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Debate: Which has a better case, the Bible or Atheism?

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Debate: Which has a better case, the Bible or Atheism?
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Aught3ModeratorUser avatarPosts: 4290Joined: Fri Feb 27, 2009 3:36 amLocation: New Zealand Gender: Male

Post Debate: Which has a better case, the Bible or Atheism?

This debate is between Inferno and TruthisLife7 over the topic "Biblicial Creationism is more rational than Atheistic evolution...ism."

Standard debate rules, however there is no time limit for making new posts.

Debate analysis thread will be made once the debate begins. Now found here.

TruthisLife7 to post first.
Wanderer, there is no path, the path is made by walking.
Tue Sep 20, 2011 10:03 pm
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TruthisLife7Posts: 87Joined: Tue Sep 20, 2011 11:17 am Gender: Male

Post Re: Debate: Which has a better case, the Bible or Atheism?

Hi everyone,
I'm glad to be here and participate in a debate that will hopefully be challenging and stimulating to all sides.

First, Inferno and I agreed to discuss atheism vs. the Biblical worldview including creation vs. universal common descent and which is more rational/beneficial/has the better case. We'll need to lay some groundwork in a few areas (such as what counts as evidence, definitions, fair standards of comparison and why finding out the truth in this area is worth our time and study). Then, I'm going to basically go over the evidence that the Bible has a convincing case briefly covering some old arguments and the reasons why Christians argue they are still valid, but also focus on some new arguments and evidence by scientists as well as a few reasons I have developed myself. Certain of these no atheist and not many Christians know about as far as I'm aware (based on watching/reading 100s and 1000s of hours of the best thinkers on both sides). Thanks to Inferno and everyone for being willing to spend your time reading and all efforts to be open minded to much beneficial evidence that will be coming. Some topics will be:
--What view has contributed the most to benefiting and improving society & how can it help your life now?
--What is the evidence for God existing and why is it important for us now?
--What evidence supports the Bible's claims of Yahweh/Jesus being that God?
--What is more rational, scientific and has better evidence, creation science or universal common descent?
--Difficult questions for both atheism and the Biblical worldview.
and possibly others that Inferno or I may bring up.

In some areas, we will go fairly deeply into some areas of evidence, but in others, we'll just go over the main points/highlights with links to more in depth information for those who still have questions in that area. While I love questions, esp. hard ones, since they are the thing that has helped me learn more than many years of education in university, I think that the sooner we can weigh the evidence fairly and follow what we understand to be truth, while still keeping an open mind that there could be something better, the more benefits we can gain NOW as well as saving money, time, etc.

I want to thank Inferno for patiently waiting for months for this debate while I was going through some very complex challenges in real life (some which are still in process, but much of the work is done and they're getting closer to resolution. This is why I may not be able to respond immediately sometimes (& also the reason for no time limit on responses), but I will try my best to respond within a week. Please forgive typos, mistakes, ambiguities, etc. that happen with all humans, but much more when we have missed a lot of sleep and/or gone through a lot of stress. See these articles on sleep: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/17/magaz ... .html?_r=1, http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/31/health/31brody.html).

While I strongly disagree that atheism is the most rational worldview for a lot of reasons and is actually harmful to life and science in specific ways which will be explained in the future, I want to make it very clear that in nearly all worldviews including both atheism and Christianity there are individuals who should be respected by all for their critical thinking, rationality, scientific achievements, contributions to human progress, education, human rights and much more. While we may disagree strongly with a philosophy and criticize ideas and claims in it severely, that never means that all individuals in that philosophy are foolish, stupid, irrational, dishonest, etc. This is one of the quickest ways to falsehood and ending rational discussion where people can make progress that I know of. I have quite a bit of respect for certain atheists and have learned or been stimulated to learn things by them and will continue to do so (atheists helped me especially in learning about fallacies and how to identify them better).

Accurate definitions are going to be quite important in this debate. But, I'd like to suggest a bit of a different definition for winning. We can think of winning in terms of 1 side winning or in terms of truth winning, in terms of pride or in terms of people changing to follow the evidence. For me a winning discussion is one person or ideally both learning something and changing positions or their level of knowledge in some way. If nobody changes anything, then that's a loss for everyone.

Winning isn't just insisting that I'm right no matter what. If my opponent has a good argument and evidence, then admitting that and considering changing to following that is a win for me (but of course for every rational person, the overall weight of evidence is far more important than a couple evidences or anomalies) and could result in very real and practical benefits in real life. The reverse is also true. If truth wins and some people move closer to that, whether it be scientific, materialistic, religious or whatever, that's a win for ALL involved. After all, it was Jesus who said, "You will know the truth and the truth will set you free." John 8:32. At the very least we'll be set free from error..and usually there are quite a few other practical benefits from moving to follow truth instead of error.

For all of us in any discussion, pride is the biggest enemy of both science and religion and it is pride which causes pseudo-religion and pseudo-science as well as harmful traditions and bias in both that cause so much harm and wasted time and money. Unfortunately, none of us have all the knowledge of true science or all the knowledge of true religion. If we did, we'd be God or something equivalent. Since no human and no establishment has all knowledge and we KNOW that all establishments have made serious mistakes, this also means that its OK for thinkers on both sides to make hypotheses that turn out wrong and admirable for us to admit this and figure out why it was wrong and what needs changing. Recognizing errors has for both religion and science been the driving force of our most important advances in knowledge, progress and improvement of the quality and length of life for human beings. So, far from being afraid of making mistakes, if we are really rational and care about having a better life, we should recognize that for ALL, to err is human and be thankful that we can recognize and admit mistakes since similar to alcoholics in AA, this is the first step in changing towards truth. Kathryn Schultz has a good talk on this at TED which I highly recommend.
http://www.ted.com/talks/kathryn_schulz ... wrong.html

I'll have to disagree somewhat with Kathryn on one thing though. It is often true people on one side do not have knowledge of things that people on the other side do and vice versa. This doesn't mean people are stupid, just that they don't know everything. In this debate, I assume from the start that Inferno and many of you know things that I don't and it's also true that I know things that you don't. It is that fact that makes it possible for us to learn from each other. Confucius idea that we should respect even children since their future may be greater than our own is an essential part of being mature and intellectual in my view. I have learned things from Ph.D. scientists and intellectuals on all sides as well as young kids (including one 9 year old I was teaching who was very knowledgeable about string theory) and also have developed some unique arguments and points of my own. I'm sure that you will learn some useful things from this debate from both sides if you are open minded to do so.

I expect to learn some things from Inferno in this debate even though he's younger than I am (and btw, I gained significant respect for him in a previous discussion where he offered to engage in a debate AND let me define my own views. Aronra refused to grant me the basic intellectual right to define what my own views were & tried to force me defend people and views I did not even agree with. Because I would not agree to him straw manning my views, Aronra broke his word for a 1 on 1 discussion with me and I have agreed to do it with Inferno). Age does not determine intelligence or whether someone is right. I expect and look forward to learning some things from Inferno especially in his field of study, history.

You may be surprised, but Christians and atheists have an awful lot in common that we sometimes don't think about. This article sort of taught me to recognize this more than I did already and I strongly encourage everyone to stop and read it:
http://www.cracked.com/article_15663_10 ... on_p3.html
NOTE: The Bible does not teach an eternal hell as this writer claims (see http://www.helltruth.com). It also tells us that God looks at the consciences of people in all groups and winks at ignorance (Romans 2:12-16 & Acts 17:21-3). So, I expect to meet people from many religions as well as some atheists in heaven. But, rejecting facts and evidence is dangerous. There are a couple other points I don't fully agree with, but overall his points are very good.

I'd add a few as well:
1) Many on both sides are intensely interested in learning, gaining wisdom and improving & succeeding in their lives.
2) People on both sides care quite a lot about rational thinking, critical thinking and questioning establishments (if you say religious people don't think critically and question establishments, how come there are so many different churches? Why was it that such a flood of fundamental advances and leaps forward in science were made by Christians? How did Christianity start and Protestantism? Why it was that Christianity pioneered the majority of human rights movements? And why are there many great Christian intellectuals past and present who challenged political, scientific and religious establishments in important ways). Christians who deny that atheists care about rational thinking are also not being fair.
3) Most on both sides respect science (at least the science and technology that they use in their lives and the science that lines up with their view.) and people in both Christian and atheist camps have contributed enormously to scientific advances (as well as scientists in other worldviews).
4) Many on both sides care about evidence a lot, but also have questions that they have difficulty answering.
5) Many on both sides at least desire to follow truth as they understand it and a good number make admirable efforts to follow all the truth they are convinced by based on the ways to determine truth they have learned.
6) Nearly all of us love our families, spouses, significant others and want to have the best and most meaningful life possible with lots of fun, adventure, good food, passionate sex, and a legacy that others will respect.
7) Many on both sides care about and follow good ethics, morality, justice, improving human rights for all, etc. Most of us have strong feelings against injustice and inequality and the denigration of other human beings.
8) Both sides have to use faith in certain things in our worldview things that we have no way to test.
9) We all hate being misrepresented and our views being maligned with fallacies. We all have a problem with pride and find it difficult to admit we're wrong.
10) Although our goals may differ, we all desire knowledge, education, science, religion and society to improve.

Last for now, I assure you that I and pretty much every Christian I know has ZERO interest in following fiction. Because of the example of many Bible heroes, Christian scientists and human rights pioneers, we consider it essential to question all establishments ranging from scientific to political to religious (and that includes God"¦after all, if He is God, he can handle the heat.). Many Christians do not at all just follow what we're told. We think about it deeply and rationally and sometimes question and challenge the claims of authority figures in all establishment, ALL. We are Christians because the vast majority of evidence we know of points directly towards the God of the Bible. If there were something with more evidence than Christianity has and explains as much based on that evidence, I and many Christians I know would definitely consider it. But, we have so far not found anything that comes close. THIS is a foundational position of rational thinking, not to give up something you have which has good evidence and has proven beneficial and explains much of reality until you find something that has MORE evidence and is MORE beneficial and can explain more of the phenomena in the world around us. I have personally questioned my own views quite a lot as well as political, religious and scientific establishments and changed quite a number of minor and major ideas I held in all those areas and others. I assume that some or most of you have too. I continue to do this and make no claims for myself or any Christian to be infallible. Thus, I will be critiquing some Christians and creationists in certain points as well as atheism in this debate.

There are very logical and fully rational reasons why many of the greatest leaders and advocates of both Christianity and creation science, including scientists, historians and legal minds with Ph.D.s from the most elite secular universities in the world left atheism and universal common descent for Christianity and creation science. As this debate develops, I hope that you will began to understand some of these reasons that have caused skeptics of Christianity to become its best proponents. A case of that which happened at the very beginning of Christianity is what helped it to grow so quickly. Saul, a terror to the early Christian church, changed 180 degrees based on a personal experience with God and became one of Christianity's most credible witness (you can't get more credible than a hostile witness), giving up money, power, prestige and everything else that no sane person would give up, unless they had convincing evidence of a really crucial truth. When a lot of people highly trained in science, history, law, etc. change based on evidence as has indisputably happened, this doesn't make the new view right or true. But, those who are rational will prudently investigate the establishment's claims much more seriously to see whether the emperor is actually naked or not. And for the establishment to suppress these questions and evidence that the establishment may have erred as is all too often done by ALL establishments is harmful to science, religion, truth and life.

Thanks for reading and next up we'll look at why truth in this debate matters, what counts as evidence and how evidence differs from truth as a foundation for later evaluations of each worldview.

Have a great weekend all!
Bryan
Fri Sep 23, 2011 5:29 pm
InfernoContributorUser avatarPosts: 2298Joined: Thu Apr 30, 2009 7:36 pmLocation: Vienna, Austria Gender: Cake

Post Re: Debate: Which has a better case, the Bible or Atheism?

First of all let me thank TruthisLife7 for finding the time to do this. I understand that he has a very crammed schedule at the moment and has had that in the last half year or so. I too don't have time to reply every day so I'm quite happy with this arrangement.

Just an hour or so ago I read a PM from him straight after waking up which pretty much says "maybe you're waiting for something more controversial before you post". Well admittedly I was hoping for... well... something. Most of this post is "what will happen in this debate" as well as "I'm not that guy so don't compare me to him". Well yes, I wouldn't be having this debate if it were any different.
If you (You, anyone. I'm not specifically talking to or about TruthisLife7 here.) said from the start "I won't change my views no matter what" then I wouldn't talk to you. If learning weren't important to you I wouldn't be talking to you. And so on and so forth.
Also yes, of course there are a lot of similarities between atheists and religious people and of course there are religious people as well as atheists who are good and others who are bad. What concerns me though is:
1) Why are they good/bad?
2) Why are there differences and what are they?
And that's what we'll hopefully get to in this debate.

So with that out of the way, let me quickly talk about the two or three things that I don't agree with here:
TruthisLife7 wrote:atheism is [a] worldview


No, it really isn't. I'll let the Christian author James W. Sire explain what a worldview is:

James W. Sire wrote:A worldview is a commitment, a fundamental orientation of the heart, that can be expressed as a story or in a set of presuppositions (assumptions which may be true, partially true, or entirely false) which we hold (consciously or subconsciously, consistently or inconsistently) about the basic construction of reality, and that provides the foundation on which we live and move and have our being.


So what is my worldview? Well I guess simply saying "methodological naturalism" comes closest to it.
There are three presuppositions to my worldview:
1) The Universe exists.
2) We can learn about the Universe. (Note: Both of these directly oppose solipsism, a philosophical position that doesn't seem to be helpful at all.)
3) Building on number 2), the Universe is most probably only a naturalistic world. (If magic were to exist then 2) wouldn't be possible because the natural laws could be suspended at will.)

Nowhere in my presuppositions does it say "There is (most probably) no God". That only follows out of the above presuppositions.

With that out of the way, I'd be extremely interested why and how
TruthisLife7 wrote:[atheism] is actually harmful to life and science in specific ways


I really don't see any evidence of this, quite the contrary actually. As soon as we delve into this topic I will of course be bringing up quite a few statistics to support this.

Now I could go into that article on cracked and respond that particular author, explaining in detail why

1. You Can Do Terrible Things in the Name of Either One


is absolutely wrong. However, this isn't a debate about some article on cracked so I will refrain from discussing it.

One last correction before I leave the field to you again, Bryan.

10) Although our goals may differ, we all desire knowledge, education, science and society to improve.


I've deleted religion from that because I really don't know of any way to improve religion except to make people understand why it's no good.


I've skipped quite a bit of stuff that I thought really wasn't important and that would only slow us down because I'd rather get to the juicy bits. ;)


And now that the corrections, disagreements and agreements are out of the way, let me say one final thing:
I'd rather you don't talk about AronRa that way again. I've met him in person nearly four months ago and I will meet him again next year. I've found him to be extremely nice and very easy to talk to.

Right, over to you again Bryan.
"Sometimes people don't want to hear the truth because they don't want their illusions destroyed." ― Friedrich Nietzsche

"I shall achieve my objectives through the power... of Science!" --LessWrong
Sun Sep 25, 2011 9:39 am
TruthisLife7Posts: 87Joined: Tue Sep 20, 2011 11:17 am Gender: Male

Post Re: Debate: Which has a better case, the Bible or Atheism?

Hi,
Sorry for late reply. Had to teach some makeup classes this week and help a colleague with editing documents for his sabbatical/fellowship. As I said, I'll try my best to reply within a week.
Inferno wrote: there are a lot of similarities between atheists and religious people and of course there are religious people as well as atheists who are good and others who are bad. What concerns me though is:
1) Why are they good/bad?
2) Why are there differences and what are they?
And that's what we'll hopefully get to in this debate.


Hi Inferno,
Yes, that's a good question and a good topic to discuss in the near future. My basic idea for the order of the debate is to:
1) ESTABLISH SOME BASIC RESPECT: Most debates start off establishing some basic respect and common human decency at the beginning, appreciation for the other side's willingness to participate in the debate and respect for at least something they've said or done and sometimes some common ground. See this debate between Dr. Craig and Hitchens for example (where even atheists agree that Craig "spanked" Hitchens).
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4KBx4vvlbZ8

I did that in the 1st post more for the readers than for you (since I already consider you and some other atheists I know quite decent and considerate people from our private conversations). Establishing some respect is not valueless at all as someone else alleged. When people a priori treat people with different views as idiots and refuse to respect or take them seriously, they are blocking themselves from learning, scientific progress stops and in some cases people die (an example of something sort of like this is the experience of Dr. Semmelweis who figured out how to dramatically drop death rates for mothers in pregnancy by requiring surgeons to wash their hands. But, because he couldn't explain why it worked and probably because he was an outsider from Hungary, he was disrespected, ostracized and ridiculed and 1000s of women died. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U6-FjtpdePA & http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T73PYNyyeiI). My mother-in-law is uneducated, basically illiterate, (due largely to the Korean war), not religious and disregards most science. I teach at a university and read voraciously, yet I take her seriously, listen carefully and have learned certain things from her as a result. Confucius wrote that we should respect even children since their future may be greater than our own and that's a good principle to follow.

I try to assume all atheists I meet are intelligent and interested in truth, innocent until proven guilty, and I avoid stereotyping them by other atheists or even atheism. I would suggest that readers do the same for me and other Christians you meet since there are a vast number of misconceptions that most people have about Christianity and you will learn much about the Bible's actual claims and evidence that you never knew before. I guarantee this 100%.

2) AGREE ON WHAT COUNTS AS EVIDENCE : We must have some common ground on what counts as scientific, historical, logical evidence, etc. I will cite several cases of what is considered evidence in secular academia and use mostly that. Too often people (including both creationists and evolutionists) make the claim that a rival worldview or theory doesn't have any evidence. Most of the time, this assertion just shows that they:
a) don't know much about science or what scientists and historians consider evidence. (common)
b) are unaware of the evidence supporting the other side (VERY common) or
c) are willfully lying.

It's also important to identify fallacies which destroy the ability to identify truth.

3) ACCURATE DEFINITIONS: There are ~17+ definitions of atheism that I'm aware of (plus some historical versions) some of which have very different arguments (most of which I'm quite familiar with).
http://commonsenseatheism.com/?p=6487

There are numerous versions of Christianity and some different versions of creation. We need to understand each other's views accurately since I don't expect you to defend versions of atheism you don't support and I'm not planning to defend versions of Christianity or creation science I don't support. I have had contact with ~1000 atheists and so far ONLY ONE out of the 1000 has been able to come anywhere close to an accurate definition of creation science"¦and it's not that much different in terms of atheists being able to define Christianity accurately, even if they used to be Christians. This is not solely the fault of atheists. Some pastors/churches have some culpability here as well.

I will look forward to your definition of which kind of an atheist you are. For my part, I'll mostly use dictionary definitions as I did before (regular dictionaries, scientific dictionaries or the Bible & theological dictionaries depending on the topic). In spiritual areas, all that matters is what God has said directly or through messengers since no human has the power to give eternal life. So neither my definition nor the pope's definition matters DIDDLY SQUAT if it isn't founded squarely on what God has called genuine religion/belief in Him.

4) EVIDENCE FOR EACH VIEW: Once we are clear on the above things, then we can progress to moral motivations you and I are interested in and the evidence including pragmatic, historical, scientific, philosophical, and others.

5) EVIDENCE AGAINST EACH VIEW: There are significant criticisms of each view and we can deal with some of these hard questions here.

6) QUESTIONS: People may ask you or I questions at different times through the above steps or here that might be helpful to address.

7) CONCLUSION: Some kind of summary of the overall debate for both sides.

The above is not set in concrete, but is basically what I'm seeing as a rational progression for our debate. And I guarantee the person who alleged in the comments that I will be "running away" that there is not the slightest chance of that happening. The hard questions are what have caused me to learn the most, far more than I did studying in either public school or Christian schools and I don't run away from hard questions. PERIOD. I had to go take care of family emergencies. If it was running away, I wouldn't be here now. Twisting my choice to put my family first into running away is base insensitivity. I make NO apology for putting my family first. Inferno is also quite busy"¦but my Christian friends who are watching aren't going to be making false and insensitive allegations about him like that.

Inferno wrote: Let me quickly talk about the two or three things that I don't agree with here:
TruthisLife7 wrote:atheism is [a] worldview


No, it really isn't. I'll let the Christian author James W. Sire explain what a worldview is:

James W. Sire wrote:A worldview is a commitment, a fundamental orientation of the heart, that can be expressed as a story or in a set of presuppositions (assumptions which may be true, partially true, or entirely false) which we hold (consciously or subconsciously, consistently or inconsistently) about the basic construction of reality, and that provides the foundation on which we live and move and have our being.


So what is my worldview? Well I guess simply saying "methodological naturalism" comes closest to it.
There are three presuppositions to my worldview:
1) The Universe exists.
2) We can learn about the Universe. (Note: Both of these directly oppose solipsism, a philosophical position that doesn't seem to be helpful at all.)
3) Building on number 2), the Universe is most probably only a naturalistic world. (If magic were to exist then 2) wouldn't be possible because the natural laws could be suspended at will.)

Nowhere in my presuppositions does it say "There is (most probably) no God". That only follows out of the above presuppositions.


Kudos to you for quoting a Christian. I may or may not agree with Christians you quote, but when you can quote people from the other side, that makes your representation and argument better and more likely to be valid (which is the reason Christians do that quite a lot. Most that is alleged to be quote mining by Christians simply isn't. It's showing that intellectuals on both sides agree on some point, which makes it more likely to be true.).

IS ATHEISM A WORLDVIEW?
It's nearly impossible to separate atheism and methodological naturalism. They're like conjoined twins. An atheist is almost always an advocate of methodological naturalism (however the reverse is not as true). Atheism being a worldview depends to some extent on the definitions of atheism and worldview. See definitions here:
http://commonsenseatheism.com/?p=6487

But, to be an atheist you basically have to think that
a) there is no God or
b) lack belief that God exists (this is only semantically different from agnosticism).

I prefer this definition of worldview:
"A worldview, naturalistic or not, is a multi-purpose cognitive tool that can help make sense of our situation and guide behavior over the long haul. It's the big picture about reality and the meaning(s) of life that puts things in an ultimate context, there to be consulted if we need it"¦A worldview also acts as a cognitive filter, shaping fundamental attitudes and beliefs, for instance about what sort of creatures we are, what our life goals should be, and how society should be ordered"¦ The divergent founding philosophies get reflected in most practices of everyday life, from cuisine, to marriage, to jobs, to education, and the relationship of government and religion."
http://www.naturalism.org/systematizing_naturalism.htm

Once you agree with one of the definitions of atheism above, it directly impacts and strongly influences choices and views in these directions (There is no requirement for 100% of atheists to follow every single thing here. Certain people who claim to be Christians don't even believe in God and certain other major tenets. Exceptions don't invalidate what is generally true). Basically atheism guides people to disregard religious/biblical wisdom and to follow our own views or seek out atheistic or secular wisdom in nearly all choices and views. This is essentially a worldview since it most certainly is influencing choices, at first in what to reject as a valid influence and also as a result what to accept as valuable and through that behaviors and more. For example:
1). Atheism says there is little or no evidence for God. Atheists also often advocate the idea that if we can't sense it or test something in some way, it probably doesn't exist, esp. in regard to religious claims. Yet, accepting the ideas of abiogenesis and a multiverse is somehow very rational for many.
2) A DIRECT result of atheism is that we should not look to religion for wisdom or truth. We should look to ourselves, atheist scientists, naturalism, etc. to help figure out what is truth (since none of us have time or energy to check all evidence for ourselves). It influences them to represent those who are not atheists as following bias, blind faith, ignorance, being opposed to science, etc. (this disregards the fact that ALL, including atheists, have bias). This often causes ridicule of people of faith as well as sometimes demoting them and hindering their advance in education and careers and worse.
3) In decisions about education, health, sex, etc. secular sources or your opinion should be the ones consulted and trusted, not religions.
4) In decisions about how to spend money, religions have no validity. It's up to your own opinion or secular sources.
5) In decisions about values, religious views are only opinions and many if not all should be avoided like the plague.
6) It strongly influences atheists to look to the different types of evolution (cosmic evolution, chemical evolution, universal common descent) to explain the existence and diversity of the universe and life.
7) It influences which politicians you vote for (any who even mention creation science in favorable terms are anathema unless they have an avalanche of other merits.).
8) Life has no ultimate meaning or purpose other than what we subjectively impose on it.

And we could go on and on with numerous choices and views that are directly impacted by the decision to be an atheist. You can see a more detailed overview of this here:
http://www.atheism-analyzed.net/aap2.htm (esp. from 3.1.2 "Is Atheism Really a Religion?" I think worldview is more accurate than religion, and esp. in combination with methodological naturalism and universal common descent which often go together. )

HOW DOES ATHEISM HARM PEOPLE & SCIENCE?
Inferno wrote: I'd be extremely interested why and how
TruthisLife7 wrote:[atheism] is actually harmful to life and science in specific ways


I really don't see any evidence of this, quite the contrary actually. As soon as we delve into this topic I will of course be bringing up quite a few statistics to support this.


Here are some examples:
1) Atheists in power blocked many excellent students from studying and good jobs only because they believed in God. See: John Lennox on Dawkins whitewash of history-atheism blocks intellectual progress:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yjFVUYmwZTo (all is good, but ~5:30 is about students)

2) Dr. Jerry Bergman, a former atheist, has documented the same kind of thing done repeatedly to creationists in his book, "Slaughter of the Dissidents" (by evolutionists, atheists or both). I have had personal contact with creation scientists who have been persecuted for their views of where the evidence leads and have his book which I will cite from in the future.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YlUEYHOwP4E

It doesn't just happen in this field though. There is suppression of liberal views sometimes as well as others. Most establishments engage in some type of suppression of evidence for views they don't support.

3) Atheism has influenced people to repress, demote, fire, torture and kill people that disagree with it. This trait is not unique to atheism. Many philosophies and establishments have done this when they had power. Some Christians have done it too, but quite a few Christian leaders and/or nations including America, explicitly outlawed discrimination based on whether people agreed with the Christian worldview or not. This respect for people who have radically different views is VERY rare to see in history, esp. in people who have state power. In all 22 countries that have been officially atheist, freedom of thought was only a dream. Atheism in power has not been a friend of free thought at all. Methodological naturalism is very similar since it refuses to allow anyone to publish or teach evidence that points to supernatural causes.

4) Atheism influences people to disregard biblical health principles which add many years to life. Even National Geographic, Blue Zones and much research says that people who follow God's principles live ~10-14+ years longer than the average. http://www.youtube.com/user/TruthIsLife ... 31BC08BEE4 (videos 1-3 are confirmations from secular science organizations about how God's health principles add 10+ years to life THESE DAYS. See esp. 11:30. Videos 4-6 are a basic intro to God's health principles in the Bible that add 10+ years to life.)
http://www.ted.com/talks/dan_buettner_h ... e_100.html

5) Atheists and evolutionists have promoted methodological naturalism and cut off govt. funding and hindered and impeded research into evidence that points to supernatural conclusions. Atheism isn't the same as evolution, but it strongly promotes it since as Dawkins puts it evolution makes it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist. As a direct result much science pointing to God and challenging universal common descent has been impeded or blocked.

EX 1: Evolutionists claimed the appendix was useless as well as other things like tonsils and the organs of 1000s were surgically removed due to this, significantly harming their health.

EX 2: "Stanford University reported in 1998 on certain white blood cells that heretofore had been largely ignored by immunologists. Why? The 'natural killer' (NK) cells were 'thought by some to be an archaic remnant of the primitive mammalian immune system.'9 The appendix's function, NK cells, so-called 'junk' DNA, and other areas of profitable medical research have been held back by the smothering assumptions of Darwinian medicine. http://www.icr.org/article/darwinian-me ... r-failure/

And if God is real and so is eternal life, all the above is nothing compared to not experiencing God (note: God does wink at truthseekers in other views...Acts 17, so some atheists who followed all truth they know may be in heaven. The Bible seems to say that truth Quite a bit more later on this.

MOST PRESUPPOSITIONS AREN'T RATIONAL OR OBJECTIVE
I have a profound distrust of presuppositional thinking, whether atheistic or Christian and have to agree with the atheist who says that presuppositionalism is incoherent and "At the end of the day, the presuppositionalist's goal is to "win" his debate, not listen to what you have to say."

Nearly all attempts to presuppose any worldview and lesser views or truths on any side seems to be anti-objective and irrational. There are a few presuppositions we are forced to make, but we should reduce them to the minutest number possible, mostly to make rational thinking possible. Jonathan Dolhenty in The Problem of Knowledge: A brief introduction to epistemology,"Part Thirteen:The Criterion of Truth, speaks about three "primary truths" that we have to presuppose in the investigation of knowledge and truth:
1) the first fact - the fact of our existence,
2) the first principle - the principle of non-contradiction (note: Aristotle had 3 versions of this, ontological, doxastic and a semantic version. I would differ slightly in saying that esp. with the 3rd there are a very few things that can be contradictory and yet true. See: http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/arist ... radiction/) and
3) the first condition-the ability of the mind to know truth (similar to your point 2).

We can't prove them since to prove anything, we would have to assume these are true. If someone doesn't presuppose these, they can't make any test of truth. Since there's no way to prove these presuppositions, they are essentially blind faith.

A key point regarding this is that I have experienced countless condemnations for using faith by atheists who don't understand that there are different types of faith, some based on evidence and some not. Yet these very same atheists also use presuppositions which are no different from blind faith since we have no way to test them (Actually it is my contention that atheism is one of the most blind faith based views in the world, as well as being in many cases very harmful.).

I would also add these presuppositions (that could sort of come under "the first condition") :
4) OUR PERCEPTIONS & MEMORIES ARE ACCURATE: We can perceive aspects of the universe through the agent of our senses and our mind records those perceptions accurately. We could be living in a matrix. We have no way to test if our perceptions are actually about reality or we are just living in some gigantic sophisticated computer game of some sort. For me, solopism and the Matrix are kind of a moot argument since we know there are causes and effects based on choices we make. Whether everything we see is real or a matrix doesn't change the fact that our choices change what we experience in negative and positive ways. But, just like the above, we have no way to test our senses or the accuracy of our minds recording those perceptions without using those same senses and mind that we are testing and so must take it on blind faith.

5) THERE IS RATIONALITY IN THE UNIVERSE THAT WE CAN LEARN ABOUT (similar to your point #2): The universe operates on principles that are generally consistent in the past, present and future and can be studied to learn more about the nature of our reality. There are general laws that operate consistently in the past, present and future and apply across the universe (although probably in different degrees). Christian philosophy and science both depend on this presupposition, but both also allow for certain interruptions/exceptions.

METHODOLOGICAL NATURALISM VS. FOLLOWING THE EVIDENCE WHEREVER IT LEADS
There's a fundamental difference between the above 5 presuppositions and the presupposition of methodological naturalism. The 5 points above that I think we largely agree on deal with things that we have no way to test and no one in history ever has. But, methodological naturalism (MD) differs in these ways:
1) The other presuppositions deal with reality existing, enabling rational thought, our perceptions being accurate, etc. things we must presume to engage in rational thinking. MD is a gigantic step into an entirely different area, dealing with a worldview level claim that should and MUST be tested.

2) The others don't ban any alternative conclusions that are testable. MD doe and does it a priori.

3) The others don't decide before checking evidence what the conclusions are. This is a fundamental violation of the most important foundation of rational thinking, science, and religion, the principle of following the weight of evidence WHEREVER IT LEADS (with no deciding of conclusions beforehand). If we can decide conclusions a priori when we want, rational thinking is mostly ended, PERIOD, as well as science. Gravity, photosynthesis, the Big Bang, heliocentrism, biogenesis and many things we accept as true in science and history could be dismissed easily if one can just follow a priori conclusions instead of the weight of evidence wherever it leads. It is absolutely crucial to follow what former atheist Antony Flew has done, "My whole life has been guided by the principle of Plato's Socrates: Follow the evidence, wherever it leads." (It's not only Socrates' principle. This idea was in the Bible a long time before that.)

4) MD before checking any evidence in history or science or other areas, just asserts that only naturalistic conclusions are possible. How convenient that what it wants to be true can now be considered the default and then all evidence that runs contrary to that is automatically labeled outside of science. Anyone with power using this principle could just assert their view, ban everything else with the claim that "it isn't science" and then force only this view to be taught in schools. Then the only really important thing would be gaining political power so you could control the establishment and tell it what you had determined was inside of science or outside of science. This is making science the slave of politics, ideology and worse.

a) Methodological naturalism and
b) following the weight of evidence wherever it leads
are mutually exclusive. People do try to hold both views as some do Christianity and universal common descent. But rationally, it's impossible. You can follow one or the other or sometimes one and then the other. You can't follow both fully.


See also Dr. Alvin Plantinga's essay on this (I don't agree with every single thing he says, which is true of many links, but overall, he makes a good argument).
http://www.arn.org/docs/odesign/od181/methnat181.htm
http://www.arn.org/docs/odesign/od182/methnat182.htm

MD leads directly to anti-religious scientists imposing their opinions on science, a very dangerous precedent:
1) "It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is an absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door. The eminent Kant scholar Lewis Beck used to say that anyone who could believe in God could believe in anything. To appeal to an omnipotent deity is to allow that at any moment the regularities of nature may be ruptured, that miracles may happen." Richard Lewontin "The New York Review", billions and billions of demons, January 9, 1997, p. 31

Note here that the methods of science do NOT compel us to accept a material explanation of the world. If you think they do, please explain how the scientific method forces us to accept MD (but do it AFTER we've finished the definitions section). But, Lewontin is absolutely wrong in claiming that if you believe in God you can believe in anything. We can test many religious claims just like we do many scientific claims and 1000s have been confirmed, many conclusively. The emotional wish to dismiss miracles and the supernatural as possible is the motivation behind MD. Why do people wish this? Usually this is because they don't like the restrictions of God that they don't understand. But, a jet has more restrictions than a hot air balloon and this actually is precisely why it has more freedom in speed, maneuverability, etc. Wise restrictions are actually extremely empowering and even life saving. Science restricts us in very specific ways, but these restrictions empower enormous freedoms and advances. Wise restrictions are the foundation of incredible growth and freedom and pleasurable rewards. Nowhere is that more true than of God's restrictions. Atheists who refuse to follow God's restrictions are ironically only harming their own enjoyment in THIS world. Here's just one short example:

SEX, ATHEIST MOTIVATIONS AND GOD INVENTED SEX FOR OUR PLEASURE
Aldous Huxley and other atheists have candidly stated things like this:
"I had motives for not wanting the world to have meaning; consequently assumed it had none, and was able without any difficulty to find satisfying reasons for this assumption. The philosopher who finds no meaning in the world is not concerned exclusively with a problem in pure metaphysics; he is also concerned to prove there is no valid reason why he personally should not do as he wants to do...For myself, as no doubt for most of my contemporaries, the philosophy of meaninglessness was essentially an instrument of liberation. The liberation we desired was simultaneously liberation from a certain political and economic system and liberation from a certain system of morality. We objected to the morality because it interfered with our sexual freedom." Aldous Huxley, Ends and Means

"For myself as, no doubt, for most of my contemporaries, the philosophy of meaninglessness was essentially an instrument of liberation. The liberation we desired was simultaneously liberation from a certain political and economic system and liberation from a certain system of morality. We objected to the morality because it interfered with our sexual freedom; we objected to the political and economic system because it was unjust." Aldous Huxley, Ends and Means, p. 316-7

While certain religious people at times have had dysfunctional attitudes towards sex, Hebrew culture and the Bible actually revel in marital sex and the Bible has several r/x-rated sections (see the Song of Solomon) as well as telling husbands and wives that they should not deprive each other of sexual privileges except by mutual agreement (1 Cor. 7:4,5) and that the marriage bed (meaning sex) is pure (Hebrews 13:4). These alone if followed would significantly reduce divorces.

It is kind of ironic that quite a few scientific studies show that restricting sex to marriage helps marriage be happier and and sex to be more fulfilling and pleasurable. Redbook magazine in September of 1975 reported a study on the sexuality of 100,000 women. They found that: "Sexual satisfaction is related significantly to religious belief. With notable consistency, the greater the intensity of a woman's religious convictions, the likelier she is to be highly satisfied with the sexual pleasures of marriage." Robert J. Levin and Amy Levin, "Sexual Pleasure: The Surprising Preferences of 100,000 Women," Redbook. (September, 1975) p. 52

William Mattox, Jr. of The Family Research Council reported a poll of 1,100 people about their sexual satisfaction. Those who felt sex out of wedlock was wrong reported ~31 percent higher sexual satisfaction than those who had little or no objection to sex outside of marriage. Mattox noted that the survey "found that strictly monogamous women experienced orgasm during sex more than twice as often as promiscuous women." It doesn't take a rocket scientist to know that if women are enjoying sex more, there man will be getting more of it and thus much happier as well ;). This is even truer if both spouses follow Paul's admonition not to deny each other sexually (1Corinthians 7:2-5).
http://www.troubledwith.com/LoveandSex/A000000350.cfm

National Institute of Health researcher David Larson says that couples who don't sleep together before marriage and who are faithful during marriage "are more satisfied with their current sex life and also with their marriages compared to those who were involved sexually before marriage." "The Hottest Valentines: the Startling Secret of What Makes You a High-Voltage Lover," by William R. Mattox Jr., The Washington Post, Feb. 13, 1994.

