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Earth Science

Debate Over Evolution Will Soon Be History, Says Leakey 1226

Posted by timothy
from the overlapping-domains dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "According to noted paleoanthropologist Richard Leakey, sometime in the next 15 to 30 years scientific discoveries about evolution will have accelerated to the point that 'even the skeptics can accept it.' 'If you don't like the word evolution, I don't care what you call it, but life has changed. You can lay out all the fossils that have been collected and establish lineages that even a fool could work up. So the question is why, how does this happen? It's not covered by Genesis. There's no explanation for this change going back 500 million years in any book I've read from the lips of any God.' Leakey began his work searching for fossils in the mid-1960s and his team unearthed a nearly complete 1.6-million-year-old skeleton in 1984 that became known as 'Turkana Boy,' the first known early human with long legs, short arms and a tall stature. At 67, Leakey conducts research with his wife, Meave, and daughter, Louise, and the family claims to have unearthed 'much of the existing fossil evidence for human evolution.' Leakey, an atheist, insists he has no animosity toward religion."
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Debate Over Evolution Will Soon Be History, Says Leakey

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  • Don't bet on it. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by neokushan (932374) on Tuesday May 29, 2012 @09:58AM (#40142405)

    Never underestimate the stubbornness of sheer ignorance.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 29, 2012 @09:58AM (#40142409)

    Why on earth would anything think that more/better science will help convince people who don't understand science?

    If what he suggests is possible, it would have already happened.

  • Don't count on it (Score:5, Insightful)

    by GammaKitsune (826576) on Tuesday May 29, 2012 @09:58AM (#40142419)
    His fatal mistake is to assume that creationists care about evidence.
  • I doubt it (Score:5, Insightful)

    by pegasustonans (589396) on Tuesday May 29, 2012 @10:01AM (#40142463)

    The debate over evolution should've been history a century ago.

    When a segment of the population refuses to accept scientific evidence, how is more of such evidence going to convince them?

  • by Sique (173459) on Tuesday May 29, 2012 @10:01AM (#40142465) Homepage

    Your fatal mistake is to assume that everyone having doubts about evolution is a hardboiled creationist.

  • by Jackie_Chan_Fan (730745) on Tuesday May 29, 2012 @10:02AM (#40142483)

    They are.

  • You wish. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by geminidomino (614729) on Tuesday May 29, 2012 @10:02AM (#40142485) Journal

    Let's be honest here. Even if we got our hands on Rick Berman's time machine and collected video evidence of every stage of human evolution from single-celled sludge to the "Alien Nation Reject" John Crichton, you'd STILL have the noisy nutcases "debating" it, because some 400-year-old book says it was a magic man in the sky.

     

  • by khr (708262) <kevinrubin@gmail.com> on Tuesday May 29, 2012 @10:02AM (#40142487) Homepage

    Agreed. I don't think Dr. Leakey's argument holds water. The main problem isn't that there's a lack of evidence now, it's that people who don't believe it simply don't believe it, and choose not to. More evidence isn't likely to get change people's beliefs.

    Maybe in that time frame people who believe the evidence will come up with more convincing arguments, better debating material, but not simply more discoveries.

  • by slimjim8094 (941042) <slashdot3@@@justconnected...net> on Tuesday May 29, 2012 @10:07AM (#40142575)

    The debate about evolution was history a century ago. I'm sure you've heard of the Scopes trial [wikipedia.org], but the public opinion shifted away from creationism towards science, and went even further with the national focus on and trust in science after Sputnik.

    We've regressed. That's all there is to it.

  • Re:I doubt it (Score:2, Insightful)

    by rubycodez (864176) on Tuesday May 29, 2012 @10:10AM (#40142595)

    science doesn't deal in Truth, and its viewpoints and theories change with time. As with any other human endeavor, science is fallible and uncertain. science evolves. science makes mistakes. science has scientists some of whom are driven by political or monetary agendas.

