Conservative Christians shut down Normal Bob Smith’s website.

Obnoxious Bitch, who is the person that first brought Normal Bob Smith to my attention,  told me about this the other day and I’ve been waiting to get some detail on the story before I wrote anything about it.

For those who don’t already know about Normal Bob Smith, he runs a religious satire website of the same name on which he appears dressed in traditional devil garb and pokes fun at Christianity in general. Awhile back I wrote about an atheist who dressed up as Satan and went to see the Jesus Chainsaw Massacre which turned out to be completely fictional, but then Normal Bob Smith turned around and did just that. It made for some amusing reading to say the least. The thing NBS is probably most famous for at this point, however, is probably his Jesus Dress-up magnets he’s been selling for awhile now that ended up getting the Urban Outfitters chain into hot water with Christians recently. Now it seems a conservative Christian group called LaptopLobbyist.com  have managed to get his website yanked off the net after faxing letters of complaint to the parent company of his webhost:

Web users no longer can dress up Jesus – The Washington Times: Business

Members of LaptopLobbyist.com, which describes itself as “America’s first and foremost online conservative community,” sent thousands of faxes denouncing the “Jesus Dress Up” site, according to Chris Carmouche, executive director of LaptopLobbyist.com.

Mr. Carmouche said his organization’s members sent faxes denouncing the Jesus Dress Up site and magnets to the corporate parent of the site’s host, as well as to the chief executive at trendy retailer Urban Outfitters Inc., which sells the magnets.
 
Charles Wheelus, president of Pick Internet Solutions Inc., the Boca Raton, Fla., parent company of the business that hosted the Jesus Dress Up site, said he was unaware that such content existed on his network until LaptopLobbyist.com notified him.
 
“I am as appalled as you. I find the content of these sites to be obscene and offending,” Mr. Wheelus wrote in a letter to LaptopLobbyist.com.

The assholes at LaptopLobbyist.com couldn’t be happier about it crowing loudly about how Normal Bob Smith’s site supposedly “violates the Acceptable Use Policies (AUPs) and Terms of Service (TOS) of the vast majority of Internet Service Providers.” It’s not a surprising tactic for such a group to take, however, as it’s always easier to silence the opposition than it is to prove your viewpoint is superior. In the past various fundamentalist minded Christians achieved this goal through torture and murder, but those methods are frowned upon in this day and age so they have to rely on less permanent methods now. This is good news for fans of Normal Bob Smith as it means he’ll eventually be back.

221 thoughts on “Conservative Christians shut down Normal Bob Smith’s website.

  1. elwed
    empirical/based or acting on observation or experiment, not on theory.
    All science, in fact THE scientific method relies on empirical practice which itself is dependant on Cartesian dualism of subject and object.
    This has and continues to work out fine in general at the macro and microscopic level.Much of the science we depend upon making sure airoplanes fly etc gets by quite happily on Newtonian physics.
    So I am quite happy to accept the scientific method in resolving issues on macro and micro
    scales.
    However issues that revolve around religion and mind do not fall into this category. 
    At the Quantum level the dualism of subject and object breaks down and the empirical model no longer applies.
    Although we live our lives on the macro level and the Newtonian model suffices to describe and predict events on this level.
    The fundemental building blocks that make up our universe,our reality, are quantum in nature.
    The behaviour of these quanta are very mysterious
    and have led to scientists including Einstien and Hiesenburg to speculate that they may only be understood by applying intuitive as well as rational methods.
    You were of course winding me up but I am happy to oblige by going along with you.
    n

  2. Thought id never say this but I cant add to anything Elwed just stated.

    Wouldn’t do any good either as far as David’s understanding so no reason to bother.

    Evolution takes ZERO faith, the evidence of it is just as factual & tangible as science can make it. Its as factual and certain as the sun will rise in the morning.

    Faith is when you have ZERO evidence to support your claims, you know all about that since that is all religion is, pure faith and dogma.

    Arguing Evolution with a creationist is one of life’s most pointless and futile actions.
    I could right now list hundreds of pages of irrefutable evidence of the existence of Evolution all proven beyond a reasonable doubt by 1000s of scientist, all using the latest most accurate methods known, all experts in various fields of research, all the empirical evidence presented between all the various fields, gathered and tested & retested to a point of virtual certainty, all the fields collaborate one another to the final conclusion that Evolution does exist and it is beyond any reasonable doubt 99.999% Fact, and you would deny every syllable.
    Refute every word as your Cognitive Dissonance kicks in to save your small mind from any further discomfort by forcing you to deny the belief you are so obsessed with.

    I choose to not waste my time on such fruitless venture.
    You’re incapable of facing reality, you’re happy as can be in your little dreamworld fairytale, you believe in fables and fairytales & I do not, lets just admit that and move on.

  3. Spacemoney, I’m just trying to make sure that we agree on definitions.

    Two questions.

    The term ‘empirical science’ seems to imply that there is another kind and where would you put mathematics and logics?

    I agree that (by definition) religion is out of scope, even if one takes pains to construct a belief system that is silent about the physical world.

    I have no reason to believe that ‘mind’ is anything but electrochemical processes inside of our brains. If you want to explicitely make the case (and I think you do) that ‘mind’ somehow transcends this, I’m extremely sceptic about that point of view, but I’m willing to listen.

    The fundemental building blocks that make up our universe,our reality, are quantum in nature.

    How do you know?

    Heisenberg has disabused us of the notion that in order to get more accurate observations, you simply build a better instrument. If we cannot observe at arbitrary precision, we will never know what, if any, fundamental building blocks there are. Where modern physics is headed is another discussion.

    There is one point, however, that I’ll concede. Formulating a scientific theory based on observations does take intuition. And as G

  4. it is that I invited him into the trap of saying that atheism is a belief, making it, in the end, no different from a belief in anything else. I know that if I just started out in that direction on my own, Les would have swooped in with his arguments against that concept, and he

  5. elwed
    Thanks for helping shape my wooly thinking.
    The fundemental building blocks that make up our universe,our reality, are quantum in nature.
    Should perhaps read, our current understanding of the fundamental building blocks etc.
    “We have to remember that what we observe is not nature in itself but nature exposed to our method of questioning” Heisenburg.
    Staring at me from my wall and my starting point in attempting to find another method of questioning.
    Empirical science uses the languange of maths and logic to define it’s terms.
    But intuition has no language it springs from the side of the brain that does’nt do language,which makes it very difficult for me convey my meaning.
    I need to think about this a little harder and get back to you.

  6. David,

    so we have established that when we talk about DNA, the same textbook definitions apply.

