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Equal Time For Creationism 3451

Posted by Zonk
from the can't-say-something-nice dept.
Brian Berns writes "Many news sources reported on President Bush's recent semi-endorsement of 'intelligent design', the politically correct version of creationism that is currently in vogue among groups of conservative Christians in the U.S.. While Mr. Bush was reportedly reluctant to make news on this topic, he apparently felt it was an issue he could not duck. Most of those same news sources, however, missed the recent condemnation of Darwinian evolution by the Catholic cardinal archbishop of Vienna. This NY Times op-ed appears to mark a deliberate attempt to reverse the late Pope John Paul II's acceptance of evolution as 'more than just a hypothesis'."
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Equal Time For Creationism

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  • My 2ps worth. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Ckwop (707653) * <Simon.Johnson@gmail.com> on Thursday August 04, 2005 @11:00AM (#13239573) Homepage

    Well, I do believe in life was intelligently designed, just not by God. What many theists don't understand is that inherit-randomness in a system often improves the quality of the decision making process. For example, There are algorithms that run faster if they make random decisions. Free market economics is very good at allocating resources where they are needed precisely because the of the random noise in the market. The speed at which DNA is "unziped" is determined by the imposed randomness present due to the Heisenburg uncertainty principle. It is optimised to use this randomness to reduce errors.

    Intelligent design is not a scientific theory because in principle it can't be falsified. Say a creationist said: "ah ha, evolution can not explain how this particular thing evolved therefore it must be designed". Then the scientists found an explanation of said thing evolved, the creationist would just retreat to the next scientific mystery.

    Intelligent design is no different from the ancients saying Thor created lightening, or Mars was the god of war. For some reason, the ID crowd have a real problem with saying: "you know what, I don't actually know the answer!" - they need to be taught that there is nothing wrong in not having the answer to everything.

    Simon.

  • Darwinian Evolution (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 04, 2005 @11:02AM (#13239611)
    The Church has no problems with evolution but they do with Darwins version. Darwin's version is done without God. It occurs by pure chance. The Church states that God is the source of all things. Also Darwin version states that things evolved slowly and when we look at the evolutionary picture we see that it is not true. Look at how the horse evolved. The traditional view does not fit the what really happened.
  • by daveschroeder (516195) * on Thursday August 04, 2005 @11:03AM (#13239624)
    Actually, I'd take issue with this.

    Christian Creationism has no place in the classroom (save for perhaps a religion class).

    Intelligent Design != Creationism (even though some Creationists have co-opted the term, attempting to cloak promotion of Creationism in pseudoscience).

    Intelligent Design certainly has a place in the classroom.

    But not the biology or science classrooms. I'd hope that we've evolved, no pun intended, to the point that we can agree that this might belong in, say, a philosophy classroom. To say that it wholesale "doesn't belong in the classroom" is, I think, a disservice to honest discussions about our existence, further complicated by Creationists who want to do away with the theory and science of evolution completely.
  • by a whoabot (706122) on Thursday August 04, 2005 @11:06AM (#13239650)
    Just like Phillip Johnson and his Intelligent Design Movement I support placing creationism over scientific theories in science classes. But I'm just being an agent provocateur.

    If the trend continues, it will no doubt bring about the fall of reason in American culture, essentially the fall of Western(that's where it's derived from I guess, of course reason can be found in the cultures of various geographic locations, not just the West) culture in America. And then the fall of America itself, which is good in my provacative stance here. Maybe then the pendulum could swing back?

    It seems now the American scene is populated only by orthodox Middle Eastern culturalists. A far cry from those triumphant moments of Western culture that ushered in the United States with a liberty-promising constitution. Evangelical Christians, political Zionists and political Islamists. All would-be revolutionaries trying to use the government to bring about the dominance of their values (with the implicit violence of the state). The same Abrahamic religions, the same fundamentalist mindset and, from that, the same theocracy-aiming politics. The Middle Eastern cultural movements like Christianity have great aspects, like all cultures. Their tendency to theonomic statism isn't one of the good ones, though.

    Anyway, have fun with Sharia/Noahite/Whatever theonomy. Everyone deserves freedom, but, regardless of what you deserve, you won't get it if you can't, for the most part at least, accept enlightened culture and reject nihilistic culture. The concept of free-association is the greatest political development of Western and all culture. But the public seems to have eschewed enlightenment for they have bought the heavenly promises of the confidence game played by the Middle Eastern culturalists. Why wouldn't you take heaven? All you have to do is destroy this measly little finite world. 100% satisfaction guaranteed. No one has ever came back with a complaint though! We always deliver the goods upon death.
  • by Eslyjah (245320) on Thursday August 04, 2005 @11:08AM (#13239685)
    I also don't think faith should be taught in schools, and I also think that Intelligent Design is unprovable. However, I think you're making a leap of logic.

    Intelligent Design is a collection of holes in evolutionary theory. It is very much scientific. It's not possible to prove that these holes add up to a Designer, but that doesn't mean they have no value. The rational response from those in the evolutionary camp is to poke around at the holes and see if they can't be resolved. Do science! In all likelihood, many of the holes will be filled by new discoveries and the better understanding of our world that comes with time.

    Teach the critique of evolution. Teach that we don't know how some things work. In a science class, don't teach that these mean there must be a Designer. Is this unreasonable?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 04, 2005 @11:15AM (#13239781)

    Religion (Judaism and Chrsitianity in the US) is the giant white elephant in the middle of the room. Making a subject taboo just breeds ignorance and inevitably FUD about it.

    I believe religion should be taught in schools (in Religion class, not biology), because it is a large part of our society and our culture (wherever you happen to be). Learning about religion is what inspired my atheism, but it is an informed atheism that is not ignorant of other people's beliefs and traditions. I can respect that which I do not believe, and it is critical for people in a society to have a keen understanding of 'the other side' in order to have meaningful conversation on any adverse topic.

  • by gothzilla (676407) on Thursday August 04, 2005 @11:15AM (#13239785)
    You messed up one thing. Theories like evolution cannot become laws. A law governs something very precice and finite. A theory like evolution is a huge collection of laws, theories, and hypothesis, as well as a whole bunch of stuff that hasn't been discovered yet. Evolution as a whole is a theory that has withstood scientific scrutiny, but it cannot be a law because it covers too much scientific ground.