The Bible teaches that sex is good and pure and pastors often say that "God invented sex" for our pleasure and happiness in marriage, which may be why sex, esp. in marriage has so many health benefits for us. http://www.forbes.com/health/2005/10/05 ... Speed=6000.

The origin of male-female sex is also one strong evidence for an Intelligent Designer. It could have been just instinct for us like it is for a number of biological forms or even just mitosis. And have you ever looked at female breast sizes (or maybe a better question is who hasn't)? Human female breasts are unique in the animal world...and it's not for maternal reasons. Primate mothers have fuller breasts only when they have babies, yet human breasts are full year round, quite happily. For any females here, male penis sizes are way larger than other primates as well. The sex appeal breasts have is common to all human cultures, but to no other species. Then there's female orgasm, which has no clear evolutionary function. Which would you prefer, human sized breasts/penises or chimpanzee sized ones? The weight of evidence to me even in this area alone points quite strongly to functional AND pleasurable design by a God who wants to see His beings enjoy life to the fullest :). It doesn't tell us which God for sure...but many other evidences seem to confirm it's the biblical God.

See this more detailed video by someone who's not even religious on "How Sexual Reproduction refutes Darwinian evolution
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yejCq94zUwM
Also see: http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/sex ... -mesmerize

2) "Even if all the data point to an intelligent designer, such an hypothesis is excluded from science because it is not naturalistic." S. C. Todd, Correspondence to Nature 410(6752):423, 30 Sept. 1999
This is astronomical bias. What if we changed the "intelligent designer" to universal common descent? Would that be good science?
"Even if all the data point to universal common descent, that hypothesis is excluded from science because it follows Darwin"

If this would not be good science, then excluding ID and creation science is a double standard logical fallacy. If you exclude any hypothesis from consideration A PRIORI, you cannot even begin to claim to be a fair and objective scientist. NUMEROUS times in history weird hypotheses have turned out to be right when the conventional wisdom thought they were crazy. Scientists in the past stated that gorillas, pandas, komodo dragons and many other real creatures didn't exist. Native people with superior experience said they did. With time, the credible observers were proven correct. See: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/lochness/creatures.html.)

DO MIRACLES REALLY MAKE LEARNING ABOUT THE UNIVERSE IMPOSSIBLE?
Many think so, esp. atheists. But, programmers and computer makers and all sorts of engineers can intervene in what they have created, yet this doesn't stop people from learning about them. In the same way, God can intervene in His creation if He so desires, but it doesn't stop anyone from learning about it. In NONE of these cases does a designer intervening in his design count as magic or stop learning (Please don't use "magic" to refer to the Bible. Magic refers to illusions, sleight of hand, etc. The Bible doesn't deal in illusions or sleight of hand. This is one of Aronra's and atheism's main misconceptions.). It just shows that a higher intelligence is at work.

In fact, as Dr. Hannam (Ph.D. from Cambridge in the history of science) correctly points out in a recent presentation at the Royal Society (the 1st scientific society in history, started by a creationist) and in his book "The Genesis of Science: How the Christian Middle Ages launched the Scientific Revolution" this has never stopped Christians from doing science at any time (both Nature and New Scientist have highly recommended Dr. Hannam's book as well researched and informative. See http://www.jameshannam.com/).

Yes, we do believe miracles can happen. These have a supernatural CAUSE which has NOTHING to do with magic/illusions. But, as the great natural medieval philosopher John Buridan, pointed out, you have to know what is natural to even be able to distinguish what is natural and what is a miracle. A miracle is only a temporary interruption and does not change the normal course of nature or our ability to learn from nature at all. It's sort of like when you go to school and you have a consistent pattern of 5 days a week of school. But, once in a while you have a holiday. Having a holiday doesn't change the normal course of 5 days of study per week.

While God is quite capable of subverting nature"¦that does not deter us at all from studying nature to determine its natural order and normal course. Buridan wrote, "It is evidence to us that every fire is hot and that the heavens are moved, even though the contrary is possible by God's power. And it is evidence of this sort that sufficed for the principles and conclusions of natural philosophy [this was the term for science in those days]." John Buridan (1300-1362)

See Dr. Hannam's presentation where he talks about a part of this here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I-k24Q01vck

TRUTH/SCIENCE/RELIGION CAN'T BE THE SLAVE OF OUR EXPERIENCE
Everyone reading this is using the internet. If you went back 1,000 years (without any of our technology) and told people that we can send messages across the world in seconds, they'd laugh their heads off at your "magical" claim"¦and likely shut you up in some insane asylum. Jungle people similarly scoffed at claims about western technology when missionaries first contacted them. But, scoffing like this says far more about their level of intelligence than what is fact. In a similar way, we can not just dismiss claims because they don't make sense to us or don't seem possible based on our experience. Doing that is making truth, scientific evidence, historical evidence, etc. a slave to our experience and is a very serious hindrance to the acquisition of accurate knowledge. Time after time after time in history, what seemed impossible was actually real. Science itself has discovered many things that seemed impossible but were true. If there had been a bias similar to MD methodological naturalism against these conclusions, we would never know they are true now.

Lewontin comments, "With great perception, Sagan sees that there is an impediment to the popular credibility of scientific claims about the world, an impediment that is almost invisible to most scientists. Many of the most fundamental claims of science are against common sense and seem absurd on their face. Do physicists really expect me to accept without serious qualms that the pungent cheese that I had for lunch is really made up of tiny, tasteless, odorless, colorless packets of energy with nothing but empty space between them? Astronomers tell us without apparent embarrassment that they can see stellar events that occurred millions of years ago, whereas we all know that we see things as they happen. When, at the time of the moon landing, a woman in rural Texas was interviewed about the event, she very sensibly refused to believe that the television pictures she had seen had come all the way from the moon, on the grounds that with her antenna she couldn't even get Dallas. What seems absurd depends on one's prejudice. Carl Sagan accepts, as I do, the duality of light, which is at the same time wave and particle, but he thinks that the consubstantiality of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost puts the mystery of the Holy Trinity "in deep trouble." Two's company, but three's a crowd." Richard Lewontin "The New York Review", billions and billions of demons, January 9, 1997, p. 31

If we only allow what seems sensible to us as conclusions instead of following the weight of evidence, this makes science and rationality the slave of our prejudices and limited to what we have ourselves experienced. This would cause the death of numerous advances in the history of science and must be avoided at all costs and at all times.


BIBLICAL FAITH IS BASED ON EVIDENCE (CHRISTIAN PRESUPPOSITIONS OF GOD ARE ALSO INVALID)
Atheists who presuppose methodological naturalism and rule out other conclusions before investigating evidence and try to force all the evidence into that assumption are guilty of an a priori fallacy that is directly attacking the foundational principle of science that has brought so much progress. These 2 concepts are mutually exclusive. Just as problematic, it causes the problem of incommensurability that Dr. Thomas Kuhn introduced in the 1960s such that there is no way to compare the two views to see which is more accurate.

But, some Christians make the very same irrational error when they presuppose God exists and try to fit all the evidence into that presupposition and rule out other conclusions that don't fit before looking at evidence. They are guilty of the same a priori fallacy. There is nothing rational about deciding on conclusions before you consider evidence and that goes for Christianity AND atheism. People on both sides are guilty of engaging in this fallacy that mostly hardens people in their positions. NOTHING should be ruled out a priori, NOTHING.

I am quite certain that certain that those Christians and creationists who presuppose God are just following atheists/secularists in this fallacy that is not only fundamentally irrational, but very unbiblical as well. Biblical belief in Jewish and Christian history did not rest on presupposing that God exists. God and prophets in the Bible usually asked people to put faith in Him AFTER they were presented with evidence of some type, sometimes multiple types. It is a fundamental misrepresentation of biblical faith to associate it with blind faith. It was nothing of the sort. Bible faith was and is based on evidence and reason:
1) "Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have."1 Peter 3:15

2) Paul charges us to test everything. "But test everything that is said. Hold on to what is good. Stay away from every kind of evil. I Thess. 5:21-22. In Acts 26:25-26, Paul is on trial giving his testimony and is able to tell a non-Christian king that he can check the evidence out for himself saying, ""¦What I am saying is the sober truth. And King Agrippa knows about these things. I speak boldly, for I am sure these events are all familiar to him, for they were not done in a corner!"

3) Jesus says, "Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the works themselves." John 14:11

4) God challenged the Israelites who had gone into idolatry to bring their "gods" into a sort of court situation and prove that they had any traits of a god..or that they could even move to show they were real esp. in comparison to God's proven evidences ( See Isaiah 41:21-24 & Isaiah 44:6-11 for example). This by the way is one of the first uses of the concept of the "weight of evidence" determining truth if not the first.

5) In Deuteronomy 4, Moses challenges Israel to follow God's laws so they will be a great nation and admired by surrounding nations. But, observe that even for these illiterate slaves, he didn't just ask for mindless obedience. He reminded them of the evidence of God's power that they had personally experienced and seen with their own eyes. See especially verses 9-13 & 32-37.
5 "Look, I now teach you these decrees and regulations just as the Lord my God commanded me, so that you may obey them in the land you are about to enter and occupy. 6 Obey them completely, and you will display your wisdom and intelligence among the surrounding nations. When they hear all these decrees, they will exclaim, 'How wise and prudent are the people of this great nation!' 7 For what great nation has a god as near to them as the Lord our God is near to us whenever we call on him? 8 And what great nation has decrees and regulations as righteous and fair as this body of instructions that I am giving you today?

9 "But watch out! Be careful never to forget what you yourself have seen. Do not let these memories escape from your mind as long as you live! And be sure to pass them on to your children and grandchildren. 10 Never forget the day when you stood before the Lord your God at Mount Sinai"¦11 "You came near and stood at the foot of the mountain, while flames from the mountain shot into the sky. The mountain was shrouded in black clouds and deep darkness. 12 And the Lord spoke to you from the heart of the fire. You heard the sound of his words but didn't see his form; there was only a voice."¦32 "Now search all of history, from the time God created people on the earth until now, and search from one end of the heavens to the other. Has anything as great as this ever been seen or heard before? 33 Has any nation ever heard the voice of God speaking from fire,as you did,and survived? 34 Has any other god dared to take a nation for himself out of another nation by means of trials, miraculous signs, wonders, war, a strong hand, a powerful arm, and terrifying acts? Yet that is what the Lord your God did for you in Egypt, right before your eyes.

35 "He showed you these things so you would know that the Lord is God and there is no other. 36 He let you hear his voice from heaven so he could instruct you. He let you see his great fire here on earth so he could speak to you from it"¦39 "So remember this and keep it firmly in mind: The Lord is God both in heaven and on earth, and there is no other. 40 If you obey all the decrees and commands I am giving you today, all will be well with you and your children. I am giving you these instructions so you will enjoy a long life in the land the Lord your God is giving you for all time."
Later near the end of his life, "Moses summoned all the Israelites and said to them:
'Your eyes have seen all that the LORD did in Egypt to Pharaoh, to all his officials and to all his land. 3 With your own eyes you saw those great trials, those signs and great wonders'" 29:2....(the chapter goes on to recount MANY things Israel experienced firsthand). Moses ends his speech listing all the evidence and asking them to choose based on evidence and rational comparisons:

AFTER there's a good amount of evidence and/or a decent track record of accuracy, then God asks us to put faith in Him. But, this faith's purpose is not to prove God exists. It is to connect to the power of God and accept His free gift of salvation AFTER we have been convinced that He is real.

BIBLE LEADERS ASKED FOR PEOPLE TO HAVE FAITH BASED ON WHAT THOSE PEOPLE OR THEIR CLOSE ANCESTORS HAD PERSONALLY WITNESSED (as well as other types of evidence.)

Inferno wrote: Now I could go into that article on cracked and respond that particular author, explaining in detail why
1. You Can Do Terrible Things in the Name of Either One

is absolutely wrong. However, this isn't a debate about some article on cracked so I will refrain from discussing it.

That topic WILL come up for sure with us in the moral topic you want to discuss. So, don't worry :).

Inferno wrote: One last correction before I leave the field to you again, Bryan.
10) Although our goals may differ, we all desire knowledge, education, science and society to improve.

I've deleted religion from that because I really don't know of any way to improve religion except to make people understand why it's no good.


Religion has frequently improved itself and greatly improved society. The Protestant reformation was certainly an improvement over the Catholic hierarchy. Many values and benefits and innovations to society simply wouldn't exist now without the contributions of the Judeo-Christian worldview including modern science. This will become indisputable in future posts. I'm working on the post on what counts as evidence and will post it as soon as I can. Then definitions and then the evidence.

All the best to you,
Bryan

P.S.
Inferno wrote: And now that the corrections, disagreements and agreements are out of the way, let me say one final thing: I'd rather you don't talk about AronRa that way again. I've met him in person nearly four months ago and I will meet him again next year. I've found him to be extremely nice and very easy to talk to.


He may be nice in person and I have NO doubt that he sincerely believes most things he says and thinks it's most rational (and it may even be good that he left the kind of pseudo-Christianity that he was involved in). I'll easily believe what you say on that since many people on internet say things they would never say face to face and almost everyone is nice to people who they agree with. But, some Nazis, communists, democrats, Iraqis, fundamentalist Christians, liberal Christians, gangsters, etc. are also nice to certain people. I also sincerely wish him the best in life, but many of his claims were irrational, blatantly false, arrogant and immoral and this is indisputable. His niceness to some does nothing to excuse him or ANYONE from misrepresenting others, something he habitually did. This is NOT just about Aronra. Again, it's habitual with atheists in general, intentional or not, but sometimes certain Christians have been part of the cause of the misunderstanding. So, I will at times use examples from him and other atheists to demonstrate how atheism unethically misrepresents Christianity and opposes the weight of evidence in science and history and promotes ignorance on this most important of all topics. In Aronra's case, he insisted on using armies of straw men and outright falsehoods, misusing linguistics, rejecting dictionary meanings and trying to make me defend varieties of creation, Christianity and religion that I didn't even advocate. My experience with him is without a doubt one of the top 5 most irrational experiences of my life and I've met some VERY irrational people. I have received quite a few messages from people here and elsewhere who don't seem to comprehend crucial facts about that discussion, a couple of which should be made clear since I know the misunderstandings have caused grave prejudice:
1) INTEGRITY: Aronra committed to a debate and broke his word. I didn't care whether it was formal or whatever. I frankly dislike formality. That was NEVER the issue with me. The sole and only issue for me from the start was that I didn't have time to answer 20 people and so wanted it limited to 1 on 1 or 2 on 2, etc. I had told him I was very busy long before I came to youtube and he insensitively put me in a place with 20+ people asking all sorts of questions I just had no time to answer (here I WILL do that).

Aronra wrote: "Hey mods, if my opponent still dares to engage me, move us to private debate forum."
{The rules of formal debate} ""¦won't allow you to change your opponent's mind."
"But we've all already seen everything you've got, and you haven't got anything."
/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=6201 (page 17)


I agreed quickly to a private debate forum. But, Aronra refused to honor his commitment and said some very nasty and untrue things about me.

He is also wrong that people can't change their minds in formal debates and he is 1000% wrong (on a level of alleging that eyes aren't important for seeing) that he already saw everything I had. I didn't even begin to touch the evidence I had in any of that discussion. It was nearly all trying to deal with misrepresentations.

2) LINGUISTICS: Aronra was insulting dictionaries and severely distorting linguistics. I was supporting them (but of course have long known that technical dictionaries are more detailed/accurate and also that certain word meanings such as "gay" have changed radically over time, etc.).
Aronra wrote: "First of all, dictionaries are not objective. They certainly aren't authoritative. They're often incomplete, contradictory, and heavily biased depending on the author. You demonstrated that yourself with your dictionary's woeful promotion of a monotheistic deity to the exclusion of all others. That's why dictionaries contradict each other. Dictionaries are for the laity, only good for common words. They are almost always wrong when it comes to science. If you were who you claimed to be, you would certainly have known that already.

Secondly, although you have falsely defined atheism, humanism, evolution, and even creationism"¦Nor have I misrepresented you by correctly defining these and other relevant terms"¦you meant to imply that MY atheism was mostly faith"¦it isn't just that you were lying about that, you were actually trying to insult me personally."
/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=6201 (page 17)


Most he said is untrue (See these links for starters on dictionary issues: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oxford_English_Dictionary and http://oxforddictionaries.com/page/storydictionaries. A HUGE amount of work by scholars goes into dictionaries.).
a) Dictionaries ARE objective. Linguists go looking at how words are used by people all over the world and write down the common usages. That IS objective.
b) They are authoritative and used as such in professional situations.
c) They do NOT depend on the author. They seldom have one author. They usually have many authors and researchers (which is also objective).
d) When you use a word, usually you are NOT referring to all the meanings it has. That's stunningly ignorant. Context shows us which meaning a person is intending. Homographs and heteronyms have multiple meanings and all often do NOT apply. A bat can refer to a winged creature and a piece of sports equipment. God can apply to monotheistic AND/OR polytheistic versions/religions. The way you use a word does NOT have to include all possible meanings of the word. You can play a game here on homographs: http://www.quia.com/cb/8285.html

e) Dictionaries aren't only for the laity. Professionals consults them quite a bit. They are NOT "almost always wrong" when it comes to science. That's a stunning insult to Oxford and all the scholars who painstakingly document what the words mean. Technical dictionaries will be more specific to be sure. But, that doesn't make the general ones "almost always wrong." NOT even remotely true.
f) I am who I claim to be and have 17+ years experience teaching in language education and linguistics as well as many years editing academic papers for professional journals.

Aronra knows almost nothing about the field of linguistics and his arrogance hardened him in ignorance in that field and others.

g) I didn't even define atheism, humanism or evolution at all. That wasn't my right. I asked questions and pointed to other definitions I believe. But, I didn't define them myself. Atheists, humanists have the right to define what their view is. Same for Christians, creationists, evolutionists, etc. It should be accepted by a good number of people in that group"¦but all have the right to define what they believe in. I didn't come here to defend other people's understandings. I also didn't even attempt to irrationally force Aronra to defend concepts he doesn't hold.
h) I defined creation science accurately, even used a court accepted definition. But, now I have a much better one which will be posted in the definitions step.
i) Aronra habitually misrepresented me and biblical Christianity by saying it's just like magic and is only faith without evidence and other such lunacy.
j) I did not ever try to insult Aronra personally. But, when people lie about science, linguistics, history and esp. Christianity religion which built the foundations of modern science and rationality, there is not much that is more important than exposing those things for the falsehoods they are.

3) EDITING: Editing there was done solely to correct typos and someone suggested I change font colors, etc. I followed their suggestion. Happened more there since I often was sleeping 3 hours a night. Will happen much less here. But, fixing typos is something intl. papers do as well.

4) DOTOREE/LAWSUITS: Btw, if any are still unsure, yes, I did use the name dotoree before. I just quickly thought up a name when I first joined and that came to mind. I changed it because dotoree only has meaning for me and Korean friends who gave me that nickname 16+ years ago. Truthislife7 symbolizes what's most important to me FAR better..and that includes spiritual truth, scientific truth, historical truth and others that all are critical for the improvement of life. It's also connected to a couple websites I am making.

I had to leave the discussion because a lawsuit I was involved in got quite complicated and then ~May I also had to decide whether to start a 2nd lawsuit urgently before the statue of limits expired which I did. To make a LONG story short, I built a language school up from nothing to ~5-600 students in South Korea in ~3 years and my 4 partners (3 non-religious) broke promises to give me a legal business visa and broke contracts they signed with me. This caused me to go ~$150,000 in debt which damaged my family (my 4 former partners are now involved in 6 lawsuits against each other). I just found out this year that my 1st partner hid large profits that we made. I had suspected this, but I had had no way to prove it before. In May I received proof. They've also countersued me alleging they paid everything, but so far have produced no bank records proving this or any evidence for hardly any of their claims. If anyone doubts this, you can view 1 actual court document in Korean here with most identifying info blocked out since I'm not interested in stalkers for me or them (have a Korean friend translate it document that this is real):
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/TruthisLife/files/

My family is more important than a debate. So I had to deal with that emergency. It's still not done, but most of the work on the cases is done I think and a judgment is due October 7. So, I was able to come back.

Last, the reason I'm debating with you Inferno is because you are far more rational, fair minded and considerate than Aronra ever was, hands down. And maybe it's better that way. Also again, if I had gone through Aronra's experiences with some very irrational Christians and pastors, I might also be an atheist. So, his misunderstandings are not totally his fault and maybe he even sincerely believes them, though this changes nothing about the fact that they have nothing to do with biblical Christianity. But, he has absolutely no right to impose his experience with pseudo-Christianity on what the Bible actually teaches and what I have investigated in depth. It's like a person visiting Yemen and trying to force what he experienced in that democracy as a definition of all democracies. Grossly immoral. It was, is and always will be immoral for one person to try to tell another person what he or she thinks/believes and what his definitions, etc. must be.
Sun Oct 02, 2011 11:20 pm
SquawkModeratorUser avatarPosts: 2011Joined: Sun Feb 22, 2009 8:25 pm Gender: Tree

Post Re: Debate: Which has a better case, the Bible or Atheism?

I'm not inclined to wade into a debate, but frankly this is ridiculous. I've just run a wordcount over that post. It is nearly 10 thousand words in length. A novel is considered to be 80k words in length. The post also links to numerous websites which the reader must absorb.

Given that each point raised will take at least two or three sentences to rebut, inferno is now left with a choice of ignoring huge swaithes of the post, or writing 1/3 of a novel in reply to what amounts to a gish gallop.

If your next post is similar in length we could be looking at a reader having to read several novels. This is not acceptable use of the debate format, or this forum.

In this format this is not a debate. I'm taking no action now, but I strongly suggest a pm exchange to agree to a word count limit and a stipulation that all posts must consist of concise points at the very least.
Pope Rat: "Exclusion of God, religion and virtue from public life leads ultimately to a truncated vision of man and of society and thus a reductive vision of a person and his destiny."

Squawk response: "O Rly?"
Mon Oct 03, 2011 12:09 am
TruthisLife7Posts: 87Joined: Tue Sep 20, 2011 11:17 am Gender: Male

Post Re: Debate: Which has a better case, the Bible or Atheism?

Squawk,
It is categorically false on every level that this was a Gish gallop, but the "Gish Gallop" is perfectly valid in science in terms of being a summary of a variety of evidence as an INTRO to discussing that evidence more in depth or as a conclusion after it's been discussed in depth or for people with short attention spans who don't like in depth evidence. What is termed a Gish Gallop is actually ONLY a SUMMARY of the weight of evidence each point of which can be dealt with in FAR more depth as needed. Atheists who allege Gish gallops and then complain about long things to read are basically saying, you're damned if you do and damned if you don't.

2nd, this isn't even evidence, so has nothing to do with the Gish gallop. It's laying the philosophical foundations(I did list 1 evidence on sex because some people are impatient to get to evidence as am I). I personally reject all attempts by atheists and theists to presuppose that their views are correct (you can differ if you wish, but this is my position). I can cite a LOT more information on many issues than I do. But, I will try to limit it to the most convincing things, since I also want to get to the evidence as soon as possible. But, if you don't have the philosophy of science right, it's absolutely worthless to talk about evidence, sort of like trying to convince someone of universal common descent when they don't even accept that observations or confirmations of predictions count as evidence.

When Pasteur was challenging the establishment on spontaneous generation, there was no word limit imposed on him. In the history of science we can see many cases where it took years and countless papers to overturn established ideas. If you impose a word limit, then you are limiting both freedom and science. Some things will be shorter, some will be longer depending on what Inferno agrees/and disagrees with (and some others making comments). But, in areas where people have been ingrained with assumptions, and misunderstandings, it sometimes takes more in depth time to cure them of those misunderstandings. This is true of ALL groups.

Here's one more thought on methodological naturalism of many I have:
-------
One of philosopher Robert Pennock's arguments for methodological naturalism (which rules out evidence for design in nature in principle, because it cannot be considered) is that "we cannot control the supernatural":
"Experimentation requires observation and control of the variables. We confirm causal laws by performing controlled experiments in which the hypothesized independent variable is made to vary while all the other factors are held constant so that we can observe the effect on the dependent variable. But we have no control over supernatural entities or forces; hence, these cannot be scientifically studied."

Dr. Bradly Monton (http://spot.colorado.edu/~monton/Bradle ... /Home.html), author of Seeking God in Science: An Atheist Defends Intelligent Design (Broadview Press, 2009), replies,
"For the moment, let's grant experimentation requires observation and control of the variables. A problem arises when Pennock attempts to infer that, because we have no control over supernatural entities or forces, these supernatural entities or forces cannot be scientifically studied. What Pennock is ignoring is the distinction (standardly made in philosophy of science) between experimental science and historical science.

Consider paleontology: what scientists who are engaging in this practice are doing is making observations and drawing inferences based on those observations. We can't do a controlled experiment to determine whether the dinosaurs died out as the result of an asteroid impact, we can't vary an independent variable while holding all other factors constant. Nevertheless, we can make lots of observations in the world (of dinosaur bones, geological strata, asteroid craters, and so on) and we can make scientific inferences on the basis of these observations. Also, consider cosmology: we can't do a controlled experiment to find out whether the universe started with a big bang, but we can make astronomical observations and make scientific inferences on their basis. I conclude that we can scientifically study aspects of reality that we can't experimentally control. Thus, it doesn't follow from the claim that since we have no control over supernatural entities that we can't study them."
(p. 67)
http://www.uncommondescent.com/intellig ... ernatural/
-------
If you rule out what you don't like a priori, well, that's your right. But, I'm going to strongly differ that that is rational or objective in any way for both atheists and theists and I'm going to present evidence based on this philosophy that nobody gets to assert or presuppose that their view is right. NOBODY.

Simply, if we can study dinosaurs, string theory and multi-verse using science, then we can also study the Divine using science. To rule out the study of anything in science and history that have witnesses, observable aspects or testable predictions as the Bible, God and creation science as well as universal common descent indisputably ALL DO have, is part of dumbing people down and enforcing dogma and presuppositions over science, evidence and fact.

Btw, readers, if you see this debate stopped before I make a concluding statement, summarizing the evidence that has been covered in depth before, and signing off with best wishes to everyone, esp. Inferno, you can know that I've been censored/banned (as has happened at a couple other atheist sites) and that there is much evidence for God that atheists don't want you to know about(see: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4KBx4vvlbZ8 and http://www.creation.com for starters on evidence). Atheism survives and thrives mostly where evidence for rival views are banned and it's very sad since it is banning evidence for some of the most important things to enjoy this life and advance in wisdom and rationality NOW as well as our continued existence.

Many atheists are very sincere as well as smart and some are making the most rational decision based on the evidence that they have been allowed or influenced to read/hear. But, methodological naturalism is trying to a priori ban people from even hearing or considering the evidence for God that exists. In the reverse, the presupposition that God exists is sometimes used to try to ban people from hearing the evidence and reasons for atheism. Neither presuppositions are part of a rational or objective discourse in my view.
Tue Oct 04, 2011 6:25 am
SquawkModeratorUser avatarPosts: 2011Joined: Sun Feb 22, 2009 8:25 pm Gender: Tree

Post Re: Debate: Which has a better case, the Bible or Atheism?

This is a debate thread, not a platform for preaching and not for making yourself a martyr. Either stick to the debate or I will end it. If you wish to discuss further, pm me. Further off topic posts will result in debate forfeit. It will be made clear to all if any user is banned or barred from debate here.
Pope Rat: "Exclusion of God, religion and virtue from public life leads ultimately to a truncated vision of man and of society and thus a reductive vision of a person and his destiny."

Squawk response: "O Rly?"
Tue Oct 04, 2011 7:03 am
InfernoContributorUser avatarPosts: 2298Joined: Thu Apr 30, 2009 7:36 pmLocation: Vienna, Austria Gender: Cake

Post Re: Debate: Which has a better case, the Bible or Atheism?

Before I start off I'm torn whether I want to write a huge essay, ranging anywhere from 10k+ words to 30k+ words or if I want to rebut just the important parts. I came to the conclusion that I'm perfectly fine with 10k+ words but since Squawk isn't, I guess we'll try to limit ourselves to 2,500 words max next time. For now though I will try to rebut everything here so ladies and gentlemen of the audience, I suggest you print this out and take it with you to the loo. ;) My apologies to the audience, this reply did take quite a while and is far too long for my liking, but it is shorter than the previous post. I hope that future posts will be reasonable in length.

Note that I will add a few links to the end in a sort of Wikipedia fashion. All of the links at the end are for further reading and are in no way necessary for the debate nor do they warrant commenting.

When I say "atheists" below, I most often use it to mean "skeptics, freethinkers, etc. and atheists". Writing that is usually too long, so that's what I'll go with. The only times when "atheist" really only means "atheist" is when it's a question about religion. (Contrary to scientific subjects)

So the first thing you want to agree on is evidence.
Fact: A point of data which is either not in dispute or is indisputable in that it is verifiably true.
Evidence: Factual circumstances which are accounted for, or supported by, only one available explanation over any other.
Proof: [legal sense] Something shown to be largely true and reasonably accurate according to a preponderance of evidence.
[scientific sense] Inapplicable except in the negative: While it is possible to dis-prove some things, it isn't possible to prove anything positively except in mathematics.

We need to be very clear on what would falsify our view. For example, a bunny in the pre-Cambrian would falsify evolution, a truly irreducibly complex organ would falsify it and so on and so forth. What would falsify your view?

Definition(s) of Atheism: Out of these 17 definitions only two matter, namely "agnostic" vs "gnostic" atheism. I (of course) go with "agnostic", but I rather prefer "tooth-fairy agnostic".
If you really want a complete definition using the words from the link, then I'm an "agnostic, strong (as per Anthony Flew), broad, unfriendly, open, active, non-religious anti-theist". That's right, I'm not an atheist but actually an anti-theist. I understand that it means a mix of the above terms, basically someone who would rather religion wouldn't exist, who believes that if a God were to exist that would actually be very bad and that religion is actively destructive. I'd rather get rid of it now rather than later, but never in a violent manner.
I hope that gives you an idea of what I believe but really we could've left it at "agnostic atheist".

TruthisLife7 wrote:But, to be an atheist you basically have to think that
a) there is no God or
b) lack belief that God exists (this is only semantically different from agnosticism).


Just a quick clarification, agnosticism is not a position but merely a qualifier to a position.
Image 1 - Agnostic/Gnostic/Theist/Atheist

TruthisLife7 wrote:Basically atheism guides people to disregard religious/biblical wisdom and to follow our own views or seek out atheistic or secular wisdom in nearly all choices and views. This is essentially a worldview since it most certainly is influencing choices, at first in what to reject as a valid influence and also as a result what to accept as valuable and through that behaviors and more.


No, of course it doesn't. Atheism doesn't guide people to anything. Atheism = lack of belief in God. I don't see anything about not consulting religious wisdom. Most atheists don't seek out religious wisdom of course but that's for an entirely different reason, namely that most atheists have a creed they themselves make up (there is no universal atheist creed or anything of that sort) and one thing many atheists agree upon is that everything needs to be substantiated.
("Most atheists" agree on that because most atheists are also free thinkers and skeptics.)

Even as a religious person I'd still have exactly the same worldview as I do now, aka the three points I listed above. Atheism is therefore not a worldview because it impacts only a tiny tiny part of life.

And if you do suggest that atheism is a worldview, you'd also be suggesting that people who don't believe in Yetis have their own worldview, let's call it ayetiism.
I'll expand on this by addressing your eight points.

TruthisLife7 wrote:1). Atheism says there is little or no evidence for God. Atheists also often advocate the idea that if we can't sense it or test something in some way, it probably doesn't exist, esp. in regard to religious claims. Yet, accepting the ideas of abiogenesis and a multiverse is somehow very rational for many.


I don't know enough about M-Theory to consider it but I can rebut your idea about Abiogenesis. Simply said life had to have come about somehow, be it through God, magic pixies or some other process. In all the history of mankind we've never seen a single instance of a miraculous process, meaning all processes we've ever observed were natural.
And so scientists set off to find a natural process that could account for the origin of life. Note that we don't need to find the exact pathway, that's as unlikely as replicating any complex process you can think of. Instead, we want to find A way.

Figuring out the creation of life - Faye Flam wrote:Even if he does create life in a test tube, how will Szostak know whether his method was the way life originally came about?

The hope, Szostak said, is that some insight will come from answering the more accessible question of how life might spontaneously form.

Maybe the scientists will find there are three or four or 10 ways it can happen, he said, and maybe someday they will have ways to choose the most likely.


Do we know how it works yet? No of course not, but we've come a long way. We've managed to find 25 amino acids thanks to the Miller-Urey experiment, we know that cell membranes can spontaneously form (lipid bilayers) and so on.

TruthisLife7 wrote:2) A DIRECT result of atheism is that we should not look to religion for wisdom or truth. We should look to ourselves, atheist scientists, naturalism, etc. to help figure out what is truth (since none of us have time or energy to check all evidence for ourselves). It influences them to represent those who are not atheists as following bias, blind faith, ignorance, being opposed to science, etc. (this disregards the fact that ALL, including atheists, have bias). This often causes ridicule of people of faith as well as sometimes demoting them and hindering their advance in education and careers and worse.


How can that be true if there are atheistic religions such as Buddhism?
It's of course the other way around. Most atheists I know were religious first and became atheists because religious people are indeed relying on blind faith. We'll get to accusations in your next yellow point so for now I'll limit myself to the above question.

TruthisLife7 wrote:3) In decisions about education, health, sex, etc. secular sources or your opinion should be the ones consulted and trusted, not religions.


I'd say consider evidence whenever possible, if it's a matter of opinion... well, have an opinion. I don't trust anyone much, I usually like to check the sources.
But let's for a second consider religion. Where does it get its consultations from? From God? And God reveals itself how? In Holy Books? If so, which one? And if it is one particular one, how should we interpret it? Because surely you don't intend any of those books to be taken literally. And if you do take them literally, how do you reconcile the various discrepancies inside the books, the scientific mistakes and the atrocities?

You see contrary to what you say it's not my atheism that makes me reject those books, holy people and religious rituals, it is my rejection of said things that in turn makes me atheist.
Oh and as above, I'd reject them even if I were religious.

TruthisLife7 wrote:4) In decisions about how to spend money, religions have no validity. It's up to your own opinion or secular sources.


I'd make exactly the same decisions if I were a religious person. I fail to see how "I lack belief in the existence of a God or Gods" relates at all to fiscal matters.

TruthisLife7 wrote:5) In decisions about values, religious views are only opinions and many if not all should be avoided like the plague.


A general rule seems to be "If the religious say X is moral, the exact opposite is."
But again that's not because they are religious, it's just because the values/morals preached at me are stupid. It really doesn't matter if it's Ted Haggard, a random Muslim scholar named Sheikh Muhammed Salih Al-Munajjid, the Rabbis Schachter, Willig, Rosensweig, and Twersky or if it's an atheist bigot who says it... ANYONE who tells me that homosexuality is a bad thing is someone I shun.
It's not that I have anything in particular against religious values as long as they're good. The problem I (and most probably many other atheists) have is that most crazy ideas I stumble upon are from religious people, religiously motivated and not subject to change.

Contrast that with most atheists who don't have a motivation to come up bigoted ideas (unless if they're also racist, but the point is that the ideas do not stem from, and indeed can never stem from, their atheism.) and if they do have bigoted views they are more often than not subject to change.

TruthisLife7 wrote:6) It strongly influences atheists to look to the different types of evolution (cosmic evolution, chemical evolution, universal common descent) to explain the existence and diversity of the universe and life.


Evolution is not atheistic and atheism does not rely on evolution. Atheism has nothing to do with evolution because evolution only has to do with science, with facts. It's true that for atheists there aren't any other good explanations (there are other explanations, but all are bad) for the diversity of life but then again that's true for all people. There are no good explanations for the diversity of life apart from evolution.
Of the roughly 8.4 million inhabitants of Austria, roughly 4% are atheist or non-theist. Link Of the 8.4 million inhabitants, roughly 57% accept evolution. (The Greatest Show on Earth, Dawkins) Evolution is not related to atheism in any way.

