I’m promoting my own comments elsewhere in conversation with Zdenny to a post proper, because they are large enough and have enough links as to merit their own post. The main reason I promote this line of argumentation is that the fronts on which we battle are so varied and diverse as to cover a hell of a lot more ground than the original post, which was a mere Youtube video. That earlier post is here. I will also take snippets from the original comment thread, wherein I feel Zdenny has either conceded the point or has neglected to sufficiently respond. I will also attempt to sort them by topic.
I congratulate you, Zdenny. You’re putting forth a decent effort. However, you’re not answering all my charges, and this usually implies to an outside observer that the points that are missed, are either too strong to directly attack, or are being conceded. In the event that I miss any of yours, please do not misconstrue me as conceding the point unless I outright say so.
Additionally, you need to learn to provide supporting evidence of your positive claims, even if it’s just a link to a website that you got the argument from. These criticisms only come from a desire to shape you into someone worth debating against, because otherwise the repetitive nature of your arguments gets on peoples’ nerves.
Since 1960 the seculars have dominated our society and as a result America has ended the lives of 60 million kids through abortion. Secularism is dangerous!
Here are some assertions that you have to prove in order to have any credibility with this claim. First, prove that these abortions were done by secularists. Second, prove that these abortions were unnecessary (or at least in what percentage they were not medically indicated). Third, prove that these abortions would not have happened otherwise (e.g. by illegal abortion methods). Fourth, prove that these fetuses that were aborted were viable to begin with (as in, they weren’t aborted for medical reasons, such as because they had no brains or no heart or no head). Fifth, prove that this abortion rate is at all on the increase (as evidence suggests abortion in the US has declined since the 1960s significantly). Sixth, prove that this supposed increase in abortion rate is due to secularism (which will be hard since abortion is on the decline). These assertions are for you to prove. Not us.
Additionally, what does the bible say about abortion?
Abortion is not murder. A fetus is not considered a human life.
If men strive, and hurt a woman with child, so that her fruit depart from her, and yet no mischief follow: he shall be surely punished, according as the woman’s husband will lay upon him; and he shall pay as the judges determine. And if any mischief follow, then thou shalt give life for life. — Exodus 21:22-23
The Bible places no value on fetuses or infants less than one month old.
And if it be from a month old even unto five years old, then thy estimation shall be of the male five shekels of silver, and for the female thy estimation shall be three shekels of silver. — Leviticus 27:6
Fetuses and infants less than one month old are not considered persons.
Number the children of Levi after the house of their fathers, by their families: every male from a month old and upward shalt thou number them. And Moses numbered them according to the word of the LORD. — Numbers 3:15-16
And that’s not even showing all the instances on that page where God His Damn Self either ordered the abortion or caused it by his own magical sky hand.
Christians support adult stem cells; however, they are against ending the life of a fetus who has a unique sequence of DNA by which it is defined for life.
Are you therefore against fertility treatment, where a number of embryos are created and the best one(s) are implanted, then the remainder taken to the incinerator? At what point do you define a fetus as a baby, and a baby as alive? How many cells does it take to call it alive? What criteria do you use to suggest that the baby is viable? Is it mere blood coursing through the veins? Are you also against abortion when the baby is already potentially dead or dying (e.g. born with spina bifida or anencephaly), and the birth could kill the mother? If you are pro life, you must always choose the course of action that will save the largest number of people. Why kill the mother just to avoid aborting an already dead (though it still has a heartbeat, up until after birth) child?
Additionally, if you’d prefer to save the most lives (as the pro-life position would imply), is it acceptable to sacrifice a small cluster of cells that does not yet have any human features, in order to research how to save untold millions of humans’ lives later? Is it acceptable to condemn everyone in the future with a disease to death, because we’re unwilling to perform research on a blastocyst of cells that is otherwise due for incineration anyway? Is it more acceptable to incinerate that blastocyst that was rejected from the fertility treatment rather than also inspecting it for its potential ability to save lives later, or is it more acceptable to consider fertility treatment a form of mass murder where ten lives are started then stopped just to get one or two going “for real”, and deny that it happen at all?
Classic mistake! The Bible descriptions of what happened are not prescriptions for us. If a newspaper records a rape, does that mean that the newspaper is recommending it?
Your being a dishonest with Scripture.
