Atheism’s Fateful Flock

So an atheist walks into a church. If you're waiting for the punch line, it's not a joke. According to a recent AP report, something called "atheist mega-churches" are springing up across the USA. There's music, talks about science, maybe a sermon, but one element is missing: God.

Atheism is chic. An organization called the Secular Student Alliance has more than 400 affiliates at American colleges and high schools, a 500% increase over the past few years. Another group, American Atheists, will hold its annual convention in April in Salt Lake City, right there amid the Mormon faithful. The group's motto: "Think Again." I would say the same to them.

Meanwhile, book stores are filled with authors declaring that "God is Not Great," God is a "Delusion," and you are a moron if you believe in the Deity. The secular press, of course, loves these books and the reviews are largely favorable.

That's not to say there aren't believers in the mainstream media. Soon after swimmer Diana Nyad completed her remarkable swim from Cuba to Florida last year, she described herself as an atheist who is in awe of "the beauty of this universe." Oprah Winfrey got in hot water, pardon the expression, for informing Nyad that she is therefore not really an atheist.

Polling the folks about faith is tricky, but most surveys show that about 90% of Americans believe in God. Impressive, but that's down from 98% in 1967. And younger people are less considerably likely to believe than their parents.

Hollywood plays a role in this trend. According to the book Celebrities in Hell, a number of big stars may be aligned with the universe, but not with the force that most of us believe created it.

The book quotes the following:
? George Clooney: "I don't believe in heaven or hell. I don't know if I believe in God."
? Angelina Jolie: "There doesn't need to be a God for me."
? Carrie Fisher: "I love the idea of God, but it's not stylistically in keeping with the way I function."
Indeed. Believing in God is not very stylish in mainstream media circles these days. The question then becomes, is there anything wrong with that? After all, we have freedom from religion in America; the Constitution makes it clear that no power in this country has the right to impose religion on anyone.

So the atheists have clear sailing, and I say: Thank God. People of faith should be challenged and made to think about their beliefs. Critical thinking in all areas makes your mind sharper, your philosophy stronger.

Back in 2007, I was looking forward to debating the most successful of the atheist proselytizers, Richard Dawkins, who wrote The God Delusion. He basically says that science can explain everything and no one has any direct evidence there is a God.

But I knocked him out in the fourth round with this right hook: "<The earth> had to come from somewhere, and that is the leap of faith you guys make – that it just somehow happened."

Dawkins replied: "You're the one who needs a leap of faith. The onus is on you to say why you believe in something … you believe in, presumably, the Christian God Jesus."

"Jesus is a real guy," I said. "I'm not positive that Jesus is God, but I'm throwing in with him rather than throwing in with you guys, because you guys can't tell me how it all got here."

"We're working on it," Dawkins said.

"When you get it," I shot back, "maybe I'll listen."

But the atheists will never get it. The universe and the earth are so complex, so incredibly detailed, that to believe an accidental evolutionary occurrence could have led to the nature/mankind situation we have now requires a giant leap of imagination.

Richard Dawkins and I had a rematch a couple of years ago when he wrote a book aimed specifically at children. "The book is about science," he told me, "and everything about the natural world can be explained by science."

I chastised Dawkins for promoting atheism to youngsters. "You want children to reject God and religion," I told him, "and you're trying to get to the kids and say you're an idiot if you believe in God."

Richard Dawkins and all the other non-believers are free to think and say whatever they want. As long as they don't attack people of faith and leave the kids out of it, I have no problem with them. As my eighth grade teacher Sister Martin once said, "Faith is a gift." But not everybody gets to open the box.

  • Paul J. Williams

    Suggested reading or DVD, “Is Faith Delusional” by Ravi Zacharias.
    Dawkins claims that somewhere along the line there was a genetic mutation that caused some humans to believe in God. My position is that there was a mutation to cause some people to not believe in God.
    Using the logic of “reductio ad absurdem” for aethist’s there is no moral, both Hitler and Mother Teresa ended back in terra firma and you cannot call either of them good or bad. That is their eternal destinies are the same.
    This is not to say that there are not people who are aethists who are good but they have no reason to be so.
    By His grace alone!
    Paul J. Williams
    Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences
    University of the Pacific

  • D Parri

    Bill, what strikes me is the adamancy of most atheist’s belief in the non-existence of God, while they attempt to construct a philosophical ‘leper’s ring’ around those who choose to believe.

    It is not adequate to simply take a position and stand to defend their beliefs, but it must be coupled with lobbying and campaigning against the ones who disagree with them, to the end of effecting a very dramatic transformation of societal standards and ethics.

    As with any societal group, their overbearance in atheist beliefs belies the call for tolerance and equal standing from others.

    • Josh

      Just to be clear here: It’s not anyone’s specific god. Atheism is a disbelief in all deities. In other words, an atheist is one who doesn’t believe in Ra, Zeus, Thor, Allah, snake gods, alligator gods, etc. Ironically, of course, is the fact that believers in one specific god are even more adamant that no other gods exist but theirs. But that’s another topic entirely. I just wanted to make it clear that atheism isn’t against your God.

      Secondly, I would hope the Bill O’Reillys of the world would look into atheism in America a little more closely. It’s fragmented.

      Atheism is polarized like Republicans and Democrats in many respects. And if the Marxist-feminist-driven hybrid creature in atheism is going to paint the entire picture for all atheists, then there should be silence when the Phelps’ are used to paint the entire picture of Christians. It’s only fair.

  • Jamie

    Great article, Bill.

  • Integrity

    A belief in God implies that moral values exist. A belief that God does not exist implies that no moral values exist. Why do you think communist countries banned religion? Without morals, we are no better than the animals. QED

    • Gandolf

      Quote :”Why do you think communist countries banned religion?”

      Because religion has ability of being very organized. And they saw any very organized group as being a real threat.

      Yet this doesn’t mean that communists hoped to create a society full of thief’s, murderers and rapists.

      Belief in God, is not necessarily needed for societies to retain moral values.

      Quote : “Without morals, we are no better than the animals.”

      Some animal evolved social groups of living. The thing is even the “empathy trait”, also has its own benefit within groups of “social beings”.For instance some groups of animals and even birds will choose to stand together, to try and ward off harm. And in some situations both male and female will share nurturing and care of offspring.In certain cases the whole social group may even help take part too.

      Without belief in God. These social beings have still evolved with some values, that humans would deem to be considered, moral values

      There is absolutely no evidence to suggest moral value originate from mind of God’s. And much that suggests how moral values may originate from acts of social-living , and mind of living beings

      • Integrity

        I think you are missing my point. Even ants and bees are social beings to some extent and they often sacrifice themselves to benefit the collective. Are these traits based upon values, morals, or instinct? Your post actually helps make my point. We are not better than animals if our morals are derived without a loving God. I argue that there is no such thing as good and evil without a God. A godless society will consist of only man-made laws that humans may or may not feel morally obligated to follow. Consider something as simplistic as the speed limit. Why do so many people ignore it? Because many believe that it has been arbitrarily set to low, and therefore, they do not feel morally obligated to comply. Without God, right and wrong and all laws become subjective and left to the individual to determine whether it is moral or not. I shudder to think what would happen to us if there ever was definitive proof that God does not exist.

        Based upon your post, I think your knowledge about the history of communism is lacking. Regardless, it is your God-given right to disagree with me and I respect that. QED

        • Gandolf

          Firstly .Maybe humans are not better than animals.The way we decide to pollute and abuse the earths resources ,may tend to suggest how we are not

          Humans claiming to have personal relationships with god’s have still gladly been involved in such things. Suggesting either Gods dont exist ,or that Gods make no difference anyway.

          Is it good ? for a social animal to support its group. Surely it is something good, when it’s own action can be proven to also be of personal benefit as well . Whether by helping to preserve the life of itself or perhaps its offspring.Loving parents can be more than enough, to help promote good (sadly all too-often religious beliefs have come between this love. And this downfall has also permeated throughout society in general)

          Thus there is good without god.

          Empathy is one trait within living beings what can help drive evolution to promote good.There is mutual benefit. Benefit is reciprocated. The philosophy “do unto others as you would have them do unto you”. Connects directly to this.

          God is not needed for such traits to develop.

          In my opinion. A big part of the reason people have great disregard of road laws. Is because society has become so divided, so that therefore peoples personal interrelationships become so broken. Humans lose the close-social connections that would otherwise more likely exist. And help humanity create more care and respect

          When there is now approximately 41,000 different domination’s,just within the Christian spectrum alone. Then surely we should not ? now expect we would also have retained,such close-social connections within general society

          You said. Quote : “A godless society will consist of only man-made laws that humans may or may not feel morally obligated to follow.”

          So how do you suppose the laws recorded within holy books came about.

          They still came via mind of man anyway. The word of god (as stated in holy books) amount’s to nothing more than being word of theist-man. Evidence of this can be seen, in the way we can read how moral values evolved over time . Thus why today humans do not take part in act of human blood sacrifice rituals. And in general a parent would not kill their rebellious children today either. We no-longer stone adulterers . And so on

          Thus we can see. That moral values. Always have originated from man made laws. We can tell this by the way moral values have evolved.

          So therefore it seems your point is a moot-point anyway. As your own holy book, helps prove that, these matters always have been somewhat subjective.

          However within “social societies”. Decision is not completely subjective. Because minds of beings combine to help provide combined-opinion’s that gives answers that can then produce a more objective value.

          That is how regulations are set. It has always been that way. Even in ancient times, groups of ancient human theist-minds, combined together in thought and discussion, so as to try and produce opinions,that would contain an aspect of objective value to them.

          So nothing is new under the sun

          I still stand by what i said with regard to communist countries. The fact is. Even communist countries will need to try and have law and order.Their society is still somewhat “social society” based. Even if it be run, in some different degree to what our social society is.

          I respect your right to disagree with me too. And i also wish to especially thank you, for kindly choosing to keep the discussion civil.

          My return interaction is naturally reciprocative.

          • Integrity

            I appreciate your civility and opinion as well. I find it inherently fascinating how many have attempted to give definitive proof that God does or does not exist and have failed. Have you ever heard of Rene Descartes? His most famous quote is, “I think, therefore I am.” He has many interesting arguments supporting his belief in God. Ironically, even this statement is subject to debate. However, he may very well be evil. After all, he did introduce the Cartesian coordinate system to the world. Enjoyed the debate and wish you well. QED

          • Gandolf

            Yes i have heard of Rene Descartes.Personally i don’t think much of his arguments supporting God.

          • Integrity

            Do you think much of anyone’s arguments supporting God? If you did, you most likely would not be an athiest. In the end, we all believe what we want to and tend to gravitate towards arguments that support our beliefs. QED

        • Josh

          Not to come across as if I’m trolling here, but you state “A godless society will consist of only man-made laws that humans may or may not feel morally obligated to follow.”

          That’s exactly where we’re at now. That’s exactly where we’ve always been at. Man makes the laws and man decides which laws to follow.

          For the sake of this discussion, let’s say you and I attend the same church and worship the same God in the same way. I’ll submit here that the specific god you worship is real and that its scripture is truth.

          Even with that, our God’s laws are very often ignored by even those who claim to believe in and worship that God. Even with that, man still creates laws that are absolutely hit-or-miss as they relate to any type of scripture and laws that God supposedly passed down.

          There are people who feel they’re not morally obligated to follow God’s laws, even if they believe in that God. The world is packed full of people and nations who change those laws to suit their needs. Even assuming that most Biblical laws are for the Jews (which is the argument I often hear; correct me if I’m wrong) and the Commandments are the ones that are universal, we’re talking, at best, two of ten being held as objective for a civilized species: not murdering, not stealing.

          Coveting, adultery, graven images, having other gods, honoring parents, bearing false witness, the Sabbath, lord’s name in vain — all very much subjective. And quite a few can be ignored and shattered without anyone’s morals being compromised in any way whatsoever.

          God’s laws are very much subjective, save a select few. People are constantly worming their way past abiding them with explanations, ignoring them, realizing they don’t make sense in modern times, etc.

          So if all we’re taking away from God’s laws is that stealing and murdering are wrong (but feel free to insert others I may be missing), then there isn’t much of a case that we needed a specific God to understand those things.

          And that’s not even getting into the various thousands of gods that people worship, the over 30,000 different sects existing for the same god, the fact that nonbelievers aren’t any less moral than anyone else, etc.

          You seem to make a decent case for why you want to believe in and worship your specific God per your opinion. But does it wash even for the world?

