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Comments by jeff_n

Go to: Sextuplet parents take B.C. to court over baby seizures

jeff_n's Avatar Jump to comment 18 by jeff_n

We will not, however, consent to blood transfusions. We firmly believe that our creator commands us in scriptures, such as Acts 15:28-29 to abstain from blood products.

Here's Acts 15:28-29 (King James Bible):
28. For it seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things;

29. That ye abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication: from which if ye keep yourselves, ye shall do well. Fare ye well.

Can't see anything about life-saving blood transfusions here. The mention of blood seems to be a staightforward injunction to refrain from eating black pudding. Perhaps that's why there are so few Jehova's Witnesses in the north of England.

Fri, 02 Feb 2007 13:36:00 UTC | #18382

Go to: Does Evolution Select For Faster Evolvers? Horizontal Gene Transfer Adds To Complexity, Speed Of Evolution

jeff_n's Avatar Jump to comment 16 by jeff_n

Aussie says:

A much simpler and more elegant explanation is provided by an ingenious theory known as Intelligent Design. Seems like nobody here has even heard of it.

Considering such design anomalies as Evangelical Christians, tree kangaroos, and the bizarre insistence on building everything with folded-up chain molecules, the "Design by Committee" hypothesis looks promising.

Wed, 31 Jan 2007 12:14:00 UTC | #18057

Go to: Atheists in Jail

jeff_n's Avatar Jump to comment 10 by jeff_n

God is just as lazy, he didn't even finish his creation and made a pretty botched job of it as well.

And when designing the male body he left the testicles on the outside! Surely any designer worth his salt could have found a bit of room near the kidneys? Sheer lackadaisicalness.

Tue, 30 Jan 2007 04:54:00 UTC | #17790

Go to: Young, British Muslims 'getting more radical'

jeff_n's Avatar Jump to comment 33 by jeff_n

Mango says:

Religious schools, however, are a little different and the gov't forcing all children to attend secular schools will surely do much to integrate theist children (esp. Muslims) and perhaps soften their militancy.

I'm not sure that's true. When I was at a mixed state school, the kids of muslim parents were often isolated and bullied and verbally abused. No doubt they only felt they "belonged" to anything at all when they attended Islamic classes in the evenings. Maybe their radicalism actually originated in state school playgrounds.

Don't get me wrong, I don't like the idea of faith schools either, but if Catholic schools are anything to go by, they might actually work in our favour. A lot of people who went to Catholic schools remember more about the cruelty of nuns (etc.) than anything else, and they notice the complete mismatch between "the world as presented by the church" and the world they actually live in. Many of these people grow up to despise Catholicism. So, perhaps muslim schools in a secular society might actually be helpful.

I also think the best way to stop kids taking drugs is to make it compulsory. :o)

Mon, 29 Jan 2007 09:28:00 UTC | #17660

Go to: CNN Sylvia Browne Fraud

jeff_n's Avatar Jump to comment 9 by jeff_n

If the brilliant scientists throughout history had a James Randi negating every aspect of their work, I doubt we would have progressed very far in medicine or in any technology.

In fact they go through up to ten gruelling years of tertiary education, dozens of very difficult examinations, and an uphill struggle to get tenure. And anything they wish to publish in scientific journals is peer reviewed before it ever sees the light of day and is then subjected to intense criticism by some of the smartest people on Earth, many of whom are rivals. A scientist's life would be a lot easier if he or she only had to convince James Randi!

Sun, 28 Jan 2007 08:32:00 UTC | #17527

Go to: Durham Council Votes To Continue Saying Lord's Prayer

jeff_n's Avatar Jump to comment 27 by jeff_n


NoLongerHaveBelief says:

"The Father, the Son and Into the Hole he goes!"

Malachy McCourt tells the story of how he misunderstood Mary's prayer as a child. It should be,

Hail Mary, full of grace.
The Lord is with thee.
Blessed art thou amongst women ...

but he heard it as,

Hail Mary, full of grace.
The Lord is with thee.
Blessed art thou a monk swimming ...

I expect he thought a Benedictine doing the breaststroke was one of the central mysteries of the faith. Shame he was wrong - a freestyle friar would be a much more positive image than someone being tortured to death on a cross.