    I’m a bit worried by

    I merely pointed out that among the many natural possibilities, radiation seems to be the evolutionists favorite. However, while the changes could be random

    On the one hand, you seem to accept that there mutagenic environmental influences, on the other hand you seem to imply that these mutations are not (necessarily) random.

    If you believe mutations to be divinely inspired, then we are done.

    Random mutations of the genome that is responsible for offspring has only a limited number of outcomes. The offspring may not be viable, in which case that particular mutation cannot be perpetuated. The mutation may not be expressed at all, which means it will potentially be passed on to further generations, where it may or may not interact with future mutations. Finally, the mutation may be expressed.

    Do you agree up to this point?

    I

  7. This goes to the debate over complexity and the 2nd Law.

    The June Scientific American contained an article refuting

  8. Without further comment, an April Fool’s letter I stumbled over:

    Evolutionary Link Found Between Humans, Creationists

    Thanks to a recent discovery by scientists at MIT’s biology
    laboratory, scientists now know that humans and creationists share a
    common evolutionary ancestor, and may even be the same species.

    Biologist and human Mary Jenner announced the findings at a press
    conference held in MIT’s biology research laboratory. The key to the
    discovery was the fact that, despite behavioral and cognitive
    differences, both humans and creationists have 46 chromosomes, and are
    able to interbreed to produce viable offspring. There are also a
    number of pieces of fossil evidence to back up the findings.

    Before the discovery, most scientists had thought the two groups were
    unrelated, and probably different species. Scientists had based this
    belief on certain behaviors found in creationists but not in humans:
    creationists tend to congregate in stone building where they perform
    strange rituals involving pleasing a mythical super-creationist who
    lives in the sky, and also tend to not use modern scientific
    methodology to validate knowledge.

    But the new results show these differences may be merely learned
    behavior, and not indicative of a deeper genetic difference.

    Creationists and some humans have spoken out against the report. Even
    the report’s author is disappointed by the results, “I don’t like to
    think I’m related to creationists,” says Jenner, “but if that’s what
    the facts show, that’s what the facts show.”

  9. I read a few of the points in that article. It’s sad how low scientific american has sunk. Not because I disagree, but because it treats the arguments so shallowly. They miss the mark completely in answering the points against them. Which is so similar to what seems to be happening in our discussion. I

  10. David, one problem right now is that you blend posts from Nunyabiz and myself.

    While Nunyabiz tries to debate creationism versus evolution with you, I have repeatedly stated that this is not my intent; it is an exercise in futility and we both know it. To say it one last time, I am trying to determine where your acceptance of prevailing scientific theory ends. No more, no less. If you consider this patronizing, let’s have it on record that you resent questions about the ramifications of your creationist beliefs.

    There is no denying that both of us are biased. From my agnostic world view, the creationist ‘theory’ is at best a circular argument based on axiomatic statements and propositions that can neither be proven or disproven. For example:

    Interdependent systems that could not possibly evolve separately, yes, that is pretty good proof that there is an outside influence to the process. Maybe not conclusive in itself, but certainly positive evidence, of the existence of God.

    You start with an axiomatic statement (“Interdependent systems that could not possibly evolve separately”) that supports your bias (“there is an outside influence to the process”), followed by a non-sequitur (“but certainly positive evidence, of the existence of God”). I reject this line of reasoning not because of my personal bias, but for its intrinsic logic fallacies. Shit, did you just sucker me into debating creationism after all?

    Concerning my background, all that I’m willing to share is that I suck at math.

  11. Actually, there is a wonderful article in “Science” November 14, 2003 on the evolution of corn (maize) from teosinte.  The article examines the influences that primitive humans had on it’s development.  A good read, but somewhat heavy-duty on the genetics side.

  12. OK, elwedriddsche, I am trying to determine where your acceptance of prevailing scientific theory ends. I don’t see which theory is “prevailing”. Perhaps we could chose “popular” instead, and we could reach what I think is your goal more quickly. I believe that breeding takes place (see science goddesses post). But it’s still corn if it’ll still cross pollinate (breed) with corn (or maize). A poodle is still a dog, not a separate species. But I have seen no convicting evidence that any species has developed from another. There are many leaps evolution must yet make in order to be convincing.

    But I must repeat: I am not dead set against evolution. I don

  13. David, I think you may have confused “Science” with some other magazine.  The one to which I refer is a weekly science journal put out by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and you have to be a member to get it.  It’s a real, peer-reviewed science journal.
    SG

  14. Actually I gave up the notion of proving Evolution to David long time ago.
    I see no reason to bother as you can see just like ALL Hard line Christians or Creationist he will NEVER acknowledge even the most tangible, most positively overwhelming evidence presented.

    So the point is what exactly?

    Debating against someone that believes in Creationism is a lost cause as it is impossible for them to acknowledge empirical Falsifiable evidence that is contrary to their religious dogma & fictitious God that they are obsessed with, Cognitive Dissonance will always kick in as the brains protective mechanism to hold that obsession in tact and in many cases strengthen their resolve even more.
    David quite clearly does this in spades.

    Elwed has made many good points, David has and will continue to deny them all, he HAS to.
    His obsession which he bases his entire life on is at stake.
    In his mind like most all people obsessed with some religion/God they feel that life would not be worth living without this “absolute” that they have placed all their faith into.

    An Atheist that believes in evolution is fully able and willing to except any good solid Falsifiable evidence anyone wants to throw into the ring, we don’t have some false god to defend and could careless all we ask is don’t try and feed us a pack of blatant lies supported only by hearsay & dogma and expect us to swallow it hook line and proverb like they have, then have the gall to say we are not looking at the evidence objectively,
    ““But if you are only interested in debating evolution as a means to disproving God, then your motives for belief in evolution become more than questionable. Is it truth or not? Or is it just the best explanation you have that does not involve God, so you cling to it with all your might?””

    I could careless, truth is truth to me, evidence is evidence, you show even the remotest evidence that “God Exist” and id be fine with it.
    Fact is I don’t debate evolution “as a means to disproving God”
    Nobody can disprove something that doesn’t exist so that’s of no concern to me, I’m satisfied with the fact that there just isn’t any proof at all that he/it exist except in the minds of many poor scared humans that choose to not accept reality.

    I accept evolution because it is logical, there are mountains of empirical Falsifiable evidence to support it.
    I believe in UFOs more than and God/religion because there is MUCH more evidence that UFOs exist than God.
    There is no more evidence for the existence of any god of your choosing than there is of Unicorns & Zeus.

  15. One comment:
    If systems are interdependent, requiring each other to have existed before they could exist independently, one would have to accept the notion of outside influence.
    There’s a hidden assumption in there, David:  that systems that are currently interdependent were always that way.  Systems can evolve separately and then interact over time, creating benefits that perpetuate that interdependence and strengthen it.

