Open thread for episode 22.50: Tracie and John

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  1. Chad T Kassem says

    Just wanted to thank you guys for taking my call. I appreciate what you do and your dedication to it. Also, sorry for all the f-bombs. I had a bit to drink because I was nervous…and then I was nervous AF. 🙂

  2. uglygeek says

    About Konnor’s call, that mentioned the alleged ‘Miracle of Lanciano’… I am Italian, I grew up in Italy, I also went to Catholic school as a kid, and nobody ever mentioned this miracle to me. It’s one of the hundreds of alleged facts that happened in the Middle Ages and that not even Catholic Church cares about anymore. It’s just inevitable in a country with a rich Christian history and 64000 ancient churches to have a bunch of similar legends.
    Unfortunately there are other alleged miracles that are still popular in Italy, for example the annual liquefaction of Saint Januarius blood, which people in Naples still celebrate. But Lanciano’s miracle is really forgotten, I wonder where this guy from Kansas heard of it.

  3. Lamont Cranston says

    With regard to the Eucharistic Miracle at Lanciano, at least some actual people and actual documentation exists. Unfortunately it is in Italian and I have not figured out how to directly access it.

    Dr. Edoardo Linoli exists (the person who analyzed the samples). He actually did publish in Mar. 1971 in an Italian medical journal . While I can’t seem to access the original Italian document, the following may have been extracted from it

    Of course none of this can verify that anything that was analyzed was indeed from the 8th century. There was no independent analysis.

    Lamont Cranston

  4. Wiggle Puppy says

    I get what Tracie was trying to do with the transcendental argument – “okay, you need to demonstrate that a god exists before you can assert it as the foundation of the laws of logic” – but there’s another problem with the transcendental argument at a much more fundamental level, which is that it relies on Platonic idealism. Basically, proponents (like country preacher Tom) are trying to claim that the laws of logic and numbers “exist” in some transcendent way, but the problem is that they simply don’t. If there were no minds in the universe, then a planet would still be a planet and a tree would still be a tree; there just wouldn’t be any mind to recognize the abstract idea that “everything is the same as itself and is not something that is not itself” or simply “a=a.'” With numbers, there’s no such thing as some abstract “number three.” Saying that “there are three rocks” is just a convenient shorthand for saying “there is a rock and another rock and another rock.” If we removed all minds from the universe, then there would be no one to recognize that that equals “three rocks,” but there would still be a rock and a rock and a rock.

    Proponents of the transcendental argument are basically implying that,without some supernatural, transcendent mind to guarantee that everything is the same as itself, then it would be possible for things to be both “themselves” and “not themselves” at the same time, which is absurd.

    As Tracie correctly pointed out, this is a way to baffle the already convinced with stuff that seems so elegant and complicated that gee, there must be a god, because this sounds so smart! I would prefer to hear why people ACTUALLY believe, rather than trash like the transcendental argument and the modal ontological argument.

  5. Paul Stevens says

    For Chad – plan the conversation as follows
    1. start with the end in mind – how do you want them to think and feel at the end of the conversation
    2. what can go wrong in the conversation – brainstorm all the likely disruptors and responses and how you can show empathy with them and seek their empathy with you. This helps you keep the conversation headed towards 1 above. What emotional actions are they going to use to disrupt the conversation: tears, anger, shouting. Prepare yourself for it, stay clam, and keep the conversation on track.
    3. How will you start the conversation using 1 as your framing of the dialogue
    4. Where will you have the conversation? Should it be in private or in a public place where they may behave more reasonably etc
    In my opinion, given what you expressed, you should be honest and allow them the opportunity to hear how you feel and if they can’t accept keep offering them an open dialogue and doorway as part of your life.

  6. uglygeek says

    @Lamont Cranston,
    I found and read the original paper in Italian, written by Dr Linoli. It is a very serious paper (written by a serious scientist, eminent histologist) and the findings are just that that piece of mummified meat comes almost certainly from a human body and the traces of blood are of human blood. No attempts were made to date the samples, but it’s fair to assume that the material had been preserved in a church for centuries so it really comes from the 7th century. In the end the only surprising finding is that the meat was well preserved and still contained proteins. Which is not strange, always according to the paper, because proteins have been found even in bodies mummified by the Egyptians 4000 years ago; and the only peculiar thing is that that meat apparently had not been subjected to mummification processes.

  7. says


    the findings are just that that piece of mummified meat comes almost certainly from a human body and the traces of blood are of human blood.

    so, once confirmed, then next step is to prove that the meat used to be a cracker.

  8. says

    tracie, to salvador @36:15:

    i notice that when you talked about miracles, you said that it’s hard to know whether they’re a miracle or a coincidence. so what i’m noticing here is that basically your definition of miracle then would include things that can naturally occur.

    most “miracle” promoters don’t realize that, as commonly defined, miracle claims are dead ab initio, as i remarked only a few weeks ago:

    those equating miracle claims with rare but not impossible events must explain how they distinguish so-called miracles from unlikely but otherwise statistically predictable events. without a reliable method of separating the two, miraculous “explanations” can never reasonably supplant naturalistic explanations …

    unless we’re talking about a hitherto impossible event, a violation of known natural laws, most miracle claims aren’t really worth talking about, except as another example of a bad apologetic.

  9. Ronald Kyle says

    @Octavia (1st Caller),

    If you do not believe in a god, and even less in Judaism’s sky slave monger and fraudulent real-estate scammer, then END OF STORY… Zionism is a lie and a distortion of reality.

    But then even some atheists say that “the Jewish People” deserve a land.

    So the questions then become (1) WHY… (2) What is a “Jewish People”

    1🔷 Why, is answered in all sorts of rationalizations that no one with a rational mind that has not been affected by inculcation and DECADES of PROPAGANDA would ever accept as sane let alone justifiable.

    For example using the Holocaust as an excuse… the argument is that because minority German citizens (and Polish) who followed a certain god delusion and who were persecuted by the majority followers of an offshoot delusion of the same god and who got killed by the millions, that justifies that the remnants of those poor people then should go to an entirely different place and IN TURN persecute and kill the inhabitants of those remote foreign lands to establish a place for themselves where they cannot be persecuted.

    By this utter illogic, one can postulate that LGBT people should be given a piece of say the USA and they can kill any USA citizens who do not wish to have their lands given to the LGBT people. And this way LGBT people can establish their own homeland where they can be free to realize their desires to marry with wedding cakes and so on and so forth.

    LGBT people have been persecuted and massacred FAR LONGER than any people with any god delusions of any sort.

    Moreover…imagine the reaction of sane people if the USA put all its veto powers and cajoling influence to make the United Nations ratify a resolution that decrees that the world should go by the fairy tales of the Bible and give the LGBT people their original lands of Sodom and Gomorrah from which they were cruelly expelled long ago.

    2🔷 What is “the Jewish People”…. yet again another INSANITY that only the utterly god deluded would even begin to believe is something that is possible. No one with knowledge of biology, sociology, anthropology, economics, linguistics, history, or any science in general can even begin to think that there is such a thing as a DISTINCT People who emanated out of a mythical (or real) Sumerian ILLEGAL IMMIGRANT within 550 years of him migrating from Sumer to Canaan at the age of 75.

    ⬛ Genesis 12:1-10 Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee ….. Abram was seventy and five years old when he departed out of Haran…. And the Canaanite was then in the land…. And there was a famine in the land: and Abram went down into Egypt to sojourn there; for the famine was grievous in the land.

    Moreover, even the bible itself belies and proves that there is no such thing as a “Jewish people”….

    I repeat that again…

    EVEN THE BIBLE BELIES the delusion based notions that there is a distinct race of humans who rose out of the loins of a Sumerian and his half-sister wife within 550 years of this incestual couple at the age of 75 becoming illegal immigrants in the land of the Canaanites.

    So EVEN IF one believes in the fairy tales, Zionism is demonstrated by the very bible itself to be a total hoax and a lie.

    ⬛ Judges 3:1-6 Now these are the nations which the LORD left, to prove Israel by them, even as many of Israel as had not known all the wars of Canaan … Namely, five lords of the Philistines, and all the Canaanites, and the Sidonians, and the Hivites that dwelt in mount Lebanon, from mount Baalhermon unto the entering in of Hamath. And the children of Israel dwelt among the Canaanites, Hittites, and Amorites, and Perizzites, and Hivites, and Jebusites and they took their daughters to be their wives, and gave their daughters to their sons, and served their gods

    ⬛ Judges 2:14 And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD, and served Baalim: And they forsook the LORD God of their fathers, which brought them out of the land of Egypt, and followed other gods, of the gods of the people that were round about them, and bowed themselves unto them, and provoked the LORD to anger. And they forsook the LORD, and served Baal and Ashtaroth

    ⬛ Ezra 9:1-2 ….the princes came to me, saying, The people of Israel, and the priests, and the Levites, have not separated themselves from the ****people of the lands****, doing according to their abominations, even of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Jebusites, the Ammonites, the Moabites, the Egyptians, and the Amorites. For they have taken of their daughters for themselves, and for their sons: so that the holy seed have mingled themselves with the ****people of those lands****: yea, the hand of the princes and rulers hath been chief in this trespass.

  10. Ronald Kyle says

    @Octavia (1st Caller),
    In regards to god-deluded people calling the debunking of Zionism an anti-Semitism… this is a wily RUSE designed to poison the well and to waft about a red herring to stink out any rationality in order to obfuscate from the facts that belie the hoax.

    Zionism is itself an anti-Semitism ….yes… Zionism is the ultimate in anti-Semitism which Hitler would have thought was just the proof he needed to expel all the Jews out of Europe.

    There is nothing more anti-Semitic than to say that Jews are a distinct race that is not European or of any other region in which they were born and bred and lived for hundreds of generations.

    Zionism does nothing but RATIFY anti-Semitism by telling the lie that Jews are a distinct race that does not belong anywhere they were born but rather they need to skedaddle to a mythical fraudulent real estate deal a nonexistent sky slave trading ethnic cleansing racist struck with a MYTHICAL Sumerian illegal immigrant.

    Moreover, the word Semite is a mythical claptrap that emanates out of the fairy tales of the bible in which we are told that the whole world are descendants of three children of a Sumerian drunkard who survived after an impossible mythical global flood.

    Assyrians, Babylonians, Akkadians, Canaanites, Arabs, etc. etc. are Semites according to this vestigial classification carried over from the benighted eras of believing in fairy tales. And those people were interminably massacring and killing and persecuting and hating one another. So were they all anti-Semites???

    How about anti-Hemitism … according to the same fairy tales, the descendants of one of the children of Noah were cursed by Noah to be eternally SLAVES for the descendants of Shem… should we discuss how that insanity was used by the people deluded by the so called Abrahamic religions to justify SLAVERY for centuries???

  11. King Sway says

    Reality does require belief. Regardless of the mind. Things are as they are, as we observe them to be. These philosophical arguments are ludicrous, laughably ancient, and as Tracie said on the Dec 16th show, do nothing but divert the theistic claim with idiotic, dumbass bs. It’s maddening, which is to say, I’m consistently impressed with the all of the AXP’s host’s patience! But I’ll repeat. Reality has never, nor will ever require belief. Study up. Wake up. Drop the farce. Evolve your intellect. Be kind. Give back! 😉

  12. Robink says

    For the caller proposing God as the “inventor” of the laws of logic.. as he didn’t seem to understand that the question of where these laws come from is fundamentally incoherent (they are descriptive, not prescriptive) I would have gone with the strategy of pointing out that this is simply another argument from special pleading. Either laws of logic can exist without minds or they can’t. If they can, no God needed. If they can’t, the mind of God doesn’t solve the problem either.

  13. speedofsound says

    @Wiggle Puppy. Thanks you for that! You point out what is often just glossed over. There is a rock and a rock and a rock no matter who is in the forest to count them. Numbers and math require an organism with some semblance of a brain to interact with the three rocks and name them ‘3 rocks’. Volumes have been written on this, by very intelligent men who seem to have missed the god damned point entirely.

  14. says

    Just to be clear, the caller’s claim regarding the Eucharist miracle was not resting on the 8th C claim, but on the idea that modern testing revealed it to match biological material pulled from the Turin Shroud. While it would fall short of god claims, it would still be interesting if true. Like John, I was not aware of any biological material ever pulled from the Turin shroud, but am happy to review this paper to see if it does at least claim to have done that testing and those comparisons. Clearly simply identifying a piece of ancient flesh as human would be no more impressive than testing a bone fragment said to come from St. Peter, and finding it’s human bone. That would be useless.

    I did look at the PDF link. The bad news is that it’s photo copies of pages. I will check the rest of the links above, but if worse comes to worse, I’ll type up the conclusion of the paper manually and run it through a translator. My Italian isn’t good enough to translate a research paper, unfortunately.

    Regarding the “Laws of Logic” caller mentioned in a comment above. I agree that it’s mainly a ruse used as a shield to keep people from examining the believer’s real reasons for belief–which they must believe are easily debunked, or they wouldn’t be using a ruse to shield them. The only reason for a Christian to put forward an argument other than their own personal reasons for belief, is that they feel their real reason is far from compelling.

    For someone to assert “A mug is a mug, therefore god” as a more compelling reason to believe, than whatever has actually convinced them, is sad, if not pathetic.

  15. uglygeek says

    @heicart 17
    The paper in the last page summarises in English, all the findings. It makes no mention at all of the Turin Shroud.
    If you want I could translate it for you (as I said, Italian is my mother language).
    But yes, nothing particular compelling came out from this analysis: it’s just a very old piece of human heart very well conserved for its age.

  16. Ronald Kyle says

    The tragic reality for faith-heads who keep inventing and believing in claptrap like the shroud of Turin and then use that as “proof” for further poppycock like eucharist crackers transubstantiating into actual flesh and blood that is 1200 years old but yet fresh, is that EVEN IF we grant them for argument’s sake that their insanity is “true”….. what does it prove???

    All this kind of insanity proves EVEN IF it were true is that their sky deadbeat daddy is nothing but a charlatan and pathetic trickster. Why would a self-respecting sky daddy resort to all these vague esoteric TRICKS??

