1. jeffh123 says

    Bernard has no concept of evolution. He is parroting the false definitions pushed by Ken Ham and Ray Comfort, et al. OMG. The man needs to go to school. He would take a course by Kurt Cameron, though. These quacks make up their own definitions of science, then get pissed off when you call them on it and cry “I can define it how I want!” Yes, but then you can’t make ANY legitimate arguments for your cause. OK, I’ll define Creationism as the sticking of one’s head up their own terminal orifice in their gastrointestinal tract.

  2. Philllip Moore says

    I’m glad Matt caught on that John was temporarily confusing belief and faith.

  3. Philllip Moore says

    On Greg’s call. The combination of Monotheism with Greek and Roman stories of a son of a god, killed and resurrected, was a very new religion that, in my opinion, would have sounded unique and found interest. And of course, the message of redemption from oppression.

  4. Philllip Moore says

    On Sarah’s call: I feel pretty lucky that, although I was raised a Christian, I was already privately a skeptic by about 10-years old. I largely kept my views privately for about 35 years until a cousin at a family reunion asked me pointblank in front of everyone if I believed the “Jesus story”. I haven’t hardly shut up about being an atheist since.

  5. Philllip Moore says

    jeffh123. Yeah, Bernard has the same old tired arguments, and likely to establish a literal interpretation of the Bible. My guess is he believes that God’s image is a primate from the planet Earth, that Behemoth was dinosaur, and that a snake could talk because it was demonized by Satan.

  6. Monocle Smile says

    It’s just another sad example of how creationists don’t spend any time trying to prove their case. They spend it lying about evolution instead. The very little material they conjure to advance creationism is stuff that their own people (like Michael Behe) think is bullshit.

  7. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    The combination of Monotheism with Greek and Roman stories of a son of a god, killed and resurrected, was a very new religion that, in my opinion, would have sounded unique and found interest. And of course, the message of redemption from oppression.

    Richard Carrier spends quite a bit of time in the academic peer reviewed book “On The Historicity Of Jesus” arguing against that point. Carrier cites several examples that pre-date Jesus of a personal savoir god that is the son (or daughter) of the main god, that underwent an ordeal, a passion, that involved death and resurrection for several of the examples, and this passion granted their followers life after death. Several involved baptism of new followers into the faith. Christianity isn’t that special in this regard. Personal savoir cults was a new fad. Consult Richard Carrier for more information, lest I speak out of my depth and say something wrong.

  8. Philllip Moore says

    To me it looks like you failed to understand my point. I will discredit my actual language if you like. Many Greek and Roman gods begot sons with humans who were killed and resurrected, but those religions were polytheistic, not monotheistic.

  9. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    And Richard Carrier would take issue even with that point. Of the era, many “pagans” (aka non-Christians) viewed the Christian angels and demons as gods. In the theology standards of non-Christians, a Christian angel or demon is a god, just by another name. Jesus would be viewed as a subordinate god to the main Christian / Jewish god. To the non-Christians of the era, they would view Christianity as just another polytheistic religion.

    Richard Carrier spends a great deal of time on the “transition” from polytheism, to polytheism with a main central deity, to monotheism with lesser divinities that go by names other than “god”, such as “angel” and “demon”.

    I mean no disrespect, but your position is empty semantics.

  10. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Further, from what I remember, I want to emphasize that this movement from a plurality of equal gods, to a single head god and a bunch of subordinate gods, was happening in other religions contemporary with Christianity. Christianity was not special in this regard either.

  11. adamah says

    What I find amusing is how some Xian fundamentalists will try to topple the theory of evolution, when few would try to defend the Biblical Tower of Babel as the origin of multiple European languages to topple PIE, the scientific theory of the origins of different European languages.

    Perhaps they’re blissfully unaware that an “English-speaking” American time traveller could visit Shakespeare’s England, and the person would have a hard time grasping what was being said because the English language evolved in the interim.

  12. Philllip Moore says

    That seems like points well taken by Richard. But “empty semantics” I think not. The idea of the only son of the only God was not new? Seems like pretty straight forward language to me. Which era anyway? 100-400?

  13. Monocle Smile says

    Hell, even today, there are several parts of England today where my American ass would be as lost as if I were dropped in Malawi, and our languages share a common ancestor.

