Do we have to read the Bible?


There’s a scheme at work to put a Bible in every school in England, and Richard Dawkins approves. I do too, sharing one opinion:

I have an ulterior motive for wishing to contribute to Gove’s scheme. People who do not know the Bible well have been gulled into thinking it is a good guide to morality. This mistaken view may have motivated the "millionaire Conservative party donors". I have even heard the cynically misanthropic opinion that, without the Bible as a moral compass, people would have no restraint against murder, theft and mayhem. The surest way to disabuse yourself of this pernicious falsehood is to read the Bible itself.

The Bible really is a great evangelical tool for atheists. It is such a wicked book of lies and bad advice that it handily discredits Christian claims of righteousness.

He goes a little too far, though, declaring it a great work of literature, and I have to disagree with that. Fragments of the book are excellent, but the bulk of it is simply awful, incoherent stuff, on a par with Twilight novels and fascist propaganda. It’s simply been hallowed by tradition and history, but really…we should be able to do better.

Comments

  1. clarysage says

    Schools would allow a book that is full of incest, plundering, murder, and debauchery? When I was a kid, they banned “Catcher in the Rye”!

  2. says

    What saves the Bible is that it’s excruciatingly dull and boring, especially in the beginning. Oh, Genesis has a few ok stories, but not far into Exodus it’s super-boring tripe about the dimensions of the tabernacle and its meager furnishings, plus some commands to kill people over relatively minor issues.

    So few read it, far fewer for any understanding. Thus it sits as a revered work whose idiocies and atrocities are little appreciated.

    Glen Davidson

  3. Dick the Damned says

    The morality (or lack thereof) of the Bible Bogey is about the same as that of the bully-boys & warlords of the mythopoeic, Bronze Age, Mesopotamian tribes that originated the legends of the bible.

  4. diederikdolf says

    I’d just take Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Canticles, Lamentations and part of the Psalms, put them in one book and distribute it as ‘Hebrew Poetry’. That’s all that’s really worth reading from an artistic point of view, in my opinion. Maybe thrown in the earlier parts of the OT with some non-OT Septuagint to add as a separate ‘Hebrew Epics’ collection, might sell well in the fantasy crowd with all the battles and maiming and magic hair.

  5. Rich Woods says

    The morality (or lack thereof) of the Bible Bogey is about the same as that of the bully-boys & warlords of the mythopoeic, Bronze Age, Mesopotamian tribes that originated the legends of the bible.

    Which is why it will appeal to some pupils in the average secondary school.

    Nah, just joking.

    I have to say I’d be more comfortable with Gove’s little project if each copy didn’t have “Presented by the Secretary of State for Education” embossed on the spine. Then again, I’m happy to see Conservative donors splash out on this rather than pour the cash directly into the Tory party coffers. This little trick isn’t going to buy them any votes from people who wouldn’t normally vote for them, and it’s more likely to create atheists than it is Christians.

  6. says

    Fragments of the book are excellent, but the bulk of it is simply awful, incoherent stuff, on a par with Twilight novels and fascist propaganda. It’s simply been hallowed by tradition and history, but really…we should be able to do better.

    Some decent editing would have helped greatly. The number of mistakes and contradictions that were let in is astounding. How about some fact checking? And what’s this “no index” shit?
    Next time, they should hire a professional.
    Killed By Fish

  7. says

    On a related note, I’m interested to see what becomes of the American Bible Challenge, where Americans will read the Bible for money. The contestants won’t know which verses will be at play, so the whole thing will have to be read. If not, and they stick with the greatest hits, then it will be a cash cow for atheists! I hardly believe that the show will be talking about Ezekiel and shit sandwiches, or Lot and his daughters, but if it goes more than a couple of seasons they’ll have to dip into the filth, right? That would be Must-See TV.

  8. Gregory in Seattle says

    I would call the Bible a great work of literature, insofar as it has had a profound impact on western culture and society. I would say the same about Das Kapital and Mein Kampf.

    I have no doubt, however, that the Bible will not be taught as literature, but as doctrine. There will be no debate on the text of the Bible, no discussion about whether the genocide of the Canaanites was moral or whether God was justified in sending a couple of angry momma bears to rip to pieces some children who called Elisha a bald-headed old coot. Such conversations will not be allowed, which is why I would oppose allowing Bibles into public schools.

  9. camelspotter says

    Why couldn’t Mr Politician Man have commissioned a new, up-to-date book to present actual knowledge, in a form comprehensible to children… oh wait, Dawkin’s already did…

    The bible is a mess: who would seriously expect a school child to just pick it up and understand. For example the story where The Great Patriarch(tm) finds it expedient to pass off his wife as his sister when on holiday (included three times, so it must be important right?). What lesson should a child draw from this:

    “It’s smart to let foreigners f##k your wife without having to kill you first. This lesson in political survival tactics is brought to you by the Secretary of State for Education. I, Mr Gove, approve this message.”

  10. Dick the Damned says

    I remember when bibles were handed out at my school. I was twelve. I clearly remember being amazed at the speed with which numerous salacious passages were discovered & passed boy to boy.

    I was just on the verge of becoming an atheist, & not long after this i sat in my bedroom & tore the book up.

  11. says

    …the bulk of it is simply awful, incoherent stuff, on a par with Twilight novels and fascist propaganda. It’s simply been hallowed by tradition and history, but really…we should be able to do better.

    Dear. Mr. G. Hovah:

    We regret to inform you that your submission does not meet with our current requirements, and we will be unable to represent you.

    Furthermore, might we also gently suggest a career change? Perhaps something that doesn’t involve you ever again writing anything whatsoever?

    Thanks, regards,

    (Signature)

    Bob’s Literary Agency
    Fifth Ave, NY, NY

  12. says

    I can’t see it’ll make much difference. Most schools will already have a Bible or two in the library, and any that wish to proselytise will already be doing so. In schools where that doesn’t happen (most of them), it’ll just join the other one or two; gathering dust in the library.

  13. Olav says

    I agree that the Bible is not itself a great work of literature. However I do consider it essential reading for any literature student. It is the original source for so many common ideas and sayings in every language that was influenced by Christianity.

  14. Synfandel says

    The schools could do a comparative lit unit on The Book of Revelation vis-à-vis The Electric Kool-aid Acid Test or Eraserhead. That would give the “millionaire Conservative party donors” their money’s worth.

  15. iknklast says

    I actually put a Bible on my Nook, because I’m tired of people telling me, “Oh, that’s not in the Bible. I read it, and I’d know”. I suspect they only read the Bible Stories for Children, which don’t contain any of the nasty or sexy bits, or at least when they do (such as a flood that killed ALMOST EVERYONE), they make them look all sweet and nice.

    And it only cost 99 cents, so I didn’t waste a lot of money on the brutal book!

  16. says

    I did a dissertation on the misogyny and general terribleness of Twilight.

    It’s funny, in a way, the writing style, the characters. It’s horrific that girls think Edward is anything close to good, or that Bella is *anything* close to good; but it’s hilariously bad.

    The Bible is bad but not hilariously so, it’s just incredibly, incredibly boring.

  17. says

    I can see Dawkins reason for supporting this but I imagine that the books will remain largely unread. And at the same time the religious will herald this move as a sign that religion is still important within our society and therefore we should still have faith schools, bishops in the lords, the right to be homophobic etc, etc. I can’t imagine any real good coming from it.

  18. camelspotter says

    I would recommend the Bible Geek podcast by Robert M Price for anyone interested in trying to make sense of the bible from an atheist perspective. He reads the bible quotes in the voice of Charlton Heston, and the Jesus quotes as Billy Graham. Makes the material much more entertaining.

  19. nooneinparticular says

    ryanwilkinson wrote; “I did a dissertation on the misogyny and general terribleness of Twilight.”

    *blink* *blink*

    what?

  20. says

    Fragments of the book are excellent, but the bulk of it is simply awful, incoherent stuff…

    True, that. Though, as Dawkins notes, its influence on Western culture makes up for it, in terms of its place in “the canon.” (And not simply in literature but in the visual arts, music, and theatre. Not to mention its influence on history.)

    Personally I think kids should be studying a few different versions of both the Hebrew and Christian bibles, alongside the Qu’ran and various other “sacred texts,” as their intellectual development permits. (Five-year-olds probably don’t need to be reading about Lot offering his daughter up for gang rape or Absolom fucking Dad’s concubines in a tent on the palace roof.)

    Of course, that’ll never happen (see Gregory’s comment at #8).

    Thomas Lawson:

    but if it goes more than a couple of seasons they’ll have to dip into the filth, right? That would be Must-See TV.

    Will there be “emerods,” foreskin necklaces, pissing against walls, and eating of one’s own dung? We can only hope.

  21. busterggi says

    I’ll second camelspotter although it was Price’s Cthulhu Prayer Breakfast sermon in ’95 that did it for me.

  22. Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle says

    #16: i’m fairly certain a triology could be written on that topic. I read all the books (hey, i volunteer with teenagers, I need to know what they are talking about. Or, at least that’s what I used to think BEFORE having read Twilight. Holy crap I don’t care if they think I’m a boring old lady now. Not doing THAT again).

    And my goodness what misogynstic crap.

    Kinda in the same vein as the Bable, really, since both are all about how worthless women are except as prizes to be won and tightly controlled.

  23. nooneinparticular says

    ryanwilkinson;

    No. No, I can’t. You can, apparently. I am flabbergasted by that.

  24. says

    A royal ‘you’ (I think that’s the correct term.)

    I find it fascinating, a boy who dismantles a girl’s engine, crawls into her bedroom at night, admits to mass murder, etc etc, is considered a romantic hero?

    And a boy who, at two different point, sexually assaults Bella, is considered a great best friend?

    And a girl who, throughout the whole thing, sees nothing wrong with either, is seen as a great heroine?

    I mean, there’s much more, but this for starters, eesh.

    All of this through terms such as ‘an angel’s face’ and ‘his eyes were like topaz’ with just some terrible grammar?

    It’s fascinating!

  25. Gregory Greenwood says

    Gregory in Seattle @ 8;

    I have no doubt, however, that the Bible will not be taught as literature, but as doctrine. There will be no debate on the text of the Bible, no discussion about whether the genocide of the Canaanites was moral or whether God was justified in sending a couple of angry momma bears to rip to pieces some children who called Elisha a bald-headed old coot. Such conversations will not be allowed, which is why I would oppose allowing Bibles into public schools.

    The doubtless brilliant, wise and ruggedly handsome Seattle-ite with the awesome name is right on the money here – this proposal to introduce the bible into all schools has not been put forward with the intent to encourage rational debate on the relative morality of the text, or to explore its long and ignoble history as a means of justifying slavery, misogyny, homophobia and just about every other repugnant form of mindless discrimination under the sun; it is being done to facilitate the brainwashing of children.

    On the face of it, that claim might come across as an overreaction, even paranoid, but I would invite any who think this policy harmless to consider the implications if it comes to pass. The best case scenario is that, in those schools not overly infected with xianity, the books will simply gather dust, but that assumes that this policy is the end of the matter, which I find doubtful. After inveigling a bible into every school, what is the betting that the role of ‘religious education’ will be expanded to ensure that those young minds are shaped with the proper dosage of what Xtians keep claiming is the only source of morality?

    As the (in)famous Jesuit saying goes, ‘give me the boy until his seventh year, and I shall give you the man’. In other words – get ‘em young before they are able to see the lie of the bible for what it is, cripple their critical faculties early by terrifying them with threats of hellfire and the omniscient peeping-tom antics of a wrathful skyborne sociopath, spoonfeed them the easy answers of xtian dogma, and you have your very own godbot assembly line where there formerly stood one of those awful, non-god-fearin’ institutions of Satan’s own book learnin’…

    Anyone who thinks that children in this type of scenario will be allowed to develop their own understanding of the ethical shortcomings of the bible, or even to engage in any kind of serious discussion of its merits, is terminally naive.

    And as for “millionaire Conservative party donors” – why do I get the strangest feeling that the bulk of the money behind this scheme is coming from the Conservative party’s numerous backers among the American Religious Right…?

  26. nooneinparticular says

    I know it’s very popular (still, unmitigated drek to this Olde Farte) but a dissertation? Wow. Please don’t be angry, I am not questioning your scholarship, but just..wow.

  27. says

    Oh no, nooneinparticular, I’m not angry, I didn’t write it to be lauded in academic circles or to make some big stand. I just find awful things really ferociously interesting, and Twilight for a time was ubiquitous, and I was intrigued, and then vastly horrified.

  28. kemist, Dark Lord of the Sith says

    ryanwilkinson:

    For having tried and failed to read the absolute dreck that is Twilight (I wanted to see what the hype was about and figured, wrongly, that a book with vampires in it shouldn’t be so bad), I would argue that it is at least as boring as the bible.

    The movies doubly so.

    For those who haven’t yet wasted time and brain cells on this crap, I would say that it feels like porn, but a kind of porn where nothing happens.

    Ever.

    For hundreds of pages.

  29. nooneinparticular says

    Oh I can definitely see why it might be an interesting subject; a horribly written, deeply misogynistic, terminally boring story is still (inexplicably) immensely popular. As a dissection of the rot at the core of culture alone it would be a worthwhile academic project. I am just amazed you aren’t stark raving mad after that. I’d have pulled my eyeballs out of my head if I had to read that story again, much less study it. You are made of much sterner stuff than I.

  30. says

    Oh come on, with lines like ‘I couldn’t find my lips’ and ‘I didn’t realise he was shirtless until halfway to the hospital’ and ‘There was a strange noise. I didn’t realise my teeth were chattering’, there’s a whole bundle of fun!

  31. says

    Also can’t forget all the Mormonistic, racist propaganda, what with the perfect vampires being beautiful and white, whereas the dirty, weak werewolves are native-american…

    It did get a bit frustrating to hear about how perfectly white Edward was after about, oh, perhaps one chapter.

  32. coragyps says

    There’s a scheme at work to put a bible into the hands of every fourth grader (9 or 10 years old) here in Scurry County, Texas, at some sort of a school-sponsored event within the next week. It may, just may, be a clever enough scheme to be legal. I’m going to try to find out, though I have no standing to bring a lawsuit if it isn’t……..

  33. Gregory Greenwood says

    Out of idle, masochistic curiosity, I allowed myself to be persuaded into watching the first Twlight movie, mostly to see if it really was as utterly, would-rather-gouge-your-own-eyes-out-with-a-spoon awful as people said it was.

    Surely, nothing could conceiveably be so bad? Though I, naive fool that I was. People must be exaggerating for comic effect…

    Needless to say, it was that bad, and worse.

    The entire thrice-cursed hellspawn of a movie was one long sequence of different ways of expressing that Bella’s (and, since she is the supposedly sympathetic heroine, by extension all women’s) life is utterly meaningless without the attentions of her abusive, controlling (and, incidentally, undead) boyfriend.

    Apparently, the second movie defies all laws of nature by conspiring to be even worse, with the Bella character quite literally behaving as if her life is unbearable and not worth living without Edward in it.

    I am unable to confirm whether this is true first hand, because I am have not yet been able to summon the requisite self-loathing to subject my poor brain to such further egregious abuse.

    Any man has his limits, you know…

  34. Antiochus Epiphanes says

    I did a dissertation on the misogyny and general terribleness of Twilight.

    I did no research at all and came to the same conclusion.

    Good thing nobody thinks vampires are real.

  35. says

    I think some people do, and regardless of whether or not people think vampires are real, very many people think Edward Cullen is good. Which is a problem.

  36. Ogvorbis: strawmadhominem says

    You can write for hours on it.

    No, you can’t. It is covered with closely spaced words and there isn’t even enough room in the margins for more than jsut a really good “Fuck this shit!”

  37. Gregory Greenwood says

    Antiochus Epiphanes @ 35;

    Good thing nobody thinks vampires are real.

    If only that were true – never underestimate the raw power of teh stoopid. I gurantee that, somewhere, you would find conspiracy theorists who most certainly do believe that vampires exist, and that science is wilfully blind to their existence/too caught up in ‘hidebound’, ‘narrow-minded’ materialism to acknowledge the ‘truth’/involved in a coverup of their existence in return for money, power, or the promise of immortality of their very own…

    In a world where people who claim to have been abducted by probe-happy aliens, or who state in all seriousness that they possess amazing psychic powers, can be found in all the more woo-soaked corners of the intertoobs, would you honestly expect any less?

  38. Antiochus Epiphanes says

    ryanwilkinson, Gregory Greenwood:

    Sorry. Failed to indicate sarcasm with the appropriate emoticon.

  39. jordanchandler says

    I recently read the book “The Bible Unearthed”, which analyzes the historical accuracy of the Hebrew bible against archaeological evidence. Without getting into the details, none of it was covered by my “Jewish History” class in elementary or high school, and while we learned science and maths and weren’t taught creationism, on some level it is IMPOSSIBLE to tell the true history of your people without directly going against the religious studies. I wish I knew a fraction of what I know now, then, I would have certainly been suspended or expelled or suggest I learn somewhere else.

    Even when I came to terms with my atheism, I always felt somehow that my Jewish culturally was “superior” to other cultures regardless of the accuracy of the religious aspects, and I no longer think that is true. Judaism is a very successful culture in terms of wealth and survival, but they’re just as flawed as any other religion based on lies and falsehoods.

  40. Gregory Greenwood says

    Antiochus Epiphanes @ 39;

    Sorry. Failed to indicate sarcasm with the appropriate emoticon.

    I should have realised that you were being sarcastic, what with th weirdness we encounter on this very site from time to time – like when Pilty admitted that he believed in the existence of literal demons…

    That said, it is easy to forget just how gullible and out of touch with reality people can be. I sometimes stop and think how surreal life is – we live on a planet where the majority of people believe that the universe was created by the wave of the ethereal hand of an invisible magic man in the sky, and this belief is not only not seen as strange, but those who don’t hold it are depicted by that majority as inherently amoral and even (irony of ironies) as irrational.

    You couldn’t make this stuff up…

  41. says

    The entire thrice-cursed hellspawn of a movie was one long sequence of different ways of expressing that Bella’s (and, since she is the supposedly sympathetic heroine, by extension all women’s) life is utterly meaningless without the attentions of her abusive, controlling (and, incidentally, undead) boyfriend.

    I made it through that turgid pile of shit once myself, a couple of months ago. Strikingly bad on pretty much every level, I must say.
    What’s weird is, early on, I thought Bella might actually be pretty cool, intelligent and capable. She attends her new school, surrounded by strangers, but doesn’t seem particularly worried about fitting in, and seems to take some private amusement in watching the goings-on around her.
    Then she meets Edward, and all of that is gone. Just fucking gone.
    She trusts him implicitly, despite the fact that he has to be careful about touching her, because he might lose control and suck her dry. I don’t know, maybe a burqa would help.
    The creepiest bit, I thought, was when Edward tells her that he’s been floating outside her bedroom window at night, watching her sleep. Pretty romantic, right? What teenage girl wouldn’t want some magical 90-year old dude watching her sleep at night?
    I also found it irksome that the vampires have to live in the Pacific Northwest, because anywhere else the sunlight would cause them to sparkle and give them away. Fuck. Really, the sun does sometimes shine up here.
    (End derail)

  42. agenoria says

    By all means read the Bible in schools. eg Judges 19.

    In one of the many articles on the Guardian website about schools being given a copy of the King James Bible there was a comment (which I can’t find again) about something that Michael Gove said in a speech:

    “What [students] need is a rooting in the basic scientific principles, Newton’s laws of thermodynamics and Boyle’s law.”

    Michael Gove pushes for return to more rigorous GCSE and A-level exams

  43. patricksimons says

    If they taught the Bible as it really is, then yes!! By all means………know your enemy.

  44. evader says

    I think the best (and probably also the quickest) way to turn most intelligent people off religion is to have them read a Bible.

    Although the down side could be, that the money used on getting those Bible out could possibly be used for a better purpose? But that may always be the way.

  45. Hairy Chris, blah blah blah etc says

    What I find amusing is the potential comedy of distributing Bibles to faith schools of different persuasion…

    Screw both of them, but it does make me chortle about the possible insult value.

  46. Moggie says

    Gregory Greenwood:

    this proposal to introduce the bible into all schools has not been put forward with the intent to encourage rational debate on the relative morality of the text, or to explore its long and ignoble history as a means of justifying slavery, misogyny, homophobia and just about every other repugnant form of mindless discrimination under the sun; it is being done to facilitate the brainwashing of children.

    It’s not really a proposal to introduce the bible into schools. Most of them will already have bibles, all state-funded schools are required to have a “daily act of collective worship”, and a sizeable proportion of them are explicitly designated “faith schools”. No, this is mainly a piece of self-promotion by an ambitious but not especially bright minister (and these bibles will contain a foreward written by him). I imagine there is much rolling of eyes in school staff rooms across the country.

