PUBLIC VIEWPOINT: There Must Be A Creator

Posted: September 19, 2011 at 3:25 a.m.

There once was an auto parts store. It was new, clean and very well stocked.

This story is only available from our archives.

Opinion, Pages 5 on 09/19/2011

While Ms. Farish makes a nice logical discussion of the age old religion versus science dichotomy regarding how life was created, she fails to understand how these two disciplines serve two different purposes. One of the most devout Christians that I have ever known is also blessed with a brilliant mind to the extent that he earned a PH.D in physics from the University of Texas before the age of 22. I have asked him how he squares the apparent conflict of biblical creation and the science of the "big bang". He answered my question with a question asking, "Do you have faith?" He further went on to illuminate, "Don't confuse having faith with the knowledge created by empirical scientific inquiry. If you need scientific proof of God's existence or God's creation, then you don't have faith. I believe that God created the heavens and the earth just don't ask me to scientifically prove it. Based on verifiable scientific evidence, I know that evolution is real insofar as the word simply means 'change over time'. Everything evolves including species and even ourselves. I know this to be proven verifiable fact. The same holds true with global warming/climate change. But what is even more spiritually uplifting is that I believe God is the guiding force behind creation but I cannot scientifically prove it; nor should I try because it is a matter of faith . It's our job as scientists to explore God's creation and to try to better understand it and try to protect it using science and thereby, honoring God's handiwork." So, when Ms. Farish and others who seem to be conflicted because some professor writes a challenging column, they need step back and relax and try to understand the distinction between scientific inquiry and religious belief.

Posted by: hawgfan25

September 19, 2011 at 3:52 p.m. ( | suggest removal )


Magic Ms Faris is a wonderful thing. It allows you to keep fooling yourself over and over.

I suggest Phyliss write a book on "The purpose of plants" and list them, along with god's intended purpose, one by one.


Posted by: cdawg

September 19, 2011 at 5:32 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Ms. Farish gives us a couple novel variations of Paley's old "watchmaker" argument (the teleological argument from design). It was pretty effective back in 1802 when Paley presented it, because our knowledge of how chaotic systems come together to create things that appear to have a conscious designer was very limited then. We've learned a bit since 1802.

Nature is filled with examples of objects that appear to have conscious design, but do not. Snowflakes, sand dunes, tornadoes and rainbows. Nature provides symmetry everywhere. Look how all of the planets are round and we never happen to get triangles or squares. Why is that? (gravity) We can throw up our hands and attribute it to a magical being (an even more extraordinary claim), or we can get to work and figure out answers to these questions. And we largely have.

I have beautiful golden pryrite cube. It's a perfect square, shiny gold, and it grew right out of the ground! See a picture of one here:

What are the odds of that? Well, pretty good it turns out. Instead of attributing this to superstition we have learned that minerals (and water at cold temperatures) come together to organize into complex symmetrical objects. And they do it all the time. No gods required.

Self-replicating objects/organisms (life) are much much better at this nifty trick (more practice).

Ms. Faris switches between evolution and biogenesis as if there isn't any difference, but it is an important distinction. We know biological evolution of species is true and have for 150 years. There has been no competing scientific theory during that time. It's the only game in town. Anyone who doesn't know this has voluntarily chosen to make themselves aware of the easy to obtain evidence. See:

The origin of life, is a different question, and the science isn't as firm here. But we do have very good explanations coming together with evidence piling up. And any of these are superior to supernatural "explanations" because saying something happened by magic is never, ever, an explanation. It's just an intellectual cop out. Not only does it not answer the question, it creates a bigger question. It provides no answer. It really breaks down to "God of the Gaps," "we don't know, therefore we know." We have a little tract on that:

Also, this video clip lays out a very plausible, entirely natural explanation for the origin of life. Ten minutes well spent:

"He is perfectly certain that there can be no design without a designer, and he is, equally certain that there can be a designer who was not designed. The absurdity becomes so great that it takes the place of a demonstration. He takes it for granted that matter was created and that its creator was not."
--Ingersoll, Why I Am An Agnostic

Posted by: fayfreethinker

September 19, 2011 at 8:25 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Oh, this one is quite good too. The first five minutes does it:

"Origins of Life - Made Easy"

Posted by: fayfreethinker

September 19, 2011 at 8:40 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Jesus Christ-a-mighty! You people need to learn how to respond to the ignorance of writers like Phyllis.You don't do it by posting your doctoral dissertation.

Come up with a better, funnier, and more-to-the-point story for simpletons. Think "closing argument to a jury" and save the science for an audience that cares. Unless, of course, this is the only forum in which you can get published... .

Posted by: CaptainQuint

September 20, 2011 at 12:12 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

smcelveen, please give us an example in this case. I'm just not that good at creative writing.

Of course there is a just isn't like the Old/New Testament image that so many people have adopted because they can't understand anything more profound than "faith". God is also called "Nature" or "Universe". It fits the rather common definition of having all the power (omnipotent) and knowledge (omniscient) and being everywhere (omnipresent). The other key constituent of our universe, along with matter/energy, is information. There have been huge gains in information theory during the last few decades which help with many riddles and gaps in our understanding. For more on this try "Decoding The Universe" by Charles Seife. (Available at Rogers Library).

Posted by: ajm

September 20, 2011 at 5:47 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

SMC: "...learn how to respond to the ignorance of writers like Phyllis.">>

We could try calling people things like "ignorant" and "simpletons." That's probably very effective (not). How's that method working out for you?

SMC: "You don't do it by posting your doctoral dissertation.">>

There isn't anything in the few paragraphs in this thread written above the high school level. If you aren't up to reading a few paragraphs written at an introductory level, you aren't interested in this topic.

SMC: "save the science for an audience that cares.">>

So it's okay to discuss the topic of the origin of life, but just make sure and do it *without* referencing "the science."

It might be the case that you're not the best candidate to be going around calling other people "simpletons."