    Maybe their sky daddy is in fact an Alien trickster who is out there on his planet TAKING BETS on how many fools on this retarded planet will be duped by these tricks…. much like some humans seriously gamble on cockroach races and flea jump contests.

    Humanity is really pathetic!!!

  17. says


    YES PLEASE! I’m at work right now, and if you are able and willing to offer a summary translation of either the abstract or conclusion to provide what exactly the paper is able to attest to–that would be incredibly kind and useful. Thank you!

  18. says

    I actually like a call like the Eucharist call, because it has a lot of useful components.
    1. The caller in this case wanted to discuss a claim he heard of and found compelling.
    2. When questioned he was honest about what he’d heard and remembered.
    3. He was (as I believe Konnor above was the caller), willing to not get defensive, but to agree it is reasonable that this research should be recorded somewhere, and go find the paper and provide a link, which now allows us to all–including Konnor–examine the actual data source for this claim, against the online claims being made.

    What I like best here is that it provides a chance to walk folks through the process of how to assess a claim: A researcher has been named and a claim made. Surely someone doing what is being claimed would have recorded this academically–because the man is an academic and did this as research/verification. So, first, can I find this source at all? OK, there is the source. It’s in a foreign language. I’m fortunate to live in a time when we can translate online easily, if not perfectly. And I can figure out what the source says here and if it’s as robust as what I’m hearing online as the claims.

    When I was a Christian, part of what kept me there was that it simply didn’t occur to me to question or research this way. I was told these things to the point they were “common knowledge” among my religious peers, or they were put forward by apologists who made these very clever-sounding, intellectually grand, presentations that made it sound as though they were quite expert. So, I thought I was getting good information, which, if you believe that, really reduces the odds you’ll go fact check the information yourself. But these days–with the internet–it’s very simple to fact check. And I believe that after we get through this exercise, Konnor will have a better understanding–and others who watch the show as well–of the fact they CAN fact check these things if they just put a mind to it–and that it’s really not that difficult. I hope it encourages everyone to do so.

    Also, from a skeptic standpoint–we could have been on the line for hours just asking Konnor–but really the best thing to do is to say “Let’s go look at the source and see what we’re dealing with.” It saves so much time when you have that option, and is a lesson in how to cut to the chase.

  19. says

    Charles Duke was the youngest astronaut to walk on the moon. When he returned to Earth he became a Christian.

    Historian Ron L. Numbers mentions Duke applauding a creationist book about the moon, and Duke is recognized as a quiet rather than activist creationist.

    In his book Moon Walker pages 271-273:

    I have seen miracles of healing, miracles of deliverance as demons fled in the name of Jesus, and wonderful manifestations of the love and power of God, just like in the Bible.

    One such instance was at a military prayer breakfast in San Antonio, Over the years I have spoken for a number of prayer breakfasts–conventions, states, cities, and military. During this particular meeting held at Fort Sam Houston, there was opportunity for ministry following the program. A number of people came up for prayer; one was a young girl and her father.

    The father explained, “My daughter’s eyesight is failing. She has this disease and is declared legally blind. All she can make out are shadows and shades of light. The doctors say that within a month she will be totally blind.”

    General Ralph Haines, who had organized the breakfast, and I laid hands on this young girld and asked God to heal her eyes and restore her sight. After the prayer, they thanked us and left. Nothing seemed to have happened–no-miracles-so we continued to pray for other who were waiting in line.

    A few minutes later, this same girl came running throught the back door of the NCO Club, joyously happy! She was screaming at the top of her lungs, “I can See…I can see… I can see!” Everyone stopped what they were doing while she came running over to us to explain what had happened.


    several years later I saw her father, and he confirmed that her sight was still perfect.

    Now one could be skeptical for many reasons, but Duke isn’t professional preacher trying to get TV air time, he’s a national hero, a retired Air Force general, a successful business man, an MIT graduate, a Naval Academy graduate, etc. etc. He now ministers to the outcasts of society by visiting prisons. By investing time reaching out to the outcasts of society, he’s living his life as if he really was visited by the Lord.

    I met Charles Duke when he was speaking at Campus Crusade for Christ while I was an student. The account I just presented was from an autographed book by Duke. I still have a photo of me with him.

    I posted this account because I expect I’ll refer to it over and over. When I nearly left the Christian faith, this account of the healing haunted me. During that time of doubt, I thought to myself, “I don’t totally believe in Jesus anymore, but on the other hand don’t totally disbelieve in him either. I can’t run away from the possibility this girl was really healed.” To resolve the issue I determined to study Intelligent Design and Creation Science. If life was a miracle, the there is a Miracle Maker. Whether the healing was a coincidence or not, would be relatively moot if I found evidence the Creation account was true.

    What I didn’t say to Tracie, since it is a complex issue, “would you believe in something you couldn’t formally prove?” This is related to Godel’s Incompleteness Theorem and Pascal’s Wager, but I didn’t want to put it on the table yesterday.

    I appreciated Tracie and John’s interaction very much.

  20. favog says

    If all the minds in the universe vanished, the mug would still exist as is. No changes. Still what it is, whatever that is. But with all the minds gone, the label of “mug” would no longer exist.

    The “laws” of logic are pretty much just the techniques we use to make useful labels and then manipulate them. Without the labels, you might be able to argue about whether or not the laws of logic still exist. (Hypothetically, only before the minds vanish, of course.) But I’m pretty sure it wouldn’t matter with no labels to apply the laws to.

  21. Ronald Kyle says

    @Salvador Cordova “would you believe in something you couldn’t formally prove?”

    Would you believe something that is proven???

    Jesus throughout the New Tall tales is doing nothing but call people who do not believe his hucksterism things like vipers (Matthew 23:33) and fools (Matthew 23:17) and threatening them with ever burning fiery pit (Matthew 18:8) where they will gnash their teeth (Luke 13:28, Matthew 13:42)and burn like cut off branches (John 15:6) and like dried up tares (Matthew 13:40). Jesus even threatens ENTIRE CITIES with destruction and mayhem (Matthew 11:20 – 25). Jesus condemns anyone who does not believe in him with eternal DAMNATION (Mark 16:16). Jesus even calls all Jews “the sons of the devil” (John 8:44). The repugnancy of Jesus reaches its crescendo when he CURSES all Jews to be withered and cut down and burned like a metaphoric fruitless fig tree (Luke 13:6-9 and Matthew 21:19-20)

    So are you willing to believe now that whether Jesus was real or not, he was a nasty pathetic character

    See… I bet you do not believe it, although the PROOF is right there in the New Tall tales and yet you are not even willing to actually read the evidence.

    Nevertheless, just In case you are not going to bother reading the list given in the above link… consider just this one thing:

    Whether a person or an ill begotten son of a sky slave monger … if Jesus ever said this verse then he was an abject pernicious fool

    ⬛ Luke 15:7 I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.

    The above verse is a warrant for brigands and villains to have a life of brigandage and crime leaving countless victims, and when they decide to retire from their life of vitiating humanity they are guaranteed a jubilant welcome in heaven while their victims are guaranteed a life of torture in hell because they did not believe in the useless Jesus who could not lift a finger to prevent their torture and agony at the hands of the villains for whom he was too busy preparing a welcome party in heaven.

    ⬛ John 3:36 …. he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.

    So are you willing to believe in something arrantly proven instead of something that is not?????

    Jesus the protagonist of the New Tall tales as depicted in the narrative is…. Liar, Coward, Servile, Despotic, Racist, Xenophobic, Narcissistic, Fatalistic, Rude, Arrogant, Hateful, Charlatan, Egotistic, Show-off, Deluded, Schizophrenic, Psychopathic, Feeble, Useless, Foolish.

  22. Dan says

    I think I know what Tom was trying to say, if I may clarify. I think he confused the laws of logic for being absolute. He seemed to think that the laws of logic are a reflection of the similar laws a god had lain down. He was asking if the universe was rational or logical outside of human logical laws. I would have told him that our laws only reflect what we can observe, and that just because a mind is needed to describe a thing, does not mean the thing itself had to be created by a mind. I don’t think that point was made to him very clearly, and it may have given him food for thought, rather than just hanging up at the end when he seemed to feel like he was being accused of being deceptive or distracting from the real issues, with his position.

  23. says

    FWIW, I’m a molecular biophysics research assistant to legendary geneticist and retired Cornell research Professor John C. Sanford who was an evolutionist and became a creationist. For his contributions to genetics because of his invention of the gene gun, Sanford’s work is in the collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of American History because a sizable fraction of the all the GMOs on the planet were through his Gene Gun process which he owned and sold patents on.

    On October 18, 2018, at the invitation of an NIH staff member, he made a presentation at the National Institutes of Health which is indirectly supportive of the creation account based on an interpretation of Luke 3. The presentation is all science, but it lays the ground work for a lot of creationist ideas. It raises questions about our view of humanity’s future since it is likely humanity is headed to becoming an idiocracy on its way to extinction. See my essay:

    One could say that perhaps the coincidence of the Bible to the genetic analysis is merely a coincidence. Fair enough, but at what point do coincidences become compelling enough to put faith in something that can’t be formally proven?

  24. says


    thank you for providing the original source of the claim. next step is to get the name of the once “legally” blind girl. and then have her provide her medical diagnoses before and after the event. meanwhile, we can bring mr duke to a school for the blind, and test his claimed abilities under laboratory conditions.

  25. says


    at what point do coincidences become compelling enough to put faith in something that can’t be formally proven?

    as i said in my second post above:

    … miraculous “explanations” can never reasonably supplant naturalistic explanations

    as a scientist, you should already know that the plural of anecdote is not data. and that faith is never a rational justification to believe something.

  26. Ronald Kyle says

    @Salvador Cordova

    Is this you?….
    “Salvador Cordova has been featured on national TV, books, magazines, radio shows, newspapers, science journals for his work promoting intelligent design and creation science”

    Now we all know where you are coming from… you are a peddler for Imbecilic Design.

  27. Monocle Smile says

    Salvador works for a known liar for Jesus. I’ll post incriminating stuff about Sanford later.

  28. says

    Most mathematical truths are not formally provable as Godel was able to show, that means a lot of things in physical reality probably are not amenable to formal proof either, so the question is what claims are more believable than others. In fact Lawrence Kraus point to a time 5 billlion years from now when science will fail to infer the right truths and must rely on handed down human testimony about the origin of the universe! So there’s a hypothetical case truth can only be accepted on handed down human testimony, no scientific facts and experiments!!!!

    Paul had an experience to the Road to Damascus. I think if God did that to everyone, we wouldn’t be arguing here. My point was, if there is a God, he is obviously hiding and maybe occasionally he leaves clues. I cited the proverb during the show:

    “It is the glory of God to conceal a matter, the glory of kings is to search out a matter.”

    Which suggests to me God does conceal somethings which we have hope of searching out and finding the truth.

    Tracie said regarding the hypothetical situation about blind man in John 9, that the only fact we can state is that he could see, just like that blind girl. We don’t have explanation of the causes.

    Now, I’m not saying the case of the blind girl is for YOU to believe, but the issue was, even hypothetically speaking, would it be reasonable for her to believe? I said I thought so.

    Regarding the blind beggar in John 9, he had nothing, no sight, no future, not much of a life except to cry all day and hope someone gives him food and water and a place to go to the bathroom and sleep. Someone comes along, heals him and says “I’m the promised Messiah.” Ok, is it unreasonable for him to follow Jesus from that point on (even without formal proof He is God incarnate), or should he do what Tracie suggested and try to figure out the mechanism of healing?

    Senator Rand Paul is an opthalmologist. Nothing stopping a Christian from learning the mechanics of the human eye and doing surgery or whatever to correct blindness, but I doubt we’ll be able to do a remote healing in that hypothetical (or real) scenario of the blind man or even the blind little girl.

    It’s understandable one will complain that God remains hidden and doesn’t do for everyone what He did for those two blind people. I alluded to a possible resolution as to why, he’s playing a prank especially on people that hate the idea of his existence. God will be noticeable enough to people willing and wanting to believe, but he’ll make it really really easy to disbelieve.

    But as far as the blind man in John 9, or the case of the little blind girl, whether true or not, I appreciated how Tracie articulated how she would play Pascal’s wager in those situations. I would have played my hand differently. I just wanted to see what she thought. I stammered and was silent a lot because I didn’t expect her reaction because it seem irrational to me, but obviously not to her and most of the listeners.

    John I and Tracie were very cordial, and for that I will be always grateful.

  29. Ronald Kyle says

    @Salvador Cordova ” indirectly supportive of the creation account based on an interpretation of Luke 3″

    Which part of Luke 3….

    Is it the part where he calls people vipers?

    Or is it the part where the imbecile John tells us that we need to cut down all the trees in the world unless they are fruit trees???

    And if that is just an allegory then it is an allegory to what… that we need to hack to death all people who do not believe in him???

    Or is it the pathetically wrong list of names of mythical characters from a book of fairy tales which he gets wrong in any case???

    How exactly does Luke 3 contribute to anything about creation pseudo-science let alone Imbecilic Design???

  30. says


    Now, I’m not saying the case of the blind girl is for YOU to believe, but the issue was, even hypothetically speaking, would it be reasonable for her to believe?

    no. the point is that it’s not reasonable for anyone to believe. like justice, reason is blind. (pun intended.)

  31. Ronald Kyle says

    Salvador Cordova

    You are a liar for Jesus….I suggest you give up your LIES and scurry out of here…. your jig is up…

    Your pseudo-science is also quite a ruse… much like another liar for Jesus said a while back you are dissimulating your ass off in order to better peddle your ill begotten son of a celestial slave monger.
    ⬛ 1 Corinthians 9:20-23 To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.”

  32. gshelley says

    For the guy who believes in Eucharist magic, other Christians, who actually believe in God magic don’t even accept it, it would seem unlikely that people who aren’t even convinced that god magic is a real thing are going to be convinced

  33. paxoll says

    Salvador. Fallacious arguments, and reasoning is fallacious regardless if it produces a good feeling, a improved quality of life, or even an actual true result. When you make a plea to the bible as evidence for anything, you have already made a fallacious argument regardless to the conclusion. The bible is full of demonstrable false claims and contradictions and to hold any part of it true based only on its own contents is such ridiculous special pleading that any argument starting with biblical evidence should be ignored out of hand. Not to mention the special pleading for the bible above all other myths. The reason any of the responses to you seem irrational is that nothing you are arguing is rational. If your reasoning is not sound and valid than we are not justified in agreeing to any conclusion you make as being true, even if it appears to be. Anyone who could produce healing (regardless of how) who did not offer that healing to all the people that need healing, would be immoral.