  47. says

    Twilight relevant:
    http://yoshouldidumpthisahole.com/post/23382668393/so-this-guy-is-a-lot-older-than-me-frequently-talks

    Parts of the bible are pretty good stuff: poetry and blood-and-thunder mythology. King James version, of course, for the poetry. Modern versions are translated for so-called meaning rather than poetics. And if you get in the right frame of mind, even the bizarre rules are anthropologically interesting. And you find out that gay sex is an equal ABOMINATION to wearing mixed fibres or eating shellfish.

  48. ryangerber says

    Like many of you here I became an atheist while reading the bible. Since it looks like it’s just one copy for the school library, rather than wasting millions printing one for each student, I see no problem with this.

    It looks like Dawkins is shocked that schools don’t have copies already. I’m actually somewhat flabbergasted that any school library would be without copies of dozens of different religious texts.

  49. says

    #15 @iknklast

    And it only cost 99 cents, so I didn’t waste a lot of money on the brutal book!

    Yes you did. You could have gotten an epub copy of it off of Project Gutenberg for free.

    A sneaking suspicion I have regarding the “Good Bits” of the bible is they weren’t even intended to be part of scripture at all. A pet theory of mine is that some of the books of the old testament such as Job, Joshua and perhaps even Daniel (next time someone quotes that one to you point out that it’s really easy to write accurate prophecies 100 years after the fact) were just contemporary literature which got swept up in a mass edit by second century Christians.

    And while I’m sure these writers intended their works to be inspirational, I also think they would probably be quite surprised if they heard their books got merged into a sacred text.

  50. says

    One good reason to read the bible is if you’re planning on being a contestant on Jeopardy!.

    Seems like every show there’s at least one bible-centered category. I saw one episode where all the contestants were clearly non-Christian (a Jew, a Hindu, and a Muslim), and they were absolutely lost when the NT category was chosen.

    I would have cleaned up.

  51. says

    BTW: Bible Gateway, people.

    Free, online. You can read a wide range of translations to compare and contrast. It’s easy to skim past the begats and get to the interesting stuff.

    It’s got a great verse look-up, just in case your memory fails as to whether the daughter of the synagogue leader was raised from the dead by Jesus in Matthew or Mark. (It’s Mark. Lots of raising from the dead in the NT. I don’t think ‘death’ was the same as it is today, frankly.)

    Please don’t waste anymore trees buying the thing.

  52. CJO says

    @montanto:
    A pet theory of mine is that some of the books of the old testament such as Job, Joshua and perhaps even Daniel (next time someone quotes that one to you point out that it’s really easy to write accurate prophecies 100 years after the fact) were just contemporary literature which got swept up in a mass edit by second century Christians.

    Not possible. Copies of those books are among the Dead Sea Scrolls (3rd-1st c. BCE) and were translated into Greek, as scripture, at Alexandria in the 3rd-2nd c. BCE. Daniel appears to have barely made the cut, though, so to the extent that the designation “scripture” was always made after the fact, you’re onto something. There’s plenty of para-biblical literature that didn’t make the cut: Sirach, the Enochian literature, 2 and 3 Maccabees, et al. Among canonical literature in addition to Daniel that appears to have the markers of popular literature not necessarily intended to be holy writ, I’d include Esther, in which there is no mention of God and which alone out of the books of the Tanakh was not found at Qumran. The Talmudic literature preserves debates from the early centuries of the Common Era as to just which books should and should not be considerd scripture. The rabbis’ term for the designation was whether or not a given book “defiled the hands”. Scripture did, other literature did not.

  53. mnb0 says

    I am all for reading the Bible. Take 2 Chronicles 4:2 and 1 Kings 7:23.

    “Also he made a molten sea of ten cubits from brim to brim, round in compass, and five cubits the height thereof; and a line of thirty cubits did compass it round about.”

    So Pi = 3, right?
    The Babylonians already knew better many centuries for this tripe was written. Only a little later both Archimedes and Liu Hui found 3,14.

    But hey, we should teach the controversy, shouldn’t we? It must be a very good idea to present the Pastafarian teachings as well. The kids will love them.

  54. Amphiox says

    “Also he made a molten sea of ten cubits from brim to brim, round in compass, and five cubits the height thereof; and a line of thirty cubits did compass it round about.”

    So Pi = 3, right?

    There is one other way to interpret this passage:

    As in, alien geometries, Lovecraft style.

    Because, you know, God is a magic eldritch abomination.

  55. robro says

    Mark Twin said it too in 1905:

    The mind that becomes soiled in youth can never again be washed clean; I know this by my own experience, and to this day I cherish an unappeasable bitterness against the unfaithful guardians of my young life, who not only permitted but compelled me to read an unexpurgated Bible through before I was 15 years old. None can do that and ever draw a clean sweet breath again this side of the grave.

    This excerpt is from a letter Twain sent to a Brooklyn librarian in reply to being informed that there was a movement to remove Huck and Tom from the children’s sections of the Brooklyn library system. The whole exchange can be found on Letters of Note today.

  56. Ogvorbis: strawmadhominem says

    @mnbo it seems likely they were rounding…

    This is the bible. It is purported to be the innerant word of god. It is supposed to be the one way to spend and eternity worshiping said god(s). And they were rounding? Hahahahahahahahaha!

  57. lapsedlaestadian says

    You don’t have to read the whole Old Testament to see how outrageous it is, just my summary of it after a months-long effort to read the entire Bible a few years back. It was a dangerous thing for a fundamentalist Christian to do, and that’s not what I am anymore.

    Ingersoll makes the point about Bible reading with his usual devastating eloquence:

    Read it as you would any other book; think of it as you would of any other; get the bandage of reverence from your eyes; drive from your heart the phantom of fear; push from the throne of your brain the cowled form of superstition – then read the Holy Bible, and you will be amazed that you ever, for one moment, supposed a being of infinite wisdom, goodness, and purity to be the author of such ignorance and of such atrocity. [Lecture on Gods]

  58. Gregory Greenwood says

    feralboy12 @ 42;

    I made it through that turgid pile of shit once myself, a couple of months ago. Strikingly bad on pretty much every level, I must say.

    Too true. What I find strange is that anyone could think otherwise.

    What’s weird is, early on, I thought Bella might actually be pretty cool, intelligent and capable. She attends her new school, surrounded by strangers, but doesn’t seem particularly worried about fitting in, and seems to take some private amusement in watching the goings-on around her.
    Then she meets Edward, and all of that is gone. Just fucking gone.

    They did seem to set her up as a half way capable character specifically so that she could fall for Edward and become the worst kind of weak, disinteresting cipher imaginable.

    She trusts him implicitly, despite the fact that he has to be careful about touching her, because he might lose control and suck her dry. I don’t know, maybe a burqa would help.

    The meme of men who cannot control themselves around the temptation presented by ‘teh wimminz’ does seem somewhat familiar…

    The creepiest bit, I thought, was when Edward tells her that he’s been floating outside her bedroom window at night, watching her sleep. Pretty romantic, right? What teenage girl wouldn’t want some magical 90-year old dude watching her sleep at night?

    I know – creepy old man in a young man’s body kind of not-quite-but-pretty-darn-close lusting after a teenage girl; the stuff romance is made of indeed…

    Supernatural parodied that aspect when the Dean character coined the term ‘Pattinsoning’ for when a vampire creepily watches a woman sleep.

    I also found it irksome that the vampires have to live in the Pacific Northwest, because anywhere else the sunlight would cause them to sparkle and give them away. Fuck. Really, the sun does sometimes shine up here.

    That must really annoy inhabitants of the Pacific Northwest, but for myself the whole sparkling vampire thing was more annoying – doesn’t the abominable drek do enough to violate a perfectly good mythical creature without adding insult to injury?

    —————————————————————-

    Moggie @ 48;

    It’s not really a proposal to introduce the bible into schools. Most of them will already have bibles…

    True, but ‘most’ is not the same as ‘all’…

    all state-funded schools are required to have a “daily act of collective worship”, and a sizeable proportion of them are explicitly designated “faith schools”.

    I know, and it is an absolute travesty. We have Blair to thank for most of those faith schools.

    No, this is mainly a piece of self-promotion by an ambitious but not especially bright minister (and these bibles will contain a foreward written by him).

    I hope all it amounts to is a bit of posturing self-promotion, but what worries me is that Gove is not just an idiot, he is a useful idiot – useful to people with a rather nastier agenda and the resources to see it realised.

  59. Moggie says

    This reminds me that I still have dad’s WWII New Testament. It has its own foreward:

    A Message from H.M. King George VI: To all serving in my Forces by sea, or land, or in the air, and, indeed, to all my people engaged in the defence of the Realm, I commend the reading of this Book. For centuries the Bible has been a wholesome and strengthening influence in our national life, and it behoves us in these momentous days to turn with renewed faith to this Divine source of comfort and inspiration.

    I don’t think dad found a lot of comfort and inspiration in it, while he was lobbing 25 pounder shells at people. It means more to me than it did to him, but that’s entirely about where it went and with whom, and nothing to do with its content.

  60. raymondkoepsell says

    Hey PZ!! Instead of aping a global thinker like Dick Dawkins, why don’t you step out of his shadow and think for yourself? Please, I urge you, shout from the rooftops as loud as your blog permits:

    We as a nation should not just have a bible in every school – but a bible in every classroom! How about a bible for every student?

    King James was not written for elementary-age students, but if you placed a KJV bible in all middle- and high-school classrooms (same demographic Twilight was written for), you’d literally be doing God’s work.

    Before I hit “submit,” I’ve simply must add this: To equate the literary merit of the King James Bible with the literary merit of Twilight demonstrates either profound bias (not a great trait for the scientist but foundational for the atheist) or borderline illiteracy. In your case, PZ, which do you think it is?

    Okay Leukocytes, ready, set, go! Nerd of Redhead? John Morales? Brownian? ’tis Himself? Anybody?

  61. Gregory Greenwood says

    ryanwilkinson @ 66;

    Well, at least he doesn’t like Twilight.

    Perhaps the only redeeming characteristic of his post…

  62. says

    To equate the literary merit of the King James Bible with the literary merit of Twilight demonstrates either profound bias (not a great trait for the scientist but foundational for the atheist) or borderline illiteracy.

    well, he’s got a point. Twilight doesn’t suffer from severe mistranslation and random editing Fuckups the way the bible does. The hackjob who edited the two different Flood stories together should have been fired.

  63. Gregory Greenwood says

    Jadehawk, chef d’orchestre féministe @ 68;

    Twilight doesn’t suffer from severe mistranslation and random editing Fuckups the way the bible does. The hackjob who edited the two different Flood stories together should have been fired.

    Twilight also hasn’t been endlessly modified after the fact so that a series of conartists in dreses robes can base oppressive laws on it.

    There also haven’t been any pogroms enacted or wars fought over the interpretation of its text… yet. Though I hear that Twi-hards can get pretty nasty over this whole Team Edward/Team Jacob thing…

  64. Weed Monkey says

    Before I hit “submit,” I’ve simply must add this: To equate the literary merit of the King James Bible with the literary merit of Twilight demonstrates either profound bias (not a great trait for the scientist but foundational for the atheist) or borderline illiteracy. In your case, PZ, which do you think it is?

    raymondkoepsell
    You are squishy and taste like a rotten troll. No wonder no-one wants to play with you.

  65. F says

    camelspotter #9

    The bible is a mess: who would seriously expect a school child to just pick it up and understand.

    Considering that it is highly likely to be the KJV, with its awful anachronistic dialect, this seems doubly likely.

    Olav #13

    It is the original source for so many common ideas and sayings in every language that was influenced by Christianity.

    If there was a dictionary entry for “not an original source”, the Bible would be the example given. It’s an atrociously edited anthology, winner of a Nebulous Award, and most of the source material isn’t even original.

    raymondkoepsell

    You’re an insipid moron. How ironic that you suggest that PZ should develop his own original thoughts when you clearly have none of your own. As if PZ takes orders from, or mimics, Dawkins, and agrees with everything he says and does.

  66. says

    To equate the literary merit of the King James Bible with the literary merit of Twilight demonstrates either profound bias (not a great trait for the scientist but foundational for the atheist) or borderline illiteracy.

    You might want to look up the word “illiteracy.” It doesn’t really work given that we’re talking about reading works of literature and writing about them. Your use of the word demonstrates either profound hyperbole (not a great trait for someone writing about the comparative worth of literature but foundational for the ignorant yahoo commenter) or borderline…er…what do you call it when people don’t understand what words mean?
    Also, since you can’t quantify “literary merit” in any sort of objective way, “profound bias,” in this case, is a fancy term for “opinion,” which scientists, believe it or not, are actually allowed to have. And being biased against a book that has been screwing up civilization for centuries with its insistence on the inerrant quality of its nonsense, which must be believed in or else, is quite understandable.
    As for your blanket statement that bias is foundational for the atheist, either support that with something solid or we will just assume you’re throwing shit at the wall and playing with your own turds in the bathtub.

  67. robro says

    Hey ramondo! What the heck is a “global thinker”? Do you think its something bad? You kind of said it like it’s an insult. Are you worried about black UN helicopters or something?

    Personally, I sort of like the idea of someone who thinks globally. Seems we could use more of that sort of thinking…actually, any sort of thinking…rather than butt-stupid provincialism.

    As for the Bible’s literary merit…uneven at best. Some of the poetry is OK. Snippets of some of the stories are passable although the characters tend to be one-dimensional. Most of it’s just boring.

    I find Sumerian/Assyrian stories more interesting. There’s one translation of the Epic of Gilgamesh that’s particularly moving.

  68. Stacy says

    There’s one translation of the Epic of Gilgamesh that’s particularly moving

    Which one? I’ve been wanting to read TEoG.

  69. robro says

    Jadehawk

    Twilight doesn’t suffer from severe mistranslation and random editing Fuckups the way the bible does. The hackjob who edited the two different Flood stories together should have been fired.”

    Just give them time with Twilight. That franchise just started. By the time we get to Twilight 23 it will have all the pizzazz of an OT genealogy. The Bible has just been around a lot longer and there were those semi-literate monks mucking around with it. Arguably some of the stories didn’t start with so much in the first place.

    Also, there are several duplicate stories in the OT: at the very least, two creation myths, two flood myths, and two histories of Israel with divergent and obviously propagandistic leanings. And don’t forget, four official versions of the “Life of Jesus”, and a few “non-cannonical” versions as well, each with it’s own tweaks to the stories.

  70. raven says

    Considering that it is highly likely to be the KJV, with its awful anachronistic dialect, this seems doubly likely.

    I didn’t think anyone bothered with that any more. It’s incredibly pointless to substitute words we no longer use for words we use every day.

    Most versions of the KJV I’ve seen just use modern English, you for thou and weep for wepeth and so on.

    I don’t very often use the KJV. It’s a rather poor translation and critical parts of it are rewritten. When translaters think they can get away with it, they just rewrite the bible any way they want, always to get rid of contradictions and the atrocities.

    NIV is a better translation but not by much. It’s much more readable but has been rewritten by the fundies in places.

  71. antigodless says

    Good on England. Atheists don’t realise how many positive values are extolled in the New Testament. They only focus on the negative bits in the Old Testament. They don’t realise we’re dealing with human nature. Wars, police, armies and kings were kind of expected. Duh!

    “but the bulk of it is simply awful, incoherent stuff, on a par with Twilight novels and fascist propaganda.”

    Obviously, the commenters do not have any weaknesses. The Bible contains earthy people who have struggles with morality, of course. But, if we looked at the life of Richard Dawkins (or PZ Myers for that matter) unedited, I am sure we would be all shocked.

    DOn’t forget, PZ Myers began in a Lutheran church, so any existing morals he has was probably gained from Sunday School during his first ten years of childhood.

  72. Rev. BigDumbChimp says

    Good on England. Atheists don’t realise how many positive values are extolled in the New Testament. They only focus on the negative bits in the Old Testament. They don’t realise we’re dealing with human nature. Wars, police, armies and kings were kind of expected. Duh!

    My favorite kind of Christianity.

    A la carte

    Obviously, the commenters do not have any weaknesses. The Bible contains earthy people who have struggles with morality, of course. But, if we looked at the life of Richard Dawkins (or PZ Myers for that matter) unedited, I am sure we would be all shocked.

    Then how do you trust they are reporting the word of God? If it was men who have the same failures as us who wrote it, how can you trust their accuracy?

    DOn’t forget, PZ Myers began in a Lutheran church, so any existing morals he has was probably gained from Sunday School during his first ten years of childhood.

    You’re not very bright are you?

  73. says

    I don’t think any of us claim to be the most perfect book ever written.

    And I’ve been inside a church once in my life, for a wedding, so… there’s that.

    And it’s not essential of a king to ban people from eating shellfish, or to make them wash and go sit alone for seven hours after masturbating, or to stone homosexuals or adulterers or people who have sex before marriage, or to ban people from wearing clothes woven of two different materials, or to kill someone for not ejaculating in his dead brother’s wife, or to flood the world, or to punish people (Job) for being pious, or to trick someone into having a fight with a gang of stars, or to rip people’s bowels out, or to tear people apart via bears, or to prevent people from saying his own name, or to stone homosexuals, or to curse fig trees, or to smash up temples, or to tell people to gouge their eyes out, or to destroy the world via trumpets, or to be a general wanking dipshit, but your god seems to deem all those things not only essential; but good.

  74. Amphiox says

    But, if we looked at the life of Richard Dawkins (or PZ Myers for that matter) unedited, I am sure we would be all shocked.

    No we would not be very shocked at all. Most of Dawkins’ life is already on record. Compared to pretty much any biblical character, up to and including Jesus Christ himself, Dawkins stacks up very well.

  75. Amphiox says

    Of course neither Richard Dawkins or PZ Myers ever claimed to be a source of absolute objective moral authority.

    Though both easily leave Paul of Tarsus in the dust.

  76. raven says

    dumb troll:

    Atheists don’t realise how many positive values are extolled in the New Testament

    Another moron.

    1. Most people on these threads are ex-xians, including myself for many decades. We know.

    Some of the leaders of the New Atheists are bilbical scholars and ex-ministers. They know.

    2. There aren’t any positive values found in the NT that couldn’t be found in Marvel and DC comic books. Superman and Batman are far superior moral authorities. Same goes for Lord of the Rings.

    And the NT has its share of atrocities. Jesus gives instructions on how to beat your slaves, recommends that men cut off their testicles, threatens to kill everyone who don’t believe he is god, advices people to hate their families, and more. The virulent antisemitism of Matthew and John has resulted in 2,000 years of Jewish persecution and mass slaughter.

  77. raven says

    dumb troll again:

    But, if we looked at the life of Richard Dawkins (or PZ Myers for that matter) unedited, I am sure we would be all shocked.

    Actually we would most likely be slightly bored. Both men have public lives.

    Dawkins is a noted tenured Oxford Don, married to a TV actress, and has written numerous best sellers in two field, science and (anti)-religion.

    Myers is a scientist, tenured professor, department chair, married to one woman forever, and father of three kids, one of whom is an officer in the US army.

    And antigodless is an internet troll whose sole visible characteristic is being exceptionally stupid. I’m sure if he could think at all, he would be more than slightly envious.

  78. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Though both easily leave Paul of Tarsus in the dust.

    Not to mention the writers of Leviticus. We need to catch raymondkoepsell wearing a cotton/polyester shirt and stone him to death for wearing impure (mixed fiber) clothes…

  79. Weed Monkey says

    Good on England. Atheists don’t realise how many positive values are extolled in the New Testament. They only focus on the negative bits in the Old Testament. They don’t realise we’re dealing with human nature. Wars, police, armies and kings were kind of expected. Duh -antigodless

    You mean like the Evangelic Lutheran Church of Finland? Nope, they taught all the negative, militant points that were in New Testament as well as the ones in OT.

    That’s what made me an atheist at the age of eight of nine, I don’t remember: a reasonable knowledge of the babble. It’s a book that doesn’t explain anything, but demands submission. Fuck that.

  80. raven says

    Matthew 19:12 For some are eunuchs because they were born that …

    bible.cc/matthew/19-12.htm

    (jesus speaking) because some men are celibate from birth, while some are celibate because they … Still others are celibate because they have made themselves that way for the sake of … Jesus proceeds to state that there were some who were able to receive that saying … סריס אדם saris Adam, eunuchs of men, those who were castrated.

    Hey antigodless, if you decide to accept jesus’s advice and cut off your testicles (assuming you have testicles and/or even know what they are), do have a competent professional do it for you. People who do it themselves are at high risk of bleeding to death.

    PS Probably wasted advice. Most of these trolls seem to be driveby’s. I guess they don’t have enough going on upstairs for more than one paragraph of gibberish.

    At various times, xians have actually don this. Origen is reputed to have done so.

