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July 09, 2012

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The idea that the universe is the creation of an evil, deceptive entity is not actually new, iirc it is the very basis of Gnostic beliefs. I have personally met people that believed that there is indeed a 'god' but not a benevolent one but an evil spirit who seems to enjoy all the wickedness that is in the world.
Then there is of course the hypothesis of Little Jehovah Gott whose mother had him do the Kosmos-Test as part of a psychological evaluation.
The idea whether God can or would deceive mankind has been a topic of fierce theological dispute until it was made a dogma that HE could and would not, although the Bible contains several examples of divine deception like fooling the army besieging Samaria into believing that they were attacked by a united Hittite-Egyptian army by making lots of noise in the night(2.Kings 7).
The dinosaur bones were by the way buried by the Devil, other fossils were created during Noah's flood, everything else is a result of the 'vis formans', nature's creative capability to form things from nn-living matter that give the impression that either an intelligent being had made them or that they had groen in a living organism.

I tend to resolve this dispute for myself in this way:

The Bible may very well be literal truth, but if it is, we have failed to understand the message, because clearly the Earth shows every sign of being billions of years old (not thousands), and anyone who denies that is simply pulling a sack over their own head.

The archaeological record took TIME to lay down. You don't have a kilometer-deep layer of marine animal skeletons drop out of the water in any post-Flood timeframe, nor do you carve the Grand Canyon from Flood runoff. Even more impossible than those things, though, is convincing people who believe that e.g. the Grand Canyon is an artifact of the Flood that they're dead wrong about that.

I also picture God shaking His head over this dispute, saying something like: "You people are missing the whole point".

We feel that it is important that the centre, which has been largely funded out of the public purse, should be inclusive and representative of the whole community, and we have therefore been engaged in detailed and constructive discussions with the Trust in order to secure the outcome we have today.

I liked this one. I'm not even going to bother going into the absurd potential implications of it, since you're all smart enough to do that on your own. Good God.

'tis Ireland, don't you know, and me dear sainted grandmother, God bless her soul, would attribute this nonsense as yet another symptom of long-term alcohol poisoning and a general bullheadedness running in 'er 'usband's family, who could never be trusted.

She'd sooner lift her skirts for a leprechaun, could she do it over again, which she wouldn't, being gone from this mortal world and wishin it good riddance too.

Scamps they be and always were!

I'd happily treat the shites at the Caleb Foundation to a wee dram or several round the corner at the local public house and hospice and then invite them into the lane for some coat-holding and gob-shutting with the help of me fists and there'll be no patty fingers if you please from the God-botherers in future.

We can repair back inside after for a round of slurred Danny Boy into the shank of the evening and I don't expect to receive a tab for me services.

Seriously, though, the world is awash in bullsh*t and it will end in violence, especially with the sadistic but pious f*cks now ascendant on this side of the pond.

I see the Republican Party's house guitar shredder Ted Nugent has recently been wishing the Confederacy had won the last time around.

Let's go. Lincoln didn't finish the job John Brown started.

The Caleb Foundation and its ilk over here want ALL points of view included in all government pronouncements and disbursements.

I don't think they really mean that.

I want my point of view included too.

Now.

Northern Irish YAC is mostly IMHO a "tribal marker" rather than something that people necessarily believe-believe.

Is that really true? Just because it is absurd doesn't mean that people don't really believe it.

So that’s the first theory: The scientists are lying. All of them.

I wonder about this; if you're not in a technical field, it can be easy to see science as way more compartmentalized than it actually is. And if you see science as way more compartmentalized, then maybe the conspiracy requires only a few key people.

I also wonder how much of YEC's plausibility stems from the absence of scientists. I mean, if you are a bible college graduate in a rural town in Oklahoma, and you don't know any scientists, maybe that makes it easier to believe that there are only a tiny number of evil scientists in the world? Or that they're all exactly the same? I live in a college town and I know lots; come to think of it, there's a new geophysicist who sings with me in the church choir...

If you believe in an omnipotent God, there is no way to prove that the world wasn't created last Thursday at 3:27 PM. Complete with you and all your "memories." That's what "omnipotent" means, after all -- able to do anything.