    The very unsurprising (from an atheists perspective) that healing miracles happen to people that are believers, happen to people where the miracle is not reproducible, happen where we know there is a chance of the miracle happening through natural processes, which makes atheists very unmoved by any type of argument of this type. When was the last time God miraculously restored the limb of an amputee? What kind of special pleading do you want to make for healing blind people but not amputees? For someone to gain a belief due to personal experience/revelation is very understandable, and even reasonable, but it does not make it rational.

    TAE is not really about atheism at all. It is about determining truth as well as humanly possible. The reason the show settles into atheism is that it is the most universal source of irrational thinking among people, and very little, if any, of it requires a high level of education to grasp. Its like using tree hugger as a term for environmental activist. It is the most universal environmental problem that everyone can understand.

  34. John David Balla says

    @salvador #26

    I read your article at, and have the following commentary:

    1. When did Dr. Sanford’s falsify his own contributions to science? I’m speaking specifically to his innovations that resulted in “feeding starving billions in the 3rd world and […] having his inventions in the collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of American History.”

    2. You claim that the incorrectness of evolution is “obvious” but provide no evidence, only rhetoric:
    >>”And if only to state the obvious that the Darwinian “emperor has no clothes” and to finally speak for those whose voice has been suppressed that “we are dying” as a human race – and that “more death by natural selection will not work” as a solution – John Sanford laid out his case for human genetic degeneration in methodical scientific detail.”

    >>As for the “we are dying as a human race” part, you leave it to the reader to speculate about what you are talking about. Last time I checked, we are really, really good at reproducing, to the tune of 7 billion +. When I was in the 7th grade, there were only 3 billion humans. So as a matter of biology, we are reproducing like bunnies!

    3. “The simple fact is that if all children are more genetically damaged than their parents, “survival of the fittest” cannot reverse genetic deterioration. Darwinists naively think that a large number of children are better genetically than their parents, but never consider the scenario where all or most the children could be worse off than their parents. In such case “survival of the fittest” is really “survival of the best of the worst.” COMMENT: WTF ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT?

    >> Do you realize that… 1) you are offering a hypothetical, yet in the same breath, represent it “dishonestly” as a “simple fact”? Please, if you want to make an argument that people are more “genetically damaged than their parents” demonstrate it. Don’t add “simple fact” as intentional subterfuge. VERY DISHONEST.

    >> With all your scientific credentials, you surely know that “survival of the fittest” is not a Darwinian term, but for some reason you conflate the myth and misrepresent what evolution is and how it works. Why are you doing this? VERY DISHONEST.

    You then go on to make your human degeneration claim even more incredible. Please name the scientists who agree that there is a human degeneration problem. Please name these scientists who are so concerned about our ability to only reproduce 7 billion+ people that they feel the need to mess with our DNA.

  35. Ronald Kyle says

    @Salvador Cordova “so the question is what claims are more believable than others”

    The answer is that it is utterly and totally proven that Jesus the ill begotten son of a celestial salve monger is a nasty pernicious fool as depicted in the narrative of the New Tall tales.

    Your proof is the very book you peddle.

    So do you agree that the claim that Jesus was a cad is a believable claim (Matthew 15:??? Is it more believable than that he cured blindness by mixing spittle with dirt and mixing it in people’s eyes????

  36. says


    >rather than just hanging up at the end when he seemed to feel like he was being accused of being deceptive or distracting from the real issues, with his position.

    It’s not ‘his’ position. He was parroting something called pre-suppositionalism. I don’t know of a single proponent of that argument that wasn’t already a Christian when they adopted it. That is, it’s not honestly why he, or any other Christian, believes a god exists. Honest conversation would have been the caller calling in to tell us he would like to explain his reasons for believing a god exists. Presuppositionalism is just a way of asserting reality couldn’t be what it is without a god, therefore god.

    For me, that’s a hypothesis. If god doesn’t exist, then it’s not correct and another explanation has to be entertained. It’s like saying I have a cold, therefore cold-creating pixies exist, because only they can be the cause of colds. There is nothing honest about it. It’s just a way to waste time and try to sound deeply philosophical, while 100% avoiding your real reasons you think a god exists.

    But my response is to alert him that if he thinks it has to be true, and even if he can convince me, we still don’t know if we’re wrong if we can’t test our hypothesis to see if Cause-God exists. Until we do that, as much as we might think it HAS to be that way, we are really simply speculating.

  37. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    In fact Lawrence Kraus point to a time 5 billlion years from now when science will fail to infer the right truths and must rely on handed down human testimony about the origin of the universe! So there’s a hypothetical case truth can only be accepted on handed down human testimony, no scientific facts and experiments!!!!

    Is it only 5 billion years? I thought it was a bit longer than that. You are referring to the loss of the cosmic microwave background radiation. over time, due to the expansion of space, the CMB is redshifted, and once it’s redshifted past a certain point, the CMB goes away – I don’t know the method by which that happens. Also, eventually only our milky way galaxy and maybe a few other galaxies will remain gravitationally bound to us, and the rest will disappear over the cosmic expansion horizon, becoming forever lost, making it look as though only these small number of galaxies exist and exist close by, surrounded by an incredibly large and empty void of space. At that time, there will still be astronomers, and they probably cannot discover the truth of big bang theory because of the loss of other galaxies by which they might discover the Hubble constant, and the loss of the CMB. Suppose they somehow had reliable records that went back many billions of years, and were told through “holy scripture” or “reliable scientific records” about the CMB and other galaxies and the Hubble constant. Would it be rational to accept that? Maybe. I would guess probably not. It would be a fascinating idea.

    It would also be entirely academic because it wouldn’t have an immediate impact on anyone’s life. Compare that to your god idea, which has a very immediate impact (or claimed impact anyway) on everyone’s life. It’s a completely different kind of thing.

    Imagine in that faraway future, they discover some other means to test big bang theory. Maybe they develop FTL that only works due to the expansion of spacetime or something. Then, suddenly, people are going to start believing in big bang theory again, and it will be important that they do so, because it has an immediate impact on their life.

    What I mean to point out here is that ideas which have an immediate impact on our life also typically tend to be ideas that are immediately testable and falsifiable (not always, but typically). Suppose you tell a person from medieval Europe about big bang heresy. Assuming you could get past the shouts about heresy, or assuming you found an atheist, they might respond “so what?”. Compare that to: Suppose you tell a person from medieval Europe about the germ theory of disease – they are going to show a bit more interest, because that has an immediate impact on their actual life. Moreover, almost necessarily because it has an immediate impact on their life, it’s also a testable and falsifiable claim. It’s usually pretty hard to even imagine claims that are important for human well-being but which are not testable or falsifiable.

    Concerning Christianity, many of the claims are manifestly false and contradicted by the geological and historical record. The claim about the effectiveness of prayer is also demonstrably false, as demonstrated by several studies that evaluate the effectiveness of prayer and several aspects around that. Imagine any other claim about supernatural intervention in the modern world – those claims are investigable, and testable, and falsifiable. Just calling something “supernatural” does not make it immune to bog-standard scientific investigation.

    Moreover, all supernatural claims are falsified. We already have more than enough evidence to know that the supernatural does not exist. There are no souls or spirits, nor ghouls, goblins, or demons. There are no leprechauns at the end of the rainbow (and there is no “end of the rainbow” either), and there are no pixies in your garden, and there are no dragons in your garage. These things we can say with the same sort of certainty that I can say that there is no elephant in my bed, even though I cannot currently see my bed because I’m in the work office.

    I’ve wandered a little bit, but I wanted to say that for things which are important to us, we test them. We test them again and again, to get more evidence, to be more sure of our conclusions on those topics, precisely because it’s very important to us that our conclusions on those topics are correct. For the hypothetical “billions of years from now, we need to rely on historical records to know about the big bang”, my response would be “so what? who cares? the truth of big bang theory doesn’t matter for my life; it’s a historical curiousity, but that’s all”.

    PS: It’s like the debate that I sometimes get in regarding the historicity of Jesus. All reasonable people say that Jesus, even if he existed, was not a wizard. He was just some nobody preacher who happened to get lucky in the “starting religion” lottery. The debate between “minimal historicity e.g. random non-wizard preacher” vs “there wasn’t a Jesus” is a topic that I pursue like someone from the far future might pursue the truth of big bang theory. It might be academically interesting, but it has no impact on my life. It doesn’t matter if there really was a non-wizard Jesus or not – I’m still not going to be a Christian, and the truth of Christianity is unaffected.


    Paul had an experience to the Road to Damascus. I think if God did that to everyone, we wouldn’t be arguing here.

    Then you’re a fool. People have hallucinations all the time. A one-off is (almost) never going to be convincing to a rational person, because we know that our own memory, senses, and even cognition is not perfect. We know that our minds and senses and memory have faults, and sometimes quite glaring ones. We know that some people just see things (colloquially but not technically known as schizophrenics). We know that certain “memory retrieval techniques” used in court cases about sexual abuse can easily create false memories that the person strongly and honestly believes are true memories. With just a one-off god experience, I would sooner write it off to having my food spiked with hallucinagins than the unlikely conclusion that a god exists, and that is precisely of just how much evidence that I have against the existence of a god. You’re going to need to provide much, much more than that to convince me.

    I remember talking over dinner with Aronra after one of his lectures. Just to check if we were on the same page, I asked him what it would take to believe in the supernatural. I gave a concrete example to help out matters. Suppose that wizards ala Dungeons and Dragons 3.5 were comonplace, and they could reliably cast the magic spells from the Player’s Handbook. Suppose that every corner store had a diviner to help you locate your lost keys, for a fee of course. I said that in this kind of world, it would be asinine to deny the existence of magic and wizards, and thankfully Aronra agreed to this obvious assertion.

    I might not need evidence quite that strong to believe in your god, but I’m going to need something like that. For example, I still need to worry about genuine examples of sufficiently advances aliens. For a really good concrete example, see the Star Trek Next Generation Episode “Devil’s Due”.
    The plot description is short enough. Of course, with the preliminary evidence halfway through the evidence, I would grant that Ardra has access to powerful techniques, but that doesn’t mean that they’re a god.

    And finally, let me quote one of the best Stargate SG-1 episodes. Two human-like aliens are arguing about whether some aliens are gods or not, and whether they should worship them. Teal’c, the nay-atheist
    first tries to argue that the new aliens, the Ori, do tricks that the Goa’uld also did through the use of technology that anyone could do (such as raise the dead or destroy their enemies with a wave of their hand), just like Ardra from the Star Trek episode. Gerak counters and says that the Ori are the real deal, and that they’re non-physical energy beings ascended to a higher plane of existence, who can create or destroy matter and other things through sheer force of will, and no mere material technology is behind their power. Teal’c then counters one more time, which I think is the biggest difference between you and me:

    * Gerak (worshiper): You were not the one who was chosen. You did not witness the wonders I beheld.

    * Teal’c (nay-atheist): Did they raise the dead? Heal the sick and wounded? Destroy their enemy with but a wave of their hand?

    * Gerak: The Goa’uld deceived us. The Ori’s powers are pure.

    * Teal’c: And what is the measure of a god, Gerak? Is it the scope of their power, or how they choose to wield that power? Would a god who is prepared to lead us on the path of enlightenment so contradict this divine benevolence by destroying all those who refuse to believe in him?

    Even if your god exists, I would follow Teal’c. I would endeavor to find a way to destroy your god, because your god is a moral abomination. Even if I failed, I would have the satisfaction of not being a slave and dying free. Even in hell I would have the satisfaction of not being a slave.

    Quoting Teal’c, and the rest of the Free Jaffa: I die free!

    Besides being the best television show ever made (excepting most of the first season), Stargate SG-1 has a lot of very useful things to say about religion and how it’s all nonsense. Even if there are gods, we should try to blow up the evil ones, like the Goa’uld and the Ori, and for the good ones, like the Nox and the Asgard, we can be friends, not slaves.

  38. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Oh, I suppose that’s some minor spoilers, the name, meh. See also, this youtube clip.

  39. says

    In 5 billion years, the expansion of the universe will have progressed to the point where all other galaxies will have receded beyond detection. Indeed, they will be receding faster than the speed of light, so detection will be impossible. Future civilizations will discover science and all its laws, and never know about other galaxies or the cosmic background radiation. They will inevitably come to the wrong conclusion about the universe……We live in a special time, the only time, where we can observationally verify that we live in a special time.

    ― Lawrence M. Krauss, A Universe from Nothing: Why There Is Something Rather Than Nothing

    So how much time do you think is needed to figure out if God did it or not? The clock is running on computing undecidable propositions.

  40. Monocle Smile says


    So how much time do you think is needed to figure out if God did it or not? The clock is running on computing undecidable propositions.

    Are you trying to miss the point?
    This jumped out at me:

    When I nearly left the Christian faith, this account of the healing haunted me. During that time of doubt, I thought to myself, “I don’t totally believe in Jesus anymore, but on the other hand don’t totally disbelieve in him either. I can’t run away from the possibility this girl was really healed.” To resolve the issue I determined to study Intelligent Design and Creation Science

    I stopped taking you seriously here, because now your story sounds far too crafted a la Lee Strobel. You’re clearly not a skeptic; you started with the conclusion you wanted and you study under Sanford because he’s one of the very, very few creationist cranks who has managed to do anything worth a shit. Too bad his best days are far behind him.

  41. says

    For all the criticism about my supposed lack of logic, look at the disputes like Elevatorgate, Thuderf00t vs. Ftb, Richard Carrier vs. Ftb… someone’s got to be wrong but all atheists sides are claiming reason, evidence, and logic, but yet they can’t arrive at what is right and true. Need I say Neil de Grasse Tyson and his accusers?

    But each side of the debates has shown determination like they were on a mission from God. Cleary people are moving on faith in the absence of absolute facts.