  81. raymondkoepsell says

    @72 The best you can do is mince words? Incorrectly even? One accepted definition of illiteracy is “lack of any or enough education.” If PZ is unable to distinguish between the Bible as literature and Twilight as literature, it betrays lack of discernment common to the average American 14 year-old and calls into question his literary education.

    Calling me out for hyperbole while using it yourself makes you a hypocrite (but I bet it was fun typing about feces, wasn’t it?) But double standards are to be expected on this blog, and we have another one here: I was called to task for not quantifying “literary merit” in any sort of objective way. However, the author of the post, the famed PZ himself, used the literary merit notion by first arguing that the Bible is not a great work of literature, and secondly by placing it “on par with Twilight novels.” Personal taste is certainly relative; not everyone can or must like, understand, and appreciate 2001: A Space Odyssey. However, declaring that 2001 is not a great film and then placing it on par with Throw Momma From The Train in terms of cinematic merit demonstrates illiteracy with regard to cinema.

    Bias is foundational for the atheist because the atheist with near-surgical precision removes the element of faith from religion, then debunks theism for insufficient proof. I say “you have to have faith in order for theism to work.” You say “Bah, faith is for knuckle-dragging morons who can’t think for themselves. Show me proof of God and then we’ll talk.” Unfortunately, that’s not how it works. But the atheist, who disavows and belittles faith in the context of religion, will happily embrace faith outside the context of religion.

    All actions without guaranteed outcomes are faith-based. Every time you step into an elevator on the 44th floor, your operational assumption is that the elevator will get you to the ground safely. There is no proof of that, no guarantee. Hundreds of people have died in elevators, but not you, not today. Every time you put your family onto an jet, your operational assumption is that the plane will reach its destination safely and your family will not die. This can’t be proven, but you do it anyways. Love and gravity can’t be explained, but both are accepted without reservation whenever somebody gets married or flushes a toilet.

    Faith is an accepted part of living, but for the atheist, faith is irrelevant, stupid, and primitive thinking when it needs to be (such as when contemplating theism). Having faith in non-religious matters and ignoring faith in religious matters is classic bias.

  82. Weed Monkey says

    Dimwit. Everything you say that is based on your holy book is immediately ignorable, because a fairy tale is not evidence.

  83. raven says

    Repost from the earlier thread. Here is biblical morality in a comprehensive list. Many death penalty crimes back then aren’t even crimes today. I’d ask all the cafeteria xian trolls how they pick and choose which to follow and which to ignore.

    But I already know. They just follow the modern moral codes like almost everyone. When they don’t, they go to prison for long periods of time like Warren Jeff or David Koresh would have if he hadn’t got in a firefight with the feds.

    wikipedia list of capital crimes in the bible:

    Religious practices

    Sacrificing to gods other than YHWH[2][3]
    Passing children through the fire to/as [MLK]. The triconsonantal root MLK has traditionally been translated as if it were the name of an otherwise unattested deity – Moloch – but may just describe a type of sacrifice. It is generally thought that this refers to a form of Human sacrifice similar to that of which the Phoenicians (particularly in Carthage) have historically been widely accused[4] However, the Septuagint reads “You shall not give your seed to serve a ruler”, suggesting that the root M-L-K should be more properly rendered as ‘king/ruler’.
    Worshiping Baal Peor[5]
    False prophecy[6][7][8]
    Necromancy, according to the masoretic text; specifically those who are masters over ghosts (Hebrew: Ba’al ob) and those who gain information from the dead (Hebrew: Yidde’oni).[9] The Septuagint instead condemns gastromancy (Greek: eggastrimuthos), and enchantment (Greek: epaoidos).[10]
    According to the masoretic text, practitioners of kashaph[11] – incanting maleficium. According to the Septuagint version of the same passages, pharmakeia[12] – poisoners. Historically this passage has been translated into English using vague terminology, condemning witchcraft in general.[13]
    Blasphemy[14]
    Sabbath breaking[15][16][17]
    A foreigner (outsider) who gets close to the tabernacle[18]

    [edit] Sexual practices

    Rape by a man of a betrothed woman in the countryside[19]
    Being either participant in consensual sexual activity, in which a betrothed woman consensually loses her virginity to a man[20]
    Loss of virginity by a woman prior to marriage, to someone other than her husband while falsely representing herself as a virgin[21]
    Adultery with a married woman.[22]
    Marrying your wife’s mother[23]
    Certain forms of incest, namely if it involves the father’s wife or a daughter-in-law.[24] Other forms of incest receive lesser punishment; sexual activity with a sister/stepsister is given excommunication for a punishment;[25]; if it involves a brother’s wife or an uncle’s wife it is just cursed[26] and sexual activity with an aunt that is a blood relation is merely criticized.[27]
    Prostitution by the daughter of a priest[28]
    Certain activities with a male (Hebrew: zakhar) involving what the masoretic text literally terms lay layings woman (Hebrew: tishkav mishkvei ishah),[29][30] and the Septuagint literally terms beds [verb] the woman’s/wife’s bed (Greek: koimethese koiten gynaikos);[31][32] the gender of the target of the command is commonly understood to be male, but not explicitly stated. The correct translation and interpretation of this passage, and its implications for Homosexuality in Judaism and Homosexuality in Christianity, are controversial. Translations into English are wide-ranging.[33][34]
    Bestiality[35][36]

    [edit] Miscellaneous Murder, believed by Jews to apply to believing non-Jews, or (Noachides) as well[37][38][39][40]

    Smiting a parent[41]
    Cursing (ie repudiating) a parent[42][43]
    A son who persists in disobeying his parents[44]
    Kidnapping[45][46]
    Negligent homicide, specifically by ox-goring[47]
    Contempt of court[48]
    False witness to a capital crime[49]

    Anyone following an OT lifestyle today would be doing multiple life sentences in prison.

  84. raven says

    dumb troll:

    Faith is an accepted part of living, but for the atheist, faith is irrelevant, stupid, and primitive thinking when it needs to be (such as when contemplating theism). Having faith in non-religious matters and ignoring faith in religious matters is classic bias.

    This is stupid. Elevators are real and predictable.

    Invisible spirits aren’t. The religious can’t even agree on how many there are, what they do, or if they even exist. Only 28% of the world’s population is even xian.

    To most of the world, most of the rest of the world believe in fairy tales. Everyone is an atheist about some of the gods.

  85. raven says

    Show me proof of God and then we’ll talk.” Unfortunately, that’s not how it works.

    Oh gee, he actually completely accidentally said something reasonable. That is the way it should work if the gods were real.

    The xians can’t prove their god exists and they know it.

    If the gods existed, they would be as obvious and noncontroversial as trees, water, and rocks.

  86. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    But double standards are to be expected on this blog,

    Nope, we have one standard. If you can’t supply conclusive physical evidence for your imaginary deity, evidence that will pass muster with scientists, magicians, and professional debunkers, as being of divine, and not natural (scientifically explained), origin, you are a delusional fool. If you can’t prove the inerrancy of your babble by showing a one-time-all-continent and properly radiometric dated discontinuity in the geological record found in the peer reviewed scientific literature, and proper the correlating extinction of all life and humanity in the fossil record, it is a book of mythology fiction. Funny how all ancient histories like the Egyptians and Chinese seem intact throughout tha period that your imaginary flood occurred.

    Your deity is imaginary and your babble a book of mythology fiction. Show otherwise with solid and conclusive physical evidence, or shut the fuck.

  87. echidna says

    Faith is an accepted part of living, but for the atheist, faith is irrelevant, stupid, and primitive thinking when it needs to be (such as when contemplating theism). Having faith in non-religious matters and ignoring faith in religious matters is classic bias.

    I think you have conflated two separate meanings for the word faith here: what you are describing as “faith” for non-religious matters would be more aptly put as “expectation”.

    Using words that have multiple meanings such as “faith” to make your point by switching meanings mid-sentence is either an indication that you are deliberately trying to mislead your audience, or that you are parroting someone who misled you. Or that you are an unbelievably sloppy thinker.

  88. emptybook says

    Mr. Gove’s idea is… kind of pointless.
    I attended an English Church of England school as a kiddy, and they handed out bibles as a yearly gift. Mine became household clutter shortly before my tidy Mam lobbed it in the bin. And my brother’s. Two kids by four years equals eight unread bibles in the bin.

    Even gifting them to us, no-one reads the bloody thing, never mind it sitting around in a library. It’d be like reading the dictionary without the benefits.

  89. says

    Heh heh, deeep riiifffts!!

    The KJV is NOT awful. Unless you are some literalist looking for exact meanings, which I’m not. It’s beautiful language, very Shakespearean. Not forced fake pseudo-archaic style like the Mormon book; the people who did the KJV really were from that era and really did speak like that. They often ignored immediate meaning for poetry, which in general makes for an improvement.

    The RSV and NIV are technically more literal translations, and thus better for annoying Xians with, if that’s your agenda. But if you want to just read for the myths and the poetry, then it’s KJV by a country mile.

    Translation is tricky. Accuracy isn’t always the best way to convey the meaning and feel of a story. Douglas Hofstadter wrote a book on the topic – Le Ton beau de Mareau – which featured a dozen or so radically different translations of a single poem. Fascinating stuff.

    Which one of these is “best”?

    THE Wrath of Peleus’ Son, the direful Spring
    Of all the Grecian Woes, O Goddess, sing!
    That Wrath which hurl’d to Pluto’s gloomy Reign
    The Souls of mighty Chiefs untimely slain;
    Whose Limbs unbury’d on the naked Shore
    Devouring Dogs and hungry Vultures tore.
    Since Great Achilles and Atrides strove,
    Such was the Sov’reign Doom, and such the Will of Jove.

    Achilles’ bane full wrath resound, O Goddesse, that imposd
    Infinite sorrowes on the Greekes, and many brave soules losd
    From breasts Heroique—sent them farre, to that invisible cave
    That no light comforts; and their lims to dogs and vultures gave.
    To all which Jove’s will gave effect; from whom first strife begunne
    Betwixt Atrides, king of men, and Thetis’ godlike Sonne.
    —-
    SING, goddess, the anger of Peleus’ son Achilleus
    and its devastation, which put pains thousandfold upon the Achaians,
    hurled in their multitudes to the house of Hades strong souls
    of heroes, but gave their bodies to be the delicate feasting
    of dogs, of all birds, and the will of Zeus was accomplished
    since that time when first there stood in division of conflict
    Atreus’ son the lord of men and brilliant Achilleus.

  90. Weed Monkey says

    Meh. I’ve read a few translated versions from the 80’s to he 00’s and the only consistent thing I can remember from all of those is WHY THE FUCK SHOULD I CARE.

  91. Wowbagger, Vile Demagogue says

    raymondkoepsell wrote:

    Every time you put your family onto an jet, your operational assumption is that the plane will reach its destination safely and your family will not die. This can’t be proven, but you do it anyways.

    Wrong. The safety of that jet can be ‘proven’ at least in the sense of statistics, calculated as a proportion of jets that crash vs. jets that don’t crash. If anything more than the tiniest fraction of jets did crash, people would not use them.

    What’s your analogous calculation of ‘faith’ in your god?

  92. Wowbagger, Vile Demagogue says

    raymondkoepsell,

    You say “Bah, faith is for knuckle-dragging morons who can’t think for themselves. Show me proof of God and then we’ll talk.” Unfortunately, because we’ve realised that science can only demonstrate that religious belief is wrong, we’ll instead attempt to shift the goalposts on what science can achieve, and claim that that’s not how it works.

    FIFY.

    Do you believe that Jesus performed his miracles in front of people as it is described in the bible? If so, how is that not ‘proof’?

  93. says

    Using words that have multiple meanings such as “faith” to make your point by switching meanings mid-sentence is either an indication that you are deliberately trying to mislead your audience, or that you are parroting someone who misled you. Or that you are an unbelievably sloppy thinker.

    Nay, sisters and brothers, truly, we must accept the perfect sense of this argument:

    a) If you have ever reasoned inductively in any way whatsoever (including specifically granting even qualified confidence in the reliability of certain mechanical devices),

    b) You might as well also believe in talking snakes*.

    … as both require ‘faith’, if you’re sloppy enough with the term. Rilly. It makes perfect sense.

    (*/I’d have gone with a ‘believe in snake handling’, here, but I don’t want Brother Koepsell’s death–presumably in the company of some Pentecostal fringe group french kissing puff adders in some strip mall storefront temple somewhere–on my hands, thanks, and I’m not as confident as I’d like to be that he’s even going to realize this is sarcasm. And as this general dodge has been spotted in the wild previously as a justification for considering equivalent i) respect for the value of obeying walk signals and ii) belief in random risible nonsense like the Jesus myth, this remains, I’m afraid, alarmingly possible.)

  94. says

    Jadehawk, you seem to be espousing a criterion of literal accuracy of text. Who cares about that? I know that’s usually a rhetorical question, but I actually mean it. Think about who cares, and why they care. Not me. Unicorns are way more fun.

    Anyway, most other translations say ‘wild ox’ not rhinoceros, so even if you are actually right about the rhino interpretation, then they’re still no better on that front. (Unicorn=rhino is a common fundie retcon, not actual Hebrew, IIRC.)

  95. anuran says

    Everyone’s Holy Book sounds like the ravings of a febrile toddler when viewed from outside.

  96. says

    I just want to note for the record that I fully endorse the NRSV + Apocrypha for two reasons: 1) it’s relatively denomination-neutral and considered fairly accurate, and therefore will drive the KJV-only crowd up a wall, and 2) it’s the most complete canon of any translation that I know of in English. (In other words, not only the NT and Masoretic Tanakh, but also the extra books of the Septuagint used in Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches.) You don’t get the African canon, but at the very least I know you can find Jubilees online here and there.

    Only problem with the NRSV is that it tends to be among the more expensive translations out there — HarperCollins seems to have exclusive rights in the US, online access is hard to come by, and my pocket edition goes for about $30. (I didn’t pay that much — got it for $5 from a bookshop specializing in remainders.) It’s sort of surprising what the apocrypha cover — for example, the entirety of the Hanukkah story came down only through the Septuagint’s Books of Maccabees and therefore doesn’t appear in the Masoretic canon at all…

  97. says

    anuran:

    Ah, the memories of being a second grader, getting my first Bible for first communion, and being thoroughly confused by the Genesis 1/2 train wreck…

  98. says

    #5c @CJO

    Not possible. Copies of those books are among the Dead Sea Scrolls (3rd-1st c. BCE) and were translated into Greek, as scripture, at Alexandria in the 3rd-2nd c. BCE.

    Really? How fascinating. Oh well it was a fun one while it lasted.

    Do you have any good sources on this?

  99. CJO says

    Jadehawk:
    The hackjob who edited the two different Flood stories together should have been fired

    Given that it took a couple thousand years for anyone to notice, and it’s one of the world’s best known stories, I’d say the hackjob deserved a promotion. Such is publishing.

    Seriously, the redaction is a priceless artifact of ancient literary craft. We’re lucky to have it.

    raymondkoepsell:
    Faith is an accepted part of living, but for the atheist, faith is irrelevant, stupid, and primitive thinking when it needs to be (such as when contemplating theism). Having faith in non-religious matters and ignoring faith in religious matters is classic bias.

    The bare-faced equivocation in your comment is dumbfounding. We observe elevators in constant, safe operation, we can if we wish become informed about every aspect of the mechanism that drives them, and we have access to reliable statistics about their safety derived from billions of episodes annually. Don’t pretend that if 99.99…% doesn’t exactly equal 100 that 0 is somehow still in the game. “Bias” in favor of reality isn’t a bias, it’s the epistemological ground on which claims of bias must be judged; and ordinary trust in the normal workings of the real world isn’t similar to belief in undetectable agents of vast power.

    Alethea:
    Anyway, most other translations say ‘wild ox’ not rhinoceros, so even if you are actually right about the rhino interpretation, then they’re still no better on that front. (Unicorn=rhino is a common fundie retcon, not actual Hebrew, IIRC.)

    The conflation is ancient: monokeros is how the 2nd c. BCE Septuagint translators rendered Hebrew Re’em (literally “wild ox” [apparently obscure or unacceptable to the Greek translator] but in context passably “creature of legendary strength and vitality”). What that meant to a literate Greek speaker of the era derived from earlier, garbled descriptions of the Indian rhinoceros transmitted by no less an authority than Aristotle. The KJ translators deferred to the Greek or the Vulgate when the Hebrew was obscure, and it was most often so in just such particulars as folk taxonomy.

  100. Aquaria says

    Twilight doesn’t suffer from severe mistranslation and random editing Fuckups the way the bible does. The hackjob who edited the two different Flood stories together should have been fired.

    Furthermore, the narrative of Twilight is far more internally consistent. Stupid, but consistent.

    Consistently stupid, too.

  101. Aquaria says

    Really? How fascinating. Oh well it was a fun one while it lasted.

    Do you have any good sources on this?

    Wikipedia lists these references for papers about the dating of the Dead Sea Scrolls:

    Bonani, G., Ivy, S., Wölfli, W., Broshi, M., Carmi, I., and Strugnell, J., “Radiocarbon Dating of Fourteen Dead Sea Scrolls”, Radiocarbon 34 (1992) 843-849.

    Carmi, Israel, “Radiocarbon Dating of the Dead Sea Scrolls”, in The Dead Sea Scrolls: Fifty Years after their Discovery, 1947-1997, edited by Schiffman, Lawrence H., Tov, Emanuel, and VanderKam, James C. (Jerusalem: Israel Exploration Society & The Shrine of the Book, 2000) 881-888.

    Doudna, Greg, “Dating the Scrolls on the Basis of Radiocarbon Analysis”, in The Dead Sea Scrolls after Fifty Years, edited by Flint Peter W., and VanderKam, James C., Vol.1 (Leiden: Brill, 1998) 430-471.

    Jull, A.J.T., Donahue, D.J., Broshi, M., and Tov, Emanuel, “Radiocarbon Dating of Scrolls and Linen Fragments from the Judean Desert”, Radiocarbon 37 (1995) 11-19.

  102. gavinmcbride says

    Atheist Ireland of whom I am a founding member also run a “Read the Bible” campaign. I am a firm believer in getting more people to read it.

    It is amazing how many people claim to be Christian and do NOT read it. To the point that the ones I have given a bible to were actually shocked at the size of it. They had heard the same cherry picked handful of stories so many times that they thought they had heard the whole book and knew it backwards. Their shock when they see how much more of it there is is comical.

    Further, I have in my time deconverted many Christians away from religion. The vast majority of them I did not do with logic, argument, debunking or any similar… I did it by making them read the Bible and they came out of the experience going “I was meant to believe WHAT now???”

  103. theophontes 777 says

    Evelyn Waugh had the (mis)fortune of sharing a tent with Winston Churchill’s son Randolph. They decided to trick him into reading the bible so that he would STFU for a while. He ended up laughing loudly throughout, which kind of defeated the object:

    “In the hope of keeping him quiet for a few hours Freddy [Birkenhead] & I have bet Randolph 20[pounds sterling] that he cannot read the whole Bible in a fortnight. It would have been worth it at the price. Unhappily it has not had the result we hoped. He has never read any of it before and is hideously excited; keeps reading quotations aloud `I say I bet you didn’t know this came in the Bible “bring down my grey hairs in sorrow to the grave’” or merely slapping his side & chortling `God, isn’t God a shit!’”
    — Evelyn Waugh on Randolph Churchill

  104. Lyn M, Purveyor of Fine Aphorisms of Death says

    @ raymondkoepsell # 87

    Love and gravity can’t be explained, but both are accepted without reservation whenever somebody gets married or flushes a toilet.

    Faith is an accepted part of living, but for the atheist, faith is irrelevant, stupid, and primitive thinking when it needs to be (such as when contemplating theism). Having faith in non-religious matters and ignoring faith in religious matters is classic bias.

    I am interested that you say gravity can’t be explained (by which you mean the successful flush, I am estimating from your comment). By you, I take it?

    In any event, when one gets on a plane, etc., one is accepting risk, not displaying faith. The risk is quite low, and this is demonstrated hundreds of times a day, every day. Accepting that is not bias, either. It is acknowledging something visible, measurable and obvious. If a position conforms well to a substantial series of real world tests, that is to say evidence, then it is not biased to accept that evidence. (More successful tests in the flush example, rather than the marriage example, admittedly.)

  105. theophontes 777 says

    @ Alethea

    Which one of these is “best”?

    Pretty much any translation of the Iliad is simply exquisite. I can only barely imagine how brilliant the original must have been.

    I don’t think today’s crop of the religiously inclined can fathom just what poor substitutes for real Religion and Religious Experiences they have given up in order to follow their dull and dowdy deities.

    @ Xtians: If you must have such faith in faith, at least do it properly!

  106. Amphiox says

    By the way, has anyone been keeping track of how many of the tired old theist cliches raymondko the magnificent has managed to hit already without making a single original argument?

    These theist apologists are literally all the same, just endlessly repeating mangled translations of the same tired old fallacies.