  16. on scientific proof
    “Although science tries to distance itself from any kind of metaphysical speculation it still cannot avoid the fact it’s theory,at the most fundamental level,is actually embedded in metaphysics.Certain metaphysical assumptions have necessarily to be made before science can proceed in the first place.One of these for example,is the assumption that local rules can be applied globally,the assumption that what is discovered in the laboratory,at atomic scales,at one particular moment in time,can be applied to the whole universe,across all scales and across all epochs.
    There can be no proof that this assumption is valid.Like all such beliefs it simply has to be laid down as a metaphysical postulate.
    The two most important of these a priori postulates are the closely related Principles of Objectivity and Reductionism -both a direct legacy of Cartesian dualism.
    The Principle of Objectivity is the axiomatic belief that the external world is external,that it can be reduced to an object of study existing independantly of the human mind.It assumes an objective reality of seperate,countable objects which can be quantified and described by a mysteriously detached human consciousness.
    The Principle of Reductionism is the axiomatic belief that the whole is identically equal to its atomistic parts,that every aspect of reality can be reduced exclusivelly to the soulless logic of the mathematical laws which govern these parts”
    The mind as epiphenomana Is something i find hard to digest and impossible to prove.
    Science also makes its own leap of faith.

  17. We can question the axioms of physics, but that path ultimately leads us to solipsism.

    Certain metaphysical assumptions have necessarily to be made before science can proceed in the first place.One of these for example,is the assumption that local rules can be applied globally…

    In math, you can add, remove, or change axioms of a formal system. Sometimes the new formal system is interesting, sometimes it’s plain boring - if it doesn’t result in a semantic breakdown in the first place.

    Science predicts that if you stand on the surface of an arbitrary planet and drop an apple, it will fall to the ground (ignoring major storms or whatever). This is not something that can be exhaustively verified.

    However, you are invited to assume that local rules do not apply globally and see where it takes you. Travel around the world, drop apples and then formulate a theory that explains your observations. Will that theory correctly predict the outcome of apple droppings on planets we haven’t visited yet?

  18. Solipsism or sophistry some choice.
    thanks for the input
    “Vanishes in a puff of logic”

  19. I must retract my comments concerning “Science” Magazine. I was thinking of “Nature”. I will get the article and read it. I apologize. I’ll be back to comment on the rest later, but I felt it was important to acknowledge my stupidity before considering anything else.

  20. David, David, David.  You’re trotting out one of the classic creationist arguments that has already been refuted over and over again.  I’m guessing you don’t even read the links posted here.  Here’s the refutation from “15 Answers to Creationist Nonsense” from Scientific American, posted just last week.
    [claim:]15. Recent discoveries prove that even at the microscopic level, life has a quality of complexity that could not have come about through evolution.

    Irreducible complexity is the battle cry of Michael J. Behe of Lehigh University, author of Darwin’s Black Box: The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution. As a household example of irreducible complexity, Behe chooses the mousetrap—a machine that could not function if any of its pieces were missing and whose pieces have no value except as parts of the whole. What is true of the mousetrap, he says, is even truer of the bacterial flagellum, a whiplike cellular organelle used for propulsion that operates like an outboard motor. The proteins that make up a flagellum are uncannily arranged into motor components, a universal joint and other structures like those that a human engineer might specify. The possibility that this intricate array could have arisen through evolutionary modification is virtually nil, Behe argues, and that bespeaks intelligent design. He makes similar points about the blood’s clotting mechanism and other molecular systems.

    Yet evolutionary biologists have answers to these objections. First, there exist flagellae with forms simpler than the one that Behe cites, so it is not necessary for all those components to be present for a flagellum to work. The sophisticated components of this flagellum all have precedents elsewhere in nature, as described by Kenneth R. Miller of Brown University and others. In fact, the entire flagellum assembly is extremely similar to an organelle that Yersinia pestis, the bubonic plague bacterium, uses to inject toxins into cells.

    The key is that the flagellum’s component structures, which Behe suggests have no value apart from their role in propulsion, can serve multiple functions that would have helped favor their evolution. The final evolution of the flagellum might then have involved only the novel recombination of sophisticated parts that initially evolved for other purposes. Similarly, the blood-clotting system seems to involve the modification and elaboration of proteins that were originally used in digestion, according to studies by Russell F. Doolittle of the University of California at San Diego. So some of the complexity that Behe calls proof of intelligent design is not irreducible at all.

    Complexity of a different kind—specified complexity—is the cornerstone of the intelligent-design arguments of William A. Dembski of Baylor University in his books The Design Inference and No Free Lunch. Essentially his argument is that living things are complex in a way that undirected, random processes could never produce. The only logical conclusion, Dembski asserts, in an echo of Paley 200 years ago, is that some superhuman intelligence created and shaped life.

    Dembski’s argument contains several holes. It is wrong to insinuate that the field of explanations consists only of random processes or designing intelligences. Researchers into nonlinear systems and cellular automata at the Santa Fe Institute and elsewhere have demonstrated that simple, undirected processes can yield extraordinarily complex patterns. Some of the complexity seen in organisms may therefore emerge through natural phenomena that we as yet barely understand. But that is far different from saying that the complexity could not have arisen naturally.

    Want to go through the other 14 arguments, or would you like to save me some cutting and pasting and actually read up on it before you try it again?

  21. Here, we disagree. I cannot readily accept this. It seems like it ought to be possible, but we have no direct proof of it occurring, and we

  22. You have repeatedly asserted that a mutation produces less DNA (or reduces complexity), but you have yet to substantiate that claim. Since when did I say I was going to try and prove a negative? When did proof become my burden? I

  23. I didn’t want to get into the creationist vs. evolution debate as such and it’s probably time to agree to disgree on that score.

    The debate between creationism and evolution is conducted in the form of the regress argument. Since each side starts out from incompatible foundationalist positions, neither side can possibly meet the burden of proof the other demands.

    For example, it is impossible to prove the Earth’s age to David’s satisfaction. Nobody can falsify that the universe was created a couple thousand years, billions of years, or ten minutes ago. It is a possibility that the universe was recently created in a way that leads scientists to wrongly conclude that the universe is much, much older - reminiscent of a replay attack on a network server. My standard is lower; I accept that while we will never know the absolute truth, the answer science gives is good enough for the time being.

    Likewise, at least so far no creationist has met my standard of proof. It’s not the best example, but I want to see the creator’s hand in the cookie jar - even if the recipe is too difficult for me to follow, the cookies themselves are not good enough.

