God save us from preachers fouling the waters of science


Waylon and Willie might have done a great service for the world had they sung, instead, “Mamas, don’t let your children grow up to be preachers./ . . . make ‘em be biologists and teachers and such.”

I’m moving my response to a poster, lowerleavell, up from the depths of the thread on this old post, “Why intelligent design shouldn’t bully Texas high school kids.”

Among other things creationists do which I find destructive, they tell people stories about what evolution theory “says,” or what happens in nature, that simply are not true.  Very simply, creationists, especially preachers, paint such a vivid but false view of human nature “according to science,” that a lot of misbehavior can be blamed on the preachers’ convincing people, especially children, that they are supposed to misbehave.

I’ll just let the post speak for itself; Joe’s words are blockquoted, my response set without indentation:

Joe said:

Every presented “truth” has ramifications. If you tell people long enough and dogmatically enough that they are the result of some massive cosmic accident (Dawkins viewpoint) then eventually they’re going to start getting the picture.

We can hope. As Dawkins notes, the picture they should get is that we need to be human to one another, to treat each other well, to defend human rights, to cherish life while we live it. So far, I don’t see a lot of that happening, at least, not enough — and, as I’ve noted earlier, I think it’s because religion gets in the way.

You tell people that humans are simply evolved animals and are surprised when they act accordingly.

Actually, that’s what preachers say — you won’t find a scientist putting it that crudely, or that inaccurately.

We tell people that humans are evolved animals — a true statement, as any physician can tell you — and we tell them that we expect them to act as animals do. You seem to think that would be bad. But anyone who studies animal behavior will tell you that the bravery and altruism of the tiny sparrow defending her nest against marauding crows matches the bravery of any human, anywhere, any time. You seem to think that animals have no sense of morality, but that’s not what we see in nature. You seem to think that humans’ animal morality is bad, but as Darwin noted (in chapter 5 of Descent of Man), the foundation of our evolved morality is “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” That’s the principal that allowed us to survive as a species, and to thrive. Darwin even went so far as to lay out a scenario for how genes that produced the behaviors could be selected for in natural selection.

Make no mistake: “Animal behavior” is not immoral behavior. We didn’t thrive as a species by stabbing our friends in the back, at least, not until the invention of religion (the story of Cain and Able is a Bible story, remember — you don’t find siblings going after each other to the point of murder much in nature).

Joe, you’re preaching against the Golden Rule. Leave it to a creationist who claims not to be advocating creationism to preach against Christian morality and claim it’s evolution’s fault.

One of my concerns is that creationists — especially people who claim to have a ministry — get this animal morality thing exactly wrong. It only strengthens my feeling that we need to keep such people from innocent children.

It’s preachers who tell children that they’re animals, and that they can act evilly, Joe, not science. Preachers probably don’t even intend to do that, but they get the science dead wrong, they tell the kids that’s what science says . . . what’s a kid to think? Would a preacher lie to them?

I agree we shouldn’t teach immorality to children. Joe, will you join me in keeping Baptist ministers from doing that? You guys should stop telling children that evolution is untrue, that animals are immoral, and that our baser, animal instincts trend toward sin.

Incidentally, that’s not what the Bible says, either. It was Man who sinned, not animals. In your zeal to get evolution, you’ve departed a long ways from what the scriptures say. I’d say it’s time to rethink what you’re doing.

You tell people that they are the evolution of nature and are surprised when they act according to their natural impulses and emotions.

I wish they’d do it more often, rather than substituting the morality of organized religion.

Geese mate for life and look out for each other. Bonobos keep peace with an almost literal “make love, not war” ethic — it protects the children very well. Prairie dogs look out for one another, posting guards to keep everybody safe — they double the guards when their children are out foraging, to double the protection. Musk oxen, tiny things, really, defend their young with the entire herd, sacrificing an adult if necessary to protect the offspring. Gorillas, chimpanzees, orangutans, elephants, lions, whales and others protect and venerate their aged, the sages who can guide the herd/troupe/pride/pod/clan through difficult times. Throughout the animal kingdom, we find animals as exemplars of behavior, mostly.  Murder is extremely rare in most species.  War is even more rare.

What in the devil is wrong with that morality? Why wouldn’t we want our children to “act as animals?”

You know, if one studies the history of evolution in science, one is struck by the remarkable sterling character of most of the scientists involved. With very few exceptions — Haeckel’s dishonesty and rampant nationalism, Watson’s general unpleasantness — these scientists are paragons of moral behavior. Darwin was a giant of morality, an outstanding, faithful and loving husband, a caring and doting father. Wallace was a pillar, too — except for his dabblings in seances later, a function of his Christian beliefs. Dobzhansky, Wilson, the Grants, Simpson, Gould, Eldredge, Coyne, Myers, Majerus, Kettlewell, Mayr — these are people you would be happy to know, whose morality is generally beyond reproach.

Contrast that with the greats of religion — Calvin burned his friend Servetus at the stake. Luther was a rabid anti-semite. Various popes robbed, murdered and fornicated. Rasputin led the Russian court to debauchery and villiany. The occasional Billy Graham is an exception among preachers, it too often appears. We lost count of the famous preachers who were caught with their pants down and their hands on the wallets of their friends.

If evolution produced evil, wouldn’t we see that in its greatest exponents? Instead, we see the opposite — evolutionists living lives of saints, churchmen living lives of evil.

There’s a parable about the fruit of a poisoned tree. Do you know it?

You say that evolution is not immoral and in and of itself it may not be – but what is presented to people can contribute to dramatic ramifications, which is what I’m saying.


Evolution is immoral only when presented, inaccurately and basely, by preachers.

It’s not science, it’s not the study of evolution, and it’s not studying science in school that is the problem here.

You’re making a great case for licensing preachers, insisting on standards, and checking their work. I think I can see where the problem is, from your presentation.

How would you propose to fix it, without taking the pro-ignorance route?

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21 Responses to God save us from preachers fouling the waters of science

  1. [...] gotta give some credit to Joe Leavell, who showed up here on his own rather than on a troll’s trolling assignment from [...]

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  2. Ed Darrell says:

    Joe, I can’t find the thread where you asked the question, but as to your question about how the universe can be only in the nature of 14 billion years old and yet have stars 20 billion light years away:

    See this post:

    http://scienceblogs.com/startswithabang/2009/07/the_size_of_the_universe_a_har.php?utm_source=readerspicks&utm_medium=link

    Ethan is a “theoretical astrophysicist,” which should mean he’s better able to answer your question. And, if I’m not mistaken, he answers exactly the question you asked (though in different words).