Posted by: fayfreethinker

September 20, 2011 at 9:23 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

The anti -Christians jump at the bait each time it is thrown. Just like dung beetles following a cow herd.

Posted by: kinggeorge

September 20, 2011 at 11:15 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Is this MrD admitting his material is dung? It would appear so.

We agree on something after all.

Posted by: fayfreethinker

September 20, 2011 at 4:01 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

howgfan25 - I like your post and believe, also, that it is a matter of faith. The arguing is quite tiresome, but the only thing I don't understand is why is man, man and beast, beast, even today - just as God created them? Where are all the missing links? There would be millions of them, wouldn't there. Also, mutations, which evolution is based on is almost always for the worse, not the better. Things don't go from bad to good, it is always the reverse.

Posted by: mycent

September 20, 2011 at 7:53 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

MYCENT: "why is man, man and beast,... even today - just as God created them?">>

But that isn't remotely true and shows a complete unfamiliarity with the fossil record and publicly available evidence that has been accessible for well over a century.

We have positively millions of fossils showing hundreds of millions of years of evolution for thousands of different species. I was in the Chicago science museum a month ago and viewed many of these objects myself. Consider for instance, just the category of horse evolution:

Lot's of pictures too.

MY: "Where are all the missing links?">>

Here are a few thousand:

Also, the transition from species to species is *extremely* well supported. See 29 examples shown in depth here:

The transition from reptile to mammal is also extremely well supported (even Michael Behe, current creationist favorite and proponent of "Intelligent Design" accepts this and the fact that we share a common ancestor with the gorilla. He doesn't accept this because he wants to but rather because of overwhelming evidence).

MY: "mutations,... is almost always for the worse, not the better.">>

Right. "Almost always" being the key here. Sometimes a mutation provides an advantage.

MY: "Things don't go from bad to good,">>

Actually, they do. For evolution this is defined as successful reproduction and adaption to the environment.

"...if the universe were just electrons and selfish genes, meaningless tragedies like the crashing of this bus [full of children from a Roman Catholic school and for no apparent reason but with wholesale loss of life] are exactly what we should expect, along with equally meaningless *good* fortune. Such a universe would be neither evil nor good in intention. It would manifest no intentions of any kind. In a universe of blind physical forces and genetic replication, some people are going to get hurt, other people are going to get lucky, and you won't find any rhyme or reason in it, nor any justice. The universe we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, and no good, nothing but blind, pitiless indifference... DNA neither knows nor cares. DNA just is. And we dance to its music."
--Richard Dawkins, pg. 131, "River Out of Eden"

Posted by: fayfreethinker

September 20, 2011 at 10:51 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Great quote by Dawkins...except for one thing: While "caring" may be beyond it's structure, DNA clearly "knows" or it would not have the information and ability to replicate itself and thus affect it's survival. That is purpose.

Posted by: ajm

September 21, 2011 at 6:25 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

ajm - You believe DNA "knows" and has the ability to replicate itself??? Talk about us who believe in a God that created life being gullible.

Posted by: mycent

September 21, 2011 at 7:48 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

My concern with Ms. Farish is her perception that if her religion conflicts with science, her religion wins out and science is discarded. In her world, God is being assaulted by the intellectual elite. This is the same kind of thinking that brought us the Dark Ages. Unfortunately, we are going through a Dark Ages period in our country today when we overly politicize scientific conclusions that ask us to make changes to our lives via government edict or even voluntary compliance. Unfortunately we tend to refute or ignore the facts and we ask ethical scientific experts to become marketing and public relations specialists trying to sell their objectively based conclusions to the polity. Admittedly, some of that has to go on in order to "dumb it down" for people like me. But, it has become excessive and has drawn battle lines where few, if any, battle lines should exist particularly when it comes to scientific theories that have proven time and again to be true.

Posted by: hawgfan25

September 21, 2011 at 9:06 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

And that is what they count on - to make you think that it has to be "dumbed down" for us simple minded people. If it gets too confusing/complicated it must be true. I know all scientists do not believe in evolution - they just say there is no other theory out there. I don't know how God created life - except what the bible tells us, but I will never believe we evolved from monkeys.

Posted by: mycent

September 21, 2011 at 9:59 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Instead of dung beetles perhaps "howling Hyenas'''would have been more fitting. I am glad my sole purpose in life is not to dispel the truth and dash the hopes of Christian believers by constantly attempting to plant seeds of doubt. And Freethinker, we agree on one or more points about creation.
l. Matter exists.
2. Matter exists in billions of shapes and forms.
3. Matter came from somewhere.
4. We both have to agree that you don't know its origin. If that's not true, you tell me where it came from and how it came to be.
5. If you do not know where it came from or how it came to be then that means you don't know your subject.
6. Each of us must conclude that matter came from something or came from nothing.
Christians say that God created everything out of nothing. You say that it was always here. That is just as illogical as anything you attribute to Christian claims. Prove to me where matter came from and maybe I will believe you. Try to keep your answer under 3000 words without source references from non-believers just like you.

Posted by: kinggeorge

September 21, 2011 at 11:41 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Since MrD has brought up dung beetles, we might consider beetles in general (the order Coleoptera).
Coleoptera contains more species than any other order, constituting almost 25% of all known life-forms. About 40% of all described insect species are beetles (about 400,000 species, and new species are discovered frequently).
Some estimates are that there may be a million or more species of beetles.
Now what do you think was the use and purpose of beetles that they would constitute one-fourth of all life-forms and come in so many shapes and sizes and colors?

Posted by: Coralie

September 21, 2011 at 2:17 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

MrD: " You say that [matter] was always here.">>

Actually, I say I don't know. That's the honest answer. It's actually okay to admit you don't know. And it's vastly superior to pretending you do (and making supernatural stuff up) when you don't know.

MrD: "That is just as illogical as anything you attribute to Christian claims.">>

Why would it be illogical to suggest that something that is here, has always been here?