On another note, there is a third way to reconcile the the scientific evidence with YEC, without requiring an evil and duplicitious God. The "evidence" for an older earth (or for evolution, or any other thing that conflicts) is just a test of faith. Even as God commanding Abraham to kill his son was not a command to do evil, but a test of faith. I have encountered this view far more often than the "evil God" view.

There is at least one YEC scientist that mainstream biologists respect because he's so honest--Todd Wood. Here's a sample entry from his blog--

link

I'm not a creationist myself, to be clear on that. I stumbled across this guy reading one of the pro-evolution blogs. Probably Larry Moran, who recommends some of Wood's posts here--

how similar are humans and chimps

So if you're interested in the psychology behind YEC'ers, Todd is an interesting data point. Kind of an outlier, I'd say.

I have encountered this view far more often than the "evil God" view.

That's the explanation I am familiar with as well. I've never heard the "evil God" thing before today, at least not that I recall.

any god that needs to test his subjects by making them live in a world that, to the best of their god-designed minds' ability to comprehend, appears to contradict everything that god ostensibly told them is an evil god.

I think Turbulence has a point.

Until one actually encounters scientific publications, it's easy to be unaware of how much scientific work has been done, by how many people, the vastly detailed evidence amassed. If all you've seen presented of evolution is in sneak peeks at that heathen publication National Geographic, it might be possible to think that Darwin was misled by the Devil, and that the Leakeys and Steven J. Gould conspire to keep the thing going.

In a former net.life, I was a tenured grad student at the University of Ediacara (go, you fighting Anomalocarids!), and spent several years "debating" creationists on talk.origins It wasn't long before I realized that the great majority of those who set out to publicly refute evolution had never seen a single primary scientific publication, were unaware of the existence of even the wide-scope journals such as Science, Nature, Physics Review Letters, and Cell. They might have seen an article from Scientific American, but generally not.

Tribal identification is certainly one strong motivator. I think another is the need some people seem to feel for certainty. Creationists were forever throwing up "Piltdown Man", or the reorganization of N. American horse ancestry in the years since O.C. Marsh, as evidence that scientific ideas could not be relied on. The self-correcting nature of the scientific enterprise is seen by these people as a grave defect -- they want beliefs that are proof against modification by later evidence, something science really doesn't offer.

My favorite website on this topic is biologos, which is run by various evangelical Christians (some scientists, some theologians) who endorse mainstream science and are trying to get evangelicals to see that evolution is no different from any other branch of science. (Of course the YEC'ers are at war with nearly all branches of science to some degree.)

I've recommended this site to a friend of mine who is at the very least an intelligent design fan and in his more depressing moments (to me anyway) wonders if the YEC'ers are right. I think there's a sort of self-ghettoizing mentality at work here. He had no problem with evolution back in the 90's when I first met him, but I think the advent of Fox News and the whole rightwing media has shifted him from center-right to far right on a lot of issues. He started reading Ann Coulter some years ago (she has chapters assaulting evolution in at least one of her books) and then Michael Behe and a year or two said to me that "There was no evidence for evolution". He's perfectly sincere. But I get irritated when he makes statements like that. He's been reading on this subject for ten years now and obviously he's selective in what he chooses to read.

I've known lots of anti-evolutionists (mostly ID types, but occasionally YEC too) and basically it's the belief that you have to take the Biblical worldview (or whatever phrase they choose to use) as a package. Start doubting Adam's fall and there's no original sin and some of St. Paul's reasoning goes out the window. Etc... Some are engineers who might accept the old earth, but don't think the complexity of living organisms could evolve.

Maybe the Christian God, with whom I have no quarrel and whom created evil after all, puts His or Her pants on one leg at a time just like Vishnu, Allah, and Thor and either is wrong or forgetful about what He/She accomplished all those years ago.

Maybe God had dementia and time has looped back on itself, like my mother's clock which can have me at 60 years of age standing in front of her in the flesh and simultaneously ask where her five little children, including yours truly, have gone to.

Maybe the Young Earth Creationists are like God's bad seeds or untrustworthy relatives who sneak into God's dementia ward and surreptitiously con God into changing His or Her Will and Last Testament with codicils that sign Gods' legacy and good silver over to them, the twits.