    3.) The farthest things in the Universe — the things that emitted their light 13.7 billion years ago — are 46.5 billion light years away from us now.

    So how did this happen? Two things, one simple and one not-so-simple. The simple thing is that the Universe has been expanding this entire time. Imagine you’ve got an ant on a deflated balloon, and the ant moves at a rate of 1 cm/second. When the balloon is totally deflated, the ant is only 2 cm away from the top of the balloon, her destination. But as she starts walking towards the top, something inflates the balloon. As she walks towards the top, she notices that the balloon around her is expanding.

    Nice illustrations, too.

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  3. RBH says:

    lowerleavell wrote

    If the Genesis account is true, God created the universe fully mature – i.e. light from other stars reaching the earth.

    Omphalos lives. And was the nova that that we saw in 1987 that was 168,000 light years away (and hence 168,000 years ago) not really a star that exploded, but was merely a blob in the created stream of light? The star never really existed? Henry Morris made that claim decades ago in support of the “appearance of age” position. That position is the one that has God deceiving us by planting false evidence of an old earth. “Deceive” = “lie.”

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  4. Nick Kelsier says:

    Thank you for saying it better then I did, Ed.

    Joe, as Ed said…Creationism is contradicted by the fact that there is evidence…mountains of it..that says that it isn’t what happened. The claim that the Universe is as young as you claim is contradicted by the fact that there is evidence…principally the fact that we are getting light from stars hundreds of millions of lightyears away..to the contrary.

    And as for your claim about DNA just meaning that God created all life out of “similar stuff” the fact is that we share DNA with some species and don’t share any DNA with other species. That we share 95+% of the same DNA as the pongoids means only one thing..that we have a common ancestor. That is all it can mean. Just like the fact that you share a percentage of the same DNA as your first cousin means you have a common ancestor. If DNA denotes ancestry among your family, Joe, it doesn’t just magically stop doing that when you stretch it out further back in time.

    You can come up with whatever cockamamie explanation you want, Joe, but none of your explanations account for the reality of the world.

    Now which is more likely. That God created the universe, the world and all life therein how the evidence says? Or how you say the Bible says? Because you’re asking us to trust the Bible over God. Or more specifically your interpretation of the Bible.

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  5. Ed Darrell says:

    No, I am not calling God a liar. Using your logic, God is a liar by raising Jesus from the dead because rising from the dead isn’t scientifically possible. But God said He did it – you believe Christ to have risen right? If you do, it is contrary to the laws of science, which would make God a liar to what we see. I’m thinking that He’s not a liar and that what He says happened really happened, with Jesus and with Creation.

    Using my logic, God would be a liar in a resurrection only if the resurrection left a body in a tomb, only if the resurrection left no evidence of its occurrence. I’m not talking about miracles that cut against the laws of nature — that’s rather the definition of a miracle, after all — but instead I’m talking about events that creationist claim could not occur, though God left a lot of evidence that they did occur.

    There isn’t a shred of physical evidence to deny the resurrection of Jesus. Neither is there any physical evidence Jesus was resurrected, but in contrast to creationist versions of the creation of the Earth, the Biblical claim is not contradicted by mountains of evidence.

    It’s not being contrary to the laws of science that would falsify a claim. It’s leaving evidence that show a contrary event. The flood of Noah, for example, had it occurred in the last 30,000 years, would have flooded Jericho, too, no? It’s the lowest city on Earth, about 800 feet below sea level. Digs, by Christians and Jews, at Tel Jericho show no floods in the last 15,000 years at least. They show no flood at all. Moreover, the depression in which Jericho resides, had it been full of water, would take 20,000 to 30,000 years to empty out, by evaporation (there is no place for the water to flow to, since it’s below sea level). So, a worldwide flood is contradicted by the evidence in one of the cities the Bible uses as a key scene for action; it’s also contradicted by physical laws. That latter contradiction doesn’t rule out a miracle by God remove the water, but there is no way to put a flood into Jericho without making God out as a deceiver.

    Calling it a miracle, if it’s a miracle, is pretty straightforward. The miracle of resurrection is a key part of Christian theology and tradition. There is no contrary evidence. God would be a deceiver in that case only if you find the evidence that Jesus was not resurrected, that Jesus lived to the age of 80, that Jesus still exists in a tomb, or something similar.

    In contrast, for the creationist view of creation to be accurate, God would have had to make the entire universe lie. That’s unlikely, and contrary to the Christian view of God.

    I hope you can see that not all miracles are the same, and that the miracle of Jesus’s resurrection, as related in the Bible, is not contradicted, as are the many miracles of ridiculous proportion required by the creationist version of how life arose and diversified.

    Science doesn’t contradict the resurrection of Jesus in any way. There is no evidence for science to use.

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  6. Nick Kelsier says:

    Have one last question. Are you going to say that the Creation stories of all the other religions of the world are also historical fact?

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  7. Nick Kelsier says:

    Since I in no way shape or form was addressing Jesus’ ressurrection you’re grasping at straws. That I take as a matter of faith.

    And yes..you are calling God a liar. You are saying that the evidence of the world that the world is older then you say..that life is older then you say..that the universe is older then you say is all a lie. And yet you turn around and say that God created the world, all life on it and the rest of the universe. And you’re not calling God a liar? How?
    You say the light we see tonight from a star 4 million light years away isn’t really light that has taken 4 million years to get here. And yet you say that God created that star and that light. And you’re not saying God lied or is tricking us? If He created that light but that light isn’t really from 4 million years in the past then you are saying that God lies.

    And like I said before..even if you take the Creation account in Genesis literally it still does not say that the world is 10,000 years old and it still does not say that humanity is only that old and IT STILL DOES NOT SAY THAT HUMANITY JUST *POOFED* APPEARED. You have to interpret it to get that which means you’re not taking it literally. The Creation account answers only two questions: Who and Why. It does not answer when, where or how. The only central part of the Creation story that Christian faith rests on is..wait for it…that God created the universe, the earth and all life therein. It does not shake Christian faith or remove any underpinnings thereof to accept the fact that the Universe, the earth and all life therein is older then your interpretation of the Bible says it is. At some point the fact that there is mountains of evidence to the contrary has to be acknowledged, Joe. At some point, Joe, religious belief has to acknowledge that reality and adjust to it. Or what will happen is that that religious belief will break and fall apart.