  14. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    To Philllip
    It seems that you keep moving the goalposts. Now you’re focusing on “only son (or daughter) of the main god”. I don’t recall anything about other contemporary or prior religions that had that particular aspect. It would not surprise me if one did.

    However, all of the savoir god religions had elements that were unique to each one. That’s what differentiated any one from any other one. Even with a trivial glance, it’s easy to find aspects that are specific to Christianity that the other personal savoir god religions did not have. What is relevant here is their commonality, and not obscure or esoteric differences, and IMHO it seems to me that in this context, it seems irrelevant whether or not Jesus was unique by being the only personal savior god that was the only offspring of the main god.

  15. Philllip Moore says

    Really? I’m “moving the goalposts”? My first post: “The combination of Monotheism with Greek and Roman stories of a son of a god, killed and resurrected, was a very new religion.” And evidently that is “empty semantics”. My last post question: “The idea of the only son of the only God was not new?” Then you misquote me, then say these are “obscure or esoteric differences”. You do have your opinion, but I haven’t seen anything from you other than Richard said, followed by things I agree with.

  16. Monocle Smile says

    You DO realize that the first quote of yourself and the second have two very large differences, right? That’s a shifting of the goalposts. But EL is right that these differences are largely irrelevant.

  17. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    This is how the conversation has gone.

    In post 3, you mention “Monotheism with Greek and Roman stories of a son of a god, killed and resurrected”.

    In post 7, I address the son / daughter of the main god, and the killed and resurrected part. Admittingly, I didn’t address the “monotheist” part.

    In post 8, you complain that I failed to address the monotheist part. Acceptable.

    In posts 9 and 10, I address the monotheist part.

    In post 12 is the first occurrence where you qualify the claim with “only son”, as in “no siblings or daughters”. This is the first occurrence in this thread of the term “only son”. I consider that to be moving the goalposts. Perhaps accidental. Again, no disrespect intended.

    However, I am quickly becoming unimpressed by you and your behavior.

    And again:

    The idea of the only son of the only God was not new?

    That is correct. Except possibly for the irrelevant modifier “only” on “only son”, this religious phenomenon was not new. Several personal savoir religions match this definition which also predate or are contemporary with Christianity.

  18. EnlightenmentLiberal says


    And evidently that is “empty semantics”.

    This is not a fair nor accurate description of what I said. I did not state that your entire claim is empty semantics. In context, my use of the words “empty semantics” was very narrowly addressed towards the argument that Christianity is monotheistic, but the several other personal savior religions are monotheistic. Specifically, I believe I made it quite clear that I was saying that the difference between “one god, plus angels and demons” vs “one main god, and a bunch of lesser subordinate gods” is empty semantics.

  19. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    > […] the argument that Christianity is monotheistic, but the several other personal savior religions are polytheistic […]

    Obvious typo is obvious.

  20. Chikoppi says

    These were two questions asked during tonight’s democratic primary debate:

    “Senator Sanders, do you believe that God is relevant, why or why not?”

    “Secretary Clinton…to whom and for whom do you pray?”

    Secular groups should coordinate an immediate response and hold media groups accountable for this. There should be no religious test for office. Candidates should not be asked their personal positions on religion. This line of questioning only introduces bigotry based on religious affiliation. I find it appalling and unacceptable that the candidates were subjected to these questions during a moderated debate.

  21. Philllip Moore says

    EL. I love how you say, “I mean no disrespect, but your position is empty semantics.” Then “Again, no disrespect intended.
    However, I am quickly becoming unimpressed by you and your behavior.” –neither of which I have demonstrated my capability of.
    I find it amazing how you can take a simple statement of opinion and develop ceaseless rhetoric:
    Post 3. right
    7. correct you didn’t.
    8. thanks
    9-10. not exactly
    12. view point of former Christians
    No disrespect intended, but If you will pardon me, I find other posts more interesting. Especially more interesting than mine.

  22. Athywren - not the moon you're looking for says

    The chat last night was a source of some amusingly painful irony. In amongst the comments laughing at Bernard’s pitiful grasp of evolution was a fair bit of the “hurr durr #triggered” gibberish. Oh, and apparently the Atheist Experience is definitely a part of atheism+. I can’t decide if it’s funny or sad that people can laugh at creationist cluelessness at the exact same time as engaging in the exact same kind of behaviours.