TruthisLife7 wrote:7) It influences which politicians you vote for (any who even mention creation science in favorable terms are anathema unless they have an avalanche of other merits.).


I don't vote for a creationist for the same reason that I don't vote for a flat-earther, someone who believes in ghosts or giant radioactive mushroom-ninjas... They are out of touch with reality and as such not suited for any position of power. For exactly the same reasons I would also not vote for anyone who suggests that any Holy Book is the absolute, 100% inerrant word of God: They are out of touch with reality.

By the way I suppose that many if not most Christians don't vote for such people, either. I don't know if it's true or not but I can't really picture Robert T. Bakker or Kenneth Miller voting for Rick Perry or the like. It's not a matter of faith, it's one of facts and science.

TruthisLife7 wrote:8) Life has no ultimate meaning or purpose other than what we subjectively impose on it.


Once again even if I were a religious person... You know the drill.
I suspect we'll be getting to heaven and hell as well as the question of good and evil in the near future so I'll be saving my thoughts for that.

TruthisLife7 wrote:HOW DOES ATHEISM HARM PEOPLE & SCIENCE?

1) Atheists in power blocked many excellent students from studying and good jobs only because they believed in God. See: John Lennox on Dawkins whitewash of history-atheism blocks intellectual progress:


I suspect that when he says "GDR", he's talking about the German Democratic Republic, also known as the DDR? If he is then the rebuttal is quite easy: Communism.
Communism is about the freeing of the masses. In communism, religion is considered a tool of oppression used by those in power to enslave the weak and the poor. Abolish religion and you'll be closer to freeing the masses. This is quite visible in Karl Marx's quote:
Karl Marx wrote:Religion is, indeed, the self-consciousness and self-esteem of man who has either not yet won through to himself, or has already lost himself again. But man is no abstract being squatting outside the world. Man is the world of man,state, society. This state and this society produce religion, which is an inverted consciousness of the world, because they are an inverted world. Religion is the general theory of this world, its encyclopedic compendium, its logic in popular form, its spiritual point d'honneur, its enthusiasm, its moral sanction, its solemn complement, and its universal basis of consolation and justification. It is the fantastic realization of the human essence since the human essence has not acquired any true reality. The struggle against religion is, therefore, indirectly the struggle against that world whose spiritual aroma is religion. Religious suffering is, at one and the same time, the expression of real suffering and a protest against real suffering. Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people. The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is the demand for their real happiness. To call on them to give up their illusions about their condition is to call on them to give up a condition that requires illusions. The criticism of religion is, therefore, in embryo, the criticism of that vale of tears of which religion is the halo.


I consider the main idea correct but like most atheists I wouldn't oppress anyone. This brings me to a fatal flaw in your argument: Do you notice that every atheist state that oppressed religious people also happened to be communist?
And while we're at it, do we want to talk about Christian countries doing the same? Nah not really, the list would go on for quite a bit.

TruthisLife7 wrote:2) Dr. Jerry Bergman, a former atheist, has documented the same kind of thing done repeatedly to creationists in his book, "Slaughter of the Dissidents" (by evolutionists, atheists or both). I have had personal contact with creation scientists who have been persecuted for their views of where the evidence leads and have his book which I will cite from in the future.


No need for the book, thanks. Ah, Dr Bergman... again.

Creationwiki wrote:Dr. Gerald R. "Jerry" Bergman is an adjunct associate professor at Medical University of Ohio and an instructor in the Division of Arts & Sciences at Northwest State Community College in Archbold, Ohio. He teaches biochemistry, biology, chemistry and physics.


Emphasis mine.
Tell me Bryan, am I discriminating against someone's religion if I fire them because they teach bad science? I really don't care what he believes or if he believes anything, for all I care Jerry Bergman could be an atheist and I would still fire him for telling stuff that is completely wrong. Would you hire an astronomer who believes in a geocentric Universe, possibly even a flat earth? Of course not. By the same token Bergman got booted.
If this really was about people getting religious people booted, we wouldn't have (had) Kenneth Miller, Robert T. Bakker or Theodosius Dobzhansky as biologists. (All of them are or were religious.)
Instead this is about people getting scientifically incompetent people booted who happen to be incompetent because of their religion.

TruthisLife7 wrote:3) Atheism has influenced people to repress, demote, fire, torture and kill people that disagree with it.


Say what? This is getting slightly ridiculous. How exactly does "I lack belief in the existence of a God or Gods" get me there? (Hint: It doesn't.)
Which are those 22 states? If they are by any chance all communist, see above.

TruthisLife7 wrote:4) Atheism influences people to disregard biblical health principles which add many years to life.


I really don't have the time to watch 45min of video just to see if this is substantiated. I'll merely comment very quickly on the National Geographics video and then make a broad sweep.
Out of the three ways discussed, merely one of them is potentially based on the Bible. (And that's without having checked if the Bible actually says that and without considering the bad things the Bible suggests.) There were ways of living long and healthy long before anyone knew of the Bible so it seems very likely that even if this is in the Bible (again, I have yet to open one during this debate) then the people writing the Bible copied it from others. (For example, the people writing the Bible most likely copied from contemporary scientists when writing Genesis 1:16: The moon is not a light itself, it merely reflects light.)
But let's once again say, for the sake of argument, that this is completely and absolutely true. So what? I could make up a religion about snow monsters and the Loch Ness monster and then claim that because adherents of this religion have better sex, that makes it true. It doesn't.
And for the final point, why on earth would atheists do that? Shouldn't they logically be the ones that could benefit most from any health tips, being the ones who only live once?

TruthisLife7 wrote:5) Atheists and evolutionists have promoted methodological naturalism and cut off govt. funding and hindered and impeded research into evidence that points to supernatural conclusions. Atheism isn't the same as evolution, but it strongly promotes it since as Dawkins puts it evolution makes it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist. As a direct result much science pointing to God and challenging universal common descent has been impeded or blocked.


No it hasn't. There isn't any scientific evidence for supernatural causes/conclusions because that is outside the realm of science.

TruthisLife7 wrote:EX 1: Evolutionists claimed the appendix was useless as well as other things like tonsils and the organs of 1000s were surgically removed due to this, significantly harming their health.


I've heard the appendix myth but never the tonsil one. Very interesting.
Both are completely unfounded, of course. Both the appendix and the tonsils are only removed if one has appendicitis or tonsillitis. I can't find any evidence of any significant number of people having either removed "because it's a vestigial organ". But let's just for a second assume that there is such evidence. So what? I'm not exactly sure why that's the fault of atheism, scientists or doctors. We used to think that drilling into the cranium for fun was a good thing. Then we looked at the evidence and saw that it isn't. (Unless of course when there's a medical reason.) It's the same here: We might have thought it was useless but then we found out that it wasn't.

Now cue "but scientists have declared it to be absolutely useless because of evolution". No they haven't. It's a common misconception but "vestigial organ" is not the same as "organ without a use". They are merely structures that have lost all or much of their original use, which now makes them either detrimental, neutral or only marginally useful. (Note: Don't confuse "vestigiality" with "exaptation".)

Let's quickly consider the appendix. It seems very likely that it was used by our ancestors to digest cellulose. We don't really need that any more so it's reduced to what it is now. Koalas on the other hand have a huge appendix, apparently up to 2m long. Link
Even though the appendix does seem to help us at times, it also randomly tries to kill you which is why we sometimes have it removed.

I want to get one last vestigial structure in: The muscles of the ear. They are of use in animals such as the cat or the horse, to turn the ears and spot the source of a noise. We don't need them though, our ears are pretty much fixed. And yet there are some odd people that can move their ears. One of them is writing a lengthy reply to TruthisLife7 at the moment. It's generally said that these muscles don't serve a purpose but I disagree. It's the perfect tool for picking up girls at a club. ;)

TruthisLife7 wrote:EX 2: "Stanford University reported in 1998 on certain white blood cells that heretofore had been largely ignored by immunologists. Why? The 'natural killer' (NK) cells were 'thought by some to be an archaic remnant of the primitive mammalian immune system.'9 The appendix's function, NK cells, so-called 'junk' DNA, and other areas of profitable medical research have been held back by the smothering assumptions of Darwinian medicine.


I'm not familiar enough with this to comment with any certainty, so I'm inclined to let this pass.
However reading from the Stanford Report, January 14, 1998, I don't see the problem. People didn't know what these cells were, they investigated and then found a use. So what if they were rudimentary structures? As I explained above, vestigial does not mean useless.

Since we're at Evolutionary medicine, let's delve into that a bit. Why do we rely on it? Because it works. Here are a few examples:
The testes of humans hang outside the body. We know that they're there because human sperm is best produced at a temperature of roughly 34,°C. We also know that in our evolution, the testes were first inside the body (sharks), then in a small pouch outside of the body (dogs) and finally dangling freely, but still close to the body. (And as we all know, they shrink when it's cold, so as to save up heat.)
What does this tell us about medicine? We now know why the body wall in our groin area is weak.

We know that vaccines work and we know why they work. If evolution weren't true we wouldn't be able to use them, nor could we use the heart valves of pigs.
We know that diseases such as cancer can never evolve away completely.

As a final example, we can understand human HIV-1 in the light of FIV-Pco (A related virus attacking Pumas), FIV-Pca (cats) and others.

All of these are direct applications of evolution. Not only micro-evolution, but actual macro-evolution.

TruthisLife7 wrote:MOST PRESUPPOSITIONS AREN'T RATIONAL OR OBJECTIVE

A key point regarding this is that I have experienced countless condemnations for using faith by atheists who don't understand that there are different types of faith, some based on evidence and some not. Yet these very same atheists also use presuppositions which are no different from blind faith since we have no way to test them (Actually it is my contention that atheism is one of the most blind faith based views in the world, as well as being in many cases very harmful.).


Apparently, definitions are needed here.

Faith - TheFreeDictionary wrote:faith (fth)
n.
1. Confident belief in the truth, value, or trustworthiness of a person, idea, or thing.
2. Belief that does not rest on logical proof or material evidence. See Synonyms at belief, trust.
3. Loyalty to a person or thing; allegiance: keeping faith with one's supporters.
4. often Faith Christianity The theological virtue defined as secure belief in God and a trusting acceptance of God's will.
5. The body of dogma of a religion: the Muslim faith.
6. A set of principles or beliefs.


Faith - Merriam-Webster wrote:Definition of FAITH

1
a : allegiance to duty or a person : loyalty
b (1) : fidelity to one's promises (2) : sincerity of intentions
2
a (1) : belief and trust in and loyalty to God (2) : belief in the traditional doctrines of a religion
b (1) : firm belief in something for which there is no proof (2) : complete trust
3
: something that is believed especially with strong conviction; especially : a system of religious beliefs <the Protestant faith>


I could go on, but there's no point really. I don't know of a single definition of faith that includes "is based on evidence".

There's still more wrong with what you wrote though. When most atheists I know say "what you believe is based faith" they mean "it's based on blind faith" which in turn means "it's based on no evidence and is often contrary to any evidence that is available".

For example, a belief in God is based on no evidence I am familiar with. A belief in creationism however, especially young-earth creationism is not only devoid of any evidence, it's actually contrary to all available evidence. THAT'S the reason why atheists get annoyed with faith.
The presuppositions we use to make sense of the world (like the three I posted above) aren't really believed on faith because they can be tested. The only one of the three I use that can't be tested is "the Universe exists", however I'd argue that postulating the non-existence of the Universe we live in immediately removes anyone from rational discourse.

Can I test "we can learn something about the Universe"? Yes. I can hit my forehead with my hand repeatedly and it will hurt every time, depending on the force of impact, etc. Learning = check
Can I test "the Universe is most probably only a naturalistic world"? Again, yes. I can make a challenge like the James Randi challenge and see if any of the requirements for magic are met. If they aren't, the likelihood of the Universe being naturalistic increases. Can it be proven? No. But it hasn't been disproved yet.

Conclusion: All people have to rely on a variety of the above mentioned presuppositions when going into the world. The point is that atheists "faith" ends there. Religious people go on to have faith that a God exists, that Jesus will return at any given moment or that angels exist. Atheists don't. How that makes them have more blind faith is incomprehensible to me.

TruthisLife7 wrote:4) OUR PERCEPTIONS & MEMORIES ARE ACCURATE: We can perceive aspects of the universe through the agent of our senses and our mind records those perceptions accurately. We could be living in a matrix. We have no way to test if our perceptions are actually about reality or we are just living in some gigantic sophisticated computer game of some sort. For me, solopism and the Matrix are kind of a moot argument since we know there are causes and effects based on choices we make. Whether everything we see is real or a matrix doesn't change the fact that our choices change what we experience in negative and positive ways. But, just like the above, we have no way to test our senses or the accuracy of our minds recording those perceptions without using those same senses and mind that we are testing and so must take it on blind faith.


Actually, there are ways to test the accuracy of both our perceptions and memories. It turns out that both are extremely bad. I've already explained this in that other thread but it seems you may have missed it because I never saw a response to what I wrote.
In the experiment, two cars hit each other and the subjects were asked how fast the cars were going when they "hit". They responded with an average of 34mph. Others were asked how fast they went when they "smashed" and they got an average of 40.5mph. There are two possible interpretations of the findings, none of which support your presupposition that "our perceptions and memories are accurate".
The second interpretation would be the most devastating for your presupposition: "A second interpretation is that the question form causes a change in the subject's memory representation of the accident."
This interpretation was further tested and it seems pretty clear that this is the correct interpretation: "As a framework for discussing these results, we would like to propose that two kinds of information go into one's memory for some complex occurrence. The first is information gleaned during the perception of the original event; the second is external information supplied after the fact. Over time, information from these two sources may be integrated in such a way tha t we are unable to tell from which source some specific detail is recalled. All we have is one "memory." "

What is evidently true though is that we can be so easily influenced, both by our own ideas, feelings, etc. and by external means such as verbal cues or others, that we can't really say that "our perceptions and memories are accurate".

TruthisLife7 wrote:5) THERE IS RATIONALITY IN THE UNIVERSE THAT WE CAN LEARN ABOUT (similar to your point #2): The universe operates on principles that are generally consistent in the past, present and future and can be studied to learn more about the nature of our reality. There are general laws that operate consistently in the past, present and future and apply across the universe (although probably in different degrees). Christian philosophy and science both depend on this presupposition, but both also allow for certain interruptions/exceptions.


I'm not exactly sure what you mean here. Are you saying that science allows for the laws of physics to be suspended at some point in the past? Please elaborate on this point a bit further and give me some kind of proof for your assertion.

TruthisLife7 wrote:MD is a gigantic step into an entirely different area, dealing with a worldview level claim that should and MUST be tested.


Are you saying it hasn't been tested? The scientists of the last... oh 2,000 or so years will be quite annoyed with you if you ever meet them in heaven. ;)

TruthisLife7 wrote:2) The others don't ban any alternative conclusions that are testable. MD doe and does it a priori.


Again I'm going to have to ask you to back up your assertion.
What "alternative conclusions" are there? Magic? The supernatural? In that case can you "show me one example in the history of the world of a single spiritual person who's been able to show either empirically or logically the existence of a higher power with any consciousness or interested in the human race; or the ability to punish or reward humans for their moral choices or that there is any other reason than fear to believe in any version of an afterlife"?

TruthisLife7 wrote:3) The others don't decide before checking evidence what the conclusions are. This is a fundamental violation of the most important foundation of rational thinking, science, and religion, the principle of following the weight of evidence WHEREVER IT LEADS (with no deciding of conclusions beforehand). If we can decide conclusions a priori when we want, rational thinking is mostly ended, PERIOD, as well as science. Gravity, photosynthesis, the Big Bang, heliocentrism, biogenesis and many things we accept as true in science and history could be dismissed easily if one can just follow a priori conclusions instead of the weight of evidence wherever it leads. It is absolutely crucial to follow what former atheist Antony Flew has done, "My whole life has been guided by the principle of Plato's Socrates: Follow the evidence, wherever it leads." (It's not only Socrates' principle. This idea was in the Bible a long time before that.)


Prove that there's anything supernatural, it's that simple. We accept methodological naturalism because we haven't seen any evidence to the contrary yet. MD is not an a priori assumption, it's a conclusion we've come to after hundreds of years of science.

As for the Bible... You do know that the oldest documents we know from the Bible are from the 4th Century BC while Socrates lived in the 5th Century BC? In other words Socrates was already dead by the time the Bible was being written.

Point 4, I can only once again repeat myself: Show me one (only one, no more is needed) event where real magic or supernatural acts have occurred. While you're at it, claim your 1 million $ from James Randi as well as the Nobel Prize.

Methodological naturalism is not incompatible with "following the evidence where it leads" because all you need is one event where magic occurred and it would crumble. It merely states that anything outside the realm of naturalistic explanations is outside of science. What other way of thinking has brought us that many benefits? Just think about it for a second... Nearly everything you use is thanks to this way of thinking. The Computer you're using to read this and reply to this? Methodological Naturalism. The plane you took to get to Korea? MD. The medicine you use to keep healthy? (If you're using proper medicine and not some homeopathic hogwash...) MD!
To quote that famous picture on the web, we use it because "Science. It works, bitches!".

TruthisLife7 wrote:MD leads directly to anti-religious scientists imposing their opinions on science, a very dangerous precedent:
1) "It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is an absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door. The eminent Kant scholar Lewis Beck used to say that anyone who could believe in God could believe in anything. To appeal to an omnipotent deity is to allow that at any moment the regularities of nature may be ruptured, that miracles may happen." Richard Lewontin "The New York Review", billions and billions of demons, January 9, 1997, p. 31


And when we read the full quote, we notice that there's absolutely no problem.

"With great perception, Sagan sees that there is an impediment to the popular credibility of scientific claims about the world, an impediment that is almost invisible to most scientists. Many of the most fundamental claims of science are against common sense and seem absurd on their face. Do physicists really expect me to accept without serious qualms that the pungent cheese that I had for lunch is really made up of tiny, tasteless, odorless, colorless packets of energy with nothing but empty space between them? Astronomers tell us without apparent embarrassment that they can see stellar events that occurred millions of years ago, whereas we all know that we see things as they happen. When, at the time of the moon landing, a woman in rural Texas was interviewed about the event, she very sensibly refused to believe that the television pictures she had seen had come all the way from the moon, on the grounds that with her antenna she couldn't even get Dallas. What seems absurd depends on one's prejudice. Carl Sagan accepts, as I do, the duality of light, which is at the same time wave and particle, but he thinks that the consubstantiality of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost puts the mystery of the Holy Trinity "in deep trouble." Two's company, but three's a crowd.

Our willingness to accept scientific claims that are against common sense is the key to an understanding of the real struggle between science and the supernatural. We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, in spite of its failure to fulfill many of its extravagant promises of health and life, in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so stories, because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism. It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door. The eminent Kant scholar Lewis Beck used to say that anyone who could believe in God could believe in anything. To appeal to an omnipotent deity is to allow that at any moment the regularities of nature may be ruptured, that miracles may happen."


TruthisLife7 wrote:Note here that the methods of science do NOT compel us to accept a material explanation of the world. If you think they do, please explain how the scientific method forces us to accept MD (but do it AFTER we've finished the definitions section).


In that case, define away.
Dictionary wrote:Merrian-Webster

sci,·ence noun \ˈsÄ«-É™n(t)s\


Definition of SCIENCE

1
: the state of knowing : knowledge as distinguished from ignorance or misunderstanding
2
a : a department of systematized knowledge as an object of study <the science of theology>
b : something (as a sport or technique) that may be studied or learned like systematized knowledge <have it down to a science>
3
a : knowledge or a system of knowledge covering general truths or the operation of general laws especially as obtained and tested through scientific method
b : such knowledge or such a system of knowledge concerned with the physical world and its phenomena : natural science
4
: a system or method reconciling practical ends with scientific laws <cooking is both a science and an art>

and
dictionary.com

sci,·ence   [sahy-uhns] Show IPA
noun
1.
a branch of knowledge or study dealing with a body of facts or truths systematically arranged and showing the operation of general laws: the mathematical sciences.
2.
systematic knowledge of the physical or material world gained through observation and experimentation.
3.
any of the branches of natural or physical science.
4.
systematized knowledge in general.
5.
knowledge, as of facts or principles; knowledge gained by systematic study.

and
Wikipedia

Science (from Latin: scientia meaning "knowledge") is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions about the universe.

and
oxforddictionaries.com

the intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behaviour of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment


All of those definitions agree that science is only that which can be measured, tested and which we can predict. Tell me, how can you test, measure and predict God? How can you measure, test and predict miracles, magic, telepathy, ESP or any of those things? IF they really exist (I doubt any of them do) then they are outside the realm of science.

TruthisLife7 wrote:SEX, ATHEIST MOTIVATIONS AND GOD INVENTED SEX FOR OUR PLEASURE
Aldous Huxley and other atheists have candidly stated things like this


And other atheists such as PZ Myers and myself don't want more than one woman in their life. I don't quite see your point. Marriage pre-dates written history, you know that, right? Marriage has nothing to do with religion, but I'll get to that in a second.
For now I want to take a pot-shot at the Bible. It doesn't always say that sex outside of marriage is bad. Take a look at Genesis 30:1-24. That guy Jacob "lays" with quite a few women there. Granted, it doesn't say anything about pleasure but then again neither do the other two.

TruthisLife7 wrote:The origin of male-female sex is also one strong evidence for an Intelligent Designer. It could have been just instinct for us like it is for a number of biological forms or even just mitosis. And have you ever looked at female breast sizes (or maybe a better question is who hasn't)? Human female breasts are unique in the animal world...and it's not for maternal reasons. Primate mothers have fuller breasts only when they have babies, yet human breasts are full year round, quite happily. For any females here, male penis sizes are way larger than other primates as well. The sex appeal breasts have is common to all human cultures, but to no other species. Then there's female orgasm, which has no clear evolutionary function. Which would you prefer, human sized breasts/penises or chimpanzee sized ones? The weight of evidence to me even in this area alone points quite strongly to functional AND pleasurable design by a God who wants to see His beings enjoy life to the fullest . It doesn't tell us which God for sure...but many other evidences seem to confirm it's the biblical God.


I don't understand what you mean by "instinct", but why sexual reproduction evolved is easily explained.
Even though the cost for an offspring rises two-fold, it seems that there is more variety in species if they reproduce sexually. This is evident if you look at how reproduction (both sexual and asexual) affects the genes of an individual. If a species reproduces asexually, the offspring receive the exact same genetic information as their parents have with only random mutations causing any difference. In sexually reproducing species, the genetic information is jumbled up according to Mendel's rules of inheritance and as a surplus they are subject to mutations. In other words natural selection has a greater playing field.

Male penis size isn't correlated with pleasure and neither is female breast size, as far as I'm aware. Granted, I'll take a C-cup over an A-cup any time, but that's personal preference. ;) There are a few hypotheses out there as to why they are the way they are but none of them have enough foundations as of yet so I'll have to lay this aside as "not enough evidence, let's look into it further".

TruthisLife7 wrote:2) "Even if all the data point to an intelligent designer, such an hypothesis is excluded from science because it is not naturalistic." S. C. Todd, Correspondence to Nature 410(6752):423, 30 Sept. 1999


This is apparently a blatant quote-mine. I say apparently because the site (Nature) requires payment and frankly I don't want to pay for a quote, however the full quote seems to be this one:
"Most important, it should be made clear in the classroom that science, including evolution, has not disproved God's existence because it cannot be allowed to consider it (presumably). Even if all the data point to an intelligent designer, such a hypothesis is excluded from science because it is not naturalistic. Of course the scientist, as an individual, is free to embrace a reality that transcends naturalism."
Todd, Scott C. [Department of Biology, Kansas State University, USA], "A view from Kansas on that evolution debate," Nature, Vol. 401, 30 September 1999, p.423)


Science is about what we can test, measure, etc. and we can't do that with the supernatural, as explained above. That's why scientists and science can't talk about the supernatural.

TruthisLife7 wrote:If this would not be good science, then excluding ID and creation science is a double standard logical fallacy. If you exclude any hypothesis from consideration A PRIORI, you cannot even begin to claim to be a fair and objective scientist. NUMEROUS times in history weird hypotheses have turned out to be right when the conventional wisdom thought they were crazy. Scientists in the past stated that gorillas, pandas, komodo dragons and many other real creatures didn't exist. Native people with superior experience said they did. With time, the credible observers were proven correct.


So what? Scientists are only human, they can make mistakes. Including ID and creation "science" into real science however wouldn't be science at all any more. If we were to accept ID and creationism into science, we'd have to redefine science to include astrology and many other ridiculous things into the realm of science.
None of them are though and I'm sorry to say this, but what you're saying above is nothing more than creationist propaganda to redefine science in order to include the supernatural.

TruthisLife7 wrote:DO MIRACLES REALLY MAKE LEARNING ABOUT THE UNIVERSE IMPOSSIBLE?
Many think so, esp. atheists. But, programmers and computer makers and all sorts of engineers can intervene in what they have created, yet this doesn't stop people from learning about them. In the same way, God can intervene in His creation if He so desires, but it doesn't stop anyone from learning about it. In NONE of these cases does a designer intervening in his design count as magic or stop learning (Please don't use "magic" to refer to the Bible. Magic refers to illusions, sleight of hand, etc. The Bible doesn't deal in illusions or sleight of hand. This is one of Aronra's and atheism's main misconceptions.). It just shows that a higher intelligence is at work.


Your definition of "magic" is seriously lacking. "Illusions" and "sleight of hand" is merely one part of magic, the Uri Geller/Houdini sort of magic. But what about the Harry Potter sort of magic? You know, enchantments, spells, that sort of thing.
Merriam-Webster: Magic
Oxforddictionaries: Magic

A miracle is defined as "(a)n event that appears inexplicable by the laws of nature and so is held to be supernatural in origin or an act of God". A miracle is therefore a subset of Magic.

Your analogy is also flawed because first of all there is evidence of an engineer tampering with things and secondly it's a natural process. What evidence does a miracle leave? This is why we can still learn about programs when they are altered, because we can understand exactly what changes took place and why the programmer made them. With miracles that's not true. If there is a God we can't understand its mind and we can't see what changes it made.
Let us take merely one example: Fire always burns, always hot. For some reason God suspends the laws of the universe and fire doesn't burn hot any more. Can I truly say that fire always burns hot after this event? Which one was the miracle, the one time event or the long period before? Maybe God had a series of miracles running and now they suddenly stopped.
If miracles occur, we can not learn anything about the world.

TruthisLife7 wrote:In fact, as Dr. Hannam (Ph.D. from Cambridge in the history of science) correctly points out in a recent presentation at the Royal Society (the 1st scientific society in history, started by a creationist) and in his book "The Genesis of Science: How the Christian Middle Ages launched the Scientific Revolution" this has never stopped Christians from doing science at any time (both Nature and New Scientist have highly recommended Dr. Hannam's book as well researched and informative.


I really don't have the time to read a complete book just to verify this assertion but without knowing the contents of the book I would argue that religious scientists stopped being religious when they do/did science. Let me clarify this: Whenever they worked on a scientific matter, they would discard the idea that something supernatural happened (because it can't be tested) and rather assumed that the cause must be of a natural origin. They therefore weren't religious scientists, they were scientists who are also religious.

TruthisLife7 wrote:Yes, we do believe miracles can happen. These have a supernatural CAUSE which has NOTHING to do with magic/illusions. But, as the great natural medieval philosopher John Buridan, pointed out, you have to know what is natural to even be able to distinguish what is natural and what is a miracle. A miracle is only a temporary interruption and does not change the normal course of nature or our ability to learn from nature at all. It's sort of like when you go to school and you have a consistent pattern of 5 days a week of school. But, once in a while you have a holiday. Having a holiday doesn't change the normal course of 5 days of study per week.


Again, a flawed analogy. To make the analogy somewhat more fitting, it would be like this:
You have a normal school pattern including both holidays and school days and then someone (God) throws in a holiday in the middle of a school day or a school day in the middle of the summer holidays.
End result: You can't predict when you will have school or not, you can't plan ahead for holidays and you can't know if you learn enough at school because it might just be that you only get a few days of school.

Provide me with a definition of "miracles" that is not inclusive of magic.

TruthisLife7 wrote:TRUTH/SCIENCE/RELIGION CAN'T BE THE SLAVE OF OUR EXPERIENCE


All of that has been commented on. Lewontin is saying nearly the exact same things as I am: If miracles happen, we can't learn anything. If we can't learn anything, all of science breaks down.

I'll leave out the rest because it's once again a repetition of the same erroneous claims as above.

Bryan, happy replying.
To the audience: Have fun reading.




-----------------------------------------
Further reading section for those that are interested.
I made the claim above that there is a fair amount of evidence behind Abiogenesis. Here are four articles:
Organism Sets Mutation Speed Record, May Explain Life's Origins
Proof That Meteors Could Have Sparked Life on Earth
A Theory of Evolution for Evolution
Life's First Spark Re-Created in the Laboratory
Forgotten Experiment May Explain Origins of Life

I made the claim that a proto-cell-membrane can spontaneously form, according to the laws of chemistry:
Video: Lipid Bilayer

I made the claim that we can draw conclusions from HIV-1 to animal retroviruses (such as Feline AIDS) :
Human immunodeficiency ... provide a rationale to redesign antiretroviral treatment for feline
AIDS


The Video-series "Psychology of Belief" by AntiCitizenX
The song "If you open your mind too much, your brain will fall out (Take my wife)" by Tim Minchin <--- Included because I gathered a quote from there

I made the claim that if ID/creationism is incorporated into science, then so will astrology:
Michael Behe in the Dover Trial

An example of an atheists creed:
One Atheist's Creed - potholer54
"Sometimes people don't want to hear the truth because they don't want their illusions destroyed." ― Friedrich Nietzsche

"I shall achieve my objectives through the power... of Science!" --LessWrong
Fri Oct 07, 2011 1:09 pm
SquawkModeratorUser avatarPosts: 2011Joined: Sun Feb 22, 2009 8:25 pm Gender: Tree

Post Re: Debate: Which has a better case, the Bible or Atheism?

MOD NOTE:

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/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=8694
Pope Rat: "Exclusion of God, religion and virtue from public life leads ultimately to a truncated vision of man and of society and thus a reductive vision of a person and his destiny."

Squawk response: "O Rly?"
Fri Oct 14, 2011 11:57 am
TruthisLife7Posts: 87Joined: Tue Sep 20, 2011 11:17 am Gender: Male

Post Re: Debate: Which has a better case, the Bible or Atheism?

Hi Inferno,
I deeply apologize to you & others for the VERY terrible, but unavoidable delay (see post Squawk moved for a tiny bit on why). I also apologize for this being a bit rough. It's 4:30am, but want to FINALLY get some response posted.

Thanks for clarifying your position on atheism/anti-theism. I think the best way to progress is to define each kind of evidence & then list secular & religious examples of that type of evidence & why they rise & fall together. I'll respond a bit to your post a bit & then deal with pragmatic evidence 1st., then historical evidence & issues you raised, then scientific evidence & so on.

I think pragmatic evidence should be first so that people will realize that no rational person should be biased against following the evidence WHEREVER IT LEADS without any a priori restrictions, assertions or confirmation bias (methodological naturalism or theism). When we see the vast & unmatched pragmatic benefits of the Bible, no sane person should be willing to cripple science with the anti-free thought restrictions atheists try to imprison it in. Actually, the only sane thing to do is to give every possible benefit of the doubt to the evidence that points to God above all other options as well as committing some significant time to checking out the evidence for God fairly.

1) BIBLICAL EVIDENTIARY FAITH & LINGUISTICS: Since you keep on using the atheist straw man of faith, which disregards fundamentals of linguistics, I'Il go over this deeper. Language can mean vastly different things in different contexts:
A) TIME DIFFERENCES: If we ignore this, then we could claim that because "gay" means homosexuality now, every time Shakespeare used "gay", he was referring to homosexuals. Of course this disregard for changes in meaning over time perverts Shakespeare's intended meaning.

B) CULTURE DIFFERENCES: The same word can have vastly different meanings in different cultures.
EX 1) My mentor, Dr. Palmer (Ph.D. in linguistics) is Australian. In Australia erasers are sometimes called rubbers. But, in American English of course, they refer to condoms. While rooming with some American missionaries, he couldn't find his eraser. He yelled out"¦"Hey, has anyone seen my rubbers?" Needless to say, the Americans were quite amused & my friend a little red-faced when he realized the difference. (See: http://www.learnenglish.de/mistakes/USvsBrEnglish.html)

EX 2) In America, calling a child a pumpkin means they are cute. In Korea, calling a person a pumpkin means the exact opposite, that they are ugly.

Imposing the meanings of one time or culture on another can be funny, but also can destroy the intended meaning of the author. Linguists/translators who do that get fired. It becomes far more serious when important truths are involved that can involve life & death, the quality of life, etc. Translations or explanations that just go word for word disregarding context, such as the KJV, are not ideal unless the reader knows a lot of culture/background.

This does NOT mean that you can just invent any interpretation you wish. This is just as bad linguistics as disregarding cultural contexts. Pumpkin above can't mean "insane" for example. There are very limited & specific possibilities, just like many words in the dictionary & linguistics gives us tools to determine which one is correct.

ATHEIST "FAITH" STRAW MAN
Similar to the above cases, the straw man atheist imposition of the definition of faith as "Belief that does not rest on logical proof or material evidence" shows appalling disregard of basic linguistics & cultural differences (I am sure this isn't intentional on your part.).

One simple summary of biblical faith is:
Image

BIBLICAL TYPES OF FAITH (See this link for a short animation on biblical faith. Some of this section comes from this site: http://tektonics.org/whatis/whatfaith.html)
The Greek word for faith is "pistis". In the works of Aristotle this was used as a technical rhetorical term for forensic proof. We can also see examples of it from Quintiallian & in the NT. The Bible actually refers to ~5 kinds of faith/belief:
A) demonic/fear based belief (demons know God exists, but don't follow Him. James 2:19)
B) Faith that comes after seeing evidence: For Israel, God didn't ask for them to have faith first (not even after He had done the 10 plagues). He just told them to stand & watch (Exodus 14:13). It is only after opening the Red Sea & sinking the chariots of Pharoah (supernatural actions sometimes do leave physical evidence & they did in this case. They have no similarity to Harry Potter or magic), that God asked them to put faith in Him.
"When the people of Israel saw the mighty power that the Lord had unleashed against the Egyptians, they were filled with awe before him. They put their faith in the Lord & in his servant Moses." Exodus 14:31

Peter writes, "For we were not making up clever stories when we told you about the powerful coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. We saw his majestic splendor with our own eyes"¦The voice from the majestic glory of God said to him, "This is my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy." We ourselves heard that voice from heaven when we were with him on the holy mountain." 2 Peter 1:16-18.

In addition to eyewitness evidence above, Peter tried to persuade people with 3 main lines of evidence. (Acts 2:22-36):
1. He appealed to the evidence of the wonders & signs performed by Jesus;
2. He appealed to the empty tomb and witnesses,
3. and he appealed to fulfillment of OT prophecy.
Paul cites many very credible witnesses that his readers could verify Jesus' resurrection (and does the same with King Agrippa, a non-believer in Acts) & says, "And if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised. 17 & if Christ has not been raised, then your faith is useless..." 1 Corinthians 15:16-7

Paul's writing here also summarizing Pascal's Wager, a strong logical evidence for God that has never been refuted (and all atheists strawman it):
"Physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life & in the life to come." 1 Timothy 4:8

These are just some of the types of evidence that Bible authors cited & that made the case for Judaism & Christianity being a religion based on evidence more than any other in history.

There are 2 crucial points regarding the above:
1) BIBLICAL FAITH IS EVIDENTIARY: Numerous Jews & Christians decided to become believers based on very credible witnesses & historical records. Whether or not atheists believe the Bible is accurate does nothing at all to change the fact for very logical reasons, people became believers because of what they thought was credible evidence. This has NOTHING WHATSOEVER to do with the definition you chose for faith. PERIOD.

Numerous scholars, including secular & atheist scholars, have tried to prove the Bible wrong in historical areas & failed spectacularly over time & been convicted of its accuracy & truth. The Bible is a VERY accurate history book & almost nothing has a worse track record than skeptics of the Bible. There's a reason for the saying, "The Bible is an anvil that has worn out many hammers." & this continues to happen. More on this when we deal with historical evidence.

2) SUPERNATURAL ACTS HAVE EVIDENCE: Whether you like it or not, people in history & the present have seen & observed supernatural beings, actions, processes in ways that are impossible to be imagination & there are also in some cases physical results of this (a few of which you can even verify by visiting or with google earth yourself.). It is many evidences like this that are the explicit foundation of biblical faith & it is because Christianity had evidence like this in stark contrast to many mystery religions, that Christianity grew so explosively.