    If your interpretation of the Bible says one thing, Joe, but the world says another then it is your interpretation of the Bible that is wrong. Not the world. God created the world, Joe, but God did not create Creationism..humans did. So yes, Joe, Creationism does say that God lied. It isn’t me that’s attacking God…it’s you. It’s creationism that attacks God because Creationism attacks the world and the reality of how the world came to be. Creationism is the one calling God a liar because that is what it says God is doing. At least I’m giving God credit for what He did. You’re trying to treat God as Howdy Doody under your control.

    Creationism is not historical fact. The world was not created according to how Creationism says. The universe is not as young as Creationism says. Life is not as young as Creationism says. Humanity is not as young as Creationism says. To use a simple anaology, Creationism says that the color of the sky at noon is pink with purple polka dots even when the evidence is to the contrary.

    And as for my saying that YEC are the Christian Taliban that is how they’re acting when they try to get Creationism taught in the public schools. Now admittedly Taliban is a harsh term to use but Al Qaeda are terrorists..the Taliban are fundamentalist fanatics. There is a slight difference. If the YEC would quit trying to get Creationism taught in the public schools then they would not be acting like the Christian Taliban.

    And it is entirely hypocritical of you to try and chide me for “not seriously considering the Bible” when I believe the Bible, I just don’t accept your interpretation of it. Nor have you seriously considered that your interpretation of it is wrong nor have you considered that YEC is wrong.

    The last three Popes have all said that the theory of evolution is entirely consistent with what Christianity teaches. Why should I consider your expertise on what Christianity teaches and on science greater than theirs?

    And as for the Bible..do bother to keep in mind that the Bible is a human written book. It is a tool for Christians but it was not written by God. It is not the “literal and inerrant” Word of God. It was inspired by God but that is not the same as authored by God. And the fact that there are different versions of the Bible..the fact that they all don’t say the same exact thing is proof of that.

    So when the Bible says that God said “Let there be light.” exactly why couldn’t that be referring to the Big Bang? Just for example. After all, the Big Bang is within God’s capabilities is it not?

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  8. lowerleavell says:

    Calling God a liar is something I must address.

    No, I am not calling God a liar. Using your logic, God is a liar by raising Jesus from the dead because rising from the dead isn’t scientifically possible. But God said He did it – you believe Christ to have risen right? If you do, it is contrary to the laws of science, which would make God a liar to what we see. I’m thinking that He’s not a liar and that what He says happened really happened, with Jesus and with Creation.

    I don’t remember saying that the whole Bible was to be taken literally, but what I meant was that if it is meant to be a parable, we take it as parable, same with alegory, hyperbole, etc. The rule of thumb is basically that the Bible can only mean what it was meant to say – and I’m saying with the Genesis account, it is written in narrative form which is always meant to be taken as historical fact in Scripture. Allegorical writing is a completely different writing style.

    BTW, you called me and all YEC’s the equivelant of the Christian’s Taliban – that would be a terrorist, would it not?

    I will give you the last word and not reply again. Just know that when you post it is not that I cannot reply and have nothing to reply to, but that I am simply choosing not to. I only commented here to demonstrate that Genesis 1 can be taken as historical fact and still God is not a liar. God’s character was attacked and I could not let it slide.

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  9. Nick Kelsier says:

    I didn’t call you a terrorist though, Joe. I called you a fanatic and that was because you’re trying to use the public schools to engage in religious instruction. Soon as you quit trying to argue that the public schools should tell students that God exists I’ll retract the comment.

    It is not up to the public schools to engage in religious instruction. One of the last time that happened in this country, Joe, a bunch of protestants burned down two catholic churches and a convent. And all because the Catholics objected to their kids being subjected to protestant Bible instruction. You’ll forgive me if I’m not inclined to play fast and loose with the US Constitution just because your church is incapable of doing its job.

    And I have no problem, Joe, considering the Bible for what it says. After all, I’m a lifelong Christian. I am not rejecting the Bible, Joe, I’m rejecting your interpretation of it. Do you really have that much trouble recognizing the difference there?

    And I also recognize that science can’t say there is a Creator because 1: there’s no scientific evidence of it and 2: then the question becomes the identity of the “Creator” which opens up a very large can of worms. You want science to tell people what to believe theologically. I don’t. I am perfectly fine in letting people believe there is a Creator or not on their own. That way science doesn’t get dragged into a theological fight. And nothing about the theory of evolution says there isn’t a Creator. it just doesn’t actively say there is one. It’s neutral and that seems to be your problem with it.

    And your claim that God created the universe “fully mature” means that God lied. After all, if we’re getting light from a star 4 million lightyears away that means that light left that star 4 millions years ago. But there you sit saying that God tricked us.
    At least I’m not saying God lied or that God is tricking us. At least in my belief of how God created the universe and everything else God was honest about it.

    Humanity isn’t 4 billions years old. Humanity is younger than that. But Humanity is far older then the mere 10,000 years you want to give it.

    And you can sit there and blind yourself to that fact just to protect your precious Creationism ideology but you are neither following the Bible nor are you being honest in so doing.

    And no, Joe, you can pretend otherwise all you want but most Christians don’t take the entire Bible literally. They take parts of it to be literal and they take parts of it to be allegory and parable. I have yet to meet a single Christian who actually takes the entire Bible literally, Joe. And I can guarantee that you don’t either.

    Anyways, I need to get going. I’ll reply to the rest of what you said later.

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  10. Ed Darrell says:

    Joe, take a look at this book and the discussion:

    http://timpanogos.wordpress.com/2009/03/25/four-stone-hearth-63-bathing-in-the-warm-waters-of-ancient-knowledge/

    About half-way down there’s a subhead, “Does morality have any connection to evolution.” It talks about a post on a book, Walter Goldschmidt’s A Bridge to Humanity, and there’s a fair amount of information there.

    Just curious, no big point.

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  11. lowerleavell says:

    Nic,

    I can’t reply to everything – nor will I. I want you to know that the reason is because I write something and then you paint it as if I said the opposite.

    For example, I say that many tenants of evolution are true in that animals can somewhat adapt and can change through reproduction and genetic manipulation. But then you say that I should not go to a hospital when I’m sick because they adhere to evolution. I’m not arguing against that – I’m arguing that when I go to the hospital to fight off a cold, I’m not killing off a distant relative! I’m saying something and you’re making it sound like I said something completely different. Why would I continue a discussion under those terms when I can’t even have what I say addressed without it sounding like I said the opposite?