  23. Athywren - not the moon you're looking for says

    Sorry, “Atheist Experience is definitely a part of atheism+” should probably have been “Atheist Experience is definitely a part of atheism+ and a traitor!”
    Never pass up the chance for a tenuous Star Wars quote. Never!

  24. Monocle Smile says

    I see a fair amount of people online admonishing against anything other than dictionary atheism because it “creates divides” in the atheist community.
    Personally, there are a few large chunks of people who identify as atheists that I would happily divide myself from. Butthurt privilege-blind yuppie bros like the ones you describe are one such chunk.

  25. Anthony Garis says

    I really enjoyed Matt explaining how Evolution works. He says it in a way that I can understand it. The part about how we are all transitional from our parents to any offspring we might have. Indeed, we can clearly see that we’re similar in some ways to our parents and different in some ways.
    I think it says a lot about the caller that he didn’t want to listen to what Matt was saying. He didn’t want to learn; he just wanted to lecture.
    I felt very sad for the girl who called. I feel sad that she is afraid of hell.

  26. Yaddith says

    I do not consider Christianity to be a monotheistic religion, but rather a polytheistic response to monotheistic Judaism. Religion is paradoxical in that people want to worship a god they can relate to, but one that exists on a much higher plane than themselves. Eventually they idealize their deity to the point of perfection and can no longer personally relate to it. At that point they create a more human god to mediate between the perfect god and themselves. (How many Christians really only pray to Jesus and not directly to God?) Eventually Jesus himself became too idealized for some people to relate to, and that is when the saints came marching in.

  27. vince says


    You say the questions asked about their religious beliefs are religious tests for office. I don’t think just asking about this subject will disqualify them for office no matter what they say. Wouldn’t you as an atheist (I assume) want to know the crazy things someone believes before you potentially vote for them?

  28. mrmoose says

    For Jevon – consider some of the Street Epistemology techniques created by Peter Boghossian and applied with great success by Anthony Magnabosco. It is the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu of logical questioning and analysis applied to supernatural beliefs.

  29. says

    I always hear that question from theist that go what will you consider evidence of God. I’ve been thinking about it lately and next time somebody asks me that question I will say “I have a password that I have never used anywhere it is only to allow god access if can talk to him ask him to give it to you and then you give it to me. Only if password is correct will I continue this conversation if not the conversation is over and you only get one try”. I’ll try it out and see how that goes.

  30. Chikoppi says


    It not a question of “disqualifying” a candidate. It’s a question of religious discrimination. If candidates are expected to profess their religious beliefs then atheists will be effectively barred (de facto) from serving in elected office throughout much of the country. It means Christians, and only Christians, will be elected President or affirmed to the Supreme Court as the religious majority will is asserted.

    Via Wikipedia, re: establishment clause: “The ban on religious tests contained in this clause protects only federal office holders and employees. It does not apply to the states, many of which imposed religious tests at the time of the nation’s founding. State tests limited public offices to Christians or, in some states, only to Protestants. The national government, on the other hand, could not impose any religious test whatsoever. National offices would be open to everyone. No federal official has ever been subjected to a formal religious test for holding office.”

  31. ironchops says

    @ Philip Moore – I am probably wrong but isn’t Zoroastrianism a monotheistic religion with a similar idea of a self-sacrificing god? If not Zoroastrianism then maybe it was in ancient Jewish astrology that observes the 3-1/2 shortest days around the winter solstice as God going to hell and then rising (as the days getting longer) as a form of salvation. Anyway, I don’t think that idea wasn’t all that new.

  32. ironchops says

    I agree with Matt in that the atheist/secular community needs to form more community groups that will provide the support and social experiences that churches provide. A place that is accepting of all differences. There is so much potential in a unified effort. I have tried a couple meet-ups in my area. One was a joke and the other fell apart because of infighting amongst themselves and reminded me of how churches split over petty things like the color of the carpet in the new sanctuary. Anyway if we (non-believers) could somehow unify on the basics and come together to do what religions/churches do but better, I think we would see a quicker coming to reason. After all we can get rid of tremendous baggage and accomplish many great humanitarian objectives.