C) Dead faith-faith that has no results in changing habits, lives (James 2:17)

D) Empowering faith: This is the crucial faith that connects to God's power to help us overcome addictions, destructive habits, dysfunctional thinking, abusive & dehumanizing behaviors, etc. (Acts 26:18) as well as giving God permission to cover our sins with Jesus' sacrifice & allow him to represent us in front of God.

E) Faith in applying God's principles: The Wright Brothers had faith that humans could fly. Reagan had faith that democracy would triumph over communism. This kind of faith inspired them to diligently work to achieve these results & they succeeded did.

Scientists often have faith in their hypotheses & are convinced they are true (sometimes because of track record, intuition or other reasons) & work to prove (or disprove) them. In a similar same way based on track record, Christians have faith that God's principles when applied will make a far better world now. The Torah/Old Testament speak very little about heaven/hell (as in less than 1% if that). It was almost totally focused on the results of following God's principles in THIS world & making this earth as close to God's ideal as possible. The results of this have been stupendous & pretty much every person on the planet has benefited from this.

How? Kenneth Scott Latourette, Sterling Professor at Yale University, wrote, "Across the centuries Christianity has been the means of reducing more languages to writing than have all other factors combined. It has created more schools, more theories of education, & more systems than has any other one force. More than any other power in history it has impelled men to fight suffering, whether that suffering has come from disease, war or natural disasters. It has built thousands of hospitals, inspired the emergence of the nursing & medical professions, & furthered movement for public health & the relief & prevention of famine"¦Men & women similarly moved & sustained wrote into the laws of Spain & Portugal provisions to alleviate the ruthless exploitation of the Indians of the New World"¦By its name & symbol, the most extensive organization ever created for the relief of the suffering caused by war, the Red Cross, bears witness to its Christian origin. The list might go on indefinitely. It includes many another humanitarian projects & movements, ideals in government, the reform of prisons & the emergence of criminology, great art & architecture, & outstanding literature."
[A History of Christianity, Vol. II, pp.1470,1471]. http://www.tektonics.org/scim/sciencemony.htm

President John Adams agreed saying, "I will insist that the Hebrews have done more to civilize men than any other nation." It's hard to dispute this view with facts.
2) IS THE BIBLE LITERAL?: Again, many theists & atheists are confused about linguistics. The Bible like most books is neither 100% literal, nor 100% metaphorical. It has many kinds of literary structures, including detailed science, historical sections, humor/puns, metaphors, idioms, symbolic/prophetic language, etc. People who try to force it to be only one type are completely ignorant about linguistics.

3) GENIUS IN SIMPLICITY & PREJUDICE AGAINST TRADITIONAL KNOWLEDGE IS DEADLY:
Many people have a very harmful prejudice in that they are very impressed by complicated knowledge & disrespect simple knowledge. If intellectuals, scientists or pastors say something very complicated, many people often just trust that that person must be right because they are smart. One pastor I heard said to other pastors, "You win souls in proportion to the amount of Greek you know." I don't think that's wise, but its human nature for people to trust scientists, pastors, experts, etc. in many areas.

While all deserve respect, unfortunately, it is demonstrable fact in history that many intelligent people have gotten it very wrong. So, just accepting something because a smart person said it is not really that rational (I, by the way, scored in the top 1-2% on national tests in the US all through school. But, that doesn't mean you should just accept everything I or others say without investigating or that I'm infallible. Not at all.)

When people look at the Bible & other things, many parts seem simple (although some parts are quite complicated) & the temptation to arrogance kicks in"¦how could something from so long ago & that appears so simple be valid? But, it was Einstein who said,
"Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, & more violent. It takes a touch of genius -- & a lot of courage -- to move in the opposite direction." &
"Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler." Einstein

God could have put the equations of relativity in the Bible without any difficulty or instructions on space travel. No problem at all. But, He gave us a brain & wanted us to enjoy the thrill of discovering what He created & creatively adapting it. He put some crucial basics in there that science now proves are very crucial for life, health, rational thinking, science, etc. but left much for us to discover. The Bible doesn't claim that it has all knowledge (only God has that & many Christians believe that God's choice to give us freedom limits that to some degree). It just claims that it is the beginning of wisdom. Sadly, even now in some areas, modern culture hasn't caught up to this "beginning of wisdom".

Much of the Bible is written in simple language. Why? In law, surgery, some parts of science & other areas, it's OK to have a few elite knowing the complex truths & then producing products for the masses or using their skills for those who need them. There's no need for all to know complex truths. But, in other fields, it's starkly different. In communication, literacy, health & theology & many other areas, if the masses don't know the truth, they will suffer in many ways. So, God put truths of the greatest value in the Bible in simple language so that even simple people could understand & choose to follow them.

Da Vinci wrote, "Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication."
C. W. Ceran said, "Genius is the ability to reduce the complicated to the simple."

This is precisely what God did. If he hadn't, billions wouldn't have known how to have the best life on this earth. But, there is quite enough in the Bible for the most sophisticated mind as well. It has value for people of all IQ levels.

Prejudice against simplicity & traditional knowledge have killed literally millions & science has been stunted by this grave sin against knowledge.

1 MILLION SAILORS DIED DUE TO REJECTING TRADITIONAL KNOWLEDGE
Between 1600 & 1800 over 1 million sailors in the British navy died from a disease called scurvy. Doctors & scientists had no idea why. But, in 1535, the answer had been found & written down. French explorer Jacques Cartier's ships were frozen in the ice off the St. Lawrence River. Scurvy began to kill some of the sailors. There were 110 sailors & 25 had already died. Many others were very sick & going to die. But then a friendly Indian showed them a cure: tree bark & needles of the white pine - both rich in vitamin C. These were stirred into a drink for the sailors & all the sailors immediately recovered. Cartier reported this to the doctors & scientists back in Europe. But, they laughed at the ignorant Indians & didn't study this natural solution at all. Only about 200 years later did scientists realize that scurvy was caused by a vitamin C deficiency. The Indians natural remedy was a perfect solution. But, because the scientists & doctors were too proud, over 1 million sailors died of scurvy even after the cure had been found.

The same thing with similar results has happened when people arrogantly discredited biblical knowledge because it seemed simple, when in reality it was very crucial for life.

Lord Atterbury, a contemporary of Newton, said, "Modesty teaches us to speak of the ancients with respect, especially when we are not very familiar with their works. Newton, who knew them practically by heart, had the greatest respect for them, & considered them to be men of genius & superior intelligence who had carried their discoveries in every field much further than we today suspect, judging from what remains of their writings. More ancient writings have been lost than have been preserved, & perhaps our new discoveries are of less value than those that we have lost."

Universal common descent has also impeded much progress in causing people to assume that most ancients were barbarian bozos. It's going to take decades or centuries to cure this delusion. The truth is that some people in history were intellectual giants compared to some these days. 2 cases of this are here:
The ancients & their medical technology (including brain surgery)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OpcE2bhPfpA&

Mayan vehicles with ability to fly (how many modern people know how to build flying machines):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZkaOYELJjKU (~3:30-7:30, esp. see ~6:00)

4) QUOTE MINING: The larger context was no different from what I was talking about. Christian scientists/intellectuals rarely quote mine. But, one of the most common things in academia is for one scientist to use evidence from another scientist, but not agree with his conclusions. This is 100% legitimate. Atheists straw man this as quote mining. It is NOT. THIS is quote mining by Fox News (I detest their political news):
http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/thu-s ... -narrative (~5:15-6:25)

5) WHICH GOD IS RIGHT? This is no more difficult than figuring out which hypothesis has the most evidence in science. MOST (but not all) claims of religion can be tested by history & science & are. We follow the one that has the weight of evidence if we are rational. Simple.

Also, good teachers don't evaluate people on what they don't know & God doesn't either. God is not going to accept you only if you made perfect choices. Nor is He going to judge you on what I know (or vice versa). Bible verses tell us that God will wink at ignorance (Acts 17), but consider seriously whether we followed our consciences & truth that we knew (Romans 2:12-16, Hebrews 10:26).
Jesus says in Matthew 8:11 "And I tell you this, that many Gentiles will come from all over the world,from east & west,and sit down with Abraham, Isaac, & Jacob at the feast in the Kingdom of Heaven."

6) KARL MARX: Marx was both a communist & an atheist. Since communism is an economic system, at BEST, it was both communism & atheism that influenced the attacks on religion & believers. But, it's far more likely that atheism's ridicule of religion as a hindrance & an enemy of progress (same as today) was what inspired atheists with power to try to remove the obstacles.

Marx wrote in his dissertation, "Go with your gods to a country in which other gods are worshipped, & you will be shown that you are the victim of fancies & abstractions. & rightly. Anyone who had brought a migrant god to the ancient Greeks, would have found the proof of the non-existence of this god, because it did not exist for the Greeks. What is the case in a certain country for certain foreign gods, takes place for god in general in the country of reason: it is an area in which his existence ceases" (K. Marx, Frammento dell'appendice della dissertazione dottorale, in A. Sabetti, Sulla fondazione del materialismo storico, Florence 1962, p. 415).

This is only one example of Marx's explicit atheism which caused him to ridicule religion (he did rightly condemn some pseudo religion of his time..but his alternative was far worse).

7) WHY PRAGMATIC RESULTS ARE IMPORTANT EVIDENCE
The Old Testament is focused more on pragmatic results of following God's principles (Read Deuteronomy 28). The New Testament focuses more on spiritual things, truth, heaven/hell, etc. but also says,
"Physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life & in the life to come." 1 Timothy 4:8

Some think that religion should only be followed only if all other options are exhausted. Even the MINUTE facts listed by Dr. Latourette above show this to be lunacy, but there's MUCH more. Let's look at pragmatic evidence and reasons why only if all evidence fails for God (or something else proves it has MUCH more evidence), should we then consider other concepts.

WHAT IS PRAGMATIC EVIDENCE?
William James, the Christian father of American psychology, influenced American liberals quite a bit & wrote, "Truth in our ideas means their power to work." He he defined truth as a view that proves useful to the believer.

This is not relativism. James supported an epistemological realism position.
"A belief was true, he said, if it worked for all of us, & guided us expeditiously through our semihospitable world. James was anxious to uncover what true beliefs amounted to in human life, what their "Cash Value" was, what consequences they led to"¦If what was true was what worked, we can scientifically investigate religion's claim to truth in the same manner...James also argued directly that such beliefs were satisfying , they enabled us to lead fuller, richer lives & were more viable than their alternatives. Religious beliefs were expedient in human existence, just as scientific beliefs were." Bruce Kuklick, professor of American history at the University of Pennsylvania, "Pragmaticism" by William James, the introduction, p.xiv.

James, Dewey & other pragmatists criticized empiricists like Hume who ridiculed experience as nothing more than individual sensations. The fact is that our sensations ARE what life is made up of & nothing, including empiricism & science, can be done without using our senses. If we ignore them, we ignore most of what life is really all about.

Pragmatic value is why we accept the scientific method, presuppositions we agreed on, many concepts in science & more as valid, true, useful, etc. You can't put science in a test tube & touch it, taste it, watch it, etc. It's because of its pragmatic value that it is accepted. The same is true of some experiments within science. The null hypothesis uses pragmatic results to prove something is true/valid/valuable, etc. It is very common & rational to consider something true, valid, etc. because of its pragmatic results.

One of my favorite authers made a similar & pragmatic point about education, saying, "Education is useless unless it is practical." & this is true of most evidence & truth. Unless it is practical & pragmatic in some way at some time, it is useless.

Some things are possible to learn by trial & error, true. But, if that's the way the Bible writers, some of whom were only shepherds & blue collar workers with rudimentary education, got their knowledge, then we should see 100s of cultures around the world with higher levels of longevity, success, scientific knowledge, rationality & all sorts of wisdom than the Judeo-Christian worldview has produced. The fact is that we don't see this.

WHAT WOULD LIFE BE LIKE WITHOUT THE BIBLE & ITS INFLUENCE?
Many people take modern civilization for granted. But, without the direct influence of the Bible & the Judeo-Christian worldview, many people now would be living similar to the below:
a) INFANTICIDE/MISOGYNY: A Roman citizen wrote a letter to his wife in 1 BC:
"I am still in Alexandria. ... I beg & plead with you to take care of our little child, & as soon as we receive wages, I will send them to you. In the meantime, if"¦you give birth, if it is a boy, let it live; if it is a girl, expose it." wikigender.org/index.php/History_of_Infanticide

We still see abortion due to female sex of babies extremely widespread in Asia. Many ancient people saw no problem with infanticide.

b) EUTHENASIA: In Korea where I live, they used to kill the parents when they turned 60 years old in ancient times. A number of other cultures were similar.

c) PEDERASTY: Many ancient cultures from the Japanese to Greeks engaged in homosexual pederasty. Let's look at a quote from Plato's Symposium. Understand that he's talking about a sexual relationship between a grown man & an older boy:
"I, for my part, am at a loss to say what a greater blessing a man can have at earliest youth than an honorable lover.... If we can somehow contrive to have a city or an army composed of lovers & their favorites, they could not be better citizens of their country.... No man is such a craven that love's own influence can not inspire him with valor that makes him equal to the bravest born." Thorkil Vanggaard. Phallos-A Symbol & its History in the Male World. (London: Jonathan Cape, 1969.), 40.

d) EDUCATION: Education for most of history in other cultures was only for the wealthy, powerful, etc.

e) JOY COMES FROM SADISM, EXPLOITATION, USE OF POWER TO CONTROL OTHERS, ETC.: Quite a few leaders & people in history had this view. "The greatest joy for a man is to defeat his enemies, to drive them before him, to take from them all they possess, to see those they love in tears, to ride their horses, & to hold their wives & daughters in his arms." Genghis Khan

Many states treated people as just pawns in a game to get the most wealth, power & prestige for the elite classes. War was a springtime hobby for them. People fought to the death for entertainment (gladiators).

Socrates was likely killed for protesting this "might makes right" mentality that was widespread outside Judaism in many ancient cultures. Cultures surrounding Israel & other places were engaging in killing for fun, torturing enemies, skewering them alive like shishkebabs after skinning them alive, mass human sacrifices, bestiality & evils of all imaginable sorts.

f) DESTRUCTION OF HISTORY FOR PERSONAL FAME: In ~213 BC, emperor Qin Shi Huang ordered most existing books (with a few exceptions) to be burned with a few exceptions in order to make his legacy & name more famous than any king of the past. Qin Shi Huang had some 460 scholars buried alive for owning the forbidden books (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burning_of ... f_scholars). Ramses in Egypt, erased the names of other kings on monuments & replaced them with his own.

By contrast, after Rome fell to the barbarians, much Greek knowledge was forgotten. But as Dr. Hannam documents, when Toledo in Spain was captured in 1085 with its tremendous library, clergy from all over Europe gathered to translate seminal works from Greeks & Arab culture as Ptolemy's Almagest, Euclid's Elements & others to study & learn from. When Sicily was conquered"¦again the libraries were searched & analyzed & translated carefully.

g) MEDICINE: The Egyptians with their reason & international fame as being the best in medicine in the world were giving people medicine that often included dung, beer or both. THIS is the best that trial & error "science" for millions of years (according to Darwinism) could produce. More on this later.

h) ABUSE OF WOMEN/GIRLS: In some areas in different countries such as Natpura in India, tradition forces young women into prostitution. The girls have to start serving clients when they are barely 11 or 12. They don't go to school, date, get married or have a normal childhood. Most shocking, the girls just think that they are carrying on a 'village tradition' & so don't protest their exploitation or the violation of their rights. http://digitaljournal.com/article/298948

FOOT BINDING: Girls in China routinely had their feet bound from the time they were young in order to make them "pretty", but it actually greatly limited where they could go & caused them great pain. It was Christians like Gladys Aylward who fought to stop this practice.

8) VIEW OF WOMEN: The status of women was very low & they were considered to be of not much value in many cultures. There were exceptions at times, but even Greece was quite a misogynous, woman-hating society for example where women were basically just used for male gratification & for reproduction. Women were "defined as near slaves, or as perpetual minors" in Athenian society (The Greek World, pg. 200).

"Xenophon, a Greek writer, notes that women are weaker, less courageous, & more affectionate towards children. These qualities justify their inferior status in society" (Foley 1305).

Semonides writes about 10 types of women. They are at best, a beautiful evil & at worst a curse for mankind. He agrees that one type may be good, but that type basically does not exist. Hesiod writes that while nothing is better to acquire than a good wife, bad ones are like parasites & "Whoever trusts women, trusts thieves."

The Greek poet Palladas wrote:
"Marriage brings a man only two happy days. The day he takes his bride to bed & the day he lays her in her grave." Morton M. Hunt. The Natural History of Love. (New York: Alfred Knopf, 1959.)

Compare that to the Bible however where women were created as co-equal partners in Genesis until sin. Read in Proverbs 31 how a wise woman, industrious in business, is worth more than rubies. Later, in the New Testament, women & men were to serve each other in mutual submission, Ephesians 5, & men were supposed to be servant leaders, sacrificing themselves for their wives as Jesus did for the church.

ARE PRAGMATIC RESULTS EVIDENCE?
You wrote (regarding 10+ years health from the Bible),
"But let's once again say, for the sake of argument, that this is completely & absolutely true. So what? I could make up a religion about snow monsters & the Loch Ness monster & then claim that because adherents of this religion have better sex, that makes it true. It doesn't."


1st, the Bible has evidence from NUMEROUS fields. There's no truth to the idea that it's only pragmatic evidence at all. Pragmatic evidence though should help people refuse to be biased against other kinds of evidence seeing the tremendous value that genuine biblical faith has brought & can continue to bring in the future if we continue learning from God. The benefits from the Bible are FAR, FAR from all discovered & esp. implemented.

2nd, Fiction seldom produces pragmatic scientific results in real life & NEVER at the level of the Bible or the scientific method. NEVER. When's the last time the story of Pinocchio added 10 years to anyone's life or built a foundational method in science? When's the last time the wascally wabbit (Bugs Bunny) helped industry save billions in shipping because of scientific concepts it outlined? The few results that do come from fiction almost always come because the fiction writers borrowed from well known natural laws or something like that.

3rd, sorry, but you couldn't make a better religion, esp. not without all the foundations below in section #9 & the progress from these foundations that came directly from Christianity. Many have tried & failed in history. Doing it now AFTER all the knowledge we have gained is nothing special at all. What you would need to do to compare is to write down numerous truths 1000s of years AHEAD of time that bring profound value to life.

4th, the Bible predicted that there would be many deceptions in the future (2 Peter 2:1-3, Revelation 13:13-14, Matthew 24:24). Deceptions, just like counterfeit money, don't work if they aren't close to truth. So, we shouldn't expect only one view to have benefits. As in other areas of science, it is the view that has the most pragmatic evidence that is followed & considered true or most true as far as we know at present.

CRUCIAL: DON'T WAIT FOR 100% PROOF. YOU ARE THE ONLY ONE WHO WILL LOSE OUT.
Everyone uses faith to one degree or another. All. Often we have to have faith in what scientists say they have seen or detected, but none of us have, such as positrons & different types of anti-matter. This is similar to why Christians believe in God. Unfortunately, many are afraid of committing to God similar to how many guys are afraid to commit to marriage & lose out on many benefits in marriage.

Delaying or refusing to make commitments is a disease of epic proportions in modern society. But, refusing to commit to truth can easily cause us to lose job opportunities, knowledge, love, money & destroys opportunities & benefits. Oren Harari writes about Colin Powell in a leadership primer, "Once the information is in the 40 to 70 range, go with your gut"¦don't take action if you have only enough information to give you less than a 40 percent chance of being right, but don't wait until you have enough facts to be 100 percent sure, because by then it is almost always too late...Procrastination in the name of reducing risk actually increases risk."
http://www.ourldsfamily.com/whitepapers ... well.shtml

Powell details examples of this in his book where strategic advantages & even wars were lost because of refusal to make commitments when good, but not complete 100% evidence was available. This is true in all areas of life, including spiritual life.

HOW CAN WE BENEFIT FROM PRAGMATIC EVIDENCE FASTEST & MOST?
I can't think of any easier way to decide on worldview & philosophies than asking these 2 questions:
1) Which view(s) has enriched the quality & enjoyment of human life here on earth the most & empowers people to make the most progress in life, relationships, health, love, knowledge, innovation, progress, etc.?
2) Is there credible evidence based on accepted standards of evidence that God is real & He is willing to give us a life beyond this one? What are the conditions for that?

When we find a view or views that has solid evidence for one & especially both of those questions, nothing could be more rational or beneficial than to check its evidence & commit to following solid evidence while keeping our minds open to concepts with better evidence. Truth is of no value whatsoever if we don't follow it whether it's about how to reduce stress, save money, have more adventure, make sex better, live longer, the existence of God & more.

From decades of study reading experts on both sides first hand, I don't know of any serious competitor, in terms of the weight of evidence for the Judeo/Christian view, especially considering the profound benefits that Christianity has pioneered that benefit literally billions in our world NOW.

9) WHY WE SHOULDN'T BAN EVIDENCE FROM POINTING TO GOD, BUT PREFER THAT ABOVE EVERY OTHER OPTION:
This section will start listing pragmatic evidence for God. As before, summarizing many lines of evidence is actually used extensively in science to look at the weight of evidence & see where it leads (esp. in intros & conclusions) & often evidence from many fields is analyzed & compared to help. There is MUCH more in each point I can share if need be. I'm really trying to keep this short.

1) RATIONALITY: While many religious emphasized mystery & tried to keep many things secret, biblical religion pioneered emphasized gaining wisdom & much rational thought for everyone, helping people to identify & avoid fallacies, making decisions based on evidence, following the weight of evidence & others. The Bible often gave principles & stories demonstrating this:

"For wisdom is far more valuable than rubies. Nothing you desire can compare with it." Proverbs 8:11 & 3:15, Job 28:18, etc.)

"Come, let us reason together, says the Lord." Isaiah 1:18

"The Lord detests double standards." Proverbs 20:23

And see the next points for many other kinds of rational thinking based on the Bible.

2) CHRISTIANITY BUILT MODERN SCIENCE (and some of ancient science too): The direct implementation of biblical faith & principles like the above inspired Jews & Christians to build the foundations of science. Daniel performed the 1st modern scientific experiment in history in ~600 B.C. in trying to prove to the Babylonians that God's diet was best (note that he didn't appeal to the Bible to prove his point since they didn't trust it. Paul also didn't start from the Bible when talking to people such as the Athenians).

"Around 600 BC, Daniel of Judah conducted"¦the earliest recorded clinical trial. His trial compared the health effects of a vegetarian diet with those of a royal Babylonian diet over a 10-day period. The strengths of his study include the use of a contemporaneous control group, use of an independent assessor of outcome, & striking brevity in the published report." Dr. David Grimes, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7501328,

Of all the 1000s of cultures in history, it was the Biblical & Judeo/Christian & creationist views that built the foundations & infrastructure of modern science & pioneered most of its branches as well as:
**the peer review process (Henry Oldenburg, a theologian, creationist & founding editor of Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, pioneered this in 1665. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peer_review#History)

**The first peer-reviewed publication may have been the Medical Essays & Observations published by the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 1731. The present-day peer-review system evolved from this 18th-century process. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peer_review#History)

**The first scientific society in history, The Royal Society, was started by John Wilkins & other creationists. Wilkins published ideas on how speciation must have happened based directly on the Bible account of Noah's flood, Genesis references to variations within kinds & observations of nature.

**Falsification was pioneered by G. K. Chesterton (but again there were hints of it before him..and explicit cases of it in the Bible. See for example, Malachi 3:8-10 where God tells people to test His promises.)

**John Ockham, a theologian, pioneered Occam's razor, the idea that the simplest explanation is often the best one (although we see hints of it before him going back to the Greeks & before them in the Bible.)

**Many science & research magazines were founded by Christian scientists, historians & scholars. Scientific American for example was founded by Rufus Porter (1792-1884), who thought that science glorified the creator God. In the very first issue, his editorial stated:
'We shall advocate the pure Christian religion, without favouring any particular sect "¦'

In 2011, Dr. Hannam (Ph.D. in the history of science from Cambridge) published, "The Genesis of Science: How the Christian Middle Ages Launched the Scientific Revolution" This is hghly recommend by both New Scientist & Nature.
"Well-researched & hugely enjoyable". New Scientist

Dr. Hannam gave a presentation on this at the Royal Society (1st scientific society in history, started by a creationist):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I-k24Q01vck

Dr. Hannam summarizes his vast research this way:
"Until very recently, almost everyone believed scientific progress has been held back by religion. But today's historians have realized that, if anything, the popular perception is the opposite of the truth." http://www.patheos.com/Resources/Additi ... ml?print=1

David Lindberg, Hilldale Professor Emeritus of the History of Science at the University of Wisconsin states,
'Despite a developing consensus among scholars that science & Christianity have not been at war, the notion of conflict has refused to die.'
See also: http://ldolphin.org/bumbulis/

Peter Harrison, (Andreas Idreos Professor of Science & Religion at the University of Oxford) writes,
"It is commonly supposed that when in the early modern period individuals began to look at the world in a different way, they could no longer believe what they read in the Bible. In this book I shall suggest that the reverse is the case: that when in the sixteenth century people began to read the Bible in a different way, they found themselves forced to jettison traditional conceptions of the world." Harrison, P., The Bible, Protestantism & the rise of natural science, Cambridge University Press, 2001.

Maybe even more than reading the Bible in a new way is the fact that they were able to read the Bible at all. For centuries before this, the only people who had access to the Bible under the Catholics, were the scholars since this helped keep people blind to Jesus' principles that traditions of churches & pastors never had the right to change what God had said (see Mark 7:5-13).

Prof. Harrison states further:
"Strange as it may seem, the Bible played a positive role in the development of science. "¦Had it not been for the rise of the literal interpretation of the Bible & the subsequent appropriation of biblical narratives by early modern scientists, modern science may not have arisen at all. In sum, the Bible & its literal interpretation have played a vital role in the development of Western science." Harrison, P., The Bible & the rise of science, Australasian Science 23(3):14-15, 2002.

Stephen Snobelen, Assistant Professor of History of Science & Technology, University of King's College, Halifax, Canada, writes similarly:
"Here is a final paradox. Recent work on early modern science has demonstrated a direct (and positive) relationship between the resurgence of the Hebraic, literal exegesis of the Bible in the Protestant Reformation, & the rise of the empirical method in modern science. I'm not referring to wooden literalism, but the sophisticated literal-historical hermeneutics that Martin Luther & others (including Newton) championed."

And Prof. Snobelen explains that the reason is because scientists started to study nature how nature really did work rather than accepting on faith philosophical ideas about how it should work (from Greek philosophy for example). This was similar to their focus on what the Bible really said, rather than imposing pagan & Catholic philosophies & traditions upon it.

"It was, in part, when this method was transferred to science, when students of nature moved on from studying nature as symbols, allegories & metaphors to observing nature directly in an inductive & empirical way, that modern science was born. In this, Newton also played a pivotal role. As strange as it may sound, science will forever be in the debt of millenarians & biblical literalists." Snobelen, S., "Isaac Newton & Apocalypse Now: a response to Tom Harpur's Newton's strange bedfellows"; A longer version of the letter published in the Toronto Star, 26 February 2004.

Even Einstein who had strong tendencies towards intelligent design but was not a Christian, wrote that, "The most beautiful & most profound experience is the sensation of the mystical. It is the sower of all true science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer wonder & stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead. To know that what is impenetrable to us really exists, manifesting itself as the highest wisdom & the most radiant beauty which our dull faculties can comprehend only in their primitive forms - this knowledge, this feeling is at the center of true religiousness." - Albert Einstein - The Merging of Spirit & Science

Could this be why Jews & Protestants together won ~86% of the Nobel prizes from 1901-1990 (http://middleeast.atspace.com/thread2238_1.html).

Due to biblical principles, religious, Bible believing scientists & intellectuals pioneered the majority of the fields of science & countless other concepts in science. Here are a tiny few.
** ENCYCLOPEDIA, SCIENTIFIC. The first scientific encyclopedia featuring articles, pictures, alphabetical entries--was prepared by a minister, John Harris.
** PHYSICS. Galileo, Newton, Faraday, Maxwell, Thompson (Kelvin), Tait, Lemaà®tre & MANY more.
** SCIENCE&ROCKETRY: Galileo, Johannes Kepler, Dr. Wernher von Braun, father of space science, 1st NASA director most responsible for putting men on the moon.
** GENETICS: Gregor Mendel
** COMPUTER SCIENCE. Blaise Pascal, Charles Babbage, etc.
** ANTISEPTIC SURGERY/BACTERIOLOGY VACCINATION. Joseph Lister, Louis Pasteur, Anton von Leeuwenhoek, Edward Jenner
** RELATIVITY THEORY. Einstein built his theory of relativity on the work of three men, two of whom were Christians: Bernhard Riemann & James Clerk Maxwell. He also used the work of Michelson-Morely & Morley was a Christian.
** CHEMISTRY: Robert Boyle is called by some the Father of Chemistry. Michael Faraday, John Dalton, a Quaker, gave us the atomic theory behind chemistry
** SYNTHETICS: George Washington Carver
** ANESTHESIOLOGY. Crawford Long, James Young Simpson
** GEOLOGY. Nels Steno the Father of Geology.
** THERMODYNAMICS. James Joule & Lord Kelvin
** WAVE THEORY OF LIGHT. Thomas Young, Augustin-Jean Fresnel, etc.
** FIELD THEORY. Michael Faraday first envisioned field theory.
** OPTICS. George Berkeley idealist philosopher & Christian bishop, showed how images form upside down in the eye.
** Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI): Dr. Raymond Damidian
See more at: http://www.creationsafaris.com/wgcs_toc.htm

Could all these Nobel prize winning benefits all have come from something that was just made up by "bronze aged desert shepherds". This claim requires more faith than almost anything else imaginable & is quite laughable. This is esp. true when you realize that these "shepherds" got 1000s of things right the 1st time with NO trial & error & sometimes with no higher level education. This is a better accuracy rate than any scientific establishment at any time in history.

To demean Christianity as atheism constantly does is like demeaning Thomas Jefferson who pioneered democracy or to be a base ingrate & disown the parents that lovingly sacrificed everything for you.

Atheism/materialism,etc. malign history to suit their dogma & immorally try to exclude Christianity from what it built. Only people who hate science & rationality will mock & lie about the very worldviews that pioneered so much science & continue to contribute to it. It's like cutting off the legs you are standing on.

3) PUBLIC EDUCATION & UNIVERSITIES: It is because of biblical principles emphasizing wisdom & education for all combined with creationist philosophy that Judaism & Christianity viewed every person as being created by God with enormous potential for learning & growth in knowledge. These directly motivated them to pioneer public education for ALL, instead of just a few in the governing wealthy & elite classes. If you've benefited from public education in any way (not just your own attendance), you have creation philosophy to thank for it.

Study of God & the natural world or other fields of thought a religious obligation that Jews are expected engage in. Jews thought of study as something sacred & while many poor people sent their children out to work, Jews emphasized education at the very least to Bar Mitzvah age (13). This was true for girls as well. The Talmud legislated that Jewish cities must have schools & that even the poor must be educated. Jewish parents were even warned not to live in a city without schools as if it were a plague or something.

While leading the European recovery from the fall of Rome, Christians like Charlemagne expanded education to people in all classes who showed an aptitude for study. Christian influence led to the first universities (the home for science), in Paris & Bologna (1088), then Oxford & Cambridge followed fueled by the faith's embrace of equality, as all are created in God's image. Dr. Hannam above speaks on this more. Many of the top schools in the world were started explicitly because of Biblical/Christian principles including Oxford, Cambridge, Harvard, Yale & so many in other countries such as Ewha & Yonsei Universities here in Korea.

Christian education continues to be significantly more effective than average. ~51,000 students in Adventist schools in America were studied for 4 years. The longer students studied in that Christian educational environment, the higher they achieve in both achievement & ability above the national average. The trend in US education is for a decrease. & the highest score? It was in science & Adventist schools teach creation science which baffled some of the researchers who are NOT religious.
http://www.cognitivegenesis.org/, http://www.cognitivegenesis.org/site/1/ ... 020506.pdf, http://www.cognitivegenesis.org/site/1/ ... 09-add.ppt & http://www.cognitivegenesis.org/site/1/ ... s_3.11.ppt (slide #30+)

All testing materials were made by, tests sent to & evaluated by Riverside Publications(http://www.riverpub.com/), is a division of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Company Here's a summary of how testing was done.
http://www.cognitivegenesis.org/site/1/ ... ossary.pdf

4) CHRISTIANITY SIGNIFICANTLY IMPROVES MORALITY: Squawk labeled this as "off topic". But, Inferno specifically said he wanted to discuss Christianity & morality & it's a very common topic in the debate between Christianity & atheism.

Dr. Guenter Lewy professor emeritus of the Univ. of Massachusetts, a relativist & secular humanist decided to write a book refuting the idea that skepticism has contributed to the moral decline of the United States titled "Why America Doesn't Need Religion". He set out to ridicule the claims of Christians that the crisis of the age is a crisis of unbelief & to prove the attack on secular modernity "to be a danger to individual liberty as well as an affront to people of goodwill who happened to be agnostics or atheists." After doing much research & reviewing many statistical studies showing the crucial importance of religion for society, he abandoned his original goal & changed the title of his book to: "Why America Needs Religion".

"The fifth chapter, "Religiousness & Moral Conduct: Are Believing Christians Different?," deals with a huge amount of research, showing how Christian faith transforms the lives of those who take their religion seriously. Professor Lewy looks in detail at juvenile delinquency, adult crime, prejudice & intolerance, single parenting, & divorce, & concludes that the vast majority of social science research confirms that the minority of Christians who take their religion seriously (as opposed to the nominal Christians of the Christmas-and-Easter variety) have significantly lower rates of moral failure & social ills than any other groups studied.

You can read much of this chapter & book online. Start on about page 95 here:
http://books.google.com/books?id=KfxJA_ ... &q&f=false (note that the concept of people burning eternally in hell that is mentioned in this chapter as a Christian belief is one of the most revolting, vile, reprehensible, demonic, malignant, unbiblical & satanic straw man doctrines ever accepted by Christians or invented by people. You can go to http://www.helltruth.com for an overview of why it is not biblical at all. But, the book has many other good points & much solid research that is valuable.)

See also:
a) An Atheist Defends Christianity
http://the-classic-liberal.com/atheist- ... istianity/

b) As an atheist, I truly believe Africa needs God | Matthew Parris
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/commen ... 400568.ece
or here: http://www.sustainlane.com/reviews/as-a ... WVJJSVMO3A

c) In one of the largest studies of its kind, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill examined the role of religion in the lives of nearly 2500 adolescents and shows that Christianity brings major improvements. http://www.godandscience.org/apologetic ... abuse.html

5) DECADE(S) MORE LIFE: NUMEROUS studies conclusively show that following the Bible's health principles adds MANY years to life. You wrote, " I really don't have the time to watch 45min of video"¦Out of the three ways discussed, merely one of them is potentially based on the Bible & that's without considering the bad things the Bible suggests."

You don't have time to watch 45 minutes about health principles in the Bible adding 10+ years to life THESE DAYS??? Doesn't 10 years extra life warrant a 45 minutes of study? Seriously Inferno, your priorities are not even slightly rational here. But, you only need to watch ~9 minutes (from 11:30+ to the end) here for secular confirmation of what I'm saying:
http://www.ted.com/talks/dan_buettner_h ... e_100.html

There's a reason why 3 of the top most long lived cultures in the world are largely or totally Christian (and the data of the 4th , the Okinawans, is very questionable due to a HUGE pension scandal there with ~200,000 centenarians actually being dead, but family not telling the govt. & collecting pensions). The Bible has not just one or two, but dozens of principles on health written millennia ago, many of which have only been proven correct in recent decades or centuries. Those who followed the Bible have benefited for 1000s of years, while for those same 1000s of years, nearly all who were atheists lost out on DECADES of life.

a) You can't judge anything rationally if you don't study the research. PERIOD. Natgeo, NIH, NCI, Blue Zones & NUMEROUS journals have published studies on this. It's fact that following the Bible extends life.
b) Some of these concepts were in other cultures, true, but far fewer & many very damaging concepts were in many other cultures. The Bible doesn't have harmful health principles. The Egyptians & other contemporary cultures did. Much of their medicine included dung, beer or both. & no, contemporary cultures of Bible times had NOTHING like the Bible had in health areas. NOTHING. No, the Bible wasn't copying from modern scientists. That's ludicrously false.
c) The Bible has dozens of specific & detailed health principles, including all of the ones mentioned in the video, not just 3. If followed, we don't need most of modern medicine since people hardly ever get sick & ~85% of diseases now are lifestyle ones. But, even in modern medicine, it is Christians that brought the most benefits. Just 6 Christian scientists saved ~2+ billion lives: Pasteur, Lister, Jenner, Nightingale, Semmelweis & Norman Borlaug.

