Thursday, February 12, 2009

DESPERATION OBFUSCATION

By a lie, a man...annihilates his dignity as a man.
-Immanuel Kant

You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time unless they are religious.
-Saint Brian the Godless

***

I’ve been having an email argument with a Christian biblical literalist, on and off for the last few days.

It’s been fascinating… And a lot of laughs. But this one was the best.

We were arguing about the supposed inerrancy of the Holy Bible.

And then he sent me this gem:

DO RABBITS CHEW THE CUD?
Leonard R. Brand
Chairman, Department of Biology
Loma Linda University

Origins 4(2):102-104 (1977).
Related page — | IN A FEW WORDS | Leviticus 11:6 is sometimes used as an example of an error in the Bible; it states that hares chew the cud. Hares are not usually known as cud-chewing, or ruminating, animals. Is this really an error in the Bible, or did Moses know what he was talking about?
When a cow swallows a mouthful of grass, it goes first of all to one compartment of the stomach referred to as the rumen. The culture of microorganisms that exists in the rumen digests the grass and converts much of it into nutrients which the cow can utilize. Then the cow brings the microorganisms and leftover grass back to her mouth, one mouthful at a time. She chews it and sends it on through the rest of her digestive tract. Thus the cow really doesn't subsist directly on grass alone, but also on the protozoa and bacteria that she breeds in her rumen (Carles 1977).

The process of digestion of grass by microorganisms is referred to as fermentation, and it occurs in many other animals besides the cloven-hoofed ruminating animals. Special forestomachs for fermentation are also found in kangaroos, whales, dugongs, hippopotamus, sloths, and colobid monkeys (McBee 1971). Other modifications of the stomach or some part of the intestines to provide a fermentation chamber are found in rodents, rabbits and hares, gallinaceous birds, horses, hyrax (McBee 1971), and in mallards (Miller 1976).

Some herbivorous animals consume part of their own feces, thus recovering fermentation products that have passed through the digestive tract. This process of reingestion of feces occurs in many rodents (Thacker and Brandt 1955) and in all genera of hares and rabbits (Carles 1977; Hamilton 1955; Kirkpatrick 1956; Lechleitner 1957; McBee 1971; Myers 1955; Southern 1940; Watson 1954; Watson and Taylor 1955). Reingestion of feces is an especially well-developed practice in Lagomorphs (rabbits and hares) and is important for their adequate nutrition.

Lagomorphs produce two kinds of fecal pellets which are produced at different times during the day. When the animals are active and feeding they produce the familiar hard pellets. When they cease their activity and retire to their burrows or resting areas, they begin producing soft pellets which they eat as soon as they are passed (Myers 1955). Rabbits reingest 54-82% of their feces (Eden 1940), which they apparently swallow whole, without chewing (Watson 1954). The soft pellets are composed of material from the fermentation chamber, which in the Lagomorphs is located in the cecum, a blind pouch at the beginning of the large intestine (McBee 1971). The soft pellets are composed mainly of bacteria, mixed with some plant material, and each pellet is enclosed in a proteinaceous membrane secreted posterior to the colon. These tough membranes remain intact for at least six hours after reingestion. When swallowed they pass to the fundus portion of the stomach, where they remain for several hours (Griffiths and Davies 1963). Other food that is swallowed moves past the accumulation of soft pellets and goes on through the digestive tract. The membranes around the pellets and a buffering solution in the pellets control the pH, so that fermentation continues in the pellets even though the rest of the stomach is acid (Griffiths and Davies 1963).

The process of cecal fermentation and reingestion helps the rabbit in several ways. Amino acids and proteins are synthesized by the bacteria in the cecum, using nonprotein nitrogen (perhaps urea). Amino acids are absorbed directly through the walls of the cecum and provide 4.4-21.8% of the animal's daily energy requirement (McBee 1971). Proteins synthesized in the cecum are carried to the stomach in the soft pellets. This protein is important to the nutrition of the rabbit. Experiments have shown that "nitrogen balance in the rabbit was reduced 50% if soft feces were not eaten" (McBee 1971). Fermentation and reingestion also improve utilization of sodium and potassium and provide 83% more niacin, 100% more riboflavin, 165% more pantothenic acid, and 42% more vitamin B12 than would be available if soft feces were not consumed (McBee 1971; Myers 1955).
Is this special digestive process analogous to the rumination, or cud-chewing, in cows? There are both similarities and differences between the two processes. The rabbits are different in that they do not have a four-part stomach with a rumen, and the material that reaches their fermentation chamber has already been chewed and partially digested. Cows and rabbits are similar in that they both have a fermentation chamber with microorganisms that digest otherwise indigestible plant material and convert it to nutrients. Some of the rabbit microorganisms are different from those in cows, but many of them are the same or similar (McBee 1971). Both cows and rabbits also have a mechanism to pass the contents of their fermentation chamber back to the mouth and then on through the digestive tract.
Madsen (1939) wrote an article entitled "Does the Rabbit Chew the Cud?" Southern (1940) concluded that reingestion has an advantage to the rabbit "equivalent to 'chewing the cud'." Griffiths and Davies (1963) concluded that "we consider that the fundus of the rabbit stomach, loaded with soft pellets, is analogous to the rumens of sheep and cattle."

Carles (1977) compared cows and rabbits and reached the conclusion that rumination should not be defined from an anatomical point of view (the presence of a four-part stomach), but rather on presence of an adaptation for breeding bacteria to improve food. On this basis he stated that "it is difficult to deny that rabbits are ruminants."

What is the correct explanation for Leviticus 11:6 — is it an error in the Bible, or is it evidence that Moses had a source of information far ahead of his time? Since rabbits and hares have a process that is so similar to cow rumination that it becomes a question of the technicalities of one's definition of rumination, it would be difficult to justify interpreting Leviticus 11:6 as an error in the Bible.

***
Salient part of above article: "The rabbits are different in that they do not have a four-part stomach with a rumen..."

WHAT?

So, because a rabbit eats its own shit, it’s a ruminant! Voila!

It HAS to be a ruminant.

Because the Bible says so.

Whenever belief comes into conflict with cold, hard facts, belief wins every time.

So what if the scientific classification of a ruminant is very clear? So what? All one has to do is look for the one or two scientists that disagree with convention and have their own agendas, being Christians themselves… And quote them as if they were a part of the mainstream. As if one uncorroborated source is equivalent in value to established, peer-reviewed, generally accepted science.

I find this particular Desperation Obfuscation uniquely entertaining. Because it would seem that ingesting fecal pellets is not the sole province of the lagomorpha. Many Christians do it too. And apparently they also think that regurgitation is the equivalent of defecation, and so it often is, for them. When they regurgitate scripture and dogma, it’s all crap to me.

Further note on above article:
The rabbit doesn't even chew the fecal pellet. It swallows it whole. So no cud chewing of any kind. Even if you define "cud" as their own poop.

157 comments:

  1. Here's the problem with the Christian 'solution'.

    Cud-chewere chew the cud. Hares DON'T chew the cud.

    Therefore the Bible is WRONG!

    Altering 'cud-chewers' to ruminants, then comparing hare shit-eating to the equivalent of the process of cud-chewing is probably good enough misdirection to fool 'yer average' Christian.

    I think that this tends to make Christians 'happy campers' but as we can see, the 'argument' flows from the topic(cud-chewing) to ruminating(certainly connected to cud-chewing) to shit-eating(analogous to ruminating but NOTHING to do with cud-chewing).

    This 'lead you down the garden path' form of explanation can prove or disprove anything at all, really.

    It is very disingenuous and Christians see that as a GOOD thing!

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  2. Yes Pboy...

    I notice that I can't help getting a little irate when I argue with people like this. I don't like it about myself. But it's such an insult to my intelligence, and to theirs, that the sheer ridiculousness of it all gets to me. I mean, when you tell someone one plus one is always two, and they come back with a biblical quote or a pseudoscientist that says one plus one is eleven, well it chafes my shorts.

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  3. The next thing they'll say a dog is a hoofed animal.

    Aftre all, it has these tiny pointed hooves on the ends of it's toes...

    Anything to keep the Bible correct.

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  4. That was a rather odd exercise. They attempted to justify the "chewing its cud" passage, not by actually getting proof that rabbits do so, but by saying that other animals that actually do so have a digestive system that is almost similar. Unless they are suggesting that the rabbit WAS a ruminant animal during the time of Moses and evolved into an animal that doesn't "chew its cud" in the present day, over a few thousand years, then I am not sure what the point of that article was other than making it seem like they were addressing the question. Which, I assume, is as good a strategy as any...

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  5. Quoted from the article:

    "Carles (1977) compared cows and rabbits and reached the conclusion that rumination should not be defined from an anatomical point of view (the presence of a four-part stomach), but rather on presence of an adaptation for breeding bacteria to improve food. On this basis he stated that "it is difficult to deny that rabbits are ruminants.""
    -----------------
    By this definition, so are termites.

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  6. ROFLMAO!!

    omigawd that is so sad! what a desperate grasping of straws!

    it reminds me of that thing they always do in... i think maxim magazine where they determine that if "matt" fucked "lisa" who fucked "stan" who fucked "julie" who fucked "doug" who fucked his own dog, then by some sort of weird transitive properties "matt" fucked "doug's" dog!!

    brilliant!!

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  7. Is cannibalism of a scatological freak biblically justified now?

    Well, I guess it's Kosher to eat the "Two Girls One Cup" girls then.

    Maybe Dahmer wasn't such a bad guy :-)

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  8. Hey, what's invisible and smells like a carrot?

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  9. Bunny farts

    Apropos to the conversation. Bravo.

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  10. Is cannibalism of a scatological freak biblically justified now?
    -------------
    No, and it never will be. Stop hoping for it to happen, take the poor man out of your freezer, and go bury him.

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  11. "Maybe Dahmer wasn't such a bad guy"

    Well, he converted to Christianity and said that he was justified because evolution says that we are all just animals, or whatever such rot. Redeemed himself as a spokesperson, at least.

    Also: word verification is "weakism". The has to mean something ....

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  12. Wanna know another mildly disturbing part of this story?

    Well, of course I googled some things about bunnies to make sure of what I was saying to the person before I said it... While doing so I ran across the fact that not only do bunnies tend to consume like 60 or more percent of their food twice like that... but they don't poop on the ground first and then turn around and eat it. Oh no. They bend their little bunny necks around and suck it right out of their own anus.

    Freshness guaranteed.

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  13. Weakism:
    The tendency to make more out of word confirmations than they really deserve.

    See? I found a good meaning for it!

    :-)

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  14. Well, he converted to Christianity and said that he was justified because evolution says that we are all just animals, or whatever such rot. Redeemed himself as a spokesperson, at least.
    --------------
    Oh, I never knew that.