AJM says: "DNA clearly "knows" or it would not have the information and ability to replicate itself">>

Just because a molecule, or strand of DNA can chemically make a copy of itself, this doesn't mean that it "knows" something. Consider the fact that human zygotes can be frozen and then later thawed and brought back to "life." This suggests that DNA, and what it produces, is just based upon profoundly complicated chemical reactions.

AJM: "ability to replicate itself and thus affect it's survival. That is purpose.">>

Two points:

a) Since well over 99.9% of all creatures that have ever lived have gone extinct I guess they weren't very good at continuing their survival?
b) What is the "purpose" of cancer? What is the "purpose" of malaria or the polio virus which is perfectly designed to attack healthy children and kill them or leave them crippled for life?

I know of no reason to think "purpose" is anything other than a made up, subjective, human creation based upon our desires, likes and dislikes.

"Only a Designer would have had the infinite wisdom and compassion to create the wonderfully designed Plasmodium parasite that causes malaria which is spread with the aid of the wonderfully designed mosquito. About half of all the humans who have ever lived have died from malaria. The Roman Empire was undermined by malaria. The early American colony of Jamestown had to be established three times because of malaria. Today, malaria kills nearly a million people each year, mainly children and pregnant women in Sub-Saharan Africa, whose brains become infected with the parasite. There are four different species of Plasmodium, the deadliest being Plasmodium falciparum, which is rapidly [evolving and] becoming resistant to drugs."

Posted by: fayfreethinker

September 21, 2011 at 2:17 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Coralie, the gods are extraordinarily fond of beetles.

What the "purpose" is of having so many different species of them, is not entirely clear.

"Using sheer numbers as a criterion for success, beetles are the most successful animals on Earth. If a single example of every plant and animal species were placed in a row, every fifth species would be a beetle and every tenth species a weevil (one group of beetles)."

Posted by: fayfreethinker

September 21, 2011 at 2:52 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Why is it illogical to suggest that something that is here has always been here? It is illogical to assume that it has always been here...that's why. In all of your infinite wisdom, you must admit that everything has a beginning that is made of universal matter. If you don't admit that then you are saying that everything that is here had no beginning. To say that of something that can be measured, weighed, broken down to its component parts just came into existence on its own is logical? You speak of proof of something before you can believe it. The proof of God is in the heavens, the earth, in people, in Jesus, who is and was God Himself, but you refuse to see it. You pick and choose what you want to believe so as to justify your reasons for believing as you say. You quote a proverb that says a wise man demands proof. Why don't you quote the proverb that says "there is a way that seems right to man, but the end thereof is the way of death"? How about the proverb that says " the fool says in his heart there is no God'? You will probably never admit this, but have you ever once considered "I might be wrong and the creationists might be correct?"

Posted by: kinggeorge

September 21, 2011 at 8:51 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

You said:
" Since well over 99.9% of all creatures that have ever lived have gone extinct I guess they weren't very good at continuing their survival?"

Where and how do you arrive at your percentages?
Name all of them for me.
You must be reading off one of Obama's teleprompters!

Posted by: kinggeorge

September 21, 2011 at 9:02 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

MrD: "It is illogical to assume that it has always been here...that's why.">>

I didn't assume it, I postulated it (I said "suggest") after admitting I didn't know.
Show why it is "illogical" to "suggest" that matter is eternal. You'll need to do a little better than asserting it and stating "that's why." You're not in church.

MrD: "you must admit that everything has a beginning that is made of universal matter.">>

Show everything has a beginning. Show matter isn't eternal. You can't.

MrD: "Why don't you quote the proverb that says...">>

Proverbs are poetry and anonymous opinions. Proverbs are not evidence or argument.

MrD: "How about the proverb that says " the fool says in his heart there is no God'?">>

The secular version reads a little differently:
"The fool saith in his heart, 'There is no god,' the wise man saith it out loud." Ps. 14:1 RSV (Revised Secular Version)

MrD: "have you ever once considered "I might be wrong and the creationists might be correct?">>

I was a creationist for most of my life. When I was in high school I argued with my biology teacher with all of the standard creationist claptrap I learned in church. I didn't learn differently until I examined the issue about a decade later.

Creationism doesn't have one good argument in it's favor. Not one. Creationism is wrong, and astonishingly wrong, for very well understood, well studied, reasons.

MrD: "Where and how do you arrive at your percentages? [regarding extinct species].">>

That was off of the top of my head. It's pretty obvious really. But I am always glad to provide supporting reference (don't ever hesitate to ask):

"Most extinctions have occurred naturally, without human intervention: it is estimated that 99.9% of all species that have ever existed are now extinct.[3][4]"


-- Newman, Mark. "A Mathematical Model for Mass Extinction". Cornell University. May 20, 1994. Retrieved July 30, 2006.
-- Raup, David M. Extinction: Bad Genes or Bad Luck? W.W. Norton and Company. New York. 1991. pp. 3–6 ISBN 978-0-393-30927-0

This claim is not controversial. It's what the fossil record shows.


Posted by: fayfreethinker

September 21, 2011 at 10:12 p.m. ( | suggest removal )


Where did everything or anything originate from? Take your answer and ask, "Where did that come from?" Religious debates aside, in your opinion, is there something greater than Man to believe in?



Posted by: Tankersley101

September 22, 2011 at 5:14 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

TK: "Where did everything or anything originate from?" [and] "Where did that come from?">>

I don't know. However, if matter/energy is eternal, it didn't need to "originate" from something, having always existed. That's not an idea we can easily grasp since in our short lives, we are only familiar things coming from other things. But nature, reality, the universe isn't limited by our experiences in our short lives. Lots of things in science and reality are counter-intuitive (especially evolution, deep time, QM etc).

TK: "is there something greater than Man to believe in?"

