All those animals on the ark? I don’t think so


No, I didn’t watch Bill Nye dissect Ken Ham in the science vs. creationism debate.  I share with many other science-loving people a conviction that “debating” creationists is wholly irrelevant, and tends only to build the glory of the creationists who cannot manage to set up a single scientific observation or experiment to provide evidence for creationism, but can stand on a stage and crack bad jokes and lie, against a mumbling scientist.

But I have looked at some of the commentary, and some of Nye’s remarks and rebuttals.  Nye did very well.

Nye tended to develop clear, non-scientific explanations for the issues.  Ham and creationists aren’t ready for that.

In that vein, J. Rehling tweeted this astonishingly clear explanation for why it’s just impossible to “believe” that the fabled ark of Noah could carry even most of the species alive, in one boat (and, mind you, the San Diego Zoo is neither the world’s largest collection of species on display in a zoo, nor displaying a significant percentage of all species):

Two pictures that tell the story.

How big was Noah’s Ark? Not big enough, especially compared to the San Diego Zoo and the USS Nimitz.

San Diego Zoo and USS Nimitz, the largest ship in the U.S. Navy; clearly, no ark built by Noah could have been big enough to carry all land animals.  Image mashup by JRehling

San Diego Zoo and USS Nimitz, the largest ship in the U.S. Navy; clearly, no ark built by Noah could have been big enough to carry all land animals. Image mashup by JRehling

330 Responses to All those animals on the ark? I don’t think so

  1. Black Flag® says:

    No, that is not the source – read the SOURCE in the post, not who posted it….. geez, guys.

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  2. lowerleavell says:

    I looked through the thread and can’t find anything that Flag posted that would indicate a primary or original source that shows the Canon of Scripture being decided at the Council of Nicaea. I can’t respond to something I can’t find.

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  3. Ed Darrell says:

    Thanks, Joe. As you know, it’s customary to cite such sources, to give the authors proper credit.

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  4. lowerleavell says:

    At least I found where Flag got his quotes:

    http://www.deism.com/bibleorigins.htm

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  5. Ed Darrell says:

    Can you tell us which reference is the one you already provided? Or did you forget?

    I can’t read it, if you won’t tell us what it is you cited.

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  6. Black Flag® says:

    Further, you have not addressed the germane of the main argument – age of the Earth – yours being in violent contradiction to the laws of physics.

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  7. Black Flag® says:

    Joe,

    As I said, already provided. You won’t read it, so you won’t read any others either.

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  8. lowerleavell says:

    James said, “If God was the author of the Bible, joe, God would not permit such errors, inconsistencies or contradictions.

    But if you want to insist, is the Jefferson Bible the literal Word of God?”

    Who is to say what God would and would not permit? God permits the existence of atheists who thumb their nose at God. He permits all kinds of evils because He does not impede our will to either choose Him or rebel against Him. What He does and does not permit is for Him to decide, not you.

    Jefferson’s “Bible” is “The Philosophy of Jesus of Nazareth, being Extracted from the Account of His Life and Doctrines Given by Matthew, Mark, Luke and John; Being an Abridgement of the New Testament for the Use of the Indians, Unembarrased with Matters of Fact or Faith beyond the Level of their Comprehensions.” It is literally what Jefferson made it to be – an “abridgement.” To declare it to be something other than what the author intended and fulfilled it to be would be insulting to the writer, i.e. Jefferson.

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  9. lowerleavell says:

    James says, “It’s still the same problem, Joe, you can not translate from one language into another language..no matter the two languages involved, and have the translation mean exactly the same thing as the original. There is no such thing as a word to word translation from language to language, it doesn’t work that way. Edits happen, meaning changes, a human translating a document is going to invariably imprint onto the translation his/her own mentality on the subject.”

    To some degree that’s true. For example, the Greeks used three words for our one word “love.” “Eros”, “agape”, and “phileo”. They understood three different nuances for our one word. So, in translation, you lose some of the oomph that is in the Greek. Sometimes it’s necessary to use more than one English word to convey the meaning of the Greek word, and sometimes it’s the other way around (though not as often). Greek participles are particularly difficult to to understand and translate. I took three years of Greek in seminary and translated several books of the Bible from Greek to English during my studies. One of the books I was required to read was by a professor who did his dissertation just on the Greek article we translate (or don’t translate) “the.” I understand how difficult translation work is from one language to another.

    That being said, it is certainly doable. Not only is it doable but it’s not like when the Bible is translated from Greek to English that the Greek text goes away and all we have to work with is English. Translation work on biblical texts has been going on since at least 200 BC when the Old Testament was translated into Greek (see the Septuagint for more). Your assertion that what is translated does not mean the same thing as the original language is mostly false. Most words are easily translatable from one language to another if the translator knows what he’s doing and is faithful to what the text actually says.

    Lastly, you have a false understanding what it means to be a biblical literalist. The hermeneutic that I ascribe to is a grammatical-historical hermeneutic. This means that Scripture the portion of Scripture being read is to be taken in its context where what the writer was saying is what he actually said, not what we invent it to be. That is what it means to be a biblical “literalist.” That means if the writer was writing poetry (like the Psalms) we understand it to be poetry. If he was writing wisdom literature (like Proverbs) then we don’t take it to be history but statements of general truths. When he is writing a narrative, we take it as a real historical narrative rather than made up mythology or allegory. Sometimes the writer makes it clear that he is writing allegory (like in Revelation). As such, that’s how it is to be interpreted.

    Literalist means that the reader doesn’t get to decide the meaning of the text. The writer does.

    “And the ESV, NASB, KJV are based off..oh wait..the earliest Catholic bible. We are the ones that put it together, Joe. King James did not go back to the “original languages and earliest known manuscripts”..the Catholic church would have been in possession of those things.”

    The earliest official Catholic Bible was the Latin Vulgate. The KJV used a few verses of the Vulgate in its translation of Revelation, but the rest of the translation was off of Erasmus’ Greek texts. The ESV and the NASB are not off of Roman Catholic translations at all. They are off of very, very old manuscripts called the Critical Texts that were stored in both Catholic and Coptic monasteries that were written far before Roman Catholicism developed into the religious system we see today.

    Just because The Louvre holds the Mona Lisa doesn’t mean Leanardo Da Vinci was French. The same is true with Scripture manuscripts and the Catholic Church.

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  10. lowerleavell says:

    James says, “The fact that it can’t even get the ten commandments straight or keep straight how many animals were on the ark is proof of that.”

    So you’re mad because the Bible doesn’t list the ten commandments from one to ten and when they are reiterated they are said slightly differently even though the command is the same? I don’t get what the problem is with the commandments. They’re all there. They are all true. They are all repeated in the New Testament (apart from Sabbath keeping).

    God isn’t allowed to use synonyms?

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  11. lowerleavell says:

    Flag said, “Already gave an academic reference that you didn’t read.”

    Are you saying this one?

    “H.G. Wells, The Outline of History, Vol. I, pages 462-463, we read, “It (the Council of Nicaea) marks the definite entry upon the stage of human affairs of the Christian Church and of Christianity as it is generally understood in the world to-day. It marks the exact definition of Christian teaching by the Nicene Creed.”

    Where does it say they discussed the Canon of Scripture?

    The Council was a very important historical event to be sure. You can easily read more about the issue discussed here:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arius#The_First_Council_of_Nicaea

    Arius’ teachings that Jesus was a creation of God rather than God the Son come in the flesh was/is a big deal. The Creed that the Council adopted was incompatible with Arianism. However, Arius’ teachings continued to be popular long after the Council. Yet the Council marked a point in time where it was generally recognized by the churches of the known world at the time, that Scriptures teach that Christ is God the Son. Very important subject for Christians.

    Ironically, the Council used Scripture to defend their viewpoints. There is nothing to indicate anywhere from the Council that they voted on what books would included in the Canon.

    Churches had almost immediately already adopted 24 of the 27 books of Scripture. The remaining three (Hebrews, 2 Peter, and 3 John were slow in gaining general acceptance not because of their teaching but because the authorship of the books were not completely known. We still don’t know who wrote Hebrews for sure,

    Any other sources you’d like to cite? Are you willing to back down from the argument that the Bible was determined by popular vote at the Council of Nicaea and admit that it is just an urban legend – propagated fiction by popular authors like Dan Brown?

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  12. Black Flag® says:

    Already gave an academic reference that you didn’t read.

    I doubt more would change this.

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  13. lowerleavell says:

    You certainly have a right to your point of view.

    Yet you asserted that the Council of Nicaea was where the Bible was edited. I can’t find any evidence for it and asked you for original sources. Paine was your response. So, where are your sources about the Council?

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  14. Black Flag® says:

    I quote Paine as a reasoned summary of the Bible, you “world of God”. I, as he, knows it as nothing but some men’s nonsense.