          • Integrity

            I don’t consider your post to be trolling. Additionally, I understand many of your sentiments. We live in a world full of hypocrites and imperfect people. Unfortunately, I belong to that group as well. I also want to make it clear that I believe many nonbelievers are inherently good people who share many of the same good moral values that religious people do. It was never my intent to suggest otherwise. Life is to short to have a heavy heart. Given that we are all sinners, expecting anyone to flawlessly follow God’s law is unreasonable. I would be happy if everyone had a conscience. Finally, I will be the first person to admit that I am in no way an expert on any of this. Regards. QED

          • Josh

            Well, I certainly appreciate civil discussions and people who take the time to offer thoughtful replies, as I always try to do the same. But I think we’re missing one another on the point I was trying to bring to the table, and perhaps that’s my fault.

            I’m assuming here that your argument is that God’s law is universal and the basis of all morality. I’m attempting to point out that it doesn’t appear as such, not only to nonbelievers but also to believers. So if something supposedly moral can so easily be interpreted as meaningless to morality, then how much weight should be given to the opinion that it is moral?

            I don’t think it has as much to do with people being sinners and falling short as much as it has to do with thinking individuals able to construct a moral code that doesn’t necessarily need to include arbitrary things to be considered as moral.

          • Integrity

            Josh, you are killing me. LOL I get the points you are trying to make, but perhaps we are simply talking past each other. I contend that our laws and even our accepted morals are based upon Judeo-Christian values. I could even argue that your definition of what is good is based upon these values as well. Consider this interesting quote, “”all men are endowed by their Creator.” In other words, our form of
            government has no sense unless it is founded in a deeply felt religious
            faith, and I don’t care what it is. With us of course it is the
            Judeo-Christian concept, but it must be a religion with all men created
            equal.” God’s law is universal, everyone’s interpretation of it is not. Subsequently, the concept of morality is no longer clearly defined. In the end, we have to make compromises and choose some arbitrary point where most agree that this is either good or this is bad. Given the amount of evil that currently exists in our world, it is not hard to understand how one could become jaded. I just don’t think a moral society is possible if God, in fact, did not exist. Having said this, it is unlikely that I convinced you to change your opinion. Enjoyed the debate. QED

          • Josh

            That quote, “endowed by their creator,” also needs more context. Firstly, the intent is clearly to suggest that all of mankind is deserving of freedom from tyranny and freedom to live. And we’re also talking about a time when some creator being behind the universe pretty much had to be the way the world was understood, because few, if any, people had an inkling of the knowledge the world possesses now. Even if someone didn’t believe it was god A or god B, the idea of divinity–magic, supernatural, whatever one wants to call it–was held in a percentage that would probably shock the Bible Belt today!

            What I mean is that it could easily say “mankind is inherently deserving of freedoms by natural law and being born free,” and the effect is only as good as what follows.

            Let us never forget that those words, as eloquent as they are, have never truly been followed. For me, talk is cheap, especially when it’s just written down and not expressed. Though if someone wants to put more stock in them and claim that because a handful of people believed in a creator, thus crafted a paper expressing it, thus X or Y exists, then I don’t really have a beef with that. To each their own.

            My point here: Divine creator or alien robots, what someone writes down isn’t what has held a country together per se. We have a history of not living up to those words long after they were written, yet we stand.

          • D Parri

            “Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s”.

            According to one’s belief’s, there will be a difference in the way in which one chooses to live and serve. God’s servants proclaim that there are none that they serve greater than God. Exclusive servants of the man-made laws make no such claim.

          • Josh

            Okay. But I don’t take the point.

      • Tim Ned

        “Yet this doesn’t mean that communists hoped to create a society full of thief’s, murderers and rapists.”

        But the Soviets did create a society full of thieves, murders, and rapists. They ran the country!

        • Gandolf

          Well yes,and where you live these types are more likely runnig churches

          • D Parri

            “…are more likely…” does not sound very definitive to me. Without vetting the comment, there are no plausible facts contained within your statement.

          • Gandolf

            And for me to read that, coming from someone like yourself, who believes in the honesty of a holy book,. that speaks about virgin births, talking donkeys and snakes,an more crazy claims .As if it its most likely to be plausible.

            Would tend to suggest someone like yourself, might be most-highly unlikely to even begin to fully understand, whats actually plausible , and what isn’t

            And the country you live in .More than likely is literally brimming-full of very many more people, just like yourself too.Fatefully faithful people. Many of them taught from birth to be so overly-faithful. That they were not even being at all suspect, of certain situations, leading up to housing-bubbles. And more

            Yet you really think? i would have good-reason to think, someone like yourself , might actually understand whats plausible , or not

            I still suggest, that many of your churches are indeed quite likely also being run by dishonest people

  • homony

    Oh! for heaventh’s thake!!!! If Theists want respect for their believing in a God, then, dammit! respect those who cannot believe it. We don’t *Need* a God, you do! Dammit again!

  • Ron F

    I have never heard about the book Celebrities in Hell and could not care what some actors think about Christianity. As to all the books attacking Christianity, I am willing to bet there are far more positive books about Christianity and I am sure that Mr. O’Reilly’s books far outsell any book promoting atheism. Wasn’t “Finding Jesus” the top non fiction selling book in 2013. Of course the world had to come from someplace, just like the other planets but that doesn’t mean it came from God. Christians cannot explain how God got here. Our belief is based on faith. There is no empirical proof. I am free to practice my faith. The only thing that I have seen stopped is the recognition of Christianity by government. I do not want religious beliefs taught in public schools. I would not public schools to teach it and would they teach the Catholic view or protestant or only what both faiths have in common. If parents want their children to have a religious education, there are private schools. I think the so called war on Christianity is way over stated.

  • Russ Smith

    Dawkins and most atheists seem to think that the only reason to believe in God is to explain anything that we don’t yet understand. If that’s all God is, then every time science succeeds in explaining something, God gets smaller.
    Yet science only (if at all) explains the mechanisms that God uses to make things happen. It never explains why. Religion serves that purpose. Getting the two mixed up (as Dawkins does) causes all manner of problems and confusion.
    That said, God is far more than the answer to “why?” Belief in God flows from the sense that God is actually concerned about each and every one of us. (What point has belief if God doesn’t want any relationship with us?)
    Both atheism and theism flow from faith. Atheism from the faith that what we see and know is the final arbiter of what actually is. Theism from the faith that there is more that we can measure and weigh. Both are somewhat circular in their reasoning. I think theism is more internally consistent.

    • Gandolf

      Quote : “Yet science only (if at all) explains the mechanisms that God uses to make things happen. It never explains why. Religion serves that purpose.”

      Like for instance, the way religion was used to help explain why,earthquakes,tsunami , famine , disease and bad weather patterns caused harm to humans.

      Which in turn led to ancient human involvement in things like, act’s of human blood-sacrifice rituals

      More often .Religion adds to confusion.

      • Russ Smith

        I won’t argue that religion has been misused by people with bad agendas and bad theologies. Dismissing religion because of the bad people have done with it would be equivalent to dismissing science because of chemical warfare or eugenics. Dismissing religion because some folks are confused by it would be equivalent to dismissing science because some folks can’t fathom the uncertainty principle or objects of different mass falling at the same rate. It’s not the fault of the tools as much as the people who abuse them.

        • Gandolf

          Yes people can perhaps claim the same type of thing about smoking tobacco. Even things like, prolific distribution, and unregulated ownership of guns. You might say some people abuse the use of Guns and tobacco. And you might not be so wrong, either.

          But in my opinion, i still say it doesn’t prove how its ok.

          I dismiss religion,because i see no “good” reason for having it.Some groups whom live still completely without religion, certainly don’t seem be at any great loss.In fact they seem mighty happy. But each to their own. You may wish to keep religion around. I’m someone who would far rather see it disappear

    • Bob Olden

      It’s interesting that a believer in God can still have an avid interest in science and even be all the more passionate about studying all dimensions of science because he sees science as a reflection of the infinite wisdom of God which is beyond human comprehension (even in the 21st century). Yet the atheist, who idolizes science, can’t be bothered to think about God. It’s just a waste of time, unless you are thinking about how to debunk the belief in God.

  • Wheels55

    While science explains a lot (and I believe in science), we still ask what came first – the chicken or the egg. The origins of space, planets and life is impossible to explain. How there is so much order with these things is even harder to explain, unless you believe in a higher power that created all of this.
    What is harder to explain is why anyone truly gives a damn what Clooney, Jolie and Fisher think.

    • Iowa48

      What is even harder to explain is why the atheists give a damn about what anybody believes. It is none of their business. I really don’t see how their disbelief is in any way threatened by the beliefs of those who do believe, particularly here in the USA. It seems that the atheists are more substantially far more aggressively chauvinistic about their beliefs than the vast majority of believers.
      I would not presume to tell a child who believes in Santa Claus that there may not be a Santa Claus, as it is none of my business what that child chooses to believe in, or not believe in. That child’s belief in Santa Claus doesn’t affect me in any material way. I am not offended by a Santa Claus display, or a display of Leprechauns on St. Patrick’s day. If I chose to take offense at Leprechauns, it would not have any more validity or relevance than say the offense I might take at the color my neighbor chooses to paint his house. It has no validity or relevance, as it basically not any of my business what color he chooses. It’s his house, not mine.
      I am bemused when atheists sue to have a cross or religious painting removed, as those objects are really completely meaningless if they do not believe in god. Just as pictures of leprechauns are pretty much meaningless, as they don’t really exist. Or can we expect the atheists to start suing over leprechauns and shamrocks?
      I think the whole thing boils down to people presuming superiority and power regarding how others think or believe. A bit of fascism, if you ask me.

      • Wheels55

        I agree. I wonder why atheists are so offended by the mention of religion. Why they can’t ignore it.
        If I can put up with rap music and whiny machine driven signing, I think atheists can look past a bible verse or nativity scene.

        • Gandolf

          How many ? rap artist groups do you know. Whom are actively involved in demanding need of separation and shunning of family members and friends. Should someone simply choose not to play rap music

          People may choose to continually trivialize the reasons for certain people’s dislike of religion if they choose it. But in doing so, they will also only help perpetuate the situation as well too

          It is theists whom will stand to continually pay the price of this choice. Not atheists

          • Wheels55

            Not sure what your point is. I never said people should not play the music they like just because I may not like it as well.

          • Gandolf

            My point is that rap artists really don’t have a vast track record, of breaking up families, while religion’s do.

            Too often religion asks family, to need to shun certain family members.Sometime this nastiness goes even further, when family are being asked to excommunicate.This means religion is sometimes involved in ordering people to disown their own flesh and blood. And so on

            In certain countries, like America for instance ,some people are still somewhat afraid, to even allow it to be known, that they are an atheist.

            If you cant see that the religious situation doesn’t even begin to compare with situations involving rap singers. Let me know. And i’ll try and explain it further.

            But to put it bluntly.Saying atheists can simply afford to just choose to ignore religion.Is almost like saying people could have decided to ignore actions of people whom bombed the twin towers in 9/11

      • Josh

        Well, if the religious symbols aren’t important, then perhaps the religious will stop trying to put them on public property.

        I think that would shut those pesky, nosy atheists up.

        But the examples are numerous throughout this nation. And it goes like this:

        – Christians want to put their symbols on public property
        – Atheists want separation of church and state
        – Christians claim America is a Christian nation and that majority rules
        – Atheists say LOL, um….no
        – Christians play the “what’s the big deal?” card
        – Atheists use examples like, oh, statues to Allah or Hindu monuments or anti-religious stuff and how folks wouldn’t like that
        – Christians reassert the “Christian nation” bit and claim atheists shouldn’t care because they don’t believe and that they just hate God (their specific God)

        This loop can be avoided if church and state just stayed separate. That’s why atheists care.

        As to why Bill O cares, well, that’s no mystery either. 10 solid months before he can bring the “war on Christmas” back.

        • Iowa48

          Yeah, and what about those damned leprechauns?

          • Josh

            Yeah. Sarcasm: A cheap yet powerful multi-tool. I suppose those meaningless symbols mean more than you’re letting on.

            While you might be cool with little green magic dudes, I’d pay to see the cringe on your face with Muhammad’s horse or another competing religion’s symbols erected at a public location near you. Santa and Warwick Davis seem easy enough for you to float across the monitor, but what about actual equivalency?

            I do so wonder how you’d handle the unabashed fascism of someone daring to represent a competing religion at a courthouse or school in your neck of the woods.

          • Iowa48

            I have no problem with equivalency, however I would point out the Islam Is not a religion, as defined by Merriam-Webster: “Relation of human beings to God or the gods or to whatever they consider sacred or, in some cases, merely supernatural.”. Islam is a political movement as it proposes a system of governance and codifies both civil law and criminal law under Sharia. That takes it out of the realm of religion as it is defined. Islam purports to be a religion, and cynically uses religion as a façade, but its political aspirations belie that. There is absolutely no difference between an imam and a Chicago ward boss. It’s all about political power and control for both of those political hacks.