  • by DrXym (126579) on Tuesday May 29, 2012 @10:11AM (#40142619)
    People debating evolution are not rational people. If over 100 years of overwhelming evidence from multiple strands is not enough to convince these people then what difference will a few more make? The first rule of the denialist is to ignore or handwave away the evidence no matter how comprehensive it may be. Ignore it, cherry pick it, nit pick it, place undue weight on dubious evidence, emphasise the gaps in knowledge or minor discrepancies, employ copious amounts of wishful thinking and pseudoscience to pretend it doesn't matter, quote mine your opponents, and generally do everything to avoid confronting it at all. And above all else, never advance another explanation which is in any way reasonable or testable.

    Creationists are old hands at doing all of the above but the technique is common to denialists of all shades - moon hoaxers, 9/11 truthers, anti-vaxxers, global warming deniers. The same tactics every time.

  • by GameboyRMH (1153867) <gameboyrmh AT gmail DOT com> on Tuesday May 29, 2012 @10:11AM (#40142627) Journal

    Yeah the "debate" has been raging for over 200 years now, I don't expect to live to see the end of it.

    It also gives us a glimpse at the likely future of the AGW "debate" which we've been witnessing pretty much from the beginning: Arguments with any possible scientific merit dry up within a few decades, and for centuries later the "skepticism" consists of mighty stonewalls of outright denial and/or batshit insanity, although at slowly decreasing prevalence.

  • by UnknowingFool (672806) on Tuesday May 29, 2012 @10:12AM (#40142645)

    It has never been about proof or knowledge. This debate like many others has always been about faith. For some groups, they would hold onto their beliefs because they are defined by them. They cannot see past those boundaries.

    Take for instance one of my high school friends who was aghast that I voted Barack Obama in the last election. One of main reasons she cited that she voted for McCain was because she honestly believed in the Birther nonsense. She still does to this day despite overwhelming evidence that there was no issue. For her, she would rather believe Obama somehow cheated than accept a world where her candidate wasn't elected in a fair election.

    You see this in other aspects like fans of football teams. Truthers, Area 51, Birthers--Sometimes people cannot accept we don't live in a world of their design.

  • by pjabardo (977600) on Tuesday May 29, 2012 @10:13AM (#40142659)
    Exactly, this struggle hasn't been over evidence for 80 years.
  • by Waffle Iron (339739) on Tuesday May 29, 2012 @10:14AM (#40142661)

    More evidence isn't likely to get change people's beliefs.

    If someone believes in supernatural phenomena, than natural evidence would be completely irrelevant, no matter what the quantity.

  • by jandrese (485) <kensama@vt.edu> on Tuesday May 29, 2012 @10:14AM (#40142669) Homepage Journal
    It's pretty hard to find an evolution skeptic outside of the hardboiled creationist crowd these days. I have not seen one in years. Unless you are totally impervious to reasoning, evidence, and logic or are hermetically sealed in a fact proof bubble it's hard to hold an anti-evolution stance these days. There are just too many exciting discoveries in genetics happening every day.
  • by bhagwad (1426855) on Tuesday May 29, 2012 @10:17AM (#40142715) Homepage
    Not much free will when you have a gun to your head.
  • by JustShootMe (122551) <rmiller@duskglow.com> on Tuesday May 29, 2012 @10:18AM (#40142731) Homepage Journal

    Technically, he is, to a degree, correct. The pressures at the center of the sun that cause initiation of fusion are caused by gravity. What we are seeing now is a balance between the outward pressures caused by fusion and the inward pressures caused by gravity. The reason supernovas are so violent is that the star runs out of fuel, the outward pressures get too high, and the whole thing just collapses in on itself very quickly.

    That said, if he is denying that fusion is the process (or one of the major processes) that keeps the star from collapsing in on itself and creates the energy that causes the radiant heat we see, well, he's beyond hope.

  • by rubycodez (864176) on Tuesday May 29, 2012 @10:19AM (#40142737)

    The voices in your head told you that?

    Why would a "God" need to perform an experiment, when He already knows the outcome? It is all irrational nonsense, fabricated stories no more substantial than children's fairy tales.