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  15. lowerleavell says:

    Flag, you quoted Paine as a reference to the Council of Nicaea discussing the Canon of Scripture. Paine almost 1500 years removed from the council. When I say “try again” I am requesting that you provide a primary source from someone at the Council, or someone contemporary with the Council or something that can verify that the council discussed the subject. Quoting a skeptic of the Bible in a personal letter some 1500 years after the fact is not sufficient proof that the matter was discussed. As such, I said to try again. If you think that your source is sufficient, then demonstrate how I should not be skeptical of your skeptic.

    If Paine is wrong about the Council. What else might his perceptions of Christianity be wrong about?

    Regarding my belief in Christianity because I was born up as a Christian. This would apply if it were not disproven on a regular basis. If one person converts from one religion to another then Paine’s argument falls apart. I find this line of argumentation ironic because moments before, you were the one arguing for man’s free will to choose between right and wrong. Now they are stuck in their religious makeup simply because they were born in that culture? If that were true, then it would be impossible to leave the Christian faith for atheism. Several of my friends would protest to that notion as they have totally rejected faith entirely, although they were brought up in Christianity. Paine is right that those who are brought up in a culture are more likely to embrace that culture, true. Yet Paine’s overall argument is false. The first generation of Christians were completely contrary to their Jewish culture. There was something about Jesus that caused them to go completely against how they were brought up. How? Unless you will admit that what you believe about science and God is only true because it is how you were brought up, then we should both admit that Paine’s argument is false.

    Regarding Paine’s other arguments – why don’t we finish what we are discussing before adding a bunch of new layers to the conversation?

    Going back to the subject of morality, I asked, ““Why is violence immoral?” You replied, “It imposes upon the innocent.”

    So? You don’t think when I eat a hamburger I imposed on the innocent cow? I know several vegetarians who think that killing animals is equal to murder. Are they right? Why is killing of a different species OK and not the killing of our own?

    Why is imposing on the innocent something that is evil?

    I think it’s important to note, I agree with you that violence is evil. But the underlying reason is so very, very important to the outcome.

    Flag said, “Because we are thinking beings, not merely animals.”

    Why then is what we observe in nature (death of every animal usually by violent end) the default mode of the universe? Why is it that unthinking animals only know how to kill? Is the universe evil that produces life that exists solely on great violence upon the innocent? By your definition, the unthinking lower animals only know evil as the norm and so do it by no choice of their own. Who then is to blame for the death of every animal that has ever existed? Is it not this rational universe that you worship that is to blame? In your worldview, the universe itself exists upon a system of evil – i.e. the death of the innocent. If the norm that we observe in nature is death of the innocent, why is it suddenly wrong in humanity regardless of whether we are thinking beings or not?

    You believe that evil only exists in humanity because it is a construct of a thinking humanity. If someone is sick in the brain and not able to make rational choices kills someone who is innocent it is still an evil act – they are just not accountable for it because they couldn’t reason. But the death of the innocent is still a tragedy and still evil. As such, thinking does not make the act more or less evil, it merely makes us accountable for willfully choosing that act of evil.

    In addition, what you have failed to demonstrate is how a morally “neutral” universe could produce a moral being. Not only a moral being but a being that goes against its own morals. If we are truly rational beings with the ability to make choices, why do we often choose things that we know as facts that are not good. The entire fast food industry is built off of this fact. We know what is good for us and choose to do what is not. If we are truly rational beings, why would we do that?

    I have already asked and you failed to respond: Not one person on the planet has a moral code that they can live up to. No one has ever passed their own moral test. Why? Why would we produce a system of morals and then fail to execute them? It’s not rational. You, as an evolutionist, have to explain not only where the existence of free choice came from if we are only a product of our biology, but also have to explain why we fail to live up to our own moral code.

    To let the cat out of the bag a bit, what I am arguing is that every person on the entire planet can be defined as evil. We are violent against ourselves (see smoking, eating fatty foods, etc.) and we are violent against others (with hundreds of thousands of murders, millions of rapes, assaults, etc. every year). We wage war and have not known a year of collective peace as a planet for 3,500 years of recorded history. We have an ingrown sense of morality, but yet we cannot live up to it. We willfully choose to disregard what we know is good so that we can indulge in some guilty pleasure. We know that women are not objects and yet the porn industry and sex trade thrives. We ignore our neighbors by pulling into our garages, closing them, and leaving the outside world to rot without our care. We fight. We bicker. We lust. We envy. We hate. We become bitter.

    We. Are. Evil. Where did this evil come from? Why did the ability to make choices bring with it an evil that is unparalleled in nature?

    You claim that God is evil for the death of the innocent. I am claiming that you are a hypocrite to make such an assertion. We have no right as humans to call God evil when we are the ones who are evil – knowing what is right and wrong and choosing the wrong on a daily basis. I am making the case that if God is a good God, He has every right to be angry with man for their violent and evil ways and to wipe our entire species off of the face of the earth. Yet when He chooses to judge a nation, or to flood the earth, or to one day come and judge all humanity, you claim He is evil for doing so. No sir. The punishment for our evil fits the crime. We deserve extinction.

    Yet what does God give us? He gives us the offer of forgiveness through the greatest injustice that has ever happened. Why? Because He is not only Just, but He is also Love. The death of the innocent One – Jesus demonstrated that God loves us, even while we are evil. Through His death our evil species has an opportunity to repent of our evil by turning to Him .

    What is your solution to ending evil? Trying harder? Shoot – you don’t even know the source of evil, let alone how to eradicate it. You cannot eradicate evil within your own heart, how do you propose to build a world of peace and harmony free from evil?

    Flag, in your worldview, you have nothing to offer anyone but death. Eons and eons of death. In your worldview, you have a few short decades of life left, if you’re lucky and aren’t murdered or involved in a violent accident. After which, you’ll die. You are not an exception to the rule of death. Worms will eat your body (again, violence observed), and you will be virtually forgotten by the time your great grandchildren go through the cycle of death. The cycle will only continue to repeat. Death. Death. More death. You have nothing to offer…but death.

    This conversation will not matter. Your life will not matter. Your entire pointless existence will be forgotten. You will not exist to even morn the fact. At your funeral some people say some nice words, eat some potato salad, and then go home and forget you ever existed. You are nothing more than a higher evolved animal and absolutely nothing that you do in this life will matter 100 years from now. All is pointless. All is empty. Existence is vain.

    I find it heartbreaking that you criticize my belief in God. You criticize that that I believe He has a right to judge evil. You criticize that I believe that Scripture was written by men but inspired by God. You criticize that I believe that Jesus was literally killed for my sin, took the punishment that I deserved for my evil, and rose again over death indicating that He conquered it….you criticize that I believe that He will one day return and end all injustices and violence forever….you criticize it but yet have nothing to offer in return…but the propagation of more evil and and more death. Death of the innocent. Death of the guilty. Death to everything that has ever lived. Huzzah!

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  16. JamesK says:

    Joe writes: So the nearest source you can find that Nicaea decided the Canon was Paine and Wells some 1500 years after the council? If that’s what you call an original source then there are bigger problems.

    This coming from the person who accepts that Noah’s flood is absolutely true despite the fact that said story was written well after any supposed happening. Also the person who thinks the Bible is the literal and inerrant Word of God despite the fact that the Bible was written centuries after the events it’s talking about.

    Sorry, Joe, God did not author the bible. The fact that it can’t even get the ten commandments straight or keep straight how many animals were on the ark is proof of that.

    God simply wouldn’t be so stupid.

    To quote: One – English. James, translators go back to the original Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic rather than translating from another translation. This is a difference between Protestants and Catholics. The original Catholic Douay-Rheims Bible was based off of Jerome’s Latin Vulgate rather than the original. I totally agree that this should not be done. Any translation such as the ESV, NASB, KJV, etc. all went back to the original languages and earliest known manuscripts and translated it from the originals.

    It’s still the same problem, Joe, you can not translate from one language into another language..no matter the two languages involved, and have the translation mean exactly the same thing as the original. There is no such thing as a word to word translation from language to language, it doesn’t work that way. Edits happen, meaning changes, a human translating a document is going to invariably imprint onto the translation his/her own mentality on the subject.

    And the ESV, NASB, KJV are based off..oh wait..the earliest Catholic bible. We are the ones that put it together, Joe. King James did not go back to the “original languages and earliest known manuscripts”..the Catholic church would have been in possession of those things.

    That is nothing but a nonsense lie that protestants tell themselves to get around the fact that your churches were born from mine.

    And you can not claim that the Bible is the “literal Word of God” and then turn around and say things like “The original Catholic Douay-Rheims Bible was based off of Jerome’s Latin Vulgate rather than the original. I totally agree that this should not be done.” because by saying that..you’re proving my point all along. If God was the author of the Bible, joe, God would not permit such errors, inconsistencies or contradictions.

    But if you want to insist, is the Jefferson Bible the literal Word of God?

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  17. Black Flag® says:

    I do not “need to try again”

    Read the reference for yourself – you asked for one, you got it.
    Dismissing the reference without reading it makes no case for you.

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  18. Ed Darrell says:

    Steve Austin?