    One more thing you forgot to mention. Intelligent design is the hypothesis that SOMETHING created all of this. Part of Intelligent Design is the possibility that we were all created by intelligent beings from another world. Fanatical Christians attempt to twist Intelligent Design to only include God as the possible creator, but that destroys it's standing as science. For it to be actual science and to even be able to compete with evolution, it HAS to take into account that aliens or some other type of intelligent being besides a Deity created earth and all of us. It does absolutely nothing to further their religious agenda, yet for some reason they cling to it like Jesus himself.
  • Very clever wording (Score:5, Interesting)

    by David Kennedy (128669) on Thursday August 04, 2005 @11:16AM (#13239803) Homepage
    I'm disappointed that more media sources haven't picked up on how clever the wording is when ID is discussed. Suggesting that we teach students "both sides of the controversy" sounds wonderfully reasonable, but it means you accept that there is a debate, and that there are two sides to discuss. Wonderful PR work.

    A blunt anology is to holocaust denial; should we teach students in schools the version of history espoused by ring-wing neo-nazi groups? After all, we should show them both sides of the debate.

    (Note that I don't think this kind of attack need lead to bad science in schools: you can have great fun accepting that neo-Darwinistic evolution is 'just a theory', as you can then discuss testability, predictions etc, and how it's doing against the evidence and what changes had to be made. Now do the same with ID - no testability, no predictions etc. Now pick the theory you want to use. For bonus points, discuss why ID is simply a stupid idea using Gould's separation of magisteria, or Fowler's mythos vs logos viewpoints.)
  • by joelparker (586428) <joel@school.net> on Thursday August 04, 2005 @11:17AM (#13239816) Homepage
    If Bush believes Intelligent Design, why aren't any of his goverment agencies providing any funding to study it?
  • by Fished (574624) <amphigory@ g m ail.com> on Thursday August 04, 2005 @11:17AM (#13239819)
    I don't have time to say much ... but I think that the conversation would be helped with careful attention to some fine distinctions on both sides of the fence. So, I'll throw these out without trying to support them fully, and hopefully this will clarify the debate. Generally speaking, Christian Creationism refers to the belief that God created the earth in a manner more or less literally described in the book of Genesis. It is founded in the selection of the Bible as the foundational source by Christians of a conservative persuasion. There are two major types of creationist: young earth creationists (who hold the earth was created 6-10000 years ago in 7 literal, 24 hour days) and old earth creationists (who acknowledge that the earth is much more than 6000 years old, and generally concede that the "days" might be much longer than 24 hours. While most Christian creationists agree with intelligent design to a point, intelligent design attempts to argue that the scientific evidence implies a designer. ID theory entails nothing regarding the age of the earth, nor does it entail the Biblical account of creation. Intelligent Design is often but not always associated with so-called "theistic evolution." Theistic evolution (as opposed to Darwinian evolution) holds that a theistic god did his creating through the process of guided evolution. I think that this is where most moderate-to-liberal Christians land. Note that this is several orders of magnitude more liberal than "creationism", and that is why comparisons of ID to creationism are really just slanderous. Finally, full-blown Darwinian evolution through natural selection (so far as I understand it) more or less insists that evolutionary processes are entirely naturalistic. It is this last that those of us who are theists (i.e. hold that a personal God created it all) but not creationists find onerous. And it is precisly this fault that ID proposes to fix. The bottom line is that ID could be right, could be wrong -- I'm no biologist. But it's NOT creationism.
  • by TrueBuckeye (675537) on Thursday August 04, 2005 @11:18AM (#13239836) Journal
    I disagree. Evolution is a scientific theory which is based on evidence, an ever expanding amount of evidence. While it may never be 100% proven, all of our observations for 150 years have supported evolution.

    Creationism is a belief system based on faith and traditional teachings which works in absense of evidence. They don't care for external evidence, in fact Intelligent Design is built upon the lack of evidence as proof.

    They are fundamentally different in how they work. One is science based, one is faith based. One should be in a science class and the other in a philosophy class.
  • by daveschroeder (516195) * on Thursday August 04, 2005 @11:20AM (#13239856)
    Wow.

    Hello again, spun.

    I didn't say it was scientific. I didn't say it makes provable predictions. In fact, I said almost the exact opposite:

    Intelligent Design certainly has a place in the classroom.

    But not the biology or science classrooms. I'd hope that we've evolved, no pun intended, to the point that we can agree that this might belong in, say, a philosophy classroom.


    In my previous post [slashdot.org], I said:

    "Intelligent design", not in a form that has been co-opted by anti-evolution Creationists and people who think pi should be equal to exactly 3, has a place in this debate.

    Does it have a place in a biology class? No.

    Does it have a place in a philosophy class? Absolutely.


    and

    Intelligent Design, at its most basic level, asks that with all the beauty, wonder, and astounding perfection that make up the physical world around us, and indeed the science itself which proves it to be more and more elegant as time goes on, might there possibly be a force that surpasses our understanding that has allowed for, or caused, its, and our, creation? Is this provable? Nope. Is it a scientific theory? Nope. Will it ever be? Nope.

    Does it hopefully have a place in humanity's honest questions about why we're here? I'd hope so.


    If you can't accept that, then, well, I don't really know what to say.
  • You stole my post! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by LWATCDR (28044) on Thursday August 04, 2005 @11:20AM (#13239868) Homepage Journal
    The only thing I might disagree with is the statement that it does not belong in the classroom. It could very well belong in a philosophy classroom or a theology classroom but not in a biology class room.
    I will go a little farther. I have been to some lectures on Intelligent Design. I found them deeply disturbing. They where full of at best bad science if not out right lies. I found them deeply disturbing on religious grounds. Part of my faith is a belief that lies do not serve God.
  • by cowscows (103644) on Thursday August 04, 2005 @11:22AM (#13239903) Journal
    Actually, there are a lot like that. I'm one of them. I went to a jesuit Catholic High School, and most of the guys I graduated with, I'd consider them one of them too.

    It's just that you hear the others, because they're so loud and obnoxious. One of the things that makes us sensible "believers" is the fact that we don't feel the need to tell everyone how great our beliefs are, so you just don't hear from us very often. We're too busy living our own lives to waste time talking about how other people should live theirs.

    The problem is that there's still a sizable contingent of extremist christians out there, and at this moment in time, they've managed to curry some favor with the current government leaders. Any damage that they get past will be undone as soon as the pendulum swings back the other way (and it will), but it does suck in the meantime.

    I'd guess that most people's beliefs are rather personal and that most of us are happy to keep it that way.
  • by AxemRed (755470) on Thursday August 04, 2005 @11:23AM (#13239913)
    I went to a Christian high school, and they did the whole "competing theories" thing. Basically, they spent the first class talking about all the theories of how life got on earth. They talked about creationism and all of the varieties of it, and they talked about evolution and all the different ideas on how the first live organism got its start. The rest of the semester they taught factual science, i.e. referring to geologic age in millions of years, etc using regular science books. My point in mentioning this is, this was a Christian school that was allowed to teach however they wanted, and they only mentioned creationism in one class the whole semester and didn't bring up religion the rest of the time. They didn't even talk about their specific denomination during the discussion. If they do the same thing in all schools, who cares? Kids are smart enough to decide for themselves what makes sense. I'll complain if people start skewing science to match their beliefs, but I don't really care if they mention creationism briefly when discussing the origin of life.
  • THE DEBATE. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by mcc (14761) <amcclure@purdue.edu> on Thursday August 04, 2005 @11:24AM (#13239924) Homepage
    1905.
    CHRISTIANS: We should teach religion in schools.
    SCIENTIFIC COMMUNITY: No, we should not teach religion in schools.
    COURTS: Yeah, pretty much.
    (Pause.)