The authorities, in this case the National Trust, make the rest of us have to prove the Young Earth Creationists wrong, at great expense and unsurmountable family discord.

If it were an Agatha Christie potboiler, there would be a body in the window seat and the killer wouldn't be Nietzsche, the butler, or Darwin, the chauffer, despite the Young Earth Creationists insistence on always blaming the help.

I think you're quite correct, wj - I've had it put to me directly that life is hard and we suffer because God wants us tough, for the battle against e-ville and the unbelievers, and can't abide sissies of any kind or gender under any circumstances.

'Course, this all fails to account for the learned-helplessness and imposed gullibility that all modern true believers require in order to function. Dispassionate examination of the evidence (mountains thereof) shows the damage inflicted when unsolvable double-binds are a declared condition of acceptability - and don't think there's no gun-to-the-head involved, either in the conversion process itself, or in the ensuing cascade of malfunctions & maladaptations.

God doesn't want a planet full of Jesus-wannabes, he wants SOLDIERS. Tough, absolutely obedient martyrs for their faith.

I wonder if Jesus ever feels like he let his dad down - like he should've been more dutiful. Made a bigger splash.

SOMETHING....

from Don Johnson:

I've known lots of anti-evolutionists (mostly ID types, but occasionally YEC too) and basically it's the belief that you have to take the Biblical worldview (or whatever phrase they choose to use) as a package. Start doubting Adam's fall and there's no original sin and some of St. Paul's reasoning goes out the window.

I think that's what's driving the last-ditch, white-knuckle efforts to double down, again and again and again, on their all-or-nothing insistence that they really are right, despite all the evidence, and the rest of us simply can't be allowed to run around acting like equal participants.

Make no mistake: Christianity has, so far, turned out to be wrong about everything even remotely checkable, and all their predictions are dust; yet they continue to believe that it MUST be true, there IS a pony in here (somewhere).

The alternative is of course that they have wasted their lives, misapplied their efforts, misused their talents, and been a plague upon their families and loved ones to no good end at all...and THAT is not acceptable, so the rest of it can't be true either.

Time to get back to digging out the pony!! Who's with me?

I think that there are lots of poeple around who don't particlularly want to think about anythig much beyond the mechanics of their own life and the vicisitudes of their relationships.

I am not suggesting a lack of intelligence or lack of character. I'm suggesting a lack of interest. There are just lots and lots of people who are not engaged in abstract discussions on any subject. When provoked to engage, they tak ethe simpliest explanation, accept it, and go back to thiking about what they want to think about.


For example: a lady of my acquaintance told me tha tshe was pro-life, but it turned out that her thinking on abortion was actually pretty subtle and influenced by the esxperiences of people she kew which included her sister who nearly died of a pregnancy that went bad and her daughter who got knocked up at fifteen. But all of that understading of the human condition went out the window when it came to voting. Inthe blurr of political rhetoric in the background of her life she heard Republicans saying clearly that they were "pro-life" and that sounded good so she voted for it.

She says she is a Bible literalist but it turns out she understands that the Bible was not originally written in English, or origially wirtten at all, and realizes that an oral tradition passed from mouth to mouth and then written down and put through a bunch of translations is likely to be more the word of man than of God. And she knws thta Bibel lieralists don't all interpete the Word the same way. However, giventhe choice of beliening the Bible, which she has read, and science sources, which she has not read, she takes the Bible.

Ad so on. The truth is she just isn't paying much attention to life outside her own experiences. I think that many people are like that and given their lack of interest, when they thik about things outside their own esxperiences they go for simplistic, rather than subtle, conclusions.

we suffer because God wants us tough

My understanding is that we suffer not because God wants us "tough", but because life involves suffering, and because what's important is not slack-jawed happiness and unicorns farting rainbows and shitting skittles in this life.

But I suppose we can all play God for a few minutes and suppose that we can understand what is important to Him. It takes all of your +arrogance gear (including WWP items) but it can be done.

what's important is not slack-jawed happiness and unicorns farting rainbows and shitting skittles in this life.

says you

says you

Yes, I am at some theological disconnect from those God-wants-you-to-be-rich people.

I think you missed the point of that one Slarti. Or maybe I missed your point. Or maybe you got the point and I missed it. Or....