I have much that will shock you on Egyptian medicine for example & how disgusting & harmful it was, but not enough space in this post.

6) HUMAN RIGHTS: Based on the principle of Jesus that treating the poor & disenfranchised is how we treat Jesus, Christians pioneered most modern human rights advances: Abolishing slavery, stopping foot binding, education of prisoners, stopping widow burning, building numerous orphanages & schools for poor and minorities, feeding the hungry & homeless, fighting the sex trade & many more. Even now Christians are leading the fight against slavery (there are ~27 million slaves worldwide at present) with efforts such as http://www.iabolish.com.

7) ECONOMIC RIGHTS-1.3 billion escape from poverty!!: In Leviticus 25, Deuteronomy 15, & other places the Bible lists at least 13 economic principles that God promises can reduce & even end poverty if followed (Deut. 15:4). Professor Dent (a politics lecturer at the University of Keele in England) began talking about canceling debt for poor nations based on the Bible's Jubilee principle of canceling debt for poor people after 7 years (http://cases.som.yale.edu/jubilee/).

His students, pastors & churches quickly joined this Jubilee based campaign, forming its bedrock activist base & called it the Jubilee2000 campaign. NGOs & many others joined as well & eventually it inspired the ONE campaign with 400 NGOs & numerous politicians, businessmen, actors & singers promoting the cause (google "DEBT CANCELLATION & CIVIL SOCIETY: A CASE STUDY OF JUBILEE 2000" by Nick Buxton) & influencing the adoption of the Millenium Development Goals.

This campaign has now achieved these results:
"¢ 18 countries debt has been cancelled.
"¢ ~$107 billion of debt has been cancelled in the last 10 years!
"¢ Aid has been doubled to $50 billion!
"¢ Millions of lives have been saved & 42 million more children are now in school!
"¢ 1.3 billion (yes, with a B) have been lifted out of poverty (TEDxChange: Melinda French Gates http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cEPjEimKrJs...also at http://www.ted.com)

Melinda Gates says, "We've made more progress in the last 10 years than in any other period in history combined." Unfortunately, she left out the historical fact that it all started with a Christian professor & churches taking a couple biblical economic principles seriously (and there are others that could be even WAY, WAY more beneficial than even these).
See more at http://www.jubileeusa.org/, http://www.one.org, http://www.oxfam.org/

Go here for a basic 30 day education on Bible Jubilee Economics. This WILL come up later as well, I assure you.
http://jubilee-economics.org/30-days

8) INJUSTICE: Atheism has no answer for injustice in history except to say, is "Tough cookies to you guys. Wrong time, wrong place and all that jazz. See ya and I wouldn't wanna be ya." (note that atheists are recently getting more active in helping others"¦but none of them can do a thing for the massive injustice that has been perpetrated in history.). Only God can right the horrible wrongs of history and He promises to do so and also to allow all to see if his judgment was fair.

9) ETERNAL LIFE: Since religion has contributed so much in these ways and many others as well as there being very strong evidence for a chance of living forever with a God of justice, mercy and love, people who cares about life on this earth and forever, should be powerfully biased in favor of accepting evidence for God.

There are quite a few more examples of pragmatic evidence that I just don't have space in this post for.
Bryan
Sun Nov 06, 2011 9:47 pm
InfernoContributorUser avatarPosts: 2298Joined: Thu Apr 30, 2009 7:36 pmLocation: Vienna, Austria Gender: Cake

Post Re: Debate: Which has a better case, the Bible or Atheism?

In my reply to TruthIsLife7, I will try to limit myself to a maximum of 1,500 words. This is possible because most of the post doesn't address the issue at hand and is instead a huge plea to accept that Christians are good people and have done a lot of good. While that might be so, it doesn't address the truth-value of their claims (i.e that a God exists and that this God is the Christian God) so it is really of no bearing on this discussion whatsoever. I will therefore pick out a few parts that I feel warrant addressing and will post a complete (nearly 6,000 word) dissection of TruthIsLife7's reply on my blog. Note that the blog post has no bearing on this discussion whatsoever and is purely for the enjoyment (an hopefully education) of the readers.

You suggest that we should follow the evidence where it leads and I agree, we should. I don't see most people, particularly religious people, doing that though. In one of the discussions I've had in the last month or so, this very topic came up with one side arguing that "nobody can seriously suggest religion stops you from following the evidence". Naturally, I disagreed. I'll list a few examples of people" seriously suggesting that religion stops you from following the evidence" where it leads in the "further reading" section. I'll be sure to explore this issue further in my reply, so here's my statement for now: "Any topic pursued with an emotional bias can only and will inevitably lead to stonewalling. If a topic is to be pursued courageously, if the evidence is to be followed, emotions must be dropped as far as possible. Religion is the ultimate, though by far not the only, emotional motivator."

You claim that "the only sane thing to do is to give every possible benefit of the doubt to evidence that points to God" and the Bible. I want you to be aware of two things here:
a) Most atheists have studied the evidence and furthermore have read at least the Bible. We don't find enough evidence to support that the Bible is at least mostly correct.
b) Do you have the same stance in regard to the Jewish Torah, the Qur'an of Islam, the Kitab-i-Aqdas of Bahà¡'u'llà¡h, the Hindu Vedas, the Avestas of Zarathustra, the Adi-Granth of the Sikhs, the Mahabarata's Bhagavad-Gita, the Book of Mormon, and the Urantia book? If you don't, and I bet you don't, then why? If you haven't read them all, how can you seriously suggest that the Bible is better than those books?
I on the other hand award no undue position to any of those books, I instead look to the tool that has advanced humanity since we first invented it: Science. I understand that all of those books have at least cultural value, but none of them have inherent scientific value (meaning that they did not advance science, they only ever copied from scientists at the time), moral value nor educational value, except to teach about our culture and how that culture evolved. All of those books should then be treated as such and science should, as far as it can, guide our choices and our views on the world.

You claim that Pascal's Wager is good evidence for God, even though the wager only adresses reasons why one should believe in the absence of evidence. As such, I can't take your claim seriously.

I then quickly want to comment on the claim regarding the Red Cross. The Red Cross is not a Christian organization, it is not affiliated with any religion whatsoever. The flag of the Red Cross is actually a reversal of the Swiss Flag (Red Cross = Red on white, Switzerland = White on red) in honour of its founder, who was Swiss. The Swiss flag of course has an unknown history, with three legends attributed to its foundation of which two have a Christian connotation. In short, the Red Cross has nothing to do with Christianity.

You claim that the Bible is "neither 100% literal, nor 100% metaphorical" and I'd agree. The problem this poses for you though is this: How do you know which is metaphorical and which is literal? How can the Bible now be anything more than a man-made book filled with man-made ideas? I don't know about your God, but if I were to be a God I'd write something that is absolutely true and also absolutely literal. Instead what we find is many books that are sometimes to be taken literal, sometimes to be taken as metaphor and that are very often absolutely wrong about the topic they're talking about. For these reasons I will disregard everything you say about the Bible until you can answer my two questions and demonstrate that your answers are correct.

Now I can easily show that morality is inversely correlated with religion (the more religious, the more likely you are to be immoral) but this task is so easy to do, I'll give you the tools below and leave you to it.
We can go further and for example compare the top ten most violent states in the U.S with their religiousity and you'll see that 7/10 of these states are highly religious. Look at teen abortion rates and you'll see that the more religious they are or their upbringing was, the more likely they are to have an abortion. It's also true that the more religious states in the U.S have higher rates of teen pregnancy, that the non-religious make up a significantly smaller amount of inmates in American prisons, that "murder rates are actually lower in more secular nations and higher in more religious nations where belief in God is widespread", that divorce rates are higher among the more religious and that altruism and happiness increase with increased secularity.

Your most revealing claim of all is this very last one: "people who cares about life on this earth and forever, should be powerfully biased in favor of accepting evidence for God." [sic]
In other words no matter if it's true or not, you want to believe it because it makes you feel good. However, I object to this on a number of levels:
a) There is no evidence for an afterlife.
b) If there were an afterlife, I really wouldn't want it. Just think about it, what purpose would your "life" have if you were to life for ever? Think about living a billion years and then another billion years and you still have eternity left. It wouldn't be a gift, but arguably the greatest curse one could put upon a human being.
c) Let us just for a second ponder if the afterlife actually exists. In what form? Well generally, Christians speak of a "heaven", a "place we all would like to go to", one without war or bad thoughts. On the other hand, the general response to why we have wars on earth in the first place is "because we have free will". So what, we don't have free will in heaven? In that case it wouldn't be a heaven, not a place I'd want to go to. Plus, eternity.
d) By what criteria do you get into heaven? If I get in simply by being good, then I don't really care about the Bible at all because I'm good anyway. If I get in by believing in God but don't necessarily have to follow the Bible then I'd choose the quickest way into an early grave and try to kill as many people as possible to allow them entry into heaven. If I'd have to believe in God and follow the Bible then fuck that, the Bible is immoral and as such I wouldn't want to get into a heaven as described by the Bible. (Or any other Holy Book for that matter.) In other words, if you're (by you, I mean the people who follow the Bible as a moral code) going to heaven, I'm glad to go to hell.

Now I could at this point also have talked about the issue of history that was brought up but if I want to limit myself to no more than 1,500 words (I originally planned on no more than 1,000 but I couldn't do it) I can't do it. I therefore suggest the following: Let us focus on one point per reply and one point alone (to make a point maybe 3-400 words and to reply to the previous post 6-700 words = 1,000 words), that way I could address your posts without fearing that I'll alienate readers due to the length of the post. If we don't do that, I'll be forced to write huge posts that might not be as interesting a read in order to include a reply to every point made.
I would also suggest that we bring up science, in particular evolution, at some point because it seems to me that this is a topic where I can easily show that you (and the Bible) are wrong.

Thank you all for your kind patience and support, I hope I could live up to the expectations.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Further reading
Science supresses scientific progress
Article 1 - Wikipedia
Article 2
Article 3
Article 4

I've made multiple claims about Religion/morality and atheism/morality.
All about abortion: Article 1
Article 2
Article 3
All about violence (Attention: You must yourself look up the religiosity of the state at hand) : Article 4
Teen pregnancy:Article 5
Article 6
Article 7
Article 8
Prisons: Article 9
Various claims: Article 10

A reminder about the articles: The studies were state-wide as of now and didn't go population-specific so in a few of the articles they say that they don't know if it's the godless in the community that are driven to do this due to higher religion or if it's the religious themselves.
"Sometimes people don't want to hear the truth because they don't want their illusions destroyed." ― Friedrich Nietzsche

"I shall achieve my objectives through the power... of Science!" --LessWrong
Mon Nov 14, 2011 12:51 am
TruthisLife7Posts: 87Joined: Tue Sep 20, 2011 11:17 am Gender: Male

Post Re: Debate: Which has a better case, the Bible or Atheism?

Hi Ben,
Hope you & all are having a good 2012. Thank you Ben for your incredible patience (& kind photobucket suggestion) & all readers too. The posting delays were mostly due to lack of time (tons of grading, 6 court deadlines, writing for the Wolfson Economic Prize, moved houses, looked for & found a job at a better university, etc. I also started a site which will have simple & in depth evidence why Christianity is the most rational choice.
http://www.truth-is-life.org (still under construction)

This post still isn't perfect & I had to cut out ~1/2 (full version will be linked at the above site), but I'm VERY late already. It's designed so that you can look at headings & if you agree, skim it. But, if you disagree, read it more carefully. If you read this post & some links (or even just up to section 1 for those with little time), you will have more than enough evidence on the most critical questions from science & history to decide that Christianity is very worth following based on the use of consistent standards, which is the only way to judge anything rationally.

My condolences to the atheist community on the death of Christopher Hitchens. While Hitchen's arguments against religion unfortunately often used fallacies, he was a brilliant rhetorician, witty & his undergoing waterboarding & willingness to take certain unpopular stands was admirable. He was in certain cases a valuable critic even of religion (but rarely directed those critical skills equally towards atheism as he should have). Hitches as well as many Christians could have lived decade(s) longer if they had followed major Bible principles which science has conclusively confirmed, principles given to modern people by the Bible through SDAs as this educational/scientific site confirms (Adventists are one of the few Christian groups that have followed Bible health principles):
THE ADVENTISTS & WHAT THEY MEAN TO YOU!
"You don't have to be a member of the Adventist religion for them to have a powerful influence on your life... Due in part to their unique dietary habits lowering their risk for certain diseases, they provide a special opportunity for medical science to get answers related to how diet & other habits might affect the rest of us. Add the fact that Seventh-day Adventists live longer than virtually any group of people on the planet & it is easy to understand why they are one of the most heavily researched populations on earth. There has likely never been a series of scientific medical studies that provided more useable health benefits to as many people than those conducted on the Seventh-day Adventists over the last 50+ years. & there have almost certainly been none that have undergone such comprehensive, worldwide scientific peer review. Much of the increased life expectancy of humans over the past century is due to medical research & what is written here about the Adventist Health Studies is based upon documented scientific fact. The contribution these humble servants of God & mankind have made to the health of us all has gone largely unnoticed, outside the halls of medical science, & what follows is an attempt to give them their due.

We are not Adventists & we have no interest in promoting one religion over another. But we can tell you that the fact that they are a religion, rather than a specific ethnic group, is of enormous value to medical research. It may even be a key reason for the Adventist Health Studies being held in such high regard. One group of scientists who did a study of Adventists living in Norway put it this way:
"Examination of the figures also suggests that there has been no genetic selection, a conclusion which American observers have also reached. Their longevity cannot be due to the fact that they belong to a privileged social class, since an examination of their distribution among social classes revealed no advantage over the general population. Nor could their geographic distribution in Norway explain the difference. These natural experiments are much more instructive & reliable than experimental studies of the type of controlled clinical trials."

It is simply an irrefutable scientific fact that the uniqueness of the Adventist population has allowed & will continue to allow the discovery of relationships between certain lifestyle behaviors, health & disease that are not easily determined from other populations"¦

"¦We can tell you they are a biblically based denomination of Christianity & their beliefs include their interpretation of what God intended regarding health & lifestyle. One of their core beliefs is they take "God at His word" that your body is your temple & not taking care of it is an insult to God. They point to passages within the Bible related to eating mostly fruits, vegetables, whole grains & nuts & avoiding food that's bad for you. Having a full day of rest on the Sabbath, which to an Adventist is Saturday instead of Sunday, is a key belief, & so is getting enough exercise. We believe what delivers such amazing health benefits is that taking care of their bodies is built into their faith, so they follow the rules more carefully than most of us do.

"¦we aren't alone in our admiration for them. The World Health Organization, US National Institutes of Health, National Cancer Institute, National Institute on Aging, the governments of Norway & the Netherlands & many other countries, the Harvard Medical School & numerous other academic institutions we don't have space to mention, feel the way we do.

see: http://www.worldlifeexpectancy.com/what ... ean-to-you for the full article.


As stated above, the health principles of SDAs are derived 1st from the Bible & there are 40+ or them, which we'll look at more in the science section of our debate. Studying SDAs & why they lived so long is what clued scientists in to the importance of many habits that people now understand to be common sense, but many of these most certainly were NOT common sense until this century.This has now been shared & the whole world, including you readers, are benefitting from SDAs & more precisely the Bible. Those who followed these lifestyle principles in the past benefited for millennia before science finally figured out their importance & I guarantee you that science has not figured out all the benefits of the Bible yet. GUARANTEED.

POST OVERVIEW
It's important to choose a correct worldview & do it quickly, since the longer you wait, the more benefits you will miss. It's really unreasonable & stupendously harmful to demand that people read all knowledge in history before taking action on the evidence they do have"¦sort of like telling people that they have to read all the research done in all history, pro & con, on whether it's wise to smoke or not before making a decision to stop smoking, by which time they're already dead. The fastest way to determine the best worldview is to answer these 2 questions first & make a decision:
a) What view brings the most benefits & empowerment to this life and
b) What view has strong evidence of eternal life.

This way you get the maximum benefits for this life for sure. Keep in mind that this is not so much an issue of which worldview has bragging rights. It's YOU against YOU:
A) what kind of life can you have without God's wisdom vs.
B) What kind of life you can have following God's principles in a healthy environment (just like pseudo-science, pseudo-Christianity isn't healthy, so avoid both pseudos.)

It's about what helps each of us reach our highest potential & how many breath taking moments we can have:
Image
Image

With time, we can study the evidence in history, science & other areas & see where that weight of evidence points overall & continually reevaluate. A fair God, the God of the Bible, will respect this genuine search for truth (Romans 2:12-16, Acts 17:21-3). But, what happened in history is far less important than making sure each of us have the best life now, esp. for atheists since they think there is nothing beyond this life. We'll basically cover 3 areas in this post:
"¢ INTRO: Exposing materialism & a tiny intro to the evidence of the benefits of Christianity & the resurrection.

"¢ Section 1) PHILOSOPHICAL GROUNDWORK: Refuting misunderstandings such as the claim that I said we should follow emotion above evidence"¦I said no such thing, showing how correlation frequently is used in science to establish causation, dealing with the no true Scotsman/genetic fallacy claims, explaining the way to eternal life (kudos to Ben on 1 point here for pointing out problems that some pastors have not seen).

"¢ Section 2) BENEFITS OF CHRISTIANITY IN THIS LIFE: 1000s of scientific experiments that show that people gain unrivaled benefits IN THIS LIFE in health, happiness, success, marriage, intellectual development, sex, financial areas, freedom, human rights of 100s of types & more that most modern people value. We'll focus a lot on morality as Ben wished & give specific mechanisms in some cases, which debunks the genetic fallacy allegation. In comparison, for most of history, atheism pioneered little if anything & often much worse, even in the 22 cases where it was the official view of the state.

I wrote a detailed section on Bible economics which refutes conservative/republican economic positions & also some liberal/democrat positions & offers a far better 3rd way. 95% of pastors know nothing about this, but there wasn't enough space for it. You can read about it here:
http://www.truth-is-life.org/jubileeeconomics.html

If you read this post & certain links, you will know more in certain areas than some pastors do about the Bible, (esp. on salvation by faith/works & Bible economics) & more about certain things in science/history than some scientists know (on correlation & pragmatic benefits of Christianity, etc.). Please keep in mind that Christianity has & can produce vast & strong evidence in science, history, philosophy, creation, logic like it can in the area of pragmatic benefits below. This picture is a humorous illustration of how much evidence we have for God, but that many have been prevented from knowing about.
Image Image

TheCartesianTheist has a great channel on youtube & he summarizes why many former skeptics, elite historians & scientists in history became Christian succinctly, "I think, therefore I cannot be an atheist." Also, keep in mind what Sagan said:
"An atheist has to know a lot more than I know."


These are my positions as well. I realize that certain churches have not emphasized evidence & rational thought as they should have & it's understandable that some of you left those churches. I might have myself. But the Bible & leading Christian intellectuals throughout history consistently emphasized evidence & rationality as being a crucial foundation for faith.

But, keep in mind that there is no requirement for any worldview to provide 100% evidence for everything. Christianity has long had answers for nearly all challenging questions asked of it, many with powerful evidence. But no philosophy is required to have 100% evidence for all hard questions since no human knows all truth & much evidence in the past is absent or fragmentary. All we have to do is provide more & better evidence than any rival view (and be open to new views if they demonstrate they can provide more evidence). That's it. Lawyer Craig A. Parton writes on this:
"History, law & science are never completely 100% certain of their conclusions. They must always have some sense of humility & openness to being shown they are wrong & in need of correction if the facts turn out to be otherwise. Regardless of this, though, we continue to make life & death decisions based on probability evidence." Craig A. Parton, Religion on Trial (Eugene: Wipf & Stock, 2008), 34.


The same should also be true of religious establishments as well & this is one of the big reasons why I'm a Seventh Day Adventist. A major principle of ours is that our knowledge of truth is progressive & must always be growing & improving in understanding truth. One of our most important founders also stated very clearly that intellectual laziness is sin. Galileo was right when he said:
"I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with senses, reason, & intellect has intended us to forgo their use & by some other means to give us knowledge which we can attain by them."


INTRO--MATERIALISM/EXTRAORDINARY CLAIMS/EVIDENCE DEMAND IS A TRADITION/TABOO :
1st off I want to solidly debunk materialism & the demand that extraordinary claims produce extraordinary evidence. They are a priori assumptions & tactics to demand that ideologically controversial claims produce impossible evidence & prevent new ideas that establishments don't like from having a fair chance. They entrench traditions, in the box thinking & hinder science. This really should be obvious to the most casual observer who is using critical thinking skills, since you can choose only A or B:
A) Follow the weight of evidence wherever it leads (avoiding fallacies)
B) Assume materialism, require much higher standards of ideas we dislike or have bias against, entrench traditions.


***CRUCIAL STOP*** ***READ/WATCH THESE 2 LINKS BEFORE CONTINUING***

1) Do Extraordinary Claims Require Extraordinary Evidence? The answer: No. by Satoshi Kanazawa
http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the ... y-evidence

2) Cambridge Scientist Rupert Sheldrake, Ph.D. in an interview about how materialism is a dogmatic political belief system that cuts off funding for other types of research that can be investigated scientifically & treats them as taboo. Watch from 0-10:40 at least, but it's all thought provoking.


!!!AMEN BROTHERS :)!!!

You cannot demand higher standards of Christianity, the resurrection, creation science, than any competing hypotheses/theories. They must be judged by the same standards. May the best man/theory win. No double standards. No a priori assumptions. No prejudice allowed. If we allowed these priori prejudices in the past, we'd never have given up steady state, spontaneous generation & many other pseudo-scientific concepts. Nobody should be so naà¯ve as to think that just because we can't see something, it doesn't exist. This way of reasoning would destroy the Big Bang, universal common descent & a host of other scientific & concepts that atheists, Christians, evolutionists, creationists, etc. consider true.

Quite a number of other scientists, philosophers & thinkers reject materialism: Kant, particle physicist John Polkinghorne, Michael Polanyi, Mary Midgley, Emiritus Regius & many others.
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Materialism#History_of_materialism

Professor of Divinity Keith Ward (a former atheist) says, "Looking around my philosopher colleagues in Britain, virtually all of whom I know at least from their published work, I would say that very few of them are materialists." Is Religion Dangerous? p 91.

A number of scientists like these are also rejecting materialism:
Then came our Quantum theory, which totally transformed our image of matter"¦An extension of the quantum theory"¦paints a picture in which solid matter dissolves away, to be replaced by weird excitations & vibrations of invisible field energy. Quantum physics undermines materialism because it reveals that matter has far less 'substance' than we might believe. But another development goes even further by demolishing Newton's image of matter as inert lumps. This development is the theory of chaos, which has recently gained widespread attention., Paul Davies & John Gribbin, 'The Matter Myth', Chapter 1 Imants BaruÅ¡s

Something you may also consider is that the bedrock core of Marxist ideology, its corner stone, is that nothing beyond matter exists. One famed Marxist, Anonio Gramsci, made a blueprint for how to change Christian minds into anti-Christian minds since Christianity was Marxism's greatest enemy. Persuading people to follow materialism by pretending to appeal to human dignity, rights, & freedom from outside constraint was core to this blue print. Do this he said & you will have Marxized the West. Has he Marxized you?

QUICK EVIDENCE FOR BENEFITS NOW & ETERNAL LIFE
Attending a science class doesn't guarantee benefits. It is FOLLOWING scientific principles matters. Christianity mainly produces blessings when its principles are followed, not just by attendance or saying words. It isn't the ONLY factor that benefits life. But, ignoring God's principles is like trying to be healthy without vegetables in your diet. You can live, but it is less than ideal. Sometimes it takes discipline to eat vegetables, but so does following the scientific method & both have very enjoyable rewards. People who ignore God's wisdom will fail to experience the maximum benefits they could in life. Since anti-theists think this life is all there is, they above all others should be passionate about following the pragmatic evidence wherever it leads to get the most out of this life.

Neil McQueen writes:
What if I told you there was a well-researched & statistically proven program that on average can:
o increase the average life expectancy of your children by 8 years
o significantly reduce your child's use & risk from Alcohol, Tobacco & Drugs
o dramatically lower their risk of suicide
o help them rebound from depression 70% faster
o dramatically reduce their risk for committing a crime
o improve their attitude at school & increase their school participation"¦
o reduce the likelihood that they would binge drink in college
o improve their odds for a "very happy" life
o provide them with a life-long moral compass
o provide children with a caring extended family"¦

Is there such a program? YES, there is...And it is supported by research from Duke University, Indiana University, The University of Michigan, The Center for Disease Control, Barna Research Group, Gallup, Pew, & the National Institute for Healthcare Research, & several national surveys. (see the footnotes below). How much would a program like this be worth to you? What if I told you it was free, & only took about 2 hours a week? Would you be interested?
Take a look at the above list again. It's not a dream. The program is called "active church participation."
http://www.sundaysoftware.com/stats.htm (see the studies mentioned above about ,½ way down the page)


Belief in God Improves Moral Behaviour
Atheists can be & are moral, certain of them very admirably so. Morality is influenced by many factors: family, culture, education, media is a HUGE one, peers, religion & others. But, religion is a major factor & not following it does on average lessen one's morality. Hitchens liked to ask what an atheist can't do that a Christian can. That's a foolish question. All have been given similar ability to choose good or evil. The question is whether Christianity produces more moral change than atheism & other worldviews. The research in many areas is overwhelming that it does (although there are definitely exceptions on both sides to the average).

These are graphs from the study on 2500 adolescents I mentioned above which I meant to include before.
"Religion & American Adolescent Delinquency, Risk Behaviors & Constructive Social Activities." Christian Smith & Robert Faris. National Study of Youth & Religion. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. 2002.
http://www.youthandreligion.org/publica ... ports.html http://www.youthandreligion.org/sites/y ... eport1.pdf

A few example charts are here:
Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image

Belief in God Improves Prosocial Behaviour (moral behaviour) In 186 Societies.
Roes & Raymond (2003) found that across a sample of 186 human societies, belief in watchful, moralizing gods was positively correlated with measures of group cohesion & size. In addition, experimental research reveals that even subtle reminders of God & religion also promote prosocial behavior (e.g., Pichon, Boccato, & Saroglou, 2007; Randolph-Seng & Nielsen, 2007; Shariff & Norenzayan, 2007; see also McKay, Efferson,Whitehouse, & Fehr, 2011).

There are many more pragmatic benefits in section 2.

IS THE BIBLE TRUE?
Even the above evidence is enough evidence to believe in Christianity for those who care about longevity & quality of life on this earth, & atheists should care more about that than anyone since they don't believe there's anything else. Then we look at the evidence the Bible is true. This basically comes down to 2 questions.
1) Is the Bible we have now the same as the one the early Christians received from the apostles?
2) Was what was written down true?

IS OUR BIBLE THE SAME AS THE ORIGINAL WRITINGS?
For question 1, we basically ask how many years are there between the original autograph & the 1st copy we have & how many manuscripts we have. Josh McDowell has documented this in his book, New Evidence that Demands a Verdict & in this seminar.
(start ~5:00) &


In both cases, the Bible has gone WAY, WAY beyond any level of extraordinary evidence in comparison to most other books of history. Its manuscripts are WAY closer to the originals than almost all books of ancient history.
Image
Then how many manuscripts do we have? Again, way more than for almost any other ancient book:
Image

This is important because when you have many manuscripts, you can compare & check & test in a variety of ways what the original actually was. Amazingly, without any manuscripts we can reconstruct all but 11 verses of the New Testament. Why? Because the early church fathers would write out verses from the Bible in their letters, sometimes up to 5 chapters. This goes back to within 1-300 years of the original manuscripts. Because of the above, about all that is really in question in the New Testament in terms of being what the original autographs said is only about ,½ of 1 page. That's miraculous. There's more evidence of the Bible's authenticity to the original manuscripts than any 10 books of history. It's also true that we have more authenticating evidence for biblical texts than for the plays of William Shakespeare.

This chart summarizes the above facts comparing the Bible to other ancient texts, :
Image

See also:
http://carm.org/manuscript-evidence, http://www.tektonics.org/lp/nttextcrit.html

ARE THE BIBLE MANUSCRIPTS TRUE/BASED ON EVIDENCE?
While the above facts prove the Bible we have now is essential the same as the originals, it does not conclusively prove it's true. We'll look at many reasons it is in our historical section. But, here's just one very strong one:

Dr. Simon Greenleaf was a Harvard professor of law who wrote "A Treatise on the Law of Evidence", (considered by many to be one of the greatest legal volumes ever written). He was a skeptic determined to expose the "myth" of the Resurrection & highly qualified to do just that. Here is a couple review of his legal work:
"It is no mean honor to America that her schools of jurisprudence have produced two of the first writers & best esteemed legal authorities of this century -- the great & good man, Judge Story, & his worthy & eminent associate, Professor Greenleaf. Upon the existing Law of Evidence (by Greenleaf) more light has shone from the New World than from all the lawyers who adorn the courts of Europe." London Law Magazine

His students challenged him to use the same methods he used to determine truth in the court to analyze the evidence for the case of the resurrection of Jesus. He accepted & after significant investigation, the evidence was so compelling that he became a Christian & documented in a book (which is free online) the reasons for his conclusions, saying:
"The great truths which the apostles declared, were, that Christ had risen from the dead, & that only through repentance from sin, & faith in him, could men hope for salvation. This doctrine they asserted with one voice, everywhere, not only under the greatest discouragements, but in the face of the most appalling terrors that can be presented to the mind of man.

Their master had recently perished as a malefactor, by the sentence of a public tribunal. His religion sought to overthrow the religions of the whole world. The laws of every country were against the teachings of his disciples. The interests & passions of all the rulers & great men the world were against them. Propagating this new faith, even in the most inoffensive & peaceful manner, they could expect nothing but contempt, opposition, revilings, bitter persecutions, stripes, imprisonments, torments & cruel deaths. Yet this faith they zealously did propagate ; & all these miseries they endured undismayed, nay, rejoicing.

As one after another was put to a miserable death, the survivors only prosecuted their work with increased vigor & resolution. The annals of military warfare afford scarcely an example of the like heroic constancy, patience & unflinching courage. They had every possible motive to review carefully the grounds of their faith, & the evidences of the great facts & truths which they asserted"¦It was therefore impossible that they could have persisted in affirming the truths they have narrated, had not Jesus actually risen from the dead, & had they not known this fact as certainly as they knew any other fact." Simon Greenleaf, "An Examination of the Testimony of the Four Evangelists by the Rules of Evidence Administered in the Courts of Justice", p.52-53.



His book is available here for free if you want to read it:
http://www.archive.org/details/examinat ... 00greerich (start on ~p. 23)

We have 6 eyewitness authors who knew Jesus (& 19 others who knew him directly), compared to only one eyewitness author for Alexander the Great, none for Spartacus. Many figures in history have less primary source evidence than Jesus does.
http://www.harvardhouse.com/muhammad_probability.htm

These videos by Josh McDowell talks of more reasons why the Bible is true (including why renowned magician Andre Kohle agreed it was impossible for major miracles of Jesus to be magic/illusions).




We'll talk later about why God & Satan mostly influence us through thought impressions at the current time & how to distinguish God's impressions from others. But, even with this evidence above alone, Christianity exceeds Sagan's double standard fallacy. Many elite legal experts & historians trained to know what counts as evidence have been convinced by it. But, without the fallacy of demanding extraordinary evidence, skeptic arguments don't have a prayer :), which is why they've fought so hard to promote the a priori assumptions mentioned above.

ATHEIST THINKERS AGREE RELIGION/CHRISTIANITY IS BENEFICIAL TO LIFE
Next, I want to cite 6 atheist thinkers on issues of fairness & how they agree that religion, esp. Christianity, is very important for freedom, morals & important for many positive things in modern life, etc.

1) The atheist Bruce writes about this prejudiced double standard that atheists often use:
"Militant atheists seek to discredit religion based on a highly selective reading of history"¦ [They] are quick to attribute many of the most unfortunate aspects of history to religion, yet rarely concede the immense debt that civilization owes to various monotheist religions, which created some of the world's greatest literature, art, & architecture; led the movement to abolish slavery; & fostered the development of science & technology. One should not invalidate these achievements merely because they were developed for religious purposes...To regret religion is to regret our civilization & its achievements...

Militant atheists mistakenly assume that a world without religion would be much as it is today, just minus the wars, ignorance, & oppression they attribute to theism...My question to atheists: Could we have gotten this far in history--scientifically, morally, technologically, & culturally--without religion? I believe the obvious answer is no."
Bruce Sheiman "An Atheist Defends Religion: Why Humanity is Better Off with Religion Than Without It" (pg 93-4)


He neglects to say that many achievements were derived directly from the Bible & that in nearly all cases where atheism has been the official view of states, there has been far more war, oppression & suppression of freedom.

Uninformed atheists often claim that it is just incidental, a genetic fallacy, etc. that modern science, health, human rights etc. advanced so astoundingly in connection with Christianity. It absolutely is not as we will see in later posts. If it is legitimate to ignore all the good the Bible inspired and only blame Christians for mistakes, we can treat atheism similarly or say that Darwin's book had nothing to do with the development of the evolution theory & then that it only did harm to life. The only way prove any of these claims is with very solid evidence and mechanisms. No atheist has ever come close to demonstrating this.

2) Even the Chinese communists are coming to understand the value of religion. A speaker from the esteemed Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing said in a scheduled lecture for tourists:
"One of the things we [the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences] were asked to look into was what accounted for the success, in fact the pre-eminence, of the West all over the world. We studied everything we could from the historical, political, economic, & cultural perspective. At first, we thought it was because you had more powerful guns than we had. Then we thought it was because you had the best political system. Next we focused on your economic system. But in the past 20 years we have realized that the heart of your culture is your religion: Christianity. That is why the West has been so powerful. The Christian moral foundation of social & cultural life was what made possible the emergence of capitalism & then the successful transition to democratic politics. We don't have any doubt about this." Quoted in David Aikman (former Time Magazine bureau chief in Beijing), Jesus in Beijing: How Christianity is Transforming China & Changing the Global Balance of Power (2003), p. 5. The Chinese Academy of Social Sciences of the People's Republic of China published its conclusions in 2002.


Alexander Tocqueville echoed this sentiment near the beginning of America,
"Not until I went into the churches of America & heard her pulpits flame with righteousness did I understand the secret of her genius & power. The Americans combine the notions of Christianity & of liberty so intimately in their minds, that it is impossible to make them conceive of one without the other."


3) Veteran British politician Roy Hattersley is an atheist, but also an authority on the Salvation Army. A narrator for a BBC program, Peter Day, asked him
"This sort of thing, a sort of social entrepreneurial drive which starts off out of a particular place & circumstances,those sorts of things often run out of steam after a generation or two. Is the Salvation Army in danger of running out of steam?"

Hattersley responded:
"I don't think the Salvation Army is remotely in danger of running out of steam. & I think it remains a vibrant organization because of its convictions. I'm an atheist. But I can only look with amazement at the devotion of the Salvation Army workers. I've been out with them on the streets & seen the way they work amongst the people, the most deprived & disadvantaged & sometimes pretty repugnant characters. I don't believe they would do that were it not for the religious impulse. & I often say I never hear of atheist organizations taking food to the poor. You don't hear of 'Atheist Aid' rather like Christian aid, and, I think, despite my inability to believe myself, I'm deeply impressed by what belief does for people like the Salvation Army." Hattersley, R., Blood & Fire: William & Catherine Booth & their Salvation Army, Doubleday, UK, 1999. Broadcast on BBC World Service, Saturday 2nd January 2010.

"My view of society is very different from that which was held by Booth & [John] Wesley. I am an atheist. But that does not prevent me from admiring the strength of their different convictions. Nor did it stop me from realising the crucial part that Wesley's 'respectable' Christianity played in the development of modern Britain."
textualities.net/author/roy-hattersley/


4) Richard Dawkins recently said:
"There are no Christians, as far as I know, blowing up buildings. I am not aware of any Christian suicide bombers. I am not aware of any major Christian denomination that believes the penalty for apostasy is death. I have mixed feelings about the decline of Christianity, in so far as Christianity might be a bulwark against something worse."
Infidel bloggers alliance:
ibloga.blogspot.com/2010/04/is-collapse-of-christianity-in-britain.html and
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/commen ... 085129.ece


5) MORALITY #1--CHRISTIANITY IS A BULWARK AGAINST TOTALITARIANISM
You criticized Christianity for producing immorality. At the end of section 2, we'll look at many specific ways Christianity has greatly improved morality in ways that nearly ALL people have benefitted from. But, here's one to start with.