    Nice spokesperson.

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  15. Bush, ruminating...

    Ah must be a roominit, since my stomach still has room in it. That's how you tell. Heh heh. So if a bunny is hungry, it's a roominit too. So feed your bunnies is mah point here.

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  16. Brian,

    Why do you go about trying to tick yourself off?

    The belief system for him doesn't start at the bible. It doesn't start at God. It starts at his conception of cohesion between verses. I know it's not logical, but that's where it starts. The bible verifies itself.

    You seem to have a good heart Bri, so if you want that guy to see "The Way, the Truth, and the Life." Start there.

    This whole bible verifying itself thing really came about with the Council of Nicea. If you take away what they demanded (which is ironically enough not scriptural), you're left with what the bible should be. A compilation of writings with good and bad parts.

    More's the pity for hardcore atheists and hardcore Abrahamic (sp?) believers.

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

    Second thing, his scientific mistake of course has nothing to do with those stupid bunnies. It has nothing to do with his belief in the bible.

    Creationism and ID's biggest faults are that they rest on critiques not proofs. You can't found a scientific discipline off of critiques of somebody else's proof (which is just silly) or theory.

    Not only that, but they (especially creationists) need to separate evolution in science and the whole worldview surrounding it. Trust me Brian I've been there.

    Through being a Creationist by default (I'll explain later). I've been searching for a better position and finding that no one is having real dialogue except a few atheists and IDers.

    Pues, buena suerte amigo. Be gentle and keep reminding him of the inconsistencies and contradictions in Scripture, you might just end up planting some seeds.

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  17. "It has nothing to do with his belief in the bible."

    Sorry, I left that ambiguous. It sounds like I completely contradicted myself. What I meant was a liberal view that the bible has some truth in it. E.G. There is a God, love your neighbor etc. I apologize. I didn't equivocate.

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  18. By the way Brian my new blog's going to be called 'ruminatinglikerabbits' All the posts will come fresh from...

    Anyway, the first post will be called, "What's So Great About Oneblood!"

    My new blog will be full of arrogant posturing with little to no substance. And I'll accuse everyone who disagrees with me of being intellectually dishonest.

    C'mon over, you know you love that stuff.

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  19. Oneblood, the person that I was arguing with showed me piececs from his own blog, so there's already one out there like that. Thousands, in fact.

    As a matter of fact,
    this is his website.

    It's what you'd expect.

    But please take a look... It's good for a laugh at any rate.

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  20. I don't know how to say, "Oy vey!" in Christian.

    I was a little overly optimistic.

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  21. I did find his weak spot though. Maybe if I had the energy I would pursue it.

    Does he allow everybody to post, or just like-minded people?

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  22. Three clicks and I answered my own question.

    That's one thing I can say: you and pboy and Harvey have helped me to be unafraid to be wrong.

    You guys don't pussyfoot around, and you admit it when you make mistakes.

    Since Christianity is 2 + 2 = 4
    All arguments should be easy to refute for this guy.

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  23. I posted to his site. I never checked back to see if he posted it. I pretty much would be shocked of he did. It was my line about religion being like a computer virus for brains.

    He moderates his posts, checks them before he posts them.

    But I did get an email from him, and I didn't give him my email address (but was hoping he'd track me down...)

    And so it began.

    So what's his particular weeak spot in the blog that you see? I mean, I see tons of them but I think you're implying that you see a SALIENT one...

    (I think they're all salient)

    He defends the ark story with pseudoscience. That's pretty bad right there. A million holes, leaks like a sieve, and still they try to make it sound sensible and real and adult to us when it's still and always will be a fairy story... Or an allegory perhaps. But certainly not literal. That's for sure.

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  24. He uses tired rehashed pseudohebrew numerology as so many have before him. And calls it mathematical proofs.

    It's not hard to find the flaws. the impossible part of course is ever getting HIM to see them.

    This stuff is amazing to me, oneblood. How is this not a psychosis?

    I don't mean believing in God. Or Christ. (I've said it before; I like Christ)
    I mean the programming, the strict adherence to tired dogma, the dishonest argumentation.... Dishonest to themselves as much as to us... How is this NOT a mental disease? Induced psychosis. A schism from reality. It fits the bill perfectly, EXCEPT....

    EXCEPT for the fact that there's so darn many of them, that the rest of us think it must be okay for some stupid, backwards reason. Due to our societal programming that came down to us from the diluted christian programming, to take them seriously, to not think they're crazy, to BE POLITE to them as they do everything that they can to TAKE OVER and to RUIN the country and even the world, all in the Holy Name of their Unhealthy Obsession.

    Lately I'm starting to channel William Hays. And it's disturbing me.

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  25. I mean, there comes a point where even a Buddhist monk will take up arms (being metaphorical here) when his home is threatened or innocent people are in danger.

    At what point does our tolerance of them become stupidity? When they make this country a brutal Theocracy? That's their wet dream. Will we tolerate that, I wonder? Yes we will, because (if it happens) by then we'll be in pens awaiting execution. They'll see to that. We'll have been properly degraded and agitpropped in the public (Read: Conditioned Christian) consciousness by that time that it will produce no pangs of conscience whatsoever in their Oh-So-Holy Christian hearts when we perish. A sigh of relief will go out amongst the faithful that our evil is finally wiped clean from the face of the earth, Praise Jesus!

    I'm not thinking that such a dire scenario is actually likely, mind you. But possible? Certainly. They told us to never forget the Holocaust or it could happen again, and I believe that sincerely with all my heart. So naturally I look around from time to time and ask myself "Are there any of the early signs happening now?" And more and more in recent years I keep on getting back the answer "Oh Shit, there they are..."

    Obama is our best hope to change that course.

    I hope he keeps alive. Because the forces of extreme unbelievably pernicious ignorance are hard at work trying to think of some way, any way, to bring him down. They're not very bright at most things, but they're EXPERT at killing. Suicide bombings would not be a surprise, even. The Programmed Christians are almost exactly like AlQaida in that regard. Willing to die for a belief.

    That guy that went into a church a while back and just opened up and shot people?

    He left a "suicide" note, you know. Just released a couple of days ago. Saw it on Olberman.

    He said in it that they were symbolic killings. That he wanted to kill as many Liberals as he could, so he went to a church that he knew was more liberal. Because he couldn't kill the 100 people that he REALLY wanted to kill...

    A list of 100 people, all important liberals, including Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid and many others, that he got from some right-wing evil satanic asshat author that published it as a book called "The 100 most dangerous people in America" or something like that...

    ***

    We tolerate so much. No choice, really, I guess, but I mean, seriously, it's hard to swallow sometimes. A bitter pill.

    Why can't more Christians think for themselves? Why can't more of them be like you and Botts?

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  26. Here's the exact copy, from the show transcript:

    ***

    (Worst Person In The World)

    But our winner is Bernard Goldberg, gradually devolving from shrill critic to fomenter of violence. Responding to the critics of Bill-O‘s jokes at Helen Thomas, he lost it. “Screw them. Screw them,” he said. “They are unimportant people. They are throwing spitballs at battleships.” O‘Reilly then said he wanted to send a cake to his critics. Bernard Goldberg then said “you should send them flowers, black, dead roses.”

    It would seem as if Mr. Goldberg would be well taken to tamp down the references to violence and battles and death right now. Just this week, a the letter left by murderer Jim David Atkinson (ph), intended as a suicide note, was released by the authorities. Atkinson is the man who burst into a Tennessee church last year during the kids‘ musical and started shooting. He killed a 60-year-old man and a 61-year-old woman.

    He explained he was there to kill liberals. In the previously unrevealed note, Atkinson had written, in part, “this was a symbolic killing. Who I wanted to kill was every Democrat in the Senate and House, the 100 people in Bernard Goldberg‘s book.”

    The book came out four years ago and was called “The 100 People Who Are Screwing Up America.” Goldberg included Jimmy Carter, Al Gore, Anna Nicole Smith, Ken Lay, Michael Savage and Phil Donahue. This hateful man read what Goldberg wrote and decided to kill innocent people as proxies, because he couldn‘t kill, quote, “the 100 people in Bernard Goldberg‘s book.”

    None of us at any end of the political spectrum can be responsible for what the ultimately hateful or the deranged wrongly infer from our work. But the same week it is revealed that this terrorist was partially inspired by Bernard Goldberg, maybe Mr. Goldberg could skip the lines about screw them or the reference to dead roses, or the one last week where he said, “I would probably have gotten a baseball bat and gone down to the ‘New York Times‘ with it and found the person that wrote the editorial, but that‘s me.”

    Wait until Monday until you give the next Jim David Atkinson something to work with, sir. Bernard Goldberg, today‘s worst person in the world.

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  27. The salient point to him wouldn't be anything logical per se.

    -I don't know Brian, I'm kind of riffing here, bear with me.-

    I think, you have to accept his premises (which aren't based on logic) and work from there.

    The salient point as you put it was 'dispensationalism.' Namely, he's against it. This is a christian teaching that says to separate the bible into different parts called, 'dispensations.'

    It's too annoying and complicated to get into fully. Suffice to say, the more dispensationalist you are, the more new testamenty you are. No stoning (even though it was morally right at that time), no having to keep the Sabbath (Saturday or Sunday). Basically all Jesus, no law.

    That means he has a conscious knowledge of the discrepancies (read differences) and has built a complicated construct that can fall because the bible contradicts itself.

    Tons of Christians do this. But they aren't necessarily conscious of it. Dispensationalism is like a meme. It points out, while attempting to be scriptural, the vast differences in the literature.

    It is 'correct.' There are huge differences. You and I both know this. I think he, on some semi-conscious level knows it too.

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  28. "That means he has a conscious knowledge of the discrepancies (read differences) and has built a complicated construct that can fall because the bible contradicts itself."


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

    In essence, his logic defeats itself. Without you having to point out that a triangle doesn't have four sides.

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  29. You think on some level he knows that he's illogical?

    So what does he do with himself? Say "Anything is possible with God, even illogical and mutually exclusive statements all being true at the same time..." and go on from there?

    I think he's a total believer, meself. In his own "brand" of pseudo-logic, thinking it identical to (even superior to, being divinely-guided as it is) actual logic...

    In any case, his head is case-hardened, as is usual with this sort. No matter how illogical he is, or how logically and elegantly (and obviously) you can prove to him that he's wrong, he still "knows" (believes, not thinks) that he is right. With his type, belief engenders certainty with no need for proofs, after all.

    He actually told be about some sources where I could "learn to read the Bible correctly..."

    They always demand that you believe in it before you read it, as pboy points out.