Only God knows the point.

There is hope for those suffering from closure of the epistomy:

http://therumpus.net/2012/07/truth-in-nonfiction-a-testimonial/

from Slarti:

My understanding is that we suffer not because God wants us "tough", but because life involves suffering, and because what's important is not slack-jawed happiness and unicorns farting rainbows and shitting skittles in this life.

That's the Christianity I was raised with, back when that peacenik, Jesus. was still a big deal. Personally, I'm more comfortable w/ that old-tyme version myself; however, in the modern, muscular, post-pansy-Jesus Christianity of today, a different story. More of a Marine Corps story.

Worth noting that, according to Genesis, God's original plan for man WAS basically slack-jawed happiness and unicorns farting rainbows. Laboring for your own food and well-being was a *punishment*.

I think of it less as punishment and more as a fall from grace.

in the modern, muscular, post-pansy-Jesus Christianity of today, a different story. More of a Marine Corps story.

Given that you can't even get sects on the same branch of the many-branched Christianity tree to agree with each other on the basics (e.g. baptism): I think you're painting with an overly broad brush, here.

Specifics would be useful, perhaps.

The pacifist form of Christianity is still around--the patheos website is currently doing its book club discussion on a book by a veteran of the Iraq war turned pacifist--

Logan-Mehl-Laituri Reborn on the Fourth of July

Rushdoony and the Dominionists, The Robertson / Falwell axis (including their training camps), the New Apostolic Reformation, the Quiverfull movement, Joshua's Army, and pretty much all the Marantha / Hillsong offshoots...to say nothing of your average megachurch generally.

Heck, just look into steeplejacking: the hijacking of 'mainstream' denominations by militant Christian-soldier types. Look into Mickey Weinstein and his challenge to the overt christianization of the US Air Force Academy.

Whatever doctrinaire differences the participants in these movements may nurse, they don't interfere with a shared political hard-line that is right out of the middle ages.

I guess I have subtracted myself from their target audience, chmood, but I am not unaware of their existence. Their existence, though, does not eliminate all the rest of Christianity.

But: anyone who thought Jesus was a pansy neglected to read e.g. Matthew chapter 10.

Which is not to say that churches should focus exclusively on Matthew 10, or even elevate it above other parts of the NT.

chmood, I think it is a general misconception to attribute the negative stuff to the Middle Ages. As far as I can see the turn to organized hardline ideology with all the murderous consequences came with the Renaissance and included some 180° turns (e.g. in the Middle Ages the belief in witches was heretical, after that it was non-belief). I do not want to glorify or sanitize the MA and there were some precursors to what came later (e.g.the Albigenisan crusade) but most of what is usually seen as 'typical' Dark MA did not happen before the MA were 'offiially' over. Simplified: MA = if you keep your head down and your mouth shut, you're reasonable safe. post-MA: your ability to follow the shifting party-line gets tested regularly; fail once and you are (literally) toast.

The modern militant 'fundies' fall clearly into the latter category; you have to proof your correct faith to them, not they your heresy.

Wikipedia article on Dominionism says this:

The term "dominionist" is sometimes applied to adherents of Dominion Theology, Christian Reconstructionism, or the New Apostolic Reformation, all of which are exceedingly small groups that explicitly advocate theocracy. Such usage is not controversial. However, the term as described in this article refers to much or all of the Christian right. The use of this terminology with the latter meaning is controversial. Apart from a handful of social scientists who first coined it, it is almost exclusively used by journalists and bloggers,[1] and there is an ongoing debate about the usefulness of the term.[2]

Which gets us pretty much nowhere.

Hey Doc, your first link appears to be broken. The Irish have nothing on us denizens of http://hugefloods.com/Basalt.html> the 48th soviet of Washington when it comes to columnar basalt formations.

As for creationists, they are fit only for ridicule. As for the New Testament, give me Johnny any time....it gets right to the heart of the matter, what with its disputed authorship and all...pity you theocrats, empty quiverers, faith healers, double wet suited sufficants, snake swingers, mammon worshipers, stone throwers, and guilt inducing grifters, no patent law in the 1st century anna dominus? God, what Disney could have done with that.