Time & time again in the Bible, you see prophets of God challenging kings, priests on moral issues when criticizing a king in many cultures in history could easily result in a death sentence. Christianity has often been a challenge to the status quo (even when Christians are in power as happened with the abolition of slavery in England in the 1800s) because of literally 100s of verses like this where obedience to the objective moral standards of God is a far higher priority than any command of the govt./king/state:
"¢ "But Peter & the apostles replied, "We must obey God rather than any human authority. " Acts 5:29 (We are supposed to respect the government, but when it conflicts with God's principles we cannot follow it.)

The Bible & an appeal to the rights of human beings based on God's creation of human beings were also part of the first lines of the Declaration of Independence:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty & the pursuit of Happiness.


Here's atheist Dr. Walter Block who is Harold E. Wirth Eminent Scholar, Endowed Chair of Economics Loyola University, senior fellow of the Mises Institute on this. He's talking about states, but most of the states he refers to in the 20th century officially rejected and/or lacked belief in God & persecuted & killed those who did believe:
For most, it will appear as nothing less than a logical contradiction for an atheist such as myself to be an actual supporter & even admirer of religion. Let me explain.

So, which institution is the greatest enemy of human liberty? There can be only one answer: the state in general, and, in particular, the totalitarian version thereof. Perhaps there is no greater example of such a government than the USSR, & its chief dictators, Lenin & Stalin (although primacy of place in terms of sheer numbers of innocents murdered might belong to Mao's China). We thus ask, which institutions did these two Russian worthies single out for opprobrium? There can be only one answer: primarily, religion, and, secondarily, the family"¦Religion was made into public enemy number one, & its practitioners viciously hunted down.
Why pick on religion & the family? Because these are the two great competitors, against the state, for allegiance on the part of the people. The Communists were quite right, from their own evil perspective, to focus on these two institutions. All enemies of the overweening state, then, would do well to embrace religion & the family as their friends, whether they are themselves atheists or not, parents or not.

The main reason religion sticks in the craw of secular leaders is that this institution defines moral authority independently of their power. Every other organization in society (with the possible exception of the family) sees the state as the source of ultimate ethical sanction. Despite the fact that some religious leaders have indeed bowed the knee to government officials, there is a natural & basic enmity between the two sources of authority"¦as a political animal, I warmly embrace this institution. It is a bulwark against totalitarianism. He who wishes to oppose statist depredations cannot do so without the support of religion. Opposition to religion, even if based on intellectual grounds & not intended as a political statement, nevertheless amounts to de facto support of government"¦This makes it all the more important that the rest of us, atheists or not, support those who worship God. The enemy of my enemy is my friend.

It will at this point be strenuously objected that numerous innocent people have been murdered in the name of religion. True, alas, all too true. However, a little perspective comes not amiss at this juncture. Just how many people were killed by religious excesses, such as the Inquisition? Although estimates vary widely, the best estimates (see here) are that the number of deaths during this sad epoch, which took place over several centuries, was between 3,000 & 10,000; some experts, here, place the number as low as 2,000. Were it not murdered human beings that we are talking about, but considering solely the relative magnitudes, one might fairly say that this pales into utter insignificance compared to the devastation inflicted upon the human race by governments. According to the best estimates (see here, here, here, here, here & here), the victims of statism in the 20th century alone approached the 200 million mark. That is no misprint! To compare a few thousands of unjustified deaths with several hundreds of millions is unreasonable. Yes, even the murder of one victim is an outrage. But in comparing religion & government one must keep in mind these astronomical differences"¦We must not throw out the baby with the bathwater. But, surely, anti-religious sentiment belongs in the latter category, not the former.

http://www.the-classic-liberal.com/athe ... istianity/


During the reign of the Nazis, nearly everyone collaborated with the Nazis, including sadly some Christians. But the one institution that didn't completely buckle & bow to them was Christianity, especially what was called "The Confessing Church".
'Not you, Herr Hitler, but God is my Fà¼hrer. These defiant words of Pastor Martin Niemoller were echoed by millions of Germans. & Hitler raged: 'It is Niemoller or I.'"
http://www.time.com/time/magazine/artic ... 03,00.html


Many Christian individuals & church leaders opposed the Nazis & were directly involved in resistance. Just a few of many heroes:
"¢ Corrie & Betsy Ten Boom,
"¢ John Weidner (an Adventist from my church who set up an escape network that saved ~1000+ Jews & others, which quite a few church & government leaders helped),
"¢ Maximilian Kolbe (a friar who saved many people, including ~2,000 Jews),
"¢ Oskar Schindler (of the famous Schindler's list who saved ~1,200 lives),
"¢ Hugh O'Flaherty (an Irish Catholic priest who saved about 4,000 Allied soldiers & Jews),
"¢ André & Magda Trocmé (A French pastor & his wife who led the Le Chambon-sur-Lignon village movement that saved 3,000-5,000 Jews)
"¢ Irena Sendler, Polish Catholic social worker who served in the Polish Underground & the Å»egota resistance organization in German-occupied Warsaw during World War II & saved 2500 Jewish children by smuggling them out in ambulances, trams, in packages, etc.
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irena_Sendler
"¢ pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer was involved in an assassination attempt on Hitler.

Einstein testified of one example of this during the Nazi holocaust:
"Being a lover of freedom...I looked to the universities to defend it, knowing they had always boasted of their devotion to the cause of truth; but, no, the universities immediately were silenced. Then I looked to the great editors of the newspapers whose flaming editorials in days gone by had proclaimed their love of freedom, but they, like the universities, were silenced in a few short weeks. Only the church stood squarely across the path of Hitler's campaign for suppressing the truth. I never had any special interest in the church before, but now I feel a great affection & admiration because the church alone has had the courage & persistence to stand for intellectual truth & moral freedom. I am forced to confess that what I once despised I now praise unreservedly." http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,765103,00.html


(btw, the Nazis long before they gained power had plans to use Christianity & then destroy it & they followed that plan to the letter. Official documents of that plan are here: http://org.law.rutgers.edu/publications ... nst1.shtml & Discovery Channel has historical films showing the Nazi got rid of Christianity replacing it with a bloody Nordic religion more in line with their political & evolutionary goals: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dbvp8wXPYYo ).

Christianity has resisted totalitarianism in numerous cases throughout history and expanded freedom for humanity. Later, I will list many cases of this in history and the present which justifies Dawkins fears.

Michael W. Smith sings a cool song on how Jesus was killed because he was too dangerous to the establishment of that time. Bible examples have inspired many Christians to campaign and sacrifice for a better life against govts. and has built many of the best things the world you live in (including freedom to not be religious, pioneered by Roger Williams/Ann Hutchinson).


Many Christians have criticized establishments in order to create a better world no one had thought of before, sort of like this picture:
Image

It is a crime against truth to deny that Christians pioneered many freedoms or that they did it without the Bible & its principles. Similarly, we should not deny that atheists have contributed significant things to this world. They have. But, most of their contributions rest on groundwork & pioneering efforts laid by the Bible first (such as the scientific method & many human rights) rather than on claims of atheism. If you think differently, explain why with evidence.

While you may not agree with the views of Christians (I myself sometimes don't) & while like scientists & politicians they do at times make mistakes, they continue to challenge governments these days & that's a good thing.

SECTION 1: PHILOSOPHICAL BASICS & REBUTTING FALLACIES

A) EMOTIONS & EVIDENCE:
It's disappointing that atheists misrepresent the main arguments of Christianity so much. If I defined Darwinian evolution or the modern synthesis as "change from inert matter to man in days" (a double straw man) could anyone make a rational decision on it? Misrepresenting Christian faith & Pascal's arguments as being without evidence & my posts as choosing emotions above evidence & a number of other things you have claimed (which I don't have space to deal with at present..maybe later) is no different.

You wrote:
"no matter if it's true or not, you want to believe it because it makes you feel good."


Here's what I ACTUALLY said:
"no rational person should be biased against following the EVIDENCE WHEREVER IT LEADS without any a priori restrictions." &
" Since religion has contributed so much"¦as well as there being very strong EVIDENCE for a chance of living forever"¦people who cares about life on this earth & forever, should be powerfully biased in favor of ACCEPTING EVIDENCE for God."


How can you ignore the repeated use of the word "EVIDENCE" above??? Nowhere did I even slightly intimate any disregard for truth or evidence or advocate making decisions on "feeling good". Nowhere. My statements explicitly said that we should follow/accept EVIDENCE & this has NOTHING to do with making decisions based on what makes you "feel good". My whole point was that we must NOT have emotional bias against evidence.

You are less guilty than many others like Dawkins, P. Z. Myers, Hitchens, etc. who are far more responsible to be accurate. Their countless misrepresentation are unethical, inexcusable, gravely irresponsible, harmful to rational investigation & life, & very likely intentional deceit. The same goes for leading thinkers in any group who misrepresent others, including Christians, atheists, agnostics, Buddhists, whatever. Nobody is infallible, but we must try our best to be accurate & correct ourselves when we make mistakes in describing other's views.
You might be excused for this mistake, but it's intentional deceit when people like Dawkins do it:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nsjDFdSOJY4 (Dawkins is FAR from alone in this)

Worldviews MUST be decided on evidence, not hope or feeling. The Bible consistently persuaded people on the basis of evidence, NOT emotion. It started from powerful amounts of evidence more than any rivals have ever had. People had to know for certain that Jesus really did resurrect because in many cases, they were staking their lives on it (Jews & Romans would hunt down, imprison & kill Christians). They had to be DEAD SURE & they rested their 100s of eyewitnesses:

Nearly all great Christian thinkers also advocated reason as a key element of having faith, debunking the modern atheist myth for the straw man fallacy it is. TheCartesianTheist summarizes just a few of them here:


Atheism itself is largely an emotion based belief wishing to escape the discipline of religion, similar to a truant schoolboy wanting to escape the discipline of studying science. In both cases it is to the person's detriment to follow emotions instead of wise discipline which brings great rewards. Many atheists like Huxley reject the evidence for God for emotional reasons (dislike of controlling their emotions, relationship problems with Christians, desires to be sexually promiscuous, shake off moral restrictions on how they wish to live their lives, etc) because like the Jews they want to do whatever they feel like. But like the Jews & Hitchens, it harms them in this life. If atheists were rationally consistent they should reject all of science too because of scandals, relationship problems & warnings about dangers, etc.

But, some individuals atheists are sincerely trying to follow evidence they know & that's admirable. They like many Christians and others have just not learned how to fairly evaluate evidence to determine truth. But, more often it's because they've never learned the evidence. The problem is that:
1) Schools, academia & governments have banned the evidence (due to church/state concerns/misunderstandings).
2) Just as bad, most pastors aren't trained in science or history & so have sadly just told their members THAT the Bible was true, but not WHY it is true. There's a similar problem often in education & science where students just learn that something is true, not why it's true. How many adults can list the evidence that battles of Thermopylae/Salamis really happened or explain the scientific reasons why heliocentrism beat geocentrism?).

Pastor Frank Turek laments this problem of not teaching evidence in churches that has likely caused many of you to leave Christianity here:
(~2 minutes)

He has a seminar here showing some intro evidence here (but I have better ones overall):
(~2 hours)

One of the most fundamental basics of Christianity itself is to resist following wrong emotions & desires & follow evidence/truth (but it also says there are many good desires & God wants us to enjoy them.).
"¢ But my people would not listen to me. They kept doing whatever they wanted, following the stubborn desires of their evil hearts." Jeremiah 7:24-25
"¢ "Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us & drag us away. These desires give birth to sinful actions. & when sin is allowed to grow, it gives birth to death." James 1:14-15
"¢ "So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won't be doing what your sinful nature craves. The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. & the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other"¦"Galatians 5:16-17
"¢ "Delight yourself in the Lord & He will give you the desires of your heart." Psalm 37:4-7


OFTEN, people have followed truth & evidence against their emotions to become Christians. C. S. Lewis left atheism for Christianity because the evidence was compelling & he could not escape it. But, he writes that it was against his desires & emotions & will that it happened & he was "brought in kicking, struggling, resentful, & darting [my] eyes in every direction for a chance of escape." But, finally the God "whom I so earnestly desired not to meet" became his Lord & Savior. In John Stott, Basic Christianity (London: InterVarsity Fellowship, 1969), p. 47.

I am extremely strongly against following emotions instead of evidence/truth because in addition to the Bible:
"¢ It is people who put emotions above ethics that caused my 2nd business to go bankrupt, costing me ~$150,000 & severely damaged my marriage.
"¢ My irreligious mother-in-law is diligent, but rejects science & the Bible when they conflict with her emotions. I watched my daughter get sick every 2-3 weeks for ~18 months because she wouldn't listen to scientific & spiritual advice on how harmful milk is (see http://blog.truth-is-life.org/why-milk-isnt-healthy/). It's painful to see your child hurting & to know the solution, but the caregivers in your home who feed her when you're working don't care about science or God.

But, millions have suffered even more than I have because of people following emotions instead of evidence. Making decisions, esp. about worldviews for emotional reasons, is one of the most harmful & irrational things imaginable.

In contrast to the Bible's evidentiary based approach, atheists presuppose the worldview of methodological naturalism (you cited a quote saying that "a worldview is"¦a set of presuppositions" & then said your world view is methodological naturalism.) Then they dismiss all contrary evidence & just follow this prejudice. Some Christians have done this too. ANYONE can follow this same way & invent any philosophy & then just dismiss anything they don't like as not being evidence & then their view is every bit as true as atheism. But, all cases of this, whether atheist or Christian are unobjective, irrational, biased, unbiblical, a priori fallacies.

B) FAITH & EVIDENCE:
Ancient faith is based on evidence. This is not understood so well because words change meaning in different cultures & times. Football in England & football in America mean very different things. When Obama & Kim Jung Il of NK use the word democracy they don't mean the same thing.

Aristotle's use of the word science was quite different from ours as well. For Aristotle "all science (dianoia) is either practical, poetical or theoretical" (Metaphysics 1025b25). By practical science, he means ethics & politics; by poetical science, he means the study of poetry & the other fine arts; by theoretical science, he means physics, mathematics & metaphysics." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aristotle

To naively think that words in other cultures & times have the same meaning as you understand them to have is a complete failure to understand linguistics & is a seriously fallacious or naà¯ve practice. It is critical to understand what authors actually mean IN context & not just make false assumptions. This is not guessing. We don't just guess what the English mean when they say football. We look at the context & culture to determine what they mean. It's the same for faith. This is not an excuse. This is rational investigation of what people's usage of words actually means to them.

Bible writers consistently argued from evidence for faith (Greek="pistis") in the existence of God.
"¢ "Many people have set out to write accounts about the events that have been fulfilled among us. They used the eyewitness reports circulating among us from the early disciples. Having carefully investigated everything from the beginning, I also have decided to write a careful account for you, most honorable Theophilus, so you can be certain of the truth of everything you were taught." Luke 1:1-4

"¢ John who was willing to be boiled in oil rather than give up belief in Jesus writes,
"We proclaim to you the one who existed from the beginning, whom we have heard & seen. We saw him with our own eyes & touched him with our own hands. He is the Word of life. 2 This one who is life itself was revealed to us, & we have seen him. & now we testify & proclaim to you that he is the one who is eternal life"¦We proclaim to you what we ourselves have actually seen & heard"¦" 1 John 1:1-3


"Some modern thinkers have insisted that genuine faith is incompatible with evidence. Yet there is a significant tendency in ancient Greek literature, not least in Jewish & Christian writings from the period of Christian origins, to use pistis precisely in the sense of "pledge" or "evidence" on which subjective confidence or belief my appropriately be based...Aeschylus says that the credibility (pistis) of an oath hinges on the integrity of the one who swears it (frg. 394 [222])...One might speak of sense data in general or of a particular empirical observation as constituting pistis in the sense of "evidence" (Democritus frg. 125; Polybius 7.13.5; 8.2.1; 10.47.6; Epictetus Disc. 1.28.3; Vettius Valens 7.5.29-30; Diogenes Laertius 10.63 [Epicurus]). Lawyers describe eyewitness reports as "conclusive proof" of their assertions (Antipho 6.28)...Plutarch, however, describes an Epicurean who doubts that events really offer confirmation (pistis) of prophecy (Or. Delph. 398F). Appian reports that Antony construed Brutus's refusal to fight as clear proof (pistis) of defeat & cowardice (Bell Civ. 4,1119).
from Pistis as "Ground for Faith" in Hellenized Judaism & Paul
http://www.jstor.org/stable/3267114


This is similar to the biblical understanding of faith that Bible writers used to persuade people to believe & trust God, basing their appeals directly on the highest level of evidence that existed, ones that are accepted as very credible evidence in courts around the world today, including in my 2 court cases.

Astoundingly, the Bible writers didn't even just say "I have seen." Many times they told the audience, "You have seen." "You KNOW the facts", etc.
"¢ "You have seen everything the Lord your God has done for you during my lifetime." Joshua 23:3
"¢ "He alone is your God...the one who has done these mighty miracles that you have seen with your own eyes." Deuteronomy 10:21
"¢ "Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a Man attested by God to you by miracles, wonders, & signs which God did through Him in your midst, as you yourselves also know..." Acts 2:22

To define biblical faith as being without evidence is either ignorant or immoral. Socrates, in Plato's Phaedo, said, 'To use words wrongly & indefinitely is not merely an error in itself, it also creates evil in the soul.'

If you're still confused about this, see this site with much more information in depth:
http://www.truth-is-life.org/GoodFaithN ... dence.html
Mon Apr 16, 2012 8:36 pm
TruthisLife7Posts: 87Joined: Tue Sep 20, 2011 11:17 am Gender: Male

Post Re: Debate: Which has a better case, the Bible or Atheism?

D) DOES CHRISTIANITY USE NO TRUE SCOTSMAN FALLACIES?
(Can you evaluate anything fairly based on people who aren't following its principles?)
Some have alleged that Christians use a "no true Scotsman" fallacy.
1) Science is extremely valuable as is Christianity. When scientists study any hypothesis, theory, method, etc. they evaluate it based on adherents or experiments that are following its principles. Scientists unfortunately are human & while some do their best, none can 100% leave their biases, dreams, background, establishment views, concerns about prestige, job security, etc. in a cubicle outside the lab (which is why Christian scientists developed peer review to improve accuracy):
"How Many Scientists Fabricate & Falsify Research? A Systematic Review & Meta-Analysis of Survey Data" by Daniele Fanelli
"A pooled weighted average of 1.97% (N = 7, 95%CI: 0.86-4.45) of scientists admitted to have fabricated, falsified or modified data or results at least once,a serious form of misconduct by any standard- & up to 33.7% admitted other questionable research practices. In surveys asking about the behaviour of colleagues, admission rates were 14.12% (N = 12, 95% CI: 9.91-19.72) for falsification, & up to 72% for other questionable research practices." http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Ad ... ne.0005738


Do we blame science for these scientists who violated the scientific method? Of course not! Is that a no true Scotsman fallacy? NO! No one even implies that nonsense. Yet strangely, most atheists never critically question the practice of judging Christianity by those who are disobeying its principles. SERIOUS, SERIOUS, double standard. People might not like following the methods of science sometimes, similar to the Bible..but nothing empowers humanity more than these two.

There is NO use of the "no true Scotsman fallacy" in saying that it's wrong to judge Christianity or ANY philosophy by those who are disobeying its principles. How would you feel, Ben, if you invented a brilliant method to analyze history & then it was judged, ridiculed & abandoned by "adherents" who misused it, misapplied it, etc. Not fairly treated right? This has been done to Christianity.

2) Astoundingly, some Christians have contributed to this by claiming that God's law isn't important to follow since we are "under grace". Prophets throughout the Bible, Jesus, & others like Paul explicitly rejected this,
--"There is only One who is good. If you want to enter {eternal} life, obey the commandments."~ Matthew 19:17
"Well then, if we emphasize faith, does this mean that we can forget about the law? Of course not! In fact, only when we have faith do we truly fulfill the law." Romans 3:31.2

Jesus said this about people who ignore what God said:
"Their worship is a farce, for they teach man-made ideas as commands from God." Matthew 7:7.
(While there are very admirable Catholic individuals, part of Catholic theology officially claims a right to set aside Bible doctrines for its own traditions, directly contradicting Jesus above.)

God works with us to help us overcome sin step by step & forgives when we see the harm we are doing by sinning & ask for help to change. The Bible makes it clear that faith is a worthless fraud without continual growth in obedience towards the ideal (see Matthew 25:31-46, Galatians 5:16-25, Hebrews 10:26, Romans 3:30, Revelation 12:17, 14:12, etc.). Jesus told the Pharisees of his time (who later killed him because his ideas were too dangerous to their traditions & power) that they were children of hell & hypocrites because they didn't obey God (Matthew 23).

Would you judge science by those who don't follow the scientific method? It's just as irrational to judge Christianity by those who don't follow its principles.
3) If someone listens to a science show once a week, would we license them as a scientist & judge the scientific method on their work regardless of how closely it followed the scientific method? Well, same goes for religion (no double standards). Just attending church doesn't make anyone a Christian anymore than going to a basketball court makes you Michael Jordan. The fact that much "scientific" research on religion only measures attendance, instead of how well it's followed & yet still shows profound benefits from religion/Christianity is simply stunning in its favor.

4) The fact is that there are quite a number of scientists & scientific discoveries that have caused harm to life. We could mention Josef Mengele's experiments, the invention of gunpowder & nuclear bombs & many others. But what should we judge science on:
1) Cherry picking the way science been used for harm by some people as a pretext to discard/reject all science or
2) Looking at the overall benefit from following its principles with wisdom while being honest about how some have misused it & trying to prevent that in the future?

It's just as irrational to judge religion on #1 as it is science. NO DOUBLE STANDARDS. If you check section 2, the benefits from Christianity FAR, FAR, FAR outweigh the harm that people have done by misusing it.

D) ETERNAL LIFE & WHAT DOES THE BIBLE SAY A GENUINE CHRISTIAN IS?
I was extremely shocked by your comments about eternal life, but you made one VERY good point that even some pastors don't understand on faith & works. Responses:
1) Many scientists would give their right arm & other organs to be able to live forever, travel the universe & discover its mysteries. Voltaire offered ,½ of all he was worth for just 6 months more life. That you throw the evidence for eternal life away with such trivial notions is incomprehensible.

2) There is free will in heaven, but after the experiment with sin on this earth recorded for all history, no one will even dream of trying such a horrific experiment again & thus God says sin will not rise a second time.

3) If you really don't like eternal life after gaining it, God won't force you to stay alive.

4) Technically, nobody can be good without God because nobody could even exist without God creating the universe & life to begin with. Atheists & others CAN most certainly choose to be good now & some do, because God has given free choice to all & so ALL for sure do have the same choice to do good.

5) The Bible records cases of immorality for sure. But, God specifically forbids immorality is not immoral & those in heaven will not be either (see Matthew 25, Galatians 5:16-25, etc.). Heaven will have none of the immorality or suffering that exists here. The immoral actions in the Bible happened because:
a) God had to deal with people at the level they were, leading them forward as they were willing to obey, while respecting their freedom of choice at the same time because this is one of His highest priorities. Some choose to disobey & rebel then just as many do now. This causes suffering. But, God will bring justice for all at the end of the world. Most scholars agree that the problem of evil has been resolved by Dr. Alvin Plantinga & others.
b) God was enacting long delayed justice, NOT immorality, in certain severe actions in the Bible and these actions saved billions of lives long term.

6) Hell doesn't exist now. It won't exist for long & it will itself be burned up & destroyed in the lake of fire (Revelation 20:14). So, you will not be happy to go to hell. It's the end of existence & nobody will be having any emotions, let alone happiness there.

***IMPORTANT***
7) You do make a good point in one part. If God requires perfection from people on their own, everyone would give up trying to meet God's impossible standard. If salvation is not connected to good works in some way, then religion loses its power to motivate people to be moral. Pastors who talk about salvation by grace only fail to understand what you do. Kudos to you on that.

What is the Bible's method of salvation? It doesn't matter at all what any pastor says or what I say. What matters is what God says. In the Bible you will see many verses that talk about salvation by faith & many verses that talk about works being a crucial part of salvation as well. Often both are said by the same person. Jesus speaks of both ideas. Paul does. John does & others. Either they are all crazy or there is a way to reconcile them. I argue the latter.
Many books have been written on the technical details of this. But, it's as simple as A, B, C. Based on much evidence of God being real & a rewarder of those who seek Him (Hebrews 11:6), we:
A) Admit/Confess/Repent of sins (sins are basically attitudes/actions that harm & damage our relationships with people or with God or both).
"But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful & just to forgive us our sins & to cleanse us from all wickedness." 1 John 1:9
"He [God] does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent." 2 Peter 3:9
"No, and I tell you again that unless you repent, you will perish, too." Luke 13:5 (see: Acts 2:38, 3:19, 17:30)
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B) Believe in the sacrifice of Jesus for your sins & start a relationship of love & trust with Him. This is called sanctification & is the 1st part of receiving eternal life.
The Spirit alone gives eternal life. Human effort accomplishes nothing. & the very words I have spoken to you are spirit & life." John 6:63 See also: Ephesians 2:8-9, John 3:36, John 5:24
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C) Change by uniting your will with God's Spirit to conquer sin (both doing wrong things & failing to do right things) step by step as God reveals them to us. We will continue to have a battle between sinful & godly impressions (Galatians 5:16-17). But, we have a will that can reject the evil ones & follow the good ones. This brings many benefits in THIS life (Deuteronomy 28, 1 Timothy 4:8) & is a proof that we are in a genuine connection with God (1 John 2). This is called justification & if we keeping growing & maturing in this way, we have eternal life. If we continually reject truth & conquering sin God makes us aware of, we don't have genuine faith (James 2), we don't love Jesus (John 14:15) & we can sever our connection with God & lose salvation (Hebrews 10:26, etc.).
"Faith without works is dead." James 2:20
"Dear friends, if we deliberately continue sinning after we have received knowledge of the truth, there is no longer any sacrifice that will cover these sins." Hebrews 10:26
"Those who have done good will rise to experience eternal life, & those who have continued in evil will rise to experience judgment." John 5:29
"He will give eternal life to those who keep on doing good, seeking after the glory & honor & immortality that God offers." Romans 2:7

God will also reward us according to our deeds (but this is another reward separate from salvation).
"Look, I am coming soon, bringing my reward with me to repay all people according to their deeds." Revelation 22:12

If you are a parent, you don't expect your 1st graders to be masters of linear algebra or differential equations. You just expect them to mature & master the knowledge that is given to them at each stage & practice it. Salvation is kind of like that. Grace & works are BOTH crucial for salvation as this picture shows.
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Basically salvation can be compared to having a baby & that's what Jesus compared it to when talking to Nicodemus. Parents choose to make love & that results in a baby. But the baby takes lots of care & feeding to become an adult. Similarly, we start with loving Jesus. That results in the new birth experience. We become new people as 2 Corinthians 5:17 puts it. But, there's lots of maturing to do & that happens by staying in the relationship with God & growing as above.
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A Christian is someone who has decided to make Jesus the Lord of their lives & has decided to make Him their guide above emotions, pride, selfishness, establishments, culture, etc. They may make mistakes & have failings, sometimes even big ones. But, if they recognize and repent of their mistake, Jesus can cover their sins with His sacrifice & restore them to working towards perfection in every area of life.
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Philip Yancey, one of the most thoughtful & inspirational Christian writers who often deals with how God can be good if there is suffering in the world writes simply, "The world is good. The world is fallen. The world will be redeemed. Creation, Fall, Redemption,that's the Christian story in a nutshell.

Pastor Rick Warren (author of the best selling Purpose Driven) explains what it means to follow Christ quite well here:
http://www.saddleback.com/mc/m/9058/
(short version)

You can see much more on the evidence for Jesus' resurrection here as well as ideas & links on how to learn to recognize God's impression in your own conscience here:
http://www.truth-is-life.org/EternalLife.html

This video is one of the better ones about how to learn to hear God's voice every day & the benefits:

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-3225832853664597810

E) CORRELATIONS CAN SHOW CAUSATION
Ben & MANY atheists have alleged that correlation does not prove causation, yet then used correlation to prove causation themselves. This is a major myth & is a case of atheism promoting serious ignorance. Ironically, you could not have hardly any evidence for universal common descent if correlation could not be used to establish causation.. So, this principle destroys many concepts atheists believe in if used consistently. There is no rational way for atheists to ban Christians from using a concept scientists do. PERIOD.

Correlational evidence is used in many fields to establish beyond all reasonable doubt causal relationships. Depending on the methods & tests used to analyze the correlational data (such as regression analysis, multivariate analysis, confidence intervals, control groups, effect size, etc.) & mechanisms identified, causal relationships can be established. Correlations are seldom 1 to 1 since life is complex & several factors can be involved.

Correlations vary from +1.0 to -1.0. A correlation of zero means no relationship exists, while 1.0 means that every time X occurred, Y also occurred, which strongly indicates causation. When the probability reaches a certain level (often P < .05, P <.1), the null hypothesis is rejected & the result is said to be statistically significant (stats.org/in_depth/faq/statistical_significance.htm).

If you can show mechanisms, the causal or predictive relationship becomes much stronger. If you can't, then it may just be a coincidence, but still could be causal/predictive. Correlation "proves" causation in the sense of following the weight of evidence & beyond any reasonable doubt and this is used to identify causes & influence decisions. Very little in any field is is proven beyond possibility of changing.

This kind of evidence though is more susceptible than observational research to problems such as sample bias, endogeneity, unknown factors affecting the results & others (observational research is NOT immune to these though). Scientists sometimes point out these errors in other's work, which need correcting. But, in many cases, especially historical and ethical, observational data doesn't exist or can't be done (such as testing cocaine's effect on learning on test subjects) & so all we have is to base decisions on is correlational evidence.

Professors from Texas A & M, Purdue, Vanderbilt Universities, etc. writes:
"Correlational designs do not provide the best evidence regarding causal mechanisms. Nevertheless, in at least two ways correlational evidence can be used to inform causal inferences & thus evidence-based practice. The first approach is statistically based, & involves statistically testing the rival alternative causal models, even though the design is correlational. The second method is logic based & invokes logic & theory with non-experimental data in an attempt to rule out all reasonable alternative explanations in support of making a single plausible causal inference." "Evaluating the Quality of Evidence from Correlational Research for Evidence-Based Practice", http://education.uoregon.edu/grantmatte ... tional.pdf


Illegitimate correlations can of course be made. Examples:
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These are some common correlations used by scientists.
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Here are some specific cases:
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from http://scienceaid.co.uk/psychology/appr ... nting.html

Here's a graph from the NIH establishing smoking as a cause of cancer:
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This one shows how lower corruption levels are associated with increases in GDP (from the Institute of Economic Studies, World Bank) & is used in causal ways all over the world to encourage countries to reduce corruption so their GDP can increase.
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from: http://filipspagnoli.wordpress.com/stat ... relations/

CORRELATIONS ESTABLISH CAUSATION IN MEDIA VIOLENCE & REAL LIFE VIOLENCE
Today 1000s of studies show strong correlations between media violence & real life violence. These correlations have been used to strongly argue for causal links & for government legislation & restrictions on kids watching certain media. The Journal of the American Medical Association reported that:
"the introduction of television in the 1950's caused a subsequent doubling of the homicide rate, i.e., long-term childhood exposure to television is a causal factor behind approximately one half of the homicides committed in the United States, or approximately 10,000 homicides annually." The article continued, ""¦if, hypothetically, television technology had never been developed, there would today be 10,000 fewer homicides each year in the United States, 70,000 fewer rapes, & 700,000 fewer injurious assaults" (June 10, 1992). Television & Violence: The Scale of the Problem & Where to Go From Here JAMA. 1992;267(22):3059-3063.
In July, 2000, a joint statement was made to the US Congress by the AMA, the APA, the American Academy of Pediatrics, & the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry. They said, "At this time, well over 1000 studies - including reports from the Surgeon General's office, the National Institute of Mental Health, & numerous studies conducted by leading figures within our medical & public health organizations - our own members - point overwhelmingly to a causal connection between media violence & aggressive behavior in some children. Congressional Public Health Summit, Joint Statement on the Impact of Entertainment Violence on Children, July 26, 2000, http://www2.aap.org/advocacy/releases/jstmtevc.htm


In a study covering 15 years, correlations along with psychological mechanisms were used to show that TV violence of young people are factors in causing higher levels of violence in later years.
"Results show that men who were high TV-violence viewers as children were significantly more likely to have pushed, grabbed or shoved their spouses, to have responded to an insult by shoving a person, to have been convicted of a crime & to have committed a moving traffic violation. Such men, for example, had been convicted of crimes at over three times the rate of other men."
http://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/ ... lence.aspx

In this article, 2 professors who teach statistics to researchers reviewed the literature on media violence influencing aggression & compare it to other harmful causes. There is almost as much evidence for causal links between media & violence as there is linking tobacco & cancer & many other negative factors. They show how even weak correlations can be quite powerful & can still be strong enough to scientifically justify policy. This is a definite causal argument.
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http://www.psychology.iastate.edu/facul ... 1ba.ap.pdf

CORRELATIONS ESTABLISH CAUSATION IN GLOBAL WARMING
Keep in mind that no one can observe what happened in the past. We can make correlations from the evidences left behind though. Pretty much all we have proving global warming in history is correlational evidence.
"Putting all of these records together into a reconstruction of global temperatures shows a beautiful correlation with rising CO2 at the end of the Ice Age," says lead author Dr Jeremy Shakun of Harvard University. "Our study shows that CO2 was a much more important factor & was really driving worldwide warming during the last deglaciation," says Shakun..." http://www.abc.net.au/science/articles/ ... pic=enviro


The editor of Nature reviews this saying:
"These observations, together with transient global climate model simulations, suggest that CO2 was a primary driver of global warming during the most recent deglaciation."
http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v4 ... 10915.html


The Nature editor speaks of CO2 as being a "primary driver" of global warming. This is a clear case of correlation establishing causation, by the editor of Nature. Correlations are being used to influence policy decisions in many fields. So, we can't be so naà¯ve as to deny that correlation can & does establish causation when Christians use it to prove their claims (you may be able to critique methodology errors tho as scientists sometimes do with correlational research.).
Whether it's pharmaceutical companies testing new drugs or scientists studying global warming to determine its causes, connecting toxic chemical use to mental disorders (as in the story of Erin Brockovich), establishing connections between genes & autism (http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-504763_162- ... mutations/), global warming, media & violence, showing that sugar causes you to look older (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/artic ... looks.html) or so many others, correlational research is used in causal ways quite often in NUMEROUS fields.

F) TRUTH, FALSIFICATION & THEORIES - HOW RATIONAL TRUTH IS DETERMINED
Dr. Mary Schweitzer explains how it is the theory with the best evidence overall (NOT just any old critic who has hard questions or doubts) that is what science follows & this is true of fields ranging from science to history to religion (although their evidence & methods may differ some). She's an evolutionist who became famous for discovering soft tissue in dinosaur bones (which she & experts agree should not exist by everything we know of biology & chemistry if they are millions of years old). She writes in response to a critic Dr. Kaye who was alleging that the soft tissue was only biofilm & chides him a bit & reminds him & others that he has to provide more & better evidence than the current theory before it is taken seriously:
-------
"Something that is not fully appreciated by the outsider is that science is a process. One makes an observation, forms a testable hypothesis about the observation, gathers data, & the data either support or refute the hypothesis. It is then refined & retested. If the hypothesis is tested multiple times, it is strengthened, & eventually moves to become a theory, one of the strongest statements in science.
"If one chooses to challenge a hypothesis & the data put forth by another researcher to support it, one is under the obligation to
1. form a hypothesis that provides an alternative to the first;
2. reinterpret the original data presented in such a way that it __better supports__ the new hypothesis than the original, &
3. produce new data that, in addition to the original, more strongly supports the alternative hypothesis than the original. That is the progression of science. Hypotheses are continually being reformulated in this way, because science IS a process, & undergoes revision as new data become available.

http://scintilla.nature.com/node/380683


She goes into detail showing how Dr. Kaye's hypothesis fails to answers & explain the evidence that hers does.

THIS IS HOW SCIENTIFIC & HISTORICAL TRUTHS ARE ESTABLISHED. Speculations & hard questions are interesting, but are not the determining factor of what is truth. PERIOD. Alternative hypotheses MUST, MUST, MUST explain the data & evidence BETTER than the current one in order to be taken seriously. The current theory does NOT have to answer all hard questions & definitively refute every alternative & it may even have some falsifications. But, it ONLY, ONLY, ONLY has to have more evidence than any alternative. THAT IS ALL we need in order to make a commitment to a theory. This is an ironclad, irrevocable, inviolable principle that has been crucial for the progress of knowledge & it is why atheism fails to be rational. We'll look at this in more detail with specific cases in the science section of our debate later.