Sat, 27 Jan 2007 14:01:00 UTC | #17453

Go to: 'God Is Not a Moderate'

jeff_n's Avatar Jump to comment 113 by jeff_n


ridelo says:

Perhaps somebody can make new words for "This is he dawning of the age of ..."

Sounds like fun. How about "The New Enlightenment" or "The Maturation" or "The Coming of Age" (of humankind).

Wed, 24 Jan 2007 13:03:00 UTC | #17027

Go to: Intelligent design to feature in school RE lessons

jeff_n's Avatar Jump to comment 35 by jeff_n


Vigilant Watcher says:
... it is certainly an advance to have ID, if it has to be acknowledged at all, included in RE.

Hopefully it won't be too long before RE is included in History!

Wed, 24 Jan 2007 07:51:00 UTC | #16982

Go to: The Only One in Step

jeff_n's Avatar Jump to comment 133 by jeff_n

Hi Simon,

I'm not a zoologist either but I'm interested in the subject. I agree that there is a great deal that we don't understand about biology, but I'm sure we'll understand a lot more in the future. We're only just beginning to unravel the mysteries of how genes cause cells to differentiate but we already know about several classes of genes (eg. "Hox" genes) that control the expression of other genes, and we know that these mechanisms are governed by chemical gradients, but we've clearly got a lot to learn.

I agree that consciusness is absolutely astounding and I have no answers there. I do, however, hope that we will understand how the brain produces consciousness at some time in the future. We know a great deal more about the brain than we did twenty years ago and the rate of discoveries appears to be accelerating, due to more refined observational techniques and more researchers taking an interest. There are a number of research projects under way that are attempting to reverse engineer specific regions of the brain, and some of these are at a very advanced stage. Within 30 years or so we may well have machines that pass the Turing test to everyone's satisfaction, and if such a machine tells us it's conscious, who are we to argue? That will surely tell us a great deal about the nature of consciousness and the innate capacity of the universe to evolve consciousness of itself (through us and our technology). We may well merge with our technology in the coming decades to the point where death will cease to have any meaning (because when your biological body is destroyed you'll have a fully functional back-up of your mind on the network).

Of course, a complete understanding of consciousness will not explain why the universe has the capacity to evolve consciousness, but some variation of the anthropic principle might be the explanation here. For example, David Deutsch of Oxford University enthusiastically supports the "many worlds" interpretation of quantum mechanics, for which he argues very coherently in his book The Fabric of Reality. In his understanding there are infinite parallel universes, each slightly different from all the rest, and anything that is physically possible will happen somewhere in this limitless "multiverse". Because we're able to think about this, we must therefore be in one of the tiny minority of universes that have evolved consciousness. Given that we have no reason to believe that our spacetime continuum is the only one, ideas like this are not self-evidently silly.

'God said, 'Let there be light' and there was light.' 'Lay hands on the sick and they shall recover.' I know an African Pastor whom I am inclined to believe who became a Christian, read the bit about disciples raising the dead and naively went looking for a dead person to pray for. He did this 3 times and each time the person was raised. He also did it once for a chicken belonging to a Moslem woman who was crying, which got up and laid an egg! There are accounts of the British evangelist Smith Wigglesworth having raised the dead last century.

As I'm sure you know, anecdotal evidence counts for nothing in science. Hundreds of thousands of Americans claim to have been abducted by aliens, but that tells us more about social psychology than it does about extraterrestrial life. Of course, if your pastor friend could resurrect dead chickens under controlled conditions, that would be a different matter.

Regarding the Bible, the opinions you state are minority. The Bible has good error checking through large numbers of manuscripts translated early into several languages.

Yes, there are thousands of manuscript copies of the New Testament books and they differ from one another in a huge number of ways. Bart Ehman, an eminent textual critic at Harvard, says there are more variations in the textual tradition than there are words in the New Testament! Reconstructing the originals is not a trivial task and well-meaning experts often reach different conclusions using the same evidence. And the conclusions they reach can and do affect the interpretation of whole books. Ehman's book "Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why" is an excellent introduction to the field of textual criticism which I would thoroughly recommend to anyone. In the book, Ehman describes his journey from "born again" evangelical Christian, through two strict Bible colleges and his PhD at Harvard to the agnostic position he holds today. He slowly realised that the New Testament texts are very human books.