God have mercy on almost all of us.

...and there is an ongoing debate about the usefulness of the term.[2]

Follow the cite. Appeals to the unimpeachable wisdom of Ross Douthat notwithstanding, this so-called 'debate' appears to be confined within the close quarters of the christianist right.

Then tell me, bobby: within some margin of error, how many people exist in this world that might fall under some widely-agreed-upon definition of "Dominionist"?

Looking through various Wikipedia pages, I see phrases like: "exceedingly small groups", "small number of actual adherents", "relatively insignificant".

I think there's either some boundary you can draw around Dominionists and therefore some roughly countable number of them, or the term is useless. Which is my point. My point is not that Ross Douthat is the font of all truth; sorry if that takes some of the topspin off your retort.

am i the only one who doesn't see what the precise number of self-proclaimed Dominionists has to do with what chmood was actually talking about?

I also picture God shaking His head over this dispute, saying something like: "You people are missing the whole point".

If I were on facebook and the sort of person who bothered to like things on facebook, I would like the above (to the extent that I accept the possibility that there is a God, Christian or otherwise).

am i the only one who doesn't see what the precise number of self-proclaimed Dominionists has to do with what chmood was actually talking about?

You're the only one concerned with what the precise number of Dominionists has to do with anything at all.

I would like the above

Thanks for that, hsh.

The problem with God shaking his head and saying something like "You people are missing the whole point" is that when you ask for identification of the point, God says, "If you don't know, I'm not going to tell you."

I mean, sometimes God will stage cough a hint, covering his mouth so you can't quite hear what God said, like God did with Abraham just before the latter was going to sacrifice Isaac.

"Lamb kabob, you idiot!"

"What?"

And, at the risk of being politically incorrect, that's why I believe God is actually Elaine Pagels.

Then, there are those who are believe they hear God's every syllable:

http://andrewsullivan.thedailybeast.com/2012/07/wheres-the-line-religion-cult.html

They run for President, sometimes, and off we go to Iraq, Afghanistan, perchance Iran and Syria if we only believe.


You're the only one concerned with what the precise number of Dominionists has to do with anything at all.

how i wish that were true.

how i wish that were true

I guess there could be a quiverfull of others, but they aren't part of the conversation at present.

sigh. are you really arguing over the difference between "within some margin of error, how many" and "precise" ?

[sarcasm]There are by my loose estimate less than 200 dictators on Earth. A negligible number since there are in excess of 300 million people (US citizens plus a negligible number of foreigners) that are not dictators on the same planet. There are clearly more dominionists than dictators. So either raw numbers count, then those few dicators should not bother us (or US) or raw numbers are not the only factor, then those dominionists might pose a certain problem. You decide.[/sarcasm]

Serious, a handful of religious extremists (and I am not talking about guys who personally go on a killing spree) in the 'right' position can do a lot of lasting damage.

sigh. are you really arguing over the difference between "within some margin of error, how many" and "precise" ?

Yes. In my world, see, there is a substantial difference between approximately and exactly.

For example, not to belabor the dead-obvious: is the number on the order of 6000? 60,000? 600,000?

Now Hartmut's got me all worried, because there are loads more Muslim terrorists than there are dictators.

Hartmut, a dictator isn't a really problem. It's a dictator able to enforce his orders, especially on significant numbers of other people -- that's a problem.

Similarly, a fundamentalist (of any religion) is not a problem. He's a problem only when he is able to force his views on others. (Or when he is damaging others while trying to do so.)

How much you worry about either group depends a lot on how many people are impacted by them.

Unfortunately some religious extremists have successfully infiltrated the US military officer corps (with the Air Force Academy the tip of the iceberg), and there was general Boykin with a high position in the Pentagon who only blew himself up (metaphorically) when he got caught on tape spreading his stuff outside the military in uniform. Iirc he got not even fired but allowed to retire. And there were numerous reports from Iraq of officers preaching the literal crusade ('Satan is in Fallujah now') or sending out armored vehicles on a daily schedule that carried loudspeakers broadcasting obscenities against Islam and its most revered characters.
Get the nuts into position and they will find enough willing or indifferent helpers to execute their mad vision.
They might not be able to actually turn the US into Gilead but their attempts can cause more than enough damage.
And if one looks at the strategy papers of dominionist and related groups one can find a clear turn towards: 'converting the masses is futile. Recruit the rulers and they will force it down everybody else's throats'. That was once the secret behind the success of the Jesuits and I have far more respect for the SJ than for the Kristian(TM) Kultists.