    1955.
    CHRISTIANS: We should teach "creationism" in schools.
    SCIENTIFIC COMMUNITY: Um, that's the exact same thing as before. You're just calling it "creationism" instead of "religion". And you shouldn't teach religion in schools.
    COURTS: Yeah, pretty much.
    (Pause.)

    2005.
    CHRISTIANS: We should teach "intelligent design" in schools.
    SCIENTIFIC COMMUNITY: Um, that's still the exact same thing as before. You're just calling it "intelligent design" instead of "creationism". And you still shouldn't teach religion in schools.
    COURTS: Yeah, pretty much.
    (Pause.)

    2055.
    SCIENTIFIC COMMUNITY: We should teach science in schools.
    COURTS: Citizen, you have committed an Error. Please stand by until an armed guard can escort you to a Free Speech Zone.
    CHRISTIANS: Man, living in a hyperbolic hypothetical example rocks!
  • by Swamii (594522) on Thursday August 04, 2005 @11:27AM (#13239971) Homepage
    "Both sides ought to be properly taught . . . so people can understand what the debate is about," he said, according to an official transcript of the session. Bush added: "Part of education is to expose people to different schools of thought. . . . You're asking me whether or not people ought to be exposed to different ideas, and the answer is yes."


    What may come as a surprise is that most Creationists and IDists agree that there is speciation and adaptation. It's evident that animals adapt. What is more the crux of conflict is whether species can adapt to become an entirely new and different specie.

    What's more, Creationists and IDist don't like the fact that evolution doesn't have any real answer for the source for life. The "lightning zapped a glob of primordial ooze, thus forming the first proteins" idea is not only unnatural (life coming from non-life), but also unproven (why can't we reproduce this phenomena today?)

    To say evolutionists have all the answers isn't true, is it? Considering we can't even explain with certainty how life started in the first place, it's naive to think evolution is the answer to everything; evolution may be what's happening to species now and in the past, but that doesn't explain where the species originated. I read recently in National Geographic a scientist who was quoted as saying that evolution is right, but as far as how life got here to evolve in the first place, we'll just "leave that up to priests and poets". Priests and poets!

    What we're going to see in this Slashdot thread is a lot of "Creationists are stupid rednecks. Evolution is triumphant once again!". Lots of gloating and lots of mockery will be going on. No doubt, several ACs will reply to this post with personal insults because I disagree with their view of the world. All I can say is, don't assume anyone has all the answers, because no one, evolutionists or creationists, has the answers. And if we don't have all the answers, then analyzation and presentation of conflicting theories is both scientific and beneficial.
  • Good for you (Score:3, Interesting)

    by bmajik (96670) <matt@mattevans.org> on Thursday August 04, 2005 @11:33AM (#13240059) Homepage Journal
    America broke off from Europe 200 some odd years ago. You need to accept that europe was so _awful_ back then that it was worth starting a new country and fighting a few wars, just to get away from you clowns.

    You shouldn't exactly be surprised if Americans could care less what european news agencies think about them from time to time.

    You go ahead and be concerned. We'll keep working long hours.
  • by SimilarityEngine (892055) on Thursday August 04, 2005 @11:33AM (#13240071)

    It is UNOBSERVABLE

    Not always it isn't. [newscientist.com]

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 04, 2005 @11:36AM (#13240115)
    "A lot of people believe that the bible is to be taken literal. I my opinion they could not be more wrong, for several reasons. It all comes down to the fact that the book I written by man! Some may argue that it was inspired by God (and I might even agree) but it's still a manmade text. The written language (in any form) will in my opinion always fail to explain the divine. The God I believe in is too big for letters and text. The creation he (or she?) made and the method he used to make it, is too big for any of us to fully understand, much less write down in text."

    As someone raised Catholic, I've never understood why Christ's teachings are seen as parables, while the Old Testament is required to be seen as written *History*... So, we as Christens are supposed to take less serious a story Christ told, then a story about people inside a whale?

    Just saying, it's never made a bit of sense to me is all.

    And don't get me started on the fact that most of the Bible was written in a face of oppression and slavery, and then was co-opted by one of the enslavers/oppressors... When Rome adopted Catholicism, they didn't have enough power to do some editing that may have substituted "Jewish Man, lying with non-Jew" with "Man shall not lie with Mankind"...Substituting Homosexuality for evil rather than Rome, Egypt, or other non-Jewish / Christian oppressors...

    Shrug.

    Just saying..
  • by Brian Kendig (1959) on Thursday August 04, 2005 @11:37AM (#13240127) Homepage
    I can't believe that I'd ever be defending Bush or intelligent design, but read that article more carefully and note the specific quotes attributed to Bush:

    "Both sides ought to be properly taught . . . so people can understand what the debate is about," he said, according to an official transcript of the session. Bush added: "Part of education is to expose people to different schools of thought. . . . You're asking me whether or not people ought to be exposed to different ideas, and the answer is yes."

    I have to agree with this. Children have to be taught that there's a debate going on, that some people believe in intelligent design. If no mention is made of ID in schools, then kids will be at the mercy of people who will teach it to them as religious ideology and they won't have the tools to evaluate it properly.

    ID should be taught in social studies, *not* in science class, but I don't see Bush saying anything about putting it in science class.

    The article says: Bush told Texas newspaper reporters in a group interview at the White House on Monday that he believes that intelligent design should be taught alongside evolution as competing theories. THAT, I disagree with. Is this really what Bush was saying, or did the article jump to conclusions? Where can I find the official transcript of the session?

  • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Thursday August 04, 2005 @11:44AM (#13240227) Journal
    One thing I do feel this debate highlights is the problem with science teaching in modern educational systems. Science is taught almost as a religion - you are taught that certain things are true about the universe. If science were taught well, you would learn that everything you are being taught in science is a lie (but a convenient lie, and the closest approximation of the truth we know so far).

    If we want to keep religion out of science then we have to stop teaching science as a religion.