          • Josh

            Your assertion seems a bit nonsensical as it pertains to religion. Sharia is of the Quran. The Quran is the Islamic holy book. Instituting Sharia means abiding the holy book; i.e. abiding the religion. In that respect, Islam is more of a religion than many other religions, in that they don’t seek to deviate far from the literal word.

            To call it a political movement is a way to say that you don’t subscribe to their religion and thus don’t count what they do as religion. Though for the Muslims seeking to institute Quran control, they may be very much religious. Baby dictators and religious fanatics are not mutually exclusive. And for the other billion people praying, abiding customs, etc, it’s very much a religion.

            And what’s the difference between an imam and the Papal legacy or various other rulers throughout history who used religion to seize and keep power?

            Besides, where in that definition does it state power-hungry individuals render an entire religion void? For every nutjob of a politician using the religion to seize power, there’s a million Muslims practicing the religion and abiding their standards just as Christians, Hindus and everyone else. By your standard, a variety of sects in Christianity would have been ruled out as religions far before America was formed. And perhaps some today. It’s not like our government is bereft of wannabe dictators and usurpers in training using religion to gain seats and to make decisions. It’s not like other governments don’t contain the same buffoons.

            If you want to say that Muslim X isn’t a real religious person but rather a charlatan seeking control, that’s one thing. Though to render void over a billion people and to dismiss their religion of 1,400 years as some sham to seize power — well, that’s certainly a head scratcher.

            If an imam is Islam, then Ted Haggard can be Christianity. I suppose by the definition used up there, Christianity isn’t a religion but rather a ploy to allow homosexuals to lead lucrative lives.

          • Iowa48

            They would be a religion per the definition, and only dealt with spiritual matters. Once they step outside of that realm, i.e. proposing a system of civil governance, and codifying civil and criminal law, then they become political, a political philosophy, and a political party. Sharia defines the Establishment Clause. And the fact that Islam demands that even non-Muslims abide by Sharia even further defines it as a political movement, rather than a religion. I didn’t write the definition of religion, but borrowed it from the dictionary.

          • Josh

            And even still, it’s you who interprets Islam in that way in an attempt to cram it–all kinda-sorta like–into that base, ironically immovable definition.

          • Iowa48

            If you lack the intellect to differentiate between a religion and a political movement, that is your problem, as it will likely be too late when you do wise up.

          • Josh

            No doubt. Totally my malfunction.

          • Gandolf

            How many people do you know, who find themselves being shunned and sometime even totally disowned by family members ,and friends. Due to act of openly professing their belief in leprechauns?

            Because right now i can easily find hundreds, if not thousand’s of personal-accounts, documenting how people are presently being mistreated ,due to their lack of faith in God’s

            So now i would challenge you, to try and provide the same thing happening ,in regards to peoples choice of leprechaun belief.

            Otherwise as Josh more or less points out. You are merely reverting to taking cheap-shots

          • Iowa48

            I know a number of folks who have lost their faith in leprechauns, and it remains pretty much irrelevant to everybody else’s life, and more to the point, nobody’s business except for the individual who does or does not believe in leprechauns. Tho only ones who care that much about the leprechauns are those pathetic people so addicted to drama that they have to create it where none existed. Drama queens and hypersensitive atheists are pretty much interchangeable.

          • Gandolf

            Ahh ….so i see you couldn’t manage to carry through with that challenge i made to you.

            And that would be because no harm comes to anyone, due to leprechaun belief . While with religion it is a whole totally different matter

            You also seem to think that just by calling people names, it would somehow help to prove your point. And possibly believe it helps make you feel big.

            I wont bother to explain what you manage to make yourself look like. I really have no need to. For i’m quite sure most people will very easily work it out for themselves

      • Ron F

        Iowa, I have never had an atheist come to my door and try to convert me. I have had plenty of Christians come to my door and try to convert me. I have never heard of an atheist missionary. In addition, I have never seen an atheist sponsored television show. I have seen many Christian television shows. On my cable service there are several Christian stations. I have never heard of an atheist radio station. I have never seen a public government meeting opened with a recognition of any atheist view. I am sure more people heard about the war on religion on Bill O’Reiley’s television show than saw any evidence of it. Finally, I am still free to practice my religion, I can go to church every week, children can go to Christian schools, I can pray anywhere I want. If this is a war, the atheists have lost. The only thing that they have been successful in is stopping the recognition of religion at government sponsored events.

        • Iowa48

          I wish the government would quit forcing those christian “crosses” down my throat at every 90 degree intersection of public roads. Nothing but poorly camouflaged crucifixes disguised as intersections, and a blatant violation of the Establishment Clause. Everybody knows that each and every one of these “crosses” will have to be changed to traffic circles to avoid offending atheists.
          And what about all these government erected street signs with christian crucifixes thinly disguised as the letter “t”. They need to start replacing the christian “t” on all government signs and documents with the non-offending asterik in order to attain compliance with the Establishment Clause. It will no longer be Wall Street, but the more appropriate and atheist friendly “Wall S*ree*.” Enough of this practicing of religion on government streets and signs and documents. Traffic circles and asteriks all around for my atheist brothers and sisters!
          And this is not to mention the encroachment of christian symbols in public education math books. Every time I see a plus sign. I cringe at the realization of the distress it must cause all the atheists. Again we must substitute the non-offending asterisk in place of the + sign subterfuge for the christian cross. Those christians are really insidious with their clever placement of their symbols, but they will no longer get away with it once my crusade, er…campaign for non-offending circles and asterisks gets rolling.

          • Ron F

            Iowa, I never commented about symbols. I just said that no one is being denied the right to practice his or her religion and I do not believe that there is a war on religion. I think atheists and others are trying to stop government recognition or sponsorship of a specific religion. I wish one person would tell me how he or she is not able to practice his or her religion.

          • Iowa48

            I’m on your side bro, asterisks all around!

      • Gandolf

        Quote : ” What is even harder to explain is why the atheists give a damn about what anybody believes.”

        If religion was benign and in effect had been of little harm.More than likely atheists would have very little reason to give a damn.

        The proof of this fact exists within countries where religion is far-less predominant. For instance in New Zealand where i live, organized atheist groups are far less predominant. I suggest mostly because religious domination is also far less predominant here also

        You can say it is of nobodies business, about how other people living around them, would choose to believe and act. But i have some doubt that this is actually correct.

        Fact is,within social societies sometimes these matters can still have some personal-effect on us anyway. Whether we would have chosen to have become personally involved in them ,or not

        And this fact applies not only to the matter of religion either.For it also applies to many other things as well too.Like lawlessness , pollution and over-exploitation of resources. And much more

        To suggest that people should simply be able to choose to ignore such matters. Doesn’t even begin to deal with reality

  • Barlingwood

    Why is it any more or less appropriate for atheists to try and reach children than for christians to do so? Do Atheists not have the same right to bring up their children with their cultural values as christians do? Why do you condemn the writing of a book that atheist parents can give to their children to flourish their love of science and reason?

    • tarmac 492

      Good point. I believe the Christian thing to do is live and let live, let each person worship, or not worship, in the way that feels right to themselves. We as a society are asking for trouble when any large group with certain beliefs start trying to forcibly push their beliefs on others. Throughout history this has led to much bloodshed and continues to through today. I was raised a Catholic(not strict) and I still bristle at the archaic thinking of the church sometimes. I still consider myself a Catholic, but wish that the Church would stay out of govt and vice-versa. Just as a Christian does not like the Atheist billboards stating that God is dead or whatever, there are many people who don’t want to hear the Christian views on gay marriage or abortion. At some point, each group just has to let it go and acknowledge that there are those who will never think/believe the same way we do.

  • Brian Fr Langley

    For most folks science is not a mystery. Being that we’re taught science is based on empiral data. Except, that is simply NOT true. Having read dozens (of really sound scientific) books on the subject, there are a few things we’re not being told. What is light? Don’t actually know. Space? Don’t actually know. I mean really, really don’t know. Some say nothing (the absence of something) but a whole group of modern physicists now say, no it really is actually something. What? Don’t know. Gravity? Don’t know. Time? Don’t know. Matter? don’t know. What we do know is matter is 99.999999999999 empty space? Those model atoms in your science classroom were NOT to scale. If they were, the protons and electrons (revolving around the center) would have been blocks (yes city blocks) away? What is life actually? From whence does it come? How did it arrive in the 1st place. Life, like the cosmos seems to come from no where. Check these facts out yourself. This is all true. Modern science does NOT know what most of the universe is. Since the math doesn’t work, we now have dark matter and dark energy comprising the vast bulk of the universe. What is dark matter and dark energy? Don’t know. Modern physics is now shining a light on what they call inexplicable natural occuences? Another word for inexplicable natural occurances, is that they are by definition supernatural occurances. ( no I don’t necessarily mean God) What I mean is, if we can’t explain the barest truths of the universe. (All evident in simply living our lives. (time,space, gravity, matter, light, and life). Then stop stuffing your speculations down my throat, and then tell me they’re based on definitive data. Since both of us know, you are lying.

    • Josh

      I often see you speak of history here. I would suggest looking at your argument through the prism of history. You do have that luxury.

      We, as a species, have discovered a plethora of new and strange things in and about our universe. Though to thrust around “don’t actually know” like it’s a badge of honor and a point on the scoreboard for religions is disrespectful to the journey we’ve all taken as a species.

      That “Don’t actually know” used to be inserted for lightning, rainbows, mountains, earthquakes, and other things even our grade school children know explanations for today.

      It seems like you’re biting the hand that feeds here. Because we, as a species, have figured out so much about our natural world, we have uncovered new and great mysteries that people even a hundred years ago couldn’t even begin to imagine. To treat science now as if it has reached its peak and all subsequent questions will remain unanswered displays an ignorance of the history of science and of the scientific method in general.

      You seem to be taking for granted the tremendous strides we have taken, strides that have led you to be able to type your opinion on a computer screen, perhaps two days after having life-saving surgery on a heart valve. The 1814 answer: Tis God’s will, said in an inked letter.

      There are competing theories and hypotheses on many different scientific subjects. As far as I’m aware, this is made abundantly clear in a quality science education. Where are these people ramming speculations down other people’s throats? I don’t know; maybe you’re confusing someone’s dissenting opinion for what’s actually taught.

      “Another word for inexplicable natural occurances, is that they are by definition supernatural occurances”

      That’s not a scientific definition of an inexplicable natural occurrence. That’s a conclusion reached a lot by people who wish to insert their god into that particular gap, however.

      If something is inexplicable (unexplainable), it wouldn’t be labeled supernatural — that is to say the scientific method does not allow for the supernatural category, because there’s nothing there to observe, measure or test. It’s an imagined realm of supposed existence. If something is unexplainable by natural law (feel free to offer examples), then it is simply yet to be explained, not can’t be explained. There is no such label.

      If you have things that can’t be explained, please, offer them up. But in doing so, don’t forget your history. What makes your nit about dark matter/energy different than someone’s nit in 1014 about rainbows?

      Unexplainable = to be determined, not unexplainable. And certainly not supernatural.

      • Brian Fr Langley

        I’m a great fan of science and knowledge. I’m natually curious and would like to know everything. But these were not merely acedemic arguements I was posing. These are the deep truths of modern science. Physics is leading inexorably into territory that one could only decribe a multi-dimensional. That is, a place beyond human perception. (sight, sound, smell, taste, touch) Science by definition requires human perception (That’s why we refer to observarions and observers) to become definitive. The truth is, if it’s not definitive, it’s not science, but merely a competing religion. Hawking states it best, with one of the most profound statements ever uttered by a physicist. “There may not actually be, an observer independant history of the universe”. Hawking. (really ponder this statement from an illustrious physicist, although I agree it’s shockingly mind blowing) String theory, Shroeders equation, quantum mechanics, spooky action at a distance, and the extra-ordinary results of the double slit experiment, point to innumerable discoveries to come, that are literally out of this universe. Whether dimensions, Branes, multiverses, or universes without end, how we ended up in our present position, is an article of faith. (not science) Feel free to BELIEVE all things came from NO thing. That’s your right. But as of today, most physicists no longer agree that it’s science. One guy may call a universe outside of human perception as another dimensional reality. While the other guy may call it Heaven. As I said, these are simply two competing religions. For a simple book on the subject try (Physicist) Brian Greene’s book, the Fabric of the Cosmos.

        • Brian Fr Langley

          Sorry wrong Schroeder. NOT Schroeders equation, but Schrodingers cat. Too many physicist’s so little time.