My concern about Christian fundimental dates back to the 80s. Being fairly liberal but really politically unengaged, I thought nothing of saying "Sure, I'll help" when a co-worker asked me if I would assist patients get through the picket lines in front of two Planned Parent clinics. One in my city, one in a neighboring town. I learned a lot from the sheer hatefulness of the demonstrators and their supporters. While I was volunteering the clinic in the neighboring town was fire bombed twice. The demonstrators were taking license numbers of the staff and volunteer. I received death threats against myself and my wife on my home phone, as did most of the staff and volunteers. Several staff and volunteers had shots fired into their homes.
Maybe I share some attitudes with Republicans. I didn't stop volunteering, instead I had a security system installed aty home and my wife and I got concealed weapons permits and started going armed at all times.
I guess I've mellowed some, only thirty years have gone by and I'll now admit that not all christians are evil. But as I look at our current political climate and the behavior of the Catholic Church, the ratio doesn't look good.

Thanks DS for highlighting the story - for some reason I'd completely missed it. I've added my pennyworth to the comments on the NT site.

I can understand how it came about - some of those in the NI government which provided funding have beliefs not unadjacent to those of the Caleb Foundation - however, the head in the sand reaction to the furore is pretty galling, and genuinely threatening to the respect in which most people in the UK hold the Trust.

That they cannot see a problem with the language that the Caleb Foundation "have an understanding of the formation of the earth" dismays me.
Belief that is completely at odds with accepted science, yes; understanding ? Please.

The term "mainstream science" should have no part in the discussion, either. On this one there is science, and non-science.
Non-mainstream science is a perfectly valid pursuit, but it is emphatically not faith based, and can have no truck with dogma.

In my world, see, there is a substantial difference between approximately and exactly.

oh, i seriously doubt that you have a world of your own.

I note that the NT closed comments on their site this lunchtime.

i seriously doubt that you have a world of your own

Just to short-circuit the badminton-exchange of scathe: "within some margin of error" serves to describe an approximation. This point seems to keep missing you, but it might be because I'm making it badly.

Look, this is not all that difficult. If Dominionists are some scary movement in Christianity, it'd be cool to understand how scared we should be. That's my only point.

it'd be cool to understand approximately how scared we should be

Just to avoid any further misunderstanding.

If Dominionists are some scary movement in Christianity, it'd be cool to understand how scared we should be.

and my point is: chmood's post wasn't about Dominionists per se (which is why the size of their specific membership is irrelevant). they were one in a list of similar* hard-line Christianist sects which are having real effects on this country.

* - at least to those of us who don't subscribe to any religion.

Sure. And if all of those are a) uninclined to engage in violence, and b) a negligible fraction of the electorate, then they are pretty much irrelevant.

Which is why I am looking at the numbers.

All of this, I had thought, I had made clear.

Sure. And if all of those are a) uninclined to engage in violence, and b) a negligible fraction of the electorate, then they are pretty much irrelevant.

On a), not so far, except for the occasional murder of an abortion doctor. On b), I don't think at this point we need specific numbers, or even estimates, to know that they are more than a negligible fraction of the electorate, particularly if you consider the electorate to comprise those who actually bother to vote, as opposed to those who are simply eligible to do so. Add to that the margins it takes to swing many elections. A small but passionate and unified block can go a long way.

I don't think at this point we need specific numbers, or even estimates, to know that they are more than a negligible fraction of the electorate

That's all well and good for you, but I am not tapped into that same vein of surety.

A small but passionate and unified block can go a long way.

As can a larger but equally passionate and unified block of voters who oppose them.

Your point seems to be a) that they're really significant (trust me), and b) even if they're not, they can make a difference anyhow. This isn't really convincing.

Your point seems to be a) that they're really significant (trust me), and b) even if they're not, they can make a difference anyhow. This isn't really convincing.