Lemme get this straight. God rewarding and sparing Lot for allowing his daughters to be raped, substituting his innocent and defenseless daughters for God’s holy soldiers that are probably ethereal and not able to be cornholed to begin with, is not proof that God’s okay with rape? How about, then, the bible setting out the rule that if a woman is raped, she is to be afterward married by the rapist (Deuteronomy 22:28-29)? How about Deuteronomy 22:23-24, where if a woman who is married, is raped inside a city, both she and the rapist are to be stoned to death, the woman because she obviously must not have screamed loud enough to get rescued (seriously, what the fuck?). How about Judges 5:30, where God approves of the taking of women as spoils of war? How about Zechariah 14:1-2, where God actively assists in women being taken and “ravished” as spoils of war? Or Exodus 21:7-11, where God sets out the rules for selling your daughter as a sex slave?
Who’s being dishonest with scripture? The fact that we atheists do not believe in any revealed scripture as being unvarnished truth and are capable of seeing these passages for what they are, and yet you, who believes in your Bible as inerrant revealed truth, make apologies for and claim dishonesty in others who point out what your God condones and condemns, suggests to me that you have to be on the outside of your religion in order to be honest about it.
No one can argue that homosexuality is not destructive to the individual themselves. They have very high suicide rates. We don’t wish this lifestyle upon anyone because it is opposed to God’s design for their life. We even say this out of love for them based on our common humanity.
If you were told all your life that what you are, your very nature, is evil and sinful and wrong, you would have the same level of cognitive dissonance that causes suicide to be higher. I think that puts religious folks like you at fault for the higher suicide rates. Imagine for a moment that one person’s interpretation of an ambiguous Bible quote, considered blonde-haired folks to be sinful and claimed that God said they must dye their hair brown in order to be right with the Lord. Of course, dying one’s hair doesn’t change the fact that their hair is naturally blonde — they are merely pretending to be brunettes to appease you. And I say you, not the Lord, since the Lord if he exists loves everyone equally regardless of how he made them, and since he made them blonde, it’s kind of his own fault.
Now, in my example, imagine that being blonde felt good and right, but being brunette felt false and wrong. Yet, you scrupulously died your hair every single morning to keep any hint of roots from showing. Then one morning you were tired of it, and you decided to skip a day. On that day, someone noticed your blonde roots, beat the hell out of you, tied you to a fence and left you to die. All because you have naturally blonde hair. This is what’s happening to gays. They are being discriminated against, hurt, and killed, all because they are naturally something different from you. This is what that hate crime law is for — not to keep your preachers from standing at the pulpits and saying that blondes are evil and sinful, but to keep people from going out and hurting and maiming and killing everyone who has blonde hair just because they have blonde hair. The fact that any blonde is equally a target makes it a hate crime.
And guess what? People only get the idea that being blonde is bad because some guy is standing at the pulpit flogging his interpretation of an ambiguous Bible quote that suggests that blondes are bad. While I’d argue that hate speech is horrible, I’d never argue that people who perform hate speech should be thrown in jail just for that. Otherwise, pretty well every one of us who disagrees with another’s position could be thrown in jail for daring to speak out against one another. That bill that you’re fighting so strongly is about people hurting others physically. It is about stopping the terrorism (by which I mean, hurting a member of a group to make the rest of the group fear the same violence) that intolerance breeds. It is not about stopping the intolerance itself.
cosmology / astronomy
Cosmology is certainly not settled science.
Nothing in science is settled. Science is not a dogmatic religion wherein a science textbook was written two thousand years ago and people have been massaging the evidence to fit that textbook ever since. Science is, by definition, the study of how the universe actually works and the development of mathematical equations or theories that accurately predict how certain events unfold, and as new and better evidence becomes available, the alteration of these equations and theories until such point that they make accurate predictions in as many cases as possible. It would be like if every Christian were to peer-review and contribute to the writing and rewriting of every aspect of the Bible until the Bible agreed with all available evidence and didn’t make claims that had to be taken on faith alone.
In fact, we have not even observed a star being formed in the universe.
The tools with which we peer through the shroud of nebulae are improving exponentially. We have observed stellar formation in our own galaxy, though we cannot yet observe stellar formation in other galaxies. That we don’t see stars popping out of nothing instantaneously is actually proof against an interventionist God, and another trope along the lines of “why don’t we see fossils of a half-man-half-monkey” — it is a handwaving obfuscation of the actual theory and outright refutation of the evidence.
With 100 trillion observed stars in our galaxy, and roughly as many in the observable galaxies of our corner of the universe, there’s a lot of stuff to see. Much of the star formation has probably already happened and is slowing down now, but it’s fascinating that there’s still a lot going on in pretty well every “star factory” we’ve observed. This might give us a projection for how many billions of years we have until the entropic heat-death of the universe. Of course, that projection may be grossly inaccurate, the chances of us surviving til the end of the universe as a species are pretty slim.
The age of a star is based on presuppositions that haven’t been proven.