  107. theophontes 777 says

    @ Amphiox

    These theist apologists are literally all the same, just endlessly repeating mangled translations of the same tired old fallacies.

    They do tend to get tiresome. If you want to keep this thread clean for adult conversation, they can always be sent on their way to TZT and extoll the virtues of their little god and its book with impunity.

  108. says

    Thanks, CJO – that adds another dimension. I wasn’t aware of that specific usage of Greek intermediaries for the KJV.

    Of course some sensible people do care about the literal interpretations – historians, classicists and literary scholars are among them. Sorry that I seemed to be conflating you with fundies.

    My main point is this: if you want to read any literary work in translation for enjoyment or general interest, then you are much better off with a good poetic or literary translation than with a word-for-word exact version. (KJV, IMHO)

    I’d also add that if you want to look at the influence on English literature, then for historical reasons, it’s KJV.

    And if your reason is getting Teh Word of GAWD exactly right, then that’s just too bad. No version does that. God is mythical. Bugger off.

  109. theophontes 777 says

    @ Alethea

    then you are much better off with a good poetic or literary translation

    Shades of Graves ?

  110. mikee says

    Had a bunch of happy clappy christians at work today handing out a question “If you could ask God one question what would it be?”

    I’m disappointed to say I was too busy to think about it at the time, and just told them I wasn’t interested.

    On reflection I could have written

    “Why did you let your followers write such an inconsistent holy book?”

    or

    “So who got it right – the Jews, Muslims, Christians, Hindus, Buddhists?”

    or

    “Do you know the Easter Bunny and Father Christmas?”

    or maybe just

    I don’t talk to imaginary beings

  111. drxym says

    Maybe Dawkins et al should promote pupils to visit the Skeptics Annotated Bible (and Koran) websites. Print out some cards with the url and get them distributed.

  112. says

    Heh, I almost put Graves’ Iliad opener in as one of the versions then decided that the post was too long already with just the Chapman, Pope and Lattimore.

    So yeah, sorta kinda. The problem is that “good translation” is quite a wobbly concept. Poetics are important, but so too is some general degree of accuracy. Graves seems to cross that line at times, especially when he gets into his White Goddess thing. Though I do still adore I CLAVDIVS.

    It does seem *plausible* to me that poetic sensibility can help one to understand religion. But I may be confused, because I do at least get the idea of art, while religion is just so wrong that I can’t get it at all.

  113. stuartbrown says

    Eh, Dawkins’s article (and your agreement with it) is I think misconceived in that the contradictions and idiocies of the Bible are quite avoidable if one reads it with a prior agenda and non-critically. A critical reading of the Bible is, of course, what Dawkins want; but what you forget is that critical approaches have to be learnt for many people, they are not particularly inbuilt. A few are naturally so—and we see in many of your why-I-am-an-atheist posts those who are and for whom a reading of the Bible has challenged their faith—but, given that the majority of people who decide to read a large amount of the book for themselves will already be religiously indoctrinated, these readers will be prophylactically insulated from its inconsistencies and unpleasantness.

    With respect to its literary value, I think Dawkins is talking about specifically the language of the King James version rather than the overall literary quality of the Bible qua Bible; and as such he is right: it is extremely fine writing, and was hugely influential.

    That said, I’m afraid what stuck out for me in the article as a whole is Dawkins’s statement that “A native speaker of English who has never read a word of the King James Bible is verging on the barbarian.” This is appallingly snobbish, and I’m afraid it is with this kind of elistist disdain for the masses that Dawkins loses the free thought movement a lot of potential support.

  114. John Morales says

    stuartbrown, thank you so very much for informing people that contradictions and idiocies are quite avoidable if one reads it with a prior agenda and non-critically.

    (Revelatory, it aint)

  115. DLC says

    Dumbass Troll is sure PZ Myers or Richard Dawkins would turn out to have feet of clay. Yeah, they would. They do. Either man would be the first to admit to not being perfect. But the key point you deliberately duck under is — neither Richard Dawkins nor PZ Myers claims to be delivering the infallible word of god

  116. KG says

    I would call the Bible a great work of literature, insofar as it has had a profound impact on western culture and society. I would say the same about Das Kapital and Mein Kampf. – Gregory in Seattle

    Putting Das Kapital and Mein Kampf in the same category as each other is ludicrous. Mein Kampf is the babblings of an ignorant egomaniac; and it was a commonplace among the Nazi leadership that even they found it completely unreadable. Das Kapital, while flawed and of course outdated, is a work of immense scholarship, revealing a breadth and depth of historical, sociological and economic knowledge with few parallels.

  117. John Morales says

    [meta]

    DLC, you gotta admit that This is appallingly snobbish, and I’m afraid it is with this kind of elistist disdain for the masses that Dawkins loses the free thought movement a lot of potential support pings the irony meter nicely.

  118. stuartbrown says

    John, did you read the article in question, or did you just zoom straight down to the comments to try and find someone to belittle? Dawkins’s argument clearly presumes that people reading the Bible will automatically be “disabused” of their misapprehensions. I was merely making the point that not only is this not the case, but that of the proportion of people who chose to read the Bible for themselves, the majority will already have been miseducated out of (or never achieved) the critical approach which Dawkins takes for granted. This assumption that everyone ought to be as clever, critical and well-educated as Richard and his Oxford mates is deeply counterproductive to the promotion of free thought. His article, both in the presumption of critical thought and the bizarrely conservative comment on barbarism was typical of this problem in the free thought community; as is, I might add, sneeringly sarcastic put-downs in comments threads.

  119. John Morales says

    stuartbrown:

    Dawkins’s argument clearly presumes that people reading the Bible will automatically be “disabused” of their misapprehensions.

    It ain’t clear to me. Care to substantiate this claim?

    I was merely making the point that not only is this not the case, but that [blah]

    Make your point after you establish your own premise.

    (Channeling Nerd)

  120. Matt Penfold says

    Dawkins’s argument clearly presumes that people reading the Bible will automatically be “disabused” of their misapprehensions.

    I think you must have been reading another article because in one PZ refers to, and which I read in The Observer last he makes no such claim.

    I think you need to read the article again, as clearly you have not understood it.

  121. quoderatdemonstrandum says

    Here is an apposite transcript of a FB exchange between me and a Catholic Priest about what is true and what is not true in the bible (in the context of examples of “traditional” marriage in the bible and LGBT marriage):

    Hey people! The Bible, especially the Old Testament, is not meant to be the Rule Book for how things should be done. This item is clearly a reaction to stupid fundamentalist “Christians”.. Jesus often contradicts the Old Testament. I won’t go on…. but I could!! – Catholic Priest

    Wait so the old testament is no longer the word of god? Somebody needs to tell the 40% of Americans who believe it is the innerant word of god including Genesis, Adam and Eve and talking snakes. – me

    Yes it is the word of God, in that God’s purposes are revealed in it, but it is not the word of god like a text book in which you can pick out anything and everything and say this is what God wants. It must be read through the teaching of Jesus and his Church. If the Ot were literally text-book style the word of God then it contradicts itself in the first two chapters which are actually two separate accounts of the Creation in which a different word for God is used, In the first where God is J… humans are created last, in the second where God is E…. man is created first then all the animals etc and then woman. They are in fact two stories told to convey truth by people who were not interested in how the world was made but why. This kind of thing is taught in the USA by many intelligent Christians, but sadly there are so many ignorant idiots out there that I despair of the place!! – Catholic Priest

    Ah, that may explain the nice bits of the bible as god’s purpose while ignoring the genocides, slavery and making off with girls who have “not known man”. That said, I still find it difficult to parse which bits are god’s purpose and which bits we can safely ignore as not god’s purpose. So god’s commandment of the genocide of the Amalekites is not god’s purpose but “love thy enemies” is? The other genocide of Middianite men, women and boys and keeping the girls who have “not known man by lying with him” sounds like not god’s purpose but the relative difficulty of camels passing through the eye of a needle and rich men getting into heaven sounds more positive. I think I’m getting the hang of this but there are some tricky calls. What about suffering witches to live? And do we still need to put to death a man that lies with another man? – me

    You’ve almost got there. God’s purposes are to prepare a people for the coming of Jesus. These people, like us today, are humans – warts and all – and so they do lots of things that they think are what God wants, but gradually they are discovering that God isn’t like the gods around them but is an invisible power of goodness, love and mercy. Jesus is thus a fulfillment of that journey and we judge the Old Testament through what Jesus taught and did. The Old testament thus confronts us with the reality of how evil we humans can be, as well as giving us glimpses of how great and good we can be too.

    At this point I ended the exchange as the priest in question is a friend’s father (yes you read that right).

  122. ohnhai says

    might not be the best piece of literature ever, but surely no one can deny the influence its had and from a purely historical point it’s importance as a text (regardless of literary merit…)

  123. Koshka says

    All actions without guaranteed outcomes are faith-based. Every time you step into an elevator on the 44th floor, your operational assumption is that the elevator will get you to the ground safely. There is no proof of that, no guarantee. Hundreds of people have died in elevators, but not you, not today.

    What a ridiculous comparison. It is well known how lifts work. Their components that make them work are everywhere. We also know why they fail. I will put my trust in a lift over religion any day. I know which one is more likely to kill me.

  124. stuartbrown says

    John

    Dawkins argues that I have even heard the cynically misanthropic opinion that, without the Bible as a moral compass, people would have no restraint against murder, theft and mayhem. The surest way to disabuse yourself of this pernicious falsehood is to read the Bible itself.

    The surest way, note. Now I admit that the logical proposition is that the best way to achieve X is to do Y, not that all who do Y achieve X, but I would suggest that there is a strong implication that the latter is the case, not least because otherwise why write the article?

    Dawkins then goes through a few examples, all of which I presume are purported to illustrate his proposition above. (Again, this is a presumption. They may not, of course, be such. They may simply be a rant. In which case I humbly stand corrected.) However, Dawkins repeatedly appeals to a facts or ideas external to the Bible, or the repugnancy of the morality (hardly an issue for someone who may share that repugnant morality) in order to trash these examples; in order (I again, I presume) to show this “sure way” of being disabused. He applies a critical reading. If he cannot show that a non-critical reading will perform this same disabuse function, his overall argument of “let people read the Bible, it will only advance our cause” does not, in my opinion, stand up very well; it turns into “let people who think like me read the Bible…” which is rather, well, preaching to the converted?

    DLC, you gotta admit that This is appallingly snobbish, and I’m afraid it is with this kind of elistist disdain for the masses that Dawkins loses the free thought movement a lot of potential support pings the irony meter nicely.

    I presume the “irony” lies in the relatively complex syntax and vocabulary with which I expressed this? Pharyngula is a blog with an audience, and that audience is largely intelligent and educated people, and I wrote in a manner commensurate (have fun with that one!) to that audience. What I did not do is suggest that anyone who did not understand my phrasing was “barbarian.” It is not in the being articulate or intelligent, but in the attitude towards the less fortunate who may not be, that the snobbery lies.

  125. John Morales says

    stuartbrown:

    The surest way, note.

    I did note, thus my retort.

    (duh)

    I presume the “irony” lies in the relatively complex syntax and vocabulary with which I expressed this?

    <snicker>

    (Such presumption!)

    No, it is your snobbery that makes it ironic, not your expression.

  126. stuartbrown says

    John,

    No, it is your snobbery that makes it ironic, not your expression.

    Having earlier demanded substantiation from me, I am surprised that you fail to do me the courtesy of providing any evidence for this claim, which otherwise looks rather like ad hominem.

  127. DLC says

    John Morales @127 : Yes, it’s a good solid peg-bender on the old Irony meter.

    Stuartbrown: Uh, no, the irony grows out of your pretentious wanking. But thanks for playing.

  128. John Morales says

    [meta]

    stuartbrown: Having earlier demanded asked if you cared substantiate your claim (and you having admitted it was false), you are surprised I don’t provide evidence for my claim that you’re being snobbish?

    (You imagine your comments aren’t visible?

    That they’re not evidential?

    (Tell me more about “the less fortunate”))

  129. says

    I’m sure a lot of you are looking back at the Bible with some kind of fondness and memory of it, but I have to say right here and right now:

    The Bible is dreck. The Bible is awful. There is nothing in the Bible that I would keep.

    From page 1 to page… whatever, 600, it is full of archaic beliefs, hatefulness, vile speech, and just pure disgusting text. It’s also boring as fuck for most of it. Someone lauded Proverbs as a good example of the Bible. Proverbs contains such wonderful verses as 13:24 – He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes – which has been used as an excuse to beat the living shit out of children – and chapter after chapter after chapter about how men are merely innocent victims to seductive, flirtatious women (I mean seriously, the first 7 chapters are about the evilness of women, and it doesn’t stop there!)

    The Bible should be stuck in the same place as books like Mein Kampf. It’s pure and utter hate speech. It should be shown as an example of how backwards humanity has been for thousands of years, not triumphed as having a profound influence on English literature or it’s impact on civilization.

  130. Matt Penfold says

    The surest way, note. Now I admit that the logical proposition is that the best way to achieve X is to do Y, not that all who do Y achieve X, but I would suggest that there is a strong implication that the latter is the case, not least because otherwise why write the article?

    Note that you claimed that Dawkins was saying reading the Bible would automatically lead someone to reject it as source of morality. However that is not what he actually said.

    Care to explain why you claimed Dawkins said something he didn’t ? Ignorance, stupidity, dishonesty ?

  131. John Morales says

    [meta]

    Matt, you too are misattributing.

    stuartbrown’s claim was about Dawkins’ putative presumption as evinced by his writing, not about his writing.

  132. KG says

    Had a bunch of happy clappy christians at work today handing out a question “If you could ask God one question what would it be?” – mikee

    Hmm. I think:
    “In The man with the twisted lip, why does Dr. Watson’s wife call him “James”, when we know that his first name is John?”
    After all, one finctional character is perhaps in the best position to answer tricky questions about another.

  133. says

    “It’s funny, in a way, the writing style, the characters. It’s horrific that girls think Edward is anything close to good, or that Bella is *anything* close to good; but it’s hilariously bad.”

    People seem to forget that Ed is in his 90s and Bella is 16 or 17. I guess as long as you look yound, pedophilia is OK. I pointed this out to a co-worker and she got quite hostile.

    But more on topic, I think 1984 would be a better book to put in all classrooms.

  134. Matt Penfold says

    Matt, you too are misattributing.

    stuartbrown’s claim was about Dawkins’ putative presumption as evinced by his writing, not about his writing.

    My mistake then. I did not realise it was about what Dawkins wrote rather about what he wrote. It is all clear now.

  135. Moggie says

    Had a bunch of happy clappy christians at work today handing out a question “If you could ask God one question what would it be?”

    “Can you get me Hitchens’s autograph?”

  136. John Morales says

    [meta]

    Matt, your sarcasm is clear to me, so I hereby clarify.

    Your claim: “Note that you claimed that Dawkins was saying reading the Bible would automatically lead someone to reject it as source of morality.”

    Its basis: “Dawkins’s argument clearly presumes that people reading the Bible will automatically be “disabused” of their misapprehensions.”

  137. Matt Penfold says

    Matt, your sarcasm is clear to me, so I hereby clarify.

    Your claim: “Note that you claimed that Dawkins was saying reading the Bible would automatically lead someone to reject it as source of morality.”

    Its basis: “Dawkins’s argument clearly presumes that people reading the Bible will automatically be “disabused” of their misapprehensions.”

    You are being intentionally silly I hope ?

  138. John Morales says

    [meta]

    Matt, no.

    What is said need not be the presumption underlying what is said; in the case at hand, it certainly wasn’t.

    <Captain Obvious>

  139. stanton says

    (Matt’s) claim: “Note that you claimed that Dawkins was saying reading the Bible would automatically lead someone to reject it as source of morality.”

    Its basis: “Dawkins’s argument clearly presumes that people reading the Bible will automatically be “disabused” of their misapprehensions.”

    Perhaps the claim/argument should be amended with the addition of the assumption that one reads the Bible while having competent reading comprehension skills?

  140. KG says

    On the literary quality of the KJV, I’ve been reading it and am at present about halfway through 1 Samuel (I admit to occasional skimming in Leviticus and Numbers). So far, I am underwhelmed. The plot often fails to hang together, characterisation is skimpy and often inconsistent; as for the language, there’s the occasional neatly turned phrase, but compared to Shakespeare (which is comparable as a source of quotations), it’s pretty poor stuff.

  141. Matt Penfold says

    What is said need not be the presumption underlying what is said; in the case at hand, it certainly wasn’t.

    What the fuck are you on about ?

    The troll made a claim that he then had to admit was not supported by the evidence. How fucking hard is that for you to understand ? Fucking hard it would seem.

    Oh, and cut out that pretentious [meta] crap.

  142. Matt Penfold says

    Perhaps the claim/argument should be amended with the addition of the assumption that one reads the Bible while having competent reading comprehension skills?

    Now that would be a reasonable assumption. It is certainly a more reasonable assumption than assuming Dawkins thinks everyone reading the Bible would reject it as a source of morality. No evidence for that assumption has been offered, but a good case can be made that Dawkins assumes most people are reasonably intelligent.

  143. Hairy Chris, blah blah blah etc says

    Katherine Lorraine, Chaton de la Mort
    [blockquote]I’m sure a lot of you are looking back at the Bible with some kind of fondness and memory of it[/blockquote]
    Not for me!

    A few years back I decided to go through the entire NIV and blog about what I found. This book, fwiw, was a gift from the church in which I was Christened. As I was, at that point, in my mid 30s and I thought that I might actually use the book for what it was meant for – reading – as opposed to what it had actually been used for – pressing flowers collected as a child. I found all sorts of things between the pages.

    Anyway, 5ish years later I have got as far as Sarah, I think, in the Old Testament. My blog got towards the end of Genesis and then died on it’s feet. It is the most screamingly, brain numbingly, dull book that I have ever attempted to read. If anything even worse than “The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant” which, for 2 decades, held my personal #1 spot in that particular field.

    Aha, people/Christians may complain, I haven’t read the full New Testament which has all the important shit in it. Er, for a start the NT is irrelevant without the OT, even with the blatant retconning that goes on. Secondly, the OT is a mythological history of the Jewish tribes, however there’s a lot of extrenuous baggage to wade through. Finally, if this is supposed to be the inspired word of god, god needs to hire a better fucking editor.

  144. says

    @Hairy Chris:

    I was more speaking to those who disagreed with my premise, but yes… Exceedingly boring to the extreme.

    I do not know why we hold the book in such high regard. It is a book that has been used to justify millenia of misogyny, homophobia, genocide, slavery, rape, injustice, unfairness, vileness, and murder. Any other book like that would be relegated to the trash bin, not the sanctified spot on a bookshelf.

  145. theophontes 777 says

    It does seem *plausible* to me that poetic sensibility can help one to understand religion.

    The religion we are discussing, that of the Ancient Greeks, was a very noble endeavour that sought to weave together all aspects of their lives into a consistant whole. There is nothing comparable (that I am aware of) in existence today. The whole intention was to inspire humanity to reach out to its highest potential. It is very much about the story, the narrative, the poetry. Homer knowingly and very consciously brought together the strands of prior religious ideas and tales to incorporate into these epics. The Emperor Julian even goes so far as to say that the truth of the gods does not matter. The important thing was to articulate an overarching Greek ideal that would bring society together through art, science, religion, music, theatre …

    The religion itself was not to be interpreted on a single level. Setting aside the poetic meanings, there was the whole process of initiation which would provide the followers with ever more insights into the various layers of meaning.

    Ultimately, I suspect, the highest level was very straightforward. Go with the flow of the seasons, reap and sow. Embellish this simple reality with ritual and art. The most important things in life are very simple. But we can elevate them into a high form of Art. And raise them into a high order of Science.

    But I may be confused, because I do at least get the idea of art, while religion is just so wrong that I can’t get it at all.

    I have tried to indicate these are parts of the same animal.

    Monotheisms may confuse one in this regard as they are death cults – as opposed to the life cults they tend to plagiarise. Also (an analogy): Where the pagans sat down to a massive, delectable Religious banquet (with Art as one of the main courses), the goddists sit down to yesterday’s leftovers from Pizza Hut ™ .

  146. stuartbrown says

    John,

    Here is what I meant by “less fortunate.”

    Life is unequal. I am a straightish white male, born and brought up in a liberal western democracy. I even have a fairly RP accent, so I have never experienced (that I know of) any substantial prejudice of any sort. My parents being of working-class origin never had a substantial amount of money, but the state provided me with a high quality, free education to undergraduate levels; the same state dealt (and deals) for free with a couple of non-trivial health disorders which otherwise, though non-lethal, would severely restrict what I could achieve in life. I live in a period of time where the technological enhancement of education and learning is streaks beyond what even my grandparents could have imagined. I am intelligent and educated, my material circumstances are probably slightly above average for the contemporary western world, and therefore enormously higher than those experienced by the rest of the human population, ever. The majority of the variables that have allowed this to be the case were and are totally beyond my control. Life is simply random and iniquitous.