  • by rich_hudds (1360617) on Tuesday May 29, 2012 @10:19AM (#40142739)
    Who's to say that the world didn't pop into existence 10 minutes ago containing you and your 'memories'.

    That's no more or less stupid than it popping into existence 6,000 years ago.
  • by MickyTheIdiot (1032226) on Tuesday May 29, 2012 @10:20AM (#40142769) Homepage Journal

    Mental Gymnastics of this sort are a violation of Occam's razor.

    Of course, say that to a bible literalist / creationist and watch the blank stares.

  • by MightyMartian (840721) on Tuesday May 29, 2012 @10:21AM (#40142779) Journal

    Why does there have to be a why? Just because you want to project some meaning on the universe doesn't mean that there is any meaning.

    And that still doesn't speak to science. Even if there is a WHY, that doesn't make any or all science false or questionable.

    Human beings evolved from ape-like ancestors millions of years ago in Africa. The fossil and genetic evidence are overwhelming. If you feel some great desire to find a big "WHY" to all of it, that's fine, but that does not change the facts themselves.

  • by jedidiah (1196) on Tuesday May 29, 2012 @10:23AM (#40142823) Homepage

    Leakey has made a fatally flawed assumption. He's giving the other side more credit than they really deserve. He assumes that they are genuine skeptics.

    They aren't skeptics. They are religious zealots that view anything that contradicts their world view as a threat. They are also a throwback. They are behind the times about 500 years.

    So adding another 30 years to that won't help.

  • ...and proving there's no need to do so, most people get busy on the proof." - John Kenneth Galbraith
  • So.. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Kupfernigk (1190345) on Tuesday May 29, 2012 @10:27AM (#40142887)
    Any theologian can counter this one. Any God who deliberately designed the human race to be subject to temptation and then punished them for giving in to it is an inadequate God. Evangelical Christians do "blah blah God's purpose is unknowable blah". William Blake put his finger on it:

    Surely, O Satan, thou art but a dunce
    And cannot tell the garment from the man.
    Every harlot was a virgin once
    Nor canst thou ever turn Kate into Nan.
    Though thou art worshipped by the names divine
    of Jesus and Jehovah, thou art still
    The Son of Morn in weary night's decline,
    The lost traveller's dream under the hill.

    The Bible (the Hebrew version) basically says that the Tree was the Tree of Knowledge: all knowledge other than basic gardening was a falling away from perfection. It's part of a quite general myth that everything was better in the past when things were simpler. But if the people who pursue knowledge are damned, God has a very funny way of showing it. To the pursuers of knowledge (S)he gives long life, worldly goods, a pleasant environment and an interesting existence. To the ones who claim to be obedient to her purpose she gives funny robes and membership in the Hassidic Jewish movement, the Jehovah's Witnesses or the Taliban. The day to day evidence is that Blake was right, and the God they claim to be obeying is actually Satan.

  • by clarkn0va (807617) <apt.get@gAAAmail.com minus threevowels> on Tuesday May 29, 2012 @10:30AM (#40142941) Homepage

    There is a group of people who do not care about the evidence - the Bible says so, so there it is.

    Strawman. Right in the summary Leakey is quoted as saying "It's not covered by Genesis. There's no explanation for this change going back 500 million years in any book I've read from the lips of any God." Saying that the bible doesn't cover the topic of evolution is very different from saying that the bible denies or precludes it. There may be people who make that claim, but I don't see any in this discussion, and you certainly haven't directly addressed any here.

    Leakey says the bible doesn't explain creation, and many believers in the bible say that the bible's purpose has never been to explain the science of all things. Why are some folks, particularly here on /., bent on construing this as some sort of Empire versus Rebel Alliance dichotomy?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 29, 2012 @10:32AM (#40142979)

    And if I am sitting here enjoying my coffee in the great expanse of the Universe, due to a roll of the cosmic dice, holy cow! Now that takes alot of faith!

    It doesn't take faith. It just requires you to ignore the absurdity of your choice to drink the coffee. The fact that you continue to perform your daily routines (eating, showering, and drinking coffee) while you acknowledge that your entire existence is inconsequential to the Universe is absurd.