  33. adamah says

    @MS (#13), that’s why I like using the language analogy, where the ability to comprehend another’s English is analogous to the ability to produce offspring. And much like speciation events, it’s not a binary (‘all or none’) event, since you might pick out a few words here or there to figure out why they were saying.

    In evolution, individual members who have undergone speciation (or ultimately might be on their way to undergoing speciation) MAY be able to produce living offspring, but the hybrids are infertile (eg horses mating with donkeys producing infertile mules: the problem is horses and donkeys have a different # of chromosomes).

    That obviously means they’re less able to survive and reproduce ‘in the wild’ without reliance on ‘artificial selection’ (i.e. humans who create hybrids for a specific purpose).

    In the language example, you may be able to pick out a few words here and there, but it’s generally not going to be an effective method of communicating (at least, when compared to talking to someone where such dialect issues don’t exist).

    As Matt and John said, there is no micro/macro distinction, as small changes over LONG periods of time can accumulate, leading to BOTH new languages and species.

    So admitting that small changes (‘micro’) can occur is actually admitting to a belief in macro, since the only distinction between the two is length of time.

    Of course, one of the down-falls of using analogies and examples is they require the person to possess the ability for analogous thinking, applying a concept from one area to another. That’s often an unwarranted assumption.

  34. adamah says

    PS although both are considered as members of the same ‘canine’ species, Chihuahuas and Great Danes are effectively kept from interbreeding (if only due to the size differences of their genitalia, not to mention difficulties in mounting! Ouch!!).

    Therefore, they well may be on their way to becoming different species, since they’re effectively reproductively isolated from the other group.

  35. vince says


    If candidates are expected to profess their religious beliefs then atheists will be effectively barred (de facto) from serving in elected office throughout much of the country. It means Christians, and only Christians, will be elected President or affirmed to the Supreme Court as the religious majority will is asserted.

    I am opposed to any religious test; however, I don’t see just knowing what their religious affiliation is will bar anyone from office. Didn’t we already know the candidates religious beliefs before they were asked? Do you think candidates need to be barred from freely expressing their religious beliefs so no one knows? People can decide who to vote for for any reason including religious beliefs, there just cannot be a religious requirement to hold the office.

  36. Chikoppi says


    No, I don’t think candidates should be barred from voluntarily discussing their religious beliefs. I do believe it should not be a topic broached by the moderator in a public debate. I don’t think candidates should be forced into a position that requires a response to the “religious or not” question.

    In a majority Christian society, if a candidate is forced to say “I’m an atheist” or even “I won’t talk about my personal beliefs” it establishes a de facto test in which overtly (evangelical) Christian candidates have an advantage. This leads to a government stacked with people who won elections, at least in part, because they passed a religious purity test. If we want a secular government, one not dominated by representatives concerned with enacting the will of the religious majority, then questions of religious affiliation should not be promoted by the very organizations responsible for ensuring a fair election process.

  37. vince says


    I guess I don’t see the difference in an election where we can ask religious affiliation and one that we cannot. I have never seen a candidate where I didn’t know their stance on this issue. They usually talk about it themselves. But I am ok with not asking.

  38. kudlak says

    Bernard’s argument would basically be like chucking a jagged rock into a river and claiming that erosion isn’t real because it doesn’t smooth out before your very eyes.

  39. rangerman9404 says

    The audio cut out for me in the last 5 minutes or so of episode 2009, anyone else have this issue? This might have been God’s way of saving me from face-palming myself into oblivion as that last caller had NO CONCEPT WHATSOEVER of how evolution works, or science for that matter

  40. says

    @Kudlak, comment 40:

    It’s actually worse than that, because at least erosion actually does smooth out rocks, whereas evolution has never described anything near what Bernard was saying it does. It’d be like throwing a jagged rock into a river and asserting erosion isn’t real because the rock didn’t freeze the river solid, or grow wings and fly away.

  41. Kudluk says

    I was addressing just the part of his argument where he demanded that there’s a difference between micro and macro evolution. But, you’re right. His argument then turned from just ignorant to really bazaar.

  42. Kudluk says

    Ironchops #32
    Persephone of Greek myth, representing crop growing, descended into Hades for half a year with her husband Hades. That would also be similar, eh?

  43. shadowblade says

    Oh No! What happened to the sound in the last 5 minutes? Totally silent!