    Because I do not consider myself to in anyway to merit the benefits of education and relative material comfort that I enjoy more than any other human being, because I acknowledge that it is entirely the draw of the pack, I consider myself “fortunate.” Very much so.

    There are people who are less educated, or less intelligent, or have lesser material comfort; equally so through the randomness of life. I do not call these people “verging on the barbarian,” I do not use derogatory comments for them at all; I do not presume that their lack of access to education or material resources is in any way the product of anything other than blind fate. Thus I referred to them as “less fortunate.” Excuse me, but I flatter myself that this outlook, rather than being snobbish, is a bit closer to egalitarianism.

    If you want to engage in a discussion of how I may have misunderstood Dawkins’s article, I am happy to do so. If you are just going to sneer at me and call me names, then I’m sure I can find plenty of other forums where people will do me that favour without disrupting any genuine debate.

  147. Matt Penfold says

    If you want to engage in a discussion of how I may have misunderstood Dawkins’s article, I am happy to do so. If you are just going to sneer at me and call me names, then I’m sure I can find plenty of other forums where people will do me that favour without disrupting any genuine debate.

    Oh dear.

    Why do you think you get to come here and complain ? Try reading the rules!

    This is a rude blog. We like to argue — heck, we like a loud angry brawl. Don’t waste time whining at anyone that they’re not nice, because this gang will take pride in that and rhetorically hand you a rotting porcupine and tell you to stuff it up your nether orifice. If you intrude here and violate any of the previous three mores, people won’t like you, and they won’t hold back—they’ll tell you so, probably in colorful terms.

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2011/08/01/pharyngula-standards-practices/

    Now in light of that do want to amend your final paragraph to fit in here ?

  148. stuartbrown says

    Matt,

    Mea culpa. I had not read that, and that is entirely my bad and I apologise. I hereby retract most of my whining, and happily embrace John’s right to call me a snob, even though it is wrong and he is doing it in lieu of an argument.

  149. Matt Penfold says

    Mea culpa. I had not read that, and that is entirely my bad and I apologise. I hereby retract most of my whining, and happily embrace John’s right to call me a snob, even though it is wrong and he is doing it in lieu of an argument.

    Well thank you. In fairness it is pretty well hidden away so I cannot fault you for not being aware of it.

  150. Ogvorbis: strawmadhominem says

    happily embrace John’s right to call me a snob, even though it is wrong and he is doing it in lieu of an argument.

    Are you sure he is doing in lieu of an argument? JohnMorales’ response to you

    stuartbrown, thank you so very much for informing people that contradictions and idiocies are quite avoidable if one reads it with a prior agenda and non-critically.

    sounds to me like a very succinct, and wonderfully sarcastic, argument regarding the probability of presuppositionalism and the acceptance of biblical morality.

    But, then again, I’m just an historian, so what the fuck do I know?

  151. A. R says

    I’m surprised that nobody has mentioned the obvious problem with this scheme: schools aren’t allowed to keep teh pronz in their libraries. This, of course excludes the Babble. (Read the Song of Songs, it’s like Bronze Age Penthouse.)

  152. Teshi says

    I work in a school that received one of these. I doubt children will be able to read this one (although all schools have Bibles so it’s not at all new). It will simply be held up with its beautiful red leather binding and gold page-edges and children will go, ‘oooh, it’s must be important and real.’ Occaisionally, psalms and fragments will be read from it.

    On the other hand, I taught the Bible in depth last year. Each kid had their own scruffy Bible and we read directly from the text, women of ill repute and all. And yeah, the kids were skeptical– who wouldn’t be?

  153. Ichthyic says

    And yeah, the kids were skeptical– who wouldn’t be?

    well, LOTS, unfortunately. Authoritarian personalities eat this shit up. In fact, I’d go so far as to say the bible was at least in part written with an instinctive notion that it would appeal to such personalities to begin with. Such is how snake oil becomes saleable.

    perhaps you might change that last bit to “who SHOULDN’T be”.

  154. Ichthyic says

    Oh dear.

    quite.

    Is it time for the fainting couch yet, or are we still at pearl-clutching stage?

    I hereby retract most of my whining

    ah, still at pearl-clutching.

    good, I’m tired of moving the fainting couch.

  155. Ichthyic says

    sounds to me like a very succinct, and wonderfully sarcastic, argument regarding the probability of presuppositionalism and the acceptance of biblical morality.

    +1

    But, then again, I’m just an historian, so what the fuck do I know?

    god I love sarcasm in the morning.

  156. Ichthyic says

    If stuartbrown is still reading…

    I do believe the egregious response to your prose arises from its rather stilted nature, there, old boy.

    Think of this as a pub, not a university debate club.

  157. Brownian says

    Had a bunch of happy clappy christians at work today handing out a question “If you could ask God one question what would it be?”

    “If my eternal salvation hinges on my receiving and understanding your message, then why did you entrust it to nitwits like these? Ever heard of FedEx? The post office? Tracking numbers? I mean, eternal salvation—should such a thing exist—is ostensibly much more important than physical safety here on earth, and yet some of the shittiest of parents make at least a token effort to personally tell their kids to look both ways before crossing the street.

    Sorry, those weren’t the question.

    The question is: as you’re clearly incompetent, to whom do I submit my résumé for the position of supreme deity? I’m somewhat unhinged, as are you, but at least I have an idea as to how animal husbandry works and know that bats aren’t birds.”

  158. says

    @Katherine Lorraine

    I’m sure a lot of you are looking back at the Bible with some kind of fondness and memory of it

    Yes, I was indeed an ancient history and myth buff in my youth. I can have that fondness precisely because I *wasn’t* brought up to think of it as true or as moral guidance. Ex-Christians, especially ex-fundies, have been traumatised by it, so I understand, but do not share, their revulsion.

    Me, I don’t distinguish in any significant way between the sacrifice of Jephthah’s daughter and of Iphigenia. Armageddon and Ragnarok. The slaughter of the Canaanites and the slaughter of the Trojans. Admonitions to beat your children, and paterfamilias rights to kill your children. A virgin impregnated by a god as holy spirit or as a shower of golden light. People made out of dirt or out of trees. Women as chattel in Israel, and in nearby Greece and Persia. Talking snakes and snake-haired women. A woman turned into a pillar of salt, or into a spider.

    It’s not all rubbish; it’s ancient history and myth and anthropology and poetry and geneology. It becomes rubbish when you try to use it for unfit purposes. Moral guidance? No freaking way! Scientific truth? Accurate history? WTF are you smoking?!

  159. Wowbagger, Vile Demagogue says

    Had a bunch of happy clappy christians at work today handing out a question “If you could ask God one question what would it be?”

    “Where’s the beef?”

  160. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Think of this as a pub, not a university debate club.

    *hands out ordered grog, swill, bacon sammiches, and popcornz at the Pharyngula Saloon and Spanking Parlor, home away from home for the regulars*

  161. Ogvorbis says

    WARNING: Too Long

    When I was in elementary school in Arizona, we had a wonderfully diverse class. In fifth grade, there were sixteen students in my class: two white Mormons, one white naturalistic universal deist (me (and no, I didn’t know the term at the time but, by the time I was in fifth grade it would not have been a bad description of my worldview)), two white fundamentalist Protestants, two relaxed Protestants (no idea the actual brand), and a non-observant Catholic, four Hispanic Catholics (one strong, three non-observant), one Hopi, two Navajos, and one Havasu. Like I said, diverse.

    I clearly remember on day, in the depths of winter (foot of snow on the ground, getting dark just after we got home from school, cold (yes, Arizona)), when our teacher was out of the room. The four Native Americans (or (as a friend of mine puts it) Initial Immigrants) began discussing their various creation myths.

    The Havasu and Hopi myths are similar, both seeing man, after the third world was destroyed, emerging into earth through a hole (the sipapu) located in the Grand Canyon. The first three worlds were destroyed because of promiscuity, warring and failure to live in harmony. The myth tradition teaches how to live in harmony. And are, despite regional (and even clan) differences, quite similar and present a coherent whole. (This is a serious simplification; Wikipedia gives an understandable and pretty good synopsis of the Hopi mythos.)

    The Navajo creation myth also deals with living in harmony. The insect peoples were asked to leave the first world because they were fighting each other. Same for the second and third worlds. They were transformed to humans because they succeeded in not fighting with each other or the people they found there, the Hopis. First woman and first man were created from corn. (Again, this is seriously simplified. And, again, Wikipedia does the mythos justice.)

    As they talked, comparing the ins and outs of the children’s stories through which they learned their people’s history and how to live in harmony, we all began listening. I was fascinated. I had been exposed to bits an pieces of it before, but the compare and contrast was enjoyable. In retrospect, I am also intrigued in that all four of them, in fifth grade, knew that these were myths; they knew that this was how their ancestors tried to understand the world and, more important (and far more valuable) how they taught the next generation how to live.

    Then, one of our fundamentalist Christians laughed. He laughed out loud. He told them that their myths were nonsense. They were, in his words, lies inspired by Satan. So the Havasu girl asked him to explain his creation myth.

    He, very quickly, got angry. In rather terse language, he told her that the bible tells how god created the earth, the moon, the stars, the sun, the animals, the plants, and the land. He gave a quick rundown of the Old Testament creation myth (with corrections from all of us (including the Native Americans who appear to have understood his creation myth better than he did (there are shitloads of missionaries in the reservations))).

    One of the Navajo boys asked what the lesson was. Fundie boy answered that there is no lesson, it is the real history of the earth. I fought back my laughter. The Native Americans didn’t. They laughed in his face.

    Luckily our teacher arrived at this time. He asked what we had been talking about and one of the Mormon kids told him. He decided that this was a ‘teachable moment’ and we all trooped up to the library (the librarian was unhappy that we were there when we weren’t scheduled, but with only 240 kids k=12, it wasn’t that big of a deal) and each of us checked out a different book on mythology (I checked out a book on Norse mythology (don’t remember the title, but it had great artwork)), wrote up a short report on the creation myth, and presented it in class.

    There were sixteen fifth graders in that class. Four boys, twelve girls. The only two who had a problem with this assignment were the two Christian fundamentalists. Both expressed the opinion that studying the myths of other religions and cultures was studying the work of the devil. Both were sure that learning the wrong thing would endanger their souls.

    Unfortunately, Christian fundamentalists have still not left the fifth grade. Their failure to see mythology (theirs and other creation myths) for what they are tends to blind them to diversity and the possible lessons from other cultures. The creation mythos of the northern Arizona pueblans stressed harmony with others and with nature itself. Which strike me as far better ‘moral’ lessons than anything in the bible.

    Sorry for the long comment. It really is an occupational hazard.

  162. Ogvorbis says

    But, then again, I’m just an historian, so what the fuck do I know?

    god I love sarcasm in the morning.

    What sarcasm?

  163. kemist, Dark Lord of the Sith says

    Think of this as a pub, not a university debate club.

    I’d say university pub.

    A place where you can sometimes have serious discussion but with a good beer and a plate of nachos in front of you.

    Sans itchy clothes.

  164. raymondkoepsell says

    @90 raven:

    Thousands of people have died in elevators. No one ever killed on an elevator would conclude that elevators are predictable, would they? Yet each day, millions of people ride elevators on faith that they won’t die. People get married on faith with no peer reviewed scientific literature to prove either that love exists or that love exists in this particular case. Is love “obvious and noncontroversial?” Is that why we know it’s real? By the way, I’m fairly confident that Nerd of Redhead wouldn’t accept “obvious and noncontroversial” as constituting proof of something’s existence. But hey, double standards (which are nothing more than an expression of bias) are the norm in here.

  165. raymondkoepsell says

    @92 Nerd of Redhead:

    I’ve missed you. Great rant about “one standard,” made all the less convincing by applying a double standard in your argument. “I’m clinging to the jebus babble argument by demanding something from theism that I don’t demand from science,” or my name ain’t Nerd of Redhead. The fossil record has gaps large enough to drive an ark through. Where are all of Darwin’s betwixt and between fossils that prove every single species on earth evolved from one? Since all 9 million or so species that currently exist and all umpteen bazillion species that have gone extinct were once tapeworms or something, shouldn’t there be a properly radiometric dated geological record found in the peer reviewed scientific literature that conclusively connects each and every species in the vertebrate fossil record? Why set the bar so low looking for Mitochondrial Eve when science could really be looking for our great-great-great-(repeat 300 or 300,000 or 300,000,000 times) grandsomething? Don’t search for the missing link, impress me and find the first species – or at least find the untold millions of missing mutant vertebrates that connect hummingbird and blue whale. Surely they’re all there, otherwise you wouldn’t believe it. Am I right? Oh, I forgot, theism can’t have any gaps but science can have as many as it wants. (Up.)

  166. raymondkoepsell says

    @93 echidna:

    You cling to semantics as part of your bias, thus adding additional support for my original point that practice of atheism requires bias. How many words are there in everyday speech with only one single meaning and only one possible interpretation? Even still, how hard can it be for you to understand the concept of faith? It’s the belief in something that can’t be proven, the confidence in an outcome that is not guaranteed. It is the willingness to accept something even when there is room for doubt. Does that confuse you? If you can’t understand, then you are an unbelievably biased or unbelievably narrow thinker.

  167. raymondkoepsell says

    @98 Wowbagger:

    It’s very telling that you typed ‘proven’ (in quotes); doing so, you admit that ‘proven’ is entirely different from irrefutable proof. From among the pool of individuals who’ve died in plane crashes, exactly zero of them (excepting of course terrorists) got the ‘proven’ outcome they anticipated when they boarded the plane. Whether an atheist is playing Russian Roulette, having elective surgery, or riding in a jet, survival is not a guaranteed outcome. One in 6, one in 100,000, one in 100 million or whatever – faith is exercised by atheists each and every day. However, when considered in the context of theism, faith is scoffed at, ridiculed. In @99, you seem to be starting an argument with yourself about Jesus performing miracles. If that’s “proof” to you of Christ’s divinity, I’m happy for you! :-)

  168. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    RK, not one shred of third party evidence for your imaginary deity your babble not being a book of mythology fiction. Typical of the lying and bullshitting you godbots have to do justify your delusions to the world. And the evidence is there for evolution in the form a million or so scientific papers. And guess how many papers back your book of mythlogy/fiction, or the existence of your imaginary deity? ZERO. You lose…

  169. raymondkoepsell says

    @100: AJ:

    You’ve gone off on a lark about a point I didn’t make. It was you who pole-vaulted from air travel to snake-handling with tongue firmly in cheek yuk yuk. In a much earlier post, I made the statement that bias is foundational for the atheistic belief system (and it is a belief system). One of your fellow leukocytes went off talking about turds or shit sticking to a wall or something and demanded I submit solid support for my generalization. So, to support of my statement about bias, I cited the atheist’s refusal to accept faith as reasonable in the context of religion while being perfectly willing to accept faith as reasonable outside the context of religion. Nothing more, nothing less. A trend in this post seems to be reasonably intelligent people pretending not to understand what faith is. I’m not being sloppy, you’re being dense. Faith is belief in something that can’t be proven – be it belief that Jesus Christ is the author and finisher of all life or belief that my plane will land safely.

  170. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Still no evidence presente by RK. Scietists, who have honesty and integrity in their professional life, either put up the evidence or shut the fuck up. Notice lurkers, how RK can’t put up any evidence, and can’t shut the fuck up either. Showing he is a liar and bullshitter without honesty and integrity…

  171. raymondkoepsell says

    @180 Nerd, do you read what people write or just look for any opportunity to type bullshit and godbot? Do me a favor, please point me to the part where I wrote there is no support for evolution? In a nutshell, what I wrote was that your “properly radiometric dated geological fossil record found in the peer reviewed scientific literature” is full of gaps and holes. There are so many species whose origin can’t be traced, it’s a bit of a surprise that it wouldn’t have raised a red flag in that steel trap all-or-nothing peer-reviewed brain you have. It’s all about the proof baby, am I right?!! Unfortunately for you, there are plenty of “shreds of third party evidence” that support the Bible, almost enough to weave a tapestry of sorts. When you’ve got a sec, why don’t you search for archeological support for bible? But, you’ll need to set aside your bias, which is foundational to your atheistic belief system (and it is a belief system). You’ll find plenty of support, or at least a shred or two. Here’s a start: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/ancient/archeology-hebrew-bible.html. I lose? Not exactly, but thanks for trying.

  172. says

    raymondkoepsell #176

    Thousands of people have died in elevators.

    A few dozen per year worldwide, and there are many millions of elevators in daily use. That’s a remarkable good safetly record. In all likelyhood, elevators are safer than stairs.

    No one ever killed on an elevator would conclude that elevators are predictable, would they?

    No, because they would be dead, and unable to conclude anything.
    Your use of “predictable” is pretty stupid though. Predictably so.
    Maybe you should try with something a lot less reliable than elevators? Just a thought.

    Yet each day, millions of people ride elevators on faith that they won’t die.

    Not faith – confidence based on the extremely good safety record of elevators.

    Faith is for things that have little or no support. You don’t need faith to ride an elevator. Just a little knowledge.

  173. says

    Also, not one person who has been killed by an elevator has gone on record after dying that they believe elevators to be unpredictable or untrustworthy.

  174. Ichthyic says

    No one ever killed on an elevator would conclude that elevators are predictable, would they?

    well, let’s put aside the fact that the dead are no longer capable of concluding anything…

    there are a great many quite predictable death scenarios associated with elevator malfunctions.

    failed braking, plus snapped main cable? I sure would reasonably conclude a death resulting from that to be entirely predictable.

  175. raymondkoepsell says

    Nerd Nerd Nerd, I didn’t promise to “put up any evidence.” Your bias is powerful.

    What John Chapter 3 really says:
    14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up:
    15 That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.
    16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
    17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
    18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

    What Nerd wants John Chapter 3 to say:
    14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up:
    15 That whosoever accepts the peer reviewed scientific literature proving him should not perish, but have eternal life.
    16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever approves of the properly radiometric dated geological fossil record establishing a shred of proof of the bible should not perish, but have everlasting life.
    17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
    18 He that supplies conclusive physical evidence that will pass muster with scientists, magicians, and professional debunkers, as him being of divine, and not natural (scientifically explained), origin is not condemned: but he that proveth not and accept proof not is condemned already, because he hath not accepted the correlating extinction of all life and humanity in the fossil record told by Moses as proof of the divinity of the only begotten Son of God.

  176. raymondkoepsell says

    So many of you fell right into it!! I was wondering how many leukocytes would argue with me that the dead can’t speak or that the safety record of elevators is too good for my argument to have merit. Due to your bias, you selectively ignored my elective surgery comment, which has a safety record just a bit beneath that of elevators. Due to your bias, you fail to acknowledge that the families of people who die in elevators, plane crashes, surgery, or Russian Roulette might also have pause to consider that not everything has a guaranteed outcome. This is a dialogue. I’m not stupid. You’re not stupid. What you are is biased, and apparently, blind to it as well. You are so biased that you’d rather pretend not to understand the meaning of the word faith than to admit that you use it daily. To quote John Morales, Bah!

  177. says

    This is a dialogue. I’m not stupid.

    Evidence suggests otherwise.

    You are so biased that you’d rather pretend not to understand the meaning of the word faith than to admit that you use it daily.

    You do realize you are blatantly ignoring people who responded to that point right? In how you’re just fucking wrong on what faith is? Basically you’re trying to redefine it into such a vaguity that it applies to someone…while trying to keep the meaning of it’s narrow definition.

    It’s like if I insist that any sex is rape since co-orcion or tempting is used…and then criticize your for being an immoral rapist

  178. raymondkoepsell says

    @191 Nerd’s falling back on the hackneyed “prove it with science or it doesn’t exist” argument. I’m countering that Jesus didn’t say “here’s the proof y’all,” he said you must believe in me. I’m adding that belief in something that can’t be proven requires faith. I’m adding that atheists use faith all the time in non-religious matters but call it off limits in religious matters. I’m adding that belief-system is supported and sustained by bias, which is foundational for atheism. So now I’ll sit back and enjoy the show, the ad hominem, the fireworks display of profanity, the indignation, the big words (some of which I don’t understand) – and my favorite part – repeating yourselves over and over and over that without proof it’s just a myth. Don’t let me down leukocytes!

  179. raymondkoepsell says

    Does anybody besides me see the tremendous irony of me – a Christian – being told I’m “fucking wrong on what faith is” by an atheist?