  • Counterargument (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Aguila (235963) on Thursday August 04, 2005 @11:50AM (#13240353)
    Unfortunately, the parent argument is flawed. I will not dispute that while small, there is a finite probability of an intelligent life form evolving. Thus, given an infinite universe and infinite time, intelligent life would occur. However, I believe that you have glossed over some assumptions:

    a) The universe is infinite spacially...
    This is just wrong and not worth discussing. You may get varying opinions about the rate of expansion/contraction of the universe from astronomers, but the scientific community has a pretty good idea of the size of the universe.

    b) The universe is infinite in time...
    The second law of thermodynamics seems to demand entropic death of the universe. I presume that the statistical probability of intelligent life evolving remains finite only so long as there remains sufficient free energy.

    To overcome these objections, you would need to solve quantitatively, giving estimates of the lifetime and size of the universe and the probability of intelligent life evolving. Even then, you would only be able to state the probability of intelligent life evolving, but would not be able to claim that it would "have to happen."

    However, there remains one glaring assumption that would remain unanswered, and would invalidate the whole on its own.

    c) The universe exists...
    Here is where I personally find some of the best evidence for the existence of God, the philosophical first cause argument, as well as the beauty and symmettry of the universe. (While theoretically, life might be possible with a radically different balancing of the strong, electo-weak, and gravitational forces, it is difficult for me to imagine.) This does not mean that once God created the universe, evolution may not have been the mechanism by which man was created (neglecting the addition of the immortal soul, said question lying outside the realm of scientific inquiry). I have no objection to either micro or macro-evolution, but cannot avoid seeing the hand of God in the overall process of going from pre-Big Bang to man.
  • Re:The Arguement (Score:3, Interesting)

    by dalutong (260603) <djtansey@NosPaM.gmail.com> on Thursday August 04, 2005 @11:53AM (#13240406)
    Especially since we had an infinite amount of time for it to happen. It would be more confusing if it hadn't taken billions of years. The # of chemical interactions that happen in billions of years is tremendous.

    And I have to ask -- if ID is indeed true, then aren't single-cell organisms God's primary children? And who's to say we're the end product? It took such a long time to get humans from proto-humans -- maybe those proto-humans thought THEY were the end product. And then we came. So who's to say we're not like the proto-humans? Maybe 3 million years from now we'll go to some other planet and evolve in a way we haven't evolved yet and we'll consider our present day species as proto-whatever-we-call-ourselves.

    And that makes me think -- maybe this abrahamistic we're-the-end-product explains the if-it-were-to-happen-it-would-have-happened-by-now mentality so many people have about things like social change. many people believe that the U.S.'s system is the "end-product" of socio/economic models -- that if anything else could have worked better it would have happened already.

    glad they weren't too caught up in that july 3rd, 1776...
  • Re:You are wrong. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Tiroth (95112) on Thursday August 04, 2005 @11:55AM (#13240437) Homepage
    > No. What philosophical discussion could there be?

    I think in your war on narrow-minded fundementalism, you are being a bit narrow-minded yourself. It is quite valid to question whether or not life may have guided or designed. The downfall of the ID debate is that they have pretty much concluded that designer == God. While supernatural origin is one possibility, it is no more (and much less) likely that life on Earth was planted by aliens or interstellar bacteria or Barney the purple dinasour.

    These kinds of questions are precisely the ones that Philosophy tries to answer. Philosophy often isn't interested in _proving_ something in a scientific manner; there are Philosophy PhDs out there spending their careers working on essentially unanswerable questions, like "do you really exist as a corporeal being, or are you just a brain in a vat?"

    What makes your response doubly ironic is that the whole "brains in vats" area can be paraphrased into the question "are we all just souls in heaven, and is God creating the sensation of having bodies?" By your logic, does this then become religion and verboten?

    The fact of the matter is that all religions have at least some philosophic component, because religion tries to explain how the world works. The only real difference between a religious concept and a philosophical one is whether or not faith is required to understand or agree with it. This is probably the reason behind the fact that few public schools have philosophy programs: it's too close to religion for comfort for many people, and philosophical debates scare many religious people by challenging their belief systems.

    FWIW, I am completely against ID in schools because I am convinced that proponents are anti-scientific and have no desire for an intellectual debate. But, it is just silly to suggest that the question itself has no relevance in any forum.

  • by Bodysurf (645983) on Thursday August 04, 2005 @12:07PM (#13240648)
    "As a matter of fact, the math was done decades ago, and it turns out that evolution works."

    That is simply not true.

  • by kaellinn18 (707759) on Thursday August 04, 2005 @12:24PM (#13240906) Homepage Journal
    There are those of us who feel like TMM, but the minute anyone says anything that would be moderate or go against the ultra-conservative right, they are immediately ripped apart.

    The most recent incident that comes to mind is Senator Frist's support of more federal funding for stem cell research. He has since been ripped up publicly by ultra-right groups such as James Dobson's (*shudder*) Focus on the Family.

    I find it highly upsetting that not only must those kinds of fundamentalist Christians try to force their beliefs on the nation, but also that they must resort to attacking their fellow believers in public forums in order to further their cause. This, to me, is inherently non-Christian behavior, and it makes me sad to see my so-called brothers in Christ act this way. In the end, it only serves to hurt their agenda by making us all look like hypocrits.
  • by tamrood (821829) on Thursday August 04, 2005 @12:27PM (#13240945)

    Creationists can't handle the thought that mankind was a largely random accident. They have to feel important.

    They commit the Sin of Pride, and insist that the Allmighty Creator of the Universe must think so much of them, that they had to be planned.

    How's this for a theory of Intelligent Design?

    God set the rules, created a Big Bang, and then sat back to watch the show.

    After the initial fireworks, all kinds of incredibly complex stuff happened, and that included Mankind, Bacteria...

    and Evolution.
  • by Joe Decker (3806) on Thursday August 04, 2005 @12:27PM (#13240956) Homepage
    I think the people giving Christianity a bad name are in the minority among Christians but they are, unfortunately, a very vocal minority.

    Actually, about 45% of Americans believe in creation as-described-by-Biblical literalism, [gallup.com] since Christians are only about 77% of Americans, [religioustolerance.org] while I am playing a bit fast and loose, it is in fact quote possible that most American Christians are evolution-deniers. If you have facts to support your contention that evolution-denial is a minority of US Christians, I would greatly appreciate a cite.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 04, 2005 @12:31PM (#13241012)
    "And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you."
    -- Jesus Christ [Matthew 6:5]
  • by droptone (798379) <droptone@ g m a i l . com> on Thursday August 04, 2005 @12:39PM (#13241133)
    I don't believe the issue is whether agents can emerge from "random processes" or whether they require intelligent design. I believe the issue is what that intelligent 'thing' is. The Creationists believe that 'thing' is their (emphasis is important) God. The scientists believe that 'thing' is nature itself.
  • Easy Solution (Score:5, Interesting)

    by SQLz (564901) on Thursday August 04, 2005 @12:40PM (#13241147) Homepage Journal

    I went to Catholic school pretty much all my life. In high shcool, they had a class called "Theology" which you could take for 4 years. Freshman year was all old testament and you learned about creation.

