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Letter to an Atheist by Michael Patrick Leahy
Posted: 13 April 2007 11:37 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 91 ]  
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[quote author=“Michael Patrick Leahy”]Eucaryote:

You write:

“masters and slaves who FIND themselves in a master-slave relationship!!! 
You are a riot Mr. Leahy.”

Your attempt at ridicule here is actually quite instructive for all to consider.

You seem to imply that throughout history the master-slave relationship was always one in which an active decision was made by the master to enslave the slave.

Certainly there were times, especially when the practice began many thousands of years ago, in which a non slaveowner enslaved another human being. This usually happened during warfare in the beginning.

But consider the average Egyptian slaveholder in 1500 BC. Did that person go from a non-slaveholder to a non-slaveholder by an active choice to enslave someone else ? Perhaps so, but in many cases that slaveholder was born into a slaveholding family, and that person, indeed, “found himself in a master-slave relationship.”

I see, if you inherit the immoral relationship that makes more moral than acquiring it otherwise? I don’t think so but it’s beside the point. The people who wrote your bible and dreamed up your god are the same people and the same god that accepted and promoted the morality of holding people as property. The same god made sure to include several commandments relating to peoples worship of his celestial ego but not one moral commandment regarding slavery.
Again, you don’t get it.  Slavery was condoned by the moral

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Posted: 13 April 2007 11:39 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 92 ]  
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[quote author=“Michael Patrick Leahy”]Salt Creek,

You’ll be surprised to find that I agree with some important aspects of your posting on slavery and cherry picking of passages.

You are absolutely right about this:

You can cherry pick passages from the Bible and weave them into arguments supporting all kinds of crazy things.

As I must turn my attention to other matters at the moment, I will elaborate on that tantalizing statement in more detail for you in the very near future.

As always, the whole business comes down to hermeneutics. How do you know you have the right one? In the end, I don’t think your program is any worse off (or any better off) than any other theist’s, when making statements about the world when those statements emerge from the interpretation of a text and cannot be discussed independently of their origin in that text, let alone be corroborated by experience. For if they could be corroborated by experience, there would be no need for the text, n’est-ce pas?

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Posted: 13 April 2007 11:39 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 93 ]  
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Mr. Leahy:

Your tenacity is worse than that displayed by my English Bulldog (and that is no easy feat).  If my reasoned argument cannot convince you to recant on this subject, perhaps a change of terminology will:

If you continue to refuse to admit that the Bible “endorses” slavery—can we use the word “condone” instead?  Is it not fair to say that the text of the Bible unambiguously “condones” the practice of slavery?

No, you won’t agree to that either?

OK, how about this statement:  “The text of the Bible contains several rules governing the practice of slavery, and no rules prohibiting or criticizing the practice thereof.  As such, it would be misleading for a person to affirmatively assert that the Bible disapproves of the practice of slavery”.  Will that work for you?

As for your response to my Jefferson Davis quote, while interesting, I find some of your conclusions to be questionable at best.  The fact that (some) Christians may have worked very hard and fought for abolition isn’t terribly relevant or persuasive on the matter of whether the Bible does, or does not, condone slavery.  The fact is, at the time of the Civil War, many people were Christians (as many continue to be today).  Indeed, many Christians fought on both sides of the war, which is a point I readily concede.  But you appear to give Christianity undue credit when you say that “Christians were the driving force in the abolition movement in the United States.”  Of course they were.  Christians were also the driving force AGAINST abolition.  Sheesh man!  Christians deserve no special credit as a group on the mere grounds that SOME of them fought for abolition.  I imagine some atheists did too, but I don’t see you giving atheists credit for abolition.  In any event, this is utterly irrelevant to the larger discussion.

And so you know, I’m a Southerner too.  Born in Mississippi and raised in North Carolina.  (Though I’m very thankful to have been emancipated from the South, and now live in the progressive city of San Francisco).  So you needn’t educate me on the thinking of Southerners.  I am one.  I differ only in that I don’t believe in superstition (God); I don’t vote Republican (even though I also happen to be an airborne soldier and patriot as well); I have an education (J.D., B.A., U.C. Berkeley); and I don’t think there’s much in Civil War history for Southerners to claim pride in.  But that’s just my $.02.