If you could be a bit more specific. I am not aware of something greater, as in a being/entity/force, no. Of course, people will believe in these things, usually because they learn to from their parents and society. Here is a short video clip we watched at our last meeting. It may be of use here:

"The center of all things"

And a word from Bertrand Russell:

"If everything must have a cause, then God must have a cause. If there can be anything without a cause, it may just as well be the world as God, so that there cannot be any validity in that argument. It is exactly of the same nature as the Hindu's view, that the world rested upon an elephant and the elephant rested upon a tortoise; and when they said, "How about the tortoise?" the Indian said, "Suppose we change the subject." The argument is really no better than that. There is no reason why the world could not have come into being without a cause; nor, on the other hand, is there any reason why it should not have always existed. There is no reason to suppose that the world had a beginning at all. The idea that things must have a beginning is really due to the poverty of our imagination. Therefore, perhaps, I need not waste any more time upon the argument about the First Cause."
--Bertrand Russell

Posted by: fayfreethinker

September 22, 2011 at 9:49 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

You are playing with words,sidestepping, and using the most convenient means available. Good strategy.
When you say something did not have to originate that must be a "postulation." Using a secular version of a biblical quote is like contaminating water and calling it pure. Anyone who knows how can change a word here and there or add a word and change the entire meaning of a sentence. It is easy to admit you don't know something when you know the other person does not know the answer and has no way of proving the answer. You find it easy to postulate that something may have always existed, therefore could not have been created.
Yet you find it impossible to postulate that God, as described in the Bible can exist as a non-physical entity. You are not a fool for postulating that matter has always existed, but those of us who believe in God are fools. I can postulate that God has always existed and was not created, but is the Creator. You say that logic is "claptrap" and flawed, but yours is not. It is true that there are double standards, but people who live by double standards neither speak nor live by the truth. Some so-called Christians also have double standards, but are not true Christians. When you went to church you may have been viewed as a Christian, but in fact you were not. For those who do not know the difference in a Christian and an infidel, you were considered a Christian because of church affiliation by merely being there. You have played both sides of the issue. You have shown two different faces but not betrayed Christianity, because you never were one. Judas was a disciple, but he was described by Jesus as a "devil from the beginning." Et tu, Jude?

Posted by: kinggeorge

September 22, 2011 at 12:13 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

"There is no reason to suppose that the world had a beginning at all. The idea that things must have a beginning is really due to the poverty of our imagination."
--Bertrand Russell

There is just as much validity in supposing that the world had a beginning as there is to suppose otherwise. This man is dead, rotted in earth, burning in hell and does not have to use his imagination!

Posted by: kinggeorge

September 22, 2011 at 12:31 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Mrd: "You are playing with words,sidestepping,">>

That's not true. As anyone can see I answered your question above, directly and forthrightly.

Mrd: "you say something did not have to originate that must be a "postulation.">>

Any comment about origins of the universe are necessarily postulations. You claimed: "It is illogical to assume that it has always been here..."

You have the burden of showing it is illogical. Your first attempt of "that's why" isn't very convincing.

Mrd: "Using a secular version of a biblical quote">>

There is no such version. It's a joke.

Mrd: "You find it easy to postulate that something may have always existed, therefore could not have been created.">>

No, that doesn't follow. I didn't say, and would never say, "could not have been created." Stop making things up.

We start with, matter/energy, is here. The suggestion that it has always been here is not illogical, and it's much simpler than the non-answer of "we don't know, therefore let's say a God did it."
That is the fallacy "argument from ignorance." I'm not being insulting, that is the formal name. Learn about this here:

Mrd: "Yet you find it impossible to postulate that God,">>

Wrong. You can postulate all sorts of things. But the principle of Occams Razor showed us, about 800 years ago, that we should not stack assumptions unnecessarily. Less assumptions is better. Not only is the God assertion unsupported, usually contradictory, a non-answer (just presents a bigger problem), it is also a huge unnecessary assumption.

Postulating that matter/energy has always existed is preferred because it is naturalistic, comports with observation, and is much *much* simpler. If you want to stack on extra assumptions, you need really good reasons, you don't have any.

MrD: "those of us who believe in God are fools.">>

I didn't say that, but it does remind me of a scripture:
"If we are out of our mind, it is for the sake of God...." 2 Cor. 5:13

Mrd: "I can postulate that God has always existed and was not created,">>

But this solves nothing and just creates a larger problem. These are grand questions that humans have pondered for centuries. Your comments reveal you haven't considered this topic very deeply at all.

Mrd: "You say that logic [God always existed] is "claptrap">>

No, I said creationist arguments are claptrap. And they are. All of them. Your God assertion is unfounded, unnecessary and just adds another problem needing an explanation.

Mrd: "you were not [a Christian].">>

This is where MrD, throws away the injunction of his God at Matthew 7:1 and pretends he can judge what I was, or was not, 35 years ago. Where do people get the idea that Christians like MrD are hypocrites?


Posted by: fayfreethinker

September 22, 2011 at 6:46 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

somehow I knew fayfreethinker would be allover this one already


Posted by: Hydro

September 23, 2011 at 7:09 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Oh Derik, I was thinking the SAME thing. When will it all stop! My goodness but he likes to "talk".

Posted by: Ivotedoyou

September 23, 2011 at 9:45 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

I was not pretending to judge you. l was, and I am.
You were never a Christian and never will be. You are of the Devil and you are his child. He is a liar, the father of lies, and the truth is not in him. His sole purpose is to destroy, confuse, sow discord, and to divert humanity from the purpose which God created us. A tree is judged by the fruit it bears. Your apples are rotten and your grapes are sour and both are filled with poison.

Posted by: kinggeorge

September 23, 2011 at 12:09 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

MrD, the judge! To use the famous metaphor Bertrand Russell referred to above (stacking assumptions, or turtles), your judging powers remind me of Dr. Seuss's "Yertle the Turtle."

You're the king of all that you can see!

Hey, I was playing around with anagram software the other day and discovered that the letters in my full name can be rearranged to read:

"Lords Horned Challenger"

I think that's rather nifty. Surely it's a sign of something important.