Fri, 19 Jan 2007 05:59:00 UTC | #16259

Go to: Beyond the Believers

jeff_n's Avatar Jump to comment 12 by jeff_n


iamb_spartacus says:

"In addition to being not very logically rigorous, the case against religion that I have seen made, to date, seems severely blinkered by a lack of understanding of social theory, and of recent philosophy."

Unfortunately, Dawkins rejects much of the most relevant theoritcal work as "haute francophoneyism" (at the beginning of Ch. 10 of TGD).

Thu, 18 Jan 2007 15:23:00 UTC | #16160

Go to: Wash. school board restricts Gore's global-warming film

jeff_n's Avatar Jump to comment 52 by jeff_n

I don't know if anyone has mentioned this so far. Apparently some evangelicals are joining scientists in calling for changes in public policy to avert global warming:

"The Rev. Rich Cizik, public policy director for the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE), and Nobel-laureate Eric Chivian, director of the Center for Health and the Global Environment at Harvard Medical School, were among 28 signers of a statement that demands urgent changes in values, lifestyles and public policies to avert disastrous changes in climate."

(from TechNewsWorld)

You can read more here.

Thu, 18 Jan 2007 12:57:00 UTC | #16138

Go to: The Only One in Step

jeff_n's Avatar Jump to comment 131 by jeff_n


Comment #18088 by Simon Packer says:
It [The Koran] does not show the historical, doctrinal and internal cohesion shown by the Bible.

If the Bible does show doctrinal and internal cohesion (and this is highly debatable), a simple explanation would be that generations of scribes changed ("corrected") what they thought to be mistakes made by earlier scribes in order to reconcile conflicting statements. This demonstably happened many times in the copying of the New Testament (see Bart Ehman's "Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why").

Tolstoy's "War and Peace" contains much that is historically accurate and some of the events described really happened, but no one thinks Tolstoy's characters were real people (although they might be based on real people). Similarly, the Jesus story might have started as an allegorical tale with a bit of historical detail to make it more interesting or believable. We just don't know. We do, however, know that much of the historical detail is inaccurate.

Thu, 18 Jan 2007 09:31:00 UTC | #16110

Go to: The Only One in Step

jeff_n's Avatar Jump to comment 130 by jeff_n


Comment #17892 by Simon Packer says:

Perhaps McIntosh is taking his cue from Dawkins, who I believe postulated the gene as the driving factor behind evolution by natural selection, as if it were a motivated entity.

The title of Dawkin's book, The Selfish Gene, might seem to suggest that he regards the gene as a motivated entity, but he never tires of repeating that this is just a metaphor. I think it's an instructive metaphor because it focuses attention on Dawkin's argument that genes are the entities that are selected by natural selection, rather than the individual organism that carries the gene, or the group the individual belongs to, or the species. Genes that are good at getting themselves copied tend to persist within the gene pool, but the reason they are good at getting themselves copied is not necessarily because they tend to contribute to the specification of fit and healthy organisms. Some genes apparently contribute nothing to the specification of the organism and are never "expressed", they're just good at "hitching a ride" on successful genomes. Some are good at getting themselves copied over and over again within a genome. In Dawkin's anthropomorphic metaphor, genes don't "know" or "care" about the proteins or indeed the organisms they encode. They only "survive" within the gene pool if their molecular structure is such that they prove to be good at getting themselves copied over time. He's not postulating a "survival instinct" or consciousness of any kind at the molecular level.


Comment #17892 by Simon Packer says:

We do indeed look at life through different disciplines, of necessity, for the creation is extremely complex and we are usually using a high level simplification (biology) or else observing a very simple situation (physics).

I think we need to think of biology as an emergent phenomenon that cannot (easily) be explained at a lower level. In that sense, biology is not a high-level simplification, it's simply the appropriate level of explanation for the phenomena in question. Another example of emergent phenomena is weather patterns. No one would even think of trying to explain weather in terms of the motions and interactions of individual molecules. The appropriate level of explanation is in terms of high and low pressure systems which are emergent phenomena. Incidentally, even in something as wild and unpredictable as the weather (finely dependent as it is on initial conditions) we get remarkable self-organising complexity in semi-stable structures such as the Azores high. It doesn't seem unlikely that similar self-organisation might happen in a complex "primordial soup", given millions of years for it to occur (and it only needs to happen once). Wikipedia has an article on self-organisation http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Self-organisation.