    Maybe the major difference is that a creationist demands proof of a negative, while I’m willing to reconsider if you falsify my position. The catch is that I insist that this falsification happen within my and not the creationist’s belief system. In other words, all the creationist’s proof that I’m aware of is sophistry to me. And vice versa, of course.

    It is more than a bit like two dogs chasing their tails, isn’t it?

    This is the saddest of all. You could know, but you

  24. You have repeatedly asserted that a mutation produces less DNA (or reduces complexity), but you have yet to substantiate that claim.
    -elwedriddsche
    Since when did I say I was going to try and prove a negative? When did proof become my burden?
    -David
    The burden for the above statement does actually rest with you, David.  It rests with anyone who is asserting anything as fact.  If you assert that mutations produce less DNA (or reduce complexity) you have assumed a burden of proof in convincing those that do not believe such a thing to be true.  Your argument could possibly be deduced from anthropology or induced from some very complicated (to me, anyway!) math, but the burden of proof rests with you just the same.

    Before I get accused of a double standard, let me clarify that the burden of proof for God’s existence in the theist/atheist debate lies with the theist because [s]he is asserting something to be taken as fact (albeit fact taken on faith, but fact nonetheless) and the atheist asserts nothing.  [S]he only asks for the theist’s assertion to be rationally and logically shown.

  25. It appears to me that if these are sufficient for you, then what you really want is to be placated. The truth is not the desire, good science is not the desire, just tell me something that sounds good, that I can blow off the average inquiry with. Yes, SA can set up a few straw men and knock them down. Have you READ

  26. Thanks, KyndMynd. I didn’t want to make an issue out of it myself. One can’t help noticing that David said that proving his own assertion was to prove a negative.

    Before I get accused of a double standard, let me clarify that the burden of proof for God

  27. dang Elwed you just told David he is akin to a Dog chasing his tail and to take his medication.
    Im proud of you.
    Once again your making perfect logical sense all the while being excruciatingly careful to not take any “absolute” position almost to a fault.
    Myself something that is 99.999% certain is as good as fact till that 00.0001% proves otherwise.

    David as usual and as iv said before he or ANY hard-line Christian that even entertains the idea that Creationism is remotely factual will NEVER admit to evolution, will NEVER acknowledge empirical evidence to the contrary of his belief that to him his entire life depends on.

    He has painted himself into the proverbial Creationism corner with no way out but to build a wall around that tiny little itty bitty space he has left himself, that little room he has built is the room of DENIAL and NOTHING shall pass through that wall that doesn’t agree with his fantasy world he is obsessed with.
    The essence of that room is his belief which is *all in his mind* as there is ZERO evidence of this belief in REALITY, the building blocks of that wall is Cognitive Dissonance which will not allow ANY empirical evidence through, actually the stronger the evidence the harder more impenetrable that wall of Dissonance becomes which will strengthen his resolve even more.

    This is why I Pity the religious of the world.
    Its quite clear that ALL religions are nothing but pure Mythology, none have any basis in reality, all are squarely centered on ancient beliefs that we know today to be utterly false.

    Poor confused humans that prescribe to ANY religion are doing nothing but removing themselves from reality because their small minds require the absolutes that these fables & fairytales present as fact, therefore they don’t have to think anymore, they don’t have to be scared of death, don’t have to wonder about what we are, why we are, does the universe end, when did it begin, because all of these “answers” are all wrapped up in a nice neat little package called the Bible or Koran or Torah etc. etc. they are all virtually the same.

    Thus the deeply religious are perfectly happy being a slave to their chosen deity just so they don’t have to think for themselves, don’t have to face reality, don’t have to believe that we “Humans” are just animals on this planet like all others.
    The majority of human beings on this planet simply cant believe that they are nothing more than an animal, a lifeform on a water planet that will be born then die, they very conceitedly feel that we must have a higher purpose that we will never truly die, that this myth called our spirit must live on for all eternity and go to a better place.

    Some bright sparks, some nomadic Bedouins several thousand years ago sitting around the campfire staring at the stars with their primitive minds working overtime trying desperately to figure out who/what/how/why all this is, came up with the only thing that at the time made sense to them in their world as they believed it to be.

    They of course had no knowledge of the world as we today know it, they knew nothing of biology, of the how & why of diseases, of DNA, genetic code, of dinosaurs, of galaxies, of micro organisms, what causes various weather or events such as Lightning, earth quakes, Volcanic eruptions, eclipses etc., their entire life consisted of exactly and only what they could see, they arose in the morning with the job of get food & water or die.

    They had nothing to go on to explain any of these questions except a very active imagination.

    Thus various deities or Gods must have been the answer, it must have been some superhuman being that’s angry that caused Lightning, has to be some deity that’s not pleased with us that just took the midday sun away to show his power, must be a god requiring “sacrifice” to appease him is why the mountain next to our village spewed fire & brimstone destroying all we have built.

    Throughout human history there have been 100s of such deities used to explain the THEN unexplainable.
    Be they Cronus, Zeus, Jupiter, Ra, Mithras, Quetzalcoati, on & on.

    These are basically known as the “Pagan Gods” and use a “Polytheism” religion.
    This “Evolved” (yes evolutionary theory even works perfectly well to explain the sheer lunacy of religion also) into a Monotheistic religion worshipping only one god, be it Yahweh, Allah, Jesus, although really the Christian religion is a Tritheistic religion centering on the Father/Son/Holy Ghost insanity.

    Of course what Christians, Jews, Muslims will deny to the grave is the FACT proven beyond any reasonable doubt through Archeological evidence that their religions ALL come straight from earlier Pagan religions/rituals.
    Of that there is little to no doubt.

    To believe in ANY religion you squarely place yourself firmly in the ludicrous beliefs of ancient humans of well over 2000++ years ago & what their understanding of the world was THEN which was VERY little.

    You have completely removed yourself from REALITY of the world as we KNOW it to be NOW through empirical tangible evidence that has been gathered & mostly proven beyond a reasonable doubt through the scientific method.

    In the year 2004 you clearly choose to believe the view of the world as seen by ancient humans, which BTW these same bright sparks you believe today and blindly follow would bow down and worship David Copperfield or even myself if we were able to go back in time, all I would need is a nice kevlar suit a Polaroid camera a bic lighter and a M16 and id be Lord God himself come down to rule the world.

    I still believe until I see evidence to the contrary that anyone in the year 2004 that firmly believes 100% as fact in ANY religion which is nothing but the overactive imagination of ancient humans, while completely denying & disregarding what is known today beyond any reasonable doubt then as far as I’m concerned yes you are suffering some mental deficiency or disorder as I can see no other logical reason for such absurdity in a non retarded adult human.