"The most widely known version [of turtle stacking] appears in Stephen Hawking's 1988 book A Brief History of Time, which starts:

A well-known scientist (some say it was Bertrand Russell) once gave a public lecture on astronomy. He described how the earth orbits around the sun and how the sun, in turn, orbits around the center of a vast collection of stars called our galaxy. At the end of the lecture, a little old lady at the back of the room got up and said: "What you have told us is rubbish. The world is really a flat plate supported on the back of a giant tortoise." The scientist gave a superior smile before replying, "What is the tortoise standing on?" "You're very clever, young man, very clever," said the old lady. "But it's turtles all the way down!"[1]

MrD hasn't figured this out yet, but when attempts to answer the question of the origin of the universe with "God did it by magic," he's just adding a turtle to the stack. Oh well.

Posted by: fayfreethinker

September 23, 2011 at 1:37 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

freethinker - "I am not aware of something greater" - there lies your problem, among other things. I am aware of God's presence everyday. Not only in my heart and spirit, but in His creation.

Posted by: mycent

September 24, 2011 at 8:56 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Freethinker, you "postulated" that matter has always existed. I "postulated" that it has not. You have no more proof that it always existed than I have that it did not. That's a fact. It is also a fact that there is a cause and effect. There can be no effect without a cause. Is that not a fact? You rely on science above everything else and science teaches that as a fact. You cannot deny that without being dishonest with your argument. I suggest that you have to "postulate" that matter has always existed in order to find a base for your argument. That base to your argument is the same as the "turtle" anecdote you quoted. It is a fallacy to say that matter (the universe) always existed without something causing it. I tell you that the first cause is God. Even the most primitive people knew of cause and effect whether they could articulate it or not. That is why they paid tribute or worshiped, whichever you prefer, gods which they had reason to believe existed, even though they had no idea of who or what he was. God revealed Himself to Abraham, promised him that he would make him into a nation, and that through him (Abraham) all nations of the earth would be blessed. That blessing is and was Jesus, the Christ, who reconciled the heathen who did not know God with God through belief in Jesus as the giver of eternal life. A supreme sacrifice was made at the cross of Calvary and the free gift of eternal life is presented to anyone who believes that Jesus is the Son of God and trusts in Him as a personal Redeemer, redeeming any of those who are lost and without hope of escape from the penalty of eternal death. Only a few in comparison to the whole of humanity choose to believe the truth that God revealed to His ancient children. I, nor no other can force anyone to believe the record. Man has a free will. He chooses to believe or not to believe. Man, therefore, is held accountable for his choices, actions, and deeds by his Creator, the First and only Cause of everything there is or ever will be. Continue on in your delusions and stubbornly foolish argument. Matter has always existed!! Indeed? That is the turtle upon which your argument rests.

Posted by: kinggeorge

September 24, 2011 at 6:38 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Mycentworth: Thank you for your testimony. Your are exactly correct. Christians do not get a lot of help in this forum, either because they do not read it, or perhaps do not care.

Posted by: kinggeorge

September 24, 2011 at 6:45 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

MrD: "[no more] proof that [matter] always existed than I have that it did not.">>

That's why I said I don't know. You are the one pretending to know. You said it was illogical to suggest that matter is eternal. When are you going to support this claim?

MrD: "It is also a fact that there is a cause and effect.">

If matter/energy always existed, it doesn't need a first cause. I know this is completely different from what you have experienced in your everyday life, but the universe isn't limited by your personal experiences. Lot's of scientific realities are counter-intuitive.

MrD: "There can be no effect without a cause.">>

Wrong. That's your experience. At the quantum level, we see something completely different. Including the direction of time.

MrD: "Is that not a fact?">>

Not a fact. And not even relevant to the first cause claim.

MrD: "science teaches that as a fact.">>

Not since Einstein (at least) it hasn't. You science, like your Bible scholarship, is about a century out of date.

MrD: "That base to your argument is the same as the "turtle" anecdote">>

Nope. My argument has not turtles. It just accepts the matter/energy that is here (which is not in question). Your claim introduces the first turtle. Mine says making up turtles only adds more problems/assumptions.

MrD: "It is a fallacy to say that matter (the universe) always existed without something causing it.">>

What's the name of that fallacy? Show this.

MrD: "I tell you that the first cause is God.">>

Well if the rule is that anything that *is* needs a cause, then this rule applies equally to your God assertion. You're turtle stacking.

MrD: "the most primitive people knew of cause and effect">>

We've learned a few things beyond the understanding of "the most primitive people."

MrD: "A supreme sacrifice was made at the cross">>

The atonement theory is a variation of the scapegoat theory. We have a nice tract on that here:

God sacrificing himself, to himself, in order appease himself, makes no sense.

MrD: "Matter has always existed!! Indeed?">>

You have yet to show how this claim, which has a minimum of assumptions, is illogical.

MrD: "That is the turtle upon which your argument rests.">>

No turtles in my suggestion. Matter exists. The first law of thermodynamics states matter/energy can be neither created or destroyed. And we are quite sure about that one. (caveat: this is classical physics and conditions leading to the Big Bang, are quantum, and not known).


Posted by: fayfreethinker

September 24, 2011 at 7:47 p.m. ( | suggest removal )


“Hume showed conclusively in his Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion that, even if one concedes the existence of purpose or design or goals in the natural world, this fact would tell us next to nothing about whether there is any sort of supernatural being or beings. Even if it were conceded that design or purpose in natural phenomena is evidence of something supernatural, we would still be left almost completely in the dark about the nature of this (or these) being(s) and about whether the existence of same has any significance for the conduct of human life. Hume also points out that self-ordering may be built into the fabric of the natural universe. Indeed, in some sense that we do not understand, self-ordering may be an absolutely necessary feature of the natural universe. Purpose, or teleology [design] might turn out to be something that shows that there is absolutely no need for any supernatural being to exist because it is metaphysically necessary that the universe has this property. Teleology may just as well be the friend of atheism as of theism. Do theists *ever* show even any awareness of this argument?” --Charles Echelbarger

Posted by: fayfreethinker

September 24, 2011 at 7:52 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Ivotedoyou, I didn't mean that negatively

I give fayfreethinker credit, my beliefs line up very similarly to his...I just don't have the energy he does to chase this stuff down allover the web constantly.