    I appreciate that you guys have spent a lot of time and money getting the system up and running, and often the callers on the ‘phone sound better than the guys in the studio. But I wish you could make a separate audio recording and then sync with the video, or even just make the audio separately available. This is the second time recently that Matt was making a really good point and the sound just disappeared. The last time he was talking about John’s gospel.


  44. says

    I would have liked to know from Bernard whether he thinks it’s possible to know anything about Earth’s history, that was observed. If so, how do we go about doing it?

    Normally, it’d be an iterative process of hypothesis testing, so that a theory about a topic can be resolved to better match reality, increasing our confidence in that model until it’s a virtual certainty.

    If he doesn’t accept that process, and doesn’t think it can “work”, talking about Evolution seems pointless. It probably would have been difficult with this particular caller, as he wasn’t at all interested in actually discussing it. He already knew the answers, and the call was all about trying to score points on the hosts.

  45. kudlak says

    Perhaps he could relate to crime better? Does he believe that anyone can be convicted of a crime without eyewitness testimony? This is directly analogous to scientists using evidence other than direct observation to conclude the truth of evolution.

  46. kudlak says

    Ryan Martin #42
    Yup, that’s what his argument degraded down to, but I was trying to just address his insistence that the only valid evolution is what you can be an eyewitness to. Somebody needs to remind him that scientists often “observe” evidence which indicates that something occurred in the past, possibly unobserved at the time it happened. I wonder if he discounts crime scene investigation as well?

  47. Curt Cameron says

    Jeffh123 wrote:

    The man needs to go to school. He would take a course by Kurt Cameron, though.

    HEY! Careful there!

    That’s guy’s name is KIRK Cameron, no relation.

  48. Kenny De Metter says

    What was the name of the ancient ‘fish’ mentioned in the episode ? Something like ‘petolic’ , but I couldn’t find it.
    Sisters of ‘petolic’ sounds like a great band name

  49. Agimaso says

    There reaches a point in some discussions/debates/arguments where my take forks/diverges from the parallel evidence/thoughts/falsehoods presented. At the point Bernard was trying to show if titaalik had some decedents, I would have asked if he thought titaalik had parents. And if the answer from Bernard was yes, then the next question, “And did those parents have parents?”. Have not got a chance to try that tactic yet. Anyway, if Bernard can admit to parents going backwards, then evolution actually acts through populations, so going forward, some of titaalik’s relatives had babies and some of those grew up to have babies, and so forth.
    Bernard’s answer may have been that titaalik was spontaneously created out of nothing as the biblical creation story suggests, but the original challenge to that story was that all the creatures living ‘today’ (today being more then 260 years ago) were created in one day some many thousand years before. It was in noticing that there were some creatures that existed once but were no longer alive that was one of the provocations that led to trying to explain the diversity of living organisms in another way.

  50. ironchops says

    @46-Kudlak: Yea I suppose. Then there is the Egyptian pharaoh Akhenaten (aka Amenhotep IV ) that tried a monotheistic or henotheistic religion when he elevated the sun god Aten to be above all other gods. Either way it is not such a new concept for the time to stand out in my opinion.
    @61-Agimaso: I don’t believe the bible states that the god character created anything from nothing any more than I believe the creationist when they supposedly debunk the big bang with the something from nothing BS argument. I find it interesting that during the Cambrian explosion most of the major animal forms we know today evolved rather quickly compared to any other time in earths history. It could seem that after that all we see now is variation on the same basic frame.

  51. specialffrog says

    I’m pretty sure I have encountered Bernard on a discussion board. If it is the same guy, he has had ample opportunity to correct his misunderstandings but has no interest in doing so. He’s just interested in having an audience for his misinformation.

  52. corwyn says


    I find it interesting that during the Cambrian explosion most of the major animal forms we know today evolved rather quickly compared to any other time in earths history. It could seem that after that all we see now is variation on the same basic frame.

    Sure, as long as you are willing to admit you are one of these…
    …and that 56 Million years is quickly.

  53. adamah says

    Yeah, Bernard sounds like a protege of Ray Comfort, the type of believer infamous for their proudly-uneducated positions, all fully-justified in their minds by calling it a demonstration of their “faith”.