I think McIntosh accepts that evolution by natural selection is an observable fact that can explain adaptation to the environment within species, but he seems to think that it cannot explain the development of new species. This seems to be what he's arguing when he says,

Comment #17676 by Simon Packer (quoting Professor Andrew McIntosh of Leeds university):

"If anyone was to take an existing chemical machine and produce a different chemical machine which was not there before (either as a sub-part or latently coded for in the DNA template) then this argument would have been falsified."

(Of course, you don't need to create a new species to falsify this argument. Every time a mutation occurs you get a "chemical machine which was not there before".)

It also seems to be your view when you say,

Comment #17676 by Simon Packer

"I believe in evolution by natural selection within a God-ordained and designed 'type'.

The problem here is that the designation "species" is nowhere near so clear cut as you seem to think. The distinction between one species and another is very often blurred. For example, some species can and do mate with apparently separate species and sometimes the resulting hybrids are fertile. "Species" is just a concept we use to make sense of the natural world but nature is not really arranged so neatly (in fact, for single cell organisms that reproduce by division and can share DNA with other unrelated organisms, it's not clear what "species" means at all).

Often the distinction between species, like humans and chimpanzees, appears clear cut but this is only because the ancestors of humans and chimpanzees between now and our last common ancestor are all dead. If you could follow the family tree of humans back to the last common ancestor of both humans and chimpanzees and then follow the family tree of chimpanzees from the last common ancestor all the way to modern chimps you would never notice a difference from one generation to the next. You wouldn't even notice a difference if you jumped a thousand generations because evolution works at a snails pace. For a very clear explanation of this, including examples where the intermediate organisms between two separate species are all alive now, I urge you to read The Salamander's Tale in Dawkins' The Ancestor's Tale.

Many mechanisms of speciation are, in fact, well understood. Just search for "speciation" on the Web and you'll find lots of info and I'm sure you'll find none of it stretches credulity. There are also very easily understood mechanisms whereby the number of chromosomes in the genome of a population can change over time without ever having a situation where organisms of one generation cannot interbreed with earlier or later generations. The evolution of new "chemical machines" happens in exactly the same way as the "microevolution" that you accept.

Your idea that God is guiding all this appears to unnecessarily complicate the issue, which is why most scientists reject the idea. For example, if I propose that mutations (which might be caused by anything from cosmic rays to radioactivity to quantum tunnelling) are guided by angels, I create even more questions than I started with, eg. "What, exactly, are angels?", "How do they influence cosmic rays, quantum fluctuations, etc.?", "How do they know what to do?", "Why do they do it?", and so on. In science, simple explanations are always preferred to unnecessarily complicated ones.


Comment ##17904 by Simon Packer says:

Reading back through the posts it is clear how effectively indoctrinated most of the posters are with this 'IDers and creationists are naive, thick, senile, liars etc.'

Yes, I agree. But sometimes it can seem that creationists are wilfully ignoring vast bodies of evidence or that they are simply ignorant of it. There are all sorts of lines of evidence that lead us to conclude that the universe, the Earth and life itself are immensely ancient, but people who know little and understand even less about all this insist that the Earth is less than 10,000 years old, basing their evidence for this solely on a Bronze Age Middle Eastern creation myth that was edited and re-edited by an untold number of anonymous scribes (often with conflicting agendas) for hundreds of years before it was fixed in the form we have today. If you look at the situation clearly I'm sure you'll agree that such an idea does seem pretty ludicrous.