NO worldview has all of the important questions of life proven 100% without any hard questions or anomalies. It's really unreasonable to demand that of any worldview theistic or not before committing to follow the evidence. Hard questions are interesting & useful to point to further areas of investigations & so are anomalies. By all means continue & consider new evidence (I NEVER said to stop this). But, neither of these is used to determine what is true. It is for this reason that atheism of all types, especially "lack belief" atheism, fail as an alternative to Christianity. Never at any time in history has any form of atheism or agnosticism marshaled anything close to the impressive & extraordinary evidence Christianity has been doing for MANY centuries.


Basically, all fields ranging from science to theology are based on the idea of following the weight of evidence, wherever it leads, an idea that Socrates promoted, but that existed long before him in the Bible (and possibly in other sources as well):
1) "When a king sits in judgment, he weighs all the evidence, distinguishing the bad from the good." Proverbs 20:8
2) God many times told Israel to look back at their history & see what happened when they obeyed & disobeyed so they could make wise judgments about what was the best way to follow.
3) In Isaiah 43:9-13, God famously challenges idols/other gods in a court scene to present their case & show they have more evidence for existing, ability to predict the future, etc. than He has done for Israel. Elsewhere, He says,
"Present the case for your idols," says the Lord. "Let them show what they can do," says the King of Israel. "Let them try to tell us what happened long ago so that we may consider the evidence." Isaiah 41:21,22
4) The Bible condemned the use of a number of fallacies ("the LORD detests double standards of every kind." Proverbs 20:10)

Remember as you read the evidence, that if God is just. He'll "wink" at truths you never learned about or didn't know much about (See Romans 2:12-16, Acts 17:21-30). All God asks of us is that we follow the facts & truth we do have, try to advance in truth, don't reject evidence & truth you know, don't use fallacies, etc.

Here are some other websites on determining truth & avoiding fallacies:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Criteria_of_truth
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Critical_thinking
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Correspondence_theory_of_truth
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fallacies

The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy goes much deeper if you have the time to deal with academic level treatises:
http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/truth/

G) DON'T MAKE TRUTH A SLAVE OF YOUR LIMITED KNOWLEDGE
Many people (including even a few atheist leading scientists) have imbibed a dangerous fallacy that if they don't understand how something works, then it can't be evidence, science or truth. This is horrendously false.
1) Newton didn't need to understand the mechanism for how gravity works in order to do scientific work showing that it was a real force. Even now, we know gravity exists, but are far from completely sure of the mechanism of how it works. That doesn't stop us from studying & teaching it.

2) If we don't draw causal conclusions from correlating data, there can be dire & even deadly results. Knowing the mechanism is nice if possible, but not required. The case of doctors ignoring Semmelweis correlations on hand washing & reductions in deaths in the maternity ward are a very serious example of this & a warning not to be cavalier & just ignore correlations, even when one may not know the causes.(start ~2:30)


Similar to the above, there is no requirement by science that we must know how God did miracles or how He created the earth. Science can give evidence of reality without explaining how. Imagine going back in history without any of our technology & tried to warn them about dangerous viruses or explained that people can send messages across the world in seconds. They couldn't comprehend mechanisms even if you DID explain them. This wouldn't invalidate truth though. Rejecting evidence because you can't explain mechanisms says more about level of intelligence than anything else. This idea that we have to always understand mechanisms before we can follow the evidence is a purely irrational argument that is anti-science & in some cases kills people.

H) BENEFITS TO LIFE FROM OTHER RELIGIONS,DO THEY COUNT?,YES.:
Ben asked:
"Do you have the same stance in regard to the Jewish Torah, the Qur'an of Islam, the Kitab-i-Aqdas of Bahà¡'u'llà¡h, the Hindu Vedas"¦If you don't, & I bet you don't, then why?"

Yep, for sure. If other religions have evidence of pragmatic value, that MUST, MUST, MUST be considered as legitimate evidence. PERIOD. NO DOUBLE STANDARDS. Even some false religions have more evidence than atheism does.

Many people don't seem to realize that many, many failed hypotheses have evidence. Quite a few things that we KNOW are not true have evidence. People often confuse evidence with truth & fact. They are NOT the same thing. It is the weight of evidence all together that matters, not the hard questions, not anomalies, not having conclusive 100% proof or disproof of one claim (although this is VERY nice to have when you can get it), etc. In science, we don't throw up our hands & say, "Oh, we can't decide which theory is correct because more than one theory has evidence." Of course not. That's silly. We look at which hypothesis has the most evidence & follow that, but stay open minded to other theories which have better evidence.
Biblical concepts directly inspired, motivated & built/pioneered most human rights advances, public education, the foundations of the invention of most of modern science & more. That alone puts the Bible, head & shoulders above anything else.

I) BIBLE: LITERAL VS. METAPHORICAL/ INSPIRED VS. INERRANT/SLOWNESS OF PEOPLE/KJV & NLT
"You claim that the Bible is "neither 100% literal, nor 100% metaphorical" & I'd agree. The problem this poses for you though is this: How do you know which is metaphorical & which is literal?" Ben


Question. How do you know which of these 2 sentences is metaphorical or literal:
"I ate a delicious piece of cake."
"Identifying fallacies in arguments against Christianity is a piece of cake."
Most of the time, it's no more difficult than that to distinguish literal & metaphorical. But, in the rare cases it is, we can study the cultural background, the history, talk to linguists, historians, etc. to give us more insights. The problem with the Bible is not usually with the difficult parts. It's with the parts that are easy to understand but that we don't like because they go against our pride, selfishness, laziness, concerns about peer pressure, etc.

Another issue briefly is that many people confuse being inspired with being inerrant. The Bible claims it is inspired. But, it doesn't anywhere claim every word in it is inerrant. What God says is infallible. What people in the Bible said independent of God is not necessarily infallible. For the most part, God as an author is not on trial in the Bible. Writers are recording their interactions with God & trying to convey what God has revealed to the best of their limited ability in very limited language. Still, the Bible is inspired & the most accurate book of history & has brought great benefits to us, changing civilization positively more than anything else in history.

God alone is infallible. But, even He has to reach us through imperfect human language & limit Himself to our lack of knowledge, sort of like Einstein trying to teach relativity to kindergarteners. Some things God says in the Bible are just first steps towards a much fuller ideal and He will open more truth as we follow. Jesus and God were disappointed by people's slowness to understand many times:
"There is so much more I want to tell you, but you can't bear it now." John 16:12 (see also Mark 8:14-21)
Another quick note. The KJV version of the Bible is a very problematic translation unless you are thoroughly acquainted with Hebrew idioms & culture & like Victorian English. The NLT version is far better. This is because it's based on a far better translation method called functional/dynamic equivalence that aims to help modern readers understand the text the same way the original readers would have. Word for word translations can often cause readers to misunderstand what an author wrote since words & idioms can have vastly different meanings in different cultures.

J) CREATION
You asked about creation science. Many of its concepts have been 100% vindicated by science. We know ~10 different scientific concept that limit evolution to creationist levels of evolution referred to in the Bible & published by creationists long before Darwin. We'll leave that for our science section though.

K) WHICH ESTABLISHMENT DO YOU TRUST MOST? ANSWER: LET THEM ALL CONTRIBUTE
We should remember that every year & sometimes every day, we find that establishments have been wrong on different topics (many times new findings vindicate what the Bible has long taught). Is it really wise to let current establishments ban alternative views from presenting evidence when we know all establishments are fallible & esp. when human establishments have a consistently bad record when they go against what God has said, esp. long term?

It's important to question all establishments because:
"The most erroneous stories are those we think we know best, & therefore never scrutinize or question." Stephen Gould

Stephen Gould referred to 2 non-overlapping magisterial as authorities, but it seems to me that we have more than 2 magisteria"¦maybe 10+...and they overlap in quite a few ways. Since we know that religious, historical & scientific establishments have all been right at times & all have corrected the others successfully at times, it would be much better to have a system of checks & balances, something like we have in democracy, where each field is a check & balance on the other. This Venn type diagram seems to be a much more prudent approach to finding truth (the truth part should be bigger than it is I think...the 3 circles are human establishments ideas, not ultimate truth in those areas)
Image

Although the Bible does NOT speak on all topics & is sometimes as it says, "the beginning of wisdom", the Bible has been strikingly vindicated in nearly all its conflicts with human establishments in the past. Skepticism in contrast has about the most abominable track record in all history.

We need to let ALL views, whether Christian, atheist, Buddhist, agnostic, or whatever play on a level playing field & be able to make contributions to science, history, government, etc. judged by consistent standards of evidence. If we don't, we may miss solutions to crucial problems we face & waste resources & human life.


SECTION 2: CHRISTIANITY BRINGS MANY BENEFITS TO LIFE NOW (and has done so for millennia)

Pragmatic evidence is most certainly 1 kind of truth claim & this kind of evidence is used in many fields. We have just as much evidence for God in other fields of history & science if not more, but pragmatic evidence is 100% legitimate as 1 of many truth claims supporting the existence of God because:
1) If the Bible was actually only made up by ignorant goat herders as atheists claim, it might get a few things right by luck & chance. But, it's completely ridiculous to think that it would have gotten all the historical things it did correct & discovered so many beneficial principles for life that you will see in this section, documented strongly by much scientific research. & remember it did all this WITHOUT the scientific method. The only rational explanation for this is that God was involved, giving truth simply so that even illiterate people could understand it, but also things challenging to the minds of geniuses.

2) Pragmatic evidence confirms the general claim/prediction made in 1 Timothy 4:8 that spirituality is beneficial for this life. It confirms many other specific predictions the Bible made as well, which is the way science confirms truth.

3) It's a truth claim because if God really loves people & is wise, we would expect Him to give important truths in very practical & simple ways so that all, regardless of education, IQ, etc. could understand how to follow them. This is exactly what we see. If the Bible was written for academics, only academics would benefit. But, it contains the important things in simple language"¦but much to stimulate academics as well. Only God could give such incredible wisdom in such a perfect mix to benefit people ranging from the illiterate to geniuses so that all could understand how to follow it & have a better life.

4) Some say..well fictional stories sometimes get things right about the future. In certain cases, yes. But, it's because they study reality a LOT or gambling. Most never become reality & those that do were based on luck or serious study. The Bible however has countless consistent connections with reality way beyond gambling percentages.

5) It's a truth claim that God exists because no other nation in history without the influence of the Bible developed a comprehensive system of principles as valuable as God gave in the Bible (many today are still far behind the laws God gave Israel). Don't think of this only in terms of your life. Consider the golden rule and how you want others to treat you as well.

6) God promised Abraham:
"And through your descendants all the nations of the earth will be blessed,all because you have obeyed me." Genesis 22:18

This has already come true as you can see from the example of scientists learning much from SDAs obeying God's health rules discussed at the beginning of this post.

7) BIG CHALLENGE
As you read these benefits below & Bible verses supporting many of them, I challenge you to find ANY society in ancient history that principles/laws as fair, comprehensive & just, promoted health, human rights, strong & happy marriages, freedom, modern science education for all, etc. as much as Judaism & Christianity did directly & indirectly based on the Bible. You may find certain ideas in some cultures since some can be discovered with trial & error & God gave everyone minds to use. But, how could recent slaves & shepherds get 100s of crucial concepts consistently right, & NO harmful laws (although some were only 1st steps out of the corruption of other cultures of the time), when no one else within millennia of them did & they couldn't test ideas with the scientific method to see if they were right or not? That could only happen by God's intervention, a God who wanted people to live a good life & who knew that for these principles to be effective for the greatest number of people, they had to be written simply so that every from the most illiterate slave to the smartest philosopher would not have difficulty understanding what they needed to do.

A) RELIGION IMPROVES HAPPINESS:
A recent review of 850 research papers on the topic concluded that "the majority of well-conducted studies found that higher levels of religious involvement are positively associated with indicators of psychological well-being (life satisfaction, happiness, positive affect, & higher morale) & with less depression, suicidal thoughts & behavior, drug/alcohol use/abuse." Moreira-Almeida, Alexander; Francisco Lotufo Neto, & Harold G. Koenig (September 2006). "Religiousness & mental health: a review". Rev. Bras. Psiquiatr. [serial on the Internet] 28 (3): 242-250. doi:10.1590/S1516-44462006005000006. PMID 16924349. http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script= ... en&nrm=iso

Surveys by Gallup, the National Opinion Research Center & the Pew Organization conclude that spiritually committed people are twice as likely to report being "very happy" than the least religiously committed people. Is Religion Dangerous? p. 156, citing David Myers The Science of Subjective Well-Being Guilford Press 2007

An analysis of over 200 social studies contends that "high religiousness predicts a lower risk of depression & drug abuse & fewer suicide attempts, & more reports of satisfaction with sex life & a sense of well-being," Smith, Timothy; Michael McCullough, & Justin Poll (2003). "Religiousness & Depression: Evidence for a Main Effect & Moderating Influence of Stressful Life Events". Psychological Bulletin 129 (4): 614-36. doi:10.1037/0033-2909.129.4.614. PMID 12848223.

A review of 498 studies published in peer-reviewed journals concluded that a large majority of them showed a positive correlation between religious commitment & higher levels of perceived well-being & self-esteem & lower levels of hypertension, depression, & clinical delinquency. Is Religion Dangerous? cites similar results from the Handbook of Religion & Mental Health Harold Koenig (ed.) ISBN 978-0124176454

Another study shows that:
[/quote] "People who attended religious services at least once a week were 46 percent less likely to die during the six-year study, says lead author Harold G. Koenig, M.D., of Duke University Medical Center in Durham, North Carolina. "When we controlled for such things as age, race, how sick they were & other health & social factors, there was still a 28 percent reduction in mortality," he says....Other large studies have had similar results. Some smaller studies have also shown that spirituality may be beneficial: People who attend religious services, or who feel they are spiritual, experience lower levels of depression & anxiety; display signs of better health, such as lower blood pressure & fewer strokes; & say they generally feel healthier.
http://www.webmd.com/balance/features/s ... ive-longer
[/quote]

There are several meta studies like that above that have the same result from thousands of studies, which is similar or greater than the studies showing a link between smoking & cancer. There are quite a few specific reasons from the Bible why Christianity improves happiness. Time magazine had an article on the science of happiness, saying, "On the positive side, religious faith seems to genuinely lift the spirit"¦" http://www.time.com/time/magazine/artic ... 32,00.html

It lists 20 steps of becoming happier in a supplement here:
http://www.time.com/time/specials/2007/ ... 11,00.html

Here are a few of them.
1 - Count your blessings! A very popular Christian song sung in churches advocates this, based on quite a few verses such as Philippians 4:8 which tells us to dwell on those things that are true, lovely, pure, of good repute etc. James 1 tells us to consider it joy even when trials come.

2, Hear the Music. Christianity has produced more inspirational music than most organizations in history & the Bible tells us in many places to sing new songs & enjoy music. Churches have trained many of the greatest singers in the world (such as Whitney Houston who tragically recently died & countless others) & given them a place to practice, perform & flower. Here are just a couple of MANY songs that inspire encourage & lift the spirits of millions, including me.
Oh Happy Day by the Heritage Singers (Adventist)


Go ahead,Ron Kenoly


For the Sake of the Call


Free by Steven Curtis Chapman


This song saved the life of a 13 year old girl that I personally talked with & has saved so many people's lives & rescued many from depression & hard times:
Before the Morning by Josh Wilson



Scroll through the notes in the song above & see how many people have been lifted from despair by this song. Then multiply that by millions & think hard about whether you'd like millions of people angry about injustice & willing to hurt others in their pain (as many criminals, including non-Christians have done due to having such great difficulties in this life) or people with an attitude that they can overcome the troubles & that even if they have troubles in this life, God has something much better for them.

I've learned a bit of musical skill myself because of the church & so has my brother. Here we are playing on a Christian campout.
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3, Get it on. The Bible revels in sexual pleasure in marriage. You can see this in the Song of Solomon (the English is censored). Even the celibate Paul tells spouses not to deny each other sexually in 1 Corinthians 7 (general principle). If this alone were followed, numerous divorces would not happen.
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4, Nurture Your Spirituality. "Survey after survey shows that people with strong religious faith , of any religion or denomination , are happier than those who are irreligious."

Here is a Christian camp I went to and have great memories of, both from the activities and spiritual activities and insights:


5, Exercise: This was built in to the lifestyle even before sin in Eden. Adam & Eve were caretakers of a paradise garden which required moving around.

6/19, Laugh & smile- "A cheerful heart is good medicine" Proverbs 17:22.
Image

7- Do Something Nice for Someone Else. The Bible tells us that we were created to do good works for others (Ephesians 2:10).
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And many more.

Other psychologists tell us to
--be thankful/thank mentors. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 tells us to be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God's will.
--Thank a mentor! 1 Thessalonians 5:18 tells us to be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God's will.
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--Learn to forgive. The Bible tells us to forgive others if we wish to be forgiven.
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--Invest time & energy in friends & family. The Bible has many verses on the importance of friends & family.
--good health. The Bible has over 40 specific principles on good health.
--reduce stress. Religion has been shown to reduce stress in a number of ways.

In addition to the Bible's admonition to look on the bright side & realize that trouble can teach us lessons (James 1), God says that this world is not our final destination. We are going to a better place (Hebrews 11). This greatly encourages people to keep things in perspective & endure the trials & be willing to sacrifice for the greater good of others for a short time on earth so that they can receive much greater joys that we are certain will come.
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See more articles on the Bible & happiness here:
http://www.markdroberts.com/htmfiles/re ... tm#jan1205

If you're not happy now, consider this picture & try Christianity. Not just sitting in a pew, but actively doing what God says. It can radically change your happiness.
Image

Here are some pages where set the criteria by which to judge which countries are happiest in the world. Interesting & fun to learn about (but remember money is of only limited help for happiness).
oecdbetterlifeindex.org/#/33444445543
http://www.prosperity.com/prosperiscope/
http://hdr.undp.org/en/statistics/

B) CHRISTIANITY IMPROVES MARRIAGE & FAMILY
Professor W. Bradford Wilcox of the University of Virginia analyzed data from three national surveys & published the results in "Is Religion An Answer? Marriage, Fatherhood, & the Male Problematic" He compared secular marriages to Christian marriages & found these results for people who attend church regularly (this is only ATTENDANCE, imagine what it would be if it counted people who followed God's principles as all genuine Christians are supposed to do):
"¢ 11% more Christian men are very happy in their marriages.
"¢ Christian men & women are 35% less likely to divorce.
"¢ Christian father spend about 2 hours a week more with their kids & are ~65% more likely to praise & huge their children ofen compared to fathers who don't have any religious affiliation.

"[R]eligious men (and their wives) enjoy happier marriages, they are less likely to father a child outside of wedlock, & they are more likely to take an active & affectionate approach to child rearing, compared to secular or nominally religious men," Wilcox wrote. "Therefore, any effort to strengthen men's ties to their children & families must acknowledge & incorporate the important role that religious institutions play in directing men's hearts toward home."
http://www.crosswalk.com/marriage/11579251/
published paper at: http://familyscholars.org/2008/06/01/is ... an-answer/

There are many specific Biblical reasons why Christianity makes marriage much happier ESPECIALLY when BOTH spouses follow the Bible principles on marriage. I've personally seen & experienced BOTH ways of living. One for example is in Ephesians 5 where both sides are to put the other's happiness & desires above their own. Another is in 1 Corinthians 7 where Paul tells couples never to deny each other sexually unless BOTH agree. There are a lot of hurting men & women who would never divorce if this one alone was followed. Many others. A Christian pastor who teaches marriage concepts from the Bible in a hilarious way is pastor Mark Gungor of the Laugh Your Way ministry:
http://www.youtube.com/user/LaughYourWay?ob=0 (see the tale of 2 brains esp.)

A growing body of empirical research demonstrates that a family's religious involvement directly benefits adults, children & youth in many ways. Divorce rates are lower & marital satisfaction & quality scores highest among religiously involved couples. Religious practices are linked with family satisfaction, closer father-child relationships, & closer parent-child relationships. There is less domestic violence among more religious couples & religious parents are less likely to abuse or yell at their children. Religious involvement promotes involved & responsible fathering & is associated with more involved mothering. Greater religiosity in parents & youth is associated with a variety of protective factors for adolescents. Rigorous meta-analyses conducted by scholars in various disciplines & examining populations from several different religious traditions have demonstrated that many of the salutary mental, physical, & marital correlations between religiosity & well-being are quite robust & not attributable merely to selection effects or explained away by socio-demographic factors."
How Family Religious Involvement Benefits Adults, Youth, & Children & Strengthens Families Dollahite & Thatcher
http://www.law2.byu.edu/isfl/saltlakeco ... atcher.pdf


The National Marriage Project shows very significant benefits from following Christian principles:
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http://www.stateofourunions.org/ (2011 report)

A couple quotes from the report:
"shared religious attendance is a top predictor of marital stability for husbands"

""¦couples who regularly attend a church, synagogue, or mosque together enjoy higher levels of marital success. Shared religious attendance is linked to an increase of more than 9 percentage points that a parent is very happy in marriage, & to a decrease of more than 9 percentage points that a parent is prone to separation or divorce."

"Figure 13 shows that couples who both agree that 'God is at the center of our marriage' are at least 26 percentage points more likely to report that they are 'very happy' & at least 6 percentage points less likely to report that they are prone to separation or divorce. In our analysis, this measure of marital spirituality emerges as the most powerful religious predictor of marital success."

One of the biggest factors is how often spouses do generous acts for each other. The Bible repeatedly emphasizes this concept in numerous places, for everyone in verses like these:
"God planned for us to do good things & to live as he has always wanted us to live." Ephesians 2:10
"Whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone,especially to those in the family of faith." Galatians 6:10 (also 2 Thessalonians 1:11)

It's not an accident that religious people have happier marriages on average. Long before evidence was gathered to figure out the importance of this & long before it was common sense to all, God put simple principles to improve happiness for all in the Bible.

C) RELIGION (esp. Christianity) IMPROVES SUCCESS IN MANY AREAS OF LIFE
Positive attitudes & happiness have a dramatic effect on success. Shawn Achor in this presentation summarizes research that shows we need to focus on being happy first since that drives many kinds of success.
"If you can raise somebody's level of positivity in the present, then their brain experiences what we now call a happiness advantage"¦Your intelligence rises, your creativity rises, your energy levels rise. In fact, what we've found is that every single business outcome improves. Your brain at positive is 31 percent more productive than your brain at negative, neutral or stressed. You're 37 percent better at sales. Doctors are 19 percent faster, more accurate at coming up with the correct diagnosis when positive instead of negative, neutral or stressed."
http://www.ted.com/talks/shawn_achor_th ... _work.html (see last ,½ especially)


Shawn goes on to explain a few ways to change your attitude such as thinking of 3 things to be thankful for, for 21 days. The Bible has a principle advocating the same thing, but ~2000 of years before modern science confirmed this.
"In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you." 1 Thessalonians 5:18
(This doesn't mean we have to be thankful for getting robbed, etc. But, that we can always find things to be thankful for.)

Since religion greatly enhances happiness in literally 1000s of studies (and there are very specific reasons it does so from Bible principles), the result is that religion also is a direct help in improving success & research supports this.

80 years of research shows that religion improves self control significantly & this is also a major factor in many kinds of success.
"Researchers around the world have repeatedly found that devoutly religious people tend to do better in school, live longer, have more satisfying marriages & [are] generally happier."

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/30/scien ... 1stliskdTQ
See also: http://www.sciencemag.org/content/244/4907/933.abstract
http://www.psy.miami.edu/faculty/mmccul ... lletin.pdf).

Note that the 1st link shows that most Christians, esp. intellectual ones, fear plays almost no role in their belief, myself included. Christians have absorbed religion's values & these bring many benefits & experiencing these benefits helps us want to change more & more to follow God as we understand Him to experience more benefits & wisdom since as in science, discipline brings greater amounts & quality of freedom into our lives.
Mon Apr 16, 2012 10:11 pm
australopithecusAdministratorUser avatarPosts: 4276Joined: Sun Feb 22, 2009 9:27 pmLocation: Kernow Gender: Time Lord

Post Re: Debate: Which has a better case, the Bible or Atheism?

For the benefit of those with slow internet connections it would be advisable to not include any images that have no relevance to the debate.
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Mon Apr 16, 2012 10:33 pm
TruthisLife7Posts: 87Joined: Tue Sep 20, 2011 11:17 am Gender: Male

Post Re: Debate: Which has a better case, the Bible or Atheism?

D) CHRISTIANITY/RELIGION IMPROVES HEALTH
Ben, you claimed that health benefits weren't connected to the Bible. This is not at all true. I'll list over 40 Bible principles that directly cause these health benefits in the science section later. But, consider this:

Dan Buettner, who is NOT religious & who works for a non-religious scientific foundation & works/ed for National Geographic, agrees that the studies are sterling & that the benefits are due to religion. He says:
In America here, life expectancy for the average woman is 80. But for an Adventist woman, their life expectancy is 89 & the difference is even more pronounced among men, who are expected to live about 11 years longer than their American counterparts. Now, this is a study that followed about 70,000 people for 30 years. Sterling study. & I think it supremely illustrates the premise of this Blue Zone project.

This is a heterogeneous community. It's white, black, Hispanic, Asian. The only thing that they have in common are a set of very small lifestyle habits that they follow ritualistically for most of their lives. They take their diet directly from the Bible.Genesis: Chapter one, Verse [29], where God talks about legumes & seeds, & on one more stanza about green plants, ostensibly missing is meat. They take this sanctuary in time very serious. For 24 hours every week, no matter how busy they are, how stressed out they are at work, where the kids need to be driven, they stop everything & they focus on their God (on Sabbath, which is from the Bible), their social network, & then, hardwired right in the religion, are nature walks. & the power of this is not that it's done occasionally, the power is it's done every week for a lifetime. None of it's hard. None of it costs money.

"(at the end)"¦They all tend to belong to a faith-based community, which is worth between four & 14 extra years of life expectancy if you do it four times a month.

Each of these cultures take time to downshift. The Sardinians pray. The Seventh-Day Adventists pray."¦But when you're in a hurry or stressed out, that triggers something called the inflammatory response, which is associated with everything from Alzheimer's disease to cardiovascular disease. When you slow down for 15 minutes a day you turn that inflammatory state into a more anti-inflammatory state."
http://www.ted.com/talks/dan_buettner_h ... e_100.html


The head researchers are saying that the benefits come from the Bible & religious practices. It is either ignorance or dishonesty to claim otherwise.

Dr. John M. Hellawell (Bsc, PhD, CBiol, FSB, CWEM, MCIWEM) explains a bit of how the Bible science was vastly superior to anything of its time:


The National Institute of Heath & National Cancer Institute & other major secular organizations have funded quite a few studies on Adventists who derive their lifestyle from the Bible & godly sources:
http://epi.grants.cancer.gov/ResPort/Pa ... ntist.html
http://epi.grants.cancer.gov/Consortia/ ... ntist.html
http://www.llu.edu/public-health/health/about.page
http://www.llu.edu/public-health/health/previous.page?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adventist_Health_Studies
http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m ... n25376355/
http://www.adventistreview.org/article.php?id=2669
http://www.nih.gov/ (search for "Adventists" for yourself if you wish)

There are ~300 peer reviewed studies on Adventists' health here:
http://www.llu.edu/public-health/health/abstracts.page?

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) & NCI awarded Adventist Health Study-2 $5.5 to continue the research findings above & how following the Bible's diet benefits our lives.
http://www.llu.edu/public-health/health/nihaward.page

Why? Compare Hitchens:
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To my Adventist grandpa playing pingpong at age 101:


And 99 year old Panchita:


or Dr. Frank Shearerwater skiing at 101
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Ed Rawling,cowboy at 103
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Ellsworth Wheram at 97 does 20 surgeries a month
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At 104, Marge Deton still drove her car. She also volunteered at 7 charities. She said, "A stranger is a friend I haven't met yet."
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There are many others like this. But it happens most with those who follow principles of the Bible (it can happen with others, but MUCH less likely.). Many health insights we know today, only exist because certain Bible believers followed the Bible's health instructions & scientists studying them learned important insights & shared them.

NORMAN BORLAUG--CHRISTIAN SCIENTIST SAVES 1 BILLION LIVES
There's another Christian who did an enormous amount to save lives. His name is Norman Borlaug & he is the father of the Green Revolution. He developed new varieties of wheat that were smaller, resistant to disease & that produced far more grain than previous types of wheat. His work greatly improved food security in many nations & Borlaug is often credited with saving over a billion people from starvation. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1970 in recognition of his contributions to world peace through increasing food supply.


E) MORALITY #2--CHRISTIANITY PIONEERED MOST HUMAN RIGHTS BECAUSE OF THE BIBLE & JESUS (ancient people weren't very advanced human rights, esp. internationally):
Christianity pioneered most human rights because other ancient peoples, as Dr. Rene Girard of Stanford & others point out, didn't have much of a concept of human rights or equality. This was because most ancient cultures followed concepts like:
MIGHT MAKES RIGHT: Whoever was strongest made the rules. Others couldn't complain about their lot in life.
"¢ PEOPLE ARE PAWNS: The powerful used the powerless no different from beasts of burden. Look up what Emperor Chin did for the Great Wall of China, enslaving millions for his projects. Many leaders in history ruined millions of lives for the glory of the state. Kings were gods, so the condition of the oppressed couldn't be questioned.
"¢ KARMA & FATE,What people get is punishment from gods..so don't interfere.
"¢ THE KING IS THE HIGHEST AUTHORITY: The king is the highest authority: Some cultures considered the king the highest authority & there was nothing higher. So, if you were oppressed & the king did nothing in life, there was nothing else to do but submit to his wise omnipotent judgment.
"¢ STATE GLORY/WAR IS A HOBBY: In ancient times, war was a hobby of kings. Spring was considered the season for wars to begin. The king's main job was to increase state glory & war was one big way to do that. The rights of the victims didn't matter at all.

So compassion for the disenfranchised just didn't exist much & human life was not an important value for much of ancient history.

RENE GIRARD & GIL BAILIE'S THESIS ON THE BIBLE & HUMAN RIGHTS
Rene Girard was a professor at Stanford & an atheist. As he analyzed history, he realized that there just wasn't hardly any concern for human rights. He looked at different factors that brought the huge changes in this area, but ruled them all out. He found that the very best explanation was that the Bible & Judaism/Christianity that brought a whole new view of human rights into the world based on the injunctions of prophets that people must care about the oppressed & based on Jesus example as the innocent victim who became the conquering hero. The Bible's attitude towards the underclass was this: The way you treat the people in trouble is the same way you are treating God. All are equal in Jesus, so you need to care about these people as if they are brothers & sisters & children of God the same as you are. It was because of sentiments like these that Christianity "turned the world upside down (with love)" as one of their critics put it.

The thought provoking Christian author Philip Yancey summarizes professor Rene Girard's findings on how Christianity changed history:
"Rene Girard was a secularist French philosopher & anthropologist who taught at Stanford for ~14 years until his retirement. He became fascinated with the fact that in modern times disenfranchised people gain a sort of moral authority & noted that in the last couple centuries human rights have increased exponentially. It was surprising because he could find nothing similar in ancient literature. Victors, not the marginalized, wrote history, & the myths from Babylon, Greece & other places celebrated strong heroes, & ignored the rights of the losers/weak if they mentioned them at all. In his research, he traced this phenomenon back to the historical figure of Jesus.

It struck Girard that Jesus' story was radically different from every heroic story of its time. Jesus chose poverty & disgrace, spent his infancy as a refugee, lived in a minority race under a harsh regime & died as a prisoner. From the very beginning, Jesus took the side of the underdog: the poor, the oppressed, the sick, the "marginalied". His crucifixion, Girard concluded, introduced a new plot to history: the victim becomes the hero by being a victim which introduced a student of Girard's called "the most sweeping historical revolution in the world, namely, the emergence of an empathy for victims."

Girard contends that Jesus' life & death brought forth a new stream in history, one that undermines injustice. It may take centuries for that stream to erode a hard bank of oppression, as it did with slavery, & sometimes that stream has to confront Christians who have gotten corrupt or comfortable following the morals of the society of their time instead of thinking of how God wants them to advance, but with people like Nightingale, Martin Luther King, Shane Claiborne, Tony Campolo, the founders of Habitat for humanity, Oxfam, Amnesty International, society for prevention of cruelty to animals & 100s & 100s of others, the stream of liberation flows on. To the consternation of his secular colleagues, Girard eventually converted to Christianity for this & other reasons."
from "What Good is God" by Philip Yancey, p. 215-6

See also:
http://fora.tv/2009/12/01/Uncommon_Know ... ullprogram
http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/199 ... t2136.html


WHY SAM HARRIS' ARGUMENT FALLS APART
The above reasons (and later ones too) are why Sam Harris argument for morality from science fails. It totally depends on what you want to use science for. Science doesn't tell you how its knowledge should be used. It can be used to make atom bombs or nuclear energy. It can be used for any of the goals of ancient nations (and some modern ones too) above. It can be used for the much higher values of Christianity that permeate western culture & the values of many modern atheists.

I agree completely with Harris in his TED presentation below:
"How have we convinced ourselves that in the moral sphere there is no such thing as moral expertise or moral talent or moral genius even?...Does the Taliban have a point of view on physics that is worth considering? How is their ignorance any less obvious on the subject of human well being of morality any less obvious? This is what the world needs now. It needs people like ourselves to admit that there are right & wrong answers to questions of human flourishing & morality relates to that domain of facts. It is possible for individuals & even for whole cultures to care about the wrong things. Which is to say, it's possible for them to have beliefs & desires that reliably lead to needless human suffering. Just admitting this will transform our discourse about morality"¦It seems to me then patently obvious that we can no more respect & tolerate vast differences in notions of human well being than we can respect or tolerate vast differences in the notions about how disease spreads or in the safety standards of buildings & airplanes."
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hj9oB4zpHww


VERY true. But, the morals that Harris himself has, depend on Christianity. He's arguing from an ought to an is..and the foundation he's arguing on is Christian rather than for example Genghis Khan's value system of rape & theft:
"The greatest joy a man can know is to conquer his enemies & drive them before him. To ride their horses & take away their possessions. To see the faces of those who were dear to them bedewed with tears, & to clasp their wives & daughters in his arms"


What you use science for depends mostly on your value system & priorities in life. If your priorities are like Norman Borlaug's or Florence Nightingale's, then great good results. If they are otherwise, science will just be a tool to accomplish evil.

Harris also fails to be fair & say that it's not just individuals, cultures & religions that can have wrong values, it's also governments, atheist groups, scientists, entire academic fields, pretty much any group, not just the Taliban (which he implies is typical of all religion, not at all true.). How you use scientific knowledge depends totally on your values & morals that are determined independently of science"¦and most of those were pioneered by Christian believing in the Bible & God as the Creator of all life. & btw, if you read Kant you will find pretty much all of Harris' arguments in a much more rigorous manner.

There are 100s of specific & general principles in the Bible that inspired Christians to sacrifice their lives for the good of others. One of the most significant is Matthew 25:31-40 & James 1:26-27 where God tells us that the way we treat the poor, those in prison, widows, orphans, etc. is the way we treat God & helping them is true religion & those who don't do this won't be in heaven. Those & verses like these are directly responsible for inspiring countless movements that led to progress in human rights.
"Thus says the Lord of hosts, Render true judgments, show kindness & mercy to one another, do not oppress the widow, the fatherless, the sojourner, or the poor, & let none of you devise evil against another in your heart." Zechariah 7:9-10
"Give justice to the poor & the orphan; uphold the rights of the oppressed & the destitute. Rescue the poor & helpless; deliver them from the grasp of evil people. " Psalms 82: 3,4
"Thus says the Lord: Do justice & righteousness, & deliver from the hand of the oppressor him who has been robbed. & do no wrong or violence to the resident alien, the fatherless, & the widow, nor shed innocent blood in this place." Jeremiah 22:3
"You trample the poor & steal what little they have through taxes & unfair rent"¦Do what is good & run from evil--that you may live!" Amos 5:11-14
"But don't be fooled by those who promise you safety simply because the LORD's Temple is here. They chant, "The LORD's Temple is here! The LORD's Temple is here!" But I will be merciful only if you stop your evil thoughts & deeds & start treating each other with justice; only if you stop exploiting foreigners, orphans, & widows; only if you stop your murdering; & only if you stop harming yourselves by worshiping idols. Then I will let you stay in this land that I gave to your ancestors to keep forever." Jeremiah 7:4-7

Life as we know it in most countries around the world simply would not exist without Christianity. At best would be centuries behind where we are today in human rights, moral areas, modern science & this will be documented more below. Those who ignore the vast evidence about the benefits of religion are harming their lives NOW & losing many benefits in this life as well as the opportunity to make a big difference in history as many of these Christians below did.