    Ray even proudly admits to being fully-committed to Jesus’ topsy-turvy paradoxical logic (up is down, the least is the most, he who is first is last, etc) in the forward of his book, “Scientific Facts in the Bible”:

    Here’s a very-telling excerpt from the short foreward:

    Ray C sez:

    Many years ago, I ran a children’s club. At the end of the club I told about one hundred kids to line up for some candy. There was an immediate rush, and the line sorted itself into what I saw as being a line of greed. The bigger, selfish kids were at the front, and the small and timid ones were at the back. I then did something that gave me great satisfaction. I told the kids to turn about face. Everyone did. Then I told them to stay where they were, and I took great delight in going to the other end of the line and giving the candy to the smaller, timid kids first.

    In a world where the rich get richer, and the poor get stomped on, we are informed that God has gone to the other end of the line with the message of everlasting life (I know that you may not believe in the existence of God, but please bear with me). Here is what we are told:

    “For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness… For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent . . . But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God has chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; and base things of the world, and things which are despised, has God chosen, yes, and things which are not, to bring to nothing things that are: That no flesh should glory in his presence.”

    (1 Corinthians 1:18,19,27–29).

    How has God gone to the other end of the line? Simply by choosing that which is foolish, weak, base, and despised. Let me illustrate what He has done.

    Do you believe that the following biblical accounts actually happened?

    ● Adam and Eve

    ● Noah’s ark

    ● Jonah and the whale

    ● Joshua and the walls of Jericho

    ● Samson and his long hair

    ● Daniel and the lion’s den

    ● Moses and the Red Sea

    If you’re an atheist, of course you don’t. To you, believing such fantastic stories would mean that you would have to surrender your intellectual dignity. Who in their right mind would ever do that? The answer is simply those who understand that God has chosen foolish, weak, base, and despised things of the world to confound those who think they are wise.

    Jesus’ words (and hence Xianity itself) relies on MASSIVE “appeals to the paradoxical”, a rhetorical approach which apparently passes for mind-blowing wisdom in some circles.

    In modern times, most critical thinkers recognize an “appeal to the paradoxical” when they see one, understanding it’s a fallacious form of reasoning: in fact, it’s just plain silly and childish.

  54. ironchops says

    @64: If, as the sciences say, life has been on the earth for 3.5 billion years then or more then 56,000,000/3,500,000,000=.016 is relatively short. Shorter still is the evidence so far, according to the Smithsonian at most human (homo) species evolved in the last 500,000 years, excluding homo erectus of course. I can agree that I am one of those animals you pictured in the link as long as it can be shown it is a common ancestor and not a relative that branched off (diverged). I am not related to all fish but I am related to at least 1 fish species. I suppose I can also admit that I am a cyanobacteria as well, if it can be determined to be a common ancestor. To go as far as I can with this I suppose I can admit to being a self replicating strand of DNA/RNA or whatever the sciences say was in the salt on a space rock since that may be where we all come from.

  55. galaky says

    I thought that John had made some deep contributions to a few of these calls. The one that immediately jumps out to me is the call from Sarah who was trying to resolve her doubts: “I just want to acknowledge that your fear in doubt is real.” That was moving, because some of us have felt that moment when our doubts have had a real effect on our sense of self. Thank you for bringing that to the front for all of us to see and understand.

  56. Athywren - not the moon you're looking for says

    @Ironchops, 66

    If, as the sciences say, life has been on the earth for 3.5 billion years then or more then 56,000,000/3,500,000,000=.016 is relatively short. Shorter still is the evidence so far, according to the Smithsonian at most human (homo) species evolved in the last 500,000 years, excluding homo erectus of course.

    It’s quite early in the morning for me, so forgive me if that actually does make sense and I’ve just missed it… comparing the evolution of animals with hard parts the fossilise well to the era when smaller groups within a species became distinct from one another and speciated isn’t really a useful thing. It would be like comparing the time it took human species to evolve with the time it took for you and your cousin to be born… there is a similarity there, sure, but focussing on one doesn’t actually give you a great deal of information about the other.

  57. corwyn says


    You are using ‘related’ in two different senses in you post.
    1) “…not a relative that branched off…”
    2)”…not related to all fish…”
    Either you are related to you cousins or not. (and thus by analogy your cousin species (or not)).
    If you are related to your cousins, you are related to ALL fish (they all came from that Metaspriggina or something like it).