    When we were talking about the Ark, I gave him many, many disproofs; even mathematically disproved one of his articles (it had a simple arithmetic error, counting each species as only ONE animal and calculating space for them all from there, plus relying on old, outdated speciation estimates) and he just ignored them as if I'd never sent them to him and went on with his OWN agenda as if I hadn't even objected.

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  30. I guess the gist of what I'm saying is that I can see that his logic defeats itself, and does so in such obvious ways that even he might one day see it, but since he's SO closedminded about even listening to anything that isn't in complete agreement with his shaky construct there, I don't see how that will ever happen.

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  31. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  32. Sorry to hear that Bri, you did your best.

    I've been having some small victories with believers who have more conservative leanings, by stressing wisdom and love. In the bible's good parts it has a couple thousand years of social traditions that are uplifting. I focus on how reasonable those are, and then go with that. Yet most of them were former atheists/agnostics/or deists. So they take to it like fish to water.

    Have a good night you guardian of reason :-)

    February 14, 2009 1:21 AM

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  33. Have a good night you guardian of reason :-)
    -------------
    You as well, my friend.

    Some guardian of reason I am... More like a victim of it, in the sense that it's depressing when one encounters so many with none at all.

    I know, I need to get my ego out if it. But it's been my personal anathema, all my life. People not understanding simple things and thus fucking up the world AND themselves in the process. And telling me I'm stupid for knowing that they're wrong, because they can't understand how I know, even though it's only basic logic and I certainly don't feel that smart. For instance, I have often thought as of late that you're more intelligent than I am. I dont find it intimidating though, it just makes me want to "tap your brain" as much as I can... Why aren't they like that, wanting to learn, wanting to grow?

    I guess they don't see the need.

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  34. "For instance, I have often thought as of late that you're more intelligent than I am. I dont find it intimidating though, it just makes me want to "tap your brain" as much as I can..."

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

    And of course it figures that this has been what I "ruminate" about concerning you and most of the others on your blog :-D

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  35. 'He actually told be about some sources where I could "learn to read the Bible correctly..."'

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

    While this is technically true, The people who wrote the bible had similar premises to him!

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  36. Here's another article that he sent me on this subject:

    Do rabbits chew their cud?
    The Bible beats the sceptics (again) …
    First published:
    Creation 20(4):56
    September 1998
    by Jonathan Sarfati

    The book of Leviticus contains a number of food laws that the ancient Israelites were to obey. Modern medicine has shown that many of them had very good health benefits for people in that time and place. As the Law of Moses was our tutor to lead people to Christ (Galatians 3:24), many of the individual commands are no longer applicable after Christ's death for our sins and His bodily resurrection from the dead. In particular, the Lord Jesus and His Apostles declared that all foods are now 'clean' (Mark 7:18–19, Acts 10:10–15, Colossians 2:16). Some of the food laws have been attacked by sceptics as 'proof' that the Bible makes mistakes, meaning it could not be God's written word.

    For example, Leviticus 11:3–6 says: “Whatever divides the hoof, and is cloven-footed, chewing the cud, among the animals, that you shall eat. 'Only, you shall not eat these of them that chew the cud, or of them that divide the hoof: the camel, for he chews the cud but does not divide the hoof; he is unclean to you. 'And the rock badger, because he chews the cud, but does not divide the hoof; he is unclean to you. 'And the hare, because he chews the cud but does not divide the hoof; he is unclean to you.”

    We showed a photo of the camel's hoof in Creation 19(4):29, 1997, proving that the Leviticus 11:4 assertion was right that the camel did not completely 'divide the hoof', despite what some sceptics claim. Other sceptics have claimed that the Coney (Hebrew shaphan, = hyrax, rock badger) and hare (Hebrew 'arnebeth = rabbit) don't chew the cud. In modern English, animals that 'chew the cud' are called ruminants. They hardly chew their food when first eaten, but swallow it into a special stomach where the food is partially digested. Then it is regurgitated, chewed again, and swallowed into a different stomach. Animals which do this include cows, sheep and goats, and they all have four stomachs. Coneys and rabbits are not ruminants in this modern sense.

    However, the Hebrew phrase for “chew the cud” simply means “raising up what has been swallowed”. Coneys and rabbits go through such similar motions to ruminants that Linnaeus, the father of modern classification (and a creationist), at first classified them as ruminants. Also, rabbits and hares practise refection, which is essentially the same principle as rumination, and does indeed 'raise up what has been swallowed'. The food goes right through the rabbit and is passed out as a special type of dropping. These are re-eaten, and can now nourish the rabbit as they have already been partly digested.

    It is not an error of Scripture that “chewing the cud” now has a more restrictive meaning than it did in Moses' day. Indeed, rabbits and hares do “chew the cud” in an even more specific sense. Once again, the Bible is right and the sceptics are wrong.

    God, through Moses, was giving instructions that any Israelite could follow. It is inconceivable that someone familiar with Middle-Eastern animal life would make an easily corrected mistake about rabbits, and also inconceivable that the Israelites would have accepted a book as Scripture if it were contrary to observation, which it is not.

    Addendum
    After my article (above) was published in Creation magazine, I came across an article on the Internet with more detail than was possible in a family magazine. This article vindicates what I claimed, and backs it up with detailed lexical analysis. The relevant section is below:
    13. Rabbits do not chew their cud
    LEV 11:6 And the hare, because he cheweth the cud, but divideth not the hoof; he is unclean unto you.
    [An obscure bibliosceptic called Meritt claims:]
    Gerah, the term which appears in the MT means (chewed) cud, and also perhaps grain, or berry (also a 20th of a sheckel, but I think that we can agree that that is irrelevant here). It does not mean dung, and there is a perfectly adequate Hebrew word for that, which could have been used. Furthermore, the phrase translated 'chew the cud' in the KJV is more exactly 'bring up the cud'. Rabbits do not bring up anything; they let it go all the way through, then eat it again. The description given in Leviticus is inaccurate, and that's that. Rabbits do eat their own dung; they do not bring anything up and chew on it.
    [Response by J.P. Holding:]
    'MT' is the Masoretic text, which is a late Hebrew transmission of the OT.
    Meritt is apparently quite proud of himself here, having gone—for the one and only time—to the original Hebrew for answers. (Guess translation issues are important after all.) Too bad he didn't dig a little further.
    Two issues are at hand: the definition of 'cud' and that of 'chewing'. Let's take a close look at the Hebrew version of both. Cuds first, chewies afterwards.
    First, gerah (or gehrah) is indeed the word used here, and—this is important—it is used nowhere in the Old Testament besides these verses in Leviticus and Deuteronomy. We have only this context to help us decide what it means in terms of the Mosaic law.

    Second, the process rabbits go through is called refection, and it is not just “dung” that the rabbits are eating, which is probably why the Hebrew word for 'dung' was not used here. Indeed, contrary to Meritt's assertion, that the word gehrah also means 1/20th of a shekel actually gives us a hint here! 1/20th of a shekel is of little worth, but it does have worth. Where the word for 'dung' is used in the Bible, it implies something defiled, unclean, or useless. But in lapine terms, “dung” is not useless: It contains pellets of partially digested food, which rabbits chew on (along with the waste material—UGH!) in order to give their stomachs another go at getting the nutrients out. (It's an efficient way of getting more vitamins and nutrients, we're told, but I think I'll stick with my Flintstones chewables, thank you very much.) The pellets have some minute value, much as 1/20th of a shekel has some value.

    Contrast this with what cows and some other animals do, rumination, which is what we moderns call “chewing the cud”. They regurgitate partially digested food in little clumps called cuds, and chew it a little more after while mixing it with saliva. (This also, presumably, helps them get the most out of their food, but I'm not trying it.)

    So, let's see … partially digested food. Partially digested food. Seems to be a common element here. Could it be that the Hebrew word simply refers to any partially digested food? Could it be that the process is not the issue, just the object?

    Our other key word provides us with some hints. Meritt is partially correct when he says that the phrase translated 'chew the cud' in the KJV is more exactly 'bring up the cud'. (The full phrase is 'maketh the cud to come up'.) By leaving it at that, he apparently wishes for us to believe that “bring up” means, in an exclusive sense, regurgitation. Whoooooa, horsey. Back up. Let's check those hooves for Hebrew words! The word here is 'alah, and it is found in some grammatical form on literally (well, almost literally) every page of the OT! This is because it is a word that encompasses many concepts other than 'bring up'. It also can mean ascend up, carry up, cast up, fetch up, get up, recover, restore, take up, and much more. It is a catch-all verb form describing the moving of something to another place. ('maketh the gehrah to “alah”)

    Now in the verses in question, “alah” is used as a participle. Let's look at the other verses where it is used this way (NIV only implies some of these phrases; where in parentheses, the phrase is in the original, sometimes in the KJV):
    Josh. 24:17 It was the Lord our God himself who brought us and our fathers up out of Egypt. …
    Isaiah 8:7 … therefore the Lord is about to bring (up) the burnt offering … Nahum 3:3 Charging cavalry, flashing swords (lifted up), and glittering spears! Isaiah 8:7 … therefore the Lord is about to bring (up) against them the mighty floodwaters of the River … 2 Chron. 24:14 When they had finished, they brought (up) the rest of the money … Ps. 135:7 He makes clouds rise (up) from the ends of the earth … 2 Sam. 6:15 … while he and the entire house of Israel brought up the ark of the Lord with shouts and the sound of trumpets. (Similar quote, 1 Chr. 15:28) OUCH! That last one would hurt if the word meant regurgitation. No wonder people were shouting …

    So what have we learned? The Hebrew word is question is NOT specific to the process of regurgitation; it is a phrase of general movement. And related to the specific issue at hand, the rabbit is an animal that does “maketh” the previously digested material to “come up” out of the body (though in a different way than a ruminant does—as Meritt says, with rabbits, it comes all the way through; but again, the word is not specific for regurgitation!) and does thereafter does chew “predigested material”! The mistake is in our applying of the scientific terms of rumination to something that does not require it.

    Extracted with permission from: Response to some alleged bible contradictions by J.P. Holding.

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  37. And here's the salient excerpt from the above article, at least for me:

    Coneys and rabbits go through such similar motions to ruminants that Linnaeus, the father of modern classification (and a creationist), at first classified them as ruminants.

    So did the writers of the Bible. Both the Bible authors AND Lineaus made the same MISTAKE...

    THe Bible is wrong, once again.

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  38. Brian, perhaps you should ask him for the proof regarding the numbers of Angels that can dance on the head of a pin since he's exhausted the scholarly discussion regarding the feeding habits of rabbits as the cornerstone of Biblical inerrancy. GUT save us all.

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  39. "GUT save us all."