    We also had a class called "Biology" which only had 2 levels but in Biology, you learned about Evolution. Creation never came up in Biology. Why? Biology is a science class. In science class, you learn about science. In religion class, you learn about religion.

    This was a pretty strict Catholic school for Calofornia. There were no uniforms but you had to dress nice. No jeans because they were believed to be a tool of satan.

    Now it stands to reason that if the school dean thought Satan and Levis were involved in some kind of plot to ruin the education system, then you could pretty much call him a bible banging zealot. Even so, he obvisouly understood the value of keeping science in science class and religion in religion class where each topic can be explored to he full extent.

    I believe public schools should have a theology elective where people interested in religion can go learn about all types of religion. This would give people the opportunity to really interpret and discuss old testament stories in a way thats not possible in science class. Then, just maybe, the children will learn that the old testament is not a history book.

    I find this to be a much better solution since bringing up creation in science class lends it more credability than it deserves. Christians should face the fact that Genesis was written by a bunch of sheep herders who lived in the middle of the desert and had no other way to explain the creation of the universe.

  • by gelfling (6534) on Thursday August 04, 2005 @12:48PM (#13241250) Homepage Journal
    We wave goodbye at the good run we had in the US for so long. But now serious life science and the people who are serious about it are going to gradually leave for other countries with less theocratic almost Talibanist world views. Already cutting edge cloning is going on in Italy and South Korea for example.

    And that's fine. America has staked out its position in the science world as only being interested in military spending. And as it leaves the field of life sciences, telcom, drug research, medicine and many other fields that have either been abandoned to the free market or been quasi criminalized outright we will start to see a slow degrade in the overall economic and scientific outlook for the US as a whole.

    My children will live to see the day when America is niche player and it nowhere near the top five countries in the world in scientific research. We're already near the bottom of industrialized states for education and soon the foreign nationals who make up 40-50% of US graduate students in the hard sciences will stary home or go elsewhere.
  • by Fujisawa Sensei (207127) on Thursday August 04, 2005 @12:54PM (#13241359) Journal

    The nutjobs preaching I.D., like Bush need to actually read their own bible.

    Mathew 6

    [5] And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. [6] But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.
  • Devi's advocate (Score:0, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 04, 2005 @01:02PM (#13241480)
    OK, I agree with a lot of what is being said, but let me pose this question: What are the odds of the evolution of life being a random event? DNA is obviously some kind of advanced program, so what is the possibility that it just happened in nature all on it's own?

    Before everyone starts peeing their pants, my point is that there seems to be more than meets the eye. Evolution is the "HOW" creationism is the "WHY". The HOW is the easy part, evolution. Why does DNA/Evolution/etc... exist is the hard part.

    I think the point that is trying to be made is that something larger than ourselves exists and the fact that DNA/evolution happened seems to give this theory proof. Maybe DNA is just the only way to colonize the universe so it's like a Johnny Appleseed thing where the universe was seeded with DNA by someone/thing whatever. Who knows. The point being, there probably is something larger than ourselves out there.

    I find it interesting to see how "scientists" refuse to believe in UFO's because no one could have the tech to travel accross the universe if we don't but at the same time will search the skys for signals from alien beings. It's like "I believe this so it's the only thing I'll try to prove". In other words, some scientific people seem to believe only what they want to and search only for proof that matches with what they believe. How scientific is this?

    For a free country we spend an awful lot of time trying to stop people from talking. Maybe if there was some discussion on this people could make up their own minds. Oh wait... we can't have that. This is slashdot - "Oh great Linux, we worship you and..."

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 04, 2005 @01:05PM (#13241526)
    Thank you. Western government systems have little to do with Christianity. Mostly it's the Greek and Roman foundations. Also the style of rainfall agriculture Europe enjoys as opposed to the hydraulic agriculture that most of the rest of the world used that has something to do with it. Having a central power dictating were the irrigation canals go makes a different kind of society than one where anyone can just till some land and wait for the rain.
  • by dustinbarbour (721795) on Thursday August 04, 2005 @01:08PM (#13241567) Homepage
    Get to know these things and use them in any Evolution v. ID debate! http://www.skepticreport.com/creationism/thingscre ationistshate.htm [skepticreport.com]
  • by mcc (14761) <amcclure@purdue.edu> on Thursday August 04, 2005 @01:16PM (#13241678) Homepage
    As I said, there is not a big difference between a protein and an amino acid. Chemically speaking, anyway, the difference is a single bond.

    You could then go on from there to move the goalposts and demand we produce not just simple proteins, but really complicated proteins or self-replicating proteins or (random complicated thing), but at some point you just have to ask what is the point? The Miller-style experiments are certainly sufficient to demonstrate organic molecules not only can form from purely natural processes, but form extremely commonly under the correct conditions. We don't have any actual need to generate "life". (Assuming we can even find a division more stringent than the division between organic and inorganic molecules that we can all agree on. Is an enzyme "life" or "nonlife"? "Self-replicating" is a good and important division, but the creation of self-replicating systems of molecules by chance, if it happened at all, is something that we know for certain to have happened only once, ever, in the history of all time and space. Why on earth are you expecting to happen by chance in a laboratory?) We don't even particularly need "abiogenesis" theories to be proven accurate; there is certainly no need for such theories to be true in order for the theory of evolution to be true.

    The interesting thing to me is that we can cross the organic-inorganic boundary. This would seem to make abiogenesis theories plausible to the only degree I would personally care about. It would also perfectly well shatter the idea that "producing life from nonlife" is "unnatural", since there's no meaningful chemical difference between the two.

    Whether abiogenesis theories are accurate is a totally other question, but not a particularly interesting one; no other theories are resting on abiogenesis, and even if we definitively prove that self-replicating molecules can be chemically formed the specific accuracy of abiogenesis as the origin of life on earth is still not particularly testable without a time machine. No one seems to gain anything from going beyond this point except organic chemists and nanotechnology/materials science people.
  • Re:Film at 1100 A.D. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by El Cabri (13930) on Thursday August 04, 2005 @01:25PM (#13241786) Journal
    Even after I became a born-again atheist a few years ago, I still don't like the Catholic Church bashing that is based on the Galileo affair. It seems to me like a form of rabbid anti-clerical or anti-catholic myth that misunderstands the real context of the time.

    First the Church is depicted as bent on hiding promethean secrets from the "people", while in fact, in a time before widespread litteracy, before technology and thus before science had any economic value of its own, the Catholic Church was the main patron and funder of serious scientific research, including that of Galileo.

    Secondly, Galileo specifically tried to re-interpret religious beliefs in the light of his own theories, which is why he was tried by the Inquisition, not because of the theories themselves.