          • Josh

            Holt, Environmental Science — 1996; the newest textbook I own which taught evolution, which I received in 10th grade (I also have a biology and chemistry one around here somewhere; and physics, too, but that can stay in the attic!).

            Abiogenisis isn’t listed in the chapters, glossary or index of the book.


            Environmental Science: A Global Perspective
            Living Things in Ecosystems
            How Ecosystems Work
            Kinds of Ecosystems
            Atmosphere and Climate
            Population Growth
            Toward a Sustainable Future

            (verbatim from the book)

            Chapter 2, Living Things in Ecosystems — Section 2.3 — Evolution by Natural Selection:

            Adapting To The Environment

            After reading this section you should be able to:

            1) Explain the process of evolution by natural selection.
            2) Explain the concept of adaptation.
            3) Explain the concept of coevolution.
            4) Define the term “extinction.”

            Organisms tend to be well suited to their environments. Kangaroo rats, for instance, are well suited to the deserts of the southwestern United States and northern Mexico, where there is little water. One of the ways kangaroo rats cope with this dry environment is by conserving water in their bodies. They eliminate very little water in their urine and feces. They do not sweat, so they don’t lose water in that way. And they are active at night, when it is cooler. In fact, kangaroo rats are so effective at saving water that they never need to drink.

            Evolution By Natural Selection:

            How does this close match between organisms and their environments come about? In 1859 and English naturalist named Charles Darwin proposed an answer to this question. Darwin observed that members of a population differ from each other in form, physiology, and behavior. Some of these differences are hereditary–that is, passed from parent to offspring. Darwin proposed that the environment exerts a strong influence over which individuals have offspring. Some individuals, because of certain traits, are more likely to survive and have offspring than other individuals. Darwin used the term “natural selection” to describe the unequal survival and reproduction that results from the presence or absence of particular traits.

            Darwin proposed that over many generations natural selection causes the characteristics of populations to change. A change in the genetic characteristics from one generation to the next is shown as evolution. According to Darwin’s theory, the process of natural selection is responsible for evolution.

            Imagine a group of deer living in a lowland area where the temperatures are warm most of the year. What if some of these deer became separated from the others in the high mountains, where the temperatures are cold most of the years? Many of the deer might die in the cold. However, a few deer would be more likely to survive and have offspring. The offspring with thicker fur would likely survive to produce offspring that also had thicker fur. With each generation, a greater proportion of deer would have thicker fur. The deer’s thicker fur would be an “adaptation,” an inherited trait that increases an organism’s chance of survival and reproduction in a certain environment.

            It then lists a two-page case study: Natural Selection and the Peppered Moth of England. It describes H.B.D. Kettlewell’s hypothesis about natural selection.

            But the important thing to focus on isn’t the study; it’s this: After the study, there’s a section called “Thinking Critically,” in which two important questions are asked.

            1) Analyzing Methods: Did Kettlewell use scientific methods to test his hypothesis? Explain.

            2) Predicting Outcomes: What do you think would happens to the moths if the pollution disappeared?

            Nowhere throughout the entire textbook does it describe evolution the way you describe it. Nowhere on the entire Internet–outside of religious misinterpretations–can I find evolution explained in the way you explain it.

            Throughout the book, throughout reputable science journals, and anywhere you’ll find actual science being taught, theories are classified as theories, et al, with qualifications. (E.g.: Notice the language; “Darwin proposed,” “likely,” “might”; NOT “fact,” “truth,” “proven” and other things you insist that simply aren’t true.)

            Moreover, hypotheses are listed as hypotheses! Students are asked to think critically and explain if good science was used (there’s a whole subsection on the scientific method that I might type in here tomorrow).

            But the most glaring thing I’m finding–or not finding, I should say–is that abiogensis (where life came from) has nothing whatsoever to do with the theory of evolution by natural selection.

            Though, if I had to venture a guess, you’d probably peg it all as some type of conspiracy or something, or state that today’s textbooks are combining things. I don’t know. But what I do know is teens in school, if they’re actually paying attention, have more of a grasp of science than the full-grown adults who attempt to tear it down from their living rooms yet can’t even begin to explain a simple theory or a difference in a hypothesis and theory.

            It takes faith to believe in evolution? The way you misunderstand and describe it, I’m sure it does! I’d need a lot of faith to believe in evolution the way you describe it: blending space and abiogensis and a bunch of other unrelated aspects together to create this blob, and then insisting that it’s taught as fact and rammed down people’s throats.

            If what you’re saying about the science is true and verifiable, 1) Why can’t I find it anywhere? 2) Why can’t you actually show what you’re talking about instead of explaining things incorrectly and saying “just Google it”?

          • Josh

            And a huge point I forgot to mention:

            Nowhere in any textbook, article, journal, etc, can I find where actual science that’s taught attempts to take anyone’s god away. And, let’s face it, that’s why there’s so much butthurt and intentional misinterpretations in hopes people will just shut up. Fundamentalists feel like “science” is this big conspiracy aimed at indoctrinating children by shunning God.

            And if anyone wonders why I care enough to keep typing here, the answer is simple. Our children are doing poorly enough as it is without biased, bigoted and backward parents, who can’t understand simple scientific concepts, forcing them away from education because of some irrational fear of learning science.

            I hope to have grandchildren, great grandchildren, and I hope they have the same, and so on. Personally, I would like future generations to thrive in a modern world, not go back to the days of sacrificing, praying for miracles and using blood to cleanse disease. I don’t care if they hold a god as the creator; good for them! I just hope they don’t intentionally deprive themselves of knowledge because they fear damned souls for learning something that, by happenstance and not design, runs contrary to scripture.

            And I really wish O’Reilly wasn’t a snobbish personality too full of himself to reply on his own discussions. He’d do well to actually learn and relay the message on his show that, hey, kids, science isn’t the enemy! It’s your parents refusing on principle to understand it who create fantastical versions of it and claim it’s anti-Christian.

            What’s next? Math? Hey, don’t think it isn’t possible. The Middle East was thriving until someone suggested that math was the work of the devil! All progress stopped, and now look.

            No god has bailed them out to date.

          • Brian Fr Langley

            These last arguments are almost childish? You are arguing semantics and irrelevancies. I totally agree with you, THAT if, there is NO design or purpose to the universe. Evolution as taught, (in the texts you mention) could well be an accurate interpretation (of the observations), that lead us to the widely accepted “theory of evolution”. Further, it’s patently ridiculous (and a really dumb argument) to suggest these text books (of yours) don’t presuppose (assume) a natural explanation for life and human origins. (of course they do, and you know it). The question I asked you was simple. Do you believe, the interpretation, of the scientific observations, that point to the evolution of the human genome, would be the same, if it was first assumed the universe had design and purpose. If you believe this is true, there is no further argument. As you are free to hold this opinion. BUT it’s an opinion, not a fact. My opinion is exactly the opposite. My opinion, is that the interpretation, of the observations we have made with regards evolution (if we presuppose design and purpose, as opposed to a natural explanation) would be very, very, different from those interpretations we now hold.

          • Josh

            What I first find glaring is that you still don’t seem to grasp evolution even after all this.

            Imagine me coming in here and saying that Christians must pray to Moses five times a day and abstain from working on every second Tuesday to be saved. And despite how many times I’m corrected, I keep saying that and keep expecting that my opinion should be taken seriously in a discussion on the Christian religious faith.

            (Thought you might like that analogy, since you claim there’s faith in science–before claiming there’s no faith in science–so often lol)

            I can only imagine the colorful language and suggestions you and others would have for me. But I’m supposed to take you seriously despite your consistent fumbling of basic science?

            “Further, it’s patently ridiculous (and a really dumb argument) to
            suggest these text books (of yours) don’t presuppose (assume) a natural
            explanation for life and human origins. (of course they do, and you know

            Why? Because it doesn’t mention your God, or anyone’s god?

            Science doesn’t deal in the supernatural, of course. You present that as if it’s an “AHA!” moment that shows science’s bias against religion. But that’s what’s absurd. Why would a natural methodology of figuring things out include things for which there are no evidence? You claim, personally, that there’s a lot of faith in science, but then decry science for not using faith. Very inconsistent.

            If you’re looking for something in the Ghost Hunters realm, check out sci-fi (which should fall under “fantasy” and not “science fiction” but that’s another story).

            That seems to be the point of contention here; that because a god isn’t mentioned, a god is being intentionally left out. Wizards aren’t mentioned either. Go figure!

            Yet what religious fundamentalists seem to habitually ignore is the fact–yes, fact–that the things in which they believe do not, have not, and have never presented any evidence at all. So when the model for the theory of evolution by natural selection is being constructed, it is approached naturally based on where the evidence points. Moreover, if religious-based evidence were found, it would therefore qualify as “natural,” and would therefore be included.

            What’s included in evolution are things supported by evidence.

            Sorry. If that’s the issue, creationists will remain butthurt.

            And I can’t even lie and pretend to understand what you’re talking about after that. What I infer is that you’re trying to say that all the many researchers looking at DNA, fossils, geology, and every other science involved in the support of the theory of evolution, have entered into their research with an atheist bias that has caused them to somehow view the data incorrectly; whereas if they believed a god did it all before the fact, then they would have viewed the data differently to the point the data would have changed. (I’m dizzy.)

            That’s implying a level of corruption and distrust that even I, a government-loathing, libertarian-minded guy, can’t even wrap my head around.

            What you’re proposing makes no sense to me.

            I know you won’t do it. Dollars to donuts it doesn’t even cross your mind. But I would suggest you just take a day and, as a self-proclaimed fan of science, actually read up on what the theory of evolution is. (Not explained by creationists who hold degrees in a Bible subject from a Bible school.)

            It doesn’t exclude the possibility of design; but it does show that design isn’t needed per nature.

            To insert design as a possibility when there is no evidence of and no need for design is not how things work in science. For some odd reason, as a self-proclaimed fan of science, you seem to lack a grasp of the most fundamental principles of science.

            If people want their specific gods included, or want their arguments for design included, then perform experiments which show design.

            Some try! You seem to be familiar with some, yet unfamiliar with the way they were shredded apart definitively and unequivocally by people–some of whom were religious!–actually implementing science instead of guesswork.

            The ones attempted so far, such as irreducible complexity, have been utterly destroyed by counter-research which shows that the initial models were very wrong and that this “complex” thing could in fact be reduced.

            And let’s not even get into creationists trying to change what fossils are, trying to say the Grand Canyon is Noah’s flood, or trying to quote-mine their way into the science classroom by using people’s written opinions, out of context no less, as the equivalent of research.

            Conspiracy? Atheist bigotry? Marxist liberals trying to indoctrinate? Or maybe, just maybe, research finds natural explanations?

            I know, I know; that last one is just too much to bear! It has to be one of the former.

            But the biggest issue here isn’t about science at all. It’s about the insecurities of religious fundamentalists and their mouth-foaming need to insert their specific cultural beliefs alongside legitimate science. They fear their beliefs not holding up, and that’s not anyone else’s issue but theirs.

            Philosophy class isn’t good enough. Churches and the home aren’t good enough. They want equal time in science devoted to a book which tells us things about the firmament and the earth created before the sun and people living for hundreds of years and talking animals, etc, etc.

            And it’s someone’s bias against religion that they don’t find evidence of those things when they perform research?

            We’re done here.

        • Josh

          You stated here what you’re speaking about, though. Quantum physics, M theory, multiple dimensions, etc. This stuff is not mainstream science, unless you happen to think that the specials they show on the Science Channel is the same stuff that’s stuffed inside of textbooks.

          The reason I responded to your reply is that you made it seem like the science community in general is attempting to cram the theoretical physics and quantum physics side of science down your throat, and that science has reached its limits of understanding. Neither of which is true.

          While certain disciplines of science cross and are useful to one another, an evolutionary biologist and an astrophysicist have very little in common. Even guys dealing in space like Neil deGrasse Tyson (astrophysicist) and Michio Kaku (theoretical physicist) have little in common.

          For someone who champions himself a big fan of science, I would think you’d understand that theoretical physics is its own ballgame. It’s not being taught to school children as fact. It’s not being shoved down throats. And even when those guys are interviewed and in their literature, at least from what I’ve seen, they do an impeccable job of qualifying their postulations and theories as such.

          Religion, on the other hand, is a statement of absolute truth. Galaxy-sized difference there.

          Things like time, space, gravity, dark matter, etc, are very new in the scope of science. But whether it’s the Fabric of the Cosmos or Physics of the Impossible or A Personal Voyage, there’s a stark difference in extrapolating from the natural and deducing that X is theoretically true, and then in having absolutely nothing to go on but old literature and insisting that X is unequivocally true.