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

    Nice Pliny :-D

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  40. popooke is my word verification. "And that's all I have to say about that."

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  41. Ain't the wabbits and other rodents just grinding their teeth?

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  42. Hmm... maybe I was just thinking of Bugs Bunny.

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  43. "..the male's scrotum is in front of the penis (unlike rodents, which is behind); and
    the penis contains no bone (baculum), unlike in rodents.
    However, they resemble rodents in that their teeth grow throughout their life, thus necessitating constant chewing to keep them from growing too long."= Wikipedia.

    Oh well, I was right about the teeth thingy.

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  44. I just don't get it how a person can be so pigheaded about their beliefs, that even when a clear mathematical disproof comes along, they can feel free to ignore it.

    I mean, this person sent me an article that estimated the number of species on the ark at apx 17,500 or so (I've misplaced the article now) and stated that with 17,500 ANIMALS there would be enough room on the ark... I pointed out that 17,500 SPECIES means that there has to be at least two (and the Bible says more in some cases) of each SPECIES, making it at least 35,000 individual animals, too many for the ark to hold...

    No response to this, not ever. He never got back to it. Changed the subject. Won't go back when I call him out on it.

    I also of course pointed out that the 17,500 is closer to 30,000 species that we know of TODAY (he was using very old speciation data) and that that only includes mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and birds. What about the INSECTS? Over a MILLION species of insect, all of which would SURELY have died in the flood. And the fishes of the world... All saltwater fishes would die in the brackish water, and of course all the freshwater fishes as well... and every other water animal, just about... Shrimp, lobsters, copepods... all dead in brackish flood waters... And then I brought up the fact that Noah would have also had to preserve ALL the world's plant life! NONE of it would be abe to survive 40 days immersion in brackish water... Etc, etc, etc...
    And STILL not response... He just keeps throwing other stuff at me to change the subject, and then I would disprove THAT too, and so he changes the subject again...

    Pretty loathsome behavior, if you ask me.

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  45. You're a good dude Bri, keep your chin up.

    I finally figured out why you have that word verification. Blog's down :-( I saved my posts and deleted it. I'll probably start again after this semester.

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  46. Hi Brian,
    I see your point although personally I find it a waste of time to go round and round in circles on minor points like this one. My own personal view of how to tackle Apologetics is to go straight for the big issues, as if your playing chess and going straight for checkmate.

    Still, I commend you on your patience. Keep writing.
    God Bless, (or should I say to you "May the Big Brain Bless you")
    Hari Om

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  47. Jim Clark said,

    "My own personal view of how to tackle Apologetics is to go straight for the big issues, as if your playing chess and going straight for checkmate."

    I agree completely: like I said in the DD blog to pboy--letting the xians drag you down into arguments about trivial things lets THEM control the argument. Go for the big picture like I did with Observant and see if he can string two words together cohesively after that.

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  48. I'm not as clear on that as I'd like to be. What exactly do you mean by "going for the big picture?"

    Gear, if I recall, you went for the dichotomy between the Old and New Testament... Is that what you mean?

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  49. If that's Gear's method, it's an effective one.

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  50. Oneblood, GearHeadEd, and Jim,

    I'm still having trouble getting at what you all mean, precisely. I'm asking for more clarification because it's becoming obvious to even me lately that my strategy in dealing with ignorance (such as demonstrated in this post) is sadly somewhat ignorant in and of itself. I'm banging my head against a brick wall, and all I seem to keep doing to alleviate the pain, is looking for a more effective means of banging my head against that wall, which is not very logical. I need to sidestep the wall somehow. and this "fight the big fights" scenario appeals to me instinctively. But sadly I need elucidation. Pretend you're talking to a child... Seriously, it's a blind spot to me for some reason.

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  51. Another interesting article. I got it from the old DD blog.

    Pretty amazing how religion can trump logic, utterly co-opting it to it's own purposes. It's quite the effective virus.

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  52. Brian,

    What I think Jim was saying, and what I'm definitely saying is that xians WANT to debate you on the little things like Noah's Ark, Adam & Eve, Tower of Babel, etc., etc. This is their method, what pboy refers to as part of the confusion technique.

    Look at it like this: All the little bullshit stories in the bible are pawns in the big chess game to the xians. They know how to deal with the objections rational people raise to such BS. Jim suggests not letting yourself get bogged down in the details, and going for the "checkmate": Undermine the entire bible in one gulp, because the xians don't know how to respond to that. You saw how Observant was reduced to insulting me after I demolished his fairy tale.

    word ver: "undlyze" Def: to look at things from a 'bottom-up' perspective.

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  53. I could have continued on Observant, but it was pointless and needlessly argumentative to continue. From "Obama & the Reagan Doctrine", page 138:

    2068. I have officially stuck a fork in you. You're done.
    GearHedEd at 12:38PM on Jan 13th 2009
    -------------------------------------------------------------
    You wish.
    First of all, Neither The old Testament , nor the Mosaic Law, was ever Gods plan of salvation for mankind. So this proves God made no mistake as you so blindly misunderstood the scripture.

    (this is the important part -Ed.)
    "Christ was always Gods plan of redemption to be reveled at the appointed time.
    The scripture said Christ was as a lamb slain BEFORE the foundation world. That debunks your theory on God making a mistake and having to make a change down the road.
    Christ has always been Gods remedy for sin"

    The blood that was shed under the law did nothing more than cover sin, it was only temporary in that it could not take away sin. In fact much of the Old Testament is types and shadows of that which was to come.
    I’ll give you one example. Israel under the law was a shadow and or type of The New Testament Church..

    The law was a schoolmaster to bring us unto Grace.
    The law also was given to man , so man would have a knowledge of sin.
    You know like, thou shalt not kill.

    Your mind cannot receive the things of God, for they are spiritual and you are carnal.

    You are good for a laugh though keep it coming.
    Observant at 4:55PM on Jan 13th 2009

    If Jesus was ALWAYS the plan, then god DOOMED man to sin, because god designed us that way. Explain how that's OUR fault, Observant? Like I said before, if that's the story, then god is an evil dungeon master, and we're all nothing more than his playthings. Except for the ones who imagine god talks to them, and are somehow therefore "special" to him.

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  54. Hello again everyone,
    I believe Gearhead was right in saying go for the whole Bible over all. Look at the main points that apolgists use and address them.
    ie
    New Testament:
    - The bibliographical argument
    - So called "non-christian" attestation
    - Early Church writings (Clement, Ignatius, Irenaeus)
    - Would the disciples have died for a lie?
    - Lord, Liar or Lunatic

    Old Testament:
    - Prophecy (primarily Daniel)
    - Middle East Archeology

    Brian, you did an excellent job with the post. It's just that if you put that much time and space into the little things, then it's almost impossible to resolve the big picture. I agree with Gearhead, don't let the Christians bring the discussion onto little things, go straight for the big issues.

    Have any of you guys read Ken Humphreys website (http://www.jesusneverexisted.com/), I highly recommend it.

    Take care everyone.

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  55. Hi again,
    I left out of the previous post what I think is the best argument, the philosophical problems with the Christian doctrine of Heaven and Hell. I wrote a post on my blog about this, and have had this discussion with countless Christians. They start off saying that they can use logic and reason to defend their faith, but they always fall back onto the Bible.

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  56. Jim,

    I challenged the aforementioned Observant after deconstructing his fairy tale to prove god exists without referencing the bible, and even gave him a whole week to respond.

    His reply?

    Silence, with a smattering of cricket noises.

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  57. And then later, Observant comes back with:

    "2943. That is correct.
    There is No proof of Gods existance out side of the bible that I am aware of.

    Unless you count The talk I had with Jesus and the Holy Spirit That made it self known unto me."

    Observant at 11:58PM on Jan 23rd 2009

    What a douchebag. Guys like him impugn the fine function of real douchebags!

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  58. And you didn't ask what they were chatting about?

    I wonder what Observant would be able to 'scrounge' out of the Bible for clues about what God would have to say to him.

    Seems everyone wants to say that they talk to God and Jesus but no-one is willing to say what it is they are discussing or any details at all.

    It just boils down to one more smug thing that no-one can 'prove' different.

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  59. He must have thought I wasn't paying attention anymore.

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  60. pboy,

    Did you see the thing I wrote on A of G about attempted coercion?

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  61. In fairness, although not a whole lot will get resolved by in depth debates over the merits of a single piece of text, it can be effective if you are dealing with an inerrantist (sp?). If they are claiming that the Bible doesn't have any flaws, than it isn't wrong to debate that a piece of text that is wrong from almost every perspective undermines such an absolutist case. They've got apologetics for everything anyway, so if you see a soft spot, aim for it. Even if nothing comes out of the process, you can still have some fun doing it. Hell, viciously dissecting small snippets of information is pretty much what blogging was made for.

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  62. "it can be effective if you are dealing with an inerrantist (sp?). If they are claiming that the Bible doesn't have any flaws, than it isn't wrong to debate that a piece of text that is wrong from almost every perspective undermines such an absolutist case."

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

    Asylum is right on the money. It's the point I was trying to make but he did it better and more succinctly :-P

    Deconstructing any literature is cool. The bible's no exception.

    I've wished for it before, and I don't know if it'll happen but an atheistic approach to the bible as literature in a book would be quite refreshing. I get a feel for some of that in certain liberally translated bibles with footnotes but not a regular book. It would take some work though.

    That reminds me of one of the best books I never bought. An Orthodox rabbi's take on the life of Paul. The parts I skimmed through were fascinating. He could've been pejorative but he treated Paul for what he was. A figure in history that left behind some letters.

    Objectivity is great. Unless you're in a relationship.

    There's got to be some girl somewhere who appreciate's her man's objectivity at all times.

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  63. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  64. Brian,
    I got news for you. The hare does chew the cud. The cud is not a tit.
    The Cud is a portion of food that returns from a ruminant's stomach in the mouth to be chewed for the second time. More accurately, it is a bolus of semi-degraded food regurgitated from the reticulorumen of a ruminant. Cud is produced during the physical digestive process of rumination, or "chewing the cud". [ Source Wiki]

    Leviticus 11:6 is CORRECT.

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  65. Hi Observant!

    I have to disagree with you. The hare only looks like it's chewing it's cud. Linneaus made the same mistake. You're reaching here, trying to make it so when it isn't.

    No hare, rabbit, coney, rock badger or hyrax chews their cud.

    This is an established scientific fact. Which as you know trumps a Biblical fact every, single time.

    Glad you stopped by though. Stick around and argue a while.

    ***

    Oneblood, asylum seeker, gearhead ed, Jim, and pboy, we now seem to have a believer in the house. (Frankly I wish we'd get more...)