    But then, when a scenario (even hypothethical for argument’s sake) is presented like in John 9 or the little blind girl, many of the atheists here say, “oh we have to try to figure it out” yet I don’t see that same circumspection with Elevatorgate. That’s why I don’t accept the athiest community’s criticisms of faith, let them look themselves in the mirror. Elevatorgate was faith on display by at LEAST one side of the atheist community.

    FWIW, I sided with Dawkins, Thunderf00t, Sargon of Akaad, etc. I was happy Ftb prevailed as defendants against Richard Carrier.

  42. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    FWIW, I sided with Dawkins, Thunderf00t, Sargon of Akaad, etc.

    You sided with the rape defenders and neo-Nazi apologists? What?

    And preemptively, I can quote Sargon of Akkad saying that he wants to neutrally discuss the Jewish Question, as though that there is something to discuss, and that there are “very fine people” on both sides. In case you don’t know, the Nazi’s answer to the Jewish Question is known as The Final Solution.

  43. t90bb says


    So the story about the blind girl BEING HEALED haunted you, did it?? What if it were true you say??……SOUNDS A LOT LIKE A DRESSED UP ARGUMENT FOR PASCALS WAGER…….I WONDER, how much of the narrative and claims of the Qran haunt you today?? If the Qran is true you are as fucked as the atheist. I bet you don’t think much about it.

    Sounds like you were consumed by fear…and you figured you best at least pick one lottery ticket (religion)..

    It seems the wise approach regarding the story about the girl would be to study as much about the story as you could find. Do you have sufficient and reliable evidence to determine its truth?? If not the proper position would simply not be convinced, no??

    You do realize there are thousands of miracle claims made by hundreds of religions…some even having live witnesses today that can attest to them. These are done in the name of other gods. The eyewitnesses appear absolutely convinced of them as well as their cause. Yet you are unconvinced of at least some of those??

    It seems you are/were looking for a way to renew your faith. You heard an account of a blind girls sight being restored after prayer. These stories are a dime a dozen across many religious and mystical faiths. Please show us how and why this claim haunted you any more than the thousands of others…….and what legitimate efforts you have taken to study and confirm the facts claimed in the story..

    At the end of the day… sounds very much like you decided to go all in on Pascals Wager…..basically allowing yourself to fixate on “what if this miracle story of hearing is true” (aka WHAT IF GOD IS REAL?), You decided for yourself that the upside of your “bet” was greater than the downside. I do not believe for a minute you are convinced of this “miracle” on a rational level. You have given yourself permission to claim this is a convincing tale to justify your fear and cover your basis.

    The idea of missing out on clipping Jesus’s toenails for eternity….and worse yet, suffer intolerably for eternity can play some neat tricks on the minds and wills of some.

    If you really have to emphasize this ridiculous claim to bolster your belief, then that really speaks to what a poor case you have overall. But sure, go right ahead. This and the fact that you get goose bumps while singing in church is good enough for you right???,,,,,,,,…..

    Make no mistake…..your playing on Pascals Wager. You are choosing to claim faith…in the hopes of nightly ice cream with the lord…..AND ALSO to avoid the punishment your awful book prescribes.

  44. t90bb says

    47…..SAL…….ohh and one last thing. My personal idol Eric Murphy wrote a book. In said book he claims to have himself performed many miracles and claimes to be god. What if Eric’s book is true…..I AM HAUNTED!!! lol.

    How utterly silly, right?

  45. uglygeek says

    Histological, immunological and biochemical research on the flesh and blood of the eucharistic miracle of Lanciano (7th century)
    O. Linoli

    The ancient Christian tradition has passed down to us that at the beginning of the seventh century a friar of the Basilian order, while officiating Mass in the Church of the SS. Legonziano and Damiano in the vicinity of Lanciano (Chieti), doubtful of the truth inherent in the sacred rite, remarked with great dismay, together with those present, the transformation of the host into flesh and wine into blood.
    This event has never been forgotten through the centuries and historical events.
    The miraculous Flesh and Blood, always kept in Lanciano, were subjected to analysis in 1574, 1770 and 1886.
    The current survey was carried out in the Basilica of San Francesco in Lanciano, on 18 November 1970.
    The flesh of the eucharistic miracle of Lanciano is preserved in an eighteenth-century ostensory of finely engraved silver, held between two sheets of glass, has a round shape with diameter of 55 and 60 mm, yellow-brown color, with some more intense shading.
    The lamina of tissue appears thinned and widely torn in the central area, due to the retraction of the tissue towards the periphery, where it appears raised in circular folds.
    The surface is smooth, never raised irregularly, cracked or incised.
    There is a widespread dissemination of small white formations sometimes very small, sometimes similar to a grain of millet, often confluent, of soft consistency, detachable, not part of the weave of the tissue, badly dissolvable in physiological solution. (The extemporaneous microscopic study has made colonies of ifomycetes recognizable, obviously caused by pollution.)
    Finally, small holes are noted in the marginal area of the circular lamina of the tissue, a clear sign, of the passage of a needle in ancient times.
    The consistency of the tissue is uniformly hard, requiring a strong pressure with the blade to remove two very small fragments for the subsequent investigation.
    The Blood of the Eucharistic miracle is contained within an ancient glass goblet, enclosed with an glass lid, and appears in the form of 5 fragments of a total weight of 15.85 grams, of yellow-brown color, with some whitish stippling.
    The shape of the fragments is completely irregular, the surface is rough, variously raised, the consistency is uniformly hard, so that only with a strong cutting edge pressure can some part be detached with difficulty.
    At the bottom of the glass there is a modest quantity of powder and of an equally dark brown color.
    The present study, which took place between 18 November 1970 and 4 March 1971, is directed:
    a) To ascertain the histological structure of the tissue hard as wood, handed down as flesh;
    b) To define if the hard stone-cretaceous substance handed down as blood responds to the characteristics of that;
    c) To establish to which biological species the flesh and blood belong;
    d) To specify the blood group in the two tissues;
    e) To investigate the protein and mineral components of the blood.

    1) For the histological study of the ancient Flesh of Lanciano, the Lenzi method was used, which adapts to mummified tissues. On microtomic sections, obtained with difficulty due to the extreme hardness of the tissue, the emallume-eosin, Mallory, Van Gieson, Ignesti methods for muscular tissue and Gomori’s silver impregnation were performed.
    2) For the identification of the Blood a histological investigation was attempted on a small fragment, according to the technique for meat. In addition, the following have been implemented: the modified Teichmann microchemical reactions of Bertrand for the hydrochloride ematin, the Takayama test for the hemocrogen, the Burton and Stone test for the oxidase for the oxidase and the research of the hemoglobin in chromatography on paper, according to the technique of Franchini, for this study modified with the use of the thin layer.
    3) To define which species the ancient Blood and the ancient Flesh di Lanciano belong to, tiny fragments were macerated in distilled water with micro-Potter. With the elution liquid the zonal precipitation test of Uhlenhuth was performed, since difficulties were found for a bilateral immunodiffusion reaction according to Outhcherlony due to the low available liquid, insufficient to preliminarily specify the optimal quantities of the antigen and antiserum to be involved in the reaction.
    4) Condensing 5 times the liquid elution of the ancient Blood against carbowax in Colover micro-diffusion, an electrophoretic trace was obtained on cellulose acetate colored with Ponceau S and read at the Cromoscan photometer.
    5) The research of minerals in the liquid of elution of the ancient Blood was carried out with the atomic absorption photometer SP 90 Unicam for calcium and magnesium, with the EEL flame photometer for sodium and potassium, with the method of Shales and Shales for chlorides, and with the colorimetric method of Goldman and Fernandez for phosphorus.

    I. Histological study of the ancient Flesh of Lanciano
    The structural profile of the tissue appears to be significantly modified due to the he non-colourability of the nuclei and to a certain degree of global homogenization.
    However, in the different fields of observation and in the different microtomic levels, the mesodermal nature of the tissue emerges, which consists of fibers directed in the longitudinal direction (Figures 1 and 2) but also obliquely and transversely (figure 3).
    The fibers have different lengths, always small, as it is evident in the dissociated areas (figure 4), almost uniform thickness, and they always appear bound together in bundles of various sizes.
    In particular, at higher magnification the fibers reveal longitudinal fibrillary structure (Figures 5 and 6), all of which lead to the recognition of striated muscle tissue.
    Moreover, the tissue appears to be characterized by syncytial unions that the fibers achieve through bifurcations and mutual junctions at the ends (Figure 7), a finding that emerges in each area, as can be deduced from the careful study of the wide-angle view (Figure 8), and which leads to the diagnosis of myocardial tissue.
    The synchronic aggregation of the fibers is a constant, universal aspect of the tissue, sometimes with bridges of transversal union (figure 9), which also appears where the fibers thicken more, making a compact set, to elements like interpenetrated, which reveals a syncytium (figure 10).
    Finally, a lobule of adipose tissue. present in the interstitium of the striated musculature in the study (figure 11), is crossed by the fibers which branch off into it, dispersing and running out between the lipocytes.
    It should also be pointed out that no histological sections appeared indicative of an impregnation of the tissue with mummifying substances, which were used in ancient times for the preservation of tissues.
    Conclusion (I): the structural image that emerges from the study of the ancient Flesh of Lanciano shows a striated muscle tissue that with clear, ubiquitous syncytial unions among the fibers is revealed as myocardial tissue.
    To this definition contribute the different orientations that the fibers assume even in the same field of observation (mainly longitudinal, but also oblique or transversal), the constant syncretized union of the fibers, end by end, the presence of some connection in the transversal sense and the dispersion of the muscular fibers in the structure of an adipose lobule of the interstitium, facts that contradict the hypothesis of skeletal muscle.

    II. Microscopic examination of the ancient Blood of Lanciano
    A very small fragment of the blood was included in paraffin according to Lenzi’s technique. On microtome sections, with emallume-eosin staining, there are no cellular elements, but a finely granular material of yellow-brown-greenish color, in conjunction with rare foreign bodies of probable vegetable nature.

    III. Microchemical study of the ancient blood
    The Teichmann reaction modified by Bertrand for hematin hydrochloride and that of Takayama for hemochromogen, were performed on the ancient Lanciano Blood with negative results, in parallel with samples of normal dried human blood, which gave a positive result.
    Oxidase research (Stone and Burke test) provided an intensely positive result in the test sample and in the dried normal human blood controls.

    IV. Chromatographic research in thin layer of hemoglobin in the ancient blood
    Standards of hemoglobin and alkaline hematin prepared according to the Dacie technique were run on a silica gel plate in conjunction with the eluting liquid of Lanciano Blood, also transformed into alkaline hematina according to the mentioned technique, as this form was found the most suitable for chromatographic purposes.
    The liquid for the run was methanol-acetic acid-water, in the ratio 90: 3: 7.
    After 90 minutes, the alignment of the sample (ancient Blood of Lanciano) with the standards (figure 12) was found, being measured with the same RF (0.88).
    The proof shows full repeatability, because it was carried out in triplicate and with a different location of the components on the starting line.

    Conclusions (II, III, IV): the negativity of the Teichmann-Bertrand test and the Takayama test does not rule out the presence of blood, since such tests may become negative for the denaturing of the sample.
    The positivity of the research of the oxidases, generically indicative of blood, may also occur in the presence of organs rich in ferments, plant extracts, finely divided metallic.
    The chromatographic test on paper, or as used here more finely in thin layer, has full value for the recognition of the blood even in severely damaged materials, which no longer provide the reactions of hemoglobin.
    The present study confirms, in this way, the true hematic nature of the ancient blood of Lanciano.

    V. Immunological definition of the species to which the ancient Blood and the ancient Flesh of Lanciano belong
    The liquid elution of Lanciano’s meat and blood has been tested in the zonal precipitation reaction of Uhlenhuth which is completely valid for the purposes and is also accepted in modern laboratory methodology.
    A Behringwerke human anti-protein serum was used.
    The reaction was carried out in parallel with the necessary checks (fig. 13).
    The zonal precipitation reaction was clearly positive within 5 minutes in the tube no. 1 (Blood), n. 2 (Meat) and n. 3 (human serum); while it is negative in the tubes n. 4 (Blood elution fluid + rabbit serum), n. 5 (liquid of elution of meat + rabbit serum), n. 6 (ox serum + human antiprotein serum), n. 7 (physiological solution + human antiprotein serum).

    Conclusion (V): the zonal precipitation test according to Uhlenhuth, for the specificity and for the guarantees provided by the controls, makes it possible to affirm the belonging to the human species of the Blood and the Flesh of the Eucharistic miracle of Lanciano.

    VI. Determination of the blood group of the ancient blood and ancient flesh of Lanciano
    The absorption-elution reaction according to Siracusa standardized by Fiori, was used for the determination of the blood type (ABO) in the liquid of elution of the ancient Blood and of the ancient Flesh di Lanciano.
    The method is widely accepted as fully valid for the detection of the hemogroup in those cases that do not allow the use of classical tests, such as tissues, body fluids, dried bloodstains, etc.
    The test showed that the ancient Blood and the ancient Meat are endowed with agglutinogens A and B; therefore they belong to the AB hemogroup (figure 14).
    VII. Electrophoretic analysis of the proteins of the ancient Lanciano blood
    After dialysis in Colover’s microcell against carbowax, the elution fluid of the ancient blood, which was concentrated 5 times, provided an electrophoretic trace on cellulose acetate (veronal buffer pH 8.6, current 0.5 amperes for 30 minutes, staining with Ponceau S; reading at the Cromoscan photometer) (Figure 15).
    It is evident that the percentage composition of the proteins in the liquid in question repeats the known values in the clinical chemistry for the normal human blood serum.
    Albumin is present with 61.93% (nominal value 52-68%), α-1 globulins with 2.38% (nominal value 2.4-5.3%), α-2 globulins with 7.14% (normal value 6.6- 13.5%), β globulins with 7.14% (normal value 8.5-15.5%), globulins γ with 21.42% (normal value 10.7-21%).
    The albumin-globulins ratio is 1.62 being the normal value of 1.13-1.73.