          If one insists it takes faith for some of the more outlandish theories out there, I don’t necessarily disagree. I happen to believe that a lot of these guys–especially the M theory guys!–want their postulations to be true a little too much. But that’s like holding a marble to Jupiter and shouting “We’re the same!” Umm…hardly.

          As for what people would want to call another possible dimension, to each their own on that front. But be honest here; it’s long been the religious standard (every religion) to find a gap or a discovery and then to insert their god into it. It’s long been the religious standard that, if it’s not demonstrably true/untrue, then their logic suggests their god fits there just as well as anything else. God simply becomes the default, which seems to me incredibly dishonest on the part of one who claims to believe in scripture yet rearranges it for convenience. But I don’t break balls there; I find it understandable.

          “Feel free to BELIEVE all things came from NO thing.”

          I personally have no idea what that means. I don’t know what “no thing” is or could possibly be. Could you be more specific?

          • Brian Fr Langley

            What Bill O’Reilly has been refering to, was rather militant atheists like Dawkins. Who if you read his book would probably make religious belief a Federal offense. It’s not physics I have a problem with. It seems they are honestly pursuing truth. It’s the evolutionary idealogues that get me crabby. Particularly those who assert definitive facts around issues for which no such assertions are founded. We simply do not now what started the cosmos, nor do we know what started life. Francis Crick (the co discoverer of DNA), now believes in Panspermia, (life was planted on earth from somewhere else) With the co-discoverer of DNA now believing earth was NOT a suitable place for evolution, (and he is one of many) The truth is, it is as likely this universe got it’s start from God, as it is it got it’s start from a giant brane. Further it’s as likely life, got it’s start from God, as it is, it started in a bubbly earthy stew. Now your free to believe in the “brany” start or the “stewy” start, but that my friend would be an article of faith.

          • Josh

            Yeah — I don’t buy the O’Reilly bit for a minute.

            I’m about 50/50 on O’Reilly, probably closer to 70/30 on Wednesdays when he has Miller on, so I’m not a Bill O hater here. But I’m also not a fool. Bill lumps atheists in together as a heathen class of unworthy people. There is no attempt to qualify what he’s talking about.

            His aim is abundantly clear. And it’s all good. We’ve all seen his live-time debate skills.

            “You can’t explain that.”

            He then spends the next years periodically rewriting history to save face. It is what it is.


            As to the “just as likely” bit, it all depends on context.

            Say that you and I are sitting in the living room having a couple of Bud Lights while watching Peyton give his post-game Super Bowl conference. Suddenly, there’s an incredibly loud bang on the roof.

            Neither one of us were outside. We didn’t see it, so we don’t know what it was exactly.

            Judging by what you know about the area, previous experiences, other natural occurrences, etc, you say, “Well, it may have been a tree or some natural, obvious thing. Let’s investigate.”

            Not buying it, I say, “No. It was King Cotenoyg from the planet Xeinin. He was flying his graviton saucer too low and dropped an invisible, disappearing war-brick on the roof.”

            They hold equal weight as “guesses” of what happened? That’s what you’re saying here; that deducing from the environment, looking for evidence, etc, in order to draw a conclusion is the same as inserting any story without an iota of tangible support.

            No. The two scenarios aren’t equally weighted. They’re just not. While both may be right or wrong, a tree branch and King Cotenoyg’s invisi-brick, there is a gauge here. They rely on vastly different levels of what you’re calling “faith.”

            And then there’s the hanging-on aspect of what you claim to be equal faith. I.e. the person expecting that the noise was natural is exponentially more likely to change his or her expectations and opinions based on further evidence, while the person inserting King Cotenoyg is almost always going to rely on that answer regardless of what’s found out.

            But that’s just about the “as likely as” bit. As far as these people asserting their beliefs as absolute, definitive fact, you’ll have to show me examples.

            Crick may believe in Panspermia. So what? A lot of scientists are religious and believe in a god. So what? I still don’t see where they’re making definitive claims in a scientific contest, and I still don’t see what you initially griped about here; e.g. people ramming things down your throat.

          • Brian Fr Langley

            What I’m griping about is being labeled “far right” (you know like Nazi’s) for opposing abortion and gay marriage. (they’re are solid ethical reasons for doing so). I’m griping about commentators on numerous liberal programs that compare “fundamentalist Christians” to fundamentalist terrorist groups (you know the guys who drove planes into the twin towers). And perhaps you should read the widely circulated books from Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens and others, (whom are routinely referred to on liberal media), which accuses Christianity of causing (most, if not all) of the most execrable human depravities in history. All this from a faith that teaches one should love your neighbor as yourself?

          • Josh

            This response reads 180 degrees different than the one I responded to. I would say that the goal posts are moving here significantly, but I’ll let you and Joe hash those sorts of details out.

            Suffice it to say that Dawkins and Hitchens (RIP) are no more representative of atheism as any two Christian authors (let’s use O’Reilly and Beck) plucked out to paint a picture of the whole.

            As for “all this from a faith that teaches one should love your neighbor as yourself” — well, I suppose we could get into a whole pick-and-choose thing in terms of which Biblical passages should be representative of the faith. But it’s boring. No?

            Don’t overlook the fact that people take passages about not suffering a witch to live seriously too. Don’t overlook brutal and senseless mass murder and celebration. Love your neighbor unless they work on the Sabbath, thereafter they should be stoned to death by the entire town? Unless some babies need to be culled? Oofah.

            Ah, I don’t really want to get into one of these types of discussions. There’s nothing at the end of the rainbow. “Love your neighbor” certainly isn’t the only thing your religion teaches, and that definitely isn’t the only message practicing Christians have taken away from it.

            Your beef doesn’t sound like it’s with Hitchens. It sounds like it’s with all those many Christians who have misinterpreted the message you believe to be key.

            Perhaps if people would stop committing horrendous acts and attributing them to religion, the Hitchens of the world wouldn’t have a leg to stand on. So maybe you should address the believers falling short, not the people pointing fingers at religion.

          • Brian Fr Langley

            As I say, I’m okay with atheists. What I oppose is how much of our modern cultural institutions, (media, schools, university’s etc.) promote their so called definitive “fact based” narrative over so called “Christian fantasy”. While most scientists are actually quite honest about how little we know, our modern culture, has pitted the debate as fact vs. fantasy, and this simply is not the truth.

          • Josh

            Again, you’re going to have to show me where schools are doing this. (As I assume you mean public schools K-12.)

            Universities do. Yes. They offer these advanced courses. And I’m willing to bet $1,000 against $1 these courses qualify theories as theories, postulations as postulations, etc. They just don’t serve someone’s working hypothesis up as definitive fact. They explain the method, and students grasp (at least I hope) science and understand that a scientist’s opinion is not a scientific fact. They’re not the equivalent of a church no matter how similar you’re trying to paint them.

            As for media, well, seriously…it’s media. A lot of media also panicked and insisted that Fukushima radiation was going to wreck the world. That isn’t even the least bit supported by science.

            And I think you say it all right here: “Christian fantasy.”

            Don’t neglect the fact that there are thousands upon thousands of gods that have been worshiped throughout human history. Don’t neglect the fact that there are in excess of 50,000 different religions around the globe. Don’t neglect the fact that you only subscribe to one, insist it’s infallible truth, and thus would call the other 99.9% fantasy. Would you not?

            I think you’re taking it too personally. Atheists don’t just disagree with your personal god; atheists don’t believe in anyone’s gods. And if you, Brian Fr Langley, don’t believe in my King Cotenoyg, then you believe it’s fantasy. If it’s not real, it’s fantasy.

            Should I be upset? If so, I reckon I’m going to be upset about a whole lot — probably even at the fact that people would dare to worship any different god, no god, etc. I would feel slighted at everything different than what I believe if I’m going to be upset that someone calls what I believe “fantasy.” So what?

            Christians have had free reign for over a thousand years to assert not only that there is a god, but that it’s their specific God and that all other gods are bogus. Now a crooked media is overstepping and causing agita?

            I don’t get it. Mostly, though, because I don’t believe the bit about schools pushing things as the new religion without qualification. You’ll have to show me what you’re talking about.

          • Brian Fr Langley

            It doesn’t take but a reading of your local newspaper to find many examples of political correctness trumping facts. Global warming “scientific consensus”. Since when is science a consensus? Scientific evidence of Washington State scablands flooding on epic scale. Discounted for years due to the fact it sounded to “Biblical”. Or in his book the theory of every thing, Hawking had this to say. (I’ll paraphrase) Since it appears the universe is so exceptionally fine tuned for the establishment and maintenance of human life, a new theory was needed. Or Roger Penrose in a lecture on quantum mechanics. It seems that there are some things you just can’t criticize. It’s become a matter of faith. Or the case of Lamarck who (may have) discovered the new idea of epigenetics. It seems some species genetic profiles can be changed by nurture as opposed to nature, he was vilified for decades because some folks may have seen it as an argument against Darwinian evolution. Or how about the number of K-12 text books that still show the ascent of man (our evolution) using (many) examples of so called human species now known NOT to have existed. (they were apes) With the explanation that this is what they’d look like if we could find them. Or how about the fact that it’s still common knowledge that Chimps have 98% of a human genome. Yet with the advent of epigenetics we now know this is patently false. My personal favorite was a university text book on essay writing. While the goal was writing essays on definitive studies, and the examples were fictional, these fictional essays proved, spanked kids end up in jail. Lesbian women were the happiest folks on earth. And businesses that focused primarily on social agenda’s were far more profitable than businesses that focused on productivity. University’s don’t need to brainwash you in the physics class. They’ve already had K-12 and of course, liberal arts classes are always mandatory.

          • Josh

            It sounds good, but I can’t draw any sort of opinion on mined quotes without context and tidbits of information without reference links. “A number of K-12 books” — okay. 1? 11? 101? And someone with a new idea that goes against an existing idea being ignored or vilified? You don’t say.

            “Or how about the fact that it’s still common knowledge that Chimps have
            98% of a human genome. Yet with the advent of epigenetics we now know
            this is patently false.”

            Sources? What’s the real number? What role does epigen (heritable changes) play in the common percentage of DNA from one ape species to another? What role does epigenetics play in changing DNA at all? I’m just confused.

            As for things media say: Again, it’s media. The same chadrools who act like Miley Cyrus is a more dangerous threat to the world than North Korea or Iran.

          • Brian Fr Langley

            Most of the quotes and comments can be googled. Some of theings that can easily be researched “Lamarckism, Roger Penrose on quantum mechanics “faith and fantasy”, Stephen Hawing’s extra-ordinary quote on no independant observer history of the universe. Epigenetics. Hawkings numerous quotes on the appearance of a shockingly “fine tuned” universe. In fact he writes, had the big bang itself, been just fractions tinier, or fractions larger (and he uses a lot of 0’s in these teeny tiny differences) we’d not be here.

          • Josh

            I’m not really interested in quote-mining.

            Hawking can roll out tomorrow and announce that he believes a god to be real, with a name and a face and enough charisma to take over the Dos Equis commercials. What does that have to do with anything?

            I’m interested in what you’re saying about epigenetics changing the DNA sequence and thus altering chromosomes and, because of it, humans and chimps sharing the traits once thought being “patently false.”

            It’s the most confusing thing I’ve heard in a very long time, and my Google must be broken because I don’t see anything about it.

            This is the closest thing I found, but it makes your initial lead-in a strawman — assuming this is what you’re hinting at.


          • Brian Fr Langley

            It’s actually simple math. If one googles “The evolution of mammalian gene families” P/os. These folks tell us that chimp DNA has a similarity to human of around 94%. Yet virtually every gene has an off or on switch. (that’s what epigenes are) So to achieve a 94% genetic similarity every gene in the 94% would have to be switched on or off identically to the human genome. Well they’re not. While studies continue, it’s quite clear that vast numbers of these epigenes are ensuring that the gene expression in chimps is vastly different from the gene expression in humans. Even if as many as half were express the same, we’d be down to around 75% gene similarity. Making us no more chimp like than a dog is cat like. (Other than we like to keep both a pets). To be fair, most epigenetic studies are still fairly new. (perhaps read “The Epigenetics Revolution”. You should find it safe, since it’s written by an evolutionist.

          • Josh

            A change in gene expression changing the DNA sequence and shared chromosomes would have obviously showed up in the chromosome comparisons. E.g.: If that 90%+ similarity had dropped to 75% similarity, it would have read that way. Unless you’re trying to assert that, in the past few years, various ape species have experienced unprecedented changes in chromosomes.

            Gene expression, as it sounds, are how genes are expressed. What does it have to do with actual chromosomes and the DNA sequence?