    Care to demonstrate the techniques previously discussed as regards the "only arguing the main points" thingy? Because I know that Observant isn't about to believe that a rabbit isn't a cud-chewer here, even if Jesus Himself slapped him across the face with a dead coney and made him chew fecal pellets.

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  66. The cud is not a tit.
    ----------------
    ??? I wasn't under that impression. I know what a cud is. And a rumen. And no animal in the rabbit/coney family chews their cud, nor do any of them even HAVE a rumen to make the cud in the first place. No rumen means no cud means no way the Bible is right in this. You defined ruminant yourself there, and I agree with the definition, (or rather wiki defined it for you and you accepted it enough to cite it_ so what's your problem? No rumens. No rabbit has one. NO coney. NO hyrax, either.

    Making a lot of chewing motions while they're grinding their incisors down is not cud chewing. And when they eat their fecal pellets, they don't even CHEW them.

    Rabbits eat their own feces, producing a similar EFFECT to a cud-chewer's digestion process, but analogous is not identical, nor in this case is it even close.

    Biblical fiction, yet again.

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  67. Observant, were you thinking of pud-chewing, by any chance?

    That's a whole different process, is my point.......

    :-)

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  68. Oh and Oneblood, when I said we have a believer in the house, I was talking about a believer in biblical inerrancy. (Not in God.)

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  69. Gearhead said, And then later, Observant comes back with:

    "2943. That is correct.
    There is No proof of Gods existence out side of the bible that I am aware of.

    Unless you count The talk I had with Jesus and the Holy Spirit That made it self known unto me."

    Observant at 11:58PM on Jan 23rd 2009

    What a douchebag. Guys like him impugn the fine function of real douchebags!
    February 18, 2009 7:32 PM
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Hey Gearhead,
    The Bible was written so that the world might believe.
    It is a history book that declares Gods existence , and creation of all things.
    If you reject the bible as truth, and ,the Holy Spirit that was sent to bear witness of Biblical truth, then you cannot be persuaded .
    I read a story in the bible that makes me think of you.
    It’s found in Luke 16: 9-31 The rich man died and in hell he lifted up his eyes being in torment.
    Even though the man died, this was written to show that there is life beyond this life. Notice when in hell the rich man could see , hear, talk ,feel, taste water. He even desired that his brothers be warned that they would not come to the place he was at.
    Jesus is the one telling this particular story ,and he explains what Abraham said .
    If your brothers will not believe Moses ,and the Prophets, they will NOT believe even though one rose from the dead.

    You are one that needs to see a sign in order to believe in God, sorry won’t happen.
    You look down your nose at people like me, and for what? Because I chose to believe in God.
    I don’t agree with your world view, or your lack of faith but somehow that makes you what ? A better person than Christians… In your own mind maybe.

    You ask me to prove the existence of God without using the bible, and I answered.

    Now it’s your turn..
    Prove the Big bang theory ,or the theory of evolution with out science books .
    Present evidence as to were matter came from when there was zero substance.
    Please go on record as to how life began from NON-LIFE.
    Give detailed evidence of the origin of the laws that govern the universe .
    Pleaser explain how the sun came into precise distance to the earth so that it could sustain life after a big bang .

    You have seven days to prove these things came into existence without a creator. tick tock, tick tock…

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  70. sbg said,
    Oh and Oneblood, when I said we have a believer in the house, I was talking about a believer in biblical inerrancy. (Not in God.)

    February 19, 2009 11:06 AM
    ------------------------
    What happen to your logic brian?
    If one does not believe in God, then it would be safe to say one does not believe in the bible as well.

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  71. Observant:
    It is perfectly possible to believe that there is or may have been a creative force behind our current understanding of the universe, WITHOUT necessarily accepting the Biblical accounts for it. I would agree that if your definition of this "creator" happens to be the JudeoChristian one, that you must at least accept the allegorical truth of the Biblical accounts. Even then, it does not follow logically that the Biblical account is literally correct or that every word in the Bible is "the word of God".
    In your case, you still seem to be unable to appreciate that without faith or belief in the literal truth (as you perceive it) of the Bible, you cannot reason to its "infallability". As a result, you keep getting into arguments in which people urge you to try to find arguments for your beliefs that do not depend upon the Bible as their source. You, in turn, argue that people who do accept the infallability of the Bible should, therefore, try to "prove" theories that seek to explain the origins of the Universe or of human life without resorting to "science", as if acceptance of science was somehow analogous to "faith" or belief in the Bible. As is true of those deists who believe(?!) that all atheists have a dogma or credo or respect the opinions of so-called "leading" atheists as believers do the Pope or Jerry Fallwell, for example, you are mixing apples and oranges. Scientific theories are at once ideas supported, at least in part, by observable data and, at the same time, tacit admissions that our data is as yet incomplete.(Hence the word "theory"). Reliance on "faith" in the accounts in the Bible is at once based upon no observable data and a tacit statement the "this is the truth".

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  72. I'm not going to hell, Mike. That's still YOUR fairytale.

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  73. Observant said,

    "You look down your nose at people like me, and for what? Because I chose to believe in God.
    I don’t agree with your world view, or your lack of faith but somehow that makes you what ? A better person than Christians… In your own mind maybe."

    You apparently have misunderstood me all along. I have never said that I think I'm better than anybody, either by virtue of education or based on my beliefs.

    You're right about one thing. God will have to show himself to me in a very big way if he wants me to believe. Faith requires that much.

    On the other hand, I can NOT accept the bible at face value, as it is most certainly NOT historical (quasi- or pseudo- hisrtorical at best), and the stories in the bible are self contradictory as I and others have pointed out before.

    IF I think I'm better than anybody, it's due to the fact that I seek answers outside of the bible, which I still consider a fairytale composed as a tool to control society, while the xians generally decide that they KNOW already based on the bible and refuse to pull their heads out of the sand and LOOK at things.

    Interestingly enough, I was just now discussing the advent of science with a few friends. It occurred to me that the greatest advances in science have resulted from enhanced VISION beyond what the bible teaches. Examples:

    Copernicus, the author of heliocentrism, OBSERVED that the planets revolve around the sun, not the other way around.

    Galileo, who used his TELESCOPE (a vision enhancing device) to OBSERVE that there are moons orbiting Jupiter. That was significant, because church dogma of the time held that the earth was the center of everything, while the Jovian moons were clearly shown to orbit around something OTHER than the Earth.

    Further OBSERVATIONS with telescopes have shown variously that the universe is vastly more than just the Milky Way galaxy (Before the 1920's, not even 100 years ago yet, it was thought that the Milky Way was the WHOLE universe); that the universe is expanding, and that it is approximately 13.5 billion years old.

    I don't claim that science is a finished product, and neither do the scientists. Nor do the scientists claim that the universe spontaneously poofed into existence from nothing. The most the scientists will say (yet) is that they DON'T know, whereas xians say they DO know, based on a self-contradictory collection of stories written by a semi-nomadic Bronze age culture 3,500 years ago, and hold it up as "TRUTH".

    I find that less than convincing, and if you were honest, so would you.

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  74. Also, as has been pointed out elsewhere ad nauseum, there is no PROOF of scientific things outside science textbooks; however, what the scientists DO have is EVIDENCE, and mountains of it, all pointing to the truths of their OBSERVATIONS, but ultimately falling short of ABSOLUTE proof (hence the term "THEORY"), evidence that is completely lacking in the case of the bible.

    Consider: There are Egyptian pyramids that are older than the estimates of the era of the Noah's Ark story. If Noah's Ark was a relatively recent "event", wouldn't man have made the site a shrine to the greatness of God? Why then do we not know where to find evidence of Noah's Ark?

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  75. Or did Noah just get drunk and forget where he parked it?

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  76. Bottom line, Observant:

    You can believe in god all you want, but the book is just a book, not divine truth. What we atheists object to is that the Fundamentalist Christian community insists that all of the rest of us have to believe the same nonsense y'all do, and that furthermore, it should be legislated into the corpus juris of this once-great country.

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  77. Harvey said,
    As is true of those deists who believe(?!) that all atheists have a dogma or credo or respect the opinions of so-called "leading" atheists as believers do the Pope or Jerry Fallwell, for example, you are mixing apples and oranges. Scientific theories are at once ideas supported, at least in part, by observable data and, at the same time, tacit admissions that our data is as yet incomplete.(Hence the word "theory"). Reliance on "faith" in the accounts in the Bible is at once based upon no observable data and a tacit statement the "this is the truth".
    February 19, 2009 1:26 PM
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Not all Christians believe the Pope , and Jerry Falwell.

    No Harvey ,I’m not mixing apples and oranges.
    Christianity is also observed by visible evidence as well.
    The Bible said the fruit “evidence” of the Spirit is peace ,joy ,and love.
    The scripture has also said When the Spirit of truth comes it would reprove the world of sin, righteousness and of judgment. Ask any true Christian what happened to them ,that caused them to seek God for forgiveness of sin.
    This is observable in the lives of men and women that have been partakers of the born again experience.

    There are many people who claim to have been born again yet continue to live a life filled with sin.
    I believe them to be the false professors . Remember Jesus said not all who say unto me Lord, Lord shall enter into heaven.

    The formula required for science to prove a theory must be observable.

    The formula required for Christianity is of course faith. But, faith is also observable by good works which is the fruit of the Spirit of God as proclaimed in the Bible and evidenced in the lives of them who are partakers of Christ.

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  78. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  79. Galileo, who used his TELESCOPE (a vision enhancing device)
    ---------------
    Thanks Gear for the explanation you almost lost me there. lol

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  80. Right, Mike.

    Don't forget that the Catholic church (which incidentally now has an official OBSERVATORY of its own) cordially offered to burn Galileo for his heresies.

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  81. Or that Georges LeMaitre, one of the people who originally proposed the Big Bang theory, was a Catholic priest, working for the Vatican Observatory.

    Wiki on Big Bang

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  82. And the reason that the Vatican has an OBSERVATORY is because the Catholic church had to eat a large helping of crow when it became obvious that Copernicus and Galileo had been right (read: found the truth to be OTHER than what the church claimed), and didn't want to EVER be caught flat-footed like that again.

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  83. And where did the church's WRONG opinions come from? Why, the Bible, of course!

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  84. More on enhanced vision:

    Anton Philips van Leeuwenhoek used another vision enhancing device, the microscope to help establish microbiology and discover that tiny "animalcules" were responsible for diseases, not the "demon possession" hypothesis advocated by the church.

    Score another one for OBSERVING beyond the previously accepted Biblical explanations.