  180. raymondkoepsell says

    @194 Ing:
    Faith is not nearly as mysterious and nebulous as you pretend. You employ faith in nearly every aspect of your life, but call it statistical probability or whatever. The funny thing about statistics is, you’re 100% right until you’re not. Elevators, jets, surgery, marriage – everything has a failure rate, but that doesn’t stop people from going through their lives now does it? And don’t lie to me or yourself and pretend that you calculate the probability of failure for each and every action. I bet sometimes you just swallow the peanut and hope not to choke. For most people, that’s a pretty safe bet, but alas there are those who’ve choked to death on peanuts aren’t there?

  181. raymondkoepsell says

    @198 – I’m going to enjoy that one for a long time! Thank you, Ing!

  182. Ichthyic says

    So many of you fell right into it!! I was wondering how many leukocytes would argue with me that the dead can’t speak or that the safety record of elevators is too good for my argument to have merit. Due to your bias, you selectively ignored my elective surgery comment

    a true student of the Gotcha moment

    fucking idiot.

  183. Ichthyic says

    You employ faith in nearly every aspect of your life, but call it statistical probability or whatever.

    shorter idiot:

    if you employ my personal invented word definitions, then I’m always right!

    fucking idiot.

  184. Amphiox says

    Does anybody besides me see the tremendous irony of me – a Christian – being told I’m “fucking wrong on what faith is” by an atheist?

    What irony?

    It’s pretty much an established empirical fact that atheists tend to have a broader, more accurate, and deeper understanding of the meaning of the word “faith” better than the average theist trapped within the blinkered view of a single faith tradition.

    Most atheists KNOW faith. And in fact that in depth knowledge is what caused the atheist to become an atheist in the first place.

  185. Ichthyic says

    Does anybody besides me see the tremendous irony of me – a Christian – being told I’m “fucking wrong on what faith is” by an atheist?

    uh, no, since it isn’t ironic.

    you’ve made up your own definition of a basic word.

    you’re a fucking idiot, and that’s hardly ironic.

  186. John Morales says

    raymondkoepsell:

    I’m countering that Jesus didn’t say “here’s the proof y’all,” he said you must believe in me.

    Your mythical character was very wrong; there is no such need.

    (I note in passing that you seem to have forgotten the Doubting Thomas episode in your very own mythos)

  187. Amphiox says

    Due to your bias, you selectively ignored my elective surgery comment

    No, it was ignored because it was a STUPID and self-evidently pointless argument.

    It wasn’t EVEN AN ARGUMENT. Here’s the original, in FULL.

    Whether an atheist is playing Russian Roulette, having elective surgery, or riding in a jet, survival is not a guaranteed outcome.

    That’s not an argument, that’s just a list. And you can refute the whole thing by refuting any single example therein.

    Utterly pathetic intellectual dishonesty on display in full here.

  188. Ichthyic says

    Like I said, you’re all horrible rapists

    not me, I’ve never been caught.

    oh, wait…

  189. Wowbagger, Vile Demagogue says

    raymondkoepsellcrapsell wrote:

    I’m not stupid.

    Everything you’ve written so far says otherwise.

    You are so biased that you’d rather pretend not to understand the meaning of the word faith than to admit that you use it daily.

    We know that ‘faith’ means different things, as do you. The difference is that you are deliberately swapping between the two in a vain attempt to argue that atheists have the ‘faith’ that you have in whichever gods it is you believe in.

    But here’s the difference: if elevators suddenly started killing more than a few people a year, we’d stop using them; there’s a measurable aspect to the ‘faith’ we have in them.
    What figures do you assign to your equivalent acceptance of your god’s existence? Because, if they are the same thing, you’ll be able to give us some numbers.

    We’re ready anytime you are.

  190. opposablethumbs says

    If raymondkoepsell is aware of the fast one xe is trying (and failing miserably) to pull with the different meanings of “faith” and “believe”, xe is a bullshitter.
    .
    If xe is genuinely not aware of it, xe is an idiot.
    .
    I wonder which xe is … I’d be mildly interested to know which, but I won’t hold my breath. Still, while we’re on the subject –
    .
    raymondkoepsell, what does “faith” mean? And what does “I believe (in) X” mean? Do you really not grasp the difference between “I have faith in the ability of the Boeing engineers to build a plane that has a good chance of getting me to my destination” and “I have faith in the will of a supernatural entity to (do whatever)”. The difference between “I believe in integrity” and “I believe in (supernatural entity Z)”?
    .
    We’re conversing in English. In English, as in any language, some words are ambiguous/can have more than one meaning (often depending on context – e.g. casual colloquial use vs formal technical use).
    .
    Hey, if I place a bet that raymondkoepsell doesn’t understand the difference between the colloquial and the scientific meanings of the word “theory”, what do I win? Can I get a biscuit with hundreds-and-thousands on top? Or must I settle for a cookie with sprinkles?

  191. dravid says

    This sums it up. Stop me if you have seen this before.

    BC, A message from God:

    I’m going to create man and woman with original sin. Then I’m going to impregnate a woman with myself as her child, so that I can be born. Once alive, I will kill myself as a sacrifice to myself to save you from the sin I originally condemned you to.
    Ta Dah!!

  192. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    RK, fuckwitted delusional idjit:

    I lose?

    You lost before you even started. False presuppositions and all, like you imaginary deity exists and your holy book isn’t mythology/fiction. No evidence for either presupposition being anything other than false, and you haven’t presented conclusive physical evidence to show your presuppositions are true. You lost when you decided those lies mean something and pretended they were true.

  193. says

    @Alethea:

    The problem exists that people try to use the Bible as a moral compass. If the Bible were seen in the same light as Greek mythologies, then I’d have no problem with it. It’d be a long, boring text of ancient myths no one believes anymore.

    However, unlike Greek mythologies (for the most part anyway, may be some Greek Pantheon worshipers out there, you never know) the Bible is heralded as a book of truths, a book that you can’t hold separate from the unfortunate knowledge it’s a brutal, hateful, vile text. The words in it are not so much evil as what people have done with it since.

  194. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    RK, fuckwitted idjit.

    In a nutshell, what I wrote was that your “properly radiometric dated geological fossil record found in the peer reviewed scientific literature” is full of gaps and holes.

    Asserted without evidence, that is citation to the peer reviewed scientific literature (your word is lies and bullshit until you prove otherwise, and you never do). So *POOF*, assertion dismissed without evidence per Christopher Hitchens.

    Get over yourself RK, your word is meaningless. Try the peer reviewed scientific literature, which refutes your claims…

    Example of getting over yourself:

    What John Chapter 3 really says:

    Quoting an established book of mythology fiction (your word otherwise is bullshit), to show your imaginary deity? What a wanker. Showing fiction to prove a fictional character. Who would have thought….

    Enough for now, gotta get to work.

  195. KG says

    You employ faith in nearly every aspect of your life, but call it statistical probability or whatever. The funny thing about statistics is, you’re 100% right until you’re not. Elevators, jets, surgery, marriage – everything has a failure rate, but that doesn’t stop people from going through their lives now does it? And don’t lie to me or yourself and pretend that you calculate the probability of failure for each and every action. I bet sometimes you just swallow the peanut and hope not to choke. For most people, that’s a pretty safe bet, but alas there are those who’ve choked to death on peanuts aren’t there? – stupid lying godbot

    I never cease to be amazed by either the stupidity or the dishonesty of godbots. No, faith is not the same as statistical probability. Of course people act without certainty, or even calculating exact probabilities, which is generally impossible. So what? They don’t act with faith, because they acknowledge the possibility that they could come to grief, but consider the benefits of undertaking the action – whether eating, taking elective surgery, or riding an elevator – sufficient to take that risk. There is simply no parallel whatsoever to you declaring your uncritical belief in the supposed promises of your imaginary friend, and making a virtue of the fact that you have no rational reason for doing so.

  196. KG says

    Where are all of Darwin’s betwixt and between fossils that prove every single species on earth evolved from one? Since all 9 million or so species that currently exist and all umpteen bazillion species that have gone extinct were once tapeworms or something, shouldn’t there be a properly radiometric dated geological record found in the peer reviewed scientific literature that conclusively connects each and every species in the vertebrate fossil record? – stupid lying godbot

    The answer is, of course, “No.” Fossilisation is a chance process, and most of the world’s fossiliferous rocks have not been examined; so the claim that all past species should be fossilised can only be the result of stupidity or dishonesty – or, as in your case, both. However, many of the links between major branches of the evolutionary tree have indeed been found – but of course, stupid lying godbots like you ignore them, shift the goalposts, or simply lie, every time this happens. Of course if evolution were false, this would be proved quite easily – by finding, for example, fossil rabbits in Cambrian strata. It could also have been disrpoved by the sequencing of genomes from multiple species. Instead, while this has indicated minor revisions of some hypotheses about the order of branching, it has confirmed once again the overwhelming evidence, in literally millions of scientific papers over a century and a half, that the theory of common descent of all organisms from a single origin, is correct.

    With theism, on the other hand, not only is there literally zero evidence for the existence of any god whatsoever, and radical disagreement between the partisans of different gods (generally settled by killing each other, since rational arguments in favour of any of them do not exist), there is overwhelming evidence against the idea that an omnipotent and benevolent being, such as Christianity posits, exists. If it does, why is there so much evil and suffering? Why, indeed, is there any at all? Why would a perfect being create an imperfect world? This question has never been given a remotely satisfactory answer by any believer in such a being.

  197. Anri says

    raymondkoepsell:

    Faith is not nearly as mysterious and nebulous as you pretend. You employ faith in nearly every aspect of your life, but call it statistical probability or whatever.(snip)

    He’s an experiment for you. Your results may, of course, vary, but give it a shot anyway.

    Find a functioning light switch.

    Turn it on.
    Turn it off.
    Turn it on.
    Turn it off.

    Have you reached any conclusions about what is likely to happen if you turn it on or off?

    Now, pray to god to turn it on.
    Pray to god to turn it off.
    Pray to god to turn it on.
    Pray to god to turn it off.

    Have you reached any conclusions about what is likely to happen if you pray to god to turn it on or off?
    Have you then reached any conclusions as to the ways accepting probable outcomes differs from accepting nonexistent outcomes?
    And why we usually call only one of these things ‘faith’?

    If you’re unconvinced, by all means, keep at it until you are.
    Keep switching, keep praying, and keep recording which works.

    You can ignore this simple idea as much as you like, you can (and no doubt will) hide behind whatever justifications you care to, but the simple fact is that you will be unwilling to do this simple experiment because you know already what will happen. You know already that your god will not raise a finger to justify your faith, or answer this simple prayer.

    (Well, he might raise one finger…)

  198. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Nerd’s falling back on the hackneyed “prove it with science or it doesn’t exist” argument. I’m countering that Jesus didn’t say “here’s the proof y’all,” he said you must believe in me.

    Ah, still using the babble to prove god, and god to prove the babble bullshit. We call that circular reasoning, a logical fallacy, or more accurately, circular mental wanking. Your babble quotes are bullshit until you show with solid and conclusive physical evidence, that your babble is inerrant. All we have to show is one mistake, and it isn’t inerrant. One lie, and everything is up for questioning and requires verification. Your evidence for the flood is where in the peer reviewed scientific literature????

    Funny how no godbot to date has proven the inerrancy of the babble under rigorous conditions of evidence…..We must take their word for it….*SNICKER, BWAHAHAHAHAHA*

    More later.

  199. Rev. BigDumbChimp says

    Does anybody besides me see the tremendous irony of me – a Christian – being told I’m “fucking wrong on what faith is” by an atheist?

    When you’re fucking wrong about it, no.

  200. Rev. BigDumbChimp says

    Faith is not nearly as mysterious and nebulous as you pretend. You employ faith in nearly every aspect of your life, but call it statistical probability or whatever. The funny thing about statistics is, you’re 100% right until you’re not. Elevators, jets, surgery, marriage – everything has a failure rate, but that doesn’t stop people from going through their lives now does it? And don’t lie to me or yourself and pretend that you calculate the probability of failure for each and every action. I bet sometimes you just swallow the peanut and hope not to choke. For most people, that’s a pretty safe bet, but alas there are those who’ve choked to death on peanuts aren’t there?

    equivocation is strong with this one

  201. Gregory Greenwood says

    raymondkoepsell @ 199;

    Faith is not nearly as mysterious and nebulous as you pretend. You employ faith in nearly every aspect of your life, but call it statistical probability or whatever. The funny thing about statistics is, you’re 100% right until you’re not. Elevators, jets, surgery, marriage – everything has a failure rate, but that doesn’t stop people from going through their lives now does it? And don’t lie to me or yourself and pretend that you calculate the probability of failure for each and every action. I bet sometimes you just swallow the peanut and hope not to choke. For most people, that’s a pretty safe bet, but alas there are those who’ve choked to death on peanuts aren’t there?

    OK, lets try this from another angle. You say that the rationalist position that claims require evidence in order to be taken seriously amounts to some kind of ‘foundational bias’ of atheism. A bias in favour of scientifically observeable, quantifiable reality, one might say, and tht this is somehow a bad thing that prevents people who employ it from grasping some supposed ‘higher truth’.

    I put it to you that you yourself make use of this notional ‘bias’ every day. As an example, when you go out at night I assume that you don’t take garlic and fire hardened stakes carved from hawthorne with you in case you encounter a vampire? You don’t feel the need to carry a gun loaded with silver bullets every time the moon is full lest you become the subject of the attentions of a werewolf (and I don’t mean a sufferer from psychological lycanthropy, but a full on supernatural shapeshifter)? When you hear a scream, you worry about whether the person who issued it is hurt or in peril, but you don’t feel paralysed with fear that what you heard is the wail of a banshee, and thus a death omen for yourself or someone else in your family, and reach for your stash of cold iron weapons that folklore claims are effective against revenants and unquiet spirits?

    If I am right in these assumptions, then I ask you; why? The evidential basis supporting the existence of these creatures is non-existent, but that makes it no weaker than the evidential basis for belief in your god, and if the lack of physical evidence for god is insufficient reason to doubt its existence, then surely the lack of evidence for these creatures should be no reason for not taking prudent precautions against attack by them? Just imagine the risk you are taking if they do exist, and the ‘faith’ you have in their non-existence is misplaced?

    And yet you don’t take these precautions. And why? Because your ‘bias’ in favour of observeable reality leads you to the rational conclusion that the odds against the existence of such creatures are so ludicrously long that it is reasonable to assume their non-existence. This is not ‘faith’ in the sense of a spiritual belief in an unevidenced deity, it is a reasonable assessment of the available evidence that leads to a rational conclusion.

    So you see, you employ the same ‘bias’ in favour of reality that we do. The difference between us is that we do not engage in any special pleading for deities – we treat them like any other truth claim and, finding a total lack of evidence, put them in the column marked ‘mythical creatures’ along with vampires, werewolves, banshees, fairies, Cthulhu, the FSM, Pink Quantum Unicorns and all the rest.

    If you want to make any headway here, you need to convince us as to why we shouldn’t do this, and saying that you have experienced some personal revelation is insufficient (it is a simple matter to find people who really, really believe that they have been abducted by probe-happy aliens, and that the leadership of the world’s governments are actually humans hybridised with reptilian aliens from Alpha Centuri, but it doesn’t make their claims credible), as is pointing to your bible as evidence (unless The Lord of the Rings can be counted as evidence for Elves, Orcs and Ring Wraiths, and Starwars is evidence for the existence of Force Powers).

    So, how is you god different from other mythical creatures?

  202. rr says

    raymondkoepsell:

    I’m countering that Jesus didn’t say “here’s the proof y’all,” he said you must believe in me.

    According to the Bible the Jesus character supplies lots of proof: walking on water, healing the sick, magically killing a fig tree, turning water into wine, etc. So back then proof good, today proof bad.

    I’m adding that belief in something that can’t be proven requires faith.

    Why do you want to believe in something that can’t be proven?

  203. Rev. BigDumbChimp says

    Why do you want to believe in something that can’t be proven?

    Pascal and all that.

    Just hope he’s picked well.

  204. raven says

    dumb religious kook:

    I’m adding that belief in something that can’t be proven requires faith.

    That sort of faith isn’t a virtue. It’s a disease and mistake.

    1. Unreasoning faith flies jet planes into sky scrapers.
    2. Faith leads young people to carry explosives into crowds and kill a few dozen strangers.

    3. Faith leads humans to slaughter each other over which Sky Fairy is the Real Sky Fairy. Xianity has drenched the world in blood for 2,000 years. The last Catholic killed the last Protestant (or vice versa) in Northern Ireland a whole 12 years ago.

    4. Faith destroys whole societies and we see it every day. Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, Mississippi, Texas.

    On a personal basis:

    5. Faith leads people to hate modern medicine and heal themselves and their children with magic spells known as prayer. It doesn’t work. If you kill your kids with “faith”, you will be arrested and prosecuted for various crimes in most states.

    6. Faith makes xians like RK into liars, haters, and ignorant but vicious fools.

    7. Faith makes some xians hate and fear knowledge, learning, and science. It’s voluntary ignorance that holds them and our country back.

    8. Faith produces internet trolls, the cockroaches of the information superhighway.

    Faith is not a virture, god is not great, religion poisons everything. Raymond is a good example.

  205. raven says

    dumb troll:

    I’m countering that Jesus didn’t say “here’s the proof y’all,” he said you must believe in me.

    Cthulhu, this troll is stupid.

    The bible and NT in particular is mostly a work of fiction. Parts of it are known to be forged, a forgery of fictional accounts.

    It’s not even known for sure if jesus ever even existed. We have no idea whether jesus existed and no idea what he said if he did exist, and what they fiction writers of the Gospels just make up.

    When the godbots start quoting a known work of fiction as proof of anything, you know they have never had a thought in their life.

  206. raven says

    I’m sure Raymond can stay stupid and babble longer than I can stay interested. Ignorance and idiocy are boring.

    Carl Sagan’s wife: Carl wanted to know, not believe.

    Raymond wants to believe instead of know. It’s voluntary ignorance. That is just a way to be delusional.

  207. rr says

    Just hope he’s picked well.

    I’m sure Allah the One True God will appreciate his enthusiasm, and do something not too awful with his immortal soul.

  208. quoderatdemonstrandum says

    RayGodbot

    Does anybody besides me see the tremendous irony of me – a Christian – being told I’m “fucking wrong on what faith is” by an atheist?

    No, a more knowledgeable person explaining the word “faith” to you and disambiguating the word “probability” is not ironic. You believe it is incongruous because you mistakenly believe that having faith means you have some special understanding. Being corrected on that point is neither incongruous or ironic.

    For the meaning of “ironic”, look in a dictionary

  209. raven says

    Does anybody besides me see the tremendous irony of me – a Christian – being told I’m “fucking wrong on what faith is” by an atheist?

    I see what Raymond’s problem is. Or one of them, he has many problems with anything requiring thought.

    He is just really dumb.

    Most of us are ex-xians. We know all about xianity and faith from the inside. Some of us are ex-ministers and biblical scholars trained at universities.

    This was pointed out above in the thread. He ignored it, most likely because he couldn’t fit an obvious fact into his faith soaked brain.

  210. Amphiox says

    You employ faith in nearly every aspect of your life

    I also shed dead skin cells every day of my life.

    Faith is a part of a human being’s imperfect, undesigned, evolved psychology. All human beings use it because the human brain is wired up that way.

    That does not make it a virtue to be celebrated.

    And as for statistical probability, I’ll tell you what: when the statistical likelihood of prayers being unambiguously answered can be demonstrated to approach the statistical probability of getting into an elevator and NOT plummeting to my death, or the statistical probability of NOT having a serious complication from elective surgery, THEN, and ONLY THEN, will I add consideration of the statistical probability of the existence of gods to my practical, daily-life considerations.

  211. Christopher says

  212. says

    Sorry, Christopher, but you’re not using Raymond’s Sophistimicated Math™, which proves that his “faith” in a deity – for which there is not one iota of evidence that it even exists, let alone is good for anything – is exactly like the “faith” we show when we have confidence in a class of machines which have compiled a long and impressive safety record.

  213. Amphiox says

    Raymond’s Sophistimicated Math™

    0.0000000000000001 = 0.99999999999995 = God!

  214. says

    I bet God would be a lot more reliable if it was inspected regularly like elevators are.

    Or if its name was Otis. Good, solid, reliable-sounding name, Otis.

  215. Weed Monkey says

    Or if its name was Otis. Good, solid, reliable-sounding name, Otis.

    :)

    A local elevator company is Kone. That’s quite a trustworthy sounding name as well. (Kone means machine in English)

  216. wjasonschaal says

    Off Topic: I wasn’t sure where to ask this question. Is this site for real?
    Landover Baptist Church

    It reads like one big April Fool’s joke. Professionals couldn’t write stuff this consistently funny. Or am I being naive in thinking that Christians can’t possibly be this stupid?

    ~wjs

  217. raymondkoepsell says

    @193 “Godbotting is a banable offense” PZzzzzz won’t ban me; I’ve posted numerous passages of scripture in here.