    Well, if you’re relying on the “science” of a veteran, proven liar, you might not get good results.

    http://skeptoid.com/episodes/4146

    Let’s begin with a basic understanding of the radiometric dating technique used, K-Ar, or potassium-argon. This dating technique depends on the fact that the radioactive isotope of potassium, 40K, naturally decays into other elements, as do all unstable radioactive elements. There are two ways that this happens to 40K. About 89 percent of the time, a neutron inside the 40K undergoes beta decay, in which the neutron decays into a proton and an electron. This gain of a proton turns the potassium into calcium. But about 11 percent of the time, an extra proton inside the 40K captures one of its electrons and merges with it, turning the proton into a neutron and a neutrino, and converting the potassium into argon. In both events, the atomic mass remains unchanged, but the number of protons changes, thus turning the element from one to another. This happens to 40K everywhere in the universe that it exists, and at the same rate, which is a half-life of 1.2 billion years. This means that if you have 1000 atoms of 40K, 1.2 billion years later you’ll have 500, and 1.2 billion years after that you’ll have 250. You’ll also have 83 argon atoms, and 667 calcium atoms. If I take a sample and measure an argon to potassium ratio of 83:250, I know that this sample is 2.4 billion years old.

    However, all of these numbers are probabilities, not absolutes. You need to have a statistically meaningful amount of argon before your result would be considered significant. Below about 10,000 years, potassium-argon results are not significant; there’s not yet enough argon created. The 11% of the time that potassium decays into argon and not calcium is also a probability, so this contributes to the result having a known margin of error. In addition, the initial amount of 40K that you started with is never measured directly; instead, it is assumed to always be .0117% of the total potassium present, which is the known distribution in nature. This has a standard deviation, so it also contributes to the margin of error. So when my result says the sample was 2.4 billion years old, this is only correct if the sample was at least 10,000 years old to begin with, and it’s only correct plus or minus a calculated margin of error, in this example about 600,000 years. The bell curve of probable age starts at about 1.8 billion years, peaks at 2.4 billion, and dips back to the baseline at 3 billion. So whether you call it an exact science or not is a matter of linguistics. Although the exact age can’t be known, the probabilities can be exactly calculated.

    Since Dr. Austin’s sample was known to have solidified in 1986, its argon content was clearly well below the threshhold where an amount of argon sufficiently useful for dating could have been present. And even that threshhold applies to only the most sensitive detection equipment. Potassium-argon dating is done by destructively crushing and heating the sample and spectrally analyzing the resulting gases. The equipment in use at the time at the lab employed by Dr. Austin, Geocron Laboratories, was of a type sensitive enough to only detect higher concentrations of argon gas. Geocron clearly stated that their equipment was only capable of accurate results when the sample contained a concentration of argon high enough to be consistent with 2,000,000 years or older.

    And so, by any standard, it was scientifically meaningless for Dr. Austin to apply Geocron’s potassium-argon dating to his sample of dacite known to be only six years old. But let’s ask the obvious question. If there wasn’t yet enough argon in the rock to be detectable, and the equipment that was used was not sensitive enough to detect any argon, how was enough argon found that such old results were returned.

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  19. lowerleavell says:

    So the nearest source you can find that Nicaea decided the Canon was Paine and Wells some 1500 years after the council? If that’s what you call an original source then there are bigger problems.

    I think you’re showing how urban legends have their beginnings not how history is recorded.

    Try again.

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  20. Black Flag® says:

    Joe,

    As Paine said, your belief system – because it is unreasoned and dogmatic – is merely an accident of your birth.

    You, with the same (un)thinking brain, born in a Muslim country – you would be Muslim – in a Buddhist nation, you would be Buddhist – in a Jewish home, you would be Jewish, in a Hindu family, you would be Hindu – all because you do not think or reason, but merely accept your beliefs by rote – some authority spoke to you, and you accepted it without any thinking on your part. You did not test what was said, you merely accepted it without question.

    This is the difference between you and I or James or Ed.

    It would not matter where they or I was born, the thinking of a Scientist remains the same.

    It is ironic to me that a religious Islamic man invented Science by claiming that “men lie, but God does not lie” – and thereby claimed what God showed to him about how the world worked would be exactly the same to you or to any man, believer or heathen.

    You turn this upside down, that men do not lie, but God does. God changes his mind, is capricious, villainous, duplicitous and uses different laws for one set of people over another.

    Remember this about your religion, well said by Gandhi.

    “God has no religion”

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  21. Black Flag® says:

    Here, read Thomas Paine (you know him, right?)

    On May 12, 1797 while living in Paris, France Tom Paine wrote the following letter to a Christian friend who was trying to convert Paine to Christianity. Paine’s response fits perfectly with this page regarding the origins of the Bible.

    “In your letter of the twentieth of March, you give me several quotations from the Bible, which you call the Word of God, to show me that my opinions on religion are wrong, and I could give you as many, from the same book to show that yours are not right; consequently, then, the Bible decides nothing, because it decides any way, and every way, one chooses to make it.

    “But by what authority do you call the Bible the Word of God? for this is the first point to be settled. It is not your calling it so that makes it so, any more than the Mahometans calling the Koran the Word of God makes the Koran to be so. The Popish Councils of Nice and Laodicea, about 350 years after the time the person called Jesus Christ is said to have lived, voted the books that now compose what is called the New Testament to be the Word of God. This was done by yeas and nays, as we now vote a law.

    “The Pharisees of the second temple, after the Jews returned from captivity in Babylon, did the same by the books that now compose the Old Testament, and this is all the authority there is, which to me is no authority at all. I am as capable of judging for myself as they were, and I think more so, because, as they made a living by their religion, they had a self-interest in the vote they gave.

    “You may have an opinion that a man is inspired, but you cannot prove it, nor can you have any proof of it yourself, because you cannot see into his mind in order to know how he comes by his thoughts; and the same is the case with the word revelation. There can be no evidence of such a thing, for you can no more prove revelation than you can prove what another man dreams of, neither can he prove it himself.

    “It is often said in the Bible that God spake unto Moses, but how do you know that God spake unto Moses? Because, you will say, the Bible says so. The Koran says, that God spake unto Mahomet, do you believe that too? No.

    “Why not? Because, you will say, you do not believe it; and so because you do, and because you don’t is all the reason you can give for believing or disbelieving except that you will say that Mahomet was an impostor. And how do you know Moses was not an impostor?

    For my own part, I believe that all are impostors who pretend to hold verbal communication with the Deity. It is the way by which the world has been imposed upon; but if you think otherwise you have the same right to your opinion that I have to mine, and must answer for it in the same manner. But all this does not settle the point, whether the Bible be the Word of God, or not. It is therefore necessary to go a step further. The case then is: –

    “You form your opinion of God from the account given of Him in the Bible; and I form my opinion of the Bible from the wisdom and goodness of God manifested in the structure of the universe, and in all works of creation. The result in these two cases will be, that you, by taking the Bible for your standard, will have a bad opinion of God; and I, by taking God for my standard, shall have a bad opinion of the Bible.

    “The Bible represents God to be a changeable, passionate, vindictive being; making a world and then drowning it, afterwards repenting of what he had done, and promising not to do so again. Setting one nation to cut the throats of another, and stopping the course of the sun till the butchery should be done. But the works of God in the creation preach to us another doctrine. In that vast volume we see nothing to give us the idea of a changeable, passionate, vindictive God; everything we there behold impresses us with a contrary idea – that of unchangeableness and of eternal order, harmony, and goodness.

    “The sun and the seasons return at their appointed time, and everything in the creation claims that God is unchangeable. Now, which am I to believe, a book that any impostor might make and call the Word of God, or the creation itself which none but an Almighty Power could make? For the Bible says one thing, and the creation says the contrary. The Bible represents God with all the passions of a mortal, and the creation proclaims him with all the attributes of a God.

    “It is from the Bible that man has learned cruelty, rapine, and murder; for the belief of a cruel God makes a cruel man. That bloodthirsty man, called the prophet Samuel, makes God to say, (I Sam. xv. 3) `Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not, but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass.’

    “That Samuel or some other impostor might say this, is what, at this distance of time, can neither be proved nor disproved, but in my opinion it is blasphemy to say, or to believe, that God said it. All our ideas of the justice and goodness of God revolt at the impious cruelty of the Bible. It is not a God, just and good, but a devil, under the name of God, that the Bible describes.

    “What makes this pretended order to destroy the Amalekites appear the worse, is the reason given for it. The Amalekites, four hundred years before, according to the account in Exodus xvii. (but which has the appearance of fable from the magical account it gives of Moses holding up his hands), had opposed the Israelites coming into their country, and this the Amalekites had a right to do, because the Israelites were the invaders, as the Spaniards were the invaders of Mexico. This opposition by the Amalekites, at that time, is given as a reason, that the men, women, infants and sucklings, sheep and oxen, camels and asses, that were born four hundred years afterward, should be put to death; and to complete the horror, Samuel hewed Agag, the chief of the Amalekites, in pieces, as you would hew a stick of wood. I will bestow a few observations on this case.