    By the way, the DNA evidence tells me who I am related to, yes. No, God is not a liar. Genetically speaking, we are close to many animals genetically. How could we not be and still have DNA? If God made us fully funtioning beings, it would make perfect sense that we would have similar DNA from a common Creator.

    Also, God used dirt – yes – a process of chemicals, yes – but guess what…God’s alive, is He not? A living being gave life to another living being. It wasn’t the chemicals randomly bumping into each other.

    I’m glad that you have no malice towards me beyond calling me a member of the Christian Taliban. :-) You haven’t taken it back, by the way.

    If the Genesis account is true, God created the universe fully mature – i.e. light from other stars reaching the earth. God did not create Adam as a baby, or even as an embryo – He created him fully formed. You are saying it makes the universe lie in looking like it’s millions of years old – I am saying that on the day Adam was created, he did not look like a newborn. He did not put Adam in a garden of seeds and say, “wait until these seeds grow and then you’ll have shade, air, and food.” He created fully formed plants and animals with the ability to reproduce themselves. A miracle, yes? But again, if you just read the account, that’s what it says.

    You said that the Bible does not say “when and how God created the universe, the earth, or life on the earth.” Yeah it does – day one through six. :-) And by the way, I’m not saying that you have to be a YEC to be a Christian – never said that. I am friends with many Christians who wonder about it. But all of them take the Bible literally – they just wonder which is the best way to do that with Genesis – they just wonder if the dinos and millions of years happened first, before the Creation account. Theologically, if you have death before Adam, you have to redefine sin, because the Bible says that death is the result of the fall of Adam. If molecules to man evolution is correct, then God is the one who can be incited as the cause of the death of every creature on the face of this planet from its inception until now because there was death before the fall of man. God is the reason our loved ones get cancer, disease, and all pain, suffering, and evil is the result of His “good” creation. Good job implicating God as an evil dictator with a death wish on all life on planet earth.

    Also, the 10,000 years (roughly) comes from the geneologies of the Bible, not from the creation account. There may or may not be gaps in them and it may be more than 10,000 years, who knows? But I highly doubt there is 4 billion years of gaps in them. :-)

    Did not say I was God’s spokesman, though He calls all believers “ambassadors” of the Gospel which is kind of like a spokesman, I suppose. Are you God’s spokesman? You say that I am dogmatic for holding to the Genesis account as literal – how are you not being dogmatic that evolution is correct? You’re saying that Genesis cannot be literal, but you give no reason except your interpretation of nature to prove you right. People used to believe the world was flat – that’s what “science” taught them. Should they have rejected the Bible in light of science? No – the Bible was proven correct and science changed, even though holding to a literal Bible as ithe world being round was unpopular at the time. I believe the same will happen again with abiogenesis. And no, Ed never did answer my questions about RNA – abiogenesis is not a proven science but a unproven belief and hope.

    By the way, you don’t even like the thought of me calling you a non-Christian (never did) and you call me a liar and a terrorist? Is there a double standard here?

    Nick, this will be my last post on the subject. Feel free to reply, and I may read it, but I simply cannot invest in someone who is not willing to at least seriously consider the Bible for what it says. There are far too many people out there who have real problems that need to be dealt with than to waste any more time in this fruitless discussion.

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  12. Nick Kelsier says:

    Just to make it simpler for you, Joe, on why YEC is not a literal reading of the Creation account in Genesis here’s why. And these are only a couple examples.

    Because the Creation account in Genesis does not answer these questions:

    When and how God created the universe.
    When and how God created the earth.
    When and how God created life on earth.

    For that to be claimed otherwise means you are interpreting the Creation account in Genesis. That you are adding to what it says. And that throws the concept of “taking the Creation account literally” out the window.

    As I said before, if God created all life on this planet then one of the tools that God used was evolution. The theory of evolution is not contrary to what the Bible says, it is not contrary to what God says, it is not contrary to Christianity. It is simply what happened.

    The only thing that the theory of evolution is contrary to, Joe, is your interpretation of the Bible. Which is fine. You are perfectly entitled to your interpretation of the Bible. But you are being supremely arrogant in thinking that your interpretation of the Bible is the only correct interpretation of the Bible and the only interpretation of the Bible that any Christian should have.

    God did not appoint you His spokesman. God did not say that only your interpretation of the Bible is correct. God did not say that evolution is false. God did not say that YEC is correct. You in no way shape or form speak for God or for Christianity. You speak only for yourself.

    So I should bow to your precious YEC why?

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  13. Nick Kelsier says:

    Joe, you claim that teaching that life comes from a “primordial soup bowl” is wrong. You also claim that it is wrong for science to say that life came from non-life.

    Pray tell..what do you think the Bible is talking about when it says that life came from dust/dirt? Is dust/dirt alive? Is dust/dirt not made up of..wait for it…chemicals?

    In the two or so months you and me have been having this discussion you keep on claiming that science can prove a “Designer” and yet every time I’ve asked you to provide said proof you clam up. And yet you sit there and say things like that nonsense “molecules to man” bit to Ed? They’ve shown you examples to back abiogenesis. You haven’t done even that. They can back their claims. You have not even made the slightest attempt to do so.

    You keep on trying to paint science as a religious belief. And the only possible explanation for that is because you can’t argue the science on anything remotely resembling scientific grounds. In other words, Joe, you are being dishonest.

    And as for “reading Genesis as a literal document” since that part of Genesis is obviously not meant to be taken literally why would anyone read it as a literal document? If you read Genesis as a literal document, Joe, there is absolutely no way anyone being honest with themselves can come up with a YEC view. A YEC view says that the earth is at most 10,000 years old? Please tell me..where in Genesis does it literally say that? Remember, Joe, in a literal reading of something you can’t add or subtract words to it. Meaning that, under a literal reading of Genesis, for the Earth to be 10,000 years old then Genesis would have to say that the Earth is 10,000 years old. It doesn’t. If you have to add/subtract words to Genesis to get to YEC then you are not taking Genesis literally…you are interpreting it.