    Wiki on van Leeuwenhoek

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  85. Evidence for evolution that's really hard to dismiss:

    First, a clarification: the primary agent of evolution is "natural selection". That being said (and in the interest of brevity I will assume that it need not be defined here again), one need only look at dogs and the various breeds thereof,; knowing that they all trace their ancestry to wolves (and most dogs can still interbreed with wolves), we humans have demonstrated that selection for particular inheritable characteristics can be done ON PURPOSE! While this is an example of artificial selection, it validates the concept of environmental pressures causing selection for advantageous traits in species over time.

    Next example: antibiotics-resistant bacteria. Due to overuse of penicillin and other antibiotics, many diseases have developed strains that are resistant to them. Anyone with a logical mind can imagine easily how this happens:

    1. Person gets infected.
    2. Physician prescribes antibiotics and the patient complies, recovers eventually.
    3. Some tiny percentage of individual bacteria survives, despite the treatment because a genetic variation makes those individuals less sensitive to the antibiotic.
    4. The surviving bacteria reproduce new generations, ALL having the genetic variation that is resistant to the antibiotic.

    Article about Antibiotic-Resistant Staph

    You getting this, Mike?

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  86. As for life appearing seemingly without cause, it seems that all that is required is for the presence of the raw precursor chemicals to be in proximity to one another, and for them to be irradiated.

    Amino Acids form in Space Nebulae

    While this doesn't PROVE that life can arise spontaneously, it DOES demonstrate that the VERY SAME compounds responsible for the formations of proteins are found in interstellar nebulae.

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  87. And this statement:

    "Pleaser explain how the sun came into precise distance to the earth so that it could sustain life after a big bang ."

    demonstrates the archaic Earth-centered mentality of mouth-breathing fundamentalists. While it's not worthy of a response, I'll let that slide and point out that there are wildly diverse biospheres HERE ON EARTH that some creatures thrive in but would kill you in less than a minute if you were subjected to the same conditions.

    Life evolves into the conditions it finds itself within, not the other way around.

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  88. Didn't it ever occur to the Creationist community that humans are NOT well-adapted to temperate climates? If you lived where I do and didn't augment your body with ARTIFICIAL clothing and SHELTER, you would freeze to death. So your comment about the Earth being "just right for life" is not reliable. Even on the surface, most of the places we live in are hostile to human life.

    The human body is adapted to a tropical climate.

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  89. "Please explain how the sun came into precise distance to the earth so that it could sustain life after a big bang ."
    ------------------------
    Wow, that is silly, isn't it?

    Observant, we understand that for you, it's all the Bible. But one doesn't need the Bible to believe in God and Jesus. A lot of people have "wised up" to that. In fact, the Bible is mostly a bunch of propaganda that Jesus himself would absolutely loathe. By worshipping a book written by mere men instead of the words and philosophy of Jesus Himself, you reveal yourself as "not a 'real' Christian." But, that's what you want to be, so who am I to tell you differently? Just don't go around thinking that you're a good Christian. You're a good Bibleist, and a lousy Christian. That's your religion now. Bibleism.

    Jesus would weep, to see where you went with his message.

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  90. If faith is visible through good works, how does one explain it when atheists or believers in another religion do good works?

    Or are only the good works of Christians considered really good to you, observant?

    ***

    You know what I consider a good work? The movie Religulous. That's a good work. It brings people to the realization that religion is evil and a psychosis.

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  91. I saw a rabbit ruminating once.

    It was thoughtfully considering something.

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  92. GearHead, the bible literalist crowd doesn't see bacteria evolving antibiotic resistance as real "macro" evolution, since they're so very small... lol.

    Even variations on a theme within a genus doesn't impress them. A dog from a wolf for example. Not good enough for them.

    They wanna see a mouse give birth to a litter of terriers. That's what they consider proof here.

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  93. I mean, most of these people think that the statement "man evolved from the apes" means that one day in deepest darkest Africa some chimpanzee gave birth to a naked human child...

    With such limited understanding, it's no wonder that they think Evolution is impossible.

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  94. I know other people have already mentioned this quote:

    "Please explain how the sun came into precise distance to the earth so that it could sustain life after a big bang ."

    But, may I also mention that it is ass backwards (in that the Sun existed before the Earth, so it should be "how the Earth came into precise distance to the Sun"). Aside from that, it can be fairly reasonably be answered by an Anthropic Principle type response.

    Also: "If you reject the bible as truth, and ,the Holy Spirit that was sent to bear witness of Biblical truth, then you cannot be persuaded ." I hear this alot. Here's the thing: statements like this imply hard-headed bias on the part of the person who doesn't accept the Bible or the Holy Spirit. Yet, when you look at the reversal of this sentence, which should also be true ("If you accept the Bible as truth, and the Holy Spirit that was sent to bear witness to Biblical truth, then you can be persuaded"), the statement begins to almost reek of autohypnosis. You need to come to the table with certain preconceptions that you would not have in similar circumstances for any other subject. The condition for being persuaded is accepting some of the core tenets from the outset.

    So, my point? Saying that one side is too stubborn to accept your point of view isn't all too effective (especially when you are simultaneously admitting that you need to lend undue credence to the underlying concepts behind that point of view in order to get to that acceptance).

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  95. Observant, although we rarely agree on anything, I honestly appreciate you coming here to post. It really livens things up to have an active discussion with a true believer.

    Thank you for stopping by, and I hope it isn't the last time. We may not agree, but I like to think after all this time that we're friends, of sorts. Friends that tear each other up sometimes, true, but friends nonetheless.

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  96. Observant, what Asylum is saying is that you can't ask people to believe BEFORE they read the Bible when they're reading it so as to judge whether it's believable or not in the first place.

    You're asking them to not THINK while they read it, just ACCEPT it, and believe. That's CHEATING.

    In the movie Religulous, they play a quick clip of Kirk Cameron at one point, where he's giving advice to believers on how to talk to atheists. He said "You need to go AROUND the intellect, sidestep it..."

    Getting someone to accept something without thinking about it first by appealing to emotions is CHEATING. It's a type of what is technically called "Deception." And that's a kind of lying.


    Humans rarely make correct decisions when only motivated by beliefs and feelings. Thought is necessary for that.

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  97. "I mean, most of these people think that the statement "man evolved from the apes" means that one day in deepest darkest Africa some chimpanzee gave birth to a naked human child..."

    Funny you should mention that....

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  98. "Getting someone to accept something without thinking about it first by appealing to emotions is CHEATING. It's a type of what is technically called "Deception." And that's a kind of lying."

    It just hit me what else this is called.

    Sales.

    It is the common technique of salespersons, charlatans, and mountebanks the world wide.

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  99. Yes Asylum, a great example there.

    The person is saying that science basically likes to confuse with big words. Because he's incapable of understanding them, they're there to confuse, obviously... lol.

    And his thoughts about the dog! "The female just happened to be there..."

    !!! As Bugs used to say, "What a moroon!!!"

    Too fucking funny.

    What a momo.

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  100. Observant:
    "The formula required for science to prove a theory must be observable.

    The formula required for Christianity is of course faith. But, faith is also observable by good works which is the fruit of the Spirit of God as proclaimed in the Bible and evidenced in the lives of them who are partakers of Christ.

    February 19, 2009 3:13 PM"

    Yes, scientific theory differs from faith in that there is observable and reproducible evidence for science. Claiming "good works" as evidence for God (as claimed in the Bible) is neither observable nor reproducible, inasmuch as many (perhaps the majority) of good works we may find in the world are carried out by peole who neither profess to be Christians nor, in many cases, may even know what a Christian is or have had any contact with the "truths" in the Bible. You seem not to be able to see that you cannot compare such "evidence" to the observable and reproducible data that has been painstakingly accumulated in support of the factual (not "faith based beliefs") evidence we now have regarding the Universe and its origins. Since you have no recourse to any other "proof" of your beliefs than the Bible, your interpretations thereof, and, in very few cases, the reports of people who claim to have had a personal experience with God (being "born again") that happens to agree with your personal criteria for "really" having been saved, it is understandable that you find it necessary to try to convince the rest of us that you "have it right".
    Personally, I can give you the benefit of the doubt that you actually beieve that all you say is "truth" and that somehow, in saying it, you are following Christ's teachings, but it seems to me that it must become apparent to you at some point that there is a tiny, tiny possibility that there are some holes in your construct, when even fellow believers have so much trouble in accepting what you say.

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  101. Observant,

    Because of your orthodoxy you probably consider me a heretic. Nevertheless, concerning your Luke post, remember that Christians used to be called "atheists." In the eyes of the Romans worthy of being jailed, burned, tortured, or lion food.

    Maybe you should consider who has worn that term, and the mindset of the people who used that term before you talk about hellfire.

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  102. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  103. So what of intent? What was on the writer of Genesis' mind? Was it science, or did he/she have a different agenda? It's explanatory in its own way, but what else is it there for?

    It's authoritative literature. Was the writer(s) of Genesis really concerned about how they split up the categories of animals? Or did they just want to say, "God did it."

    I don't agree with the assertion that all the little bits of the bible were written to control people in some ominous "I'm going to use you," type way. I think that's silly, and really really presumptuous.

    Let's talk about the dietary law.

    Say it was Moses. I can see it now, Moishe and Aaron...

    A: Oy vey Moishe, the people they're getting sick. Why don't you do something? You're always up on that mountain. C'mon be a mensch and help the people out.

    M: Enough with the sick already. Tell me something I don't know.

    A: Well, I think I know what's making them so krank.

    And he tells him about his theory and they write it down. Maybe he saw that rabbits ate their own poop, and thought he could fit them into his theory. It certainly looks like they're chewing all the time, so why not?

    Some of those dietary laws are just common sense. And just because whoever got it wrong doesn't mean their heart wasn't in the right place. You know what I'm saying?

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  104. Asylum Seeker said...
    I know other people have already mentioned this quote:

    "Please explain how the sun came into precise distance to the earth so that it could sustain life after a big bang ."

    But, may I also mention that it is ass backwards (in that the Sun existed before the Earth, so it should be "how the Earth came into precise distance to the Sun"). Aside from that, it can be fairly reasonably be answered by an Anthropic Principle type response.

    ----------------------------------------------------
    According to scientist , the Universe is over 13 billion years old.
    How could you possibly know the sun existed before the earth?

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  105. Brian said,

    Observant, although we rarely agree on anything, I honestly appreciate you coming here to post. It really livens things up to have an active discussion with a true believer.

    Thank you for stopping by, and I hope it isn't the last time. We may not agree, but I like to think after all this time that we're friends, of sorts. Friends that tear each other up sometimes, true, but friends nonetheless.
    February 19, 2009 7:02 PM
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------
    I find it very educational ,and I enjoy the fellowship.
    You all have opened up my eyes to many ,many things.
    Friends, you bet, That goes without saying.

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  106. How could you possibly know the sun existed before the earth?
    ----------------
    This is established science, observant. The planets formed well after the sun did.

    Stars form an acretion disk around them of excess material. This forms planets, in due time.

    article

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  107. Did you ever think, Observant, that if the planets formed first, then it means that theywould have to have been "captured" subsequently by the sun...

    With me so far?

    Well then, why are they all in more or less the same plane and revolving in the same direction around the sun?

    Solar acretion disk. The sun was forming and a lot of excess material was ejected and went into orbit around it, gradually coalescing into planets and asteroids.

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  108. That last post was to observant Brian, not you.

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  109. My son and I were talking last night and he hit on the issue of respect.

    My biggest problem, i.e. the thing that raises my hackles the most, is the fact that most "born-agains" refuse to grant any respect to opposing viewpoints, esp. those of atheists, while DEMANDING that we must respect THEIR point of view.

    Then I remember that there is a requirement from the religion that to be "born again', one must "deny the world", so there it is.

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  110. OneBlood:
    Although I found your "report" of how Moses was convinced to include rabbits among animals that "chew the cud" when reporting God's dietary laws to the Hebrews quite amusing and well done, I must point out that Jewish thinkers have largely come to discount some special understanding of health issues as a major driving force for any of these traditions. The proscription against pig meat, for Jews and later Muslims, was argued to be because of the risk of trichinosis. It is now apparent that bronze age Jews had no idea about this parasytic disease risk. It may have been noted that pigs (which were quite uncommon in Israel at that time and were rarely domesticated) tended to be messy animals that rooted around in offal, but the proscription against eating them was probably because they are also often carnivorous in the wild. No carnivorous mammal or bird can be considered Kosher. You might be interested in the controversy about whether or not camels, which do chew their cud and can be said to have a cloven hoof (the two requirements to consider any herbivore as Kosher) are considered Kosher. They are not so considered, not because of the argument whether they have a cloven "hoof" or just split toes with very large nails, but because camels were then critical to survival as beasts of burden (and probably because they don't taste very good either). It seems the the dietary laws are subject to a large dose of utility and common sense.

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  111. Here's something that I had hidden in my picture gallery... It seems appropriate here.

    Confessions of a Former Christian

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  112. I don't agree with the assertion that all the little bits of the bible were written to control people in some ominous "I'm going to use you," type way. I think that's silly, and really really presumptuous.
    ---------------------
    But a lot of the stories include subtle programming. Like "Doubting Thomas" for example.

    How obvious is that story? I mean, it's so blatantly a story concocted to say to people that might be tempted to disbelieve in Jesus having risen from the dead that "See, someone has already covered that base; Thomas doubted Him already, and Jesus then proved Himself to Thomas, so you don't have to waste your thought on doubt." Never mind that Jesus never proved Himself to any of us, only to Thomas... We're supposed to take the story as a proof of Jesus having risen, but all I can see in it is programming. Never mind that all I ever asked of Jesus or God is proof, and they've never shown ME any... Only Thomas. And he's long gone, if he ever even really lived at all.

    The Bible tries to prove that it's real at every step. So many stories designed to cause people to believe without doubt. And stories about doubters that were punished for their doubt or were proven wrong by God. Stories ahout the horrible things that happen in the afterlife to unbelievers. Stories telling the believers how superior they are to the unbelievers. But all of the stories have one thing in common. They're all FROM the very book that is in doubt. So they're all useless as evidence of anything except as evidence that the Bible has programming in it.

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  113. I don't know about any of you, but in Sunday School and in my family as well, it was made plain to me as a child that Doubting Thomas was a creep. Not a good person. Lacking. Because he doubted Jesus. How stupid of him! How base! How arrogant!

    Instead of praise for actually using his mind, he gets condemnation for it.

    He wasn't condemned by Jesus in the Bible for doubting, though.

    So the condemnation comes from the believers in the book, and not even the book itself.

    Because to doubt is to be evil, if you're doubting in God.

    And yet, Thomas wasn't damned for it. He was instead SHOWN the PROOF. Which is all doubters ever ask.

    We're not shown the proof, though, and we're considered evil for even asking for it.

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  114. sbg said,
    Oh and Oneblood, when I said we have a believer in the house, I was talking about a believer in biblical inerrancy. (Not in God.)

    February 19, 2009 11:06 AM
    ------------------------
    What happen to your logic brian?
    If one does not believe in God, then it would be safe to say one does not believe in the bible as well.
    -Observant
    -------------------
    I was telling Oneblood that my reference to belief was to belief in the bible, and that I was NOT talking about HIS kind of belief, which is not in the Bible but in Jesus. Far preferable from my point of view, since to me that's the difference between sanity and psychosis.

    I'm afraid that I was telling him that I wasn't talking about belief in God in general, only about the Bibleists, like you. The ones that would confidently tell the risen Christ right to his halo-surrounded face that He's wrong, because it clearly says so *right here in this book...*

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  115. I don't agree with the assertion that all the little bits of the bible were written to control people in some ominous "I'm going to use you," type way. I think that's silly, and really really presumptuous.
    -------------------------
    On reflection, it seems to me that the programming n the Bible is all about conditioning the believers to believe and not to doubt, not ever, on fear of hell and whatever else it takes...

    SO it's not specifically designed for a neutral outsider to take advantage of. It IS designed to engender obedience without question within it's internal heirarchy. But, even so a neutral outsider CAN take advantage of the FACT that the faithful have been, as a group, professionally conditioned to respond to certain keywords, fears, and concepts. Hitler had no problem taking advantage of that when he needed to. The sheeple are easily led, and not necessarily by the Good Pastor, since they RARELY LOOK UP.

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  116. You see, as a group, the Christian bibleist type believers have had their discriminatory functions, their 'ability to spot something illogical,' artificially impaired or even effectively neutered. So a shrewd calculating amoral individual can easily take advantage of that. All they would have to do is convince the Christians as a group that they're Chosen by God themselves, and use the right keywords and inside phrases to "prove" that...

    This goes back to the faith requiring them to accept, side-by-side, mutually exclusive statements. Like "God is Love, and He'll torture you forever if you doubt that for even a second..." This is how the programming destroys the logical abilities. It needs to. It has to. For logic is the real antithesis of faith, and kills it every, single time. Because unlike faith, logic is real.

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  117. Brian,

    Maybe I mistyped so to speak, but I was replying to the notion that the bible is anything other than what it is.

    So it has good and evil in it. It was compiled from texts and oral traditions by different people from different times in sometimes vastly different cultures.

    As a rabbi (whom I've mentioned previously) said to me, "The Passover that Jesus kept was not the same one as in the Torah." And he's right. Jesus' culture was different than Moses' who's culture was different than Abraham's. We (believers and unbelievers) just don't look at it that way because it's all looked at from inside the bible. Even you as an intelligent atheist do the same thing that bible thumpers do in this regard. You should think outside the box.

    Of course there are stories to keep people/masses in line. And you brought out one of the best examples. I was just pointing out that it's not the bible. It's a bunch of texts put together by certain people who said, "It's a whole! It has no components!"

    So, I see that Marxian attitude all the time, and it's not valid because it's neither true nor untrue.

    A majority of people who disagree with those texts (all or some) have already jumped into the believer's world by calling it "The Bible." They've already accepted that premise... but it's not true.

    There is no bible.

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

    I have a question for you Brian. Besides having a common deity (notice I didn't say religion) do you really think the person who wrote the Song of Solomon had the same agenda as the guy who wrote down the 'doubting Thomas' story?

    And if so, where are the marvelous descriptions of a woman's breasts in the Thomas narrative?

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  118. I just had this weird thing happen to the blog.

    All of my posts went away.

    On the main page, I mean. They were still there when I clicked on them in the "past posts" directory... But on the main page, no posts at all!

    I figured it out though. I had to go into my editing page and just hit "enter" and it "refreshed" the page when I got back to it... Now they're all back.

    PHEW!

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  119. Brian,

    That happened not only to my blog, but yours last night. I had to exit to another blog then come back and voila.

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  120. Oh, I'm not denying that it's a compilation of both good and bad. More bad than good, though, or so it seems to me.

    Scattered throughout it are pleas to believe in it, threats to force you to believe in it, stories that insist that you belive, all from various sources, true, but all demanding belief... And no matter which story you buy into it all with, if you do believe in that story, you tend to believe in all the rest of them, both bad and good, so it matters little that there are some good parts. The bad parts more than make up for them.

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  121. Brian,

    That happened not only to my blog, but yours last night. I had to exit to another blog then come back and voila.
    ---------------------
    Weird.

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  122. In fact, a lot of people are sold on the Bible by the good parts and accept the bad parts automatically as a part of all that goodness somehow.

    The good parts are the bait, in fact. The delicious, tasty Jesus coating surrounding the arsenic nougat center.

    Hey, that's how I see it.

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  123. The reason why the sun most likely came first is because of chemical evolution. In other words, stars are composed of hydrogen, and the heavier elements that planets, asteroids, etc. are composed of are formed through the processes that lead to a supernova. Supposedly, the Big Bang never resulted in elements heavier than beryllium, so Earth, with all its carbon, iron, nickel, and such would have to have been formed, at very least, after the first stars.

    Both the Sun and Earth are assessed to be 4.5 billion years or so, though(4.57 for Sun, 4.54 for Earth) so it is a close race.

    Also: "pinglons"

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  124. The reason why the sun most likely came first is because of chemical evolution. In other words, stars are composed of hydrogen, and the heavier elements that planets, asteroids, etc. are composed of are formed through the processes that lead to a supernova. Supposedly, the Big Bang never resulted in elements heavier than beryllium, so Earth, with all its carbon, iron, nickel, and such would have to have been formed, at very least, after the first stars.
    ---------------
    Respected sir,
    While I of course agree with your conclusions, as they are supported by much other evidence, all the above proves (from where I sit) is that the earth was formed from the remains or ejecta of a second-generation star. Not necessarily OUR star. I can't see how it causally connects the planets with our particular star that we call the Sun. Plus I was under the perhaps-erroneus impression that regular stars formed all of the elements up to iron on the periodic table as they age, but not necessarily on their way to a supernova. Perhaps to a regular nova or red-giant phase? It's been a while...
    I could research this, but more fun to be corrected if I'm wrong. So I'll just throw this out there and see what happens. I dont mind being wrong in the least.

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  125. I was taught that the heavier elements (heavier than iron) were all supernova products.

    But also that everything up to iron could be produced (and invariably was) by normal stellar senescence, well before the supernova (if that is destined to happen to the star due to it's mass) stage.