    In other words, Galileo tried to cross the science/spirituality borderline in the opposite way that creationnists today, and the Church was not happy about that, it was not about some calculations which, while groundbreaking, nobody really cared about.

    And after all, our modern understanding of the Cosmos does not put the Sun at the center of the universe any more than the Earth. So in a way heliocentrism as a philosophy is as wrong as Anthropocentrism. As a matter of fact, and again, as an ATHEIST, if I had to choose I would pick terra-centrism since after all, what we call Cosmos, is a product of our common Human perception, and Terra is where we live.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 04, 2005 @01:52PM (#13242168)
    If we limit ourselves to theories based on facts, then creationism falls out very quickly as it has no facts in support of it. Its faith-based. You either believe in it, or not. You can't produce an ounce of proven fact that demonstrates anything that was created by a hidden deity.

    You can however show how all animals have evolved, and you can demonstrate evolution both in the lab and statistically again and again. You can even show evolution within humans.

    Religion has no place outside your own family. Please, if you have strong faith, share it only with those who want and ask you to hear about it lest you want worshippers of other deities knocking on your door and ask you and your children to learn about their god Gozer. Just wait till they get some of the precepts of Gozer written into the curriculum at your school and pronounce it to be an "idea" so its worth teaching.

    Keep the separation of church and state solid. This country does not recognize a national religion, regardless of whether its president does. That is not going to change.

  • by Ann Coulter (614889) on Thursday August 04, 2005 @02:02PM (#13242298) Journal
    1.) Many Christians are not moral at all. This is because they act according to doctrine just so that they can avoid punishment. This punishment can either come from their community, institutions, and what they believe to be supernatural forces. Morality is not a bartering system where one can obtain favors for actions. Since many Christians believe the contrary, they are immoral.
    2.) Christians are against Capitalism at its core. Capitalism is superior to systems such as Merchantilism, Fascism, and Communism because it assumes certain forces that can not be controlled by intelligent beings. For example, the dynamics of a three party trading system can become chaotic and can not be described by finite and exacting sequences of statements. Christians are of the belief that either chaos is evil or that it is possible for an intelligent being to control the forces of a system. For those who believe that chaos is evil, not much can be said for them besides the fact that they are wrong. For the second group, these people are the proponents of managed systems that require intelligent beings to control it. Such systems have been proven to be ineffective (at best). No Christian can believe in a chaos driven system and any God at the same time and call themselves followers of logic.
    3.) Christians tend to perform more poorly than Atheists, Agnostics, and Jews in academic settings. Even though the main reason for this is the population of Christians is rather diverse, as compared to the other three groups mentioned, it must be noted still.
    4.) Christians are fundamentally against progress. This can be seen in such acts as the current debate on evolutionary theory, the burning of Rome, and the persecution of Galileo. The argument that Christians are against evolutionary theory has been established in this thread already. The burning of Rome, originally attributed to Nero, was actually initiated by Christian terrorists. This act was by far the most successful terrorist action in the history of mankind. Not only did it discredit the leader at that time, it also gave tremendeous backing toward the Christian cause. Because Nero persecuted the Christians after the burning, many backed the Christians when public opinion swayed toward the belief that Nero caused the burning. As for Galileo, that was yet another example of the adversion toward truth that Christians have. Galileo only wanted to publish a paper that there were moons orbiting Jupiter, a rather beneign topic. But because of the ramifications of such an assertion, the Christians persecuted Galileo to the same degree that their martyr was persecuted. This goes to show that Christians are not morally, intellectually, or spiritually superior to any other group. Since Christians are not superior, there should be no reason why they should be given any credence.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 04, 2005 @02:22PM (#13242551)
    It's interesting to note that Bush's own science advisor, John Marburger [climatescience.gov], earlier this year stated [prospect.org]: "Intelligent Design is not a scientific theory.", and "I don't regard Intelligent Design as a scientific topic.". Yet Marburger's boss seems to be under the illusion that it is and that it deserves and equal footing in schools. Tsk, I hope Bush isn't promoting relativism [wikipedia.org], I thought conservatives opposed relativism, ;-).

    Good to see that the American Geophysical Union [agu.org] and the National Science Teachers Association [nsta.org] have criticized Bush's statements on ID. I wish more scientific and professional organisations would do the same.

  • by GooberToo (74388) on Thursday August 04, 2005 @02:32PM (#13242689)
    > Bullshit.

    US groups are not the same thing. In the middle east, your statement is lost and I'm spot on.
  • by Guysmiley777 (880063) on Thursday August 04, 2005 @02:36PM (#13242736)
    Soooo, according to ID, we COULD have been created by an alien named "Xenu" trillions of years ago? Could it be that now we're infested with tortured alien souls known as "Thetans", and thats why we have mental illness? I hope not! I don't like tortured alien souls!
  • by fimbulvetr (598306) on Thursday August 04, 2005 @02:37PM (#13242743)
    That's about as useless as people arguing that god put the dinosaur bones in the earth to confuse us.

    Here is some suggested reading:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Occam's_Razor [wikipedia.org]
  • by poot_rootbeer (188613) on Thursday August 04, 2005 @02:48PM (#13242872)
    I don't even understand why this is subject matter that is open to debate (well, I do: religious spokespeople are doing a better job of getting their voices heard than scientists by the media, but I digress).

    Evolution and Intelligent Design cannot be compared. I say that not because one can be empirically supported or disproven, and the other cannot. I say it because they do not even address the same topic.

    Change in species over time is well-documented. It is FACT. Whether the mechanism for change is evolution in the Darwinian model or some other mechanism, the Truth is that such change does happen. It is not disputable. An alternate theory to evolution, then, must address the issue of by what mechanism change in species occurs.

    Intelligent Design does not propose any such alternate mechanism. It ignores the question completely and attempts to provide an origin story for life. That's all well and good, but there's nothing there capable of disproving Darwinian evolution. There's nothing worth bringing into a Science classroom.

    The debate is comparing apples to baseballs. They're not even both fruits.

  • by Zaose (905170) on Thursday August 04, 2005 @02:48PM (#13242875)
    Sorry for the lack of paragraphs. I should've previewed as that was my first post. There seems to be no "edit" option? I'm a slashdot newbie :p Allow me to reformat (I know this is probably frowned upon too because it generates one more posting but this is the only time, I promise):

    This is a little off-topic. Being a Buddhist, I want to point out that religions don't necessarily come with creation myths.

    I think a religion's inclusion of creation myths is to better mind-control its faithfuls when there was no science to dispute it. It, along with belief that anyone believing in other religions are wrong, are self-serving properties a religion can have that gives it a better chance to gain popularity among people. In my opinion, this is applying "survival of the fittest" to religions. A religion armed with qualities to "survive" has gained popularity in the western society.