  218. raymondkoepsell says

    @201 I do know faith viscerally and I thank you John Morales for noting it. By claiming to know faith intellectually and objectively, you demonstrate why you don’t have it. Faith is neither intellectual nor objective. Faith is abstract, subjective, philosophical and subjective.

  219. raymondkoepsell says

    @204 Q: When would an “established empirical fact” need to be hedged with “pretty much,” as in “pretty much an established empirical fact?” A: When the person spouting said fact knows it is not really a fact. An established empirical fact is just a fact, it is true 100% of the time; it is not “pretty much” true “pretty much” of the time.

  220. raymondkoepsell says

    @205 I “made up my own definition of a basic word?” Go up to @178 where I said “faith is a belief in something that can’t be proven.” Now go to dictionary.com and look it up. Dictionary.com says faith is “belief that is not based on proof.” Are you high or something?

  221. raymondkoepsell says

    @208 All this nitpicking about the definitions of words…. tsk tsk tsk. Irony: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/irony?s=t “5. An outcome of events contrary to what was, or might have been, expected.” As a Chrstian, being told I’m “fucking wrong on what faith is” by an atheist is not the outcome I expected; hence, it is ironic to me.

    @209 What point are you making? It seems you’re attempting to discredit me by arguing that survival IS a guaranteed outcome in Russian Roulette, elective surgery, and air travel. Surely I’m missing something.

    @214 “crapsell” I haven’t heard that since elementary school, and even then I thought it was weak! Are you eight years old? Faith is the belief in something that can’t be proven. Before you step onto the elevator, your outcome is not guaranteed whether the failure rate is 0.0000000001% or 10%. That’s the only point I’m making. You weren’t asked to defend your faith in elevators, and in your analogy, you didn’t provide any “numbers” as you’re demanding I furnish to you. More bias on display here, hypocrisy too. “What figures do [I] assign to [my] equivalent acceptance of [my] god’s existence?” Before I answer, first an observation: you atheists are so desperate for anything empirical to cling to prove that Yahweh is or is not the sovereign in your lives, that you are not a biological accident or fluke of chemistry, that there is meaning in your life beyond what you currently think. Whenever I post in here, which isn’t frequent, I am deluged with hundreds of comments asking me, pleading, begging, demanding that I provide empirical evidence, peer-reviewed scientific literature, to prove what the Bible says is true. You are all seeking truth but your minds and hearts reject even as it is given. Now, to the answer to your question you’ve been holding your breath for: There are countless reasons I believe the Bible, and they vary from day to day, sometimes moment to moment. At this moment, probably due to the nature of this forum, the first reason that comes to mind is that God is the most logical explanation as the first cause to create something from nothing. There is nothing in science that proves a Godless creation, just a bunch of theories that all sound less plausible than Genesis. The Big Bang theory is the reigning champion, and the challengers (multiverse, steady state theory, cyclic model) have spotty, often mutually exclusive advocates). Perhaps this is why even Dick Dawkins holds the door open just a crack for Jesus.

  222. raymondkoepsell says

    @215 @ in 196, I predicted that I’d encounter words that were foreign to me. “Xe?” Whatever. As far as the different meanings of “faith” and “belief,” once again I’ll refer you to dictionary.com: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/faith?s=t. Faith is “belief in something not based on proof.” The degree to which the collective brain trust in here is stumbling over such a simple word really detracts from your credibility mightily. Mincing over the minutiae and nuances of words like you’re all learning English for the first time – it doesn’t help your arguments. Whether the failure rate is 0.00000001% or 50%, it is still a failure rate. But even a 0.00000001% failure rate is not a guaranteed outcome, otherwise nobody in the history of air travel would have ever died in a plane crash. We all board planes knowing that a crash is possible, and we all exercise faith when we make the decision to fly. Anyone who’s had elective surgery knows that risk of infection or complications from anesthesia are possible, and they all exercise faith when they get that tummy tuck. What is the failure rate of marriage, 50%? Why do people still get married? Oh, wait, I know this one…. is it “faith?” If you’re ever falling from the sky on one of the planes designed by Boeing engineers that have “a good chance of getting you to your destination,” then all the way down you can chant “I believe in integrity,” “I believe in integrity,” “I believe in integrity.” Certainly that’s what everybody does during freefall, right?

    @216 How can you possibly call yourself a good atheist and be so ignorant of Genesis? Haven’t you learned anything from your fellow leukocytes? Would one of you “Big Guns” care to tell dravid all the places he went wrong? Nerd? John M.?

    @217 Hi Nerd, you complete me. Is a “false presupposition” redundant or is it an oxymoron? You use it all the time, so I’m asking you to clarify for me which it is. You prove repeatedly that either you can’t read or have the attention span of a mayfly. No evidence will be forthcoming. I’m not here talking evidence, I’m here talking about faith, which is “belief without proof.” Did you get that? Let it sink in……. okay? Understand now? I’m here telling a blogful of brilliant atheists that atheism requires bias at a foundational level. Atheists act on faith all the time yet atheists discount faith in the context of theism. Are you really going to try telling yourself and me that you’ve never ever ever taken a single action in your life where you didn’t know what the outcome was? Are you really going to try telling yourself and me that, even today, you’ve known beforehand the outcome of every single action before you did it? If not, then you’ve acted in faith. Therefore, removing faith from a discussion about theism is bias – pure and simple.

  223. raymondkoepsell says

    @219 I have a secret for you, Nerd. Don’t tell anyone. (psssst…. I’m not a scientist) Nor do I write articles for Wikepedia. Ergo, I do not spend my life making citations. But for you, since you mean so much to me, I’ll make a suggestion. Research “stasis in fossil record,” or look up Stephen Jay Gould’s “trade secret of paleontology.” What you find does not disprove evolution, it states that there are gaps and holes in the fossil record (which sounds quite a bit like what I said.) It sounds like you don’t really care about gaps and holes in the fossil record, but that just proves my point that you want religion to be held to a higher standard than science. (In your reply, don’t forget to call me a dimwitted fucking idjit and tell me I have no
    “properly radiometric dated geological fossil record found in the peer reviewed scientific literature” to support my babble, which will also prove my point that you don’t consider or even read what I’m writing, that you’re working on your answer before you finish reading my post, and that you’re a one-trick pony with a one-track mind. Here, I’ll give you a head start on your next well-thought reply to my assertion that bias is foundational to your atheistic belief system, that you demand more from religion than you do from science, and that you exercise faith on a daily basis in matters that are not theistic in nature: “Idjit fuck babble jebus idjit dimwit properly radiometric dated geological fossil record found in the peer reviewed scientific literature wanker bullshit idjit fuck babble”

    @220 I didn’t say faith is the same as statistical probability. Try reading for context next time. What I said was faith is the belief in something that can’t be proven. Where exactly did I say faith was virtuous?

    @222 Let me get this straight. Are you actually going on record that finding a fossilized rabbit in Cambrian strata, or that finding any other single anomalous discovery (with marginally less hyperbole) in the fossil realm would disprove evolution? Is that all it would take to disprove evolution? Really? You can’t even keep your story straight from one sentence to the next: “if evolution were false, this would be proved quite easily,” “while ‘this’ has indicated minor revisions of some hypotheses about the order of branching….” What “this” are you referring to? You mean an anomalous discovery? In the former sentence you said it would disprove evolution, in the latter an anomaly would create some revisions to the hypotheses. So which is it?

    @223 Where in the Bible does it state “God is Anri’s errand-boy,” or “God does parlor tricks to please his audience?” Prayer and magicks aren’t the same thing? Your inability to distinguish between the two reflect your bias.

  224. raymondkoepsell says

    @224 I’m curious, Nerd, which translation of the Bible did you read that stated God is proven by the Bible,” and vice versa. You cling desperately to the idea of proof of God like it’s your life raft. “Your babble quotes are bullshit until you show with solid and conclusive physical evidence.” There is archaeological evidence that supports the Bible (I gave you this before, but in case you missed: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/ancient/archeology-hebrew-bible.html). There is scientific evidence that supports evolution. The science supporting evolution is not without criticism among scientists, just as the science supporting the Bible is not without criticism among scientists. A rock-solid, bulletproof, 100% flat-jack guaranteed lock of an argument can be made for neither evolution nor creation, and that there is room for doubt in both. My question is, why demand “solid and conclusive physical evidence” from a God who tells you faith, not proof, is the key when you’re willing to wink and look the other way at the flaws of science. Don’t pretend that science is flawless Nerd. You’re not a moron. (BTW, it’s cute when you *SNICKER*)

    @227 At last, a helpful suggestion!!! “If you want to make any headway here, you need to convince us as to why we shouldn’t do this.” I’m not saying you should take my word for it that God is real or that my personal revelation would lead each of you in here to Christ. All I’m suggesting is that you should holster your bias and look a religion on its own terms instead of your own. Of course it’s your choice whether you accept my suggestion. There may be people who worship vampyres, lycans, and faeries, but 35% of the world’s population is Christian. Maybe 10 billion people throughout history have lived and died Christians, maybe more. Why is that? What do they know that you don’t?

    @228 “Why do you want to believe in something that can’t be proven?” After growing up agnostic, I came to Christ as an adult. My life is better now than before. Simple as that.

    @229 Yes, I have.

    @230 1. Christians didn’t attack the US on 9/11. 2. See #1 3. Catholics and Protestants both pray to Jesus Christ. All you’ve proven is that human beings are fallen creatures. You haven’t proven God doesn’t exist 4. See #1. Regarding Somalia, I thought the Battle of Mogadishu was about starvation not Jesus Christ. The societies of Mississippi and Texas (whatever they are) were destroyed faith in Jesus Christ? 5. Prayer and medicine go hand in hand. I know surgeons who pray before surgery. 6. I’m not in here because I hate you, and I’ve not said anything vicious. The leukocytes, however, have been less than welcoming. In @196, I predicted a fireworks display of profanity and attacks of ad hominem from the leukocytes. Certainly all of you are smart enough to have learned name calling is identified as a logical fallacy and doesn’t win arguments. It’s the weak way out when you haven’t got anything else to say. Thusly, I give you @202 “fucking idiot,” @203 “fucking idiot,” @205 “you’re a fucking idiot,” @209 “STUPID” and “utterly pathetic,” @214 “crapsell,” @215 “bullshitter,” @215 “idiot,” @217 “fuckwitted delusional idjit,” @219 “fuckwitted idjit,” “bullshit,” “what a wanker,” @220 “godbot,” @221 “stupid lying godbot,” “very stupid indeed,” @222 “stupid lying godbot,” @224 “bullshit,” “bullshit,” “godbot,” @225 “fucking wrong,” @dumb religious kook.” What makes your ad hominem so disappointing is that that so may of you repeat the same ad hominem in the same post, as though saying it twice will make it somehow true. Idjit/idjit, fucking idiot/fucking idiot, godbot/godbot. All very lame. It may surprise some of you that your ad hominem attacks have zero impact on me. I know I’m on the right track if you’re disagreeing with me or angry about what I’m typing. 7. I neither hate nor fear knowledge, learning, or science. Can you point to the part where I said I did? For the record, I don’t hate or fear bikinis, free market capitalism, red meat, vegetables, hybrid cars, democracy, rock music, hamburgers or the internet. Shall I keep going? How, exactly (be specific please) is Raymond a good example of God not being great or religion poisoning everything? Is it because I don’t agree with all the leukocytes? Faith, by the way, isn’t necessarily virtuous (such as faith that I will get away with embezzling stockholders out of millions), but it is absolutely commonplace.

    @231 “The bible and NT in particular is mostly a work of fiction. Parts of it are known to be forged, a forgery of fictional accounts.” Prove it. The Bible is only a known work of fiction if you can prove that it isn’t true. Where’s your proof that the Bible isn’t true? Quoting @72 here, “either support that with something solid or we will just assume you’re throwing shit at the wall and playing with your own turds in the bathtub.” Paraphrasing @92 here, “if you can’t supply conclusive evidence for your claim that the Bible is false, evidence that will pass muster with scientists, magicians, and professional debunkers, you are a delusional fool.” I enjoy quoting leukocytes, it’s fun! I should do it more often!

    @232 “Carl Sagan’s wife: Carl wanted to know, not believe. Raymond wants to believe instead of know.” Wrong, I want you to know AND I want you to believe. (I loved Contact, it’s one of my favorite flicks)

    @233 Ha! Thanks for that!! :-)

    @234 Wrong, I perfectly understand the difference between faith and probability. Faith is the belief in something that can’t be proven. Probability is the relative possibility that an event will occur. “You believe it is incongruous because you mistakenly believe that having faith means you have some special understanding.” Wrong again. Faith is not a special understanding. I have faith in some things, you have faith in some things, we all have faith in some things. Faith is required for us to live our lives.

  225. raymondkoepsell says

    @235 Ah, the old “appeal to authority” fallacy!!! “Most of us are ex-xians. We know all about xianity and faith from the inside. Some of us are ex-ministers and biblical scholars trained at universities.” I’ll go you one better raven!!! I, for 30 years, believed that I was the result of giant and highly unlikely cosmic accident, that I was the highest authority in my life, that my life had no purpose or meaning beyond what I ascribed to it, and that death is the end.

    @236 I’m not celebrating faith as a virtue, merely pointing out that when we believe in something that can’t be proven, every human being that has ever lived has exercised faith.

    @237 This continued argument over my example is not unexpected. Christopher, why don’t you explain why – if 50% of marriages fail – people still get married. Explain why – if 1 in 200 children is born with a random genetic disease or birth defect – people still try to make babies. Pick any statistic you like and apply the same argument. The answer is “It might happen to somebody else, but it won’t happen to me because it’s statistically improbable” yet it happen every day all over the world. What causes that aspect of human behavior? Faith.

    @239 Does NASA have an impressive safety record? You must think that all astronauts are suicidal then, right?

    @240 Exactly!!

    @241 You think God is unreliable? What gave you the impression that God exists to “reliably” serve you as you see fit? Sorry, myeck, I’m afraid you made that one up on your own. Are you still mad at God about that honey?

  226. says

    PZzzzzz won’t ban me; I’ve posted numerous passages of scripture in here.

    He may simply not have noticed you, Cupcake. A lot of us quote scripture in various threads, for a reason – generally because we’re dealing with a godbot. Quoting scripture is not the same as godbotting.

    You may end up quarantined to TZT. That would be fun. You and Misogynraj could have a chat.

  227. Rev. BigDumbChimp says

    for fuck’s sake Ray, put the person’s name you are responding to in the comment.

    Good grief you’re a tiresome bore.

  228. Amphiox says

    @204 Q: When would an “established empirical fact” need to be hedged with “pretty much,” as in “pretty much an established empirical fact?” A: When the person spouting said fact knows it is not really a fact. An established empirical fact is just a fact, it is true 100% of the time; it is not “pretty much” true “pretty much” of the time.

    WRONG.

    Raymundo once again displays its blinkered authoritarian absolutist thinking to its own detriment.

    So when IS the hedge “pretty much” needed? For intellectually honest people, ALL THE TIME, FOR EVERYTHING.

    Because intellectually honest people acknowledge that ALL KNOWLEDGE IS PROVISIONAL. NO FACT IS ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN.

    When dealing with intellectually honest people, we can leave out that explicit hedge, because everyone understands that it is implicitly admitted ALL THE TIME.

    But when dealing with intellectually dishonest absolutist trolls like Raymundo here, it is necessary to make it explicit.

    Particularly since it will not infrequently trap to troll into making an utterly stupid reply like the one it has just made here, and expose itself, once more, as a fool.

  229. Amphiox says

    I’m not celebrating faith as a virtue,

    A lie.

    merely pointing out that when we believe in something that can’t be proven, every human being that has ever lived has exercised faith.

    A blatant and transparent lie, as Raymundo’s own posts easily demonstrate.

  230. consciousness razor says

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    So, uh…. hi, Caine and Rev. :)

  231. keenacat says

    Faith is required for us to live our lives.

    Fuck yeah I’m a zombie! Or rather stuck in limbo? Or am I a clay golem?

    I enjoy quoting leukocytes, it’s fun!

    I will quote MY leucocytes to you: “You are a fucking dunce and we’d unleash a torrent of immune system ass whooping on you if we could.”

    The Bible is only a known work of fiction if you can prove that it isn’t true. Where’s your proof that the Bible isn’t true?

    Sorry to break it to you dude, but this proving-business does not work like you think it does.

    What makes your ad hominem so disappointing is that that so may of you repeat the same ad hominem in the same post, as though saying it twice will make it somehow true.

    FUCK YOU THATS NOT EVEN AD HOMINEM IN DISCWORLD YOU CLUELESS LITTLE SHITWEASEL!!!
    Jeebus christ!
    I propose the dunce corollary to Godwin’s law: As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a dunce misusing “ad hominem” approaches one.

  232. Ichthyic says

    Thusly, I give you @202 “fucking idiot,” @203 “fucking idiot,” @205 “you’re a fucking idiot,”

    thanks for saving me the trouble of having to repeat myself.

  233. Amphiox says

    Wrong, I perfectly understand the difference between faith and probability

    Ah, so the Raymundo ADMITS, that back in @199; when it said:

    You employ faith in nearly every aspect of your life, but call it statistical probability or whatever.

    It was DELIBERATELY using a DISHONEST AND MISLEADING ARGUMENT.

    A small step in the right direction at least.

    Perhaps, one day, Raymundo will cease being such a lying, dishonest fapwit.

    I will try to have faith.

  234. Amphiox says

    I enjoy quoting leukocytes, it’s fun!

    Continuing with its schtick for dehumanization.

    Yet another intellectually dishonest liar exposes itself as an odious bigot. Quel surprise.

  235. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    I’ve posted numerous passages of scripture in here.

    Depends how he feels liar and bullshitter.

    I do know faith [delusion] viscerally

    Faith is abstract, subjective, philosophical and subjective [bullshit].

    Fixed both for you liar and bullshiter, and delusional fool.

    An established empirical fact is just a fact, it is true 100% of the time; it is not “pretty much” true “pretty much” of the time.

    And this has to do with your lack of empirical fact for your imaginary deity and mythical/fictional babble how? BULLSHIT diversion, liar and bullshitter?

    belief that is not based on proof.” Are you high or something?

    No, also look up the definition of delusion. The same. Those who believe without evidence are delusional fools like you…

    As a Chrstian, being told I’m “fucking wrong on what faith is” by an atheist is not the outcome I expected; hence, it is ironic to me.

    But it is true. You don’t comprehend your own delusions, and try to fuckwitterly put them unto atheists. I have no faith in your sense of your delusional beliefs.

    Whenever I post in here, which isn’t frequent, I am deluged with hundreds of comments asking me, pleading, begging, demanding that I provide empirical evidence, peer-reviewed scientific literature, to prove what the Bible says is true.

    Right, you can either back up what you say with scientific evidence, shut the fuck up, or you are a liar and bullshitter if you can’t shut the fuck up, or put up the evidence. You don’t put up or shut up, which leaves you where you don’t want to go on a scientific blog.

    the first reason that comes to mind is that God is the most logical explanation as the first cause to create something from nothing.

    What created your imaginary deity from nothing. PUT UP OR SHUT THE FUCK UP. WELCOME TO RATIONAL THINKING, AS YOUR DEITY DIDN’T EXIST PRIOR TO THE UNIVERSE UNLESS YOU PROVIDE SOLID AND CONCLUSIVE PHYSICAL EVIDENCE, NOT PRESUPPOSITION. All you godbots have is presupposition and fuckwittery.

    There is nothing in science that proves a Godless creation,

    Sorry fuckwitted delusional fool, the is the null hypothesis until you provide conclusive physical evidence for your imaginary deity. Evidence that will pass muster with scientists, magicians, an professional debunkers, as being of divine, and not natural, origin. Something equivalent to the eternally burning bush.

    Perhaps this is why even Dick Dawkins holds the door open just a crack for Jesus.

    His crack is the same as my required physical evidence. PUT UP OR SHUT THE FUCK UP LIAR AND BULLSHITTER.

    Faith is “belief in something not based on proof [evidence].”

    Fixed that for your liar and bullshitter. Evidence isn’t always conclusive proof. In fact, in science, nothing is proved, merely not disproved. Your deity is imaginary because there is no evidence for it. It isn’t disproved, as one can’t disprove a negative.

    false presupposition

    Only an abject idjit, liar, and bullshitter would question what a false presupposition is. A presupposition is a defined axiom in philosophy. And a false presupposition is a false axiom, because it isn’t supported by the evidence, like all of theology. Your deity existing, and your babble being inerrant are false presuppositions. You accept them on faith without evidence, but those of us who look at the evidence see your lies and bullshit behind those presuppositions. Your axioms are false, no evidence to support them, and you provide nothing but circular wankery to make one “prove” the other. And neither supply the evidence needed to convince the gnu atheist you are anything but a wanking proselytizer who has nothing cogent or intelligent say, just repeating the same old lies without evidence.