You can’t “prove” anything in science, at all. Ever. You can make observations and develop equations and theories that fit the available evidence. You can derive a close approximation of the truth in much the same way that one guesses-and-tests numbers in order to hand-derive the square root of a number. Try deriving the square root of 2 by hand, and see how long it takes you to get it exactly right and determine that it ends successfully, or when you decide “that’s close enough for me”. Compare this with a 2000-year-old book claiming the square root of 2 is exactly 1.2 — close by varying degrees of the word “close”, but definitely nowhere near accurate. Science is striving toward a perfect understanding of the universe, but whether a perfect understanding can ever be achieved, it’s getting a hell of a lot closer than your old book, the basis on which you believe you have “perfect understanding” of the nature of the universe.
Additionally, the estimates of a star’s age are derived from how luminous it is, how large it is, how it moves in space, and its composition, all of which are not presupposed but rather can be tested from here on Earth or out in space by our tools which improve, as I said, by the day. Read the Wikipedia article for our current knowledge on stars and stellar formation — it seems to be relatively thorough and I haven’t yet seen anything in this article that disagrees with my intro-level university astronomy course, so I’d wager it’s a pretty good and accurate account of the state of our level of science.
Their is a ton of evidence that the universe may be young
No. There isn’t. I’m sorry, there just isn’t. All the evidence available to us presently points to a very old universe when taken in toto, rather than cherry-picked for what’s most convenient to someone trying to fit the square evidence available into the round hole of the bible.
In archaeology, there never has been a finding that disagreed with the Bible. Still hitting perfect in this field.
Off the top of my head, what about the Canaanite city Ai that Joshua supposedly destroyed? Would this not leave some measure of archaeological evidence to be discovered at its supposed site, et-Tell? So why didn’t it? Could it rather be that authors of the Bible knew stories of an impressive ruin and the legend of it being a destroyed city, and included it into the Bible as a way of incorporating the local myths into the Christian story? Or, how about the story of Exodus leaving absolutely no evidence behind — a million emigrants wandering the desert for 40 years ought to leave an impressive footprint, you’d think.
Atomic Theory is at a dead point right now because they are unable to observe the sub-atomic field.
Not with our eyes, we can’t. And my point is, each of those fields is a pillar on which evolution stands. To knock evolution over as a theory, you have to knock out at least one of these pillars. Which do you choose?
They have set up Stern to observe atom collisions but they haven’t got much farther than that at this point. I look forward to seeing what develops in this field.
Do you mean the Stern-Gerlach atomic experiments in 1922? Or do you mean the supercollider produced by CERN, the Large Hadron Collider, which is in itself a larger-scale example of other existing supercolliders like the one at Fermilab? We’ve been smashing atoms for decades now, and observing subatomic particles as a result.
Chemistry? I am not sure anyone has a problem with chemistry.
Biology? I am not sure anyone has a problem with Biology
Both are pillars on which evolution stands. “Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution”, according to Theodosius Dobzhansky. And we have an amazing amount of evidence suggesting that the line between “mere” chemistry, and biology, is extraordinarily fuzzy. In fact, when you get into the realm of amino acids’ ability to self-arrange spontaneously in a favorable environment with sufficient constituent materials from which to draw, and the ability for amino acids to form base peptides under the right conditions, and the ability of these acids and peptides to reproduce, and the ability of these reproductive organs to undergo random mutation due to the fuzzy and random nature of the replication process, and the propensity for any self-replicating and mutating structure to form a meritocracy where the more-able reproduce more often or more quickly or survive environmental hazards more readily, it’s pretty hard to distinguish this level of chemistry from biology is it not?
I am not aware of any evidence for macro evolution.
Please, educate yourself. That link is a concise compilation of the evidence regarding what you call “macroevolution”, and what biologists and evolutionists alike call speciation.
I am aware of evidence for micro evolution by which you have variations within a species.
Can you walk across the room? What’s to stop you, then, from walking down the block, or from walking to the next city? “Microevolution” and “macroevolution” is a false dichotomy that says you can walk across the room but if you try to walk down the block it is impossible because an invisible wall will prevent it. There is no proof of a border between the two.
Variations take place within a context but have never been shown to go outside of their species or to go beyond the capability of the current gene pool.
The variations humankind sees over various diverse regions, are due to speciation events that were given insufficient time to provide genetic incompatibility. That these “races” are still genetically compatible with one another and create children that have some aspects of the appearance of both races, proves that not enough time was given. If you were to take a race of people, send them off into space for a hundred thousand years, then afterward rejoin them, we might not afterward be genetically compatible, or if we are, might produce sterile children as with horses and donkeys. It’s for this same reason that the universe of Star Trek, where one can have a half-Vulcan half-human, is grossly unlikely.