    But I digress. My main point is that Buddhism doesn't have a creation myth. Buddhism doesn't try to interfere with Science at all; in fact, it doesn't even try to interfere or exclude other religions. Buddhas are not gods. They never claim to create life, or the World. Buddhas literally mean enlightened people, that believe in kindness towards all living beings, humans or inhuman. Buddhism also believes that any person can potentially become enlightened and ascend into Buddha-hood.
  • by gothzilla (676407) on Thursday August 04, 2005 @02:59PM (#13243004)
    It kinda makes coming from monkeys not seem so bad huh.
    lol
  • by TrikerII (773103) on Thursday August 04, 2005 @03:19PM (#13243217) Homepage
    Ok, I'm going to get modded down for this, but here it goes....

    We as a race of humans have over-time developed a car. It started with the Model T (or something from that era) and now we have our modern cars. Is it evelution? YES. Is it ID? YES. Although in this country (and most modern thinking coultures) the beleif of a spiritual realm is something left to the mystics, however, I have spoken to eye-witness accounts of some very physical elements of the spiritual that cannot be explained scientifically. (for instance, a missionary to tribal peoples in south america told of an account that could only be explained by the spirit realm... He went to a hut in wich there was a witch-doctor and a woman bent over in pain. She had what looked like 6-8inch spikes coming out of her back. No, these were not implanted, they were more like part of her bone structure. He stated that he prayed for her and in the name of Jesus, cast the demon out and her back became normal again.) It is stuff like this that makes me come to this conclusion. When we are told that we only 5 senses and leave the 6th unused, it becomes weak and unusable or barely usable and so we do not include this in the scienific realm because we don't use this part of ourselves and have concluded that it does not exist because our other sences say so.

    So, go to a tribal person and say that any gods do not exist and he will call you a fool (since he sees the spiritual realm with his physical eyes way too often.

    To take this to a way that the five sences can understand, if a person who is blind from conception (eyes never developed at all), how could he/she even understand what color is? You could describe it and compare it, but he will never understand what blue really is.

    Ok... yes I am a christian. However ID does not mean non-scientific.
  • by SeattleGameboy (641456) on Thursday August 04, 2005 @03:29PM (#13243320) Journal
    You should really go back and read some biology text books. There are some really great books by people like Stephen Jay Gould that would enighten you.

    Prediction is part of build any solid theory (like Evolution) and it has been proven time and time again. And I have no idea what you are talking about when you say "Missing Link".

    Here is a nice, recent prediction based on evolutionary theory.

    It has been generally understood that Chimapanzees, Gorillas, and humans share common ancestors (no, we did not evolve FROM gorillas, we evolved with them). How? Through HUGE AMOUNT of fossil and geological evidences that we have collected over last century or so (and the term "missing link" is properly used in this context where we have found many species of early hominids that share same traits with chimpanzee's ancestors).

    HA! You say. How do you know if you can rely on that fossil evidence? You want some predictions. Well, science did. They predicted that if chimpanzees, gorillas, and humans share same ancestors, their DNA's should also be very similar. Not only that they should have the sort of changes you would only expect from recent diversion and the rate of change observed in DNA should be roughly corresponding to the rate of change we have seen in fossil evidences.

    And guess what happened when they did the DNA analysis!!! IT MATCHED!!! It followed and verified the theory.

    That is how scientific predictions are made and how theories are strengthened.

    Thus ends the lesson...

  • by tz (130773) on Thursday August 04, 2005 @03:34PM (#13243361)
    The discussion starts off being completely off track and stays there.

    What most people are saying is that we ought not ask questions. We ought not think.

    If a body is found smashed at the bottom of a building, we must all assume it was an accident that he fell from the top of the building. We cannot ask if there was any intent - either suicide or homicide - that resulted in what we saw.

    The argument about complexity I find interesting. Everyone here explains it as if it is a solved problem (I've not seen any links to the darwininan side of the debate with calculations, though I've seen the ID's advocates calculation).

    Oh! Oh! Heresy! Burn the heretic! I've uttered the forbidden question! I cannot ask who has the better model. Darwin is Dogma. It's equations - whenever they end up appearing are ordained by nature, not some intelligence.

    But whither SETI? Consider if a different model of life could arise and increase in complexity much faster than the current carbon/DNA/Protein model we are built with (and would note that we use silicon and copper to build our complex devices, not organic components).

    We are unscientific because we refuse to even do research looking for a possible matrix where life could arise because we assume it would be possible or easy for the DNA/Protien one.

    Also consider if intelligence could occur via electromagnetic emissions across something the size of a star cluster. A single syllable might take 10,000 years or longer to utter so we wouldn't detect it, but there might be some way it could create life. But this can't be asked either because we KNOW we arised spontaneously.

    Imagination is suppressed. Research that asks the wrong questions is censored - and in a more severe way than anything the FBI does.

    But is this dogma or science, and whose side is being dogmatic?
  • by ByrneArena (848313) on Thursday August 04, 2005 @04:04PM (#13243742)
    Animals do not have intellects or wills; they have no feelings or emotions.

    My question to you is this: How can you be sure? An animal is not capable of love, devotion, or caring? How is it that we have heard of dogs that have risked their lives to save their owner or a child from danger? Is that instinct? Wouldn't instinct tell the uncaring dog to run away and save himself, would his survival be more important.

    IMHO... animals, especialy larger ones, are capable of having feelings and to a limited extent intellect. But I think it is a little callous to assume that they do not possess any intelligence at all.
  • by B'Trey (111263) on Thursday August 04, 2005 @04:06PM (#13243759)
    My personal experience is that the vast majority of fundamentalist Christians are that way. I was born in South Carolina and now live and work in North Carolina. I was raised in a fundamentalist home. (My parents were followers of a man named David Terrell, a self described prophet in the tradition of Ezekiel and Isaiha, specifically called by God to prophecy the coming of the End Times. You can google him if you're interested.) I've spent my whole life around fundamentalists. And yes, as a group, they ARE that way.

    There are many Christians who aren't that way, but the vast majority of them don't classify themselves as fundamentalists. Being that way is pretty much part of the definition of what makes a fundamentalist.
  • by Doc Ruby (173196) on Thursday August 04, 2005 @04:27PM (#13244033) Homepage Journal
    I don't go to church, so I don't know whether preachers speak out against violence executed in the name of religion. Like after someone shoots an abortion doctor in the name of "unborn children", or a gang beats a gay guy to death: do Christian preachers immediately denounce the perpetrators as perverted sinners, "taking the lord's name in vain" or somesuch? Do Christian priests teach their congregations that the killing in war is evil, that killers go to hell? When torture is in the news, do preachers make it their business to teach their followers that torture is evil, that god punishes torturers? Do they teach people that doing evil in god's name is even worse evil?