Posted by: Hydro

September 24, 2011 at 11:21 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Christians aren't blind to science, as so many think. Have you, fayfreethinker, ever listened to some of the creationists? John Ankerberg is having on "4
great Discoveries of Modern
Science that prove Gold exists." It is very interesting. One quote is from Fred Burnham "The God Hypothesis is now a more persuasive and respectable hypothesis than at any time in the last 100 years." Also, "A commonsense interpretation of the evidence suggests a super intellect has monkeyed with physics and chemistry as well as biology to make life possible". Fred Hoyle, Physicist

The show is discussing how the universe has been fine-tuned for human life to exist with Dr Stephen Meyer from Cambridge University.

I am like the previous poster who doesn't really have the energy to follow all of this, so I choose to believe and feel there is more evidence to support creation by an intelligent designer.

I, also, have witnessed in my own life events that make me believe in God.

Keep the faith, MrD.

Posted by: mycent

September 25, 2011 at 1:22 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Mycent: "ever listened to some of the creationists?">>

Yes, I am familiar with those and many others. I debated Kent Hovind (now in jail for tax fraud) on a local radio show once.

MY: "John Ankerberg is having on "4 great Discoveries of Modern Science that prove Gold exists.">>

I certainly believe Gold exists. If you know of a good argument for the existence of God, I would be pleased to see it. I can give you a nice list of 300, but none of them are any good. Quantity does not equal quality.

[quote] "God Hypothesis now a more persuasive and respectable hypothesis than at any time in the last 100 years.">>

Curious then how the trend toward secularism shows people are finding just the opposite:

"The meteoric rise of secular quasi-religions
Equally startling has been the meteoric growth of secularism in its religious forms. Two immense quasi-religious systems have emerged at the expense of the world religions: agnosticism (also termed secularism, materialism, non-religion, etc.) and atheism (also termed anti-religion or irreligion).... From a miniscule presence in 1900, a mere 0.2% of the globe, these systems have mushroomed to 20.8% of the globe by 1980. They are today increasing at the extraordinary rate of 8.5 million new converts each year, and are likely to reach one billion adherents by the year 1984. A large percentage of their members are the children, grandchildren or great-grandchildren of persons who in their lifetimes were practising Christians. No Christian strategist in 1900 had envisaged such a massive rate of defection from Christianity within its 19th-century heartlands."

In 1900, Christians numbered 34.4% of the world..., practising Christians have fallen from 29.0% of the world's population in 1900 to 23.3% today." --pg. 7
--*World Christian Encyclopedia,* Ed., David B. Barlett, 1982, Oxford University Press. Under "Christianity in the Global Religious Context," page 5.

It has accelerated since then.

MY: "Fred Hoyle, [quote]>>

Creationists like to quote Fred Hoyle but he was astonishingly wrong about a few things (like the Big Bang, which he accidentally named). He was also an agnostic.

MY: "the universe has been fine-tuned for human life to exist">>

There are lots of problems with the fine tuning argument. The wiki blurb has a good overview:

I can also recommend this book by physicist Victor Stenger:

"The Fallacy of Fine-Tuning: Why the Universe Is Not Designed for Us"

If you don't want to buy the book, many of his writings are online free:

If you want to get into the nuts and bolts of it, we can do that. We will soon have a tract on the topic (thanks for the inspiration!).


Posted by: fayfreethinker

September 25, 2011 at 7:08 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

All your fancy word work proves nothing except that you have a superego and like to impress people with razzle-dazzle "research" produced by the same minority such as yourself. You profess to know quantum physics...I submit you know as much about quantum physics as a goat does about flying a 747. Where are your papers on it? What are your credentials?
Why I bother to explain anything to you is a waste of time and your statement that it makes no sense for Jesus to die on the cross proves it. He made the sacrifice to satisfy the law of God for you and me so that we could have eternal life. You are so blind and bogged down in your own agenda to sabotage the bible and Christianity that you would not admit anything that would suggest that you could possibly be wrong.
You are always saying that I have no proof for my beliefs...I do. Prophesy coming true is all the proof any intellectually honest person needs. Jesus arose from the grave, was seen of over 500 persons according to the record. He prophesied his own death, resurrection, and gave sight to the blind, healed lepers, and raised Lazarus from the grave. You counter that by saying it is all made up, but you cannot prove that it was made up. Christians have been suffering and dying for their belief ever since the first Christians. Christian believers will die rather than renounce God. No one will forfeit his life for something in which he does not believe. Criminals turn on each other all the time to make a deal for less prison time, or to escape the death penalty. Of all the disciples who died a martyrs death, it is unreasonable to think that one of them would have not renounced his position in order to save himself. Those men were with Jesus and they knew him and knew who he was. They wrote first hand accounts of Him. But of course, their writings are not as important as Ingersoll or Bertrand Russell or some other past atheist now suffering in an eternal hell fire. There are numerous prophesies in the bible that were made centuries before coming true. If you were half the researcher you pretend to be, you could find out for yourself. Fortunately, I do not have to prove anything to you or anyone else.
Be sure and instruct them identify you as the Fayetteville Freethinker prior to your untimely demise. By then you will be finding out the truth in the fires of hell that Jesus described in his story Lazarus and the Rich man. I am now more than ever convinced that I and my fellow Christians are correct.
To argue further is beating a dead horse.
Adios, adieu, ,so long, and good bye.