    I’m just going to address this one point here just for the hell of it even though I know it to be a pointless venture on my part.
    I don

  28. Nunya, I agree that creationist beliefs make no sense, that they require a huge dose of denial to keep functioning, etc. etc.—the only thing I do NOT agree with is your claim that believers must be clinically delusional.

    Theism is a WILLED belief. It does not go away with the proper dosage of antipsychotic drugs, antidepressants, or any other therapy we reliably and consistently use to treat clinical mental illness.

    In fact, it can be compared directly to the belief YOU strongly cling to that they ARE clinically delusional, despite all arguments and evidence presented to the contrary.  If it doesn’t agree with your BELIEF, you won’t hear it.  Tell me, what empirical evidence WOULD convince you to change your opinion, hmm? 

    Are they irrational?  Yes.  Can they be dangerous?  Absolutely.  Can religious belief be used as a cover or trigger for unrelated, truly psychotic behavior?  Of course.  But they CHOOSE to believe it, and no amount of drugs or argument will change their minds unless they WANT to.

  29. not exactly sure why everyone here has this big burr up their ass about me thinking Fundamentalist Christians quite possibly having some mental disorder, but to each your own.

    what “arguments or evidence has been presented to the contrary”? so far iv seen nothing but your or everyone else’s opinion, which is all fine, I accept your opinion, I don’t agree with it.
    But evidence wise no one has presented anything at all.

    At least I have presented some evidence to support my argument, all of which is just circumstantial and I don’t really say otherwise.
    I just don’t see any other logical reason why a sane adult would believe such rubbish anymore than if someone I met 100% believed in Unicorns.

    Where or what do you draw the line at so to speak?
    Some omnipotent invisible being that does all see all is all created all, and a global flood, 900 year old men, blah blah, to you obviously doesn’t cross that line.
    What about Marshall Applewhite and the Heavens Gate bunch? Their beliefs fully sane to you also?

    Just trying to get a baseline of where you folks draw the sanity line is all.
    To me Fundamentalist Christians cross that line by several giant steps.

    So in your mind they are just “Delusional” not “Clinically delusional” well great, I respect your opinion, shame you simply cant respect mine and leave it at that.

  30. From elwed

    Science predicts that if you stand on the surface of an arbitrary planet and drop an apple, it will fall to the ground (ignoring major storms or whatever). This is not something that can be exhaustively verified.

    A fancier version of the gravity example goes something like

  31. nunyabiz
    “What a pity that,when the US removed homosexuality from its list of mental health disorders,they did not replace it with religous mania.”
    Letter to the Guardian (UK newspaper)
    No burr,no ass,no complaints.
    n

  32. Nunyabiz,

    you just told David he is akin to a Dog chasing his tail and to take his medication.

    is not quite what I said or intended to say.

    Regarding the burr, it’s this absolute thing. I hate all absolutes

    I don’t want to go around this again, so please let me simply restate my (and apparently GM’s) original position.

    If you were to say that a religiously fundamentalist environment is conducive to the development of certain mental illnesses (e.g. schizophrenia and depression), I believe you’d be on firm ground and would have no problem citing psychologists, behavioral scientists, and psychiatrists that concur. By extension, it’s likely that this particular environment attracts people with a disposition towards some mental illnesses or even a pre-existing pathological condition. Religion has often been derided as the opiate for masses and to be consequent, perhaps religious fundamentalism should be elevated to the status of a controlled substance.

    To be absolutely clear on this, though, it is completely inappropriate to conclude that all religious fundamentalists are mentally ill. In other words, the theory that all of them are nuts can be falsified, e.g. by finding a single counterexample (as diagnosed by an unbiased psychiatrist). Can we leave it at that?

  33. Theism is a WILLED belief. It does not go away with the proper dosage of antipsychotic drugs, antidepressants, or any other therapy we reliably and consistently use to treat clinical mental illness

    Hmmm well actually many Psychotic episodes can be a “willed belief”.
    If you believe something so deeply and devote so much time and effort into this faith then you can “will” anything into existence “in your own mind” at least.
    Even though what you believe so deeply has ZERO basis in reality, ZERO evidence of its existence, scientifically proven even to be nothing but pure Mythology.
    They believe it because they “want” to believe it and for no other reason.

    Yes I’m also afraid that in fact you CAN treat such delusional disorders with various antipsychotic drugs and therapy.

    couple of examples one excellent one is “The Seventh Day Adventist church” and its beginnings from the “Millerite” movement.
    First the Millerite movement was also known as “The Great Disappointment”
    here is a site to explain some of the insanity of the beginnings of the Church.
    http://www.freeminds.org/psych/propfail.htm

    Now shortly after this was Ellen G White the “Prophetess” as she was called that further advanced the SDA churches religious “beliefs”.
    She Like Ezekiel & Paul in the bible ALL exhibited all the symptoms of “Temporal Lobe Epilepsy & or Partial complex seizures” which I at least classify as a mental disorder, as do most people you may not.
    While many that follow the insane ramblings of these individuals don’t show any signs so to speaks of any mental disorders, they are following to the letter the beliefs of the person that was almost without question suffering severe mental delusions, “Visions”.
    http://www.ellenwhite.org/egw79.htm

    http://healingwellepilepsy.subportal.com/health/Diseases_and_Conditions/Neural/Epilepsy/504965.html

    I’ll list several quotes here that hit the nail on the head when it comes to Cognitive dissonance, and other delusions that are widely excepted & propagated by religious institutions & media.

    Everett,

    Is what you are saying that we as a society are blocked from understanding
    fundamental facts of nature because of the persistence of organized religion
    and continued beliefs in God, the supernatural, whatever?  In other words,
    if we could break this dependence on the belief in a supreme being, we would
    be more like to understand the fundamental facts of nature?  I guess I can
    buy that.

    But you go on to suggest that there is actually an interpersonal
    contribution to the continued belief in the supreme being via our own
    psychological defense mechanisms.  Chief among these, I presume, you assume,
    is cognitive dissonance.  In other words, acceptance of a true understanding
    of the fundamental facts of nature is in direct opposition to beliefs in the
    supreme being.  So as a result we deny the fundamental facts of nature to
    reduce the cognitive dissonance of this opposition and preserve our belief
    in the supreme being.  Do I have it right?  I think I can buy this also.