    Some people try to get away from this absurdity by pretending that they have a key place in the Universe because it was created by a god or gods. I'm sure that there is a small number of people who are delusional enough that they truly have faith. But the vast majority latches onto this belief structure, not from faith, but as an alternative to acknowledging absurdity. It is less painful to say maybe a god does exist that to know that everything you do (love, kill, cure cancer, build and detonate A-bombs, etc.) won't matter in a Universe such as ours. And even if you were a god, your existence would still be absurd. It would be like you were playing a Sim City game with infinite wealth.

    Writing this post is absurd, and I acknowledge that. Absurdity is something you cannot escape from. But my internal programming tells me that absurdity and meaninglessness are different concepts. I can find meaning in a completely absurd life.

  • by Nerdfest (867930) on Tuesday May 29, 2012 @10:33AM (#40143001)

    alternately, "If you could reason with religious people, there wouldn't be any religious people".

  • by TheGratefulNet (143330) on Tuesday May 29, 2012 @10:36AM (#40143053)

    even worse: to say that you have so much 'riding on it' and yet there's not a scrap of evidence to support these wacky notions.

    what gives? a choice you supposedly make now that affects you, *forever*; and the guy who is ruling in court is nowhere to be found and never, credibly, has been?

    yeah, I'll believe that. sure. foreverness depends on a guy we've never seen, can't contact and who 'hides' because, well, he's shy or something.

    but foreverness depends on how you bet. yup. makes perfect sense to me. seems just and totally fair. yup.

  • by m.ducharme (1082683) on Tuesday May 29, 2012 @10:37AM (#40143065)

    Careful there, Occam's Razor is a handy tool, but not a logical argument. Occam's Razor can be applied or withheld, but not violated.

  • Re:False Dichotomy (Score:2, Insightful)

    by dark12222000 (1076451) on Tuesday May 29, 2012 @10:37AM (#40143069)
    What universe do you live in? Have you walked into a church lately? What about a US Public School? Google "Teaching the debate over evolution" to see what I mean.
  • Re:False Dichotomy (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ganv (881057) on Tuesday May 29, 2012 @10:42AM (#40143171)
    I think you underestimate the number of people who take the Bible too literally. They form majorities in many communities in the American bible belt and they often succeed in ensuring that their children are never exposed to the fossil evidence. Leakey is noting that this isolation is unstable and he is likely right. But he may be overestimating the effect that rational evidence will have on people who think their way of life requires them to reject evolutionary heritage for humans. In my opinion, it is voices like Francis Collins and the Biologos group he started that are most likely to help the Christian anti-evolutionists out of the ideological dead end they have gotten stuck in. Athiests celebrating the triumph of Darwin usually only makes them entrench more.
  • by TheGratefulNet (143330) on Tuesday May 29, 2012 @10:43AM (#40143185)

    fact: people are mostly scared and mostly can't relate to things beyond storybook levels.

    fact: there is a LOT of fear in this world and it is mysterious to most. people need comforting. anyone who can sell a convincing story will be warmly accepted in their hearts.

    its a set of human needs that religion 'fills', even if it does so via false information. having *some* answer, being stated with confidence, is mostly what people want. its very sad but its a true statement about humanity (regardless of time and place and culture).

    you and I know its all fairy stories. but you and I are not typical 'scared human beings'. we have taken control of our fear and don't need fake answers. in that way, you and I are a percent of a percent. not even close to a majority. this is why we have the problems we have today: because most people are at the level of scared children and never, even in old age, will they progress beyond that.

    most people *want* to be ruled. they *want* to be spoon fed info. "thinking is hard!"

  • by rufty_tufty (888596) on Tuesday May 29, 2012 @10:43AM (#40143193) Homepage

    To quote again the guy who wrote my signature:
    "Science adjusts its views according to what's observed; faith is the denial of evidence in order that belief can be preserved"
    A scientist is doing a "better job" when he finds evidence that conflicts with the current viewpoint.
    The devout are doing a better job (and consider themselves more righteous) when they ignore evidence that conflicts with their beliefs.
    Or at least that's how it seems to me from the outside to me.