    Or do they "go with the flow", hoping that "Christians will win", and lean back on "god works in mysterious ways"? Because that kind of passive, tacit approval of the terrible acts being committed by Christians and others, especially in the name of religion, is certainly how it looks to me. But then, without going to church, and without much coverage of such preaching in the media, I have no way of knowing how prevalent such righteousness actually is.
  • by rookworm (822550) <horace7945@@@yahoo...ca> on Thursday August 04, 2005 @06:54PM (#13245503)
    Mod parent up!

    Also note that Muslims have a religious imperative to conceal information from and deceive the Infidels. (Look up the words "al-taqiyya" [jihadwatch.org] and "kitman") Moreover, in Islam there is no concept of "civilian". Non-muslims are either subjigated Dhimmis [dhimmitude.org], when they live under Muslim rule ("Dar al-Islam" [wikipedia.org]), or enemies, when they live elsewhere ("Dar al-Harb"- that is, "House of War")

    Such fatwas [jihadwatch.org] are disingenuous and intended to placate the Infidels.

    Read http://www.jihadwatch.org/ [jihadwatch.org] for more information.

  • by TopSpin (753) * on Thursday August 04, 2005 @08:32PM (#13246094) Journal
    I have to agree with this. Children have to be taught that there's a debate going on, that some people believe in intelligent design. If no mention is made of ID in schools, then kids will be at the mercy of people who will teach it to them as religious ideology and they won't have the tools to evaluate it properly.

    Contemporary educators, if forced to introduce ID into the curriculum, will subtly use it as an opportunity to demonstraight tenets of the scientific method. The students (at least those paying attention) will emerge with a clear understanding of the debate, and be better equipped to distinguish science from non-science. Those who fail to pay attention will do what they have always done; subsist and have little or no significance.

    I am not naive; the proponents of ID-like agendas believe they are "winning" when they advance their cause by forcing tacit acknowledgement from some cornered politician. I, however, have my own "faith." I have faith in the innate ability of rational individuals to recognize fraud. I have faith that our civilization will continue to discount hucksters, however well dressed. I do not fear fraudulent agendas. The creationists might well force a limited policy change that leads to their own exposure; be careful what you wish for.

    In the West, institutional religion has been sliding into irrelevance for hundreds of years. The trend isn't going to stop or reverse itself. Contemporary politicians must still pander to the legacy of religion because cultures are slow change; you can not peacefully reboot society to clear a fault. Clinton made sure the cameras were rolling every single time he left his church. Bush may well be a real fundy, and its seems to me that he knows better than to let it show with more than about annual frequency. We have this well in hand.

    I prefer to patiently permit the relentless decent of religion to continue. Excessive ridicule is not helpful; it creates a "loser" that will engender sympathy. I keep my expectations low and celebrate when they are exceeded. This is my preference because the only alternative I see involves firearms and, as most of us recognize, the topic has proven rather adept at claiming lives. In the immortal words of Douglas Adams; Don't Panic.
  • by zardo (829127) on Thursday August 04, 2005 @09:52PM (#13246435)
    Too often I'll hear someone equate Christians with hippies, while if you open up the bible you'll find plenty of instances of God killing or ordering someone to kill for the greater good. Is stoning someone to death torture? Come on, everybody knows where stoning is best documented.

    I'm not a Christian anymore (raised Mormon but quit going to church at age 15). I've seen some die-hard Mormons in my day, my grandparents won't buy a house without asking God if its the one they should buy. But the sort of brainwashing that Atheists are capable of doing is truly stunning. I guess if you throw around the weight of science you can go a long way. Your view of religion is warped, to say the least. You're brainwashed, kid. Bet you never saw yourself like that, huh?

    Go study religion and maybe you'll quit blaming Christians for everything that sucks.

  • by grub (11606) <slashdot@grub.net> on Thursday August 04, 2005 @10:35PM (#13246621) Homepage Journal
    Those tired old arguments? Creationists need to come up with some new material:

    Biogenesis (aka abiogenesis?) Read here http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/abioprob/ [talkorigins.org]
    Laws of Thermodynamics? Read here http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/thermo.html [talkorigins.org]

    Now you claim "evidence goes against evolution in almost every situation anyway lol" Please provide factual, provable, scientific evidence against evolution. I'll wait here. And I suspect I'll be waiting a long time.
  • What's the point? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by uptoeleven (845032) on Friday August 05, 2005 @01:13AM (#13247315) Journal
    The earth, and the universe it sits within, run by a set of rules, a subset of which we understand to some extent.

    Whether the earth was created 6,000 years ago or 4.6bn years ago is immaterial because:

    1.) If the earth was created 6,000 years ago, it has been made to look and behave as though it were 4.6bn years old. After all if you are a creationist and believe that god is clever enough to create the universe, god is surely clever enough to allow us to think that god didn't create it at all and this all came about through the processes we see ongoing today.

    2.) Regardless of what you believe it doesn't change the processes that are running. And since the processes running in the past (or appearing to run in the past) are by and large ongoing, it's reasonable to expect they will continue running into the future.

    3.) Someone's probably already posted this and I'm just too lazy to read every single post of this thread.
  • Extremely ignorant (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 05, 2005 @02:06AM (#13247503)
    even though hundreds of millions of Americans have never seen a devil and billions of people don't even believe in the devil.

    With all due respect, that was a very ignorant thing to say. Millions of people report on a regular basis their encounter with ghosts and other bizzare supernatural sightings including several friends of mine on numerous occasions, and myself. Almost everyone in this forum probably knows someone relatively close to them who has had such an experience. Whether you call them 'ghosts' or 'demons' is relative to your idea of what they may be. The reason you don't accept these sightings by millions of people is because 'mainstream science' doesn't accept it. And that is because mainstream science as a common rule will refuse to investigate anything that seems to defy natural law. So much for the aquisition of knowledge.
  • by stitch (1429) on Friday August 05, 2005 @05:27AM (#13248033)
    The problem is, as has been highlighted by a recent report by Iraq Bodycount, 6% of the deaths caused by small arms fire in Iraq are children, 25% of deaths caused by explosives are children, but 48%(!) of the deaths caused by aircraft (American bombs) are children.

    http://reports.iraqbodycount.org/a_dossier_of_civi lian_casualties_2003-2005.pdf [iraqbodycount.org]

    You can point guns very specifically at individuals, or even blow yourself up within a group of men who are your enemy. You cannot point a bomb at an individual from the air, so you don't, you just call it collateral damage when "extra" people die. But, still the aircraft pilot knows that he will kill children by dropping the bomb, so why does he do it?

    My big question is: Why is the pilot not as evil as the terrorists?

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