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Posted: 13 April 2007 11:45 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 94 ]  
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Oh, give it up, Kelly. Your perspicacity is exceeded only by your loquacity. :D

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Posted: 13 April 2007 11:47 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 95 ]  
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What’s perspicacity?  And for that matter what’s loquacity?  I’m jus’ a dum ol’ suth’ner. . .

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Posted: 13 April 2007 11:48 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 96 ]  
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[quote author=“waltercat”][quote author=“Michael Patrick Leahy”]Waltercat,

Kudos to you for actually citing a specific passage in my “show me an endorsement passage” challenge.

You write:

“Exodus 21:20 certainly tacitly endorses slavery:

God wrote:

‘When a slaveowner strikes a male or female slave with a rod and the slave dies immediately, the owner shall be punished. But if the slave survives a day or two, there is no punishment; for the slave is the owner’s property.’  “

This passage is clearly a comment on the rule of conduct for slaveowners.

But you make an unsubstantiated leap by stating that it “tacitly endorses” slavery.

It does not.

“Endorse” means to approve and support.

I don’t want to be rude, but this is ridiculous.  Go grab a dictionary and look up the word ‘tacit.’

Furthermore, you have not responded to my claim that God, if he had not approved of slavery, would have taken the opportunity, while condemning slaveholders for the immediate deaths of those they beat, to also condemn slavery.  GOD DID NOT DO THAT.  WHY?

God also said that slaves are property.  If that is not a tacit endorsement of slavery, please tell me what is.

If I was of a different persuasion, I might be inclined to accuse Michael Patrick Leahy of intellectual dishonesty.  He seems to have willfully misunderstood what I meant when I said that Exodus 21:20 tacitly endorses slavery.  He says that ‘endorse’ means to approve or support.  Yes, Mr. Leahy, and God, in Ex 21:20 tacitly (very nearly explicitly, actually) approves and supports slavery.  God says that slaves are property.  This is a fairly ringing endorsement.  PEOPLE ARE NOT PROPERTY.  And if God disapproved of slavery, He would recognize that.  The fact that God did NOT take the opportunity to say that slavery is a vile institution is very telling.

Now I understand that Mr. Leahy is dealing with objections and arguments from many able minds here.  But that is no excuse for ignoring my post.  I hope that is failure to respond is an indication that he is taking what I say under advisement and rethinking the (now quite obviously proved false) position that no passage in the Bible endorses slavery.  But if that were so, then he should not be continuing the argument at all. He ought to concede so that we can move on.

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Posted: 13 April 2007 12:02 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 97 ]  
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Waltercat,

I will get to your posting on slavery, I promise. Please be patient.

Mr. Kelly,

UC Berkeley Law and a southerner ? A great combination.

We’ve only just begun to scratch the surface of the topic of Christian faith and slavery.

And, I will state this loudly and clearly for all in the “Bible endorses slavery crowd” to hear.

1. Overall, you are not well informed on the history of slavery. Many of your assumptions grow from this lack of knowledge.
2. I detect a general desire to look at the passages of the Bible as a set of logical rules, which are to be understood based on your understanding of the words used in some abstract vacuum of thought. There is a complete abhorrence and inability on your part to think beyond your gut reaction that fits within your “world view” and learn about the true circumstances of the society in which the words were written.

And, to any of you interested, I am looking for a couple eloquent atheists to be part of an ongoing point counter point on my blog. (http://lettertoanatheist.blogspot.com ).

I think this discussion on slavery, for instance, could be better handled in more detail on such a forum.

And, though this may sound odd to some of you, I really am very appreciative of every reply on this topic because it helps me understand the general atheist argument on this topic much better.

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Posted: 13 April 2007 12:21 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 98 ]  
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[quote author=“Michael Patrick Leahy”]2. I detect a general desire to look at the passages of the Bible as a set of logical rules, which are to be understood based on your understanding of the words used in some abstract vacuum of thought. There is a complete abhorrence and inability on your part to think beyond your gut reaction that fits within your “world view” and learn about the true circumstances of the society in which the words were written.

That is precisely the point. The words in your Bible were written, not by God, but by a bunch of “lonesome mouseshit sheepherders”, to borrow a phrase from another fellow well-versed in Southern Belle Lettres. Those sheepherders did, in fact, endorse slavery. Never mind. This whole drawn-out column of verbiage is based on the agreement that we talk to you as if your mutterings about God were something to respond to rationally. The entire point is that the reason God appears to condone slavery is not because God actually exists and condones slavery, but because those lonesome mouseshit sheepherders dreamed up an ultimate authority figure to condone for them what they themselves were doing, and to forbid anything that might tend to undermine the Lonesome Mouseshit Sheepherder Priesthood Power Structure.

God did not appear to an advanced society that knew better than to practice slavery. He appeared to the LMSPPS. Isn’t that convenient? Had he appeared to anyone with an ounce of scientific training, the conclusion would have been that the vision was due to eating the wrong kind of desert seed pod.

If you want the book to be authored or inspired by something called “God’, then goddammit, you are stuck with a god that condones slavery or condones a society that practices slavery. If you want to cherry pick, then your case for absolute authority fails, and you are engaging in public masturbation.

Responding to you is like responding to a crack-blasted derelict on a rainy streetcorner as he addresses the air.

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Posted: 13 April 2007 12:40 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 99 ]  
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You seem to have the same general problem as all the “atheistically oriented” people who seem to WANT the Bible to endorse slavery.

ROFL….There is no greater possible form of slavery than the Object/Creator relationship of God and Mankind.

How could God object to slavery? Manufactured objects are meant to be owned.

God’s only possible objection would be if one of his possessions claimed to have right of ownership grater than God’s.

Maybe we can discuss whether or not chairs are enslaved by tables.

We don’t need the Bible to endorse slavery. Once anyone uses the word “GOD”, we are all enslaved.

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Posted: 13 April 2007 01:28 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 100 ]  
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I’ve read through the entire 20 factual errors, and I must say that “factual errors” is a misnomer in many of these instances. For the polling data, the numbers were just interpreted differently. Sam and Leahy chose to either parse or unite the groups based on their importance to their message. Here, I think Sam’s unification of those who don’t believe in teaching evolution as it is taught today (and how it is evolving for the future)  can be grouped into the same category. It seems that Mr. Leahy just does not want to be lumped in with a bunch of crazies.

That was factual errors 1-5; just different interpretation of the polling data.

In regards to fact number 6, I think Mr. Leahy is offering an oversimplification of morality fit for a kindergarten lecture on manners. Morality is so much deeper than “right from wrong” which are highly interpretable depending on how one engages the debate. I would expect to see more than a simple definition of morality as a beacon this book’s ability to respond intellectually.

Others have been responding with vigor to the question of slavery, #7. I think there is little doubt that both sides either believed their religious leaders, or they really thought the Bible defended their position. I won’t entertain the fact that the Union was fighting God’s noble war while the South was duped. We’re just lucky the Union won. Either side would have considered themselves blessed by God. It seems to be a habit of people in stressful situations.

Concerning 8, it does not seem like the Golden Rule trumps all the other rules. There is definitely breathing room, and like Mr. Leahy said, many people read this as if there was some logic to it. But the only way to get one interpretation out of it is to treat it like a book of logic. Otherwise, God is in the eye of the beholder. This is why the Golden Rule does not make up for everything else in the Bible. If only there was one way to interpret it. Why not become a Catholic? At least if they’re wrong, they’re all wrong together.

In 9, Mr. Leahy said that the government resisted HPV vaccinations was untrue since it was the FRC who was against the legislation. I would agree with the interpretation if the FRC were the ones who passed the laws; they are lobbyists. But the conclusion that the FRC preferred parental consent before allowing vaccinations was much different from the portion quoted which, summarily, stated the FCR’s view that STD vaccinations send the message that not only under age sex is OK, but that the vaccinations will protect them from all vaccinations. That is all I got from the quoted portion. The analysis appears fabricated in the context of the article.

I do disagree with Harris somewhat in claim 10. I think that Christians refuse to consider it a responsibility to protect their children from STDs because of the apparent endorsement of sexual activity, not because they think the fear of being unvaccinated will deter sexual activity in their children. However, this somewhat contradicts the position that the Bible does not condone slavery. Do the readers see the correlation in the willingness to admit endorsement only when it suits Mr. Leahy’s beliefs?

In claim 11, I think Mr. Leahy is really getting picky. First, there is a disagreement with Mr. Harris’ figures because the Netherlands and France interpret their data differently? I don’t think this is necessarily a fair gripe at all in terms of the content of Sam’s book, even though Mr. Leahy’s claims do appear to be true, I’m still not quite sure they are relevant. Even if the figures were off, is there any better data that contradicts Harris? I’ll fault Harris for not being as accurate as possible, but I also fault Mr. Leahy for attempting to represent this as a factual error.


The problem I see in number 12 is again a different interpretation of the facts. Sam Harris could easily have averaged the two separate numbers used by Mr. Leahy: “the federal government will spend approximately $170 million on abstinence only education programs in fiscal year 2005, more than twice the amount spent in fiscal year 2001” (qtd on website), to get the figure “over 200 million.” However, I think Harris is nailed on claim. It looks like he chose the wrong resources to represent his argument. It’s also possible that I’m interpreting Mr. Leahy’s interpretation incorrectly; then again, I am biased toward myself and Sam.

I would have appreciated the person’s position that Sam apparently invented in claim 13. I know that Mr. Finger may have been misquoted, but I would still have liked to have seen his position as Sam may still not be far off the mark. I’m left as unsure. Mr. Finger is an Evangelical Christian, after all.

In regards to 14, 7 percent of National Academy of Sciences members reportedly believe in personal God, while reportedly 40% of everyone holding PhDs reportedly believes in a person God. Mr. Leahy represented these two studies as if they were the same, as if 40% percent were much closer to the real number, and did this by assuming that the survey of those who responded in the NAS survey was not a representative sample. He was using two separate surveys, and I do not feel that he was interpreting them accurately.

For number 15, 40% Christian, 40% Muslim, 10-20% tribal or animism, the question of whether they are unwaveringly religious does not come down to numbers, which Mr. Leahy appears to use as a basis for discrediting Sam Harris. It would be more proper to show that conflicts are not religion-based rather than, again, just parsing religious groups in order to lower the percentages pertaining to each individual group as a subset of a larger group—religious.

Concerning Newton in #16 and #17, (and the other scientists), although he was a brilliant man, he still gave into his intellectual inferiority in front of the majesty of the Universe and said (and I paraphrase) “God did it” simply because he could not explain it. He was undoubtedly brilliant, but the fact that he was a scientist does not make his comments about God at all scientific.

With regards to #18, unless there is some evidence that life could not have evolved on this planet—rather than the argument being that we don’t have enough evidence to conclude as such—the only possible argument is a better scientific theory (of which there is none) or to say that God did it. Aliens, if they created us, would still be subject to the laws of evolution; they would have evolved in gradual increments just as everyone else. Everything concerning a supernatural, unchanging God, not subject to the laws of evolution, is a theological claim, and it is indeed an argument from ignorance.

19 and 20 are rehashed of earlier concerns.

I hope you find this as useful, constructive criticism. I was trying to be fair while defending Sam Harris at the same time, so if I come off as antagonistic, I don’t believe it’s meant to be taken personally, though I can’t necessarily say that it is or isn’t. I’ll find out with the reaction.

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Posted: 13 April 2007 01:45 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 101 ]  
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[quote author=“Michael Patrick Leahy”]
1. Overall, you are not well informed on the history of slavery. Many of your assumptions grow from this lack of knowledge.
2. I detect a general desire to look at the passages of the Bible as a set of logical rules, which are to be understood based on your understanding of the words used in some abstract vacuum of thought. There is a complete abhorrence and inability on your part to think beyond your gut reaction that fits within your “world view” and learn about the true circumstances of the society in which the words were written.

Mr. Leahy:

I resent the several assumptions you have made regarding my knowledge regarding slavery and/or biblical history.  I fully understand your thesis that the Bible should be read and understood in light of the time it was written (and thus the circumstances that existed at that time).  I am equally well aware that slavery was not uncommon during the time of which we speak, and that it makes perfect sense to expect the Bible, as an ancient document (both in its authorship, and of the times it depicts) to discuss and treat slavery as if it were the norm. 

But you seem to have mistaken my various arguments and read something therein that was neither stated outright nor implied.  I am not asserting that the Bible “commands us to have slaves”.  Nor am I asserting that the Bible is the source or cause of slavery itself (or the source of all evil for that matter).  I fully concede, and have not argued to the contrary, that in biblical times, slavery was commonplace.  I have no reason to libel the Bible by saying that it was either the cause or the source of slavery, either in the biblical times, or in pre-abolition America.  I do not believe this is the case, and that isn’t my argument at all.

What I am asserting is that as of our current day, humanity has grown intellectually and morally (although often fighting tooth and nail against Religion to do so), and that we now properly view the concept of slavery as abhorrent.  Unfortunately, however, many continue to believe in the Judeo-Christian God, and while their views differ widely (with some viewing the Bible as largely a metaphor; and other accepting every word therein as the literal Truth), the base their worldview on the Bible, or some portion of it.

The Bible, we now understand, was not written by one man, but by many, and over a wide period of time (and was transcribed and revised repeatedly since its earliest form).  Even the newest books of the Bible were nevertheless written a very, very long time ago, and the Bible is thus reflective of the period of time over which it was written.  In some instances the Bible is a maddeningly vague document, subject to widely varying interpretations.  In other cases it is maddeningly and horrifyingly specific, and thus subject to fewer interpretations (though even in these cases, it appears people incline to take differing views).  In spite of this, many among the world’s modern population believe they know the True meaning of the Bible (as well as every rule of morality, the history of the universe and mankind, etc.), and they seek to influence others to share their beliefs and to follow their interpretation of the moral code.  Because of its age and its subjectivity, however, many competing groups now claim to know the Truth, and these interpretations differ materially or esoterically from one sect to another. 

We thus live in a world of competing religions, and competing sects within similar religions—most of which claim to be the only source of Truth, and the only path to Heaven.  If one of these religions or sects is correct, then alas, all the others will be dearly disappointed when their adherents die and find themselves in Hell.  Despite claims that the Bible is a book of peace, adherents to various sects have historically resorted to violence to press their worldview on others.  Given the differing religions and sects, and each one’s claim of a monopoly on Truth and Enlightenment, the world as a whole remains ripe for conflict.  And given the vagueness of the Bible and other religious texts, fanatical adherents can find whatever justification they might need to do violence on others.  This I view as problematic.

Speaking strictly of the Bible (and thus ignoring the Koran, etc.) and Christianity, America’s population appears to be overwhelmingly religious (though the passion of religiosity varies widely).  It can nevertheless be fairly said that a majority of Americans believe the Bible contains all or part of the True narrative of how we came into being, and how we must live our lives.  However, the actual book that Christians base their views on remains a very, very old set writings, written by fallible men, and in the CONTEXT of the times they lived and wrote.  This is why it is no surprise to find guidelines in the Bible governing slave-master relationships.  It’s an ancient, historical set of documents—makes perfect sense to me.  But as noted, it is also subject to widely varying interpretations—AND has been subject to widely varying interpretations and disputes since the time it was written. 

My thesis is that it is irrational to believe the fantastical writings contained in this book, and to use it as a strict set of rules to live in modern society.  It is far more rational to view the Bible as fiction—as the product of superstitious and primitive cultures that understood little of biology, physics, chemistry, etc.  They wrote a book based on the best knowledge available at that time, and it may have been appropriate as a guide for living in that age (especially those handy guidelines for governing slave-master relationships).  But we have finally grown out of those dark, ignorant ages, and by way of science have discovered answers to most of the mysteries that would have eluded the Bible’s authors in their day.  When we read this book literally, we now find much that doesn’t make sense—that doesn’t accord with the reality of the world as we now know it—or with our inherent sense of right versus wrong. 

Slavery is a good example of this.  We look at the Bible now and wonder at the primitively and brutality of those described in its pages.  And we wonder at the foolishness, and utter inapplicability of the rules found within its pages.  It is the height of irrationality to accept a book with the contents of the Bible, and written in the context of historical times, and use it as our guiding principles today.  It is equally foolish to accept the fantasy story of creation found in the Bible, or the divinity of a God, or that his son was born to a virgin and rose to heaven bodily after being crucified.  This might make for an interesting Mel Gibson movie (emphasis on the word “might”) but it is an absurd notion of how a modern and intelligent people ought to live and base their decisions.  It is no more reasonable than to live by the Bible than it would be to live by any other historical writing, including the Odyssey, the Iliad, the Koran—or any other book written millennia ago and purporting to explain to us how the world came to be, and how we should live in it.  This is all folklore, superstition, and mysticism.

In any event, I jumped on your assertion that the Bible doesn’t endorse slavery because I don’t believe that argument passes the sniff-test.  Nobody who reads the actual words of the Bible and interprets those words as they are typically defined can credibly say that the Bible doesn’t at minimum condone slavery (I’ve toned it down from “endorse” if that helps you).  The guidebook we’re supposed to use for life and morality contains rules governing master-slave relationships.  It nowhere explicitly or implicitly rejects the concept of slavery—but it DOES contain the rules to govern master-slave relationships—what?—just in case they’re needed?  Did God intend to be so thorough as to cover every possible scenario that might exist among human relations?  He felt the need to dictate (or otherwise communicate) volumes of rules on exactly what I can and cannot do while naked (including while alone)—but he didn’t feel it might be benevolent of him to state outright that owning other people should probably stop?  You can’t seriously believe this.  [I was tempted to say that perhaps you do believe this, but that maybe you’re one of those Southerners who quietly believes that God actually did think it was ok to own humans.  But this would be ungracious of me, and a far greater insult than to question your knowledge of history (as you did of me—which, by the way, I still resent).]

This has become something of a ramble, but if I could summarize my points briefly—what I’ve tried to explain is that I do understand that slavery was the norm at the time the Bible was authored, and that it makes perfect sense that such norms would be incorporated into the Bible itself.  But that by itself is a strong reason for rejecting the Bible outright as a true or useful document.  IT WAS WRITTEN AT A TIME, AND BY PEOPLE, WHO FELT IT OK TO OWN HUMANS!  And I’m not talking about Jefferson Davis-type people.  I’m talking about some seriously backward dudes.  Moreover, since we hopefully agree that slavery is indeed cruel and reprehensible, the fact that God did not bother to say so—yet did find time to describe how best to manage slavery—is a strong argument that whatever God we’re referring to is not nearly as benevolent as even the average American living amongst us today.  Why would a person believe the ancient stories in this old book?  Why would a modern person worship a supernatural being as described by superstitious men millennia ago?  Why would a modern person accept the story of creation as described by these ancient and superstitious (and not very imaginative) men?  Why would a thinking, modern person base his or her moral code on what these silly ancients wrote?  The answers to these questions are obvious to me, and to other atheists who may read this.  And this is the point I was trying to make.

I will now accept your apology for insulting my knowledge of history.  We don’t have to agree on the existence of God, and indeed, we will not.  But I have not yet called you an uninformed mouth-breather, and I don’t believe you can fairly describe me that way either.

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Posted: 13 April 2007 05:23 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 102 ]  
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Just looking at the most recent posts by Mr. Kelly and snapshot and I must say I am very pleased to see the great care and thought both of you put into your arguments.

Mr. Kelly,

I have a more detailed response in the wings on slavery coming, but your first several paragraphs were really strong and interesting to me. I seem to be able to process replies and respond best when they come in chunks of 5 paragraphs or less, and I find myself skipping down to your later paragraphs sometimes to try and follow the flow of your arguments.

Snapshot,

Wow, you read all 20 false statements and responded to each one of them in thoughtful ways.

I couldn’t ask for anything more on this forum.

I am thinking perhaps the best way to proceed might be to post one False Statement, gather in responses, then respond to all responses.

We’ve covered False Statements 1 through 4 pretty thoroughly in all the posts related to “Sam’s Big Lie”, so I think I’ll address each of your responses to False Statement 5 through 20 one statement at a time.

I don’t think I’ll go in numerical order.

I’ll probably start with your best argument and work backwards from there.

Stay tuned.

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Posted: 13 April 2007 06:13 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 103 ]  
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Michael, you’ve written enough text in this thread that we can now begin the compilation of “Michael’s 20 factual errors.”

On page 5 of this thread in the opening post “kudos to Bob and burt” - you make at least two factual errors.

1)  You claim that a buddhist who accepts Darwin’s theory of evolution is categorized as a “theistic evolutionist.”  WRONG!  First of all there is no god in buddhist philosophy, this means that there is no deity and that buddhism is not a theistic religion. (I will concede that many people who call themselves buddhists do believe in the existence of supernatural entities, but these beliefs are completely inconsistent with buddhist teachings.)

2) You say
“I think both Bob and Phillip Johnson are completely wrong here, each incorrectly trying to apply science to religion, and religion to science.” 
What I said was that a person EITHER believes in god OR accepts the theory of evolution as it is scientifically stated . . . the two things are incompatible and impossible to merge into a single, synthetic concept.  I am in fact NOT trying to apply science to religion, but I am claiming that there is something unreasonable and irrational to apply one to the other.

3) The Big Lie

Just finished reading the last three pages here and compared to what you call “Sam’s Big Lie” about his generous interpretation of some statistics, your Big Lie that “god does not condone slavery” is the height of hypocrisy.  And guess what, you are still defending your position by “generous interpretation of some scriptures” - I can’t believe what I’m reading!

The other 17 factual errors will be contributed by subsequent postings . . .  (anyone?).

BTW Michael, it’s interesting how you start each response by effusive compliments to the previous poster and in the very next sentence you basically claim that the writer is obviously short of a comprehensive understanding of the subject at hand. How strange!

Bob

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Posted: 13 April 2007 06:58 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 104 ]  
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Bob,

What a horrible post.

OK, not totally horrible, just thought I might throw you off a bit.

1. You raise a good point on buddhists. I’m going to look into that. If what you say is right, then tell me this—in what school of thought would you place a buddhist who accepts the theory of evolution ?

2. OK, on the false statement business…. a couple of points. First, there’s a difference between a factually false statement ( Sam’s 50% Big Lie) and an assertion with which you disagree.

My assertion is you are mixing science with religion when you say “a person EITHER believes in god OR accepts the theory of scientific evolution as it is scientifically stated… the two things are incompatible and impossible to merge into a single, synthetic concept” you are OBVIOUSLY mixing science and religion. The two are not at all incompatible.

Here’s a list of people who both believed in God and accepted the Darwinian theory of evolution:

—Asa Gray
—Charles Lyell
—Joseph Hooker
—Hubert Yockey
—Francis S. Collins
—yours truly

AND

37 % of the American population are theistic evolutionists, according to 25 years of Gallup polling.

See what I just did ?

I used FACTS to show the error of your assertions. You might want to try that yourself sometime, as your current method is so unsuccessful.


3. The slavery endorsement thing again. Try some passages that prove your point. You can’t do it, because they aren’t there.

Bob, I am really weary of your style that offers blowhard assertions of your opinion without any supporting facts.

You need to do much better.

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Posted: 13 April 2007 07:04 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 105 ]  
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Sam,

Where are you ?

Why aren’t you returning my calls ?

I’ve challenged you to debate your intellectual honesty, specifically challenged you to prove your BIG LIE that “Half of the American population believes the universe is 6,000 years old.”

Oh, that’s right, you CAN’t prove it, so you are hiding from me.

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