    “In the first place, nobody knows who the author, or writer, of the book of Samuel was, and, therefore, the fact itself has no other proof than anonymous or hearsay evidence, which is no evidence at all. In the second place, this anonymous book says, that this slaughter was done by the express command of God: but all our ideas of the justice and goodness of God give the lie to the book, and as I never will believe any book that ascribes cruelty and injustice to God, I therefore reject the Bible as unworthy of credit.

    “As I have now given you my reasons for believing that the Bible is not the Word of God, that it is a falsehood, I have a right to ask you your reasons for believing the contrary; but I know you can give me none, except that you were educated to believe the Bible; and as the Turks give the same reason for believing the Koran, it is evident that education makes all the difference, and that reason and truth have nothing to do in the case.

    “You believe in the Bible from the accident of birth, and the Turks believe in the Koran from the same accident, and each calls the other infidel. But leaving the prejudice of education out of the case, the unprejudiced truth is, that all are infidels who believe falsely of God, whether they draw their creed from the Bible, or from the Koran, from the Old Testament, or from the New.

    “When you have examined the Bible with the attention that I have done (for I do not think you know much about it), and permit yourself to have just ideas of God, you will most probably believe as I do. But I wish you to know that this answer to your letter is not written for the purpose of changing your opinion. It is written to satisfy you, and some other friends whom I esteem, that my disbelief of the Bible is founded on a pure and religious belief in God; for in my opinion the Bible is a gross libel against the justice and goodness of God, in almost every part of it.”

    Like

  22. Black Flag® says:

    Try reading the words I write, and not make up your own thinking it is what I said.

    It is merely a COMPLAINT about the PROCEDURES used, nothing more.

    Like

  23. Black Flag® says:

    In the landmark work by H.G. Wells, The Outline of History, Vol. I, pages 462-463, we read, “It (the Council of Nicaea) marks the definite entry upon the stage of human affairs of the Christian Church and of Christianity as it is generally understood in the world to-day. It marks the exact definition of Christian teaching by the Nicene Creed.”

    Do the work yourself.

    Like

  24. lowerleavell says:

    Flag said, “”It is merely a complaint about procedure, nothing more.”

    I’m confused then. Are you saying the ICR assessment is correct then? This article I posted is the only article cited by talkorigins that attempts to refute the ICR testing.

    Like

  25. lowerleavell says:

    I said, “”“except there is no record of the Council even discussing the texts of Scripture”

    Flag said, “Except there is.”

    Ok. I’m sure you’ll produce the proper citations where the members of the Council of Nicaea discussed, decided upon, and rejected certain books of the New Testament.

    After all, you’re a logical, rational man, who is basing your entire worldview on your own smarts. You couldn’t possibly ever be wrong. Ever. If you are, your entire worldview fails.

    Looking forward to the citations from Arius, Athanasius, Eusebius, or some other member of the council that discussed the canon. I’ll wait with baited breath.

    Like

  26. Black Flag® says:

    Methinks you didn’t read the article.
    It is merely a complaint about procedure, nothing more.

    Like

  27. lowerleavell says:

    Flag: “It is not a rebuttal of TESTING, it is a complaint about TECHNIQUE.

    He does not refute the age of the earth at all.”

    Flag, Flag, Flag…

    Did you read the article at all? The one I posted was the evolutionary response. Of course he didn’t refute the age of the earth at all! You’re critiquing the article that was defending your viewpoint. Sounds like I could have posted something from Dawkins saying there was no God and you would have argued with him because I was the one posting it! :-)

    Like

  28. lowerleavell says:

    Oops. Forgot to post the actual ICR link:

    http://www.icr.org/research/index/researchp_sa_r01/

    Like

  29. Black Flag® says:

    Joe, Joe, Joe.

    It is not a rebuttal of TESTING, it is a complaint about TECHNIQUE.

    He does not refute the age of the earth at all.

    As Ed pointed out, procedures need to be qualified or introduction of unassigned variables enters the process, skewing the results.

    This is how Science works, peeling the layers away so to understand the core.

    You should take a science course or two and see how this works.

    Like

  30. lowerleavell says:

    Here’s the original ICR article. I understand about 10% of it. :-)

    Like

  31. lowerleavell says:

    Here’s the full rebuttal to the tests. You’re right that it was argon testing.

    http://noanswersingenesis.org.au/mt_st_helens_dacite_kh.htm

    My question is, why don’t they date the rocks again from a non-biased (if that is possible) source and see what happens?

    Like

  32. Ed Darrell says:

    Got some details on the incident you claim? A paper, perhaps?

    When you send a sample off to a lab for dating, it’s important to describe your goal, and what parts need to be dated. Denialists figure ways around these scientific checks and balances. For example, the Holocaust denialists got a brick from the Nazi gassing building, ground it up, and sent it off for a complete chemical analysis. Tiny amounts of cyanide turned up, about what you’d find in nature. The denialists trumpeted this report for years.

    The lab was embarrassed. They got permission to get some bricks from the site to sample. Bricks from the inside, when not ground up whole, showed massive amounts of cyanide on the surface. Grind up the whole brick, though, and there didn’t seem to be much. An exterior brick which was not exposed to the cyanide in the murdering process, still showed high cyanide content on the surface. Grind it up, though, and the cyanide was overshadowed by all other chemicals.

    When dealing with igneous rock, one needs to be careful about what you’re dating. Lava notoriously picks up other rocks while flowing out of a volcano and along the ground — dating those “intrusions” provides an erroneous date for the magma flow. Or, as we discovered when the ICR got into the mess years ago, when magma flows into a crack in a rock, the rock that was there earlier will not provide an accurate date of the magma flow, for reasons which I assume are obvious to you.

    Yet, creationists still trumpet that paper claiming the dating of magma-intruded granite was wrong.

    Isotope dating can be incredibly accurate, when done well; it can be wildly inaccurate when done poorly, or when done intentionally wrong.

    It’s a moral issue, not a science issue.

    Like

  33. Ed Darrell says:

    “Contaminated” is another way of saying the creationists who did the sampling to claim a wrong date didn’t know what they were doing. More polite, probably.

    You could check out the NOVA episode, since 2005, on activity at the mountain. They feature time-lapse photos of the monoliths in question — huge, skyscraper sized rocks pushed up through the dome is scary fashion. Old rock, dried in the plug or throat, pushe up by newer magma.

    Now, I’ve not even bothered to look at the type of dating being done. Generally a form of argon dating is used, because the argon is encapsulated in magma and ash, and can therefore be used as a good clock to date the stuff. I can imagine a scenario in which someone unfamiliar with the vagaries of isotope dating might use the wrong isotope, and get a bad date.

    Either way, these are not problems with dating. Isotope geologists know how to work around these issues, or at least not make ridiculous claims based on the dating.

    I was outraged the first time I saw a creationist claim that the old-rock plugs should have been dated as brand new. No one familiar with volcanoes expected that at all.

    Similarly, it’s outrageous creationists claim that the ashflows from Mt. St. Helens show layers can form quickly. That’s absurd.

    The ashflow layers clearly are not annual varves from a lake bottom or ocean bottom. The isotopes used to date the ash show the layers are all contemporary, within days at the maximum. Claims that these confuse geologists are crass lies, designed to mislead innocent Christians.

    Millstone arguments, in other words.

    Like

  34. Black Flag® says:

    Still ignoring physics, huh? Like the speed of like and natural reactors?

    This alone undermines your fantasy. Failure to accept fact is an absolute sign of dogma and zealotry.

    Like

  35. Black Flag® says:

    “This was the Roman Catholic Church. ”

    Except they, like you, claim the same things, use the same justifications, and do the same things.

    You don’t believe “your” Church champions war, torture, burning of children alive?

    Like

  36. Black Flag® says:

    “except there is no record of the Council even discussing the texts of Scripture”

    Except there is.

    Strange how you so easily dismiss fact.

    Like

  37. Black Flag® says:

    The inaccuracy is not “wrong”, it is simply not precise – +/- hundred thousand years. This does still makes it millions of years old.

    You confuse the limited ability of a ruler to measure hundredths of a inch as a claim the ruler is wrong.

    No, it measures to the inch just fine.

    Like

  38. lowerleavell says:

    The other argument I hear is that the facility that did the test is not able to handle the samples. Now you say it’s accurate. Interesting.

    Like

  39. lowerleavell says:

    Ed, “The lava dome rocks pushed up by new magma were created over a million years ago. They were dated accurately.”

    Interesting Ed. That’s one of three theories as to why the rocks dated so old. The one I usually hear is that the samples were contaminated and so did not produce an accurate reading.

    Like

  40. lowerleavell says:

    James said, “Then there is the apocryphal books such as the Gospel of Mary and the Gospel of Thomas. tell me…if God had a direct hand in the creation of the Bible..then why do the Gospel of Mary and Thomas even exist? They’re nowhere in the canonical Bible so why do they exist?”