Posted by: kinggeorge

September 26, 2011 at 11:59 a.m. ( | suggest removal )


RE "All your fancy word work proves nothing..."
Neither does yours-- at least beyond the true nature of your character.

RE "...the same minority such as yourself."
Guess what? The number of people who claim to be Christian is a minority. The number of actual Christians is a much, much smaller minority. Try to cope.

RE "Where are your papers on it? What are your credentials?"
What are your credentials for being a true, real, actual Christian? They certainly aren't evident in your judgmental pronouncements, your childish name-calling and your apparent ignorance of the Bible.

RE "To argue further is beating a dead horse."
How well we know. (Be aware that this is not to say that you've ever really argued your points.)

RE "Adios, adieu, ,so long, and good bye."
You keep saying that. Dare we add "farewell", "bon voyage", "sayonara", "bye-bye", "cheerio", "catch you on the flip side", "toodle-oo" and "Godspeed"?

Posted by: AlphaCat

September 26, 2011 at 1:01 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

MrD - That is so true about prophecy. The arguing is tiresome. If they give up on evolution, then comes the question of God existing. Uh-oh, what now? The choice is theirs to believe or not.

Posted by: mycent

September 26, 2011 at 1:43 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

The people who wrote the bible thought the Earth was flat. I'm not so sure how anyone can believe a word of anyone.

Posted by: UnrealClock

September 26, 2011 at 1:45 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Mrd returns to tell us he's quitting us, one last time.

MrD: "you have a superego and like to impress">>

I am a lowly Arkansas goat farmer with a high school education. But I like to read and learn and think about these things. No big deal. Don't take yourself so seriously.

Mrd: "You profess to know quantum physics...>>

My understanding of it is elementary at best. The comments I made about it above are very introductory. I am fortunate to have a very good friend who obtained his Ph.D. in physics in 1966 and specializes in QM. We have dinner frequently, for over a decade, and he answers all of my questions. I owe my limited knowledge of the topic to him. He teaches at the U of A, his website is here:

Mrd: "Where are your papers on it?">>

If you wish to challenge my claims, do so on their merits, not upon vapid personal attacks. I don't make claims I can't back up with standard reference.

Mrd: "you would not admit... you could possibly be wrong.">>

Not true. I could be wrong about anything and everything and am entirely open to anyone showing this. You won't even try.

Mrd: "Prophesy coming true is all the proof any... person needs.">>

Excellent choice. Prophecy coming true would indeed be excellent evidence of something supernatural going on. Now all you need is to prove one. Since you don't have any, I have for years offered a reward for an example. Details here:

See also the chapter in my book on failed and contradictory prophecies:

A good portion of my lecture at the U of A on the 13th was about Bible prophecy. I invited you. You can demonstrate no supernaturally fulfilled prophecies. Try demonstrating one and see.

Mrd: "Jesus... seen of over 500 persons">>

What are their names? Don't know. Who told this to Paul? Don't know. Where did this person hear about it? Don't know. This is second hand hearsay evidence that wouldn't be allowed in Judge Judy's court to confirm a broken window.

Mrd: "[Jesus] prophesied his own [snip].">>

Standard mainstream Christian scholarship understands your examples to be pious fraud and made up.

Mrd: "you cannot prove that it was made up.">>

I don't have the burden of proving your extraordinary claims are made up anymore than you have the burden of proving Casper the Ghost doesn't exist. He who asserts, has the burden.


Posted by: fayfreethinker

September 26, 2011 at 2:37 p.m. ( | suggest removal )


Mrd: "Christians have been suffering and dying for their belief">>

a) Again, martyrdom reveals the fervency of belief, never the accuracy of belief. We had a display of this on 9/11.

b) Most of the xtian stories of martyrdom are known to be legends. If you would like to get into the details of this, lets.

Mrd: No one will [die] for something [they don't] believe.">>

People die for false beliefs all the time.

Mrd: "all the disciples who died a martyrs death,">>

Almost without exception those stories are bogus. Those are also fellows who based their beliefs upon stories they heard. Hearsay.

Mrd: "Those men were with Jesus and they knew him">>

Actually, they weren't and didn't.

Mrd: "They wrote first hand accounts of Him.">>

We have *no* firsthand accounts of him, none. It's all hearsay. Read your Bible carefully and get a library card. Bring your understanding of scholarship into the 19th century.

Mrd: "numerous prophesies in the bible that were made centuries before coming true.">>

Let's see you try to confirm one. Detailed challenge offered above.

Mrd: "you could find out for yourself.">>

I have researched your prophecies. None hold up to basic examination.

Mrd: "your untimely demise.">>

When MrD can't get me on the facts, he gets frustrated and tries to send his God to get me.

Mrd: "so long, and good bye.">>

Many times you have promised to respond no further (examples upon request). You're not very good at keeping your word. Perhaps you should stop making this claim.

"There is no prophecy in the OT foretelling the coming of Jesus Christ. There is not one word in the OT referring to him in any way--not one word. The only way to prove this is to take your Bible, and wherever you find these words; "That it might be fulfilled" and "which was spoken" turn to the OT and find what was written, and you will see that it had not the slightest possible reference to the thing recounted in the NT--not the slightest."
-- Robert Green Ingersoll

Posted by: fayfreethinker

September 26, 2011 at 3:15 p.m. ( | suggest removal )


You're trying to reason with people who do not wish to be reasoned with and do not care if what they know is truth.

losing battle

Posted by: Hydro

September 29, 2011 at 1:11 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Your comment reminds me of this quote:

"To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead." --Thomas Paine

I have no illusions of changing the opinion of folks who purposely base their beliefs upon faith and emotion. But I think it's important for observers to see we do have answers to these questions. It's also interesting that while someone like MrD will say that he believes by faith, deep down, he knows that isn't a very good reason. So above, you will see him repeatedly attempting to muster reasons and evidence for his claims. And that's a good thing. But I think it's important for people to see whether those lines of evidence can stand up to scrutiny, because they are often told only one side, an inaccurate side, of the story (typically in church).