    As to how cognitive dissonance is handled in psychology today, from my
    preparation to teach General Psychology and my understanding of Social
    Psychology (my advisor in graduate school was Richard Mooreland a social
    psychologist), cognitive dissonance theory is propped up as one of the early
    and longest enduring theories in social psychology.  Along with Fritz
    Heider’s attribution theory, the research by Asche and Milgram, Leon
    Festinger’s cognitive dissonance theory has the status of “most valued
    theory” in the history of social psychology.  Is there much research
    supporting cognitive dissonance theory?  Not that I can think of off the top
    of my head.  The theory seems to be validated more through anecdotal
    reference than actually research endeavors.  Perhaps Walt can provide more
    about the validation of cognitive dissonance theory through research.  As I
    mention before (I think) I am trained as an Educational and Developmental
    Psychologist.

    As to how cognitive dissonance theory is handled today, I belief it is
    tossed around a bit in clinical psychology as the underlying cause for some
    psychological problems - such as the maintenance of undesirable habits.  But
    I don’t think much is done in the area of cognitive dissonance theory
    outside of treating it as an historical milestone in the development of
    social psychology.  Again, perhaps Walt can contribute here.

    Hope this was helpful.  If you have more specific questions, I would be
    happy to entertain them.

    Michael

    Everett Allie wrote:
    >Factual existence is diametrically the opposite of the ‘God’ model of
    >existence, which holds that existence is ‘Created’ and that all energy
    >and control is imposed, ultimately by a supernatural omnipotent entity
    >that moves at it’s own caprice.  The factual reality is that existence
    >is a Continuum of endless change, but of absolute mechanisms, functions,
    >and principles; that existence is self-organizing, all energy and
    >control being intrinsic to matter, itself, based on the limited ways the
    >endlessly active component parts fit together and articulate, together
    >with the limitations of what any given environment can support.
    >
    >In factual existence, there are no discrepancies, and everything is
    >interrelated.  This is why it is vitally important that populations
    >become aware of the factual nature of existence.  Presently, the
    >individual is blocked from gaining an understanding of reality by the
    >culturally instilled belief in magic and arbitrary authority. The
    >individual’s own natural psychological defense mechanisms maintain the
    >instilled delusions, mutually exclusive with the reciprocal realities.
    >
    >What I wanted to discuss with you is the nature and degree to which our
    >institutions of education and science have been compromised in the
    >process of accommodating the delusion based controlling institutions,
    >and the way Cognitive Dissonance is presently handled in Psychology.

    Just posting few other quotes here that make sense to me can glean from them what you will.

    Even at the level of intelligent life, ultimate control is still largely an algebraic summation of all internal control. Unfortunately, at our stage of development, that summation does not reflect much intelligence. This is indeed unfortunate in that we have, at this point in our development, pretty well overtaxed the environment and remain mired in belief systems that make positive change difficult at best. We have failed to make meaningful changes away from our primitive delusions throughout the course of our recorded history. Until now, however, we have not had the advantage of factual knowledge as to what existence is all about. A wide recognition and acceptance of this knowledge would break the gridlock.

    Energy and control is not imposed from outside, as our cultures would have us believe. We have come to be effective in our efforts only to the degree that those efforts are in harmony with the internal systems of our make-up, the materials we work with; and in harmony with the laws and principles of nature.

    We have the possibility of continuing existence mainly because intelligent life has the ability to create and maintain its own environments. Our greatest threats to survival as an intelligent life form are delusions and the defective social systems that perpetuate them, the ignorance and superstitions maintained within populations by our religious institutions.

    There is no magic. There is no nature beyond nature, no super nature or supernatural. Be this as it may, we still hear those crying in consternation, ‘This is flying in the face of religion!’ Yes, it is. Sorry about that. It can’t be otherwise. We either quit lying to ourselves and get real or we continue our endless cultural stupidities. Our myths and fantasies can never be true nor be integrated into science and reality. We cannot make existence be other than it is. Nothing can.

    Real evidence supports only a material universe. There is never evidence to support cultural myths. Good science is not compatible with cultural delusion. Attempts by science to accommodate the myths and superstitions of our cultures have only resulted in its own corruption. One of nature’s most fundamental laws is that, in effect, ‘You can’t have your cake and eat it, too.’ To survive as intelligent life, we must choose reality.

    Threatening a belief is not comfortable. Changing one’s view can, indeed, be disconcerting. Where delusion is the norm, truth and rationality are seen as radical. You can expect resistance, internally and externally.

    A fantasy is usually thought of as a scenario an individual knows is untrue, at least on a deeper level, but maintains for some personal gratification it brings.

    Within our own society, a large percentage of the population realize that most of our cherished ideas and premises are untrue, but support them, never the less. The acceptance of our cultural fantasies range from grudged and marginal tolerance to blind, fanatic and evangelistic faith.

    For a large segment of the world’s human population, cultural myths and fantasies constitute psychosis, a predominant immersion in belief, where reality is denied and the ability to distinguish the real from the fantasy is lost.

    When fantasies are true delusions, that is, when they are accepted as reality, and especially where there is a large amount of institutional interest in maintaining such beliefs, they become used as puppet strings and invariably serve as a means of control and manipulation.

    Belief distorts our mental processes in startling ways, distorting our perceptions and our reasoning to the point of coloring our every view and driving us in endlessly adversarial directions. They can cause an individual to hallucinate and interpret any event as proof of the validity of the fantasy. Even at the most superficial levels of accommodation, they have the power to galvanize us into action, invariably in the wrong direction.

    Fantasies effectively prevent our finding solutions to the growing number of civilization-threatening problems with which humanity is confronted. They are the reasons human progress has been limited almost exclusively to science and technology, as the fantasies prevent us from recognizing or addressing the problems pertaining to human conditions or our social systems.

    Beliefs have severely detrimental effects upon our life and the lives of our children, becoming serious barriers to learning by setting up rejection reflexes to factual knowledge in the areas of belief. Ultimately, they threaten, not only our quality of life as individuals, but the ability of the species to adapt to a rapidly changing environment.

    Few are able to differentiate between opinion and knowledge; between groundless theories and evidence-supported premises. They have not been taught to think critically and to question authority. They have had to repress critical reasoning in order to keep the faith. The typical individual, in any culture, has little concern for truth, becoming cynical and grappling endlessly with his or her own beliefs, distorting perception and reasoning in a continuing struggle to make the pieces fit. Few dare discriminate between knowing and believing. Those who cannot are malleable and vulnerable to the chaos of propaganda and opinion poured over them.

    The belief that control is imposed upon existence from somewhere beyond nature is the fundamental fallacy of human conception. It is 180 degrees out of sync with its reciprocal reality, that ultimate control and energy is determined at the most fundamental levels of existence, in terms of matter, itself.

    You are taught that control is imposed upon existence by the supernatural. When you accept this idea, anything becomes possible, you are vulnerable to anything the governing institutions want you to believe, because you have accepted the idea of a non-rational universe. You have been induced to believe in magic.