    The apocryphal books are not the same as the Gnostic gospels. A lot of people get them confused. The apocryphal books were books of Jewish history that were written after 400 BC. The Jews never regarded them as Scripture, and neither did any of the early Christians (who were also Jewish). They were included in the Catholic Bible as books that were of significance but were never part of the Bible…until the Council of Trent in 1546!!! where they were canonized by the Roman Catholic Church. There are dozens of reasons as to why they were not seen as inspired, including what the writers said themselves about there not being any prophets at the time. So no, the apocryphal books are interesting reads, but have never been part of Scripture.

    The Gnostic Gospels were written by a sect of people in the Egypt area. The earliest one is thought to have been written about 140-175 AD (Gospel of Thomas) and some are as late as the AD 300’s. There’s about 50 plus different texts by this group. Scholars believe the Gnostics were a Jewish reaction to the church which tried to make their own hybrid of Jewish law and Jesus. They would be a lot like Mormons are today – making up their own texts that Christians rejected as false.

    The early church never held them to be Scripture because they were obviously not written by the people after whom they were named, since all of them were dead by the time these texts emerged. They were so radically different than the Gospel accounts and presented a completely different viewpoint of Jesus and what the Apostles taught that they were easily rejected by the early church as being made up heresy.

    Flag, “Yeah, that First Council of Nicaea did a real service in editing and revising texts – removing and changing whatever -you claim- was the word of God.”

    …except there is no record of the Council even discussing the texts of Scripture. It’s OK. Again, it’s a major urban legend that the texts of the New Testament were determined by the Council of Nicaea. In fact, the Council was there to discuss the Deity of Christ between those who followed Arius (who taught Jesus was a creation of God) and those who believed that Jesus was God the Son – God come in the flesh. The texts of Scripture were not in question at the council and no record indicates that the matter was even discussed.

    It is believed that the matter was discussed at the Council Of Carthage in 397, but all we have is the summary of the meeting, and not the contents, so no one really knows for sure.

    In summary, it wasn’t the Church that gave us Scripture. Most used 24 of the 27 New Testament books immediately. Only a few books were ever in question, mostly because they weren’t completely sure the author was an Apostle (Hebrews, 2 Peter, 3 John).

    “I guess God needed an editor and a censorship board to bring out the “true” word, huh….?”

    Patently and demonstrably false.

    “It is no surprise it has changed little since then – the power of the Church was overwhelming and variance to its dogma was met with burning at the stake, torture, etc. Such things tend to enforce whatever dogma and myth is presented.”

    This was the Roman Catholic Church. A bad, bad time in human history. Using your argument of violence…a very evil time. This was a church that developed from their own traditions rather than the authority of Scripture. One of the many, many reasons why I am a not a Catholic. One of the many reasons I am very thankful for those who fled persecution of the Catholic and Anglican Church (such as the Puritans and the Baptists) who brought religious freedom to our shores.

    Like

  41. Ed Darrell says:

    If one ignores the origins of the rocks on Mt. St. Helens, yes, one could misdate them.

    The lava dome rocks pushed up by new magma were created over a million years ago. They were dated accurately.

    The “inaccuracy” comes in dishonestly claiming they are new rocks.

    You haven’t seen dating fail; you’ve seen a failure of discernment about accuracy, fact and truth. That’s not a failure of science, but a failure of morals.

    Like

  42. lowerleavell says:

    In response to all the articles and arguments about the age of the earth posted by Flag:

    Couple things:

    1) You don’t have to believe in a young earth to be a Christian. The actual age of the earth is a secondary issue among believers. You’re not really attacking my faith. You may be attacking my point of view but regardless of whether or not the earth was in existence billions of years before God created man and the argument that it is less than 10-15,000 years old is not the test of whether or not someone is a Christian. It’s an important argument, but even if you were completely right on your dating methods, it does not erode (no pun intended) my faith.

    2) I have seen items dated inaccurately and have seen it demonstrated how fossilization can occur rapidly and recently instead of long ago. There is enough evidence, at least in my mind, to indicate that the dating methods used do not accurately portray how old something is. For example, the lava dome at Mt. St. Helens being dated over a million years old. Flows from Mt. Lassen in CA (a peak I got to climb a few years back) dated 300k years even though the flows were from the early 1900s. There is enough evidence, at least in my mind, to demonstrate that the dating methods we use are off…by a lot. In which case, I would argue that the case for billions of years is hardly set in stone (again, no pun intended…ok, maybe it was). :-)

    http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/cm/v18/n1/tarawera

    http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/cm/v22/n1/dating

    Like

  43. lowerleavell says:

    James asked, “How many languages was the Bible translated to from its original Aramaic to finally English?”

    One – English. James, translators go back to the original Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic rather than translating from another translation. This is a difference between Protestants and Catholics. The original Catholic Douay-Rheims Bible was based off of Jerome’s Latin Vulgate rather than the original. I totally agree that this should not be done. Any translation such as the ESV, NASB, KJV, etc. all went back to the original languages and earliest known manuscripts and translated it from the originals.

    James, “English in, say, the 1200′s is not the same English as the 21st century.”

    There was no English Bible in the 1200’s. The Catholic Church forbid anyone to read the Bible in their own language. Latin was the only translation permissible. Martin Luther would have been burned at the stake just for translating the Bible into German. Wycliffe’s bones were dug up and burned for translating the Bible into English. Tyndale was a supposed heretic for seeking the Bible to be translated into the language of the common plow boy.

    The desire was for the religious elite to keep copies of the Bible out of the hands of the common person where they could think and reason for themselves. They knew that if people would read the Bible for themselves they would never go along with what the Church was doing or saying.

    But your assessment that the Bible has been translated and re-translated countless times from the original languages is false. The copy you hold in your hands (unless you have a Catholic Bible) is only one language removed from the original texts.

    Like

  44. lowerleavell says:

    Working 11 plus hours today. Won’t be able to respond today.

    Like

  45. James Kessler says:

    Joe, list the ten commandments please. In order.

    Like

  46. James Kessler says:

    Joe you can’t have multiple differing ‘literal word of God’

    The fact that there are multiple versions that do differ means the bible is not the literal word of God. To claim otherwise is to engage in a farcical contradiction.

    Is the Jefferson version of the Bible the literal Word of God?

    Like

  47. JamesK says:

    I forgot something, Joe.

    By translating a book from one language to another to another to another to another, etc, you are inevitably going to introduce changes into the book merely because you’re having to translate it from language to language. There is no way to translate from language to language to language and keep exactly the same meaning with exactly the same words.

    The simplest proof of that is the fact there are differences in the Ten Commandments between the Catholic version and the Protestant. And the Jewish version the Decalogue is simply the first ten..there are several hundred more that we Christians simply don’t bother with. Then there is the apocryphal books such as the Gospel of Mary and the Gospel of Thomas.

    tell me…if God had a direct hand in the creation of the Bible..then why do the Gospel of Mary and Thomas even exist? They’re nowhere in the canonical Bible so why do they exist?

    How many languages was the Bible translated to from its original Aramaic to finally English? And even English over the centuries has gone through changes so that English in, say, the 1200’s is not the same English as the 21st century.

    To say there hasn’t been changes, Joe, only proves you aren’t acknowledging reality here.

    Like

  48. JamesK says:

    To quote BF: Or, in the mindset of the bible-pounders, God created these deposits 15,000 years ago to look like they were billions of years old, changed the laws of physics to support that so to fool the intelligent segment of the human population into believing the Earth is older so that God can “inspire” other men to write the real truth in a story book and call it “faith”!

    Yeah Creationists long ago proved that they believe that God is a liar. That God is nothing but a trickster deity like Loki, Coyote, Anansi, or Kokopelli.

    Like

  49. JamesK says:

    To quote: ” but the New Testament is amazingly preserved! Incredibly, not much of anything has changed in the text of the Bible over the years.”

    Which proves….what?

    Homer’s Illiad & Oddyssey is quite well preserved and nothing about it has changed over the years.

    one could say that about most any religious holy text. So..what do you think you’re proving?

    and if not much has changed about the Bible over the years..then why is a group of your fellow conservatives trying to rewrite it in order to..have it match with your politics?

    And I suggest you go read the Jefferson Bible.

    Like

  50. Black Flag® says:

    ” but the New Testament is amazingly preserved! Incredibly, not much of anything has changed in the text of the Bible over the years.”

    Yeah, that First Council of Nicaea did a real service in editing and revising texts – removing and changing whatever -you claim- was the word of God.

    I guess God needed an editor and a censorship board to bring out the “true” word, huh….?

    It is no surprise it has changed little since then – the power of the Church was overwhelming and variance to its dogma was met with burning at the stake, torture, etc. Such things tend to enforce whatever dogma and myth is presented.

    Like

  51. Black Flag® says:

    You see, Joe, that men like Charles Lyell observed things about the Earth.