    The Cambrian explosion sounds remarkable (which it really is) in part because 1) it is the start of differentiated multicellular life. None of the forms could possibly come any sooner. 2) Linnaean taxonomy is time based, large branches MUST start earlier, so all large branches are going to be old. How exactly could a new major branch form now? Why aren’t mammals a major branch? Because we were already Cordates.

    The really remarkable thing that happened in the Cambrian explosion is that the genetic code got the analog of subroutines in computer code. There was a way to say, ‘make me an eye’, that worked in any organism. “In another experiment, human eye genes were introduced onto a fly’s body. It, too, produced a functioning eye! No, not a human eye, but a fly eye.” — Greg Dressler, PhD, Professor of Pathology Research, University of Michigan

  58. ironchops says

    @69-I agree. I like the chart in post 59, thanks Cousin Ricky, that demonstrates that very point. I just find that intriguing. At what point will we have 2 different outcomes?
    @70-Caught that did you. I saw that just as I hit the post button and was hoping you wouldn’t key in on that. Good catch! I know I am related (extended family) to all fish but only one species is my common ancestor (immediate family) to me and all of the rest of the fish. In this same way I know I am related to you (much to your chagrin) but we only share one common ancestor, assuming I have this figured out correctly.

  59. corwyn says

    No chagrin; I *know* that I am related to every living thing.
    We (you and I) have lots of common ancestors, all ancestors of our most recent common ancestor, for example. But there might be other common ancestors in our respective lineages. We might be related through your father, and your mother, in different ways.

  60. Kudlak says

    #62 Ironchops
    What may have happened is that people like biblical David (or some other king) and Akhenaten both lived in polytheistic societies, but came to regard their favourite particular god as the one deserving of ALL the credit for their perceived success, and then actively moved against their people worshipping any other deity in fear of angering their benefactor.

  61. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @Kudlak #73 and Ironchops #62:
    Akhenaten became increasingly ambitious during his reign, starting the zeal 5 years in. Building lots of temples. Eventually forbidding other gods’ worship and banning their idols. He declared himself the son and only intermediary. Besides Nefertiti, everyone else was to worship him.
    I’ve seen a more cynical ‘power grab’ interpretation. Priests of the Egyptian pantheon would not have been pleased with the, erm, reallocation of wealth. After the 17 year rule ended with his death, theology returned to normal, and he was branded a heretic and omitted from king lists.

  62. adamah says

    Yeah, same thing happened on today’s show.

    The audio guy probably was aware Martin’s mic was malfunctioning (i.e. not plugged in, etc), for it sounded like they were heavily boosting the gain on Matt’s mic to pick up what Martin was saying….

  63. kudlak says

    Sky Captain,
    Ah, but the Egyptian kingdom and the various priesthoods already pre-existed in ancient Egypt and were therefore in a position to declare what was heretical, or not where the Jewish example I proposed would have still been under construction. Whichever figure was in charge either elevated one of the many gods believes by the tribal people as the sole one deserving of worship, or the prophet who anointed him king led this movement. A new orothodox was being created, with the force of new kingship to enforce it. It all may be that YHWH was the favoured tribal God of that first real king, and elevating that god was that kind’s way of elevating himself, which may also have been the case in Egypt, yes?

  64. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @kudlak #78:

    Whichever figure was in charge either elevated one of the many gods believed by the tribal people as the sole one deserving of worship, or the prophet who anointed him king led this movement. […] It all may be that […] elevating that god was [a] way of elevating himself

    A lot of scripture was written/edited to provide political authority. I’m fuzzy on what the kings were doing, but priests certainly inflated their own importance as time went on. Fun quotes ahead…
    Article: Wikipedia – Deuteronomist

    Seen by most scholars more as a school or movement than a single author […]
    It is generally agreed that the Deuteronomistic history originated independently of the books of Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus and Numbers (the first four books of the Torah, sometimes called the “Tetrateuch”, whose sources are the Priestly source, the Jahwist and the Elohist) […]; most scholars trace all or most of it to the Babylonian exile (6th century BCE), and associate it with editorial reworking


    Following the destruction of Israel (the northern kingdom) by Assyria in 721 BCE, refugees came south to Judah, bringing with them traditions, notably the concept of Yahweh as the only god who should be served, which had not previously been known.