    And as for your position on DNA..congratulations..you just in effect said that you’re not really related to your uncle. Or your cousins. Or indeed..you’re not even related to your grandparents. Because you just said that because you share the same DNA means nothing at all. Humans share 95+% of the same DNA as the pongoids. Meaning, Joe, that humans are, generally speaking, more closely related genetically to them then you are to any of your cousins.
    And once again, Joe, you call God a liar.

    If a literal reading of Genesis can’t account for the reality of the universe, Joe, without being completely dishonest then a literal reading of Genesis with regards to the Creation account is worthless. And YEC is nothing more than pure dishonesty. How can the universe be as young as YEC claims when we’re getting light from stars hundreds of millions of lightyears away, Joe?

    And since YEC is a completely dishonest position, Joe, it is heretical to Christianity. We Christians have to acknowledge truth..even when we don’t like what that truth is. YEC is a lie. It is nothing but a lie.

    Oh and by the way I have no malice towards you. What I do have malice towards, Joe, is ignorance. I also have a great deal of malice towards people who misuse and abuse Christianity. I also hold malice towards those who continue to try and paint this debate as a debate between the theory of evolution versus Christianity.

    You say you don’t accept evolution, you say you object to it. Question then. If you had cancer would you go to a hospital? Because if you really have such a problem with evolution then you better stay out of any hospital on the planet. Because evolution is one of the foundations for modern biology. Meaning..modern medicine in this case. In other words, Joe, I am telling you that for you to actually hold to the beliefs that you claim you have you can not ever ever ever use modern medicine. Not for anything.

    If God created this world and all life on it then God did it in the manner that this world and all life on it indicates. And under no circumstances does YEC..or even Creationism as a whole do that. When all is said and done, Joe, Creationism is an heretical lie.

    Oh and by the way, I have no problem in accepting what God says. But then your interpretation of what God says is not what God says. It’s your interpretation. And your interpretation is a lie. You don’t speak for God, child. You speak merely for yourself. So I would suggest to you that you quit deluding yourself into presuming that you are God’s mouthpiece. It is you that is not open minded. It is you that is narrow minded. It is you that is not listening to God. It is you that is not listening to the Bible, Joe.

    And all because you place your human ideology above God. Because that is all Creationism is. A human ideology that has nothing whatsoever to do with what God said or did.

    And when an ideology can’t account for reality, Joe, it is that ideology that has to bend, not reality. To say otherwise is pure fanaticism.

    Creationism, Joe, is heretical to Christianity. And nothing you say changes that fact.

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  14. lowerleavell says:

    Ed said, “I’ll be doggoned if I know what those questions were. Can you repeat them, or tell me about what they dealt with?”

    Nice quip about dogs, btw. :-) The only questions I remember were the questions I just repeated in this thread, “My question is – if humans have the capacity to do evil (murder, lie, etc.) and animals do not have that capacity, how is it than that we are a part of nature? When did that transition happen where we transitioned into beings capable of evil?”

    Beyond that, I really don’t remember either. You and I have had so many discussions that to go back and try and find it would take some doing. Answering the questions above should be sufficient.

    Ed said, “I didn’t say they were Baptist. I merely point out that it was the religion that caused the jealousy and hatred, not any “animal” behavior. Murder is pretty rare among apes.”

    Well, considering the Bible claims this was the first murder, I’d say it was pretty rare up until this point for humans, too. :-) You said murder is rare among apes. It could also be said percentage-wise that murder amongst humans is rare as well. But not every murder in this world is the result of religion.

    Murder is as old as religion, but it wasn’t Abel with the “religious system” it was Cain. He is the first “religious” person, not Abel. He worshipped in the way that pleased him and gave free reign to his emotions of hate and jealousy for his brother. Any time you try to lower God down to your own level you’ve just created a religion. The only problem with Cain was his heart. The Genesis account of Cain and Abel actually demonstrate the amazing struggle that we all face in good and evil – just one generation from the 1st man, you have the 1st murder. What a sad commentary on the human race whether you take the story literally or allegorical – it’s just sad.

    I won’t defend religion against wars of hate and greed – not at all. Just look at the Crucades – I make no excuse for them. They were just wrong and I can understand the desire to point to religion as the source of that evil. However, evil crimes and are being committed every day by people of faith and people who reject faith. You’d be mistaken to pin the source of evil on manmade religion, because religion is an invention of mankind and so the blame rests on mankind. You’re wanting to place the blame for Cain’s sin on something other than Cain. You sound like a shrink who is looking for something in a person’s past that would draw him into murder. How about we just plead insanity and let Cain go? No. Cain and Cain alone was responsible for his murder – religion was simply the excuse.

    You make it sound as if evolution is the path to peace and utopia in the world, if only we could get rid of those Christian, religious fanatics. I think you’ll be surprised to find that evil people often hide under the cloak of religion, but if you take that cloak away, they’ll still be evil people out there. The problem therefore is not with religion, it is will evil people.

    I agree though – religion is a horrible thing that gives out lies all the time, though I would want to grant them the freedom to believe the way that they do so I can have the freedom to believe the way I do. A relationship with Christ? That’s not a man-made thing because it is a God-initiated relationship, not a man-made system. All world religions emphasize something that you must do to be acceptable – Christianity is the only one that says you can’t do – someone else did. Don’t try and lump the teachings of Jesus into the cesspool of world religions.

    Ed said, “My point is that the quip is dead wrong. Its danger lies in kids hearing it over and over. Who repeats this canard, this falsehood, this lie?”

    You say this and go off on Kennedy (can I join you?) without even saying why it is dead wrong. I would contend that teaching that kids are simply a result of inanimate substances that “poof” became alive by bumping into each other or something no one else has thought of – and somehow, though no one knows how or why began to duplicate itself and evolve for billions of years until presto chango, you have the kid in the classroom – that’s the lie. Especially to tell this lie long enouigh and hard enough to kids who believe in God is the crime and that is where the problem lies, not in “preachers” telling kids there is a God and that He is their Creator.

    Ed – what do they teach you at your church? I am trying to rack my brain here about your beliefs and what you’ve said. 1) God is not the Creator, 2) Belief in God is dangerous, 3) Everything miraculous can be naturally explained, and 4) Humans do not have a sin nature that is anything more than a product of religion. I have the hardest time trying to figure out where you’re coming from.

    You said, “That it is wrong on all the facts, that merely repeating it does damage especially to the kids who sit in church and hear it, never appears to bother creationists. Can you explain why? Obviously you now see the problem.”