Your point seems to be that they are negligible, though you don't produce any estimates, so I guess we're even. And, if by "really significant" you mean "not negligible," yes - though I wouldn't expect you to need to trust me, because I would expect it to be obvious to you already. But my expectations often aren't met.

(Honestly, I don't care that much either way. I guess I'm bored.)

Your point seems to be that they are negligible

My point is more that they seem to be negligible. And if anyone knows otherwise, how come they're not sharing?

Like that.

Yeah, I'm bored too, and I don't want to get involved in some donnybrook over to what degree the latest heat wave is directly attributable to human activities.

"Fred Clark points out that creationism logically requires a global conspiracy of lying scientists and/or a lying God:"

Fred's comments illustrate something that is missing from this debate: sometimes the arguments against creationism are so, well, illogical. Really, Fred? If nothing else, do you really think us Christians lack, well, creativity? I find it amusing when those attacking creationism for being so contrary to science use such illogical [ unscientific] arguments. There is a scripture on that, btw . . .;) Is this really lost on so many evolutionists (using the term loosely here folks)?

I have no doubt that the loudest voices on the creationist front have a low subscription rate to Nature. It would be, however, illogical to assume that the loudest voices are representative of Christianity writ large. IMHO, there are a lot of Todd Woods out there (sorry to be so specific on the number, Slarti). Yes, many Christians live lives enjoying the cognitive dissonance (or apparent cognitive dissonance?) of utilizing science on a daily basis while believing in a Creator.

"You people are missing the whole point".

Exactly. lol.

No cognitive dissonant in the least, not that it much mattered until the last third of the 20th century (with an interlude during the late 1920s and 1930s), when the loudest and most illogical voices on the creationist front BECAME a political front for all manner of constitutional and governmental nonsense and malfeasance.

Yes, Roe versus Wade was the spark, I'll give you that.

And, yes, scientism is a religious problem on the New-Age political left, but not exclusively (take health scams, for example.
The Left-Behinds love them some supplements, most of which they excrete, along with their public policy nostrums).

We're awash in all manner of very loud stupid, because all quack views apparently must be entertained and now included in the curriculum and represented in Congress.

The louder the stupid, the wider the political doors open for the loud and the stupid, which should be name of a daytime reality soap opera.

David Barton, for example, the Madeline Murray O'Hare of the Right.

The mega-churches, by and large, including the ones in the black community, are get- rich scams for sh*theads.

Tax them all, at the old marginal rates of 91% under Eisenhower, when job creators shut their gobs and created low unemployment.

Not you, bc. You're effing Thomas Jefferson compared to Franklin Graham.

British Anglican parsons with fossil collections in the mid-19th Century rarely thought their scientific hobbies were in any way dissonant from their day jobs.

But they certainly (yeah, yeah, exceptions) didn't saddle up a stegosaurus and expect the Queen to go for a ride with them, despite her supposed lineage from God.

Read some Walker Percy for seamless scientific rigor (he was wrong about a few things, but I expect he'd come around) and a devoted Catholic (converted) faith .... and because it's fun.

Just once, I'd like to see a President convene a roundtable of agnostics to suggest some policy.

Conclusion of roundtable: Well, we're not saying one or the other what we think, but could the rest of you get a grip and get your hands off the Constitution.

The entire point of politics, religion, and entertainment in 2012 America IS missing the whole point because the loud, stupid, un-missed partial points are more lucrative for drawing in the PAC money.

Next Sunday's sermon: "The God Particle: Why Mr. Higgs Actually Called It The God-Dammed Particle But His Editors Left Out The _Dammed) (hint: because stupid people couldn't handle it)

" IMHO, there are a lot of Todd Woods out there"

Todd Wood is the only one I know of--though I think Steve Gould had a creationist grad student who was also supposed to be impressively honest. (Name of Wise? I don't remember and won't bother to google around for it.) So maybe that's two. What I mean here is that most creationists are not intellectually honest in debate, IMO. Wood is. He doesn't spread a lot of BS about how little evidence there is for evolution--he acknowledges that there is, but he doesn't buy it because of his faith commitment and so he tries to find alternative creationist explanations. Good luck to that. But because he doesn't lie, he gets respect from people like Larry Moran.