  • Re:False Dichotomy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dingen (958134) on Tuesday May 29, 2012 @10:44AM (#40143209)
    The US is not the world. In large parts of our planet, people are having absolutely no problems whatsoever with accepting the theory of evolution.
  • by korgitser (1809018) on Tuesday May 29, 2012 @10:49AM (#40143305)

    This universe is God's experiment in free will.

    Why would a "God" need to perform an experiment, when He already knows the outcome?

    Now this question is simple enough to answer. He does not know the answer. The nature of the experiment is to find out whether the human race is able to freely AND wisely choose between go(o)d and (d)evil. Because the devil has been given a fair game, not even god can know the end result. The interesting thing is that choosing go(o)d requires explicit choice and effort from us, while choosing (d)evil pretty much just happens like a default setting. In the end there will of course be an epic final boss battle between god and devil, and the people on their freely chosen sides will tip the scales and decide the end result.

    stories no more substantial than children's fairy tales.

    And please do not underestimate the fairy tales. They hold much truth. It is just too often that people from fields related to hard sciences find in hard to accept that there might be message in between the lines. It is even rarer that these people will try to get the message. Try to think of these stories as if they are written by your wife. It is not about what she says, but what she wants you to figure out yourself.

  • Not everybody calling himself a Christian is actually following Christ. (Matthew 7:21) Jesus never told anybody to spread the message of the Kingdom of God by the sword, to my knowledge. The first-century church didn't use force either.
  • by Digital Vomit (891734) on Tuesday May 29, 2012 @10:57AM (#40143413) Homepage Journal

    I'm 100% certain that killing your own child for backtalking (Exodus 21:17, Leviticus 10:9) is not "the best thing for yourself".

    The sooner the entire world can bury all their holy books in the trash heap of history, the better.

  • by tnk1 (899206) on Tuesday May 29, 2012 @10:58AM (#40143429)

    Honestly, that's as much of a belief as if you believed a giant sky fairy created you. There is no proof that there is no greater purpose in life either. That's your opinion based on the fact that you see no merit in religious texts as opposed to scientific advances. Even the most hardcore acceptance of the debunking of religious texts doesn't eliminate the possibility of a deity of some form previously unknown.

    Evolution is not the "why", it is merely part of the "how". Perhaps there is really no "why", but I don't know anyone who can answer that question with any confidence who is not doing so irrationally.

  • by 1800maxim (702377) on Tuesday May 29, 2012 @11:05AM (#40143533)
    Sometimes people cannot accept we don't live in a world of their design

    And other people choose to accept the world that is fed to them by the mainstream media, the government, and popular opinion. It requires no effort, and does not upset their existence. Otherwise, of course, there'd be a responsibility to do something about it.
  • by Curunir_wolf (588405) on Tuesday May 29, 2012 @11:07AM (#40143577) Homepage Journal

    And that still doesn't speak to science.

    Religion / spirituality doesn't speak to science. The set of questions that science can answer are not within the same realm. And while there have been plenty of establishment religious "leaders", especially in the Dark Ages, that expressed animosity to scientific ideas, that was about authority and power of the institution, not the religious teachings themselves.

    I really don't understand the delight that some people take in attacking religion. People have found spiritual enlightenment for themselves and taught others techniques for achieving it themselves, and this has produced tremendous benefits to people for millions of years. Yes, it's been used as an excuse to enslave and torture people, too. Anything with such a powerful influence on a population will be used by tyrants for their own purposes. But that seems to be the only thing some people want to acknowledge.

    Yea, that's great, we're getting better at understanding evolution. Okay. Nice. Why use that to try to tear down someone's beliefs? Studying evolution isn't going to help anyone get over the loss of a child or family member, and it's not going to help them find satisfaction in helping to feed and clothe the starving or serving mankind in other ways.