    Obviously I don’t, because it is my understanding that if you get too close to a lion, it’s going to try to bite you. You interfere with a bee hive, you’re going to get stung. I’ve been to Yellowstone where really stupid people are trying to get within 10 feet of a buffalo. Animals don’t understand that you’re trying to simply take a picture of them for your photo album. Why? Because they’re wild! “Acting like the animals” is to say that you’re going wild. How is that wrong? How is that lying to children? Are you saying that all animals are domesticated?

    The last thing I have time to address is the supposed falshoods that “preachers” give in evolution.

    1) Evolution is wrong – in two years of discussion you haven’t demonstrated, ever, how molecules to man is even possible. Mutations are not a sufficient ingredient for new genetic information either – and you and I have gone round and round about that one. Let’s just say that in #1, molecules to man is not a proven science in the slightest and you should have no problem with pastors being honest enough with kids and telling them that it is contrary to what the Bible says and is just as much a religious belief that it will be proven someday as belief in Christ.

    2) Evolution is a source of evil. I did not say that – that is a misquotation. I said that it is a teaching that has ramifications, not that it is inherantly teaching people to do bad things. Evolution can be used as an excuse for evil, just as religion can be, but in and of itself is not teaching evil. Must I say it for the 5th time or more? It’s not a question of morality, it’s a question of purpose.

    3) Evolution teaches there is no purpose to life. I did not say that it taught that – I am claiming that it is silent on the subject. Silence speaks volumes on many levels. You give the example of a kid going off to college and learn about science (falsly so called) and discovers his pastor lied to him about evolution. Well, if the pastor does his job right, this won’t happen – they’ll understand that what their professor is teaching about all life coming from a premordial soup bowl is a bunch of unfounded malarky. From my perspective, the longer I study evolution, the more ridiculous the claims of evolution, from going from a 1st generation single cell, to (who knows where all the info came from) all life that we appreciate today. The more I spend looking at this subject, the more I see scientists working overtime to simply dress up their foolishness to make their claims look legitimate to an uneducated society that has no choice than to believe what they are spoon fed in school.

    You call teaching the Bible dangerous – I call teaching religiously that man is the product of natural selection, a lie.

    Evolution is silent on purpose. That silence speaks volumes after evolution destroys a student’s faith in the Bible. Its silence has huge ramifications to our society, and they’re not at all positive. You’re saying that they should never have been taught the Bible to begin with, I’m saying they should never be lied to by science teachers. At least you admit that those who are taught that God created them will find something else being taught in science class. I’m glad we got that one cleared up.

    4) Scientists are evil by nature. Who is saying that? I’ve never said that.

    5) Study of science, study of nature, is evil. Once again, never said that. What I’ve advocated is making sure you have the correct presuppositions before you study the evidence, because whichever presupposition you have will determine what you see from the evidence. You look at the stars with your presupposition and give the Big Bang glory. I give God glory – see? Different presuppositions. Christians WANT to study nature and science, etc. This is a completely mischaracterization of what people are learning in churches in this country.

    Nick,

    I’m not going to answer your post fully, and I simply cannot take the time to always answer false accusations against me. There is nothing helpful about trying to defend myself against someone who gives such eroneous mischaracterizations of what I say. For example, you claim that I’m saying that Ed shouldn’t go to the hospital? What? I said if he had to choose, I’m betting he WOULD go to the hospital instead of going to the wild. Perhaps you’re being blinded by your malice towards me. If I have given you unjust cause for anger towards me, I humbly appologize if that is the case.

    If I have indeed born false witness, I would appreciate being shown in quotation where and I will appologize for that as well. My heart’s desire is to tell the truth. Giving a mischaracterization of my remarks and saying I’m a liar though does nothing but take up space on this blog site.

    I did not say you were not a Christian. That is not my job. I said that I can give you (or better yet, you read) the words of Jesus and the disciples in how they define Christian and you can judge yourself. Is that not fair?

    The Roman Catholic Church is not post-modern in many respects, you’re right. I don’t remember saying that the problem was with the Catholic Church. That is not their problem. The issue there is the elevation of the teachings of popes and church leaders and church traditions to the level of Scripture. Two totally different problems, you’re right.

    Nick said, “And who do you think you’re following if not man through your YEC? After all…YEC is nothing more than human interpretation of the Creation account in the Bible.”

    Read the Genesis account as a literal document. Would anything but a YEC be the order of the day? A literal, grammatical, historical hermeneutic is an interpretation of the Bible, correct. Yet it is not the teaching of the man that I follow, it is what the Bible says alone. Sola Scriptura, remember? That’s why anything that anyone in “my camp” says had better be lined up with Scripture or they’re told flat out that they’re wrong, with no apologies.

    Nick said, “Oh and lastly. If we don’t share a common ancestor with the pongoids..then pray tell why does our DNA match their DNA to a rather high percentage?”

    We were all created by a common Creator who used the same basic blueprint called DNA for all life, including man. Some DNA is closer than others based on the structure that God desired for that being.

    Ray,

    Ed doesn’t want to talk about proximite or ultimate causes anymore.

    Ok, busy day – got to go! I really need to be done writing these posts. Too much to do. Guys, you go ahead without me. Slander me and pat each other on the back for your agreeing with each other. Tell people I’m a liar and that we need to be done with these “preachers.” I simply must be done. I have an alcoholic to get together with to help him overcome his addiction. I have to babysit tonight as well for a couple whose daycare is closed today. I have to get ready for Easter to “lie” to people about Jesus rising from the dead. I simply don’t have time to write these posts at all anymore. Maybe I can check in from time to time to say “hi” but even that may be a waste of time.

    Are you even open in this discussion? No. I’ve concluded that you are not. Therefore, I am wasting my time by writing people who have no interest in accepting what God says anyway. If you’re not listening to God Himself from the Bible, why would you listen to me?

    Like

  15. Ed Darrell says:

    Why do we exist? How is that a part of this discussion?

    You try to take that away from people by purporting that there is no purpose beyond their five senses and all I’m saying is don’t be surprised at the results.

    First, I’ve never claimed that there is no purpose to life. Second, evolution makes no such claim. You’re imagining harms where none exist.

    Once again, the danger here is from misguided preachers. Scientists don’t say “there is no purpose to life, so give up.” But imagine a kid from a small Texas town, a regular church goer, who hears his preacher’s sermon once a year on the evils of evolution, how evolution says there is no purpose to life. The kid doesn’t think much of it. Then the kid goes off to college and studies science, and discovers that the preacher lied about the science behind evolution. He learns that science is right about evolution. What does this mean to him?