    You are taught to believe, to accept the absurd as the reasonable. Belief in a supernatural and in Creation orients you to unquestioned control by authority. When you believe in the imposed control of nature, you will be more easily guided and controlled by authority and the authoritarian systems that continue to plague this species.

    Movement is the fundamental essence of existence. Existence is a continuum, endless continuing development and degeneration, but you are taught to believe in an absurd one-ended eternity, a created beginning but no end.

    There is never objective evidence for that which does not exist.

    Support for beliefs must be fabricated.

    The Law of Reciprocal Cognitive Exclusion (RCE): In order to maintain a concept, its reciprocal must be denied or rejected. The subconscious component of mind can accumulate contradictions because it has no discriminative reasoning capabilities; not so, the conscious mind. This law describes the basis and drive for all psychological defense mechanisms. The individual psyche cannot well tolerate a perceived conflict, but, in order to maintain a sense of security, as well as vested interests, it is highly biased toward maintaining its existing cognizance. This often places the individual in a position of being required to defend untruth while rejecting the reciprocal reality.
    The individual has an inborn drive to resolve conceptual conflict by rejecting any material that is seen as a threat to existing cognizance. If you are programmed with delusional material you will be highly motivated to deny or reject the reciprocal reality, as well as any other material that is perceived as a threat to existing cognizance. The law of Reciprocal Cognitive Exclusion, RCE, becomes the predominate barrier to learning within delusion-based populations.

    All human functional pathology (not physiological in origin) has its origin in false premises and ignorance. Beliefs are always attended by reciprocal ignorance and misdirected behavior. Beliefs are accepted on faith alone, whereas factual knowledge is supported by objective evidence. In order for the individual to make fundamental corrections, one must differentiate between the two. Where the cognizance is supported by evidence or objective indication, it constitutes knowledge, not belief, and further guides the individual in the direction of reality. Where cognizance is delusional, it seeks support that must be fabricated, constituting further delusion.

    Beliefs must be continually refreshed or reinforced, and continually manipulated in order to reduce internal stresses due to conflicting concepts and implications, whereas factual knowledge, once recognized, does not conflict with other aspects of existence and requires no further reinforcement, other than use. It is reinforced or refreshed by nature, through continued usage and the fact that it “fits”.

    Cultural institutions are heavily vested in the maintenance of myths, fantasies, distorted perception, distorted reasoning, confusion, etc. These function to decompensate the individual, destroying self confidence and increasing dependency upon authority. It functions to suppresses meaningful protest.

    Cultural institutions maintain the cultural myths, superstitions, misinformation and misdirection through continuous propaganda and the systems of education, including media systems. The media, serving the institutions, use a variety of techniques of suggestion that largely motivate through stimulating the emotions, as opposed to appealing to the intellect.

    In the absence of continuous propaganda from the institutions and media, and the continued compilation of real knowledge, spurred on by technology, beliefs should gradually fade to be replaced by concepts supported by evidence.

    The controlling institutions cannot self-correct. Their functioning premises and objectives are not so directed. They are oriented toward maintaining authoritarian control and the growth and maintenance of their own systems, as opposed to that of optimizing individual and social function.

    Only individuals and systems that cleave to objective evidence routinely self-correct and make positive advances.

    Internalized conceptual material is the primary determinant of human behavior. Individual activity reflects the individual’s perception.

    Cultural institutions take on a life of their own, shaping their minions to nurture and perpetuate the institution. The institution’s life continues, regardless of the passing of any individual within its systems. Fundamentally corrupt institutions remain fundamentally corrupt. Social misconceptions are perpetuated.

    Instituted untruths invariably generate dysfunction within a population and its social systems. Social pathology is carried and perpetuated through untruths generated, perpetuated and foisted upon populations by cultural institutions.

    All social pathology issues from belief/ignorance syndromes. The belief results in ignorance, the individual rejecting any reciprocal reality in order to maintain the belief.

    False premises lead to frustration and anger.

    False premises lead to uninvited results.

    False premises lead to social discord.

    False premises lead to war.

    False premises is the basis of mental illness. All functional mental illness issues from belief.

    False premises and ignorance lead to crime.

    False premises lead to ethnocentrism and racism.

    Humanity readily tolerates knowledge which leads to new inventions, increased production and more amenities of living. However, humanity avoids information that constitutes a threat to beliefs (RCE), remaining ignorant of factual reality in those areas, clinging to the premise structures implanted by the culture. Belief becomes the predominate barrier to learning.

    While a tiny minority provides the inventions and scientific knowledge which makes modern civilization possible, the masses remain largely mired in ignorance and superstition. Defending the popular fantasies, they remain unable to accept a large part of humanity’s store of, and emerging, factual knowledge.

    There is never justification for accepting an idea in the absence of supporting objective evidence.

    Parents routinely implant learning disabilities in their children by instilling beliefs and teaching falsehoods during the child’s early years.

    If an idea is popular, there is a high probability that it is related to institutional agendas within the society and should be carefully examined.

    Populations and subgroups are dysfunctional relative to the level of belief within the population or group.

    Generally speaking, the individual is functional and ethical (naturally ethical) relative to the level of his or her factual knowledge and personal autonomy, the ability to use that knowledge. Integrity, or the lack of it, is a reflection of the quantity and quality of knowledge, and one’s degree of orientation to factual reality.

    Last, but not least, in a multiplicity of ways, nature tells us that we can’t have our cake and eat it, too. We cannot maintain our delusions and be an effective individual, group, state or species.

    All natural principles are supplemental to one-another, in concept and in function. They are numberless, one’s cognizance of them limited only by one’s knowledge of reality. Truth functions to make a positive impact on human social systems and is always in harmony with all other principles and functions throughout the activities of existence. Where there is found a discrepancy, there is a correction or corrections to be made. Since we view existence through a tiny window of fleeting consciousness, required corrections are inevitable and continue endlessly

  34. Close enough for government work, Elwed. 

    I would refine it to say that you can’t conclude that all religious people are mentally ill.  You could falsify that theory, for example, by studying the mechanisms by which people gain and lose their belief, which are usually very different from the process by which most recognized clinical mental illnesses are treated.  Again, I point to our own dear Les as an example.  All he did was read the Bible a few times, say, “Whoa, this is weird shit,” and poof! he made the choice to stop believing.  Now, either his wife slipped him some drugs during that period, or he experienced a—shall we say MIRACULOUS? —spontaneous cure.

    Or, just like every kid who finds out Santa Claus isn’t real, he chose from one moment to the next to embrace a different world model.  It’s really not that hard to decide to believe six impossible things before breakfast (with thanks to another lovable loony, the Rev. Dodgson). 