    VIII. Determination of minerals (calcium, chlorides, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, sodium) in the ancient blood of Lanciano
    Table I collects the quantitative values of the minerals found in the ancient Blood of Lanciano and in dried normal human blood samples studied for comparison (calcium, chlorides, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, sodium).
    The quantitative values of the minerals were determined by comparison with Hyland standard sera, equally dried (after rehydration) and re-dissolved.
    The assessed quantitative values were interpreted and evaluated in comparison to the values of the minerals in whole blood.
    From Table I two data are deduced:
    a) During the slow drying process of 10 samples of normal whole human blood, in open flacon, at stove temperatures at 50 ° C, at 37 ° C and, alternatively, at ambient temperatures, for three months, there are significant losses in the content of phosphorus, calcium, chlorides, potassium and magnesium and sodium scares;
    b) Blood from the Eucharistic miracle of Lanciano has shown quantitative reductions in chlorides, phosphates, magnesium, potassium and sodium, but not so much in comparison with dried normal human blood samples. In contrast, calcium was significantly increased in Lanciano’s blood alone (114.29%).

    The results of the research carried out on fragments of the ancient Blood and of the ancient Flesh that tradition has led to us as a Eucharistic miracle of Lanciano (VII century) can be summarized in the following points:
    – The Blood of the Eucharistic miracle of Lanciano is truly blood, based on the demonstration of hemoglobin (alkaline hematina) with thin layer chromatography.
    – The Flesh is made up of striated muscle tissue, which proves to belong to the myocardium due to the syncytial union of the fibers.
    – Flesh and Blood belong to the human species, as ascertained by the zonal precipitation reaction of Uhlenhuth.
    – The blood type, determined by the absorption-elution method, is identical (AB) in flesh and blood.
    – In the blood elution fluid, proteins have been detected, split in a serum-protein percentage ratio typical of normal fresh blood.
    – Chlorides, phosphorus, potassium, sodium were reduced in the blood, while calcium was significantly increased.
    This reduction in minerals can fundamentally be caused both by the aging and depletion processes of the substances in the tissue over many centuries, and to the “exchanges” that the minerals usually carry out with the glass wall of the container (whence the modern usage of containers made by inert materials). The increase in calcium (114.29% mg) in the ancient Blood of Lanciano can be, on the basis of hypothesis, correlated with a fall in the calyx of wall powder rich in calcium salts, as well as fragments of plants (flowers) found in the histological examination of the blood.
    The histological diagnosis of myocardium, based on indisputable objective elements, makes the hypothesis of a ‘fake’ carried out in ancient times hardly acceptable.
    In fact, even supposing that the heart had been taken from a cadaver, it must be assumed that only an expert hand of anatomical dissection could, and not without serious difficulty, obtain a uniform and continuous ‘slice’ from a hollow viscera, tangential to the surface of the viscera, as can be deduced from the predominantly longitudinal course of the myocardial fibers, considering that in the superficial area, ‘mantle’ (?) of the heart, there are bundles of longitudinal fibers which rapidly become oblique.
    The present study, finally, confirms the possibility that in ancient tissues organic materials, such as proteins, can remain, almost to overcome the fatal fate of meat.
    The proteins and antigens of the AB gene present in the ancient flesh and in the ancient blood of Lanciano after 1200 years, coincide with the discovery of proteins in Egyptian mummies dating back to 4000 years and 5000 years, although it is fair to recognize that the situation of a body mummified with the known procedures and sheltered at most from contacts with the external environment is very different from that of a hemocardial and blood clot left in a natural state for centuries and, in addition, exposed to the action of atmospheric, environmental and parasitic physical agents.

  46. Ronald Kyle says

    @Monocle Smile “Given what I’ve been able to dig up on this Salvador character, his juvenile trolling is not particularly surprising.

    Wow… another abject liar for Jesus lying his teeth off and dissimulating and pretending in order to hawk and peddle off his ill begotten son of a celestial slave monger.

    I was right… I spotted him right away for the charlatan he is… but I did not know the extent of it…. hahaha

    He is after all applying the long held and cherished traditions of Christians who think they were instructed by Jesus himself that if they follow him they will become accomplished liars and hucksters

    ⬛ Matthew 4:19 And He said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.”

    and these snake-oil salesmen truly believe that after a career of lying and scamming and fleecing people for Jesus’ sake they will be more welcome in heaven than 99 dupes who fell for the hoaxes….

    ⬛ Luke 15:7 I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.

  47. indianajones says

    Just wanted to chime in on the Godel throw away line. What you refer to proves no such thing.

  48. Ronald Kyle says

    @Salvador Cordova “figure out if God did it or not?”

    One thing for sure that is long ago determined is that whether or not there is an Imbecilic Designer, it is damned sure 1000% that it is not the celestial slave monger who you think raped and committed adultery with a 13 years old married girl so as to make for himself an ill begotten son,

    By the way…. in case someone missed… here is the personal TESTIMONIAL of this huckster for Jesus

  49. Ronald Kyle says

    @EnlightenmentLiberal… video clip from Star Gate

    I loved that series and really like that clip you posted and the way it is SO VERY PERTINENT to the MENTAL SLAVERY of people like this liar for Jesus.

    And in his case the mental slavery is THIRD HAND slavery… He, as can obviously be discerned from his looks, is a descendant of peoples who the sky slave monger never ever bothered to even think that they are worthy of a second look let alone that this celestial rapist would bother to rape one of his ancestors’ little girls with whom to make an ill begotten son.

    He is the inheritor of “salvation” by THIRD HAND MENTAL ENSLAVEMENT and rapine and pillaging and raping of his ancestors and enslavement physically and mentally of the wretched whimpering remnants of his maternal ancestors after they were raped by the soldiers and their retinue of missionaries… and those missionaries themselves in turn were descended from wretched remnants of their cultures that were made to swallow the Jesus hoax at the tips of Roman soldiers in the wake of Imperial Roman rapine and pillaging and raping.

    It has always been a subject of wonderment for me how it is that these RECENTLY (relatively) mentally enslaved people are so very zealous about their Christianity when they can see that they had Christianity shoved down their throats at the tips of the “swords” of their ravishers and enslavers.

  50. John Iacoletti says

    I made a major error when I referred to Tom’s argument as “Kalam Cosmological Argument”. I confused that for the Transcendental Argument.

  51. Ronald Kyle says

    @minutes 10:00 Stacie says to the first caller Octavia : “I would probably go with the two state solution”

    No Stacie, the one state solution is the only sane and just and workable solution that can ever work and last as a working state.

    Partitioning South Africa into a state out of the bantustans as a state for the Blacks and the rest of South Africa remaining as a separate state for the Afrikaans was not the solution there was it??

    For the same reason South Africa stayed as one state for BOTH the Afrikaans and Blacks, Israel (and its occupied lands) should remain as one state for both all the people living there with EQUAL RIGHTS and no racism based upon ancient fairy tales of a celestial slave monger making fraudulent real estate scams with a favored above all of humanity Sumerian illegal immigrant.

    I suggest you watch this video… listen especially to the last 15 minutes please

  52. says

    @ uglygeek
    Thank you for generously translating that.

    To the content, its first notable that the findings are rather mundane. The only exceptional note (according to the author) was the apparent skill of the person that crafted the disc. Otherwise it seems to be somewhat typical semi-preserved flesh and blood. Very different from the claims made about it by the caller. Nothing presented to indicate anything miraculous or genuine to the claims of a miracle. Also to the particular claims from the caller, it should be noted that the Shroud of Turin is fairly conclusively determined to be a Middle Age forgery.

    One aspect I find interesting about the miracle claim in general, if one were to believe in such things, the transformation of a cracker and wine into flesh and blood should be an every day verifiable occurrence, not a once over a millennium ago unverifiable event. Any excuse for this not being observable necessitates the specific claimed miracle to be false.

  53. paxoll says

    John, at the time the caller was also talking about the universe coming into existence. When christians mush a bunch of fallacious arguments together you can’t be too down on yourself for not keeping them straight.

  54. says

    In response to the caller concerning the Miracle of Lanciano stating that white blood cells would die within an instant of being placed in a receptacle, all information for various white blood cell lifespans I can find extends to days or more (up to years). Therefore, the argument that tissue placed in the receptacle before the analysis could not have contained living cells is incorrect:

    I’m aware Wikipedia is not peer reviewed, but the table containing lifespans refers to a textbook on histology.
    Note that the lifespan of organ tissue for transplantation appears to be a few hours.

  55. says

    Thank you so much for the translation work.

    So, the result is that it was determined the church has housed an old piece of human meat and a little AB blood for a long time.

    Is there a take-away I’m missing? Or is that it?

    I don’t see anything about Turin. And I don’t see how to confirm it came from a cracker originally. So, we are just at “authentic old piece of human meat”.

    Unless there is something more to this story, I have to say it isn’t confirmation of a miracle.

  56. says

    >Elevatorgate was faith on display by at LEAST one side of the atheist community.

    No, it wasn’t. The facts were not in dispute. It was an argument over opinions and whether or not particular behaviors should be acceptable. The claim itself was very mundane, and the arguments were not about “the facts” of the matter. A woman got into an elevator, a man she didn’t know entered with her. He invited her for coffee in his room at some late hour. She declined. Later she made a video saying she thought it was creepy.

    ^The “Elevatorgate” debate was not a dispute about facts. It was a dispute about whether or not the behavior is socially awkward or unaware, or whether it was harmless and nonproblematic.

    It’s not even analogous to miracles claims where it’s the foundational facts that are in dispute.

    Re: Carrier–do you even realize that the case was not won or lost on merits, but on a jurisdiction technicality?

  57. uglygeek says

    There is no take away, indeed, no reference to the Shroud, nothing miraculous. Just an authentic old piece of a human heart that for some reason was particularly well preserved.
    Interestingly it was examined again in 1981, with similar results: it’s a piece of a left ventricle from a human heart that is very well preserved over time.
    The paper does not prove any miracle, and one has to believe the legend that that piece of meat appeared from a wafer to have a miracle. In fact, as I said, this is just one of the thousands of religious legends that appeared everywhere in a country so religious like Italy, but that nobody, not even the Catholic Church, cares about anymore today.

    It’s funny that if you talk to a priest in Lanciano, today, he would probably say “Yeah, that’s just an old legend…” but for Konnor from Kansas, that old legend becomes the proof that God exists… 🙂

  58. Ronald Kyle says

    @uglygeek “from Kansas”

    I think that is the underlying reason. It seems that the Christian virus has mutated to a much more virulent strain in “them thar hills” than during its outbreak on “qui septem mons Romae”

  59. says

    At least the “pro-life” caller seemed to be honest about where she was coming from.

    But for my money, when anybody launches into their “argument” against abortion with squishy sentiment, calling a fetus (or blastocyst, as it may be) a “lil guy” or “lil girl,” it is instantly apparent that the speaker is intoxicated with emotional silliness and his or her views need not be considered serious to the argument at hand.

  60. says

    I appreciate all the interaction so far.

    I stammered a lot on the show because if I gave the reasons why all the blind aren’t healed, maybe no one would want to hear it, even Christians. As I said, I work for an elite geneticist John Sanford who argues the human race is genetically deteriorating, that includes horrible birth defects and blindness and so many things!

    Dr. Sanford, former evolutionist turned creationist, is actually mainstream in this view. Other geneticists for other reasons have come to comparable conclusions, the only debate is the severity of the problem. Geneticists like Alexey Kondrashov, Michael Lynch, Bryan Sykes, Gerald Crabtree, Peter Keightley, Adam Eyre-Walker, Michal Nachman, James F. Crow, etc. But no one wants to really talk about it, not even typical Christians. And ironically this is fodder for a new Eugenics movement!

    Who wants to hear we are doomed? Some have suggested genetic re-engineering of the human genome, eugenics, etc. Sanford was a pioneer of most of the GMOs on planet Earth, he knows genetic engineering. He says none of these measures would be enough even at maximum effort.

    The irony is that to fix our genome we need re-engineering, as in intelligent design. That has been one of the proposals. But that begs the question, how did we get here without intelligent design and maintenance in the first place? Kondrashov echoed that sentiment when he said, “Why have we not died 100 times over?” That problem has not been solved, because the solution is to recognized we never evolved in the first place.

    Sanford’s claim is testable. The human race is collectively headed the way of that blind man. We could be wiped out by our own nuclear and biological wars, famine, pestilence, over population, our own human nature, and last but not least our own decaying genome.

    If I were blind from birth, as the man in John 9, and I’m out on the streets every day begging just to be fed and given water, then someone comes along and heals me, and then tells me he is the promised Messiah, I would worship him rather than ask “why don’t you heal everyone.”

    The reason I would say that is that in Judeo-Christian theology, the world is cursed and the absence of God’s constant healing is the result that the world and humanity are destined for destruction, not “healing of all the sick and blind.”

    Dr. Sanford’s work echoes this very sad fact.

    So the blind man, believing that death and sorrow and wrath from God of the Old Testament God was the norm was surprised that grace was extended to him. He worshipped Jesus, believing him to be the God-Incarnate, because exceptional mercy was extended to him. Now can he prove it? No, but well, I don’t know that I would care to try if I were that man because someone with power to heal showed love and mercy to me. I’d accept what he had to say at face value.

    It says Exodus 4:11

    “Who gave human beings their mouths? Who makes them deaf or mute? Who gives them sight or makes them blind? Is it not I, the Lord?

    Typical Christians don’t like verses like this. The blind man in John 9 understood the significance of that verse. One could be bitter at a God who would cause blindness and sickness, or one could be grateful that “I was blind, but now I see” after Jesus extends mercy.

    When I first recovered from my disbelief in God, I was ecstatic, but then of late, on many levels I wish the God of the Bible were not true because it would actually be quite miserable for most of humanity. It’s hard for me to run away from the impression the world is intelligently designed and simultaneously cursed, just like the Bible says. I do not have hope that removing belief in God will make society work better together. A picture of that was Elevatorgate, and worse, Evergreen State University and the saga of Brett Weinstein. So it really doesn’t strike me that the modern atheist community is more rational than people like Dr. Sanford and Christians like him.

    His 10/18/18 talk at the NIH is here:

  61. Monocle Smile says

    This is nothing more than preachy trolling. Seriously, I hope the mods just ban you because you’re not worth engaging and you’re a poison to this blog.