  • by tnk1 (899206) on Tuesday May 29, 2012 @11:11AM (#40143647)

    You make a serious mistake by referring to the thought processes of modern zealots as being a product of an earlier age. These individuals are 100% a product of the times in which we live. Some of the surface beliefs that they hold may have also been held 500 years ago, but people also knew the Earth was round 2000 years ago as well. Ideas do not actually age, they are either more or less accurate or useful.

    Point is, you don't understand what they are thinking if you consign them to the Middle Ages. They don't know what it was like in the medieval period any more than you do. They have cell phones, computers and use products of science all the time. They aren't rebelling against scientific advances, they are rebelling against what they view as an assault on their worldview and how they feel society should be structured. They don't like evolution because they can't see how it can mean that humans are still special. You overcome that, and you will have a lot less resistance.

    I sometimes feel that the legitimate interest that some scientists have in how close we are to certain other animal species tends to come off as them going a little too far towards believing that we are nothing special. We clearly are pretty darn different, even superior, based on certain criteria but not others. People want the story to be about themselves. You may consider that arrogant, but honestly, there's little harm in it. Nature isn't going to be offended one way or the other.

  • Bias is sad (Score:1, Insightful)

    by s.petry (762400) on Tuesday May 29, 2012 @11:11AM (#40143651)

    Lets see if you can reply without bias, or better, just stop and think.

    I'm not going to go on a pro-Religion campaign, since frankly I'm not fond of many Religions. With that said, Science can not answer the base question, and neither side can prove it. So you have speculation verses speculation. Atheists, just like named Religions, refuse to look any further than their own arguments which do nothing to answer the fundamental question.

    Evolution does not disprove an intelligent design, and the big bang does not disprove a creator. What I think those arguments do is show that many Religions have some things incorrect. But the base argument of a creator can not be disproved, and logic always takes you to a creator.

    Before you go there, remember that a multi-verse or parallel universes just confuse the base question. They don't answer it at all.

    We look at how everything works in the Universe and we see that everything relates to cause and effect. Then when you say "What caused it all to start moving" the Atheists go in to a rage. At least the Religions just point to a book and say "that" instead of the Atheist's reaction of "it doesn't matter" or "la la la I'm not listening to you".

    I'm not asking you to change your opinion, but rather pay attention to the bias. We live in a society brainwashed not to think about the question, and hate people that do think about it. That should frighten you!

  • by epine (68316) on Tuesday May 29, 2012 @11:20AM (#40143779)

    More evidence isn't likely to get change people's beliefs.

    Welcome to the club of people proclaiming in the late nineties that Microsoft Windows would immediately grow to fill any conceivable hard drive capacity gains. I couldn't disagree with you more.

    People believe stupid things until they don't. The heliocentric theory ultimately made it over the bar. I guess the ignoramuses eventually defined this small distinction as unimportant; perhaps instead they all switched over to belief in the egocentric theory of celestial creation. Nevertheless, heliocentrism is rarely contested in the modern age.

    The genetic tsunami is going to trigger a massive denialhood exodus. What's the stupidest thing you can believe after conceding that life appears to have deep generational linkages? I don't know yet, but have no fear we won't find out.

    The gene sequencing situation has gone from discovering one alien transmission with a blueprint for one giant machine, to discovering five billion sub-channels of situation comedy featuring a taxonomist's fantasyland of busty green mermaids. Sometimes quantity prevails over quality in herding the dipshits from one grassy knoll to another.

  • Re:False Dichotomy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by JazzLad (935151) on Tuesday May 29, 2012 @11:48AM (#40144211) Homepage
    Whilst I am not necessarily a fan of Romney's, I believe his view to be one of the most sane the right has offered. If God used evolution to create the human body, everyone is right. What he said did not preclude evolution in other species (ie fish evolving), simply that 'yes evolution appears to be happening' and 'God created Man(kind)' don't have to be in conflict. This is pretty close to my own view on evolution. I don't deny evolution happens, of course it does, I just believe it to be part of a greater plan of a higher power.
  • Re:Bias is sad (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Rosy At Random (820255) on Tuesday May 29, 2012 @12:09PM (#40144571) Homepage

    Logic really does not always take you to a creator. A timeless, unchanging state of existence (in which the perceived passage of time, and other physical phenomena, emerges via forced perspective of internal structures) not only does not logically need a creator but renders the concept absurd and meaningless.