            Changes that occur in one’s lifetime being passed on isn’t the big breaking news you think. It probably is true that many textbooks are lagging behind, and many scientists don’t really care, but these things have been looked into for a while in regards to the potential of passing down weight issues, addictive behaviors, and other things that aren’t necessarily believed to be part of a long successive line.

            Epigenetics is also big in pinpointing the factors responsible for homosexuality. It’s not the new, shiny science you may think.

            So if you’re attempting to imply somewhere in there that the liberal atheist Marxist anti-Christian machine is against epigenetics because it somehow disproves a cornerstone of evolution, then I think you’re a little too far out on the wing tip for your own good. I don’t think you really understand evolution.

            Has Carey shown that evolution is wrong? Of course not. At best, it will help the world to better understand genes and life and to better understand how species are able to better adapt to environments through evolution. And it’s a great thing. I’m personally excited to learn much more about how changes occur, especially if they can occur in gen2 separate from gen1 yet end up in gen3 (which isn’t at all contrary to evolution, by the way! In fact, it’s supportive).

            But what you’re trying to pin it to, that because of epigenetics humans (apes) don’t share over 90% of genes with other chimps (apes), is yet another in a long line of tiny loopholes through which fundamentalists attempt to ram their deity.

            Gene expression is how genes are expressed. In one sentence, you let on that you understand that. In the next, it’s like you totally lose that thought–like you’re just rewording stuff from somewhere else–and confuse/conflate it with DNA sequencing.

            Though, to be honest, I’m still quite confused over what you’re getting at. Reading the actual literature you cite and comparing to what you write confuses me even further, because what I’m reading on my own doesn’t seem to say what you’re trying to say it says.

          • Brian Fr Langley

            “Ram a diety” Why would I need to ram a deity? I understand your confusion. Since you take evolution as a fact, you assume everybody has to. And of course the politically correct, teach that those who don’t take it as a fact, are illiterate, so the books I offer, appear as oxymorons. Let me just say, that I’m incredibliy sceptical of any philosophy’s bathed in our modern cultural of “political correctness”, and nothing is more politically correct than evolution. And nothing is less politically correct than questioning it’s dogma. On to the point. The theory (of evolution) is based on two gigantic, non scientific, (and I think prepostorous) assumtions. Assumptions that if true, qualify as miracles in and of themselves. The 1st, is that a hot (infinitly hot) dense (infinitly dense) state popped into being (from nothing) carrying with it all the “information” (and material) needed to create the universe we observe. The tens of billions of Galaxies and tens of trillions of stars. All this something, from all that no thing? If this miracle were in fact true, then the evolutionary posits of our observations, have every reason to be correct. If though this miracle is false. If instead it was a different miracle, say a creation by intelligence, our observations would (by definition) have radically different interpretations. The 2nd gigantic, non scientific, preposporous assumtion, is that life, somehow popped into being from non life with all the “information” necessary to create all the livings things we observe. Again if this miracle occurred (and it still would qualify as a miracle) the evolutionary posits of our observations may well be correct. If though this miracle is false, If instead, it was a different miracle, say a creation by intelligence, our observations would have radically different interpretations. A new field of science is being developed around this very thing. It’s called information theory, and information theory posits some very interesting questions. When humans sent the voyager ship into space, we added some info about ourselves, should it cross paths with somebody out there one day. But how would an alien intelligence be able to tell if this was from another intelligence, or just some random markings on some kind of uniquely made (maybe in a star) random space debris. Let’s say I’m in a ship and an approaching ship (in the late 1700’s) raises the jolly roger? I should run right? Why? Because I know what that symbol is telling me. We have between us an agreed upon convention. Let’s call one the communicator, and the other the communicatee. This convention between communicator, and communicatee, is the very defintion of what describes “intelligence”. As opposed to “random chance” Now think DNA. We now know all life has information. (DNA, RNA) We know DNA communicates. There are two parts to the process. The gene instructs the protein what to do. And the protein does it. You have a communicator and a communicatee. Now ponder how life could possibly begin without a convention. Even if a gene could miraculously transform from inanimate to animate, how then, would it’s comminicatee (the protein) also miraculously formed from inanimate to animate, know what to do? Convention implies intelligence. Without these two foundational (gigantic) assumtions, all observations (on the cosmos and life) would have radically different interpretations. If the foundation is faulty, the structure is faulty. It may be right, it may be wrong, but evolutionist or creationist, it really is all about one’s faith. You can google an intersting article on “information theory” called “the science behind intelligent design Idea center.

          • Josh

            You talk in drag-on confusing fashion without saying much of anything.

            This is beyond that old “moving the goalposts” line; this is a scatter shot of nearly every little thing you could think to squeeze in there, apparently.

            And, no — no more of me Googling things you suggest I Google. Four times now and each time what I find is 180 degrees different than what you’re talking about.

            Plus, despite how many times you attempt to describe what you see as “evolution,” you’re strawmanning. That is to say: You don’t come across as if you know what evolution actually is. These “giant” assumptions you’re throwing out there–which are far, far removed now from the gene expression you were confusing earlier–are NOT part of evolution theory.

            I’m not sure how else to explain it.

            Evolution has phuck-all to do with the universe, with the primordial soup, with abiogensis (organic from inorganic), etc. Evolution posits change over time.

            If 7th graders learning evolution understand the difference between the theory of evolution and the various postulations of abiogensis, why can’t religious fundamentalists? Could it be you don’t actually study the science but rather look at like-minded creationists who attempt to “debunk” the science? That’d be my guess.

            Let me direct you to a simple Google. Learn what the theory of evolution is, then we can continue the discussion. I’m not responding any further to strawmen that are confusing and not really aimed at anything.

            Lastly, the “information theory” I’m aware of is an old mathematics thing. I’m not sure where the “new science” bits you keep dropping come from. Do you mean new to you?

          • Brian Fr Langley

            Well I confess that a serious debate on the theory of evolution vs intelligent design is extra-ordinarily difficult in the back and forth of a paragraph or two. So thanks for keeping in there. To say it simply. I personally believe the evolutionary theory (the theory of origins) has become a dogma in it’s own right. Have you not wondered why so many folks (if it’s a fact) reject it. Including some of the brightest mathemeticians and physicists. Humans seem programmed to recognise patterns, (that’s why there are so many conspiracy theorist nutbars). Wherever we look into our cosmos, we see design. Whether Hawkings, Dawkins or Hitchens, (all anti Deist) all still refer to the “appearance” of design throughout what we call life, and the cosmos. Unlike them, I ascribe the “appearance of design”, (both in life and the cosmos)not to random chaotic processes, but to a designer. Scientific observations that (underpin evolution) from the point of view of random processes, would have a radically different interpretation, from observations taken from the point of view of an intelligence guiding the processes. In other words, Deists see what they wat to see, and evolutionists see what they want to see. nuff said, thanks again, and remember, when I say “God bless America”, I really mean it.

          • Josh

            Evolution theory isn’t the theory of origins, though. That’s what I’m trying to get across.

            Evolution doesn’t have anything whatsoever to do with how anything starts. It’s a theory concerning speciation and diversity and change.

            You’re conflating evolution with the hypothesis of abiogenesis. They’re completely different things.

            There is no theory on origins (if you mean the origins of life). There are postulations. And these postulations are taught as such — they’re qualified as postulations. Some wiseguy of a chadrool might want to claim that they know X or Y to be true, but so what?

            I have a few science books lying around the house here, back from my school days. Granted, they’re old now (the ’90s) and aren’t representative of all textbooks, but when I get some more time (Ax Men is about to come on, and the TIVO is on the fritz) I’m going to type verbatim what’s taught as “evolution.”

            I’m certainly not trying to come across as condescending or anything, but it’s a bit frustrating when we’re talking about completely separate things.

            So, many folks reject it? Yeah. I’m sure many do reject the most popular postulation of abiogenesis, and for a few reasons. (Though evolution isn’t rejected by much of anyone save Biblical fundamentalists.)

            1) It directly contradicts anything one would find in any scripture.

            2) There’s really nothing much in the way of evidence comparable to evolution or other more solid theories (hence it being a hypothesis).

            3) Lab testing in this respect is still in its infancy.

            4) It’s really not that big of a deal in science at large; it’s only a big deal with religious people who want it to be impossible and to scientific folks who want it to be true. Each have skin in the game, obviously.

            5) The theoretic possibility of self-replicating cells eventually coming together into early forms of life is simply chemistry; it can be deconstructed as such. And whether you personally believe that it can be reconstructed as such or not, there’s no magic or impossibility found in the deconstruction, thus no apparent need for design, thus many simply accept the hypothesis as true (true enough) to the point it doesn’t need some huge smoking gun, new finding, or continued experimentation.

            6) Probably tons of other reasons that I can’t fathom…

            Instead of me attempting to explain the difference in life’s origins and the hypotheses, and in evolution which would come after the fact, here’s a short and entertaining video that does sum it up rather well.


            What you’re speaking about directly above suggests abiogenesis, not evolution. And as far as I’m aware, it is not taught as fact. It is qualified as a hypothesis and unproven.

          • Brian Fr Langley

            I don’t agree we’re talking about separate things. All the hard sciences, use philosophical underpinnings as their starting point. Natural philosophy and uniformitarianism to name two. Philosophy by definition is NOT hard science, and it DOES color the interpretation (and often radically) of human observations. Lets look at human life. It is shockingly complex. In fact, so is all life. Hahn (the Epigenetic Revolution) points out that even mice, carry 99% of the genes we carry (isn’t that more than chimps)? If your philosophical underpinning is random chance, That is, randomness as opposed Teleological, (the idea the universe has design and purpose) your observations would have (as I said) radically different interpretations. Where one might see gene similarity as evolution, the other would see a standardized tool box. (and by the way, the genetic tool box is remarkably standard across all forms of life (both plant and animal) I’m not going to delve into all the current holes in evolutionary theory here, as it could take a few dozen pages. But a few, include the complexity of living cells, (they are phenomenally complex), DNA meeting the criteria of non random behavior in information theory, and there remains a major disagreement about “irreducible complexity”. (unless you hold fast to evolutionary dogma), And Darwin himself said, the fossil record should reveal vast numbers of (clearly) transitional species. Yet where are they? To date there is no (conclusive) scientific proof of even one. All species fall (tightly) within the bounds of very specific genomes. And epigenetics demonstrates how elastic these bounds can be. (many so called different species (as in evolved) are now known to be from the same species. These are but just a few of the holes in the theory. But to be clear, the theory of evolution is NOT a scientific fact, (by any definition science uses). Like a lot of things in our modern culture, political ideologies have taken over from the search for truth. Marx (it should come as no surprise) was a major fan of Darwin’s theory. His (Marx) ideological ideals could not easily be reconciled to a universe of design or purpose. (Teleological) Unhappily much of modern evolutionary dogma is anything BUT a search for the truth. Rather it’s become a convenient tool for collectivists (Marxists) to subvert the Judeo-Christian ethic that underpins modern western civilization. Dogma (whether Christian, or Marxist), is not a truth seeker. The last few years of scientific inquiry have shown that even reality itself, may be broader than human perceptions. You can call these reality’s, extra dimensions, multiverses, branes, or heavenly realms.the point is, as long as they remain beyond our perceptions, the universe is as likely to be Teleological, as it is not. Atheistic disbelief, (my point at the beginning) is as much a faith as theistic believe.

          • Josh

            There are so, so many questions you’re asking me that can so, so easily be answered if you would take my advice and simply look at evolution theory.

            I find it rather obvious that you refuse to do so. Instead, I’m standing with my guess that you’re viewing evolution explained by creationists rather than by people who do the actual science.

            I’ve attempted to explain numerous times that the theory of evolution and the hypothesis of abiogensis are completely separate things. You don’t even acknowledge it.

            I’m not lying; it’s so easily verifiable that a first-time ‘net user may stumble upon it by mistake.

            And now other thoroughly debunked tidbits such as cells being too complex, “random chance,” and transitional fossils. (For Pete’s sake, man; just research what transitional fossils actually are, not what religious fundamentalists postulate they should be, and you will find literally thousands of them!)

            This has gone on far too long. For everything I attempt to correct you on, it’s blatantly ignored and you just respond with more stuff that comes directly from places like Ken Ham and Eric Hovind.

            I can see two people being in disagreement on things. Though when it comes down to one completely ignoring the other by tossing out more and more creationist website fodder–that has long been debunked to boot–reply after reply, it’s ran its course.