  62. RationalismRules says

    @Salvador Cordova

    One could say that perhaps the coincidence of the Bible to the genetic analysis is merely a coincidence. Fair enough, but at what point do coincidences become compelling enough to put faith in something that can’t be formally proven?

    What coincidence? You’re taking some vaguely-worded passage written in archaic language, from a translation from a different archaic language, and post hoc interpreting it to match some observed facts of that natural world. That’s not correspondence, it’s rationalization.
    Speaking of interpretation…

    …the creation account based on an interpretation of Luke 3

    Luke 3 is a story about John preaching, followed by a supposed genealogy of Jesus. No creation account anywhere to be seen. It must have taken some pretty extreme interpretive gymnastics to get to a creation account from that passage.

  63. bruce blosser says

    bruce blosser
    1 second ago
    You are great hosts, and some of the things you say are very interesting, but I think it is time to change up the format! I am hearing all the same comments from callers – over and over again, and the show just isn’t as interesting as it used to be! I do not wish to see another caller claiming that they can prove god exists – it will never happen – and I just don’t care about 9/10th of the angst and trepidation of ex-believers not sure if they should tell parents wives husbands about their change…. so i don’t know if i have out grown the show or the show is just not as interesting as it once was… but a lot of times i just can’t keep listening! After all the show is called Atheist Experience, so why not more stuff from atheists about their experiences? 🙂 Or??? At any rate don’t want you guys and gals to go away, just want a few change ups in the programming – thanks -Bruce

  64. t90bb says


    Simply put, you are pitiful. The fact that you dont seem one bit embarrassed says a lot about you. Whatever you do please keep calling the show. You are the the very lowest hanging fruit for atheists I have witnessed since I began following the show. To say you bring weak sauce is an insult to weak sauce. You really fear death brudder.

  65. paxoll says

    Salvador do you have any education in evolution and genetics? What exactly do you do for Dr. Sandford? One look at other species and you can see that genetic mutation is consistent. The reason they are “collecting” in humans is that humans have overcome the majority of darwinian natural selection processes therefore those deleterious mutations are not weeded out of the population. It is absolutely not any ridiculous evidence for intelligent design. So maybe the solution is designer babies, or we can bomb ourselves back into the stone age where bad genes simply kill off the children that have them. Seriously if you are going to simply quote scripture and preach what you think it means instead of addressing the comments of people trying have a discussion with you, I’m sure the moderators would be happy to ban you for Troll behavior.

  66. says

    Paxoll, even though my MS is in Applied Physics from JHU (Ben Carson was supposed to speak at my graduation in 2013 until he said, “Marriage is between a Man and a Woman”), I got additional training graduate level in biology with training in molecular evolution and phylogenetic methods and bio-informatics at the FAES Graduate school at the NIH.

    You asked what I do for Dr. Sanford. I’m a research assistant.
    Some of my research for Dr. Sanford was featured in his talk at the NIH, see the portion at 32:44 (ERRATA there needs to be some amendment in the notation of his slides):

    I provided research to some of his publications. My specialty is study of chromatin modifications, Alu A-to-I editing, post-translational modifications of TopoIsomerases and other molecules, population genetics, critical analysis of evolutionary phylogenetic methods, bio informatic analysis of nylonases, proteomic domain analysis, reporting of developments at the NIH such as the ENCODE, RoapdmapEpigenomcics, 4D nucleome projects.

    You said:

    “humans have overcome the majority of darwinian natural selection processes ”

    That’s incorrect. The genetic deterioration was prior to medical advancement! That is borne out in the equations of 32:44 of Sanford’s talk. That equation is easily derived from the Poisson distribution and is well known in specialist literature starting with Kimura in the 1960’s. The problem is the size of the human genome (3.3 giga bases) relative to the reproduction rate of humans. Dr. Sanford points out, even conservative estimates would require each female to have at least 44,000 offspring for the human race to have chance of surviving, but the number could be more like 10^35. That wasn’t Dr. Sanford’s numbers, that’s other geneticists numbers! This problem has been quietly acknowledge staring with the work of Nobel Prize Winner Hermann Mueller.

    You said:

    “So maybe the solution is designer babies,”

    so you’re saying he solution is intelligent design? Great, so how did we evolve here in the first place without intelligent design. Geneticists like Kondroshov noticed exactly this problem and said, “why aren’t we dead 100 times over?” He couldn’t provide a credible answer.

    I can’t answer everyone’s question. I answered some of your questions however.

    So the question is “why didn’t Charles Duke heal all blind girls.” God’s plan is to destroy humanity such that our hope cannot be in this life. This world is passing away on so many levels. The irony is that “science and reason” is enabling humans to overpopulate and destroy themselves. To quote Dawkins, “Science works bitches”. But this very science is what causes us to overpopulate the planet and this will trigger wars where each side has nuclear, chemical and biological warfare ability. Man is wise and learned enough to explore space, he can’t however overcome his own nature. The destiny of the human race is bleak, it is so obvious. I wish it were not so, but it is so evident, “there will be wars, rumors of wars, famines, pestilence.” True on so many levels. Not to mention “science and reason” were so on display in ElevatorGate and RichardCarrierGate and Evergreen State– NOT!

    even more purposeless, more void of meaning, is the world which Science presents for our belief. Amid such a world, if anywhere, our ideals henceforward must find a home. That Man is the product of causes which had no prevision of the end they were achieving; that his origin, his growth, his hopes and fears, his loves and his beliefs, are but the outcome of accidental collocations of atoms; that no fire, no heroism, no intensity of thought and feeling, can preserve an individual life beyond the grave; that all the labours of the ages, all the devotion, all the inspiration, all the noonday brightness of human genius, are destined to extinction in the vast death of the solar system, and that the whole temple of Man’s achievement must inevitably be buried beneath the debris of a universe in ruins–all these things, if not quite beyond dispute, are yet so nearly certain, that no philosophy which rejects them can hope to stand. Only within the scaffolding of these truths, only on the firm foundation of unyielding despair, can the soul’s habitation henceforth be safely built.
    — Betrand Russell

  67. Curt Cameron says

    Is someone planning for this episode to be posted to the podcast feed? Still not there as of Wednesday morning.

  68. Ronald Kyle says

    @Salvador Cordov “former evolutionist turned creationist”

    The moment I hear or read some peddler of Jesus say that stock-phrase, I know immediately that we have a LIAR for Jesus trying to scam and huckster his interlocuters.

    It is much like the phrase “former atheist turned christian” … or “former sinner turned holy”

    This scam phrase emanates out of the fairy tales about Paul, who they claim was formerly a persecuter of christians who turned into a hawker for Jesus after he LITERALLY SAW THE LIGHT.

    And of course we all know that according to the New Tall tales, Paul is a self-admitted charlatan and dissimulator and liar for Jesus by his very own admission….

    ⬛ 1 Corinthians 9:20-23 To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.”

  69. Secular Strategy says

    God’s plan is to destroy humanity such that our hope cannot be in this life.

    Salvador, you’re just making that up. Making stuff up and treating it like fact has no place in a reasonable conversation. If you would like to be taken seriously, then I sincerely recommend you change your approach.
    Furthermore, you should probably try to stay focused on a single topic, and do your best to prove your point to a skeptical audience. You’re really all over the place, even going so far as to invoke internet drama from nearly a decade ago. I don’t think that has anything to do with God’s existence.

  70. says

    @Secular Strategy:

    >You’re really all over the place, even going so far as to invoke internet drama from nearly a decade ago. I don’t think that has anything to do with God’s existence.

    Misdirection and distraction in order to avoid supporting claims. 100% you’ve nailed it. None of this is by accident. It’s outright dishonest dialog.

  71. says

    @bruce blosser

    Not all viewers have immersed themselves in the show over a long period. That is, “old” topics to folks who have followed the show for a long time, are new to folks who are just tuning in or finding the show. We try to take any/all calls that seem serious and relevant to the show’s format/theme. And many of these items, such as “proof of god” are compelling to theists calling or watching, who really haven’t heard rebuttals before.

    I can totally understand how a long time viewer would get tired of it–I am not dissing your view. I think “outgrow” is actually a good way to express it. And it makes sense, because it’s a program with a limited format/theme, that is driven mainly by what our callers want to discuss. For theists it’s going to be reasons to believe. For atheists, problems being an atheist. I think that probably is now, and going to be, the bulk of our focus until we experience significant social changes.

    I do sometimes get calls from outside the US to talk about religion in other countries–and I like to get those, but I’m at the mercy of how often they call. So, it is what it is…?

  72. paxoll says

    Salvador you seemed to have missed the point while even restating the point. To put it as an analogy for anyone who cares. When the age of the earth is calculated to be 6k years old by the evidence in the “bible”, yet every observable and scientific extrapolation points to the world being 4.5 billion years old. Do you dust off your hands and say the appearance of age is “designed” into the universe by God? Or do you say, there is something wrong with the biblical evidence and our calculation?

    Since the human population is growing quite well and so is every other species that is not overburdened by natural selection pressures, the observable facts are in contradiction to your calculation. So somewhere there is an error in your thinking. I’m not saying I have all the answers, but any claims by recent observed human “decline” in fitness absolutely includes the reduction of selection due to technological advancement. It is estimated that 80% of conceptions are genetically selected against before an infant is born, if we consider that chimp and non-modern humans typically have 4-5 offspring, you are looking at upward of 20 offspring per female, putting “mutation” rate in the area of 2 (assuming those calculations are also valid).

    You are literally looking at the world and saying you don’t believe what you see because it doesn’t make sense, and are inserting a god of the gaps to correct your calculation. Take your argument of incredulity, argument from ignorance, your ridiculous bible preaching and come up with a non-fallacious argument.

  73. says


    the observable facts are in contradiction to your calculation

    It’s not my calculation but is in evolutionary literature, but you won’t be bother to read the evolutionary literature on the subject starting with Kondrashov and Lynch will you.

    Shows how much interest you have in science.

    . It is estimated that 80% of conceptions are genetically selected against before an infant is born, if we consider that chimp and non-modern humans typically have 4-5 offspring, you are looking at upward of 20 offspring per female, putting “mutation” rate in the area of 2 (assuming those calculations are also valid).

    Bogus science on your part, the mutation numbers I’m working from are for live offspring not those prior to spontaneous abortions in the womb. Why don’t you use some science and reason before bloviating stuff you don’t understand.

    You illustrate that even atheists and defenders of “science and reason” are willing to faithfully follow fabrications of their own mind, just like the numbers he pulled out of the air. Well done. You need to look in the mirror Paxoll. See ya.

  74. Monocle Smile says

    I’d rather this character not be a part of my species. I once again request a ban. Given this person’s history, it is not likely to stop.

  75. Secular Strategy says

    We don’t have to get into the finer points of evolution when we’re debating a guy who believes in a talking snake. Might as well argue particle physics with a flat earther.

  76. paxoll says

    Salvador the “numbers” according to the youtube video you posted are based on “genetic selection”. Nachman and Crawell EXPLICITY point this out in their conclusions,

    The problem can be mitigated somewhat by soft selection (Wallace
    1991) or by selection early in development (e.g. in utero).

    Why don’t you use some science and reason before bloviating stuff you don’t understand.

    this reminds me of when I was doing genetic research and some microbiologists in our research group were discussing research results on a GFP tagged protein they were imaging. I didn’t know 100% what his research involved but I knew basic physics and I pointed out that the heat from the lighting element of the microscope could cause the reaction kinetics to change over time. Voila, better data. Why don’t you address the actual argument, if your calculations do not match observed facts, then you are doing it wrong.

  77. Honey Tone says

    I have a very effective process for deleting unwanted irritants from my digital existence: I don’t read or respond to their junk. Just skip right over the offending post(s) – it works wonders.

    Cordova: why are you here? If you want to convince scientists your mentor’s hypotheses are correct, go where the scientists are. Even if you could convince everybody who looks at this site of anything it still wouldn’t affect the validity of your position or the general scientific consensus on whatever issue you’re pushing.

    Oh, and please stop with the name dropping. It just makes you look desperate and juvenile. As a (supposed) scientist, you should know that if the facts support your science then it will become the consensus despite the names and reputations arrayed against it.

  78. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    I might want to play with the new chew toy, if they are willing to engage in discussion. I’d really like if Sal would respond to paxoll’s questions in post 79. Specifically, I want to know what kind of creationist I am dealing with. Old Earth or Young Earth? How old is the Earth? How old is our spacetime, e.g. do they believe in Big Bang theory? How much evolution do they buy? Do they believe that humans bred the various dog breeds today from wild wolves?

  79. says

    “do you have an open mind?” the stranger asked.

    tonight i was approached in my health club locker room by a fellow who insisted that i check out:


    he reminded me to visit the site with an open mind.

    i watched the preview vid of their dvd “THE TRUTH ABOUT DINOSAURS”.

    a documentary that goes into the dinosaurs & their true purpose on the planet.Intellectual Nuben Menkarayzz talks about a meteorite shower that destroyed the dinosaurs which left behind Snakes , Geko’s & Frog’s. Intellectual Nuben Menkarayzz also talks about the dinosaurs going into the ground to fertilize the plant life & planet. Intellectual Nuben Menkarayzz also talks about about the dinosaurs pulling out land mass , fossil fuel & much more.

    most intriguing, but at $100/month membership dues, my mind, like my wallet, will remain closed.

  80. RationalismRules says

    I guess that’s why they’re a “future intelligence movement”, because they sure as hell don’t appear to have had much intelligence at work when they designed their entire website in ALL-CAPS. I’ve never seen a shouty website before…

  81. Ronald Kyle says

    @rudown72202 “-Roman Catholic Church withheld more than 500 names of clergy accused of sexually abusing minors”

    What most people fail to understand is that Christianity is a WARRANT for villainy.

    I will say that again Christianity RATIFIES villainy.

    Any villain aspirant loves Christianity. That is why Constantine adopted it.

    Christianity is a religion TAILOR-MADE for villains and brigands and vile priests who bugger little children.