    Lyell’s view of earth history grew out of his observations. In Scottish lakes he observed modern limestones of a type previously thought to occur only among Tertiary strata. In central France, he saw that volcanic eruptions had occurred there at intervals over long periods of time. Older than the volcanic rocks was a fresh-water formation of laminated marls, the paper-thin layer separated by myriads of the fossil crustacean Cypris, accumulated in former lakes over many thousands of years. From his familiarity with the life of ponds in the New Forest of Hampshire, and of lakes in Scotland, Lyell recognized not only Cypris but also Caddis fly larva cases and the green alga Chara as regular inhabitants of fresh water.

    In Sicily, Lyell was astounded by a hard limestone containing only casts of shells, overlying a soft blue marl full of fossil shells of living Mediterranean species. The ancient- appearing limestone was actually younger than the blue marl. Furthermore, the present marine life of the Mediterranean was older than the rocks of Sicily and they in turn were older than the great mass of the volcano of Etna, which rose above them.

    He observed strata under tall, dormant volcanoes that lay in a chain along the Med. He saw the erosion pattern from the newer, taller volcanoes down to older, eroded volcano calderas. What astounded him was the strata was the same – what was found at the top of the older, eroded volcano was found deep under the newer un-eroded volcanoes. By measuring the erosion, and the amount of material above these strata, he roughly calculated that the first and oldest caldera had been eroding for over 50 million years. Astounding to him, because he was like you, a Creationist and as such initially found Darwin’s theory difficult to accept. But unlike you, his own work showed that the Earth was so much more incredibly older than Creationist thinking, that eventually the evidence and his own work changed his mind about Darwin.

    From such observations, Lyell perceived earth history as extending back through an endless vista of past time.

    Others saw Hadrian’s wall, standing 1500 years after it was built, with nary a spot of wear on the rocks – then observed the same rocks, formed and deeply carved by rain and in no way could these rocks be so worn in a few thousand years as Creationists claimed

    To believe the Earth and the Universe is so absurdly young requires massive mindlessness of the reality of the world around one’s self.

    Like

  52. Black Flag® says:

    Or, in the mindset of the bible-pounders, God created these deposits 15,000 years ago to look like they were billions of years old, changed the laws of physics to support that so to fool the intelligent segment of the human population into believing the Earth is older so that God can “inspire” other men to write the real truth in a story book and call it “faith”!

    Devious God you have their, Joe!

    Like

  53. Black Flag® says:

    And I guess the Earth’s natural nuclear reactors – which existed a few billion years ago, and ran for a million years doesn’t exist.

    http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/guest-blog/2011/07/13/natures-nuclear-reactors-the-2-billion-year-old-natural-fission-reactors-in-gabon-western-africa/

    Like

  54. Black Flag® says:

    But light travels from distant galaxies, and this takes time, unless you believe light began only 15,000 light years away instead of the galaxies a few million light years away – I guess the hand of God moved these light particles closer, huh?

    Like

  55. Black Flag® says:

    “As such, can you say that Hitler is immoral? On what basis? His violence?”

    Yes, yes and yes.

    ” What makes us more moral than Hitler?”

    “Us” … who is this “us” you refer to?
    No, the US government is not moral.

    “I understand that you are saying that all morals are not absolute.”

    What do you mean “absolute”? They are not “laws of gravity” which is absolute. They are a human construct.

    ” Is stealing always wrong?”
    Yes.
    Robin Hood stole from the government who stole from the people. Recovering your items lost by theft is not immoral.

    “Why is violence immoral?”
    It imposes upon the innocent.

    T”ell me why violence is the test of morality when we live in a world that is horrendously violent?”

    Because we are thinking beings, not merely animals.

    Like

  56. Black Flag® says:

    Morals are a human construct.
    Humans make choices.

    Like

  57. lowerleavell says:

    In addition, not one person on the planet has a moral code that they can live up to. No one has ever passed their own moral test, let alone some test of moral universalism. Why?

    Like

  58. lowerleavell says:

    Flag, “No, I said Universal Moral is one that applies to all humans.
    I did not say all morals are universal.

    You bible-pounders definitely have comprehension issues… must be a consequence of brain rot from believing a fairy tale is truth.”

    Again, if you’re going to insult me, at least correctly represent what I’m saying. I understand that it is a test to see whether the presented behavior is universal or not. But, I am arguing that if it is determined to be universal and it applies to all people of all cultures at all times then that moral can adequately be described as a moral absolute. As such, can you say that Hitler is immoral? On what basis? His violence? The US was violent in stopping Hitler, even killing civilians in collateral damage! What makes us more moral than Hitler?

    I understand that you are saying that all morals are not absolute. Are there any that are? Stealing from your neighbor? Robin Hood is described as a hero and he made stealing famous. Is stealing always wrong?

    Why is violence immoral?

    Tell me why violence is the test of morality when we live in a world that is horrendously violent? All animals live off of the death or the suffering of another life, whether it be plant life or another living organism. Again, you are arguing that the universe we live in is evil.

    Like

  59. lowerleavell says:

    Flag, “Bible-pounders are the worst of the ignorant regarding the world around them.”

    No, it means that I believe that God created a mature, fully functioning universe with light from stars already reaching the planet, etc. He did not plant seeds for trees but produced fully functioning trees with fruit already on them. He did not merge a sperm and an egg and call the merger “Adam” but instead created a fully functioning adult human being.

    If you’re going to insult me, at least represent my position accurately.

    Like

  60. Black Flag® says:

    So believing the age of the Universe is only 15,000 years means you do not believe -at all- in the speed of light, nuclear physics, etc….. geezus.

    Bible-pounders are the worst of the ignorant regarding the world around them.

    Like

  61. lowerleavell says:

    Ed quoted his e-mail friend: “The Bible says Methuselah died at the age of 969 — almost 1,000 years. If this were literally true, it means that, according to young earth creationists, he was alive for almost 1/6 the age of the Universe. I find this impossible to believe.”

    I’m not sure the question for me. Is it that it is impossible to believe that he lived that long or is impossible to believe that they lived that percentage of the age of the universe? Or both?

    As far as the age of the universe goes, not all YEC’s believe that the earth is exactly 6,000 years old. The age of the universe is not inspired, but an earth that is younger than 10-15,000 years old is pretty universal for a YEC.

    As far as him living that long, creationists believe that there was a bottleneck in the gene pool at the time of Noah. People after the flood still lived until about 400 plus (which means Noah’s son was possibly still alive when Abraham was born), but then another bottleneck at the Tower of Babel, after which the people who were born after that lived 200 or less. Loss of genes from our original DNA may have accounted for the drop in life expectancy for not only humanity, but for many animals whose gene pool would have significantly been reduced after the flood.

    I’m sure there were a ton of other factors, but that’s one explanation as to why people would have expected to live longer.

    Ed, “By the way — where was Methuselah when Noah’s flood occurred? Did he survive it somehow? Doesn’t that make the flood a fairly recent event?”

    Methuselah is dated to have died the same year as the flood. Whether he died in the flood or died right before the flood, the Bible doesn’t say.

    Like

  62. Black Flag® says:

    Universality of Morals is a TEST, Joe, not a prescription.

    If you make a claim that “this action is moral”, the TEST is “can it apply to everyone?”

    “Do not impose upon another” – and apply the test. Yes, everyone can exercise this moral successfully. It DOES NOT MEAN everyone exercises this. It DOES mean that if everyone applies this, society is peaceful.

    “Steal from your neighbor” – and apply the test. If everyone exercises this, society is violent, hence fails the morality test. Does this mean nobody will steal from their neighbors? No.

    Like

  63. Black Flag® says:

    “This goes back to Flag’s universality of morals claim.”

    What claim?

    You do not have any background in Philosophy, right?

    No, I said Universal Moral is one that applies to all humans.
    I did not say all morals are universal.

    You bible-pounders definitely have comprehension issues… must be a consequence of brain rot from believing a fairy tale is truth.

    Like

  64. Ed Darrell says:

    An e-mail correspondent recently wrote to me:

    The Bible says Methuselah died at the age of 969 — almost 1,000 years. If this were literally true, it means that, according to young earth creationists, he was alive for almost 1/6 the age of the Universe. I find this impossible to believe.

    By the way — where was Methuselah when Noah’s flood occurred? Did he survive it somehow? Doesn’t that make the flood a fairly recent event?

    Joe? What does the Literalist Bible say?

    Like

  65. lowerleavell says:

    James, “So which is it, joe? God approves of slavery and therefor sacrifices morality or God disapproves of slavery and retains morality?”

    The ancients knew two kinds of slavery. God always condemns forced slavery, everywhere you look. He was always quick to remind Israel that they came out of forced slavery in Egypt and were never to inflict forced slavery on anyone. God does not condemn those who desire to sell their services to another for food, protection, and for payment of debts. This kind of slavery was permitted in Israel, though all Jewish slaves were mandated to go free after 7 years and on the year of Jubilee whether their debts were paid or not.