Bible scholars tell us that we don't even have the original texts of the various Bible books and that there is all sorts of evidence of intentional and unintentional changes to whatever the original texts said, including lengthy interpolations and even entirely faked books. We don't know what the original texts said, but even the ones we have disagree with one another in many ways. The New Testament is largely the result of infighting amongst different factions who had very different ideas and it seems safe to assume the Old Testament reflects similar disagreements (Isaiah, for example, is clearly a polemic arguing for the hegemony of a particular faction or tribe). There isn't any reliable evidence of the Earthly existence of Jesus outside the New Testament, and what we have is clearly based largely on a single extant source (Mark). It is possible, with scholarship, to argue that Rabbi Yeshua bin Yosef never existed at all (see this page, for example). Consequently, it would seem ill-advised to base our entire world-view and our entire understanding of the universe on this very human and very flawed set of texts.

I do, however, agree with you that we should approach life as a little child. I regard the universe with child-like wonder and my experiences in meditation have taught me that all my knowledge is relative and contingent (but nonetheless useful in the appropriate context). We might even be talking about the same thing in different words, but where you say we should approach God as a little child, I say we should approach the Absolute as a little child who has no concepts at all, not even the very human concept of "God".

Thu, 18 Jan 2007 09:11:00 UTC | #16108

Go to: Christian Shrine Needs Two Exits, Israel Says

jeff_n's Avatar Jump to comment 31 by jeff_n

epeeist says:

You mean a bit like the Abbot of Citeaux and the inhabitants of Beziers - "Caedite eos! Novit enim Dominus qui sunt eius"

Interestingly, Blitz Latin translation tool (availble here) reports that "caedite" can be translated as "sodomise" (as well as "chop", "strike" or "slaughter"). So if any Christians out there wish to deny the massacre took place ...

:o)

Wed, 17 Jan 2007 09:17:00 UTC | #15907

Go to: The Only One in Step

jeff_n's Avatar Jump to comment 122 by jeff_n

Simon Packer says (quoting Professor Andrew McIntosh of Leeds university):
"The principles of thermodynamics even in open systems do not allow a new function using raised free energy levels to be achieved without new machinery. And new machines are not made by simply adding energy to existing machines.
And this thesis is falsifiable. If anyone was to take an existing chemical machine and produce a different chemical machine which was not there before (either as a sub-part or latently coded for in the DNA template) then this argument would have been falsified."

Come to think of it, this argument is not applicable to evolution. No one has ever suggested that organisms produce other organisms in the way McIntosh says. Organisms only ever produce other organisms either by dividing themselves (as in single-cell organisms - this is presumably what he means by "sub-part") or via "the DNA template". If McIntosh agrees that neither of these methods of reproduction contravene the second law, his thermodynamic argument simply doesn't apply.

Mon, 15 Jan 2007 14:55:00 UTC | #15724

Go to: The Only One in Step

jeff_n's Avatar Jump to comment 120 by jeff_n

Simon Packer says:
"To produce a condition of reduced entropy in the thermodynamic sense takes a machine. Raised free energy levels equals reduced entropy. This is always true in Physics and Engineering, whether your system is open or closed."

Surely it depends on what you mean by a "machine". Do you regard the biosphere as a machine, for example?

I don't think natural selection got life started either. It could have been sheer luck or perhaps there's some mechanism involving self-organising complexity that we haven't figured out yet, but either way I can't see how a self-replicating molecule and its subsequent evolution contravenes the second law.

I think, perhaps, you're seeing design principles where an engineering approach is not applicable. "Chemical machines" are governed by growth from the bottom up rather than top-down design. The information encapsulated in DNA is information about the environment and comes from the environment itself. None of this needs any help from a designer and the overall entropy budget is always what the second law says it should be.

I don't think you're alone in seeing the principles of your specialist subject wherever you look. Dawkins does it too. He often tries to explain complex human social behaviour in Darwinian terms which I think is wholly inappropriate.

I can't agree with what you say about the Bible. I think the Bible is a fascinating cultural artifact (or, rather, artifacts as the various texts reflect the concerns of people from many ancient cultures) but I can't even begin to see why any intelligent person would even think of taking it literally.

Mon, 15 Jan 2007 13:24:00 UTC | #15713

Go to: The Only One in Step

jeff_n's Avatar Jump to comment 116 by jeff_n

Simon Packer says:
The late SJ Gould I believe acknowledged the discontinuities in the fossil record and postulated hopeful mutations which were major step changes in an organism in one generation. Besides stretching credulity to the limit in the sense of expecting a mutation to suddenly result in a meaningful and viable substantially different species, it raises the question of where Mrs Hopeful Mutation came from and how they met.