    A person who TRULY and seriously believes in the TENETS of Christianity knows that Jesus loves villains ninety nine more times than he loves their victims…. yes… Jesus makes it very arrantly clear that he loves and cherishes villains who believe in him 99 times more than their victims and if any of the victims of the villains stopped believing in Jesus (or never did) then Jesus will TORTURE FOR ETENTNITY those victims and will allow the villains to watch the torture and revel in it while Jesus is jubilating the villains and welcoming them to his bosom in heaven.

    ⬛ Luke 15:7 I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.

    Jesus spewed out MULTIPLE parables to explain how he loves and prefers villains much more than their victims.

    🔷1- Parable of the lost sheep
    ⬛ Luke 15:4-7 I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.

    🔷2- Parable of the vineyard workers
    ⬛ Matthew 20:1-16 ….These last have wrought but one hour, and thou hast made them equal unto us, which have borne the burden and heat of the day.But he answered … and said…. I will give unto this last, even as unto thee…..So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen.

    🔷3- Money lender forgiving debtors
    ⬛ Luke 7: 41-43 There was a certain creditor which had two debtors: the one owed five hundred pence, and the other fifty. And when they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both. Tell me therefore, which of them will love him most? Simon answered and said, I suppose that he, to whom he forgave most. And he said unto him, Thou hast rightly judged.

    🔷4- Parable of the prodigal son
    ⬛ Luke 15:11-32 ….It was meet that we should make merry, and be glad: for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found.

    According to those parables a villain can have a life-long career in vitiating humanity and rapine and vile actions leaving countless victims in his wake agonizing and screeching with pain and steeped in misery without Jesus even lifting a finger to stop it. But when this villain decides to retire from his career of ravishing humanity, all he has to do is ask Jesus for forgiveness and be baptized, and he will assuredly be welcomed into the bosom of Jesus with 99 times more joy than his victims who despite Jesus’ abject failure to stop their agonies remained believers.

    ⬛ John 3:36 He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life….
    ⬛ John 3:18 He that believeth on him is not condemned….
    ⬛ Mark 16:16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved….

    And if any of the victims never believed in Jesus or stopped believing in this USELESS pointless supposed savior who never saves but rather prefers villains, then according to Jesus they are destined to ETERNAL torture while their victimizers are watching them being tortured.
    ⬛ John 3:36 … he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.
    ⬛ John 3:18 … he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
    ⬛ Mark 16:16 ….he that believeth not shall be damned.
    ⬛ Luke 16:23 And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and sees Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.

    So anyone who reads the New Tall tales with a discerning critical eye can see that as far as Jesus is concerned, a priest who buggers little children will be more joyously welcomed into Jesus’ bosom than 99 little children he violated and if any of those children grow up to be non-believers in Jesus then they will be tortured for eternity while the priests who violated them watch their agony as entertainment while lying on Jesus’ bosom in heaven.

    Christianity is a religion TAILOR-MADE for villains and brigands and vile priests who bugger little children.

  82. says

    I have reviewed and seen the calls for a ban. I personally am OK banning a person for dishonest argumentation. And Gish Gallop is definitely that. My take on Salvador’s posts is that he’s simply reaching for unrelated arguments in order to keep others on the offensive in order to avoid supporting his own points and giving responses to legitimate queries posed to his own positions. We all know that the existence of a god is not predicated on the truth or falsehood of evolution. The claim that atheists employ “faith” is simply a diversion to say “therefore I don’t have to defend my own claims.” Etc.

    Because I’m hot to ban anyone I view as not engaging in honest conversation, I just asked another mod to review and give me feedback to make sure my perspective is not unique. If I get back a thumbs up, I will implement the ban–as this has gone on long enough to say everyone has had sufficient time to make their relevant points by now. If the other mod doesn’t agree with me, I will ask a few others to review as well.

    Thanks for the review request. I wanted to just post that it is being reviewed.

  83. says

    I consulted with two other mods, and one said they didn’t think it was worth a ban, the other said if it would merit a hangup, it should merit a ban. I tend to agree. I also, however, indicated that I would be OK issuing a warning. In this case, the original claim was about a blind girl. I would like to see two questions addressed, that from the call to this day, have still not been addressed:

    1. Where is the confirmation of this situation? Surely inexplicably curing blindness should merit a write up in a peer-reviewed journal? When I asked Konnor for such a citation–he supplied it right away–here on this blog, as a caller on the same show. It defies credulity to think that this child had documented evidence of her condition, which was then cured without medical treatment, and that this would be scientifically inexplicable, and yet there is no *official* medical record of the event that was published. Where is the citation for the publication of this event? If it’s not existent, then it is reasonable to believe it’s no more impressive than any other false claim of healing, or that it simply wasn’t extraordinary enough to merit medical investigation and verification–in which case, whatever happened was not miraculous at all. I don’t care about someone telling a story about it. I want to know where the medical community interest in this is? And if I missed it, and it is included above, my apologies. But I didn’t see it.

    2. And with regard to assertions that the girl might reasonably believe god healed her–no. That is not warranted. And I want to see how Salvador is getting from “someone was cured of blindness, therefore god.” When an unexplained event occurs, it’s *unexplained*. That means, the conclusion that is reasonable is “I don’t know what happened.” There is an old traditional story about Tesla thinking he was in touch with aliens, and that’s how his intellectual breakthroughs in his field occurred. I don’t even know if the story is true or not–but the question is whether it’s reasonable to believe it just because HE believed it? Is that compelling evidence? Of course not. The fact he had brilliant thinking in an area is not evidence that aliens were the cause. Where no cause can be demonstrated, the cause is unknown. And it is NOT reasonable to believe the cause is whatever anyone claims it is.

    Neither of these two things, from what I see above, have been addressed, and both of them were the original claims. Can we AT LEAST get these resolved before moving onto a batch of other claims that have zero to do with whether or not a god exists? For the record, if all of science fell to nothing tomorrow–that does NOT result in “therefore a god exists”. If folks at the blog want to argue over scientific claims–certainly that’s up to them. But it’s unrelated to the existence of god/s. So, if the goal is to demonstrate a god exists, disproving any scientific claim does not result in a god–unless someone wants to suggest the argument from ignorance fallacy now represents valid reasoning.

  84. Monocle Smile says

    Sal screaming “but but but elevatorgate” in the face of things like rudown’s post rubs me the wrong way.

    I’d like to actually discuss some of the science claims as well, but I think there’s little chance of that happening.

  85. Honey Tone says

    I don’t think Cordova warrants a ban (yet). I’ve only been here a relatively short time, so I don’t know his history. But if he hasn’t been trolling this site for a long time, his posts for this episode aren’t bad enough. He has 8 posts out of 93 (as of the time I’m writing this), so he’s not exactly hogging the space. Yes, some of his posts are quite long, but others here write longer posts only tangentially related to any issues from the episode or raised in the postings. (IMO, some of you seem to think this is your personal blog! 😜).

    AXP *invites* believers to call, and it offers the episode blogs for further discussion. We have to expect irrational, and even dishonest (by our standards), thinking by people defending irrational beliefs which they have held tightly for a lifetime – even the ones who claim to be scientists. Not everybody’s going to suddenly become thoughtful and considerate when their flawed thinking is exposed; some are going to twist and squirm and scream. I think we need to let that happen because it teaches us all.

  86. Joe says

    After taking some time to read Gerard Jellison’s (link provided in Post #65 above) in depth review of the book “Genetic Entropy” by John Sanford I’ve come to the preliminary conclusion that his book does not provide strong enough evidence for his hypothesis that Darwinian evolution is unworkable, the genetic extinction of the human genome is certain, and these conclusions thus indicate young-Earth creationism is true.
    I’m not an expert in the fields of evolution or genetics so I can’t claim any special knowledge attaches to my conclusions — and for the record I have not read the book by Sanford — don’t really have the time or money to do so.
    NOTE: John C. Sanford (born 1950) is an American plant geneticist, and an advocate of intelligent design and young earth creationism.
    [I.] First, the best *summary* conclusion by Jellison’s in his critical review that I’ve found is this:
    …In association with several other creationists, Sanford has developed a computer program, “Mendel’s Accountant,” that allegedly confirms his claims. However, from his Figure 14, we see that Mendel’s Accountant predicts at least a 40% decline in human “fitness” during the last 2,000 years. As already noted, human beings today are no less fit than they were during the Roman Empire. Taken together with the lack of detectable ecological breakdown due to genetic decline in animal and plant species, it’s clear that Sanford’s scenario is inconsistent with reality. Most of his “evidence” for genetic entropy consists of computations generated by his Mendel’s Accountant program, but the results are of little value since the program fails to reproduce the observed high fitness of organisms in the real world.
    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
    [II.] Now let me try to expand on the summary given above of Gerard Jellison review of “Genetic Entropy”. The entire review is VERY lengthy and appears to be well researched (it includes several email exchanges with the author of the book) —- so, here is a quick cut and paste of some key details/issues:
    …most mutations, good or bad, are nearly neutral, and this creates “the biggest problems for evolutionary theory.” There is a “no-selection zone”: a range within which mutations are not filtered by natural selection. For mutations small enough to be in this zone, random drift is more important than natural selection in determining whether a mutation will be eliminated or become fixed in a population. Since most mutations satisfy this criterion, tiny harmful mutations must accumulate in populations, generation by generation, causing inevitable genetic deterioration. Since beneficial mutations are so rare and are essentially all in the no-selection zone, they cannot play the role that evolutionists assign to them. (However, Sanford’s “adapted” version of Kimura’s graph (Sanford’s Figure 3c) is fudged; a comparison with Kimura’s version shows that Sanford has significantly enlarged the “no-selection zone.”) [Note: in an email Sanford claims he has studied the matter and improved analysis of Kimura]
    The genetic extinction of the human genome, Sanford says, is “as certain and deterministic as the extinction of stars, the death of organisms, and the heat death of the universe.” He sees no chance that his arguments could be wrong.
    Sanford says this is why so many species have gone extinct in the past. He displays a curve of Biblical lifespans, and says the reduction in longevity since Old Testament times is strong evidence that his ideas are correct. Although he doesn’t emphasize this point, he clearly thinks species can’t survive for millions of years; hence his ideas lead directly to young-Earth creationism.
    However, of the millions of species of living things in the world, Sanford doesn’t cite a single one that shows real evidence of genetic decline due to his “inevitable” mutational meltdown scenario. The only such “evidence” is a plot of alleged fitness decline in flu viruses, but as I’ll explain shortly, this graph (whether knowingly or not) is fake.
    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
    [III.] There is a question as to whether the data actuall represents “fitness” ….
    …Also, virulence and mortality don’t really measure a virus strain’s genetic fitness very well. They obviously depend on the immune response of the victim population, which will become stronger over time due to exposure to the virus, resulting in less illness regardless of changes in the viral genome. (To be sure, if fitness is defined in terms of reproductive success, the changing immune response might be said to change the fitness of the virus. But this is an environmental change, not anything related to the genome of the virus.) Furthermore, mortality isn’t a good measure of fitness, since a microorganism that kills its host is destroying its own habitat, and may therefore have a low Darwinian fitness.
    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
    [IV.] Whatever value “fitness” might have as defined by the data used in the boot Jellison and Sanford seemed to have a big fight over the data. These data orginated from other researchers (1998 paper by L. Simonsen et al) on alleged fitness decline in flu viruses. Their argument seems to focus on some data presented in Figure 15 of Sanford’s book. Below is an extended cut and paste of the issues related to this data:
    …Your Figure 15 is derived from a graph in which the y-coordinate is a mortality ratio. As you must know but refuse to acknowledge, this ratio is not the same as mortality. Overlooking this misrepresentation for the moment, I’m willing to consider that mortality is at least correlated with virulence, and loosely speaking, may be referred to as “pathogenicity” (the label on your Figure 15). After all, “Genetic Entropy” is a popular-level book, not a scientific treatise. But to equate this quantity with “fitness” as you do in your caption for Figure 15, is so far removed from the meaning of the original data that it is hard to see it as other than an outright lie. (Another possibility was that I misunderstood the Simonsen paper, but that is obviously not the case.) And to accuse me of being reckless, when my observation was correct, is absurd.
    I gladly acknowledge that there is a strong decline in mortality for H1N1, and at least a suggestion of a decline for the other two. I say so in my draft comments. But as you know, there are other credible explanations for the disappearance of flu strains with time. And the trend is very unclear for H2N2 and H3N2. You state, in the abstract of your 2012 paper, that there was an “exponential decline in mortality rates over time, as seen in all major influenza strains.” Whether you admit it nor not, I believe that and other statements were based on the ratio graphs in Simonsen, rather than the actual mortality data. Correctly graphed, the trend for H2N2 and H3N2 show so much scatter that it’s not clear there is any decline at all (especially if we discard the first couple of years, which always seem to be outliers). Certainly, it is not possible to define a convincing exponential trend in the plots. Could you tell me honestly…did you construct such graphs? And if so, can you seriously claim to find evidence of time courses that, by virtue of their “tightness,” rule out factors such as herd immunity and medical and hygienic factors? If so, please forward your plots to me so that I can acknowledge the exponential declines you claim.
    But I know this is not the case. And I note that you have ignored the essential result of the Simonsen paper…that the change in mortality ratios can be nicely explained by making some simple assumptions about immune responses in the two age groups. The actual mortality values are so messy that Simonsen et al. were unable to use them as basis for a theoretical model. This does not prove that “genetic entropy” plays no part in the observed phenomena, but it does show that an honest account of the data requires acknowledgement of essential information that you withhold.
    = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

  87. anxionnat says

    Hi, Tracy and John. Great show! I have not commented before. I was interested in the part of the show where the guy who called was talking about the catholic “miracle” of a bloody communion wafer. I was brought up as a catholic child in the 1950s and 60s. I very clearly remember being told in catechism that if the communion host is damaged that it will bleed. Generally, we were assured, this was done by “Jews” who stole the hosts and put a nail through them. I was petrified with fear that if I chewed the host, I would get a mouthful of blood. At that time, my mom enrolled me in a book club for catholic kids, and I got a book a month about various catholic saints–who, coincidentally (NOT!) were my exact age. This bloody host story was in many of the books. I especially remember one book about an Iroquois young woman who saw a group of “heathen warriors” led by a short, stooped, white man with a large hooked nose (yes, that’s what the book said) stealing a number of hosts from a church. The miscreants used an axe to chop the hosts up, and of course there was blood all over the place. The young woman (of course) fainted at the sight of the blood. She was saved by a catholic missionary who came on the scene, arrested the Iroquois warriors and their leader. The priest then dipped his hand in the blood and made a cross on the young woman’s forehead, which revived her, caused her to convert, etc. The books I got told this type of story over and over again. The miscreants were *always* “savages” led by guess who. I thought that was just a 1950s/60s thing, but apparently some people still believe this hooey. That type of story was so preposterous to me (even at age ten) that I stopped believing by the time I was 12. Oh, and I never ended up with blood in my mouth. The hosts, by the way, had the consistency and taste of a scrap of typing paper, and people going to communion had to fast (water only) from the night before, because the hosts were so “holy” that they couldn’t be mixed with regular food. This changed later on, but that rule sounds to me like there was a problem understanding the process of digestion. From those stories, and others, I drew a moral: Be careful what you believe in.