SPECIFIC HUMAN RIGHTS CHRISTIANITY PIONEERED/IS ACTIVE IN
Charles Murry wrote about the British underclass (that applies to most countries): "No matter how much money we spend on our cleverest social interventions, we don't know how to make teenagers who have grown up in an underclass culture into steady workers, we don't know how to make up for the lack of good parents, & most critically, we don't know how to make up for the lack of communicates that reward responsibility & stigmatize irresponsibility." Murray, "The British Underclass," Public Interest, no. 99 (Spring 1990).

Christianity has been addressing these & many other problems more successfully than any other group in numerous fields & countries"¦although it does take much time, money & personal effort (which is one thing that reduces the per capita income of Christians greatly"¦but even though this isn't considered, Christians still rank high average income, esp. when comparing nations).

There are 1000s if not millions of examples of Christian individuals & organizations who have been fighting human rights abuses around the world for centuries. Their main inspiration for sacrificing time, money & sometimes their lives in this pursuit was the Bible & its numerous human rights principles. Here are only a tiny few of the many that exist. Some more are here:
http://www.truth-is-life.org/GoodLifeEvidence.html
"¢ HUMAN RIGHTS: Amnesty International campaigns for justice for oppressed people all over the world. It was started by 2 Christians Peter Beneson & Eric Baker in 1961. Early Church Fathers advocated against polygamy, abortion, infanticide, child abuse. The Magna Carta is considered one of the most important documents in human history for human rights & western law. Lord Denning described it as "the greatest constitutional document of all times, the foundation of the freedom of the individual against the arbitrary authority of the despot". The man most responsible for writing it was Stephen Langton (Archbishop of Canterbury).
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amnesty_In ... al#History
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Role_of_th ... man_Empire
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stephen_Langton, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magna_Carta

"¢ HEALTH CARE & EDUCATION: Christianity has been the single largest provider of health care & education in the world in history (and in many places still is), & often the cheapest. A video on some of this is here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UJ0yjgYyCms

"¢ NURSING: Florence Nightingale was a typical teenager who enjoyed dancing, fashion, the attentions of young men & other aspects of high society life. But in her diary a bit before her 17th birthday she recorded, "On February 7th, 1837, God spoke to me & called me to his service." She believed God wanted her "to do something toward lifting the load of suffering from the helpless & miserable." If she had not had a spiritual experience like this, she almost certainly would just have been one of the society ladies spending her time hosting tea parties in a fancy British house "¦something like a Victorian Paris Hilton. Instead she put incredible energy into social reforms, learning nursing, changing the role of women in society & more.

At her time, hospitals were often places you went to die & staying away from them was one of the best things you could do to stay alive. Florence Nightingale radically changed the field of nursing from one largely composed of rude drunks & prostitutes to a professional career that saves millions of lives every year. She also empowered women, pioneered graphical statistics, Polar Area Diagram, or "coxcombs" as she called them, sanitation, opened the first official nurses' training program, the Nightingale School for Nurses.

"In her book Suggestions for Thought to Searchers after Religious Truths (1859) she argued strongly for the removal of restrictions that prevented women having careers. Read by John Stuart Mill, it influenced his book on women's rights, The Subjection of Women (1869)." http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/REnightingale.htm

Florence's spirituality DIRECTLY motivated her medical & science work. A friend who visited her in Turkey said, "To give less than every ounce of strength would not have been enough for Florence"¦the work she did was God's work. In that thought was all the reward, all the pleasure she desired."

Modern nursing & hospitals wouldn't be the same & would at least be far behind where they are if they existed at all, without Nightingale's spiritual experience. Whether you are Christian or not, you benefit greatly from Nightingale's spiritual experience.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Florence_Nightingale

"¢ SOCIAL WORK: Christianity from the beginning was involved in social work (see Acts 2 & 4). Later under Constantine it set up poorhouses, homes for the aged, hospitals, & orphanages, funded partly by grants from the Empire. It continued to be the main agent of social work in the west up through the 18th century. Jane Addams pioneered modern social work. The Salvation Army was started by an evangelist, William Booth, & cares for the poor & downtrodden in many different countries. Mother Teresa & Little Sisters of the Poor / Missionaries of Charity care for the poorest of the poor (which won her the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979) & India's highest civilian honour, the Bharat Ratna, in 1980.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_social_work, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Almshouse,
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Booth , http://www.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mother_Teresa

"¢ ORPHANAGES: Early Christian nurses picked up children on Roman roads & took care of them. George Mueller pioneered the care & education of orphans for 1000s of children. Amy Carmichael & many missionaries pioneered international orphan care.
http://74.84.206.112/ChurchHistory/11630420/ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Muller, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amy_Carmichael

"¢ ABOLITION OF SLAVERY: On Sunday 28 October 1787 Wilberforce wrote in his diary: "God Almighty has set before me two great objects: the suppression of the slave trade & the Reformation of society." Wilberforce was smeared mercilessly, assaulted & even the target of attempted murder. Yet, he never gave up & after nearly 50 years of campaigning, slaves all over the British Empire were freed (with the govt. paying ~20 million pounds to do it). Wilberforce was also a strong advocate of free education for all, animal rights & many other reforms. His story is told in the inspiring movie, Amazing Grace (http://www.amazinggracemovie.com/). Quakers, Adventists (who almost to a person were against slavery even at the time of the Civil War) & many Christians like Harriet Tubman worked in many ways to free slaves due to biblical principles that forbade oppression of foreigners many times & said that all are equal (watch Amistad) such as these:
Moses: "You must not mistreat or oppress foreigners in any way. Remember, you yourselves were once foreigners in the land of Egypt." Exodus 22:21
Jesus: "all of you are equal as brothers & sisters" Matthew 23:8
Paul: "There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male & female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus." Galatians 3:28
http://www.reformationsa.org/articles/William Wilberforce - Campaign to End Slavery.htm

PEACE MAKING: Christians have been involved in all sorts of peacemaking, sometimes pioneering many important concepts & helping to avoid huge lawsuits, family breakups, suicides, even wars in some cases. My father is a Christian counselor & with my mother they've prevented suicides, saved marriages & much more. One important way they do it is by helping people the war between good & evil that is being waged in each heart (as Galatians 5:16-17 tell us about) & helping people understand that they have a will that can choose to follow or reject the impressions that they are getting from both sides & that God can help us overcome & defeat the harmful impressions. This is just one major ministry that is solving many conflicts, including some involving international companies, using many solidly biblical principles.
Peacemaker Ministries:
http://www.peacemaker.net/site/c.aqKFLT ... ciples.htm
See the promo: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C5gDxQ_t-bc
See an excerpt from the founder: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6QUwtqPvNeA

Another good one that is saving 1000s of marriages is http://www.empoweredlivingministries.org (see their free article section)

"¢ CHILDREN'S RIGHTS: Save the Children. This large relief agency was founded by Eglantyne Jebb, a Christian, who also campaigned for social reform in this area. The Declaration of the Rights of the Child was adopted by the League of Nations. She also pioneered the Child Sponsorship program. The London Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (London SPCC) was also started by Christians. Josephine Butler was a passionate Christian who campaigned against child abuse & for an age of consent & led in other social reforms. World Vision, is one of the largest relief & development agencies in the US involving child sponsorship. It was founded by the Christian, Dr. Robert Pierce.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eglantyne_Jebb, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Josephine_Butler, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Pierce
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_S ... en#History

"¢ MEDICAL WORK: There are countless Christians medical missionaries who have given up lucrative careers in their home countries to go & serve abroad"¦sometimes for a whole lifetime. Dr. Victor C Rambo was a passionate Christian who could have made a lot of money as a doctor in the US. Instead he lived in India where he "worked from dawn 'til dusk" operating on cataracts where little or no other help was available. Some stayed at home though. Dr. C. Everett Koop. Koop performed groundbreaking surgical procedures on conjoined twins & infants, invented techniques which today are commonly used for infant surgery, & saved the lives of countless children who otherwise might have been allowed to die.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C._Everett_Koop#Career amazon.com/Apostle-Sight-Victor-Surgeon-Indias/dp/0915684543

RED CROSS: Herny Dunant, the founder of the Red Cross, was extremely devout & the Christian philosophy of helping others in trouble was ingrained in him from an early age. He was involved in several societies to help the poor. In 1852, he founded the Geneva chapter of the YMCA & more. According to the ICRC, the emblem adopted was formed by reversing the colours of the Swiss flag. However, according to jurist & Red Cross historian Pierre Boissier, no clear evidence of this origin has been found; the concept that the design was chosen to compliment the country in which the convention at which it was adopted was held, was promoted later to counter the objections of Turkey that the flag was a Christian symbol.

It is undisputable that Christianity inspired Henry Dunant in starting the Red Cross. & likely that the symbol was derived from Christianity at the start, but later changed.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_Dunant

"¢ CIVIL RIGHTS: Rev.Martin Luther King Jr., a man of great courage & faith who was at the centre of the civil rights movement as were many other pastors. They worked to end racial segregation & racial discrimination through civil disobedience & other nonviolent means (yes, sometimes against other Christians who were in power). MUCH of his effort derived directly from the Bible, including key parts of his "I have a Dream speech"
http://www.biography.com/people/martin- ... jr-9365086, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martin_Luther_King,_Jr.

"¢ ECONOMIC JUSTICE. Christians have long been heavily involved in pioneering economic justice & fair trade for the poor. In the last 25 years, 1.3 billion people have escaped from poverty largely because of campaigns like Jubilee2000, Make Poverty History, Christian Aid, Oxfam, ONE, Tearfund, & 100s of others. Many like these were started by Christians. Oxfam pioneered modern famine relief. It works to address famine & economic injustice on a worldwide scale. It was founded by Quaker Christians in Oxford in 1942.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tearfund, http://www.makepovertyhistory.org, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oxfam
http://www.truth-is-life.org/jubileeeconomics.html

"¢ MICRO-FINANCING: David Bussau AM (born November 10, 1940) is a pioneer of microfinance. According to the World Bank, micro-enterprise has proven to be one of the most effective & sustainable ways to solve poverty. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Bussau

"¢ EDUCATION: Jews & Christians pioneered the concept of public education fueled by the faith's embrace of equality, since we believe all were created in God's image & have a right to knowledge & a decent start in life. Christian influence led to the first universities, in Paris & Bologna, then Oxford & Cambridge along with Harvard, Princeton, Yale, Ewha, Yonsei (in Korea), & numerous others. Out of the initial 110 universities started in the US, 100 had Christian foundations. Ellen White puts it eloquently, "Higher than the highest human thought can reach is God's ideal for His children. Godliness--godlikeness--is the goal to be reached. Before the student there is opened a path of continual progress." http://www.whiteestate.org/books/ed/ed1.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of ... ted_States

"¢ EDUCATION FOR BLACKS/WOMEN: Mary Lyon is one of many Christians who pioneered education for blacks, women, etc. She valued socioeconomic diversity & did much to make schools affordable for students of from different economic backgrounds. Booker T Washington http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mary_Lyon

"¢ HOUSES FOR THE POOR: Millard Fuller, a Christian, founded Habitat for Humanity, one of the largest charities in the US which provides housing for the poor internationally. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Millard_Fuller

"¢ PRISON REFORM: The Quakers pioneered prison reform during the Victorian age. Women like the Quaker Elizabeth Fry were horrified by prison conditions & formed the Ladies Newgate Committee which started schools for prisoner's children, suggested basic human rights for prisoners & teaching prisoners a trade etc (she also pioneered setting up homeless shelters). Gladys Aylward pioneered prison reform in China advising the Mandarin to give the prisoners jobs. She was known to the Chinese as 艾偉德 (Ài Dé WÄ›i -meaning 'Virtuous One'). Today, Prison Fellowship International (amongst other Christian ministries) works around the globe in prisons to help reform & rehabilitate prisoners.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prison_ref ... ed_Kingdom, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prison_Fellowship_International
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elizabeth_Fry, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gladys_Aylward, http://www.historyswomen.com/womenoffai ... ylward.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prison_ref ... ed_Kingdom
http://www.pfi.org/media-and-news/news/ ... index_html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prison_Fel ... ernational

RELIGION & A BIBLICAL DIET REDUCES PRISON RECIDIVISM
The State of California had a recidivism rate of 95%. This is the percentage of former prisoners who are rearrested. The Victor Valley facility fed prisoners a vegan diet, gave them Bible studies & taught anger management & reduced that recidivism rate down to 2%.
vegetarianspotlight.com/2011/vegan-diet-impacts-california-prison/

This has happened in several places & countries.

"¢ WORK REFORM: The 7th Earl of Shaftsbury was inspired by his faith to become a leader of the movement for a multitude of work reforms such as the Factory Acts of 1847 & 1853, the Ten Hour Bill, as well as the Mines & Collieries Act 1842 & the Lunacy Act 1845. He also supported children's welfare rights & was a chairman of the Ragged Schools Union & a keen supporter of Florence Nightingale.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anthony_As ... haftesbury

"¢ ADDICTION: Alcoholics Anonymous helps 2 million people. Its emergence was inspired by the Christian "Oxford Group" & it's based largely on Christian principles. Many other 12 step groups have since formed.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alcoholics ... beginnings

"¢ KINDERGARTENS: Friedrich Wilhelm August FrÃbel (or Froebel) (April 21, 1782 - June 21, 1852) laid the foundation for modern education based on the recognition that children have unique needs & capabilities. He developed the concept of the "kindergarten", & also coined the word now used in German & English. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Friedrich_Fr%C3%B6bel

"¢ WOMEN'S RIGHTS:
This is somewhat controversial, so we'll look at it a little more in depth:
1) CONSIDER SURROUNDING CULTURES: You must remember that to the Greeks for example, women were "defined as near slaves, or as perpetual minors" in Athenian society (The Greek World, pg. 200). The Greek Poet Propertius said: "May my enemies fall in love with women & my friends with boys." Semonides wrote about 10 types of women which were at best a beautiful evil & at worst a curse for mankind. Hesiod writes wrote, "Whoever trusts women, trusts thieves." There was significant love between sexes of course. But, several ancient cultures had little respect for women. Greece unfortunately influenced certain Christians in several wrong ways. You WILL find different roles & functions for the sexes & some rules were first steps out of the evil cultures, not God's final ideal. But, God created respectful relationships, not misogyny.

2) THE BIBLE PIONEERED WOMEN'S RIGHTS: The rights of women in the Bible were vastly superior to most other ancient cultures. They were considered an equal partner in Genesis. While nearly all ancient societies were patriarchal & many treated women as having few if any rights, Israel women had rights to food, clothing & sex & if not given these, they had the right to divorce. Women in the Bible were also important in many ways:
"¢ judges (Deborah),
"¢ queens & heroes (Esther, Rahab), (see Esther's story here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tM-cB7xp-uk)
"¢ prophetesses (Huldah, Anna, Noadiah, Isaiah's wife),
"¢ mothers of miracle babies (Sarah & Elizabeth),
"¢ leaders of Israel (Miriam, Deborah, Jezebel (evil)),
"¢ wise managers of the home & business women to be respected (Proverbs 31),
"¢ Jesus' human mother (Mary),
"¢ disciples of Jesus (Luke 8:1-3, 2 Marys, Salome, Joanna, Susanna & other women),
"¢ supported Jesus when his disciples abandoned him (Matthew 27:55-56, Mark 15:40-41).
"¢ Mary Magdalene & other women were privileged to be the first to discover that Jesus had risen from the dead (Matthew 28:1-10, Mark 16:1-7; Luke 24:1-11).
"¢ Women were treated as at least near-equals & allowed to hold positions of responsibility & important in the early church (Mary, Dorcas, Julia, Lydia, Persis, Priscilla, Phoebe, Tryphena & Tryphosa: Acts 1:12-14, 9:36, 16:14, 18:24-26, 21:7-9, Romans 16:1-16). Why?
"¢ Women had rights to be provided food, clothing & sex, that were not to be denied (Exodus 21:10, 1 Corinthians 7, see also: http://www.jewfaq.org/sex.htm)
"¢ All are equal--"There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. (Galatians 3:28)
"¢ All are to submit to each other. Men to women, women to men, etc. ( Ephesians 5:20+)
"¢ Read the Bible's picture of a noble woman, one who is involved in the home, business & public life & deserves respect & praise for her hard work in Proverbs 31:10-31.

See a bit more here about how the New Testament protected & expanded the rights/role of women here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r2M6HswlH3A

3) PROGRESSIVE TRUTH: God many times was frustrated at how slowly Israel followed truth. Many things you see in the Bible were not the final goal. Some were only first steps out of abusive pagan cultures. That's all they could handle & God only gives us what we can handle (1 Corinthians 10:13). Even Jesus told his disciples much later that He had more to teach them, but they weren't ready for it. God gives us what we can handle step by step. But, there's always more. Sadly, in some areas today, we still haven't reached God's ideas...especially for example in economic rights. Some of the laws God gave for women in Israel may seem unusual for us today. Some treated women as equal, some treated men & women a little differently because there are differences between men & women. But all God's laws were actually for women's protection. Some of the more unusual laws in the Bible are explained here:
http://web001.rbc.org/pdf/discovery-ser ... -women.pdf

3 well known cases of Christian women & missionaries pioneering women's rights & human rights are:
1) Christian missionaries like Gladys Aylward & Christian governments criticized footbinding in China as being harmful & damaging to women. They did a lot to free women of this cruel practice.
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2) Missionaries like Amy Carmichael due directly to Bible principles which forbade religious prostitution & others, fought the Hindu custom of temple children & rescued many children from that.
"Hindu temple children were young girls dedicated to the gods & forced into prostitution to earn money for the priests, i.e Devadasi. Much of her work was with young ladies, some of whom were saved from forced prostitution. The organization she founded was known as the Dohnavur Fellowship"¦The fellowship would become a sanctuary for over one thousand children who would otherwise have faced a bleak future. In an effort to respect Indian culture"¦she herself dressed in Indian clothes, dyed her skin with dark coffee, & often travelled long distances on India's hot, dusty roads to save just one child from suffering." She & other missionaries also opposed the Hindu practice of burning widows with their husbands.
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amy_Carmichael
Short movies: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0zocTZhXMxo, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m7h1oF7hwoA, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JEDHQ5wL_BY

3) "Mary Slessor went to live among the Efik & the Okoyong which lived near the Efiks who live in Calabar, in present day Nigeria. There she successfully fought against the killing of twins at infancy. Mary Slessor was a driving force behind the establishment of the Hope Waddell Training Institute in Calabar, which provided practical vocational training to Africans."
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mary_Slessor

"¢ CIVILIZED MANY TRIBES: Many very dangerous tribes have been civilized & educated by Christians sacrificing their time, money & sometimes lives to improve the lives of others. Here's just one.
At the close of the 19th century, the British branded the Hmar people of northeast India as "the worst headhunters." It was a label well deserved at the time. But in 1910, a single copy of the New Testament Gospel of John came into this village & changed the course of history for the Hmar people. Through that single copy of John's Gospel, Chawnga, the father of Rochunga Pudaite, was introduced to a revolutionary "new life in Christ." He & a few tribesmen "forsook all & followed Christ." Chawnga believed that Rochunga was God's chosen instrument to bring the Scriptures to the entire Hmar tribe in their own language.This is the story of Rochunga's personal pilgrimage. It is an unforgettable saga of his dedication to a vision & of the Lord's direction in his life. Filmed in India, Hawaii, Scotland & America, this beautiful film will be enjoyed by the entire family.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-4hkUVW5Yj4

There are 1000s organizations that Christians have started. It's hard to find an area of human rights that Christians haven't been involved in, often pioneering them.


SPECIFIC HUMAN RIGHTS CAMPAIGNS HAPPENING NOW:
Many of the above organizations continue their work. Here are a few more that have just gotten started.

FREEDOM SUNDAY: Over 4,000+ churches recently had a "Freedom Sunday" campaign to end modern slavery on February 26, 2012.
http://www.freedomsunday.org/about/

COMPASSION SUNDAY: Here's another major campaign by many churches to focus the attention of the world on the world's poorest children & gain sponsors to help them on April 22, 2012. There are all kinds of helps for leaders in doing presentations on this. I personally have sponsored 2 children for years (even though I'm in debt).
http://compassionsunday.com/about.php

LIVE58: As I mentioned before, 1.3 billion people escaped from poverty due to Christian campaigns against poverty in just the last 25 years. Another campaign against poverty is happening in this area now, with churches again leading the way:
http://www.live58.org/thefilm/

GIRLS ARE NOT FOR SALE:
Onnuri church in Seoul, South Korea has started a major campaign fighting sex trafficking of women in Korea.
http://groovekorea.com/article/girls-are-not-sale

JUSTICE CONFERENCES
Here's a video from the recent Justice 2012 conference in Oregon, sponsored by World Relief (an organization that began in 1944 when American Christian denominations joined churches in Europe to address crucial needs there.


Christians for Biblical Justice (Christians for Biblical Equality, an organization that advocates for gender justice from a biblical perspective.)


ADRA HAS HIGHEST RATING OF HIGH EFFICIENCY
And Christian organizations often get the highest ratings for efficient use of funds, far higher than most government organizations. My church's charity, ADRA (Adventist Development & Relief Agency), for example received Charity Navigator's highest rating of four stars for efficiency & financial growth for 4 years in a row recently.
http://www.adra.org/site/News2?page=New ... e&id=10781

An Adventist Pastor is also one of the leaders in protesting bank injustice & withdrawing funds.
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/10/us/ch ... .html?_r=1

Many SDA & Christian colleges of other denominations are heavily involved in AID work. One of my friends, Jeff Boyd is heavily involved in many kinds of activism, justice & goes to Christian colleges to speak about ways to help.
Union College supports Tiny Hands International
http://advactivism.wordpress.com/2012/0 ... ands-intl/.

Then there are Christians like Shawn Claiborne, who risk their lives to protest war. He's one of many Christian radicals trying to make the world better than it was when we arrived.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shane_Claiborne

C.S. Lewis was right when he said that those who make the most difference in this world are often those who most strongly believe in another world, eternal life. That is very true.

F) MORALITY #3,CHRISTIANITY IMPROVES SOCIETY'S MORALS
Much research shows that Christianity as well as other religions significantly improves morals in society. Again there are many factors that contribute to morality. But, Christianity is a big one.

I mentioned Guenter Lewy's book, "Why America Needs Religion" before. He again is not religious & meant to write a book against the need for religion. But, many studies reversed the title of his book. Here are just a few.

Lee Ellis reviewed 56 studies dealing with the link between crime & religiousness. There were many factors involved, but he concluded that if by being religious "one means attending church frequently, there is manifestly a strong tendency for religious people to commit fewer crimes." Ellis, "Religiosity & Criminality: Evidence & Explanations of Complex Relationships," Sociological Perspectives 28 (1985): 513.

William Bainbridge studied 75 metropolitan areas & found significant negative associations between church memberships & 3 crimes, assault, burglary, & larceny. He controlled for other variables such as age, education, racial composition, & income, & concluded that religion has "an independent power to deter several kinds of deviant behavior in which harm is done to other persons." Bainbridge, "The Religious Ecology of Deviance," American Sociological Review 54 (1989): 292.

T. David Evans found that religious activities such as attending church, listening to religious broadcasts, & reading religious materials had a significant negative effect on adult criminality. Evans et all., "Religion & Crime Reexamined: The Impact of Religion, Secular Controls & Social Ecology on Adult Criminality," Criminology 33 (1995): 195-224.

There is strong evidence that religion can help reduce the out of wedlock teen pregnancy (which nearly all scientists agree has many negative effects). The most comprehensive study on this was done at the Rand Corporation & studied high school sophomore women. The authors found that religiousness was a strong predictor reducing subsequent single parenthood.
Allan, F. Abrahamse, et al., Beyond Sterotypes: Who Becomes a Single Teenage Mother (Santa Monica, Calif: Rand Corporation, 1988), p. 38.
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Richard Gill writes about the importance of strong biological marriages, "If one had to select the single most important factor responsible for the disturbing condition of many of today's younger generation"¦.the breakdown of the intact biological parent family would almost certainly be at or near the top of the list" Whether measured in economic terms or in terms of children's emotional development, behavior, psychological & physical well-being, & school performance, the data strongly support the superiority of the intact family & the high cost of divorce to children." Gill, "For the Sake of the Children," Public Interest, no. 108 (summer 1992): 81-82. See also David Popenoe's Disturbing the Nest: Family Change & Decline in Modern Societies (New York: Aldine de Gruyter, 1988), p. 315.

What reduces divorce? Professor Lewy says on pg. 109 that "Numerous studies"¦have indicated that religion operates as a powerful deterrent to divorce." He cites a study by Albrecht where 10 percent of those who never attended church services were divorced, but only 4 percent of those who attended church weekly had divorced (Albrecht et al., Divorce & Remarriage, pp. 51-53, 80-83. A national marriage survey by Gallup in 1988 showed that 75% of spouss who prayed together were very happy in their marriages compared to only 57 percent who did not pray. (Andrew M. Greeley, Faithful Attraction (New York: Tor Books, 1991), discussed by David G. Myers in " The Pursuit of Happiness: Who is Happy,and Why (New York: William Morrow, 1992), p. 173.

In a study in 1983, 57% of non-religious Americans were still in their first marriage, while 87% of Mormons were (Albrecht et al., Divorce & Remarriage, p. 80.)
Many liberals speak & care passionately about the human rights of others. While there are good points that both conservatives & liberals make, the facts are that it is conservatives (often religious believers) who are the ones who contribute most to the improvement of quality of life of others. Arthur C. Brooks, a professor at Syracuse University, published "Who Really Cares: The Surprising Truth About Compassionate Conservatism." He found that
"¢ conservatives give 30 percent more to charity than the average liberal-headed household ($1,600 per year vs. $1,227).
"¢ Conservatives are more likely to volunteer their time (67% to 44%), & volunteer more of their time (almost twice as much) & give more blood.
"¢ Religious people are statistically more likely to give than secularists (91% to 66%)
"¢ Religious people are even more likely to donate to secular organizations & unknown recipients than secularists.

The single biggest predictor of someone's altruism is religion & America is largely divided between religious givers & secular non-givers although there are some positive improvements happening among secularists.

A survey of 1,600 Canadians asked them what were their beliefs about God & what moral values they considered to be "very important." The results of the survey are shown below:
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http://www.centerforinquiry.net/uploads ... nts/Social virtues linked to faith.pdf
(UK) Recent research showed that 81% of evangelical Christians do some kind of voluntary work at least once a month. This compares with a much lower figure of 26% for the population at large, obtained in citizenship surveys by the Department for Communities & Local Government, & is consistent with comparable differences identified by researchers in North America.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree ... ntary-work

Similar results were confirmed through a five-year study by the political scientists David Campbell & Robert Putman.
http://www.usatoday.com/news/opinion/fo ... 5_ST_N.htm

G) MORALITY #4,WHAT ABOUT BIRTH CONTROL, ABORTION, CHRISTIANS IN PRISON, etc.?
I agree with Ben that teaching abstinence & no birth control, etc. could increase teen pregnancy & abortion. Quite logical. But there are likely other factors much more significant, such as media, involved. But, I find it a bit odd that he uses correlational studies in terms of causal ways in this area, but then without any justification tries to reject those same kinds of studies when they point to God.

Btw, the Bible nowhere forbids birth control, so I have no problem with that. I am not pro-choice or pro-life since the Bible doesn't even mention the concept of abortion. But, since the fetus does have human traits & since abortion has connections to mental problems & cancer, the Jewish position seems wisest to me. They don't claim it's fully human as pro-lifers do, but neither do they denigrate it as just a bunch of sells as pro-choice people do. They view it as a life in the process of development. But, research shows that abortion is a significant risk factor in causing cancer:
http://www.ramahinternational.org/abortion_risks.htm
http://www.prolifeinfo.ie/mcms_print.php?nav=p-27304
http://www.roenomore.org/press/2003bio.pdf

So this approach is the one I advocate:
"(Orthodox) Judaism recognizes psychiatric as well as physical factors in evaluating the potential threat that the fetus poses to the woman"¦Before reaching her final decision, Conservative Judaism holds that the woman should consult with the biological father, other members of her family, her physician, her Rabbi & any other person who can help her in assessing the many grave legal & moral issues involved. "
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judaism_and_abortion

What about Christians in prison?
1) Some cite statistics that show there are many Christians in prison. But, as above, claiming to be a scientist, Christian, doctor, etc. doesn't make you one. Neither the Christian nor the doctor & scientist are "No True Scotsman" fallacies. This was explained before..

2) The lists don't consider WHEN the person became a Christian. It also doesn't measure how much a person's morality improved before they were Christian or atheist as compared to afterwards. Many prisoners "convert" for benefits in prisons as well as the fact that they are there because they DISOBEYED the Bible"¦which clearly can't be trumped up into being caused by religion. At best you could say churches with 1-2 hours a week weren't effective enough at opposing the influence of society, peers, culture, books, the media that is astronomically powerful in causing people to commit crimes. There is absolutely no link between commands in the Bible & crime since the Bible explicitly forbids pretty much every crime (in general) for which people go to prison. This is a straw man fallacy.

3) Making lists without rigorous scientific testing, control groups, etc. is not solid scientific evidence. You could just as easily say: The more firemen fighting a fire, the bigger the fire is observed to be. Therefore firemen cause fire. You could also say that since there are more blacks in prison than whites, blacks are naturally more violent than whites. These are all cum hoc ergo propter hoc logical fallacies.

Most of the references linking prisons & crime have been debunked or could just as easily show that being black or having big toes causes violence. Many careful secular studies have done careful analysis as above unlike these studies & showed that Christianity significantly improves morals.

4) Christians actively reaches out to drug dealers, gang members, & all sorts of dysfunctional people. It works to empower many in the lowest strata of society & help them become less destructive, more moral & more constructive & productive. This is something that society owes a HUGE debt to Christianity for. But it takes time to change them...so we would expect to find more crime in those types of groups than others. This does not change the fact & research above that Christianity directly improves morals as MANY studies prove.

5) Some Christian denominations have for centuries said that we are "under grace, not law" & so obedience to God isn't important. Just have faith. This is foolishness as explained in the section on eternal life. It is really wrong to count someone as a Christian who believes that obedience is not important.

6) Most of the people who are atheists became that way after years of indoctrination by numerous secular professors with Sagan's extraordinary fallacy, materialism, methodological naturalism, etc. It is difficult to deny all the evidence from our senses, the scientific method, historical method & logic for God without this. But, the fact that they had money to pay for higher education means that they are usually richer than the average. Better education, better economic power & better economic stability all reduce tendencies to criminal behavior.

7) Economic status plays a HUGE role in crime, more than many other factors. Christians give huge amounts to build schools, churches, hospitals, science centers, human rights campaigns all over the world"¦which is why they are somewhat poorer. There's also the issue of who is committing the bigger crime...those who deprive people of economic justice in order to live lavish lives or those who are like a grandma in Chicago just stealing some food so their grandkids could eat (the judge in that case famously fined the audience for allowing this situation to exist). See my topic of economics below on this.

H) MOVIE PIONEERS
Many pioneers of the movie industry were Christian.
http://www.adherents.com/movies/Film100.html


I) CHRISTIANITY IMPROVES FREEDOM
Philip Yancey writes, "In 2009, the human rights organization Freedom Watch certified eighty nine countries as "free"; 81 of them were predominantly or historically Christian." What Good is God, p. 59. You can see a similar list here from Freedom House to see a similar pattern (and note that many of the nations with the lowest human rights are or were officially atheist in the last century):
http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0930918.html or here: http://www.freedomhouse.org/

Compare nations under Christianity to all 22 of those that were officially atheist (they all lacked belief in God). Atheism has not been a friend of free thought when it has been the official view of the state. See a summary of the University of Hawaii's Power Kills research here:
http://www.godandscience.org/apologetic ... ities.html

And note that power is directed at what an organization feels is its enemy, biggest threat. For atheism (and to some extent communism, although communism is more of an economic concept) that was explicitly religion, something it considered a hindrance to progress & something to be suppressed in every way possible. It is the most common thing for any organization with power to use it against what it considers harmful. That's exactly how atheism has used power & many other organizations, including Christianity as well. But since atheism has no higher authority & Christianity does, atheism has been connected to vastly more harm to freedom & human life than Christianity or frankly all religions (including false ones) in all history put together ever have. This doesn't mean atheist individuals are evil. Many are admirable. But a state with an official atheist view is about the most dangerous institution in all history.

J) GOD CHANGES LIVES NOW:
Christianity has changed billions of lives for the better. It's made mistakes to be sure (but in research for example, 4% of priests have been involved in sexual misconduct with children (partly because the Catholic church goes against the Bible & wrongly forbids marriage for the clergy), but 9-10% of teachers have been involved in sexual misconduct with children. So to be consistent, we would have to fire all teachers if we want to get rid of all pastors/priests. Here are just a few examples of countless lives that have been improved by God.
http://www.youtube.com/user/truthislife ... E3DB6FE0D5
http://www.washedred.com/changed_lives/
http://www.cbn.com/spirituallife/sharey ... imony.aspx

The above is just a SMALL part of the evidence of great good Christianity has done, frequently DIRECTLY based on Bible principles that no other culture had even conceived of & were only vindicated by the scientific method, which was also invented by Bible believers. I'll conclude with a question:

"How can you deal effectively with the facts if you deny their existence?" Robert J. Ringer
Last edited by TruthisLife7 on Tue Apr 17, 2012 12:02 am, edited 2 times in total.
Mon Apr 16, 2012 11:55 pm
TruthisLife7Posts: 87Joined: Tue Sep 20, 2011 11:17 am Gender: Male

Post Re: Debate: Which has a better case, the Bible or Atheism?

australopithecus,
All pics have relevance to the debate. But, a couple could have been left out. I'll try to keep those with slower internet connections in mind next time.
Mon Apr 16, 2012 11:58 pm
australopithecusAdministratorUser avatarPosts: 4276Joined: Sun Feb 22, 2009 9:27 pmLocation: Kernow Gender: Time Lord

Post Re: Debate: Which has a better case, the Bible or Atheism?

TruthisLife7 wrote:australopithecus,
All pics have relevance to the debate. But, a couple could have been left out. I'll try to keep those with slower internet connections in mind next time.


Pretty much all of them could have been left out. That's all I will say on the matter, however I'd choose what you post carefully next time.
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Tue Apr 17, 2012 1:07 am
TruthisLife7Posts: 87Joined: Tue Sep 20, 2011 11:17 am Gender: Male

Post Re: Debate: Which has a better case, the Bible or Atheism?

With all due respect, not if you understand that readers have different learning styles and backgrounds. I've been an educator for 19 years. There are reasons for what I do that you may not understand.
Tue Apr 17, 2012 4:13 am
australopithecusAdministratorUser avatarPosts: 4276Joined: Sun Feb 22, 2009 9:27 pmLocation: Kernow Gender: Time Lord

Post Re: Debate: Which has a better case, the Bible or Atheism?

With all due respect, it takes me a good minute to load this page now. Before it loaded instantly. Save you teaching methods for your classroom, this is an Internet forum. If you truly believe pictures of Tinkerbell and cartoons of talking sharks are relevant to the debate or in any way an aid to learning then that is your business, however next you will not post pictures that have no direct relevance to the debate and I those of us not blessed with high speed Internet wont have to stare blankly at a screen while it loads.

Clear? Good.

End of discussion.
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Tue Apr 17, 2012 9:03 am
TruthisLife7Posts: 87Joined: Tue Sep 20, 2011 11:17 am Gender: Male

Post Re: Debate: Which has a better case, the Bible or Atheism?

Asutralopithecus,
If you will unlock it so I can change it, maybe I could get rid of a couple pictures (but in a day or so, I'm way too busy now) since I had no idea it would cause it to take a minute to load. Sorry about that. I couldn't care less about Tinkerbell. The quote is what matched one principle of being happy. If you want to suggest another from google images with the same quote, I'll consider changing it to that one. Even on www.ted.com, cartoons are at times used to illustrate important points. Don't forget that learning is a lifelong privilege, not just for the classroom. Most professors I know, including myself, are continually learning from many sources. I sometimes learn from kids and even illiterate people as well as Ph.Ds, atheists like Hitchens, Ben and others.

And btw, some are confused about the Hitchens comparison with my grandpa. That's solely a health comparison. Hitchens beats my grandpa easily in political knowledge and certain other fronts. My grandpa beats him on certain fronts, esp. health. The point was only health, that's all.
Tue Apr 17, 2012 2:02 pm
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