Which is why Gould's ideas about macroevolution were regarded as ludicrous by almost all evolutionary biologists. Richard Dawkin's was his most vociferous opponent. If you're basing your opposition to evolution on Gould's work, you're missing the point: the overwhelming consensus among evolutionary biologists is that all evolution is microevolution.

Simon Packer says:
Natural Selection requires certain conditions before it can operate. It requires a reproduction/birth/death cycle, it requires a survival instinct, and arguably a discrimonatory environment. Which came first, natural selection requiring an organism which could fight for survival or the organism capable of fighting for survival? If the second, how did it get here?

Natural selection is not a "thing" that can sensibly be said to exist independently of competing organisms. It's just a name given to the process whereby organisms that are in some way better able to survive an environment than competing organisms are more likely to leave more offspring.

Simon Packer says:
The issue behind MacIntosh's postulate (stated on the Truth in Science website)is that many Laws of Physics are universal as far as we know, and if we are using the scientific method we must postulate a mechanism for an observed departure from them.

But life doesn't depart from any known laws of physics. MacIntosh is pretty much alone in arguing that life contravenes the second law of thermodynamics.

In fact, all you're really doing is looking for weaknesses in the theory of evolution in order to find "gaps" where divine intervention might sound plausible to those who don't understand science. This is simply cynical and dishonest. If you really believe engineers know more about evolutionary biology than specialists in that field, let's see you get your ideas published in a respected peer-reviewed journal. Otherwise it's just another in a long line of "God-of-the-gaps" arguments.

Mon, 15 Jan 2007 09:39:00 UTC | #15679

Go to: Conservative Atheists

jeff_n's Avatar Jump to comment 19 by jeff_n

"cynical bonds of mutual deception"

What a superb phrase! I love it! Thanks for another excellent post JohnC.

Sun, 14 Jan 2007 14:52:00 UTC | #15565

Go to: The Only One in Step

jeff_n's Avatar Jump to comment 107 by jeff_n

gimlibengloin says:
All experiments with fruitflies have failed to produce anything put a fruit fly.

So what would you expect? An elephant? Of course you'll get another fruit fly! The test of whether speciation has occurred is whether you can breed two or more populations of fruit flies that can't or won't interbreed. This has been done many times (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Speciation).

The currently accepted biological explanations of speciation are complex and difficult for laymen to follow. I don't know a great deal about it but if I ever feel a pressing need to understand it I'll study the subject with an open mind, or I'll ask an evolutionary biologist, whose job it is to study such things. I certainly wouldn't ask someone who's only read ill-informed criticisms of it and who thinks that anything difficult to understand can be explained by invoking a magic sky fairy.

If you're really interested in the subject there's a FAQ about it at http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/faq-speciation.html

Sun, 14 Jan 2007 14:43:00 UTC | #15563

Go to: Send a Message to God: He has gone too far this time

jeff_n's Avatar Jump to comment 14 by jeff_n

condorfree says:
"God is Love ..."

Or possibly a security blanket, a skirt to cling to ...

Sun, 14 Jan 2007 10:56:00 UTC | #15546

Go to: Federal Way schools restrict Gore film

jeff_n's Avatar Jump to comment 45 by jeff_n

Dreamer's Dilemma says:
Apparently, unless one is in lockstep agreement with "the only sensible conclusion", one is being unhelpful to a measured discussion. The point is, legitimate scientists (discounting the fundamentalists) remain on both sides of the global warming debate.

Agreed. But your use of "The Oregon Report" shows that we need to be careful about where we get our information. There is an awful lot of misinformation about this issue out there.

Sun, 14 Jan 2007 04:40:00 UTC | #15524

Go to: Federal Way schools restrict Gore film

jeff_n's Avatar Jump to comment 36 by jeff_n

Dreamer's Dilemma says:
The preceding was taken from a column by Mark M. Alexander, Friday June 23, 2006.

The quote comes from "The Oregon Petition", a thoroughly discredited fundamentalist scam. You can read about it here and here.