    As with many things, the answer is both.

    America knew slavery as forced slavery. There was no debt to be paid. There was no willful choice where services were given out of love, respect, or gratitude to another person. There were only slave traders who stole people from their countries, brought them to the US and treated them like cattle. Barbaric! In every way, God condemned this slavery!

    God gave the death penalty for slave traders (Ex. 21:16).

    But does He condemn the bank that holds my mortgage that forces me to work hard to pay off my debt to them? No. I am willfully paying off my debts. That form of slavery God does not condemn. Scripture calls these “bond servants.” The kinds of slaves that willfully work to pay off debts or because they love their master and do not want to leave their service. These slave were paid wages.

    You’re attacking me about my faith and yet look at your ‘gospel’ writer Darwin’s views on race. Check out this quote from Darwin in his Descent of Man:

    “At some future period, not very distant as measured by centuries, the civilized races of man will almost certainly exterminate and replace the savage races throughout the world. At the same time the anthropomorphous apes … will no doubt be exterminated. The break between man and his nearest allies will then be wider, for it will intervene between man in a more civilized state, as we may hope, even than the Caucasian, and some ape as low as a baboon, instead of as now between the negro or Australian [aborigine] and the gorilla. (pg. 178)”

    Again, I don’t fault Darwin. He was against slavery. But he held common viewpoints of race as did many people in his day. This goes back to Flag’s universality of morals claim. Understanding of races changed. Along with it, so did views on racism and common held views of slavery. Was it right to be racist in the 1800’s or has it always been wrong for all people of all times and we are just now really understanding that fact?

    Like

  66. lowerleavell says:

    James, “And which Bible is the literal Word of God, Joe? The KJV? The NASB? NIV? Holman?”

    James, The answer is yes. These are all faithful translations of the Greek and Hebrews texts off of which they are based. NIV seeks to convey the meaning of the text into English whereas NASB conveys the most literal reading. KJV is a beautiful poetic blend of both.

    Our translations change because the English language changes. As such, there is often a need for revision in the translation. While I love the KJV, it’s not our language. That’s why I appreciate the resent translation of the ESV because it blends the beauty of the KJV into our language today. But all the ones you quoted are faithful translations.

    While the authority of God’s Word carries over into the English language, the Bible was originally written in Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic. These early texts are still available if you are studious enough to study them.

    Here’s a digital picture of Sinaiticus, which is one of the most complete manuscripts dating all the way back over 1600 years ago. Some of the Old Testament translation (Greek) is in fragments, but the New Testament is amazingly preserved! Incredibly, not much of anything has changed in the text of the Bible over the years. The entire text was put out online a few years back. Internet put to good use, I’d say!

    http://www.codexsinaiticus.org/en/manuscript.aspx?book=36&lid=en&side=r&zoomSlider=0

    Like

  67. lowerleavell says:

    BF, “The Universality of Morals is based on Universality. Can all men apply them equally?

    I sense you have not studied Philosophy, correct?”

    It’s been since college a few years back since I’ve studied officially. I never was good at memorizing terms, but I remember concepts pretty well. Yes, I know of universality of morals. I think “universal law” is the correct term.

    I would say, “No. Men cannot apply them equally. At least it has never been observed for them to do so. Even if they know and accept them, they still violate their own consciousnesses on a regular basis. Are they wrong to do so?

    In addition, I would wager that “universal law” as accepted by the masses is nothing more than populism or democracy of morals. Maybe they seem self evident to us, but they certainly did not to Hitler. So, the only way we can condemn him is by saying his actions contradict logic? Is it really empirically evil to murder people because you don’t like their ethnicity? Not if you were a good Nazi who lived in Germany in 1943. It would have been empirically moral to kill off the Jews for the good of the human race. Who is right and who is wrong? To the victor go the spoils of morality?

    Our logic fails us and we go astray. Even when we have correct logic, we still defy our own reasoning and do what is empirically illogical. Why?

    You are making the case for universal morals. Yet those universal morals are not universally accepted. Why?

    Like

  68. JamesK says:

    And which Bible is the literal Word of God, Joe? The KJV? The NASB? NIV? Holman?

    Or perhaps it’s the conservative one being created by right wing Christians such as Phyllis Schafley’s son?

    Like

  69. JamesK says:

    God doesn’t contradict His own nature?

    So which is it, joe? God approves of slavery and therefor sacrifices morality or God disapproves of slavery and retains morality?

    Like

  70. Black Flag® says:

    BF, “Bizarre question.”

    Well, most places girls use a ladies’ room and guys use the men’s room. If you always obey the same rules, wouldn’t you have to use the same bathroom to be consistent?

    Do you understand the difference between “norms” and “rules”?

    Like

  71. Black Flag® says:

    How did mankind determine morality before you were born?

    That which improved social order.

    What of those who disagree with your definition?

    Apply it and see what happens.

    The Universality of Morals is based on Universality. Can all men apply them equally?

    I sense you have not studied Philosophy, correct?

    Like

  72. lowerleavell says:

    BF, “Bizarre question.”

    Well, most places girls use a ladies’ room and guys use the men’s room. If you always obey the same rules, wouldn’t you have to use the same bathroom to be consistent?

    If you are consistent with abiding by the same rules you apply to your child then when your child was born you would have to cease driving until she was able to drive. Otherwise you would be doing something that your daughter was not allowed to do. You should eat baby food and not eat whole veggies, potatoes, meat, etc. You should be drinking breast milk or at least formula when they are just born. No exceptions to the rules that you live by and the rules your child lives by.

    I don’t know about your house, but man, it’s a rule in my house that my 2 year old wears a diaper! Ohhh buddy! :-)

    You’re not really thinking this through logically Flag. No matter how consistent you try to be, in order for you to stand in judgmental authority of God as capricious as you are trying to do, you would have to abide by all the same behavioral restrictions and dietary restrictions as when your daughter was a baby in order to be consistent. Without ever messing up.

    Trying to restrict God to obeying all the same rules he gives us is as bizarre as me wearing a diaper to try and fit in with my two year old.

    You are not only trying to make God abide by all of His rules to us, but by all of your rules for Him. Rules you don’t even abide by. Who is the one who is capricious?

    Like

  73. Black Flag® says:

    “If you are a man, do you follow your child into the women’s restroom as well?”

    Bizarre question.

    “she could learn how to drive before you too drove.”
    She follows the same rules I do.

    “I’m guessing also that you didn’t use a car seat while she used one. Nor did you wear diapers while she did. Should I go on?”

    Those aren’t rules, and no you shouldn’t. You’re irrational

    Like

  74. lowerleavell says:

    Which man? You?

    Correct.

    How did mankind determine morality before you were born?

    What of those who disagree with your definition? Do you decide morality for all of us Flag, or just yourself? What of those who disagree with your morality. I would wager that the Taliban do not see themselves as evil. Yet, they kill the innocent. What makes you right and them wrong? Are they not human too? Do they not get to decide for themselves what is good and what is evil?

    In addition, is there not evil that is non-violent? Like refusing service to someone because of their skin color? That’s not violent, but it is still evil, is it not? Is pride evil? How about lusting after a person like they were merely an object and not a person? How about bitterness, hatred, and jealousy? Violence is a very limited viewpoint of evil.

    Like

  75. lowerleavell says:

    BF, “I have no rules upon my child that I do not equally follow.”

    If you are a man, do you follow your child into the women’s restroom as well?

    I don’t know your daughter’s age, but I’m guessing that you didn’t wait until she could learn how to drive before you too drove. I’m guessing also that you didn’t use a car seat while she used one. Nor did you wear diapers while she did. Should I go on?

    If you did…you are respectfully very disturbed, sir.

    Like

  76. Black Flag® says:

    “And for those who choose to push someone else over the cliff? This is merely a choice too or is it evil?”

    It is a choice and it is evil.

    BF, “Man defines evil, not the universe”
    Which man? You?

    Correct.

    Evil is “using violence upon the non-violent”

    Like

  77. lowerleavell says:

    BF, “That’s merely your opinion. It is a choice, nothing more.”

    And for those who choose to push someone else over the cliff? This is merely a choice too or is it evil?

    BF, “Man defines evil, not the universe”

    Which man? You? Society? Which society? Who gets to be the authority on what is and what is not evil?

    This little statement of yours is the crux of the entire matter. You have nothing beyond man’s opinion to condemn evil. Was Hitler evil or not?

    In my worldview, it wouldn’t matter if 99.9% of the earth applauded Hitler as a good man, he would still be evil. You can say no such thing.

    You condemn God for killing people as an act of judgement and yet you tell me that morality is up for a vote.

    Like

  78. Black Flag® says:

    I have no rules upon my child that I do not equally follow.

    Like

  79. lowerleavell says:

    BF, “I do not “send” my child to bed. She, like me, determines her own bed time.

