is a fact of your religion. The central most important fact – followed the the claimed reanimation of a dead human being.

          I am not parroting anything of the sort.
          There are examples of scientists who are also believers who are on record as stating even if everything that their religious-based science states is fact was shown to be false they would still believe the bible and reject the evidence.
          And we both know there are many, many biblical innerantist who flatly reject evolution.

          So the truth of the matter is that you are also a leader in a religion that is rife with such anti-science types.
          Thus my assertion that your religion ultimately has no long term interest in science is true.

        • Mel Wild says:

          I know you don’t care, Ark. You’re not open to anything but your anti-theist dogma, which ironically makes you narrow-minded and prejudicial. Again, your view is as much part of the problem as that of extreme Fundamentalists.

        • Arkenaten says:

          There is nothing but a foundation of prejudice in your religion.
          It is hateful and despicable.
          And it is hurts people, Mel.
          It damages them and demeans them and hurts them.

          And because of your indoctrination and absolute refusal to examine the truth of my words you are a proponent of that hurt.

          My premise is correct.
          You continue to abuse and twist and contort in a desperate attempt to justify thousands of years of violence and hatred and racism and oppression all based on unsubstantiated nonsense.

          Your religion has caused the deaths of million upon millions.
          And you have no shame?

          You hurt people, Mel.
          Your really do.

        • Mel Wild says:

          You’re just erecting a straw-man pointing to the worst examples of so-called Christians and what they believe. You are the only one spewing hatred and intolerance here.

        • Arkenaten says:

          Nonsense! Much of this exists today.
          You are simply not courageous enough to deal with the truth of my words
          I hate nothing.
          Your religion is shameful. Utterly, utterly shameful, and you sit there and tell me I am erecting straw men?

          At least have the courage and basic human decency to acknowledge what I say is the truth.
          But don’t in any way try to justify it because that is just sick.

          I reiterate, your religion hurts people. It has from the get go and continues to do so today.
          And by extension you hurt people, Mel.

        • Mel Wild says:

          Nonsense! Much of this exists today.

          Your tilting at windmills, Ark. Your fight is against religion not Christ.

          And by extension you hurt people, Mel.

          Another false and totally baseless accusation. I don’t hurt people, Ark. And you cannot prove that. You are only showing your version of ignorant prejudice and intolerance.

        • Arkenaten says:

          You reinforce the belief that people are sinners, and worthless and that only a belief in the value of the human blood sacrifice of the character Jesus the Nazarene can make them whole again, thus you demean them as human beings by forcing them to accept this heinous barbarism.
          It is the prime doctrine of your religion, Mel.

          Thus you hurt people, Mel.

        • Mel Wild says:

          You reinforce the belief that people are sinners, and worthless and that only a belief in the value of the human blood sacrifice of the character Jesus the Nazarene can make them whole again, thus you demean them as human beings by forcing them to accept this heinous barbarism.

          Absolutely not! Again, you are wrongly representing my views. Scripture says that God SO LOVED humanity that He gave of Himself in Jesus Christ (John 3:16-17), which means that you have the SAME worth to God as Jesus Christ (John 15:9; 17:23). And neither God nor I am forcing anyone to accept this, Ark. Whether you want to receive God’s love or resist it is always your choice, but He gives you grace to see it and receive it. But if you decide to live apart from God, that will be IN SPITE of His will for you (2 Pet.3:9).

          And, as far as being “sinners” goes, that is self-evident. We ALL know we’ve done wrong things in our life that’s not representative of other-centered, self-giving love. It’s just silly and delusional to say we don’t do these things.
          You are misrepresenting me, Ark.

        • Arkenaten says:

          You abuse the words to meet your end game.

          And because of your belief in gods, you lie to those you preach to.

          The Christian religion required a blood sacrifice.
          Please stop lying by trying to suggest it did not.

          And, as far as being “sinners” goes, that is self-evident

          Wrong! More lies.
          The term sinners applies to those who are considered to have disobeyed your god.

          Belief in gods is primitive and barbaric and has absolutely no foundation in verifiable evidence.

          The history of your religion is one of intolerance, violence, wars, prejudice, misogyny, racism, hatred for minority groups, including gays, and Jews, and of course the genocide of the Native Americans.

          Thousands of years of barbaric superstition perpetrated by people such as you.

          You are a beacon for the religion you cherish and champion but you will never be able to wash away the stain of blood.
          I am surprised you are even able to wade in it.

        • Mel Wild says:

          Ark. NO!!! You are totally misrepresenting my view. Again, you erect a false straw-man, taking the worst elements of extreme Fundamentalism and making them my views. You could not be further from the truth! You are not only dishonest, you are maliciously slandering me, which makes you mean-spirited, prejudicial, judgmental, and intolerant. In other words, you are a total hypocrite. You’re the one who owes me an apology.

        • Arkenaten says:

          And members of your religion were responsible for the single largest genocide in recorded human history.

          How do you respond to this?
          How do you live with this?

  12. Pingback: Is science at war with Christianity? | In My Father's House

  13. Pingback: When they’re blinding you with science | In My Father's House

  14. sklyjd says:

    Since you do not allow me the courtesy of a reply on your other post “A critique of Scientism”
    “they are both parts of the material or natural world.”
    True, but you are changing the original disagreement that was about electro -chemical reactions being chemical or physical, and you cannot or will not admit you were wrong.
    “You assert that there’s no such thing as a spiritual world and that we make up our God with brain chemical reactions. Those are certitudes! You have no way of proving your statements.”
    Here is a link to a very interesting article for you to try and rubbish.
    https://aeon.co/essays/the-dopamine-switch-between-atheist-believer-and-fanatic

    • Mel Wild says:

      Since you do not allow me the courtesy of a reply on your other post “A critique of Scientism”

      LOL! I allowed you the courtesy of about 30 replies on that post, so your complaint is bogus. I closed the comments because you won’t drop it and you’re just wasting my time. There are over 300 comments there and that’s enough. So, now you’re over here starting up again here. You are a piece of work!

      “they are both parts of the material or natural world.”
      True, but you are changing the original disagreement that was about electro -chemical reactions being chemical or physical, and you cannot or will not admit you were wrong.

      But THAT was my point. They are both parts of the material or natural world. But you keep harping on the distinction between physical and chemical, which is NOT the point. Here’s what you originally said that I was responding to.

      None of the brains process is material or physical, however there are electro-chemical reactions, therefore your belief in God is spiritually generated by electro -chemical reactions.

      You were making the claim that none of the brain processes were material or physical and that’s wrong. Now, you even admit it in your last comments. Your dogmatic certitude about what is spiritual is not unprovable, by any means. Furthermore, any electrical impulse is physical, which I showed you before. It’s the movement of atoms along a conductive pathway whether it’s neural pathways or wires or even the airwaves.

      And I read your article. It doesn’t prove that there is no spiritual realm. It was a lot of speculation about what might be happening. They have no idea other than to observe brain patterns, which could be no more than responses to consciousness and/or spiritual things. And no one is arguing that brain chemistry can affect a person’s behavior. That is a different subject.

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