    Judah at this time was a vassal of Assyria, but Assyria now began a rapid and unexpected decline in power, leading to a resurgence of nationalism in Jerusalem. In 622 BCE Josiah launched his reform program, based on an early form of Deuteronomy 5–26, framed as a covenant (treaty) between Judah and Yahweh in which Yahweh replaced the Assyrian king.

    Article: Wikipedia – Josiah

    Josiah ordered the High Priest Hilkiah to use the tax money which had been collected over the years to renovate the temple. It was during this time that Hilkiah [*cough*] discovered the Book of the Law.
    Hilkiah brought this scroll to Josiah’s attention, and the king was [*cough*] greatly alarmed lest the calamities threatened in the book for non-observance of its commands should come upon him and his people. […] The king then set himself to the task of cleansing the land from idolatry. Josiah encouraged the exclusive worship of Yahweh and outlawed all other forms of worship.

    Article: Wikipedia – Priestly source

    Religion in monarchic Judah centred around ritual sacrifice in the Temple. There, worship was in the hands of priests known as Zadokites […] There was also a lower order of religious officials called Levites, who were not permitted to perform sacrifices and were restricted to menial functions.

    In 587 the Babylonians conquered Jerusalem and took most of the Zadokite priesthood into exile, leaving behind the Levites, who were too poor and marginalised to represent a threat to their interests.

    When the Zadokite priests returned from exile after c.538 and began re-establishing the temple in Jerusalem they […] found themselves in conflict with the Levites, who objected to their subordinate position. The priests also won this battle, writing into the Priestly document stories such as the rebellion of Korah, which paints the challenge to priestly prerogative as unholy and unforgivable.


  65. Kudlak says

    Sky Captain,
    Yes, all very interesting. We seem to have priests and kings locked in a symbiotic relationship, both contributing to their mutual desire to rise in power, and developing YHWH into an all-powerful god as a means of doing so. Yet, we have to remember that we only have one interpretation of this process: the priestly one. There are no secular records from the kings, so we don’t have any interpretation of the events except for that of the priests, and they generally portray the kings as weak, incompetent, sinful, failures. It would be like only having a record of American politics from the viewpoint of Evangelical leaders.

  66. ironchops says

    @79 & 80
    Isn’t odd how closely the Roman Catholic leadership parallels that of the Hebrew/Jewish leadership in that particular area. The Jesus character taught that the priests were not needed to have a relationship/conversation with YHWH and he was killed for it (supposedly). When the protestant reformation came along the Roman Catholic leadership killed anyone that tried to diminish their power/money. In both case the kings/emperors went along with it because the religion helped to subjugate the people. In fact, through religion, people subjugate themselves out of fear of the god character.

  67. K.lee says

    Hello. I have a huge question and just found myself stuck on a wall. What arguments do we have for J. Warner Wallace. I have just found out about his Cold Case Christianity. A jesus believer just pointed this out tome. I have listened to the man and heard his side, still not quiete finished with his book. I seem to hit a wall to defend my points against his case and the person debating me wants me to show any well known prepared historian or atheist debunking his case.

    Has anyone ever seen or heard a debate against this man or at least an article that can point out his mistakes?!!!

    Thank you…

  68. Monocle Smile says

    This dude appears to be a homicide detective. This makes me suspicious for a very big reason…he seems to assume that all the “evidence” he “collected” is exactly what it says on the tin. That mostly works when examining a crime scene or using forensic science, but it certainly doesn’t work on old documents of largely unknown origin.
    Here’s a lengthy Amazon review that goes into a bit of detail:

  69. Philllip Moore says

    Monocle Smile says, I agree.
    Wallace appears to have some very good arguments, but based on double hearsay and no witnesses. I’m looking forward to other more detailed replies to Wallace. I’ll note that making a huge pile of arguments is still a hill of beans. They appear as overwhelming evidence, but addressed one point at a time just makes a very long argument, like the Amanda Knox trial.

  70. JMarra says

    I’m sure your sound guy isn’t really a fundie Christian trying to play a “God’s messin’ with your transmission, repent now!” on you and the problems are all just technical. But haven’t you had at least one fundy call in and say, “Yore tecky-nickle problems is ’cause God’s steppin’ in! A-yup!”?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *