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In case you need further proof that Americans are stupid….
Posted: 02 November 2005 04:34 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]  
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[quote author=“mhatter13”]Do you think it will be true in 50 years, that America will still be the hot-bed of innovation?  I have no crystal ball, but the signs are pointing to no.  Asian countries have developed far superior educational systems, and are growing at a much faster pace.  We spead on guns, they buy books and computers.  Unless we plan on attacking them for innovating faster, our stratedgy seems pretty backwards.

Throw in the Champian/X-tian morons running the government, turning no-brainers like science education into controversy, and you’ve got the recipe for decline.  But to even suggest as much is political heresy.  God Bless America!

My friend, you are obviously not as clueless as MrMoody, who thinks that europeans have “stagnet” economies, and moreover that the “stagnet” is a word (Fox News influence on both accounts). So what’s the deal with “50 years”? America has already lost the technological edge over the world. We all had seen those troubling little signs, had we not? When does American technological superiority manifests itself if not when you troubleshoot your Malaysian-made Dell computer with the help of Dell technical support from Bangalore, India? Or maybe it would finally become obvious to you when your CAT scan is read for you by a Harvard-educated neurologist back in the same Bangalore?
Well, maybe cars is your thing - then keep in mind that American technological innovation by itself produces the likes of Ford Invasion and Buick Alzheimer, but when they decide to make something advanced like a hybrid they turn to Toyota for parts.
Me, I see other things that spell the loss of technological superiority of America. Little things like the scraped Supercollider Project (which still ended up costing a few billions) or like the ITER, which unlike Supercollider is being built but not in US. We don’t need thermonuclear fusion as long as we have endless supply of cheap Saudi oil.
You need other signs? How about the fact that the year past was the first time when over 50% of all new faculty hires in US were foreign-born and educated. Few years before that the same happened to the hires of new postdocs. Delusional evangelicals who like to believe that evolution and not their backwardness is what’s wrong with education here would say that the US always welcomed foreign talent like Albert Einstein. Indeed, the problem is that now we are not simply importing Nazi-prosecuted geniuses like Albert Einstein or prosecuted Nazis like Wernher von Braun. We are importing rank and file scientists, programmers, and other technologically skilled foreigners, hundreds of thousands of them every year, simply to fill out the labs, emptied by religious watering down of science education in public schools and the travesty of the home-schooling system. And you know what - Eisteins are staying home now, we are getting mediocrities from Pekin by a planeful.
In other words to see technological decline in America you don’t have to wait 50 years. The future is now. And it sucks.

[ Edited: 03 November 2005 05:54 AM by ]
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Posted: 03 November 2005 12:54 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]  
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Midgardsormen:

I couldn’t agree with you more!  Our leadership, which was a fact, is slipping faster than I ever believed possible.  Below is a letter-to-the-editor I submitted to my local paper. 

According to a recent story in the Wall Street Journal, most of the world wants to wrest control of the internet from a quasi-US government corporation, and place it within UN auspices.  This struggle was precipitated when the corporation reversed a decision it had already made after pressure to change the decision was brought by the Bush administration on purely religious grounds. 

The administration ignores global warming, citing the opinions of a few government hacks whose views conflict with the overwhelming consensus of world scientific opinion.  Could it be because they expect the “rapture” any day, so why bother promoting stewardship of our fragile environment?

The fact of Darwinian Evolution is the absolute cornerstone of Biology, supported by a mountain of incontrovertible evidence, and every scientific and educational body in the world, yet our president “thinks” that we should give equal time to teaching a repackaged supernatural fairy tale.  Even his own Science Advisor disagreed with him.

We seem to be living in the dawn of a new dark age, and we will be there alone.  The rest of the world is rapidly passing us by, as we sink ever deeper into ignorance and intolerance.  Whatever the Bible is, it certainly is not a science book, so why do we treat it like one?

Pete

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Posted: 03 November 2005 01:08 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]  
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[quote author=“TheChampion”]And while we’re at it, lets start teaching creation in public schools, get back to saying a prayer before ballgames, proudly display the 10 commandments outside of every courthouse, a soup kitchen in evey ghetto, a salvation army in every skid row!!! Let’s do itt!!!!!!!

Yeah!!

But which creation account? Genesis chapter 1 where god creates man and woman on the same day, or Genesis chapter 2, where god creates Adam first, then Adam names all the animals and looks for a sex partner at the same time, then god puts Adam to sleep, pulls out a rib and creates Eve.  And how did the talking snake get around before god cursed it. Did it hop in its tail?
And only 3 of the Ten Commandments are against the law . Should we throw people in jail for coveting?  And thou shall have no other gods before me contradicts freedom or religion in the constitution.

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Posted: 03 November 2005 02:14 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]  
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[quote author=“midgardsormen”][quote author=“mhatter13”]Do you think it will be true in 50 years, that America will still be the hot-bed of innovation?  I have no crystal ball, but the signs are pointing to no.  Asian countries have developed far superior educational systems, and are growing at a much faster pace.  We spead on guns, they buy books and computers.  Unless we plan on attacking them for innovating faster, our stratedgy seems pretty backwards.

Throw in the Champian/X-tian morons running the government, turning no-brainers like science education into controversy, and you’ve got the recipe for decline.  But to even suggest as much is political heresy.  God Bless America!

My friend, you are obviously not as clueless as MrMoody, who thinks that europeans have “stagnet” economies, and moreover that the “stagnet” is a word (Fox News influence on both accounts). So what’s the deal with “50 years”? America has already lost the technological edge over the world. We all had seen those troubling little signs, had we not? When does American technological superiority manifests itself if not when you troubleshoot your Malaysian-made Dell computer with the help of Dell technical support from Bangalore, India? Or maybe it would finally become obvious to you when your CAT scan is read for you by a Harvard-educated neurologist back in the same Bangalore?
Well, maybe cars is your thing - then keep in mind that American technological innovation by itself produces the likes of Ford Invasion and Buick Alzheimer, but when they decide to make something advanced like a hybrid they turn to Toyota for parts.
Me, I see other things that spell the loss of technological superiority of America. Little things like the scraped Supercollider Project (which still ended up costing a few billions) or like the ITER, which unlike Supercollider is being built but not in US. We don’t need thermonuclear fusion as long as we have endless supply of cheap Saudi oil.
You need other signs? How about the fact that the year past was the first time when over 50% of all new faculty hires in US were foreign-born and educated. Few years before that the same happened to the hires of new postdocs. Delusional evangelicals who like to believe that evolution and not their backwardness is what’s wrong with education here would say that the US always welcomed foreign talent like Albert Einstein. Indeed, the problem is that now we are not simply importing Nazi-prosecuted geniuses like Albert Einstein or prosecuted Nazis like Wernher von Braun. We are importing rank and file scientists, programmers, and other technologically skilled foreigners, hundreds of thousands of them every year, simply to fill out the labs, emptied by religious watering down of science education in public schools and the travesty of the home-schooling system. And you know what - Eisteins are staying home now, we are getting mediocrities from Pekin by a planeful now.
In other words to see technological decline in America you don’t have to wait 50 years. The future is now. And it sucks.

the story ain’t from Fox, check out France’s unemployment rate
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/9891709/

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Posted: 03 November 2005 05:50 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]  
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MrMody, the story may be not from Fox, but your frame of mind definitely is - chauvinistic, and alas delusional. High unemployment rate in France does nothing to advance your argument against secularism and socialism, because more socialist and as secular European countries like Netherlands, Sweden and Denmark have unemployment rates as low or lower than in US.
Also don’t forget that the absolute numbers ain’t the whole story. Unlike EU countries US employs dispropotionally large numbers of people in such industries as food and services and military complex, basically in development and production of obesity and death. I know that NASCAR dads would disagree with me on that, but I don’t think that the arts of snacking and shooting are the paths to the future. Actually, we are not doing all that innovatively in military terms either - with all the money DARPA spends on research Eurofighter is the best fighter design, and Israelis left us all in the dust with the military application of lasers. Outside the military we make burgers locally but import computers and best cars from EU and Asia.
But how do we finance this vibrant fat- and death-obsessed economy? By blowing national debt up to 7+ trillions $. BTW French have lower debt, both in absolute numbers and as a fraction of GDP. Dunno about you but I feel uncomfortable depending on Saudi oil AND their continual holding of US treasury bonds for my way of life.

[ Edited: 03 November 2005 01:11 PM by ]
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Posted: 03 November 2005 05:53 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]  
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Pete, good luck with that letter to Editor.

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Posted: 03 November 2005 10:04 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]  
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...that we are not in a boatload of trouble already.  I do think, though, that it will take some time for “us” (meaning the country as a whole) to accept that we’re has-beens.  Right now, we are the only super-power!  We’re number 1!  World police force!  The rest of the world is happy to watch us fritter our wealth away picking fights with crazy fundies.

Oh my God, Champ, I said that the US is a has-been!  I must be a traitor, like evil Howard Dean!  Better call Jesus or Scooter Libby to come over to my place and save me.

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Posted: 12 November 2005 12:48 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 23 ]  
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Having read this thread I have a couple of comments:

1- Carbon dating goes back well beyond 5000 years. It has accurate dates to 40,000 years and a new version called excelerated C14 dating can go back as far as 70,000.  Now there a several other types of absolute dating (estimates in years) available, several can go back 100s of millions of years - these include: potassium-argon, uranium-lead, thorium-lead.  For a listing of other types of dating techniques include: annual climatic variations, such as tree rings (dendrochronology) and varve analysis (yearly glacial melt waters tht deposit “layers of sediments in still shallow lakes below the glacier), fission track; thermoluminescence; optically stimulated luminescence; and electron-spin resonance), chemical processes (amino-acid racemization and obsidian hydration), and the magnetic properties of igneous material, baked clay, and sedimentary deposits (paleomagnetism). Oh and coolest is is ice coring. In Antarctica, they have now drilled ice cores that go back 770,000 years. That is yearly snow deposits in winter with summer snow and dust deposits in summer. White and black bands ust like a tree ring.  There absolutely no way that anyone can argue that the world is only 6009 years old - it flies in the face confirmed, viewable, testable evidence.  As an archeologist I get to teach this stuff all the time.

2 - I posted this on another thread, but it is a letter I sent to Time Mag after their article on ID - essentially it suggests a cross-cultural approach to questioning ID - and may be more relevent here:

Editor, Time Magazine
Regarding your August 15, 2005 story on Evolution Wars.

I note the cliché juxtaposition of the image of human and non-human primates on your cover, suggesting that humans evolved from apes, when in reality we are cousins, having evolved from a common ancestor. We share very similar DNA and basic anatomical characteristics.

It has always amazed me that only the evangelical, fundamental Christian factions are identified, in the media, with challenging the teaching of evolution and promoting religious based alternatives in public school science classes. As an anthropologist, I often wonder what other religious groups think of evolution, and why the general media does not report on the perspectives of these groups. What does Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Indigenous cultural (native American or !Kung Bushmen), Sikhism, Judaism, Baha’i, Jainism, or Shinto religions think about scientific inquiry and the theory of evolution?  Can evolution fit into the cosmology of any of these religions?

Your article serves nicely to demonstrate just how fractured Christians are regarding the revelation of the origins of the world and humanity – is it literally six days, or each day equated to millions of years, or is it evolution but with the guidance of some supra entity (aka intelligent design)?  This leads to the problem of what exactly is the Christian religion and who speaks for Christianity – is it Eastern Orthodox and Western Catholicism (the majority group within Christianity), Coptic, Lutheran, Presbyterian, Methodist, Mormon, Pentecostal, Baptist, Evangelical, Adventist, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Unitarian-Universalist, Latter-Day Saints, Hutterite, Mennonite, Moravian, or Christian Science. Clearly, the conservative, large, well organized portions of Christianity are the most vociferous and active in the debate. Because these groups are so vocal, why should their viewpoints sway public school science curriculum and demand that only their viewpoint be included?

Science is a self correcting process – asking questions, developing hypothesizes, building methodologies to test hypothesizes, assessing if the evidence answers the questions or supports/refutes the hypothesis. This process is repeated independently by numerous scientists and, if supported, result in hypothesizes coalescing to form a general theory. Examples of theories, past and present, include: ocean tides, vaccination, fluid dynamics, radioactivity, ice ages, geologic superposition, cell, germ, genetics, DNA, sub atomic particles, global warming, continental drift, convection, manned flight, chaos, number, string, relativity, superconductivity, and evolution. All these theories have undergone the same rigorous process of analysis and refinement, and continue to do so. Every so often, a theory is so well tested and refined that it is considered a law or constant, e.g. gravity, thermodynamics, motion, Ohms, and fluid dynamics to name a few.

Religion is a cultural universal. Religion is not self correcting; it can not be questioned, tested, or hypothesized. The components of religion are revealed to each society and accepted at face value – vis-à-vis oral traditions or written text. The universal function of religion is three-fold: to explain the unknown (origins and how the natural world operates), to define social roles and accepted behavior (morality), and illuminate the supernatural (spirit world, mana or path to an afterlife). Western religions are guided through the Bible, Koran, and Torah and thus purpose, observation, and function is canonized. What is of interest is that even though the same text is in use, different interpretations have given rise to religious factions within Christianity, Islam, and Judaism.

Science directly observes the natural world, while religions explain the world via revelation. The two can not be taught in the same manner, let along together, as they are antithetical to one another. If, evangelical groups want to insert religious disclaimers or attack the structure of scientific methods in public schools, then scientists should be given the opportunity to speak at Sunday school classes and present evidence demonstrating the holes in religious systems.

The evidence for evolution is overwhelming and rigorously tested. Public school biology curriculum should be able to teach evolution with no caveats, no input from select Christian sects, and no warning labels. Public schools develop curricula for all students and one segment of the religious population should not be able to influence the content of any discipline. The new tactic of these religious groups is to wrap their ideas inside a “pseudo-scientific” structure. Unfortunately, intelligent design does not allow for rigorous scientific review.  One has to believe that a guiding hand set the course for evolution. And arguing that a structure (eye sight) is too complex to be randomly evolved is only a statement; one that can never be scientifically tested.

Not only are warning labels, etc. a question of separation between church and state, but what if a specific religious group does embrace evolution and sees no qualms between the revelation of its religious doctrine?  Do they not have the right to be taught biology classes without being subjected to another religion’s questioning viewpoint? This is clearly a slippery slope, akin to the banning of certain library books. Public schools teach for the good of all children who attend. If a vocal portion of the public wants to insert a religious viewpoint, then they should consider the option of participating in a separate but religiously focused private school or home school. Educational curricula need to be developed and taught to the largest common denominator, mainstream students learning about accepted mainstream discipline based content.

3- I take the extreme view that you can not believe in evolution and believe in God. A sound review of any Cultural Anthropolgy text book will review the utility of religion for cultural reasons (see above) - thus raising the question which or who’s God? Not all religions have a time line for creation - vis-a-vis Native American groups. In fact the majority of religions do not have a time line for creation, it just happened.

4- Anyone who is raised in a relgious tradition will always believe that their approach to god/religion and salvation is the correct one.  Baptists believe that Catholics will go to hell because the are not following the “correct” teachings/interpretation of the bible. Catholics believe the same is true.

5- We have a a vocal jesus freak minority who is trying gain control of political and social areas so the can put their stamp of authority, but which flavor of savior should prevail (choose one from the spectrum of protestant denominations).

Just a few salient thoughts to mull over.


Anthro

“How can Humanists be said to control the social agenda and power in America and remove God from the heart of America, when there are close to 175 million Americans who folow some form of Christianity, and there are only 5,000 registered, identified Humanists in America?” (Damn that is a powerful minority!)

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Posted: 19 November 2005 07:09 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 24 ]  
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[quote author=“Anthro”]Having read this thread I have a couple of comments:

1- Carbon dating goes back well beyond 5000 years. It has accurate dates to 40,000 years and a new version called excelerated C14 dating can go back as far as 70,000.  Now there a several other types of absolute dating (estimates in years) available, several can go back 100s of millions of years - these include: potassium-argon, uranium-lead, thorium-lead.  For a listing of other types of dating techniques include: annual climatic variations, such as tree rings (dendrochronology) and varve analysis (yearly glacial melt waters tht deposit “layers of sediments in still shallow lakes below the glacier), fission track; thermoluminescence; optically stimulated luminescence; and electron-spin resonance), chemical processes (amino-acid racemization and obsidian hydration), and the magnetic properties of igneous material, baked clay, and sedimentary deposits (paleomagnetism). Oh and coolest is is ice coring. In Antarctica, they have now drilled ice cores that go back 770,000 years. That is yearly snow deposits in winter with summer snow and dust deposits in summer. White and black bands ust like a tree ring.  There absolutely no way that anyone can argue that the world is only 6009 years old - it flies in the face confirmed, viewable, testable evidence.  As an archeologist I get to teach this stuff all the time.

2 - I posted this on another thread, but it is a letter I sent to Time Mag after their article on ID - essentially it suggests a cross-cultural approach to questioning ID - and may be more relevent here:

Editor, Time Magazine
Regarding your August 15, 2005 story on Evolution Wars.

I note the cliché juxtaposition of the image of human and non-human primates on your cover, suggesting that humans evolved from apes, when in reality we are cousins, having evolved from a common ancestor. We share very similar DNA and basic anatomical characteristics.

It has always amazed me that only the evangelical, fundamental Christian factions are identified, in the media, with challenging the teaching of evolution and promoting religious based alternatives in public school science classes. As an anthropologist, I often wonder what other religious groups think of evolution, and why the general media does not report on the perspectives of these groups. What does Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Indigenous cultural (native American or !Kung Bushmen), Sikhism, Judaism, Baha’i, Jainism, or Shinto religions think about scientific inquiry and the theory of evolution?  Can evolution fit into the cosmology of any of these religions?

Your article serves nicely to demonstrate just how fractured Christians are regarding the revelation of the origins of the world and humanity – is it literally six days, or each day equated to millions of years, or is it evolution but with the guidance of some supra entity (aka intelligent design)?  This leads to the problem of what exactly is the Christian religion and who speaks for Christianity – is it Eastern Orthodox and Western Catholicism (the majority group within Christianity), Coptic, Lutheran, Presbyterian, Methodist, Mormon, Pentecostal, Baptist, Evangelical, Adventist, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Unitarian-Universalist, Latter-Day Saints, Hutterite, Mennonite, Moravian, or Christian Science. Clearly, the conservative, large, well organized portions of Christianity are the most vociferous and active in the debate. Because these groups are so vocal, why should their viewpoints sway public school science curriculum and demand that only their viewpoint be included?

Science is a self correcting process – asking questions, developing hypothesizes, building methodologies to test hypothesizes, assessing if the evidence answers the questions or supports/refutes the hypothesis. This process is repeated independently by numerous scientists and, if supported, result in hypothesizes coalescing to form a general theory. Examples of theories, past and present, include: ocean tides, vaccination, fluid dynamics, radioactivity, ice ages, geologic superposition, cell, germ, genetics, DNA, sub atomic particles, global warming, continental drift, convection, manned flight, chaos, number, string, relativity, superconductivity, and evolution. All these theories have undergone the same rigorous process of analysis and refinement, and continue to do so. Every so often, a theory is so well tested and refined that it is considered a law or constant, e.g. gravity, thermodynamics, motion, Ohms, and fluid dynamics to name a few.

Religion is a cultural universal. Religion is not self correcting; it can not be questioned, tested, or hypothesized. The components of religion are revealed to each society and accepted at face value – vis-à-vis oral traditions or written text. The universal function of religion is three-fold: to explain the unknown (origins and how the natural world operates), to define social roles and accepted behavior (morality), and illuminate the supernatural (spirit world, mana or path to an afterlife). Western religions are guided through the Bible, Koran, and Torah and thus purpose, observation, and function is canonized. What is of interest is that even though the same text is in use, different interpretations have given rise to religious factions within Christianity, Islam, and Judaism.

Science directly observes the natural world, while religions explain the world via revelation. The two can not be taught in the same manner, let along together, as they are antithetical to one another. If, evangelical groups want to insert religious disclaimers or attack the structure of scientific methods in public schools, then scientists should be given the opportunity to speak at Sunday school classes and present evidence demonstrating the holes in religious systems.

The evidence for evolution is overwhelming and rigorously tested. Public school biology curriculum should be able to teach evolution with no caveats, no input from select Christian sects, and no warning labels. Public schools develop curricula for all students and one segment of the religious population should not be able to influence the content of any discipline. The new tactic of these religious groups is to wrap their ideas inside a “pseudo-scientific” structure. Unfortunately, intelligent design does not allow for rigorous scientific review.  One has to believe that a guiding hand set the course for evolution. And arguing that a structure (eye sight) is too complex to be randomly evolved is only a statement; one that can never be scientifically tested.

Not only are warning labels, etc. a question of separation between church and state, but what if a specific religious group does embrace evolution and sees no qualms between the revelation of its religious doctrine?  Do they not have the right to be taught biology classes without being subjected to another religion’s questioning viewpoint? This is clearly a slippery slope, akin to the banning of certain library books. Public schools teach for the good of all children who attend. If a vocal portion of the public wants to insert a religious viewpoint, then they should consider the option of participating in a separate but religiously focused private school or home school. Educational curricula need to be developed and taught to the largest common denominator, mainstream students learning about accepted mainstream discipline based content.

3- I take the extreme view that you can not believe in evolution and believe in God. A sound review of any Cultural Anthropolgy text book will review the utility of religion for cultural reasons (see above) - thus raising the question which or who’s God? Not all religions have a time line for creation - vis-a-vis Native American groups. In fact the majority of religions do not have a time line for creation, it just happened.

4- Anyone who is raised in a relgious tradition will always believe that their approach to god/religion and salvation is the correct one.  Baptists believe that Catholics will go to hell because the are not following the “correct” teachings/interpretation of the bible. Catholics believe the same is true.

5- We have a a vocal jesus freak minority who is trying gain control of political and social areas so the can put their stamp of authority, but which flavor of savior should prevail (choose one from the spectrum of protestant denominations).

Just a few salient thoughts to mull over.


Anthro

“How can Humanists be said to control the social agenda and power in America and remove God from the heart of America, when there are close to 175 million Americans who folow some form of Christianity, and there are only 5,000 registered, identified Humanists in America?” (Damn that is a powerful minority!)

I vote this best post ever.

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Posted: 20 November 2005 05:09 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 25 ]  
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Hi Anthro,

I’m new to this board and enjoyed your post. I just had a few comments on it I’d like to offer:

[quote author=“Anthro”]Your article serves nicely to demonstrate just how fractured Christians are regarding the revelation of the origins of the world and humanity – is it literally six days, or each day equated to millions of years, or is it evolution but with the guidance of some supra entity (aka intelligent design)?  This leads to the problem of what exactly is the Christian religion and who speaks for Christianity – is it Eastern Orthodox and Western Catholicism (the majority group within Christianity), Coptic, Lutheran, Presbyterian, Methodist, Mormon, Pentecostal, Baptist, Evangelical, Adventist, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Unitarian-Universalist, Latter-Day Saints, Hutterite, Mennonite, Moravian, or Christian Science. Clearly, the conservative, large, well organized portions of Christianity are the most vociferous and active in the debate. Because these groups are so vocal, why should their viewpoints sway public school science curriculum and demand that only their viewpoint be included?

It’s true that Christianity exists in many forms right now. But are scientists themselves in perfect agreement on all things? Hardly! Witness the Dawkins/Gould debates.

Religion is a cultural universal. Religion is not self correcting; it can not be questioned, tested, or hypothesized. The components of religion are revealed to each society and accepted at face value – vis-à-vis oral traditions or written text. The universal function of religion is three-fold: to explain the unknown (origins and how the natural world operates), to define social roles and accepted behavior (morality), and illuminate the supernatural (spirit world, mana or path to an afterlife). Western religions are guided through the Bible, Koran, and Torah and thus purpose, observation, and function is canonized. What is of interest is that even though the same text is in use, different interpretations have given rise to religious factions within Christianity, Islam, and Judaism.

Science directly observes the natural world, while religions explain the world via revelation. The two can not be taught in the same manner, let along together, as they are antithetical to one another.

While you certainly have a point, this says nothing about the truth value of the claims various religions make. Moreover, my point above about differing interpretations of scientific fact holds. Interpretation, whether of text or observational evidence, is by no means a clear-cut procedure. Interpretation of texts is known as hermeneutics; interpretation of observable data by scientists is known as theorizing. Both science and religion interpret revelation: the revelation of the world to the human mind and the revelation of God in Scripture. Antithetical? No. Different? Yes.

3- I take the extreme view that you can not believe in evolution and believe in God. A sound review of any Cultural Anthropolgy text book will review the utility of religion for cultural reasons (see above) - thus raising the question which or who’s God? Not all religions have a time line for creation - vis-a-vis Native American groups. In fact the majority of religions do not have a time line for creation, it just happened.

Why do you take this admittedly extreme view? I see no inherent problem with believing both evolution and God at the same time. In fact, I do it myself. My caveat is that the evolution I believe in is not the pseudo-science now promoted by Dawkins, Dennett and others who claim evolution makes metaphysical claims it certainly does not do.

4- Anyone who is raised in a relgious tradition will always believe that their approach to god/religion and salvation is the correct one.  Baptists believe that Catholics will go to hell because the are not following the “correct” teachings/interpretation of the bible. Catholics believe the same is true.

Not true. I was raised into a fairly conservative evangelical tradition, and I believe Catholics and Baptists both will be present in heaven. These sort of arguments do no justice to the ecumenical dialogue going on these days; of course the media would rather focus on the ridiculous rants of Robertson and Falwell than take the time to report on a positive development in American religion (although if a positive development in American religion isn’t breaking news I don’t know what is!).

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Posted: 20 November 2005 07:34 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 26 ]  
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I can show you five southern Baptists sitting at my local bar who know for SURE that papists will all go to hell for putting the Pope before Christ, while their drinking, carousing and wife-beating won’t keep them out of Heaven cause they are “born-again” and “saved”.

It sounds to me like you are in the intellectual liberal elite of religion, a thinking, well-read, educated theologian.

This makes you the enemy, as we all know intellectuals are evil.

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Posted: 22 November 2005 03:18 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 27 ]  
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[quote author=“Iisbliss”]I can show you five southern Baptists sitting at my local bar who know for SURE that papists will all go to hell for putting the Pope before Christ, while their drinking, carousing and wife-beating won’t keep them out of Heaven cause they are “born-again” and “saved”.

It sounds to me like you are in the intellectual liberal elite of religion, a thinking, well-read, educated theologian.

This makes you the enemy, as we all know intellectuals are evil.

You’re right, Iisbliss; I’m sure you could no doubt find 5 of the Southern Baptists you speak of. This pernicious “born-again” theology has really sucked America in, despite the fact that it certainly has scant Biblical support and Protestants pride themselves on sola scriptura. As humans in general, I think our tendancy is to “damn” those near us with whom we disagree-witness in addition to drunk wife-beating Southern Baptist papaphobes the “fundie” haters on this board. It’s much easier to condemn than to attempt understanding.

As for being in the “intellectual liberal elite of religion,” thanks for the comment but alas I’m just a typical Norwegian Minnesotan who grew up in a house where it wasn’t an issue to be a conservative (theologically) Christian and a reader/thinker. These homes do exists, believe it or not!

This makes you the enemy, as we all know intellectuals are evil.


I believe it was Luther who so eloquently proclaimed “Reason is the devil’s whore!” Luther himself was brilliant, but when Protestantism’s heritage is so ridden with statements like these, it’s easier to understanding why we’re at the place we are today.

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Posted: 22 November 2005 07:12 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 28 ]  
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[quote author=“myshkin”]You’re right, Iisbliss; I’m sure you could no doubt find 5 of the Southern Baptists you speak of. This pernicious “born-again” theology has really sucked America in, despite the fact that it certainly has scant Biblical support and Protestants pride themselves on sola scriptura. As humans in general, I think our tendancy is to “damn” those near us with whom we disagree-witness in addition to drunk wife-beating Southern Baptist papaphobes the “fundie” haters on this board. It’s much easier to condemn than to attempt understanding.

As a point of clarification, there is quite a bit of difference between the “fundie” haters here (such as they actually exist), and interfaith conflicts over who is actually saved.

I don’t claim to be able to speak for anybody else, but I certainly don’t hate Christians, not of any persuasion.  They do try my patience mightily at times, though.  It is the actions of Christians that are so distressing (think of this as the atheists version of hating the sin and loving the sinner).  Christians believe that man’s sin nature is responsible for the sin, and thus they attack the root cause.  I believe that religious certitude is the root cause of the many of the attrocities that are uniquely Christian, and thus I go after the root of the issue.

That having been said, I do strive to maintain at least some degree of civility in any dialogue that I engage in, and I think that my posting record, for the most part, supports this claim.  I know that others take a more abrasive approach, which is certainly their right.  I personally, however, have no interest in causing someone to “shut up” so that I can claim victory, I am interested in honest, albeit confrontational, exchanges with people who disagree with me on critical, foundational, issues.

I believe it was Luther who so eloquently proclaimed “Reason is the devil’s whore!” Luther himself was brilliant, but when Protestantism’s heritage is so ridden with statements like these, it’s easier to understanding why we’re at the place we are today.

Nicely said!

-Matt

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Posted: 22 November 2005 03:35 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 29 ]  
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[quote author=“psiconoclast”]That having been said, I do strive to maintain at least some degree of civility in any dialogue that I engage in, and I think that my posting record, for the most part, supports this claim.  I know that others take a more abrasive approach, which is certainly their right.  I personally, however, have no interest in causing someone to “shut up” so that I can claim victory, I am interested in honest, albeit confrontational, exchanges with people who disagree with me on critical, foundational, issues.

Fair enough. I certainly meant to qualify my “fundie haters” statement. I appreciate the honesty and logic of several posters to these boards, and I started posting to take part in the honest and confrontational exchanges you speak of. May they be many!

As a point of clarification, there is quite a bit of difference between the “fundie” haters here (such as they actually exist), and interfaith conflicts over who is actually saved.

Could you explain this difference a little further? I believe I’m justified in claiming that, as humans, it’s easier to damn than listen, and we do it regardless of whether we place our faith in science, God, or anything else.

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Posted: 22 November 2005 07:23 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 30 ]  
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[quote author=“myshkin”]

As a point of clarification, there is quite a bit of difference between the “fundie” haters here (such as they actually exist), and interfaith conflicts over who is actually saved.

Could you explain this difference a little further? I believe I’m justified in claiming that, as humans, it’s easier to damn than listen, and we do it regardless of whether we place our faith in science, God, or anything else.

There are several differences, actually.

The biggest difference though, and the most important, has to do with certitude.  Believers are certain that they are right, and everyone else (who believes something else) has it wrong.  Whereas most of us (I am speaking of the freethinkers here) are certain, not that we have it right, per se, but that the fundies have it wrong, methodologically, and, very probably, in conclusion as well.

The average Christian, in my experience, automatically dismisses anything outside of what they believe.  The average freethinker, on the other hand, categorically rejects certain kinds of arguments.

On the surface, both sides might seem to be very similar, but with differing beliefs.  While I agree that, emotionally, people tend to get worked up, and argue in much the same way, on both sides, when the arguments are distilled, and pursued dispasionately, these differences become glaring.

-Matt

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