    I do not tell my child to do her “homework”. If she does not, she deals with the consequences”

    Are you claiming you have no rules whatsoever for your child? So, if you child decided to touch a hot stove you just say that she’ll have to live with the consequences? If she just wants mac and cheese and pizza and drink soda every night you’ll just let her live with the consequences later in life? Brushing teeth? Nah…she can decide that for herself.

    Maybe you’ll do better with your daughter because she’s a girl and probably just has more sense. I have three boys. Can you imagine me telling me 2 year old boy, “Whenever you decide you want to start using the toilet, you just go ahead.” I can totally see him smearing poop all over the walls with no rules. :-)

    I am thankful that God gives us commands, one of which is for children to obey their parents for their own well-being.

    Like

  80. Black Flag® says:

    There is nothing about the Big Bang that presents there was “nothing before”.

    It presents merely that we do not know what was before.

    Like

  81. Black Flag® says:

    “And yet people walk off cliffs to their death in suicide. Why? It’s irrational. ”

    That’s merely your opinion. It is a choice, nothing more.

    “If man is evil and a product of the universe, does it not mean that your universe is also evil?”

    Man defines evil, not the universe.

    Like

  82. lowerleavell says:

    I said, ”As such, at least at some point, it did not exist.”

    BF, “A baseless assertion. There is no evidence that it “did not exist””

    So, you don’t subscribe to the Big Bang? Wouldn’t that be the starting point of the universe in an evolutionist mindset?

    Like

  83. lowerleavell says:

    BF, “Walk off a cliff, no matter how hard you pray, the Universe will behave exactly upon you as a man who does not pray.”

    And yet people walk off cliffs to their death in suicide. Why? It’s irrational. The universe follows laws. I have no problems with that premise. What I am arguing is that man makes choices that are irrational. I would say that murder is an irrational choice, wouldn’t you? It’s evil. How can the universe that is always rational produce something that responds irrationally?

    If man is evil and a product of the universe, does it not mean that your universe is also evil?

    Like

  84. Black Flag® says:

    ” As such, at least at some point, it did not exist.”

    A baseless assertion. There is no evidence that it “did not exist”.

    Like

  85. Black Flag® says:

    Yes, you are governed by the laws of the Universe.
    Walk off a cliff, no matter how hard you pray, the Universe will behave exactly upon you as a man who does not pray.

    Like

  86. Black Flag® says:

    I do not “send” my child to bed. She, like me, determines her own bed time.

    I do not tell my child to do her “homework”. If she does not, she deals with the consequences.

    Your God is capricious. Utterly whimsical. “Do what I say, which changes, nor will I do what I say and that changes”.

    Jesus is merely a man (if he existed at all).

    Like

  87. lowerleavell says:

    Flag said, “The Universal is immutable, regardless of your choice.”

    The Universe is not immutable as it can be easily demonstrated that it is not eternal. As such, at least at some point, it did not exist. If the universe did not exist at some point, the laws of nature did not apply.

    Where did these laws of nature originate if the universe is not eternal? Did the universe decree them into existence? Did they evolve? If these laws did evolve, it lends itself to the downfall of your premise that the universe is immutable. Does the universe have intellect to do such an orderly thing or did it happen randomly? If so, random is the opposite of order and reason.

    Like

  88. lowerleavell says:

    Flag, “It is YOU who is declaring such choices reasoned or not, not the Universe.”

    How? I am a product of the universe that is always governed by law, am I not? How could something in the universe produce something within its sphere that has the ability to choose something irrational?

    Like

  89. lowerleavell says:

    Flag said, “If you are a good parent, yes. Otherwise you are merely capricious. “Do as I say, not as I do”.”

    So, if you send your kids to bed at 9, you likewise are in bed by 9? If you tell your kids to do their homework, you do their homework as well? Your reasoning breaks down in about two seconds of thought.

    God is not capricious. He is a good Dad. His commands are for our own good and for our own protection.

    Jesus is the answer to the claim of capriciousness. He, as God come in the flesh, perfectly obeyed God’s commands.

    Like

  90. Black Flag® says:

    “Anyone who is a parent understands how. If I give directives to my children, am I bound by those rules?”

    If you are a good parent, yes. Otherwise you are merely capricious. “Do as I say, not as I do”.

    “Does God obey His own laws? He keeps to His character and does not hand out evil laws. Is He obligated to obey them? As God, no”

    Thus his laws are meaningless and not worth the words.

    “Does God obey His own laws?”

    There is no God.

    The Universe, however, absolutely obeys its own laws absolutely.

    Like

  91. lowerleavell says:

    Flag, “You cannot be capable of both sides – either you are bound by law or you are not. To declare “both” is a contradiction. How can you be bound by law yet not be? If you are not – you are not. If you are – you are.”

    Anyone who is a parent understands how. If I give directives to my children, am I bound by those rules? If I am a good dad then I will not hand out rules that are cruel but are in keeping with my good nature/character. But I am not bound to keep any rules that I give my children. So if I tell my kids to love each other, in keeping with my nature, I should be loving to my kids as well. But I am not bound by command but by my character to do so. If I tell the kids to go to bed by 9 because they have school the next day, I am not bound by that law and am not obligated to go to bed at 9.

    Does God obey His own laws? He keeps to His character and does not hand out evil laws. Is He obligated to obey them? As God, no.Did Jesus obey God’s laws perfectly, even though He is God? Yeah. So it’s both.

    But I’ll give Flag. You tell me the answer. After all, you know better than God about morality, so I am sure you know the answer. Does God obey His own laws?

    Like

  92. Black Flag® says:

    “If the universe exists on the laws of reason, then how can humans, as a product of the universe, postulate myths? ”

    The Laws of the Universe operate upon man. Man’s mind is a matter of choice. It is YOU who is declaring such choices reasoned or not, not the Universe.

    You can irrationally believe you can fly like a bird, but the Universe declares otherwise. The Universal is immutable, regardless of your choice.

    The Bible, as already shown, is nothing but a mess of idiocy. You hold it to be a truth, regardless of its contradictions – a sign of zealotry.

    Like

  93. lowerleavell says:

    BF said, “Faith is irrational as it exists where no reason exists.

    You cannot reason your position with fact and reality. It is all an appeal to myth and fairy tales.”

    If the universe exists on the laws of reason, then how can humans, as a product of the universe, postulate myths? Animals don’t do this. No other creature in the history of the universe (that we know of) has postulated anything that is a fairy tale. How can humans do something that is contrary to reason if they are the product of reason?

    Wouldn’t it be unreasonable for a universe built on reason to produce something that is irrational and unreasonable? A fairy tale and a myth is nothing more than a lie. Lies are evil. Your postulation is that the universe produced something that is evil. Ergo, the universe is evil.

    Or…maybe we have a free will given to us by God and we chose to rebel against Him, bringing evil and irrationality into the world.

    Maybe instead of a myth, the Bible is actually true.

    Like

  94. Black Flag® says:

    The question is specific and simple. It does not require “more words” nor does it require a mess of nonsense.

    “Can God break his own laws?” is unambiguous and clear.

    Now, your inability to address such a question is telling. You require to insert nonsense into the question so to avoid the obvious contradiction that the question poses to you.

    Your claim that he gives law, but is not subject to them, leads to a violent contradiction – your God is capricious.

    You cannot be capable of both sides – either you are bound by law or you are not. To declare “both” is a contradiction. How can you be bound by law yet not be? If you are not – you are not. If you are – you are.

    Like

  95. lowerleavell says:

    Flag, “You insert words that are not at all part of the question.”

    People usually use more words in answering a question than are posed in the actual question. I used the word “nature” as synonymous to the word “character” to describe that in some respects God does obey His laws in that He does not do anything to contradict His nature. Since His laws are in line with His nature/character, then in that sense yes.

    In the sense that He is the giver of the law, He is under no obligation to obey them. As such, any act that He does cannot be defined as “obedience.” He is under no obligation to obey man’s responsibility of the laws that He decrees. So in that sense the answer is no.

    Let me ask you, you’ve already let the cat out of the bag and told me that God could not be sovereign if He does obey His own laws. What is your accusation of God if He does not?

    Let me also ask you plainly: Why isn’t God capable of a both/and answer? Why does it have to be only yes or no? Because you say so?

    Like

  96. Black Flag® says:

    Faith is irrational as it exists where no reason exists.

    You cannot reason your position with fact and reality. It is all an appeal to myth and fairy tales.

    Like

  97. Black Flag® says:

    You do have comprehension issues.

    You insert words that are not at all part of the question.

    Why do you do this?

    Like

  98. lowerleavell says:

    Flag said, ““Rational” in the terms of the Universe is an absolute consistency to natural law. “Irrational” in terms of the Universe is a contradiction to natural law….What men’s review of other men’s action is irrelevant.”

    Then how is faith irrational? You declared it to be so. Does the faith of a human contradict the laws of nature? No? Then either faith is within the realm of reason and you need to rescind your claim, or explain to me how it is irrational by your definition of the laws of nature. Or…maybe there’s a longer explanation than either A or B! :-)

    Like

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