  88. t90bb says

    94 Honey

    Its not really about hogging space..its about honest engagement…..Sal’s argument on the show is basically that he read a miracle account of his magic genie curing a blind girl….and this account has “haunted him”. It seems like nothing more than an argument from emotion with his impassioned pleas of “what if its true!”.

    He has been asked dozens of direct questions and he simply side steps them with diversion.

    I played back his call a couple times and his foolishness was deception was tipped in his very first sentences. He says that “he almost left the faith” but “came back” as a result of this and other miracle claims. Sal, if you never actually left the faith then there was nothing to come back to. And if you actually had abandoned the faith….what specifically caused you to leave??? It seems a ruse to make the story seem dramatic.

    Sal has been repeatedly asked what he has done to conform this “healing”, or what he can reveal that he found so “haunting” about this specific miracle claim as opposed to the thousands of others of Christianity and many. many other faiths. He avoids these direct questions, just like he does on the call into the show. On the show he stutters and stammers on these very basic questions appearing to admit “Well, Ive never thought of these objections and questions before”.

    So let me get this right….hes a well schooled and trained scientist, and currently a research assistant…..and these most simple questions and requests for confirmation regarding this “healing” STUMPED him on live TV.???

    You have got to be kidding. ….. this is the cognitive dissonance that is needed to convert actual scientists to creationists. Sal has it bad. Real bad.

  89. Curt Cameron says

    It’s late Thursday and this episode still hasn’t been posted. Are we just skipping this week?

  90. Honey Tone says

    #97 t90bb

    I was pretty sure it wasn’t about volume, but that’s one of the curses of me being a newby.

    Cordova keeps getting squashed, and I think it’s useful to demonstrate how *all* his utterances lack merit even if (or maybe precisely because) he’s dishonest. It is ridiculed by its own ineptness. Then again, I’m not yet completely bored by theistic missionary efforts.

    His professed disingenuousness of course is a ruse. It amazes me how often I encounter his kind “dipping a toe in the water” to see if there’s anybody around who can challenge their bs on a technical level or on a logic level or, failing those, on an emotional level. This world unfortunately shows that there’s no lack of candidates who will fall for some aspect of religious messaging, even highly educated ones like Sanford.

    I’m in favor of pushing back against all of it. The intellectually honest should get thoughtful consideration and serious engagement. The dishonest ones need to have their idiocy paraded.

  91. RationalismRules says

    I support warning prior to banning. Seems fairest to give someone the opportunity to change their behavior, and interesting to see how they respond.

  92. says

    It’s pretty telling that the claimed evidence for a god existing is coming from sporadic, inconsistent accounts. You have people grasping at the vaguest wisps. A scattering of accounts of unlikely, unexplained, and/or unverifiable events with no clear connection to each other being used to justify a variety of beliefs in the face of a lifetime of experiences that overwhelming fail to indicate the accuracy of beliefs that shouldn’t even be in question, if true. Yet some non-replicable account or another seems compelling?

    Once, when I was a kid outside playing, right as my gaze passed over a porch light, the cover suddenly fell off and broke. An unlikely occurrence to have the timing work out such that it fell right as my gaze passed over it. And in all the times since then that my gaze has passed over porch lights, never has another of their covers fallen off as my gaze went over it. Imagine me thinking I had some sort of ‘psychic powers’ as a result. And imagine that despite the entire rest of my experiences in life failing to indicate I had such powers, or that such powers existed at all, that I just kept looking back to that one event and thinking that I just had to have psychic powers.

    Never mind that I would expect a world where such powers existed to be considerably different from what I see. Never mind that a rare unlikely coincidence such as that is entirely possible without psychic powers, with there being numerous alternate non-coincidence explanations that I can’t discriminate between based on the observations available. Never mind the lack of ability to repeat the supposed effects. (And never mind that everyone else only has my account of the event even happening as described.) In spite of all that, I would be grasping at this one wisp I suppose will support my existing belief that I don’t want to acknowledge is unjustified.

    And if I felt that that one wisp didn’t seem like enough, I could also reinforce it with other accounts. There are people out there who might relate similarly unlikely events, and some accounts might even sound ‘impossible’ if I am wrong about the existence of psychic powers. Despite the fact that, individually, all the accounts still suffer the same problems as my account, perhaps if I grasp at enough of these ethereal wisps, that will give me something tangible.

    It’s not enough to simply have an observation, even if it’s accurate as you present it. The interpretation of an observation has implications about what is true in reality, and those implications mean that you should have expectations of future observations. When those observations of something like prayers healing turn out to not be replicable, it falsifies specific notions of there being a reliable agent responding to prayers in a consistent way. When this is pointed out to people, it’s not uncommon to see them fall back to unfalsifiable notions of capricious or trickster agents who intentionally behave in such a way as to mess with people while giving no clear evidence of any intervention.

    The falling back to unfalsifiability is pretty telling as well. When people think they have a solid case to make, they make it.

  93. lunacy says

    We all came from the great beyond. It’s beyond our reach you guys; and so, it follows to be as magic before our eyes. God only knows how long we have not been; But, it is reasonable to assume that nothing is something, and so we return to the great beyond when the time comes, to become constructs of our own reality. As it was, so shall it be. Unless you find reason to set yourself apart from that which has formed you. It is then that possibilities emerge; the proverbial rebirth, the birth of a Phoenix from the ashes of a lion.

    Yours Truly, Lunacy

  94. Joe says

    NBC News article
    Rather than wasting our time debating such nonsense as the Kalam Cosmological Argument vs presuppositional Transendental Arguments this news article should serve to focus our energies on situations like that described here:
    By Corky Siemaszko

    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –


    The chill set in not long after word got out that Elizabeth Deal’s little girl was not taking the Bible class at her West Virginia public grammar school.


    Her daughter, Jessica Roe, then a first-grader, felt it first.


    When her teacher and the pastor who ran that class realized they didn’t have a permission slip for Jessica Roe to attend, they placed her and another girl who wasn’t enrolled in the county’s Bible in the Schools program in a coat closet and gave them iPads “to amuse themselves” during the 30-minute class, Deal said.


    In the days and weeks that followed, Jessica Roe brought books from home when she was dispatched to the library or computer lab to sit, mostly by herself, while her classmates were in the Bible program, her mother said.


    “My child was offered no alternative education,” said Deal, 42, a granddaughter of two West Virginia coal miners who was raised a Methodist in the Virginia suburbs of Washington and now describes herself as agnostic.


    When Jessica Roe was in third grade, the bullying began, Deal charged in a lawsuit she and another family filed in January 2017 against the Mercer County Public Schools, with the help of the Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation, which advocates for the separation of church and state.


    “The kids started telling her that she and her family were all going to hell,” Deal said. “One girl saw the Harry Potter book that Jessica Roe was reading and slammed it down on her desk. ‘You don’t need to be reading this witch magic stuff, you should be reading The Bible,’ she yelled.”


    In 2016, Deal transferred her daughter to a public school across the state border, in Bluefield, Virginia. After she sued in 2017, Mercer County suspended the class.


    “This isn’t about me saying you’re wrong because you’re Christian,” Deal said. “I am for anything that makes someone a better person. … But part of freedom of religion is separating church and state.”


    Deal spoke this week after a three-judge panel, in a unanimous decision Monday, concluded that Senior District Judge David Faber of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia made an error when he dismissed Deal’s challenge to the Bible in the Schools program.


    In November 2017, Faber ruled that because the district had already suspended the Bible class and one of the children (Jessica Roe) was no longer enrolled in the county schools, the lawsuit was no longer ready to be litigated.


    In a 16-page ruling, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit rejected that reasoning. Writing for the trio, Judge Diana Gribbon Motz said the parents had challenged the program “as it existed at the time the suit was filed.” The case now goes back to the district court to decide.


    The Mercer County Public Schools were represented by the First Liberty Institute, a nonprofit Texas law firm “dedicated exclusively to protecting religious liberty for all Americans.”


    Asked if they plan to appeal, First Liberty’s deputy general counsel Jeremy Dys sent a statement expressing disappointment in the decision and adding, “We’re considering all our options.”


    “Mercer County Schools remains committed to following the law as it provides diverse educational opportunities to its students,” it said.


    As for whether the Bible program has been mothballed for good, the statement went on to say that “the program as it existed once is never coming back.”


    Instead, the school system “has adopted The Bible and Its Influence as an elective in its high schools,” the statement said.


    That is the title of a 2005 textbook that is billed as “the only First-Amendment-safe textbook that supports academic study of the Bible from Genesis to Revelation.”


    Its publisher, The Bible Literacy Project, says it is used in 625 public high schools in 42 states.


    In southwestern West Virginia, Mercer County is overwhelmingly white and Christian. It is coal country and Trump country.


    Bible classes had been taught in the Mercer County public schools by volunteers for some 75 years when Deal and the other parent, who is unidentified in court papers, sued. But they weren’t the first to raise objections.


    In 1985, the parents of eight Mercer County students filed a complaint with the state’s Education Department, according to Deal’s lawsuit. It was not immediately clear what they were objecting to, but a year later the Mercer County Board of Education took over running the program and a corporation was created to fund it for the approximately 4,000 students in the district.


    Deal’s first brush with the program came when Jessica Roe brought home a permission slip for her parents to sign.


    Deal said she conferred with her ex-husband and decided “we wanted our daughter to be able to decide for herself, when she gets older, what religion she wants to follow.”


    “But on the permission slip there was no place to check no,” she said. “So we didn’t send the paperwork in.”


    In their lawsuit, Deal and the other parent referred to the program as “Bible indoctrination classes” and said the lessons being imparted were “similar to what a child may hear in a church’s Sunday school.”


    Deal said that while her daughter was punished by her peers almost right away, “there was no real blowback for me until I joined the lawsuit.”


    “It’s not like anybody got in my face or threatened me,” she said. “But there were plenty of comments on the local newspaper Facebook page, things like: I hope Elizabeth Deal can feel the flames of hell licking at her feet.”


    Deal said claims by defenders of the program that they were just teaching about the Bible and not proselytizing “are just not true.”


    “Lesson 1 instructs students to listen to the directions and warnings that are given in the Bible and to follow them in their own lives,” Deal and the other parent stated in their complaint.


    The program also promoted religious beliefs like creationism and incorrect descriptions of history, including the idea that humans and dinosaurs coexisted, the papers state.


    “So picture Adam being able to crawl up on the back of a dinosaur!” Lesson 2 states, according to the suit. “He and Eve could have their own personal water slide! Wouldn’t that be so wild!”


    Deal said she is not against religion, and her family celebrates Christmas as a time of giving. “There’s just no need to have this in the schools,” she said.

    = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

  95. Honey Tone says

    Someday, someway, somebody’s going to have to explain to me how using my atheist tax dollars to teach and/or promote *any* religion in a public school constitutes “protecting religious liberty for all Americans.”

    It is alarming how intellectual honesty, candor, professional ethics and common decency are manipulated and sidestepped by lawyers, scientists, educators and other professionals when it comes to religion. They are killing confidence in our institutions. So much for their absolute morality claims.

  96. says


    this news article should serve to focus our energies on situations like that described here

    this topic has been covered on previous shows and will doubtless come up again.

    folks here can walk and chew gum.

  97. twarren1111 says

    All very interesting.

    I did a search of Sal Cordova on Pharyngula. Very enlightening. I then got to posts on Uncommon Descent. But then most telling are copious posts and threads on The Skeptical Zone. All of you have him pegged very well.

    And to get to the real, root point. Logic helps us determine what the subject is. Why the hypothesis is. Then the evidence is gathered and this then results in Bayesian analysis. And this is why I’m such a fan of Tracie (Tracie!!!- n.b. I toned down to three !): she so well intuitively does this. Sal is all about the Gish Gallop. And that’s the rub. The first claim (blindness) needed to be focused on first bc it was Sals first claim. Then, what’s the evidence. Then, what’s the likelihood the claim is try given the evidence. And that’s TP/TP+FP. And it’s a fail.

    It is amazing to see how Sal thinks over years on TSZ. In particular, two people (Entropy and John Harshman) are especially effective at calling him out. Repeatedly. And Sal refuses to learn.

  98. t90bb says


    Sal likes his conclusion. For hum, having ice cream and trimming Jesus’s toenails for eternity is better than the honest uncertainty. He classically tries to contort the evidence to match his conclusion (wishes). When you have to fall back to being “haunted” by a pretty obvious fairy tale….it speaks to how shitty his evidence actually is. Some people need religion. Uncertainty is too terrifying for some. Sal appears to be one of those. He is clearly dishonest though….the ruse of him actually trying to sound reasonable is easily seen through. He is who he is.

  99. RationalismRules says

    @Lunacy #105
    Such elaborate word salad is obviously intentional. A troll, and not even a skilled one.

  100. says

    In Catholicism, the Miracle of Lanciano is a Eucharistic miracle which occurred in the eighth century in the city of Lanciano, Italy. According to tradition, a monk who had doubts about the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist found, when he said the words of consecration at Mass, that the bread and wine changed into flesh and blood. The Catholic Church officially claims the miracle as authentic.

    The relics of this miracle currently reside in the Church of San Francesco, Lanciano in Corso Roma.

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