BTW, bc, in case you wish to argue about the previous comment, it probably won't be with me. I'll be away from the internet for a few days. And I probably wouldn't want to argue about it that much anyway.

BTW, bc, Fred is a Christian and so am I. But I sometimes do think Fred is a little unfair to the more conservative Christians, even though I basically agree with him. Fred achieved the remarkable feat of actually making me feel a little bit of sympathy for the authors of the "Left Behind" books. Bad as they are, (and on a 1 to 10 scale I'd give them 1.2) back when I was reading Fred's almost page by page review I thought he bent over backwards sometimes to make them seem even worse than they were. Which wasn't easy. But that's just me.

BTW, I'm using BTW too much. This blog needs an edit function. Well, I need an edit function.

And I need to stop jumping to conclusions! But he is arguing against creationism and thus my point is still valid. I think.

But in reading Fred's full post, it's clear he is defining creationism in a very narrow way. That causes problems. Especially when he says 46% do not "believe" in the theory of evolution and that apparently equals (because we're being scientifically precise) ergo, and all, that THEY MUST BE CREATIONISTS! Boy, with thought processes like this, who needs science anyway? Just kidding . . .

Since 44% couldn't even properly associate Darwin with the theory of evolution (or answered wrongly), can't we just agree that a lot of Americans are "uninformed"? Actually, Fred does acknowledge that the survey was poorly worded. And it does seem to associate church attendance with less familiarity with Darwin. But what does that mean? Maybe don't expect a Christian non-creationist (whatever that means) to carry the science argument.

DJ: My church (Mormon) is full of "Todd Woods," by which I meant those that acknowledge evolutionary processes but at the same time believe in a creator. The two are not as incompatible as Fred makes it out to be.

on a 1 to 10 scale I'd give them 1.2

That's fairly generous of you. I'd rate them as starting out being on par with the Twilight series, and going downhill from there. Horrible, awful, pathetic writing. I read the first...what, 3 of them? Thinking there might be 4 or 5, total. But then I just couldn't take it anymore.

My pastor says there is this group of people who honestly believes they can decode Revelations and tell when the End Times will be, and that Time Lahaye and friend are tragically mistaken, but theology was not what killed the radio star, for me.

Back for a bit. We leave tomorrow.

"on a 1 to 10 scale I'd give them 1.2"
"That's fairly generous of you."

I could be talked down to 1.1.

What bugged me about Fred Clark, who I don't read much anymore, is that he usually puts the absolute worst most uncharitable interpretation on conservative Christians that he can. Clark is the native informant telling liberals how strange and perverse the conservative Christians are. He did that in his Left Behind reviews, IMO. God knows the books were awful and probably Fred was right much of the time in his interpretation, but to me he seemed to be looking for reasons to think the worst. ( Why did I read them? I used to believe that stuff and it still has a residual fascination for me. )

My own favorite example of just how bad the books were came in I don't know which volume (they all blurred together), but some character from Argentina mentioned the "disappeared". Just for a moment I was pleasantly stunned--an actual reference to real life history, and in this case a bit of history that would make a conservative Republican feel uncomfortable, since Reagan praised the generals who murdered so many Argentinians back in the 70's. Wow. A bit of complexity thrown into a story which is mostly about good Christians vs bad or deluded everyone else. But no, the character was only referring to the raptured. That struck me as insensitive, but there's a good chance LaHaye and his co-author didn't even know the history, so it might have been innocent ignorance. But that wouldn't speak well for them either.

On what Clark says about the creationists, it's not necessarily as simple as he claims. Yeah, some do seem to believe in a conspiracy of scientists (I haven't encountered anyone that thought God was trying to trick us--I've only read about that in books and I know Phillip Gosse came up with the idea in all sincerity in the 19th century, but it's not a view I've seen anyone in real life espouse). But not all do--my ID friends think it's a matter of worldview and prejudice. Those poor deluded scientists are so caught up in their evolutionary paradigm they just can't see the plain simple truth. The creationist theory about evolutionists isn't really all that different from what liberals think about conservatives and presumably what conservatives think about liberals and what we evolutionists think about creationists--that some are conscious liars, but many or most are just blinded by their ideology/belief system.

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