Sat, 13 Jan 2007 14:21:00 UTC | #15459

Go to: Federal Way schools restrict Gore film

jeff_n's Avatar Jump to comment 20 by jeff_n

BracesForImpact says:
Too many people seem to think education should be a democratic process. Shall we teach flat-earth theory because teaching the earth is round could be termed to be "controversial"?

Of course. If an intelligent and well-informed perspective is presented it should always be balanced by a stupid and ignorant one. :o)

Sat, 13 Jan 2007 03:21:00 UTC | #15405

Go to: The God of the Bible is No Delusion!

jeff_n's Avatar Jump to comment 519 by jeff_n

gimlibengloin says:
Why would satan write a book that identifies him as a deceiver? Your point makes no sense. You point to all the human misery in history allegedly caused by Christianity and you say isn't this better explained as being caused by the devil. But if the devil wants to perpetrate human suffering why would he inspire a book that says "love your enemies" "do good to those who persecute you" "don't take revenge" etc.

Because he's a very clever deceiver and knows that planting ideas like these in our minds will inevitably produce the opposite results. ;o)

Thu, 11 Jan 2007 14:16:00 UTC | #15227

Go to: The God of the Bible is No Delusion!

jeff_n's Avatar Jump to comment 512 by jeff_n

gimlibengloin says:
"I'd like to suggest that the above structure of Gen 3 demonstrates the correspondence between the serpent and the cherubim and suggests that the serpent or the nachash was in fact simply satan. In other words the nachash wasn't satan as a snake but snake is a figure of speech or a homonym. The word nachash is actually used of bronze because it glitters or shines. This is why it is used of satan for as Paul says satan can disguise himself as an angel of light."

If Satan is such a consummate deceiver, how do you know he didn't write or inspire the entire Bible? If you're prepared to accept the notion of supernatural agency in the production of these texts, isn't it just as likely that they're the product of some evil force? Considering the human misery caused by Christianity over the last 2,000 years, the authorship of Satan looks like a better bet to me.

Or maybe they were just written by people just like us who were trying to understand their world in a pre-scientific age. People with prejudices and political ideas. People with hopes and dreams.

Thu, 11 Jan 2007 12:08:00 UTC | #15215

Go to: Intelligent Design packets

jeff_n's Avatar Jump to comment 41 by jeff_n

masterbuilder says:
"For this three components have to evolve at the same time in one being: light sensitive spot on his skin, the area in the brain that processes sight and a nerve that passes the information from the skin to the brain."

I'm not an evolutionary biologist, but I can easily imagine how these three components could evolve in parallel. Photosynthesising bacteria will swim towards light and they are single-cell organisms, so here we have an example of all three functions happening in the same cell. With the advent of mutlti-cell organisms where individual cells develop specialised functions (and communicate with one another through chemical and/or electrical signalling), the functions you describe simply become distributed among a group of cells. Furthermore, there is not really a distinction between "nerve cells" and "brain cells" at this stage. "Nerve cells" are neurons and a primitive brain is just a cluster of neurons.

Wed, 10 Jan 2007 03:41:00 UTC | #15049

Go to: Intelligent Design packets

jeff_n's Avatar Jump to comment 39 by jeff_n

(If you scroll up, you'll notice I gave you that link in my post on the subject and the stuff I copied and pasted from that site is in quotes.)

If you've already decided it's impossible then there's not much more to say.

Tue, 09 Jan 2007 15:08:00 UTC | #14959

Go to: Intelligent Design packets

Go to: Intelligent Design packets

jeff_n's Avatar Jump to comment 35 by jeff_n

Dylan Dog says:
"I am just waiting for the "half-evolved feathers/eyes/lungs etc etc" to make an apperance..."

Scroll up a bit, we did eyes a few posts ago. Apparently, "The eye is just too complex to be evolved". :o)

Tue, 09 Jan 2007 14:38:00 UTC | #14951

Go to: Intelligent Design packets

jeff_n's Avatar Jump to comment 33 by jeff_n

Actually, I live in England and I've never met a fundamentalist Christian. In fact I can't think of anyone I know who would describe themselves as a Christian. I know a couple of fundamentalist muslims though. Scary people.

Tue, 09 Jan 2007 14:25:00 UTC | #14948