At the end of the day, one does what one can, and when one sees falsehoods posted in public, it's good to give them a poke. As time allows.

"Tell a devout Christian man that by eating frozen yogurt, he can become invisible - he requires evidence as much as anyone else" - but tell him that a certain book he keeps by his bed is written by an invisible deity who will punish him with fire for an eternity if he fails to accept its every incredible claim about the universe, and he requires no evidence whatsoever." --Sam Harris, "The End of Faith"

Posted by: fayfreethinker

September 29, 2011 at 2:52 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Look up 'truth' in the Bible's concordance. God is truth and the truth shall set you free. Don't leave out the aspect of love. God couldn't look on sin, therefore, had to provide a way for us to be forgiven - hence, He sent His only son who suffered on the cross, in our place, for our sins. God will never turn anyone down that repents and asks Him to come into their life.
As far as evolution, that topic is exhausting. I know God created life - just how I do not know. All we know is that He created man from dust. That is enough for me because I know in my heart, mind and soul that He exists. I will be praying for you and the other posters on the site that you will know God's love and turn to Him.

Posted by: mycent

October 1, 2011 at 3:47 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Mycent: "God will never turn anyone down that repents and asks Him to come into their life.">>

Is this the same God that specifically hardens hearts, speaks in parables and sends delusion and lies in order to keep people from understanding and being converted? Seven examples:

"And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth..."
2 Thess. 2:11-12

"He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given. (17) For verily I say unto you, That many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them." Matt. 13:11, 17

"He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart; that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them." John 12:40

"For it was of the LORD to harden their hearts, that they should come against Israel in battle, that he might destroy them utterly, and that they might have no favour, but that he might destroy them..." Josh. 11:20

"So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy... Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth." Rom. 9:16,18

"And they understood none of these things: and this saying was hid from them, neither knew they the things which were spoken." Luke 18:34

"...Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables: That seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them." Mark 4:11-12

Mycent: "Don't leave out the aspect of love.">>

Do the above verses, and what must result from them under your system, sound like love Mycent?

Posted by: fayfreethinker

October 1, 2011 at 1:14 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

freethinker - This is shorter than I had typed, but lost connection. I think you should read the whole 2nd chapter of Thess, 2. The ones that the lie is sent to have already been decieved by the lies and power of Satan. As Christians, it is our duty to be prepared for the attacks of Satan. It also says that they have rejected the love of the truth that they may be saved.

God knows our hearts and He is a just God. You need to put as much energy in finding God as you do in discrediting His word.

For a good informative show watch "Prophecy in the News". It is more of a discussion type, but very knowledgable hosts of the Bible.

Posted by: mycent

October 1, 2011 at 3:41 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

MY: "The ones that the lie is sent to have already been decieved by the lies and power of Satan.">>

If they've already been "deceived by the lies and power of Satan," then why is your God sending delusion so that they will believe lies? It makes no sense.

MY: "watch "Prophecy in the News">>

I have been watching Christians make prophecies based on the Bible since Hal Lindsey's 1970's best seller: "The Late Great Planet Earth." He later revised this for the '80's, then '90's then 2000's. He still has a prophecy business going even through he has a perfect record of never getting anything right.

People are are gullible.

And now we have the new variation with the "Left Behind" series. Those who study a little history know this goes back at least to the Great Disappointment of 1844:

I have five generations of one branch of this silliness on one side of in my family. Still waiting for any of these prophecy peddlers to get something right.

The Bible has a test for prophecy:
"When a prophet speaketh... if the thing follow not, nor come to pass.... the prophet hath spoken it
presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him." Deut. 18:19

"And it shall come to pass, that when any shall yet prophesy, then his father and his mother that begat him shall say unto him, Thou shalt not live; for thou speakest lies in the name of the LORD and his father and his mother that begat him shall thrust him through when he prophesieth." Zech. 13:3

If we had been following this rule in Zechariah, there would be a lot less people in the Bible prophecy business.

Posted by: fayfreethinker

October 1, 2011 at 4:06 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

You do not make me question my faith. The Bible states 'he comes at a time you think not'. I could go on about prophecy, but I feel it would be fruitless since you already said you have relation that believe this. You are bitter and it shows. If you are sure of your beliefs, then what does it hurt what others believe. Keep looking up.

Posted by: mycent

October 2, 2011 at 8:29 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

MY: "You do not make me question my faith.">>

Of course. If you questioned, it probably wouldn't be faith would it?

MY: "You are bitter and it shows.">>

I am not the slightest bit bitter. But I am not timid about forthrightly speaking my mind on these issues.

MY: "what does it hurt what others believe.">>

Sometimes it doesn't. I wouldn't want to live in a country that doesn't allow freedom and full expression of religion, and if you find your beliefs inappropriately restricted, call the ACLU. I support them and they'll help you out. But when a society has too great of a proportion of fundamentalists who hold beliefs without good reason, it causes problems. Especially when they try to use the power of government to spread superstition and impede the education of children.

Here are a few examples:

Thousands more could be provided.

Posted by: fayfreethinker

October 2, 2011 at 3:25 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

I see Lowell Grisham has another excellent column underlining the point I just made above. Don't miss it:

Posted by: fayfreethinker

October 2, 2011 at 3:27 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

I love the first comment, posted by hawgfan25. I plan to send a copy to a family member who has been fooled into believing that evolution and creationism are at odds with one another, and that there has to be a winner in an "either/or" standoff.

I totally and completely support everyone's right to believe as they choose on matters of faith and evolution. What saddens me is that some people seem to want to control what other people think, to the point of trying to block teaching in the ever-more-substantiated tenets of evolution, or alternately, trying to humiliate people of faith. Wouldn't it be more productive to cultivate a climate where both can exist harmoniously?

Posted by: SPA

October 2, 2011 at 3:37 p.m. ( | suggest removal )