In fact, I am also not against teaching evolution; however, I think we should teach it critically because we have a ton of people who accept it uncritically.
This is a failure of our school system, that it teaches by rote — if only we could teach our kids to rationally examine all the best available evidence then explain why the consensus of scientists agree that one particular interpretation fits all the evidence the best presently. But teaching by rote is necessary sometimes, so you can skip re-arguing the evidence every time. Don’t think this means the evolutionary theory goes unchallenged — it has stood up to over 150 years of attempts to disprove it. There are few theories in fact as well supported as evolution. We know even less about the theory of gravity than we do about the theory of evolution, in fact — laughably less. There is however a difference between the law of gravity — the observed fact that you don’t go flying off into space — and the theory of gravity — the attempted explanation as to WHY you don’t go flying off into space. Likewise with the observed fact of evolution as evidenced by the fossil record and the genetics behind what you call “microevolution”, and the theory of evolution, the attempted overarching explanation of why it all happens.
I think we need to also be open to an act of Creation as a possibility because an act of Creation is a real possibility and it should not be ruled out.
I am an agnostic atheist. I believe it is not possible to know, for certain, one way or the other, whether God exists, as (in my view) God has to exist either outside the scope of the universe, or is the universe itself. I also believe that due to the total lack of physical evidence of God’s existence as defined by your revelations, that your interpretation of God is extraordinarily unlikely. Scientists are open to all possibilities provided the evidence supports it. If you could show someone unequivocal evidence that a deity is responsible, and that this deity has anthropomorphic qualities, and that its name is God or Allah or Yahweh or whatever, then I’d believe it. Unfortunately the Bible is not an adequate starting point. It is proof that someone wrote a book. That someone was likely a human being, or a number of them. There is no proof, by the Bible’s existence, that it was inspired by any deity, except that it says it was inspired. And one cannot take one’s own word at a fact. Likewise, you cannot take my word that I have a ten foot penis at face value, regardless of the fact that I have written it on my webpage. Even if two thousand years from now someone were to discover my claims to a ten foot cock, it wouldn’t be proof of such, only proof that I had once written it.
religious views of science
I am not sure what your point is. Christians love science.
Like you say atheists are incapable of love, I contend that Christians are incapable of loving science. Christians merely appreciate science, except and until where it contradicts their views.
It was the Catholic church that first started all the Universities and got the ball rolling.
What about all the universities, colleges, schools, etc., that existed prior to Christianity? What about all the universities in non-Catholic / non-Christian / non-Abrahamic countries? Just because universities were formed within Catholic communities, and just because the Catholic churches contributed, does not a priori mean that all universities are religious, nor does it mean that all religions or sects of religions are for knowledge, nor does it mean that all knowledge that comes from these universities are accepted by the religious (witness Galileo as a good for-instance).
Christians love science because we love to examine the design in nature.
Bias alert. Not starting from first principles. Starting from the principle that God exists and was involved in designing the universe. False conclusions will be drawn from doing so. Also, prove that all Christians love science, that all Christians love to examine design (or give any critical thought at all to design, or anything else).
We need to remain open minded and follow the facts; however, until all the facts are known, a final decision cannot be made on a rational level.
That’s the nice thing about science. It relies not on dogma, but on a self-correcting, self-ameliorating model of human knowledge that is not likely to stop accumulating as long as we as a species continue to exist.
Copernicus was a Christian.
So? So were most of his contemporaries. One does not have to subscribe to a particular religion or philosophy to be right about something. Darwin was a Christian too, until the evidence led him to believe that much of what he was taught of creation was demonstrably wrong. The point is, Copernicus discovered something through the scientific method that discredited a part of the biblical account of creation (the geocentric universe model, with Earth at the centre, the planets and sun and moon orbiting it in crazy-eccentric patterns, and a “firmament” blanket of stars above it). He did not announce his views until very late in his life, very shortly before dying, for fear of being persecuted or put to death by the church, as was their particular idiom. Galileo supported this theory, and was likewise persecuted, and at 68 was tortured until he recanted his support. The church only apologized for Galileo, not Copernicus (as he escaped persecution by dying), and this only three-hundred-odd years after his death, in 1992.
You did a good job bringing forward more counterarguments this time, but unfortunately most of them are easily knocked down because they are unsupported by evidence, much less by others suggesting them first. This is not to say that you are not allowed original thought, that you must cite every claim you make, but if the evidence does not support the claim, it does not stand up to scrutiny.
I am also a bit upset that you have said nothing of the various proofs I have offered. I make an effort to link you to the best available evidence where it is in my power to do so. Please have enough respect for your debating opponent to do likewise.
Update: I have rearranged each argument into subcategories for easier reading, and included a few rebuttals that have not been answered yet.