    It means his preacher lied to him. He trusted a “man of God,” and got kicked in the butt for it.

    Now overlay the standard crises of growing up on that kid. His girlfriend dumps him — he sees no purpose in life, and as his preacher repeated over and over, when that happens, it’s time to commit suicide, isn’t it?

    Depression takes a lot of forms. Suicide is no joking matter. If depression leads to suicide, out of every 100 suicides there may be one or two by people who study and understand evolution, with 98 from people who hold their pastor’s erroneous views of evolution.

    It’s the error that is the problem, not the depression, not the science. Who promotes that error?

    Maybe some will have no huge moral impact – others will go “ape”, some commit suicide, some get into gross immorality, and some simply spend their lives on blog sites writing hate speech to those who purport there is a God. Why? Because they no longer have a purpose for being. Evolution provides no purpose for being beyond just being a conglomeration of cells that will eventually cease to exist. It’s the age old question, “why do I exist?” The Bible and evolution have two totally different answers.

    It’s much more common that people take as their purpose writing hate speech against science, against knowledge, against mental health and against education. We may have turned the tide against such downers in this nation — Obama’s election hints that may be true — but I fear not, not with the hateful votes coming out of the Texas State Board of Education over the past couple of days (“You won’t let us preach to children? Then we’ll give you impossibly stupid science! Take that, you smart and moral people!”)

    Joe, the bottom line is this: Evolution is not a cause of evil. Accurate science promotes good morality, by making good decisions possible. That’s always been true, and probably will always be true. Attacking evolution as a source of evil, especially from a platform of Christianity, is hypocritical as well as factually wrong.

    Simply being factually wrong should make such attacks anathema to Christians, don’t you agree? Christianity should never depend on falsehoods. Any time a line of reasoning in Christianity depends on factual error, that line of reasoning should be abandoned. Here are several factual errors Christian preachers should avoid, as a matter of striving to be moral people: 1. Evolution is wrong. 2. Evolution is a source of evil. 3. Evolution teaches there is no purpose to life. 4. Scientists are evil by nature. 5. Study of science, study of nature, is evil.

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  16. Ed Darrell says:

    I was pointing out that you tell people that they are the products of a chance accident and you wonder why they do crazy things. You tell them they’re from the wild and wonder why they don’t act domesticated. If you don’t believe me, go to your nearest college campus! You tell them they have a common ancestor with monkeys and then wonder why they act like monkeys? It’s a quip to get you to understand that what you say to someone about who they are as a person and what their purpose is in life has ramifications.

    And I’m pointing out that it’s a quip based in serious misunderstanding of biology, human psychology, evolution theory, and animal behavior. Sure it’s a quip — it’s a dangerous quip, and the use of it as a quip does serious damage to kids who hear it.

    My point is that the quip is dead wrong. Its danger lies in kids hearing it over and over. Who repeats this canard, this falsehood, this lie? Not science. Preachers repeat it. It’s a standard canard of the great propagandists like D. James Kennedy.

    That it is wrong on all the facts, that merely repeating it does damage especially to the kids who sit in church and hear it, never appears to bother creationists. Can you explain why? Obviously you now see the problem.

    Like

  17. rayjs says:

    Lowerleavel wrote: “It’s the age old question, “why do I exist?” The Bible and evolution have two totally different answers.

    Still failing to understand the difference between ultimate and proximate causes, I see.

    Has it still not dawned on you that evolution, being science, doesn’t attempt to deal with isues of that nature? That’s religion’s job. So then you must be lamenting the fact that evolutionary science won’t step on religion’s turf and usurp what it claims is its moral authority!

    Like

  18. Nick Kelsier says:

    Lower I have a question for you. If you say that morality has no place in a debate between Evolution and ID/Creationism then why, pray tell, did you say you’re surprised that evolutionists don’t commit suicide because they, as you claimed, they don’t think there is a future after death?

    And since you tell Ed that he shouldn’t go to a hospital because of what you say he said I’m sure you’ll agree that you also should never go to a hospital right?

    After all, the theory of evolution forms one of the basic cores for modern biology.

    And as for “high moral standard” if you’re a preacher you’re sure not attaining that “high moral standard” considering the sheer amount of lies and disingenous nonsense you’ve spouted in your crusade against the theory of evolution.

    Oh and then there was your bearing false witness against me for your saying that I’m not a Christian because I accept the theory of evolution for what it is.

    And your lie regarding “post modern Christianity” as if the Catholic church falls under that description. And who do you think you’re following if not man through your YEC? After all…YEC is nothing more than human interpretation of the Creation account in the Bible.

    Oh and by the way…the separation of church and state also protects the government from undue influence by religion. It also protects the public schools from used to engage in religious instruction. You know..the religious instruction you want them to do by telling students that we’re here because of a deity.

    Oh and lastly. If we don’t share a common ancestor with the pongoids..then pray tell why does our DNA match their DNA to a rather high percentage?

    Like

  19. Ed Darrell says:

    You go so far in your post to blame Cain’s murder of Abel on religion??? Dude! What Baptist “preacher” was around back then who was a YEC that you can pin this on? Cain murdered Abel because of jealousy and hatred, not because he was a Baptist.

    Jealousy and hatred over what? Religious sacrifices, religious favors.

    I didn’t say they were Baptist. I merely point out that it was the religion that caused the jealousy and hatred, not any “animal” behavior. Murder is pretty rare among apes. This is the first murder in time in Bible chronologies, and it was over an issue of religion. There are countless morals in the story, but please don’t forget that religious hatred is as old as religion.

    And, as Darwin pointed out, our evolved morality doesn’t include that sort of hatred.

    Mark Twain once noted that the missionaries went to Hawaii to teach the natives it was a sin to work on Sunday, only to discover the Hawaiians didn’t have to work on any day. But after 25 years of Christian instruction, the missionaries had taught the Hawaiians enough sin that they needed Christian salvation.

    Maybe he just says it funnier. Same point.

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  20. Ed Darrell says:

    If memory serves me correct, it was you who left that discussion without answering my questions.

    I’ll be doggoned if I know what those questions were. Can you repeat them, or tell me about what they dealt with?