          • Brian Fr Langley

            Abiogenesis not related to evolution??? What a preposperous idea? The modern theory of evolution absolutely and categorically requires life arising as a chaotic (random) event, (at least once from non life). If the theory allowed the possibility (whatsoever) with a Teliological explanation. Then one could teach “Intelligent design” in the schools, as it would qualify as science. BUT since the theory of evolution, requires some form of an original spontaneous eruption of life, as the starting point, intelligent design as a possibility, is relegated to the religious studies class. As to your “explanations” your bias remains, that you believe your beliefs are fact, while mine are not. While I fully agree my beliefs are faith based, I categorically disagree that your beliefs are fact. You have powerful belief that one day a natural explantion for the popping into existance of the cosmos, and the popping into the existance of life, will be found. And you may be right. But it doesn’t rise to the level of empirical knowledge, a belief not based on empiracle knowledge is by definition faith. On your very last point i agree. nuff said.

          • Josh

            Man. I’m not really sure how else to say it. It’s like you’re reading what I write but have preemptively refused to accept anything I say being accurate.

            I’ll try it one more ‘gain.

            No. The theory of evolution has nothing whatsoever to do with randomness or chaos or life arising from anything. At all. Whatsoever.

            Look at the dang science instead of a creationist website that interprets science based on Biblical opinion and you’ll know.

            Evolution is evolution. It requires life, yes. But it doesn’t attempt to suggest where it did or didn’t come from. It only deals with the change in that life over time.

            God–the one you believe in or any other–could have sparked life itself, and that doesn’t change evolution.

            The universe could have come into existence one of an infinite number of different ways, and that has no bearing on evolution.

            Evolution doesn’t require anything to be spontaneous or to have erupted. It only requires life.

            Seriously, man. If you want to dismiss what I’m saying, claim I have faith, or anything else, it would help your case tremendously to at least understand what the theory of evolution is!

            You simply show no grasp of it here, despite the numerous times I’ve attempted to explain it.

            And I’m not trying to be snobbish or come across as a know-it-all. I’m not, and I’m definitely not. This is literally stuff that’s in middle-school books and available widely over the Internet. All you have to do is let go of the conspiracy fodder for 10 minutes to look.

            The multiverse, string theory, abiogensis, evolution — these are all different things. They’re different. One doesn’t require the other. One doesn’t rely on the other. You have conflated them in your mind as part of some Marxist anti-Christian conspiracy.

            A postulation is a postulation. A hypothesis is a hypothesis. A theory is a theory. Space is space. The starting point of life is the starting point of life. The change over time is the change over time.

            They. Are. Separate. They’re different. And people familiar with the science understand fully that they’re different! People can understand that evolution is empirically supported by fact without believing in the multivese.

            You’re talking to one such person here!

            People can fully agree to evolution while still believing God is response. Just talk to a lot of Catholics! Talk to the majority of Christians outside of America and outside of the fundamentalist community.

            Subscribing to evolution doesn’t make a person an atheist or a Marxist or a liberal. Being an atheist, a Marxist or a liberal doesn’t mean that you subscribe to a multiverse or primordial soup life or even evolution!

            You’re not allowing yourself one iota of wiggle room here. And that has nothing to do with any bias of mine!

            I don’t know if my “beliefs” are facts. I’m not even sure what you really mean by “beliefs,” if I’m being honest. What beliefs? Because, despite how many times I say it, you continue to think that evolution is this anti-Christian coming together of sciences involving abiogensis and things to do with the universe.

            The beliefs you’re attributing to me are an amalgamation of the conflation created by you; i.e. a giant strawman.

            If that’s how you want to carry it, that’s your call. But you’re being obstinate here for the sake of it.

          • Brian Fr Langley

            Believe me I’m as frustrated as you are? You think I’m obtuse, I think you are. However the fundamental disagreement is simple. You believe (apparently) that the observational data that underpin evolution would be interpreted, in exactly the same way, whether or not life was created, (as opposed to spontaneously erupted). On this point, I could not DISAGREE more. Observations of evolution, based on a starting point of teleology (design and purpose), would be radically different, from observations of evolution, based on the starting point of life spontaneously erupting from a random process. This you discount altogether as if it’s not even relevant? That simply is NOT, how science works. Scientific coherency requires all observations (and observers) have some kind of philosophical underpinning in order to consistently interpret data, both from multiple observations and of course multiple observers. It should be patently obvious to anyone and everyone, that if the philosophical underpinnings turn out to be wrong, (natural philosophy or uniformitarianism for instance) observational interpretations could also be wrong. Since the case for how life erupted, remains an assumption. The interpretation of observational data based on this assumption could be negated in part or in full. It ain’t rocket science.

          • Josh

            So, to recap: You insist, over and over again, that a hypothesis is the same as a theory, and that unrelated scientific hypotheses are part of one theory.

            That epigenetics, the way genes are expressed, has changed the DNA sequence and the chromosome count.

            That postulations are being taught as scientific fact and that a quote (even if true) from a scientist constitutes ramming something down your throat.

            That the theory of evolution requires life to have spontaneously popped into existence.

            The guy who has failed to accurately describe, even in slight detail, what the theory of evolution actually is in over a dozen tries.

            And you’re in a position to tell people how science works?

            No offense, but it appears you haven’t the slightest idea what you’re talking about.

            And you or anyone who may stumble upon this in years to come should definitely not take my word for it! Don’t even begin to listen to me.

            Perhaps one day, when boredom strikes and questions burn, you will actually open a science book or journal to see what the experts in the field actually say, to see the actual research, rather than relying on guesswork and the interpretations of creationist ministers and quote-miners.

            Maybe, instead of outright refusing any and every suggestion to look at the actual science instead of how a religious authority relays it, you will look at evolution itself–it doesn’t even have to be impartially–to reach a conclusion.

            You’re right, though; it ain’t rocket science.

          • Brian Fr Langley

            PS Oh and I totally forgot. Many K-12 and university’s teach evolution as established fact. Albeit not scientific fact. They use a (so called) social science. History. So if it can not be taught as science fact, they teach it as historical fact.

          • Josh

            Evolution is perhaps one of the most solid theories there is in science. Yes, evolution is taught as responsible for the diversity of life, and it is stressed (at least in decent schools and up) that it’s an ongoing process, still happening today.

            What’s the issue there? Should it not be taught? Should it be supplemented with the guesswork of religious believers whose objections to evolution ONLY exist because the science doesn’t match their holy scripture?

            And what does social science have to do with evolution?

            You’re really confusing me. I think I need something to eat before I can continue on in this one.

          • Brian Fr Langley

            You say, “what does a social science have to do with evolution” That’s my point. Nothing. But, since evolution can not be called a scientific fact. Folks are calling it a historical fact. (google it your self) History while not considered a hard science. It is considered a social science. Giving it just enough luster to establish some things (say Julius Ceasar’s assassination, and now evolution) as facts. As to what is taught. Since it is clearly understood by all Physics teachers far and wide, that NOBODY knows from whence comes the universe or from whence comes life, all speculations of the same become philosophical. Why then, can all philosophical speculations be taught, except those that ponder intelligence as a possibility?

          • Josh


            Evolution is taught as fact because it is fact. As a theory, it’s solid; as a theory, it’s the closest thing to “fact” science allows for.

            I’m not sure how that can be any clearer.

            Evolution is more of a fact than Caesar being assassinated.

            What does the universe have to do with evolution? They’re vastly different topics.

            Evolution is change over time in populations. Evolution is NOT: The universe’s creation, the planet’s creation, abiogenesis, etc.

            They’re vastly different subjects, on different levels, different disciplines, at different levels in theory development, etc. Have you been in a science classroom?

            You present this “folks are calling it” and “they” as if evolution is some liberal conspiracy in schools, yet it’s widely accepted by religious people, including the Catholic Church, as fact. It’s only religious fundamentalists who tend to argue.

            As to what’s taught to school children in terms of the universe’s creation — what do you mean all philosophical speculations can be taught? The BBT is a scientific theory, thus it is taught, along with things like gravity and inflation.

            Who’s teaching the multiverse as fact in school? I’m looking at the local paper, the Northern Virginia Daily, and I’m not seeing it. I also Googled “string theory taught in public schools,” and one of the best examples I found was a forum of high school kids in a physics class discussing it.


            Do you think those kids are somehow unable to grasp the difference between a postulation, a hypothesis, a theory in the works, and then a theory like evolution? Do you think they’re somehow brainwashed into taking anything “science” as 100% fact? Just read what they’re speaking about. The reading list includes general relativity, particle physics, quantum mechanics, etc. I think they’re safely at the point where they grasp the difference in fields and theories, even if others don’t.

            Maybe you can find a similar forum and ask them directly why that philosophical speculation can be taught in a science classroom while the Bible cannot.

            I’m over a decade removed from school. Go to the source and ask the kids. They seem capable of providing you with an answer.

          • Brian Fr Langley

            Actually evolution does NOT qualify as a scientific fact. Since it has never been confirmed by repeatable experimentation. It is a model taht I agree many reputable scientists believe is an accurate model of human origins, but NOTE the word believe. (it means faith. As for philosophical speculations, science classes may teach, the philosophy of uniformitarianism, string theory, multiverses, parallel universes, entanglement, inflation, branes, and many many more speculative postulations on origins, but none of these postulations may include the possibilty of intelligence. That apparently makes the discussion “philosophically religious”. Yet even Dawkins in his theories about the “blind watchmaker” posits design. (As does Hawkings repeatedly in all his books). Both simply discount the idea of a designer. (an oxymoron by the way) Why is it science to posit design, but not science to posit a designer?

          • Josh

            Evolution is an amalgamation of findings throughout a variety of scientific disciplines, all of which are incredibly scrutinized, repeatedly tested and tweaked, and constantly advancing.

            The creationist line that the whole of evolution cannot be tested and thus it isn’t a scientific theory is only a functioning talking point primarily–almost exclusively–among Biblical literalists who believe they have found some perfectly suited loophole through which they can insert their deity.

            Though what seems to shine through the brightest is an incredible misunderstanding of what evolution theory actually is. When the fundamentalists aren’t busy confusing evolution with abiogenesis and universal origins, they’re usually distracted by a tree and miss the forest.

            We’re not dealing with only Darwin in this modern age. And despite the best attempts by creationists to paint evolution as circular, the fact of the matter is that a variety of scientific disciplines complement one another and all lead to one conclusion: Species evolved over time.

            Hawking and Dawkins posit a design? Stop quote-mining and actually take time to read their literature if that’s what you believe.

          • vgerdj

            “The truth is, it is as likely this universe got it’s start from God, as it is it got it’s start from a giant brane. Further it’s as likely life, got it’s start from God, as it is, it started in a bubbly earthy stew.” NO IT”S NOT. You have not established that said god exists. We know the universe exists, that’s it. There most likely is an explanation, but you don’t get to crowbar YOUR deity into the Scientific discussion without providing FIRST that said deity EXISTS. And, we know life exists. It started somewhere. You, again, don’t get to crowbar YOUR deity into the Scientific discussion without providing FIRST that said deity EXISTS.

          • Brian Fr Langley

            So, I take it it’s okay to crowbar multiverses? string theory? M theory? dark matter? Dark energy? Branes? parallel universes? entanglement theory? Inflation theory. To name just a very few “scientific speculations” on the nature of the cosmos.

        • Joe Cogan

          “The truth is, if it’s not definitive, it’s not science, but merely a competing religion.”

          What do you mean by “definitive”? Science recognizes that all knowledge is provisional, to be revised as better data becomes available. (This gives it a distinct advantage over religion as a tool for discovery, by the way: science corrects its mistakes.) As Gould put it, “In science “fact” can only mean “confirmed to such a degree that it would be perverse to withhold provisional consent.” I suppose that apples might start to rise tomorrow, but the possibility does not merit equal time in physics classrooms”.

          • Brian Fr Langley

            Science by definition is definitive based on the certainty of a human perception. (typically observation). It is now quite clear from the probings of modern physics that there is almost certainly a reality beyond human perception. Discussions of reality’s beyond human perceptions, are discussions of faith. Even a lecture by a giant of modern math (physics) Roger Penrose, has entitled one of his lectures, Faith, fashion and fantasy is describing modern theoretical debates. I’m not against facts. I’m against dogma posing as facts.

    • DKeane123

      Science can’t explain X and therefore God. What Brian does not realize that this has been used over and over through history, and eventually science filled in the gap and the faithful just moved the goal posts back into the unknown. Science is always pushing that edge between the known and unknown, and each time it pushes forward, your god just keeps shrinking and shrinking.

      • Brian Fr Langley

        The point is simple, God can neither be proved or disproved. I only object to folks telling me (and mine) with smug certainty, that it is a fact he has been disproved.