    Any logic that takes you to a creator doesn't know what to do once it gets you there, except shuffle its feet awkwardly and hope you don't want to go any further.

  • by Pumpkin Tuna (1033058) on Tuesday May 29, 2012 @12:33PM (#40144943)

    I care. Because people who don't even believe the Earth is as old as the Cambrian explosion (or Mesopotamia for that matter) control my state legislature and try to influence what gets taught to my daughter in schools.

  • by denmarkw00t (892627) on Tuesday May 29, 2012 @12:34PM (#40144955) Homepage Journal

    Religion was great for values and ethics for early man because it was hard to get anyone to listen to one guy saying "Hey, don't do that" - much easier to listen to one guy saying "Hey, there's an ever-present, all-knowing being up there in the clouds that will totally not like it if you kill each other." These days, we should be able to get past this whole notion of "if you don't have religion, where do you get your morals?" This argument is plain ignorant in this day and age; morals/ethics/values/et al aren't something we need referenced from a book written by people who were spoken to by heavenly voices thousands of years ago - they are plain and simple guidelines that even children can understand: don't hurt others, don't kill, don't steal, don't etc. If a kid asks "why not?" we don't have to say "because God said not to" anymore, we can easily explain that those actions hurt others, and we wouldn't want someone doing that to us now would we?

  • by Alsee (515537) on Tuesday May 29, 2012 @12:54PM (#40145257) Homepage

    congrats on not respecting other people's beliefs

    Any who came up with the idiotic idea that beliefs are inherently entitled to any respect?

    If your neighbor has a belief that he's being anal probed by gay alien government agents, are you seriously suggesting that belief warrants any respect whatsoever? Does it warrant any more respect if someone believes in walking talking snakes? Does it warrant any more respect when someone believes God wrote, or divinely inspired, a book which (in part) orders parents to murder disrespectful children?

    I respect people's freedom to believe stupid stuff. But that does not mean I have to respect the belief itself, nor does it mean I have to respect a person who believes stupid stuff.

    -

  • by coinreturn (617535) on Tuesday May 29, 2012 @01:11PM (#40145523)

    Consider the two possibilities: The first is that you're right (there's no God, no heaven, no hell, no eternal life), and there's no need to worry about Christians' beliefs because they're wrong anyway. Disagree with them. Vote against them. Ignore them. Politely tell them "no." The second possibility is that you're wrong and there is God. I suspect that God would be disappointed.

    You forgot at least one other possibility - there is a God, but not a "Christian" one, and He is mad as hell that you guys are worshiping the wrong one, and takes it out on all of us, including those of us he would have spared for no worship at all. Also, there is the possibility of many Gods. See, it's not just two cases.

  • Re:So.. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Jason Levine (196982) on Tuesday May 29, 2012 @03:12PM (#40147465)

    Just to be fair: In the Hebrew version, the sin that got Adam and Eve expelled from Eden wasn't really eating from the Tree of Knowledge. God gave them a chance to come clean and repent. Instead, they decided to blame each other and declare themselves completely taken advantage of. God didn't like this passing of the buck and so kicked them out. (In Judaism, there's also no Original Sin so this sin is only applicable to Adam and Eve, not to everyone who was born since. That's not relevant right now, though.)

    In addition, in Judaism, there is a concept of Satan, but he's not some devil/ruler of Hell who is on par (or almost on par) with God. He's literally "the accuser." Think of him as the prosecuting attorney at your trial. His responsibility is to declare that you've been guilty of X, Y, and Z. Not to actually lead you to commit those sins yourself.

    Judaism (except, perhaps, for a few fringe groups that have gone all literal/Must-Preserve-The-Past) actually values knowledge and encourages people to study and learn.

When you don't know what you are doing, do it neatly.

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