    My ass was burr-free last I looked; it’s just that Nunya’s ravings are so similar in type to that of the fundamentalists he’s vilifying that I just have to poke at it.  Naughty of me, I know.  I can’t leave my zits alone either.

  35. Elwed.

    YES i agree with everything you just said 100%
    and would be more than happy to “leave it at that”

  36. I think we have to excuse most of nunyabiz’s repetitive and not always completely factual points and look at what he’s really trying to say. What I get, at least from what he’s said, is that religion is at best a crutch and at worst an extremely negative influence to society. You can say that not all Christians are delusional and counter-productive but aren’t you doing in reverse what David does? He decides who is and who isn’t a true Christian, based on their beliefs and actions.

    Maybe it’s better to say that if you believe the Bible was divinely inspired, and that it’s events took place exactly as reported, you may, at the very least, be extremely gullible. That that then, is a psychological weakness could certainly be debated.

    I don’t respect people who adhere to the absolute validity of the Bible. I can’t help but consider them a bit nutty, and to me it’s mostly conscious choices they make to be that way. If you surround yourself with fantasy, and if you put aside reason and observable fact, soon enough your world view will be skewed. At what point can this be considered delusional? At what point do you abandon reason and become one more of the great unwashed; anointed in the blood of the lamb loonies? Just because you haven’t drank any poison lemonade, it’s still conceivable that you might do something to harm yourself or others, and I’m not speaking of just physical harm.

    Christianity doesn’t make people good, so we can hardly say people are only good because of it. It’s simply the clothing they wear when they present themselves to the world they hope to someday vacate. Empathy, and desire to be congenial, makes people good. Live and let live is not one of the tenets of the Bible.

  37. It is easier for you to label me a certain way, so that I may be dismissed, a straw man again conquered, than to face it head on. The argument that you

  38. David, when I say that I take the refutation that I found on “faith,” I merely mean that I do not understand the more complex aspects of the guy’s refutation.

    As soon as he starts talking about the “cascade” he loses me.

    On the other hand, his citations point to sources that are direct contradictions of Behe’s argument of irreducible complexity.  Kreb’s cycle is the one that I remember most readily, off the top of my head.  There were other examples of “irreducible complexity” that also turned out to be not-so-irreducible.

    And yes, I am reluctant to spend the time reading Behe’s book.  IF I believed that the refutation was based on -misrepresenting- Behe’s position, or deliberately lying, I would certainly be more inclined to read the “black box” itself.  I don’t believe that the refutation -was- rooted in misrepresentation; it appeared to me that the author spoke directly to the assertions that Behe made, and then demonstrated how Behe’s conclusions are unfalsifiable, because he leaves himself an “out.”  Behe acknowledges that it is “possible” that some complexities “might” arise through evolutionary processes—therefore, any time one of his “irreducibles” gets reduced, he can just -move on- to his next one.  In other words, it’s still the argumentum ad ignorantum—

    You also assert that no one has ever observed speciation.  I think a lot of people have already addressed that one, so I’m not going to go into it in detail, but the fact is that there isn’t even a consensus on what -constitutes- a speciation event, AND scientists have only been poking at this problem for a relatively short time.  Geez.  Give the guys some room to work.

    Finally, even if evolution is a total crock, that doesn’t prove intelligent design.  As the refutation that I linked to pointed out, there are other scientists who question the standard evolutionary model, who are arguing (and this sounds -completely- insane to me) a silicon-based “template” for current carbon based life-forms (cue the Twilight Zone music), plus some other theory.

    I don’t reject Behe’s position because I’m predisposed to do so, I reject it because it’s essentially a “we don’t know, so it must be God” kind of argument.

  39. nowiser
    I think you might be right with your rejection of Behe book. I haven’t read it myself (hence ‘might’ rather than ‘are’) but I came across a very brief critique of Behe’s work in Steven Pinkers “The Blank Slate”,I quote:
    “But the right-wing opposition to the sciences of human nature can no longer be associated only with Bible-thumpers and televangelists. Today evolution is being challenged by some of the most cerebral theorists in the formerly secular neoconservative movement. They are embracing a hypothesis called Intelligent Design, originated by the biochemist Michael Behe. The molecular machinery of cells cannot function in a simpler form, Behe argues, and therefore it could not have evolved piecemeal by natural selection. Instead it must have been conceived as a working invention by an intelligent designer. The designer could, in theory, have been an advanced alien from outer space, but everyone knows that the subtext of the theory is that it must have been god.
        Biologists reject Behe’s argument for a number of reasons. His specific claims about the “irreducible complexity” of biochemistry are unproven or just wrong. He takes every phenomenon whose evolutionary history has not yet been figured out and chalks it up to design by default. When it comes to the intelligent designer, Behe suddenly jettisons all scientific scruples and does not question where the designer came from or how the designer works. And he ignores the overwhelming evidence that the process of evolution, far from being intelligent and purposeful, is wasteful and cruel.”

    Since I’ve read other stuff by Pinker and found him always above board and free of political agenda (more than I can say about many scientists but then again they are only human). By the way, the main aim of “The Blank Slate” is to debunk the myths of ‘the blank slate’,‘the noble savage’ and ‘the ghost in the machine’. The first two usually used by
    people with a leftwing agenda whilst the third is used by people with a rightwing and/or religious agenda.

    nunyabiz
    During my more cynical moments or when some religious bighead spouts rubbish I am completely with you BUT…
    in my more “enlightened” moments (usually after a spliff) I wonder why nominally intelligent people believe such bull I came to realize that they do so for 3 reasons in varying proportion:
    Fear; Laziness and Stupidity
    Fear because all religious people I have ever talked with seem to be convinced that morality comes ONLY from religion even though the most morally steadfast people I have met were all atheist or agnostic.
    Laziness because it is hard work to understand evolution properly ,especially as it always is work-in-progress.
    Stupidity because…well, selfexplanatory really.

    There are two more reasons why people might profess to be religious:
    1) mental illness
    2) to gain the support of truly religious people and use it fulfil their own worldly desires

    These people might or might not start of religious but I think the first lot contains a lot of prophets,messiases,preachers and holy men while the second is crammed full of politicians like bush and his neocons.

  40. , I am AGAIN claiming neither, only that evolution (a positive claim) is not provable. The proof of it is yours, I

  41. Nunyabiz:
    To me as soon as saw this sentence from Spetner then I needed to read no further as he is clearly no where near a credible authority by making such an ignorant charge. Bingo. Why do I bother to post, when you make my argument for me with such clarity?

    Mere Dogma from a single source, a book whom we don

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