        • vgerdj

          Where is the fact a god has been disproven? There would be evidence for this. And, thus, a natural explanation for yet another supernatural claim. And, god can be proven. But it would take evidence. And thus, yet another natural explanation to yet another phenomena.

    • Joe Cogan

      “Another word for inexplicable natural occurrences, is that they are by definition supernatural occurrences.”

      No, they are not. “We don’t understand this” is not a synonym for “supernatural”. And it should be noted that for phenomena we do understand (including some of those you misleadingly list above – yes, we do know what light and matter are, thanks), not one, ever, has turned out to involve a supernatural explanation, so there’s no particular reason to think that any currently unexplained phenomenon will do so in the future. I like to refer to this as the Scooby-Doo principle: how many times do the kids have to pull the mask off the caretaker at the end of the episode, before they start to realize it’s always going to be the caretaker, and start to induce “Hey! Maybe there’s no such thing as ghosts!”?

      • Brian Fr Langley

        Supernatural definition; of or relating to existance outside the natural world.
        Unhappily, physics is inexoribly discovering a reality beyond human perceptions. Phyics is teaching us that finding a broader reality beyond human perception is no longer just possible, it is likely. This is not simple misunderstanding. As Hawkings himself has said “there may actually be NO observer independant history of the universe”. If you can’t get at least get the barest grasp of this statement further argument would be pointless.

        • Joe Cogan

          If you mean Stephen Hawking (no “s”), he has publicly declared his atheism on more than one occasion, so I’m curious as to what you think he meant by the quote you attribute to him. And “beyond human perception” is also not a synonym for “supernatural”.

          • Brian Fr Langley

            That’s funny, things that are beyong human perception are precisely supernatural? As for the Hawking quote the implications of what he is saying are beyond profound. A rather simplistic way to grasp the concept, is that reality (yours, mine, everybody’s) doesn’t actually exist, until we observe it. It’s our observations that pop our reality’s into being. (read up on the double slit experiment)

          • Joe Cogan

            At this point, I’m not sure whether to laugh or facepalm. I’m quite familiar with both the double slit experiment, and the Copenhagen interpretation (a *very* simplistic version of it, I might note) of QM, thanks. Whatever is your point in bringing it them up? And no, again, “things beyond human perception” is NOT a synonym for “supernatural” – unless you want to classify, say, a dog whistle in that category.

          • Brian Fr Langley

            Dog whistles are not beyond human perception, (we just can’t hear them) We might call the idea of a ghost supernatural. (since if they exist (and I don’t believe they do) they exist in an imperceptible realm. Since a parallel universe, by definition, would exist in an imperceptible realm, it would qualify as supernatural in the same way any other imperceptible realm might. (Heaven, Hell etc.). The fact that modern physics has clearly deduced the possibility of imperceptible reality’s, means a true seeker of truth, should remain open minded about the possibilities, of how an apparently “fined tuned” universe allowing for human existence arose. Under the circumstances, active disbelief in a creator, (the atheists like Dawkins, O’Reilly was referring to) is as much an act of faith as is belief.

          • Joe Cogan

            I think we’re using different definitions of “perception” here, and we definitely still don’t agree on “supernatural”. Alas. And the notion of a “fine tuned” universe was best treated, IMO, by Douglas Adams picturing an intelligent puddle marveling that the hole it inhabits was obviously designed for it, since it fit so perfectly.

          • Brian Fr Langley

            I have no issue with philosophical or religious disagreements. What I take issue with is the idea that militant atheism (by far to many atheist’s) posit their beliefs as facts and mine as faith. While true, my beliefs are faith based, so to is militant atheism. While we do not know, what came from before this universe, and while we don’t know, how life came into being, Atheists believe a natural explanation will eventually be found. That, as I said, is an article of faith.

          • Joe Cogan

            I don’t think I’d say “faith” so much as “confidence”. As I noted earlier, no phenomenon has ever been demonstrated to have a supernatural explanation, and many things that were once thought to be supernatural – lightning, earthquakes, et al, turned out to have more mundane causes after all. That, to my mind, raises huge doubts about whether the supernatural is even a useful concept, much less a likely explanation for anything in the future. I am, however, open to the possibility, as Gould was for rising apples.

          • Brian Fr Langley

            Confidence in a belief, is the very essence of faith.

          • Joe Cogan

            Sorry, but no. Confidence that phenomenon X will turn out to have a natural explanation is not “faith” in the sense that, say, belief in the Holy Spirit is. Attempting to conflate the two does a disservice to both science and religion.

          • Brian Fr Langley

            conflating?? You believe (have confidence) a natural explanation will be found. I’m confident it won’t. Neither of us, can claim definitive facts for our confidence. So how is it, my confidence is ascribed as faith, while yours is not?

          • Joe Cogan

            Because yours is based on your religious opinion, whereas mine is based on the real-world track record that no phenomenon has ever been shown to have anything other than a natural cause, and there’s no good reason to postulate that this will suddenly change. Circling back to my original post, how many times do the kids in Scooby-Doo have to pull off the caretaker’s mask before they stop thinking the next time it’s going to be a real ghost? (See also “God of the Gaps”). Appealing to the supernatural is pointless: it’s never once been shown to be right (or even useful); in essence, it amounts to shrugging one’s shoulders, and saying “I don’t understand this, therefore, God”.

            That, essentially, is the difference between my confidence, and your faith.

          • Brian Fr Langley

            Total nonsense, a specious argument at best.

          • Joe Cogan

            Other than the Scooby – Doo reference, please feel free to demonstrate in what way it is either nonsensical or specious. (That you disagree with it is not sufficient.)

          • Brian Fr Langley

            see above.

          • vgerdj

            Brian says, “It’s circular reasoning, you have to first presuppose that all phenomena are natural?” NO. We don’t presuppose ALL phenomena are natural. There are many phenomena that are not considered, as we have no way to test them. Also, confidence in a belief WITHOUT evidence is faith, confidence in a belief supported by evidence is the very definition of Science. You say “active disbelief”, as if Atheists accept there is a god and refuse to believe. This could explain a lot. Once you realize that Atheists ‘do not believe your assertion there is a god, supernatural forces, and the like’, then you will understand that “I don’t know” is a more honest answer than “god did it”.

          • Brian Fr Langley

            It’s circular reasoning, you have to first presuppose that all phenomena are natural? That presupposes that your confidence in a natural explanation is true. Yet, if the cosmos turns out to be a design, rather than natural chaos. Your so called natural explanations lose validity.

          • Joe Cogan

            And if it turns out that grass grows because invisible fairies tug on each blade, my natural explanation loses validity, but as with your designer, I see no reason to grant the possibility equal merit as an explanation. Occam’s razor is a useful tool.

          • Brian Fr Langley

            Your bias (faith) misses the point. The natural order that you refer to, and that we observe, could have as easily been authored by intelligence as by chaos. The fact there is a natural order, is NOT a logical argument against an intelligence. Unless, there were a definitive natural explanation from whence comes the universe and from whence comes life. I can say the natural order you see, is by design, and you can say it’s by chaos, but the fact there is a natural order, is not an argument against chaos or design.

          • Joe Cogan

            Who is arguing for chaos as a cause? (What do you mean by it, for that matter?)

          • Brian Fr Langley

            You can substitute “random” for chaos if you like. I mean as opposed to intelligence. An explosion (the big bang) is by definition chaos. Again your arguments are circular. If the universe is not designed, these arguments (including Occam’s razor) have merit. BUT one has to presuppose against design. Which I say, you clearly take on faith. (as you certainly don’t take from whence come life or the universe on definitive evidence).

  • Calladus

    Wow. What an idiot. Who is this author?

    It’s true, science can’t yet explain the origin of the universe. But they can explain everything from half a second after the Big Bang forward.

    It is also completely true that “God did it” is just another way of saying, “I don’t know”. But it is much less honest.

    • Brian Westley

      “Tide goes in, tide goes out. You can’t explain that.”

      “Well, the moon…”


      • Randy Wanat

        Ok, but where did the moon come from? Where did it come from? Where did it come from?
        Billo’s entire premise is “if I say there is no scientific explanation for something (whether there is or not), that means it’s reasonable – nay, it’s nigh necessary – to attribute it to some magical being for whom there is no evidence and about whom no two believers can agree. It’s a big ol’ argument from ignorance. Billo is saying that he finds logical fallacies compelling and that others should, too. What’s sad is that there are people who take his crap as something other than farcical nonsense.

        • Josh

          Well, to be fair, they’re not taking “his” crap. Let us not forget that rule numero uno for religion is that you must have faith and continue to believe in that religion. In that sense, it’s not Billy they’re believing; it’s the culmination of their lives as religious people. It’s an identity. Hence no one really agreeing in concert with the who, why, what, when, where or how. It’s an extension of individual personality.

      • Joe Cogan

        Neil deGrasse Tyson can.

    • Laurence Lu

      Oh, the author of this is Bill O’Reilly. No surprise there.

  • Josh

    Dawkins said that science can explain everything? Not exactly how I remember it.

    I wouldn’t say that atheism is “chic” or stylish and thus more people are gravitating towards it. I would say that more people have more access to information these days.

    It’s dang near impossible for a Bible-believing Christian to view this matter objectively. You start with the presupposition that your specific God is real, your specific God created the universe, your specific God oversees it all, etc. But put yourself in someone’s shoes who doesn’t hold that presupposition.

    Say you’re a young Bill O, not raised on the somewhat-science of a Catholic school, and not dragged to church and told repeatedly all your life that your specific God is real, true and factual. Let’s say you’re just an average Bill O whose parents aren’t practicing Christians, who don’t take you to church, and who put you through public school with its somewhat-science. At some point, you may truly question the universe for actual answers.

    Where do you turn? I know it’s offensive to some Christians to say, but unless you’re already a believer bred since a youngin, the stories involving “God” seem very fantastic and fairy tale like, and Christianity (Jesus, God, Satan, etc) doesn’t stand out at all–I mean, at all–from many other religions. So do you just play pick-’em? Is it the culture, like alien sightings? Do you find the Bible more credible than the Quran, the Bhagavad Gita, etc? Or do you find it more believable that there is a natural story behind everything?

    One thing that the great Bill O’Reilly never seems to touch on in his atheist segments is the amount of scientific understanding possessed by many self-described atheists. That’s not to say that science can answer everything; it can’t. Nor does it make atheists smarter than Christians. But just glance at science through your peripheral for better understanding. Storms used to be gods. So did volcanoes, rainbows, illnesses, etc. Little by little, however, science has grown. Are we suddenly at its limitations? The gaps are shrinking, and young people–allowed to look, mind you–notice that.

    Ask these atheists where they “believe” everything came from. You would be surprised at the understanding many possess. Ask them about evolution rather than insisting a creationist strawman version of it is correct. Ask them about the BBT. Ask them how the planets formed. Ask them why the tides go in and out.

    There are answers to many questions. You might not believe them being a Christian, and it could certainly turn out that they’re not true, but people aren’t simply flocking to atheism because it’s trendy. They’re flocking because science has explanatory powers, whereas religious doesn’t explain anything at all. Religion simply gives an ultimate ruler with its rules and demands you believe.

    The Bible’s explanations of the universe and its scientific understanding stand out to many people as the ignorant misunderstandings of Bronze Age men, not as truth by enlightened-by-God prophets.

    I think what’s tripping you up here in general are the fringe atheists — the we-want-to-rule-your-lives Marxists and feminists who are attempting to take over the atheists movements with their agendas. And for someone who so often rails against atheism on a popular nightly TV show, I find it quite sad how much knowledge you lack concerning atheism and the various movements across America. It would literally take you 30 minutes of browsing a site like YouTube to find who’s behind what and why. No staffers available? Watters is banned from skeptic gatherings?

    The irony being, of course, atheists failing to separate Christians draw your ire; it’s an attack. But, oh, let’s just lump atheists in together. They’re atheists, after all.

    • Liam

      As opposed to the assumption based prioi of materialism/naturalism/atheism which is held together by as many assumptions as any religion

      • Josh

        You mean, like, for example: If what we observe in the world and universe has a natural explanation, it is therefore a logical deduction that life and existence itself has a natural explanation.

        Yeah, I can see the similarities in the assumptions. On one hand, someone follows with natural observations and concludes that what they “believe” is that life itself followed that same model. On the other hand, someone follows scripture that was written and compiled thousands of years ago that asserts–among many other things–that there’s a great invisible omnipresence responsible for it all and ruling over our lives.

        To each their own. It’s said a lot, but I mean that sincerely. But if someone wants to say it takes as many assumptions to assert life is natural as it does to assert one in 60,000 gods is responsible, then that’s just ridiculous.