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  21. lowerleavell says:

    I suppose I should say that I am honored to be the brunt of a thread. I’m not going to debate you on this Ed. This is your blog and you can say whatever you want about me. I’ll respond to this first post, but I have no intention of being drawn into another discussion over what we’ve already talked about regarding the animal kingdom. If memory serves me correct, it was you who left that discussion without answering my questions. But here you are again purporting the same thing without even answering the questions I presented last go around. Why would I want to get into it again? Nothing has changed from the previous discussion.

    I said, “You tell people that humans are simply evolved animals and are surprised when they act accordingly.”

    You then proceeded to give a long discourse on the morality of the animal kingdom and why we preachers (I’ve been discussing this with you since before I was a pastor so I do so not because I’m a “preacher” but because I believe you to be wrong and that you mischaracterize people of faith. By the way, I’m in CA and we’re not so formal as to use the word “preacher” – my first name is fine) are unknowingly advocating immorality amongst our children by saying that they have the capacity for doing evil and that evolution (molecules to man) is not true.

    Weren’t you even reading the last posts on the other thread? I said very strongly – morality has nothing to do with the discussion on ID vs. evolution! Purpose for living has everything to do with it! We are beings who are created to worship – we are beings who are designed to reflect our Creator. You try to take that away from people by purporting that there is no purpose beyond their five senses and all I’m saying is don’t be surprised at the results. Maybe some will have no huge moral impact – others will go “ape”, some commit suicide, some get into gross immorality, and some simply spend their lives on blog sites writing hate speech to those who purport there is a God. Why? Because they no longer have a purpose for being. Evolution provides no purpose for being beyond just being a conglomeration of cells that will eventually cease to exist. It’s the age old question, “why do I exist?” The Bible and evolution have two totally different answers.

    By the way, some of the people in the world with the worst morality are not atheists who are their own god or worship the earth, but rather people who leave Christianity.

    You’ve never heard of an expression or a quip before? You’ve never heard of “going ape”, “monkeying around”, and “you all are acting like a bunch of wild animals?” I wasn’t condemning the animal kingdom, Ed, I was giving an expression. I was pointing out that you tell people that they are the products of a chance accident and you wonder why they do crazy things. You tell them they’re from the wild and wonder why they don’t act domesticated. If you don’t believe me, go to your nearest college campus! You tell them they have a common ancestor with monkeys and then wonder why they act like monkeys? It’s a quip to get you to understand that what you say to someone about who they are as a person and what their purpose is in life has ramifications.

    You go so far in your post to blame Cain’s murder of Abel on religion??? Dude! What Baptist “preacher” was around back then who was a YEC that you can pin this on? Cain murdered Abel because of jealousy and hatred, not because he was a Baptist. I do agree with you about religion though – Jesus reserved His harshest criticisms for some of the most religious people. There are many “fundamentalists” today who are holding to the letter of the law, but they have completely forgotten the spirit and the person for whom they are serving. I know you all have seen a lot of rotten tomatoes in the bunches of Christians in your life. There are plenty of hypocrites, just as there were in Jesus’ day. That’s why I would advocate not judging the Gospel because of Jesus’ poor followers like me, but on Jesus Himself.

    You’ve really crossed the line of mischaracterization to the point that you are telling people that pastors are advocating evil by not teaching evolution? You’ve got it completely backwards my friend. It is the pastors who are advocating a high moral standard – that’s why there’s such a ruckus when one does not adhere to a Biblical standard mandated that pastors maintain and are hypocritical. No one cares about Dawkin’s morality – PZ Meyer, or any other scientist. No one knows or even bothers to ask whether or not they steal, lie, cheat, have affairs, evade taxes, look at porn on the internet, or anything else immoral like that. Why? Because it’s the pastors who are advocating a high moral standard, not scientists.

    You say Billy Graham is an exception, but guess what – he’d be the first to tell you that he’s not perfect. He’s made bad judgments in his time as well. None are perfect – are you?

    You said, “Calvin burned his friend Servetus at the stake. Luther was a rabid anti-semite. Various popes robbed, murdered and fornicated. Rasputin led the Russian court to debauchery and villiany.”

    That’s why the Bible forbids following men. Calvin, Luther, Zwingli, etc. were all 1st generation Protestants who came directly from a Roman mindset and while they wanted freedom of religion for themselves, they refused to give it to those who disagreed. You’re getting on the Baptists, but who have the Baptists ever burned at the stake? Persecution was evening happening to Baptists in the colonies, and that’s why it was a not so well known Baptist Pastor, John Leland, who really talked with Madison about freedom of religion. It protects churches from persecution from the government and from other religions.

    What you are doing in this post is denying the very tenant of the need for salvation by holding to the innate goodness of mankind. The Bible states, “For all have sinned (gone against God’s moral righteous standard) and come short (don’t measure up) of the glory of God.” You want people to measure their morality on the basis of animals? Since when is that to be our standard? It’s not God’s standard. God’s standard is His own righteousness and no one can attain that standard. Why do you think Jesus had to come to earth in the first place? It’s because we cannot pull ourselves up by our own boot straps. He alone is the one who perfectly possesses the moral standard of God and He gives it freely to those who place their faith in the fact that He already paid for their immorality on the cross and rose again from the dead – proving that He alone is capable of rescuing us from our inadequacy. He even stated that He was the only way – He didn’t say it was in behaving like animals. – That’s what’s called, “The Gospel” (the good news) of Jesus, not “The Gospel” of zoology.

    You left a lot of animals out when you gave all these illustrations about animal purity. What about spiders who eat their mates? What about alpha lions who are polygamists – any woman want to live in a lion society? How about even cows where there is usually one male to mate with tons of females? How about sharks that are known to eat their own kind? I’m not knocking the animal kingdom here – I’m just saying that I’m not sure that animals should be our standard for morality. By the way, if you’re so keen on the animal kingdom, the next time you get sick which would you go to – to nature or a Baptist hospital? You go to the wild and you’ll get eaten – you go to a Baptist hospital, we’ll see which one applies that Golden Rule. It won’t be an animal, that’s for sure.

    The last thing that I want to address is something you never did answer the last time you and I discussed this. My question is – if humans have the capacity to do evil (murder, lie, etc.) and animals do not have that capacity, how is it than that we are a part of nature? When did that transition happen where we transitioned into beings capable of evil?

    You said, “You’re making a great case for licensing preachers, insisting on standards, and checking their work. I think I can see where the problem is, from your presentation.”

    Madison, Jefferson, Washington, and all the rest would roll over in their graves at this cry for censorship.

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