    Can you supply that conclusive physical physical evidence for your imaginary deity and mythical/fictional babble, evidencing me wrong, or are you nothing but a confirmed liar and bullshitter because you can’t put up, and can’t shut up???

    Your choice cricket, choose wisely (but you won’t)…

  236. Ichthyic says

    btw, fuckwit ray, insults do not come under the category of “logical fallacies”.

    file that away for future reference?

    I suggest storing it in your ass, as that appears to be where you retrieve most of your information from.

  237. Anri says

    Where in the Bible does it state “God is Anri’s errand-boy,” or “God does parlor tricks to please his audience?” Prayer and magicks aren’t the same thing? Your inability to distinguish between the two reflect your bias.

    Matthew 7:7,8
    Luke 11:9,10

    For example.

    Or any time in the bible when god and/or Jesus did something specifically to impress the locals and demonstrate his power. Or any time he states that he answers prayers, or grants blessings to those who ask, or will make signs clear to you.

    In other words, plenty.

    But just so I don’t misunderstand what you’re saying – are you saying god did grant that prayer?
    Or that he didn’t?
    Or are you saying, as I predicted, that:

    …you will be unwilling to do this simple experiment because you know already what will happen. You know already that your god will not raise a finger to justify your faith, or answer this simple prayer.

    I’m thinking it’s Answer C.
    But go ahead, keep blustering. Keep ignoring this simple and easy thing to test. It’ll still be there, always waiting, at each and every light switch you see. You’ll still know that the faith that people claim can move mountains can’t actually move a 10 cent piece of plastic.

  238. KG says

    You’ll still know that the faith that people claim can move mountains can’t actually move a 10 cent piece of plastic. – Anri

    Maybe plastic is like those pesky iron chariots – a bronze age deity isn’t up to dealing with these new-fangled materials!

  239. raymondkoepsell says

    @254 “Cupcake??”, (blushing) thanks, I like you too Caine, fantôme élastique MQ. Also, thanks for this, “Quoting scripture is not the same as godbotting,” but you don’t seem to have quite the same interpretation as Ing @193, who when I quoted John, replied: “Godbotting is a banable offense.” Doesn’t PZ publish rules for you leukocytes to follow? DKDC WTF TZT is; however, that said (did I say anything, really?) if you guys can’t interpret rulez on a consistent basis, you might run the risk of being banned from this delightful blog too. Or perhaps the rules are consistent but PZ’s enforcement is arbitrary, just as your interpretation is arbitrary.

    @256 Rev. BigDumbChimp I “know this how” for subjective reasons which are meaningful to me that would likely mean absolutely nothing to you cuz yer a sientist ‘n stuff or mebbe yew lean tord siense-type thinkin which ruquierz stuff ta be, ya know, proven in absolute, concrete terms published in peer-reviewed scientific literature.

    @257 Hi Amphiox. Wow, you typed in “ALL-CAPS” so you must really know your stuff! One of your all caps statements is that “No fact is absolutely certain.” I’m guessing that leukocytes in here might disagree that the Second Law of Thermodynamics is not really up for grabs though. Is it a LAW or a THEORY? (See, I can use caps too!) Is the Law of Gravity absolutely certain, or is it just one of those “uncertain things” to which you refer? Now I’m pretty sure I never got a test-question wrong using the Pythagorean Theorem, but I guess according to the “Amphiox Accord” that a rule or law is only right some of the time. Also, if “NO FACT IS ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN,” how can you be convinced that God is a lie? Certainly, even Dick Dawkins himself, one of the (Four, no) Three Horsemen of Atheism, saves room for the possibility that God created the universe and the Bible is accurate – so I’m thinking of taking the Amphiox Accord to a whole ‘nuther level.

    @258 Hi Again Amphiox! Where did I say that faith is a virtue? I challenge you to describe, in that “will pass muster with scientists, magicians, and professional debunkers” (Thanks Nerd of Redhead @92) how I’m celebrating faith as a virtue. All I’m doing is saying that, since humans don’t have every answer to every question that has ever been asked and those that have not yet been even thought of to ask, our existence on this planet with a limited perspective and linear time requires that we exercise faith in order to live our lives. My faith includes theism. Your faith excludes theism. Why?

    @260 Thank you keenacat! “FUCK YOU THATS NOT EVEN AD HOMINEM IN DISCWORLD YOU CLUELESS LITTLE SHITWEASEL!!!” It seems silly to defeat you with something as mundane as Dictionary.com. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/ad+hominem?s=t&ld=1030 Ad hominem is “attacking an opponent’s character rather than answering his argument.” But I have to tell you, being called a shitweasel by a word-mincing atheist over the definition of “ad hominem” puts a large happy smile on my face. What’s “DISCWORLD?” It must be important since it’s in ALL-CAPS, am I right?

    @262 Can one of the smart leukocytes give Amphiox a hand? My saying atheists employ faith in every aspect of their lives but call it statistical probability doesn’t prove I don’t understand the difference between the two. Amphiox, who might not be able to read, thinks that when I way “you don’t understand,” it means “I don’t understand.” In @252, I actually provided a definition of probability and it doesn’t sound like the definition of faith that I’ve posted in here at least a half-dozen times.

    @264 Amphiox feels dehumanized by the term “leukocyte?” Hmmmmm….. my hypocrisy radar is going off. Why is it dehumanizing for me to call you a “leukocyte,” but perfectly reasonable, acceptable and widely endorsed for me to be called a “Xian?” I’m going to pop popcorn while you try to reason your way out of that one. Not that it matters, call me whatever you wish – if I’ve earned the disapproval of atheists than I’m on the right track.

    @265 NERD!!!!! Thanks for not leaving me hanging. You know I was holding my breath for another round of “liar” and “bullshitter” while you offer up none of your beloved but oft-demanded “proof.” Whew do I feel better now!! Did you know that cleverly changing my words with the strikeout feature and inserting your own doesn’t discredit me? You can’t win an argument by pretending your opponent didn’t say what Xe said. Delusion is a “fixed false belief that is resistant to reason,” while faith is “belief in something that can’t be proven.” Nerd, I beg you, please prove me wrong! Or, prove that your belief that a Godless creation is the correct one! Either one is fine. Good grief, the only argument any of you leukocytes have seems to be mincing words!!! “which leaves you where you don’t want to go on a scientific blog.” Dude (or dudette), thanks for the boldface (you must be incredibly smart beyond my comprehension because you bolded what you wrote) pharyngula is no longer a “scientific blog,” it’s a “freethought blog,” meaning it’s an atheist blog. It’s biological ejaculations from a Godless liberal – who just so happens to be too busy to come in here and post a comment or arbitrarily enforce his blog’s arbitrary “rules.” Nerd, don’t give me your null hypothesis crap; you’re just mincing words again. QUESTION: Instead of the null hypothesis being “Raymond believes in theistic creation,” and demanding proof of theistic creation, why don’t you change it very slightly to “Nerd of Redhead believes in a Godless creation” and demanding proof of a creation without God? ANSWER: Because the a Godless creation requires faith the same way the Bible requires faith. You’re incapable of applying the same rules of science to your side of the argument that you demand from religion. You’ve never ever answered my question: Why apply faith to non-religious thought then deny its relevance to religious though? I’m guessing because your entire house of cards would fall.

    @266 Ichthyic, by stating “insults do not come under the category of logical fallacies” betrays an embarrassing level of ignorance to your fellow leukocytes. “Arguments that commit fallacies of relevance rely on premises that aren’t relevant to the truth of the conclusion. The various irrelevant appeals are all fallacies of relevance, as are ad hominems” http://www.logicalfallacies.info/ “An ad hominem (Latin for “to the man” or “to the person”), short for argumentum ad hominem, is an attempt to negate the truth of a claim by pointing out a negative characteristic or belief of the person supporting it. Ad hominem reasoning is normally described as a logical fallacy,more precisely an informal fallacy and an irrelevance. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ad_hominem. “I suggest storing it in your ass, as that appears to be where you retrieve most of your information from.” How is that relevant to my argument that atheism requires bias at a foundational level and the atheist will employ faith in non-religious areas of life while dismissing it in terms of religion?

    @270 Anri, whoever told you the purpose of prayer was serve as your personal litmus test of God’s existence has thoroughly mislead you. If you reached that conclusion on your own, please tell me what in your experience lead you to think that was even reasonable for the thing that created the entire infinite universe from nothing would jump through a hoop because you demanded it? Is there a Book of Anri in your Bible you’re holding out on us? Does it say that Anri says “jump” and God says “how high?” Is it reasonable that you should have to tell one of your neurons how to behave because said neuron was having an existential crisis? Should you have to remind the muscle fibers in your diaphragm to work in concert to suck air into your lungs? Could you dumb your language down enough for your neurons and muscle fibers to even understand WHY you want them to serve you they way you want them to serve you? You, Anri, are creation, not Creator. You are not – as the atheists assert – a cosmological accident. You are not – as the atheists assert – pointless. Your life is not – as the atheists assert – devoid of meaning. At the same time, you’re also not – as the atheists assert – the infinitesimally lucky and highly lauded recipient of 1,000 consecutive Megaball Lotteries. You are not on the same level as God, nor should you expect to achieve understanding of the known physical universe as God has (or the unknown physical universe, for that matter.) The expiration of your human body does not have to be your end.

    @271 KG, I don’t recall reading anywhere in the Bible that “faith can and does in all circumstances move mountains.” 1 Corinthians 13:2 “If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.” Does that verse imply to you that having faith will get you any outcome you want? It might be easier to understand this way: God can move mountains if it is his desire to bring honor and glory to his kingdom in such a manner.

  240. Anri says

    This is a really large block of text to essentially say “No, I don’t wanna pray at a light switch because I know nothing will happen”, but I’ll tackle it anyway.

    @270 Anri, whoever told you the purpose of prayer was serve as your personal litmus test of God’s existence has thoroughly mislead you. If you reached that conclusion on your own, please tell me what in your experience lead you to think that was even reasonable for the thing that created the entire infinite universe from nothing would jump through a hoop because you demanded it?

    All the places (I quoted two) where god is saying “I grant prayers”. All of the preachers and priests who are constantly telling us that god loves us, and wants to reveal himself to us, and blesses us, and does stuff and answers prayers! All the time! For all these people, just ask them!
    But maybe those guys aren’t Real Christians – just you.

    Is there a Book of Anri in your Bible you’re holding out on us? Does it say that Anri says “jump” and God says “how high?”

    No, but I quoted two verses from what I thought was the bible you hold to be…what was it again? Oh, yeah the word of god, indicating a reiteration of “Ask, and I’ll give it to you”. You, of course, didn’t actually address that.

    Is it reasonable that you should have to tell one of your neurons how to behave because said neuron was having an existential crisis?

    Do you believe that neurons have such crises?
    Do you believe that god thinks we are as mindless as individual neurons?
    Thousands of my neurons die off every day and, except for the eventual effect on my mental status, I don’t care about them individually. Do you believe that god does/should have a similar relationship with us?

    Should you have to remind the muscle fibers in your diaphragm to work in concert to suck air into your lungs?

    … I’m sorry, are you asking if it’s possible to think about taking a breath? ‘Cause, um, the answer’s yes.

    Could you dumb your language down enough for your neurons and muscle fibers to even understand WHY you want them to serve you they way you want them to serve you?

    No, I believe that neurons and muscle cells have no understanding of anything, as they are mindless. Do you believe that god feels similarly about us? Do you believe yet that you’re really quite bad at analogies?

    You, Anri, are creation, not Creator.

    I create stuff all the time. Until being laid off recently, it was in fact my job to create (virtual) stuff.

    You are not – as the atheists assert – a cosmological accident.

    Citation needed.

    You are not – as the atheists assert – pointless.

    I’m an atheist and don’t assert that. Please stop trying to tell me what I believe. It makes you look terribly ignorant.

    Your life is not – as the atheists assert – devoid of meaning.

    ctrl-c, ctrl-v from above.

    At the same time, you’re also not – as the atheists assert – the infinitesimally lucky and highly lauded recipient of 1,000 consecutive Megaball Lotteries.

    Citation really, desperately needed.

    You are not on the same level as God,

    True – there is evidence for my existence – but do go on…

    nor should you expect to achieve understanding of the known physical universe as God has (or the unknown physical universe, for that matter.) The expiration of your human body does not have to be your end.

    Wowie, citation needed.

    All of this typing just to avoid saying “No, I won’t do your light switch experiment, ’cause I know god won’t do anything.” You don’t even have to admit that here, just admit it to yourself. Just give it a shot. Say aloud, when you are alone “I know god will not answer my prayer. I know, if I ask, he will do nothing.”
    Or go ahead and show some actual faith, some actual real-world, there might be consequences, I might learn something belief and ask god for that one little favor.
    Think how much it would mean to you to have your faith rewarded so simply but so richly.

    People who love you are generally willing to do things for you, even trivial things, if you ask them. Even if you can do it yourself – they’ll do it, just to be nice, just to show their affection.
    Will god, who you say loves you, do this thing for you, just because you ask it? Ever? Even once?
    What’s stopping him?

  241. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Because the a Godless creation requires faith the same way the Bible requires faith.

    Sorry, parsimony, not faith. Youre imaginary creator adds complexity without changing the final result. Ergo, it can be left out as unnecessary. Typical of imaginary things from delusional fools.

    I have no faith, and you lie and bullshit every time you claim I do. Faith is belief without evidence. On the contrary, there is evidence for the mechanism that may of formed the universe, quantum fluctuatiions, and it doesn’t involve your imaginary deity. Whereas you have no mechanism for the creation of your imaginary creator, and only you only presuppose its existence. And we both know that, making your claim even weaker to the point of uselessness.

  242. gravityisjustatheory says

    “Faith is belief without evidence” is a stupid definition, and a stupid value.

    Some of the main, traditional definitions of “faith” are “trust” or “loyalty”.

    This is what the 1st (Exeter and South Devon) Rifle Volunteer Corps (and later, the US Marine Core) meant when they chose “Semper Fidelis” as their motto. Not “always believing things without evidence”. They meant “always loyal”.

    This is what people mean when they talk about a husband or wife being (un)faithful.

    And this is what the Bible means in just about every use of the word “faith”. If the Bible is to be believed, then the ancient world was awash with evidence for the existance and intervention of God. Literaly, in the case of the Flood. But also in God walking around Eden. Or wrestling with Jacob. Or nuking cities that displeased him.

    The Bible assumes the existance of God is evidenced. What is a matter of trust is whether or not he will intervene to save you from the Ammonites. What is a matter of loyalty is whether you should worship the gods of your neighbours, or stay true to YHWH even though he hasn’t done anything to help you recently.

    “Faith” has long been seen as a virtue because trust and loyalty have long been seen as virtues.

    But “faith is belief without evidence” is just something that modern Christians have fallen back on now that – coincident with better records and more scrutiny – God doesn’t seem to be making his presence obvious any more, and doesn’t seem to have left any evidence for his supposed past appearences either.

    And it’s a stupid “virtue” because there’s no good reason to do it, and it will just lead you to make stupid mistakes and believe in things that don’t exist. And comparing belief in unevidinced and supposedly unmeasurable beings like God to evidinced and understood things like elevators, or the sun rising/setting, is – as otehrs have said – really stupid.

    But hey, if stupid theists want to keep showing off about how they believe in things without evidence, and that believing in things without evidence is a fundamental part of their religion, well, they can go ahead and do so. But they can’t expect us to take them or their beliefs seriously.

  243. raymondkoepsell says

    @274 Anri

    So, a delayed reply from a poster in a blog and you’ve single-handedly disproven the benefits of faith? Weak.

    Other than laziness, I can think of no reason why would one would pray for God to turn on a light switch when that can be achieved with little difficulty without divine providence.

    God grants prayers every second; God denies prayers every second.

    We submit to his authority, not vice verse. God doesn’t do parlor tricks for Anri’s amusement.

    God will have a relationship with you if you allow it. However, I wouldn’t hold your breath waiting for God to manifest in your life as long as your primary motivation is satisfying yourself.

    We exist to serve God, not the other way around. We exist to satisfy God, not the other way around. Until you learn your place (which is below God, not above or equal to God), you may have a long wait on your hands. When you are not too proud to kneel face down in the dirt and wait upon God to grant or deny a prayer in his timetable as opposed to your own, when you’re prepared to accept any answer he gives – you will be on your way to a relationship with your creator.

    Anri, you are seriously misguided if you can equate creating (virtual) stuff at your former job with God’s creation of the universe, matter, life, sentience, ecosystems, love, etc.

    “Citation really, desperately needed.”

    Why is that?

    “Wowie, citation needed.”

    Why are your most pressing existential questions unanswered if you are so complete and fulfilled by your atheism?

    I would posit that part of you, at least, recognizes atheism is a dead end. Surely you must know that even Dick Dawkins himself is not 100% sure of his atheism.

    You already have the citation you’re requesting, but you’re unwilling to take the time to study God’s word without bias. You’re unwilling to humble yourself. You’re unwilling or unable to cease hypocrisy long enough to give religion the same benefit of doubt you give science. You’re telling God, “prove yourself to my satisfaction, then I’ll consider having faith enough to believe you.”

    Your faith in God is a prerequisite to your relationship with God. Did you miss that part of your unbiased, humble, open-minded search of the Bible?

  244. raymondkoepsell says

    @275 Seriously Nerd, you’re rejecting religion in favor of science based on Occam’s razor?

    You’re choosing science over religion because religion is too complex for you?

    I don’t think many people would agree that science is straightforward, that science isn’t full of contradictions, that science has all (or even most) of the answers.

    What science doesn’t know overwhelms what science does know, and anybody who claims otherwise is a liar and bullshitter.

    Since I’ve clearly got your attention, Nerd, why don’t you lay out your “Quantum Fluctuations Made the Universe Theory” for me?

  245. raymondkoepsell says

    @276 Gravity, where have you been? Faith is not a construct or fallback position for modern Christians; it is foundational to Christianity dating back to the days when Jesus walked the earth. Faith wasn’t invented by 20th or 21st century Christians, it’s in the bedrock God’s New Testament message. I suggest you take an Atheism refresher course so you can know what you’re feebly railing against. Oorah!

  246. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    d you’ve single-handedly disproven the benefits of faith?

    That describes what faith, or rather delusional thinking, gains one. You are a delusional fool, as you can’t provide conclusive physical evidence for your imaginary deity, or that your holy book is anything other than mythology fiction. Same old truth I post to refute every post you make.

    God grants prayers every second; God denies prayers every second.

    Actually no. First, you god doesn’t exist, and second, there is real evidence prayer is nothing but mental masturbation. The lies and bullshit continue…

    We exist to serve God,

    How can we serve something that doesn’t exist, or make itself known? So, we have nothing but your delusional word for that. Typical of a liar and bullshitter.

    Anri, you are seriously misguided if you can equate creating (virtual) stuff at your former job with God’s creation of the universe, matter, life, sentience, ecosystems, love, etc.

    Where is your evidence to refute the science? Only science can refute science. All you have is unevidenced bullshit which *POOF* dismisses all your claims like you dismissed all the claims of science. Golden rule and all that. But science still has it evidence, and you don’t…All you have is delusions, lies, and bullshit. Show me wrong with conclusive physical evidence from the peer reviewed scientific literature, or shut the fuck up….

    Citation really, desperately needed.”

    Why is that?

    “Wowie, citation needed.”

    Why are your most pressing existential questions unanswered if you are so complete and fulfilled by your atheism?

    Because you lie and bullshit, and we are calling you out to either provide conclusive physical evidence for your claims, and all you supply is your OPINION, which is lies and bullshit until you prove otherwise with evidence. And this is a scientific, not philosophical debate. Either provide the evidence, or shut up on your claims.

    You already have the citation you’re requesting, but you’re unwilling to take the time to study God’s word without bias.

    Nope, what you provided was presupposed evidence. It must be unbiased, like the peer reviewed scientific literature. Otherwise, you use your babble to prove god, and god to prove your babble, which is circular reasoning causing you to fail both logic and philosophy 090. Not even an introductory course. You need to show either your god exists or your babble is inerrant without the other. Then move on to the other. No evidence presented by you to date, showing you know you are a liar and bullshitter.

    You’re telling God, “prove yourself to my satisfaction, then I’ll consider having faith enough to believe you.”

    No, he’s telling you fuckwit, to show that your deity really exists out side of your delusional mind, before he will even consider the concept. And you provide no evidence to show that your deity isn’t imaginary. You just pretend it isn’t. Which doesn’t work here at this blog. We know that presuppositional game, and we call you on that bullshit each and every post you make.

    Your faith in God is a prerequisite to your relationship with God.

    You are essentially acknowledging god is a presuppositional game, and we require evidence. Either put up that evidence from legitimate sources outside of yourself and your presuppositions, like the scientific literature, or shut the fuck up. Only liars and bullshitters can’t put up and can’t shut up. That is you in every post on this thread.