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  126. Pinglons: An alien race with prominant brow-ridges and a propensity for table tennis.

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  127. As I was TYPING the former about Pinglons, just as I finished it and sent it, on Rachel Maddow (MSNBC) behind me on the TV I hear the phrase "The rise of the Vulcans..."
    Someone apparently wrote a book by that name...

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  128. Another interesting question arises in my mind...

    If the Big bang never produced anything heavier than beryllium (Is that so? I didn't know that...) and if a star going supernova can produce heavier elements than that, doesn't it imply that the explosive force of a "common" supernova is somehow greater than the explosive force of the Big Bang? But how? If everything, all matter and energy in the known universe, the equivalent of countless quintillions of suns or more, all exploded out of a *point-source" or singularity, then the explosive power (and hence the force with which particles are forced together to form heavier and heavier elements) must necessarily have been literally googols of orders of magnitude greater in the Big Bang, no?

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  129. Perhaps the answer lies in the idea of the Big Bang being SO intense an explosion that even atomic particles didn't form until they were so dispersed by the sheer force of it all that by that time the "compression factor" of the explosion could only produce atoms up to beryllium and no further, whilst supernovas already start with elementary particles and then subjected them to the extreme compression of the explosion... But my bullshit meter is going off for that one, for some reason.

    And what, I wonder, gets produced in gamma-ray bursters? Hypernovae, if you will?

    I wonder...

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  130. "is that the earth was formed from the remains or ejecta of a second-generation star. Not necessarily OUR star. I can't see how it causally connects the planets with our particular star that we call the Sun."

    Agreed. I was of two different minds when typing up the two halves of the last post. I think I was trying to imply at first the general fact that "stars come first", but then realized that that doesn't prove that the Sun came first...but left up the slight tangent presented as if it were evidence anyway! My powers for oversights are profound.

    As for nova/supernova: apparently, nova is pretty much just a term for certain small stars and only involves hydrogen. Now I myself was confused about the iron (I always thought that even supernovae couldn't produce anything above it), but apparently iron is the heaviest thing that can be produced by the normal processes of nuclear fusion before supernova, but it can go higher during the supernova process. Learn something new everyday. (I am fairly certain that size factors into whether it is able to pull any of this off, though...but I am too lazy to figure that out right now).

    I really wish my knowledge on this subject wasn't limited to 9th grade science class and wikipedia articles, but there ya go.

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  131. "If the Big bang never produced anything heavier than beryllium (Is that so? I didn't know that...)"

    I didn't either. I am still not sure if that is true either (article was something about "Big Bang nucleosynthesis"). I am not really sure what is going on there, but they said that this process only happened for a few seconds, and since it was mostly incredibly massive propulsion, that makes sense (given that supernovae only create new elements by the increased gravitational forces that progressively increase with its own increasing density preceding explosion, rather than from the explosion itself). What I find interesting is wondering the nature of the matter that "Big Banged", because I think it was distinct from the hydrogen and other atoms that resulted a split second afterward. Proto-hydrogen...Omni-hydrogen...Jesus particles...

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  132. I really wish my knowledge on this subject wasn't limited to 9th grade science class and wikipedia articles, but there ya go.
    ---------------
    You do pretty damned well, considering.

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  133. You know, the interesting thing about science is that the people that don't understand it think that they do, and the people that actually start to understand it and begin to see the sheer SCOPE of it, realize that they'll NEVER really understand even a tiny fraction of it all... But even a tiny fraction is infinitely preferable to complete ignorance of it.

    Even not talking about science, but in general, it seems that the beginning of real knowledge is realizing how ignorant we are.

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  134. "Even not talking about science, but in general, it seems that the beginning of real knowledge is realizing how ignorant we are."- SBG

    Thank-you Sir. I believe I am "beginning" ;-)

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  135. I am sadly ignorant of the extent of my ignorance. I know that I don't know, I just don't know what I don't know. Heh. Wonder how much of that sounds like gibberish...

    Anyway, scrolling down the page, I saw the phrase "swallow whole" and then "cud" and my mind started wondering before I realized that it was a "d" and...well...it was a pretty funny split second or so.

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  136. One of the best books I've read about the origins and evolution of the universe is "A Brief History of Time" by Stephen Hawking. It was written for laymen-- no equations beyond E=mc^2, and written in plain English.

    Seems I remember that the energy density of the early universe is thought to have been such that the lighter elements wouldn't have formed until about 100,000 years after the initial event, as the universe before that was still too hot for matter to condense. Remember that E=mc^2 is an expression of the equivalence of mar=tter and energy.

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  137. Hey Bri,

    On another topic, I'm reading a little about Locke.

    I'd always thought that Jefferson's tendencies toward separation of church and state had come from his own musings on the matter. But it seems Locke wrote something called "A Letter Concerning Toleration" which is basically all about separation of church and state. I thought you'd like this.

    "It is not the diversity of Opinions, (which cannot be avoided) but the refusal of Toleration to those that are of different Opinions, (which might have been granted) that has produced all the Bustles and Wars, that have been in the Christian World, upon account of Religion."
    -John Locke

    Wise words huh? And from a fellow theist. Must be a heretic.

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  138. Not all theists are idiots, you being evidence of said fact, Oneblood.

    You and I both know the ones. The Pharisees.

    And we also both know also that if you go back over a hundred years or so, ALL the people were pretty much theists, or proclaimed themselves as such even if they secretly weren't, since they had little choice. Even the really brilliant ones claimed fealty to the Church. Newton, for example. But his pursuit of Alchemy belies his faith.

    Also, faith doesn't preclude intellect, unless said faith is inflexible and doesn't admit new data into the picture.

    The way that I see faith is that it's okay to have faith that there's "something out there," but to have faith that you know what that something is, is bordering on the presumptuous.

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  139. I probably mention my theism too much. I think I use it as a qualifier, but it ends up sounding like schtick.

    Your point about everybody being theist back then is well taken, I'm glad you mentioned it. Like some of the poor Jews during the Inquisition, "Of course we love Jesus!"

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  140. Oneblood, I like you mentioning your theism. Not a problem here.

    You're not a hypocrite about it. And that's all I care about.

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  141. Just a thought: Anybody ever meet a hypocritical atheist?

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  142. A hypocritical atheist? No...but then again, it's not like I was actively searching for a contradiction between what they say and do either. I am sure that there are some unreasonable people calling for others to be reasonable, and some intolerant people asking for others to be tolerant somewhere out there that are also atheists. But, the worst atheists I have seen are just rabid morons, rather than actually being guilty of any hypocrisy that I could really point out. (In fairness, these are atheists I found in the religion section of Yahoo! Answers, where "rabid moron" is par for the course...)

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  143. "But, the worst atheists I have seen are just rabid morons..."

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

    That reminds me. Do any of you see old Willy Hays posting anywhere? Or was his vitriol simply limited to Internet screaming on D'Souza's blog?

    I miss Willy, what a pitbull.

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  144. Holy Lepus Mastication Batman! Rabbit ruminations. - just kill me now please and get it over with. Kind of reminds me of the old debates as to how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. I can't help but wonder when I read literalist explanations like the one you shared with us, how much real work could get done in the world if that degree of effort were applied to an actual problem.

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  145. I so agree with that, Pliny...

    All that wasted energy.

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  146. I never see william hays anymore. I've seen Clif Kulpen around though, and talked to him. He always said that he'd stop by here sometime, but he never did. Too bad. Kinda miss him.

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  147. I'm trying to imagine what a hypocritical atheist might be.

    Someone who says, "Do what I say, "Don't believe in gods!", not what I do! (runs off to church to pray!)

    Or are atheists 'supposed to be' communists(which is 'understood' to be totalitarian) and sociopaths now?

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  148. A hypocritical atheist?

    Easy.

    "I'm an atheist because I only believe what can be proven."

    "No one can deny that the Bible is immoral; don't you know that there are no objective moral standards?"

    "Christianity is to blame for the Crudases, but atheism had nothing at all to do with communism!"

    "You Christians must have rational grounds for your beliefs if you wish to avoid the charge of irrationality; when Christians provide rational grounds for their beliefs, they're just obfuscating."

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  149. "I'm an atheist because I only believe what can be proven."

    "No one can deny that the Bible is immoral; don't you know that there are no objective moral standards?"

    -Not in NATURE as in the lower orders. However, HOPEFULLY we as humans develop them based on LOGIC, as in basing them on what HURTS people rather than what offends their belief system. Period. There is logically no better way to do it, and you love logic, so there. That you even defend your side's morality when it's plainly and evidently a laughing stock for very good reasons, I have to wonder though. No offense intended.


    "Christianity is to blame for the Crudases, but atheism had nothing at all to do with communism!"

    -Communism may have been practiced by atheists, but the causal connection is pretty thin when compared to the direct connection with Christianity and *it's* Crusades, witch hunts, persecutions of other Christians (Knights Templar, Gnostics, etc.) and various other ignorant self-centered atrocities over a couple of millenia or so. And all the LIES for God...

    Christianity invented the Iron Maiden and the Rack and many other insanely creative torture implements for their sadistic pleasure. Inquisitors routinely mutilated the genitals and breasts of the women for obviously fucked-up reasons. Sadism was their turn-on now. Christians lived more by the moral code of the "Saw" movies than their Holy Book. Of course, if you wanted to go back further to the O.T. then we have Leviticus and having your own son stoned to death (bet that hurts a lot!) for the equivalent of bad manners.

    Others might have found OTHER moral codes that were horrific and evil (evil in the sense of HARMING OTHERS,) but Christianity was the most creatively perverse. All the early popes were horrific pederasts or murderers or both or both and a few other things. You should be proud of your religion; they're the very best of the best.


    "You Christians must have rational grounds for your beliefs if you wish to avoid the charge of irrationality; when Christians provide rational grounds for their beliefs, they're just obfuscating."

    -This ine is easy. Your rationality is flawed when examined from a laterally-thinking perspective.

    I think laterally, and I'm no genius here. It's more intuitive than logical, involving of course too many variables to process all together even to yourself, however still developing an awareness of the whole picture. If you pay attention to variables well, you get a very accurate overall picture. So you have no chance since your techniques are designed to fool those that cannot think laterally. Sorry. It happens. No lie can be perfect. It just has to be perfect enough to fool the rubes. I'm just not a rube anymore.

    ***

    Sorry for the intensity here, but I watched the whole Limbaugh speech today and for the first time I truly realized just how deeply, darkly evil your chosen side is. It's becoming harder to respect you for taking that side, as much as I at the same time marvel (and learn from) your eloquence and knowledge.

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  150. "I'm an atheist because I only believe what can be proven."
    --------------
    Oops, missed answering that first one...

    No, I'm an atheist because I'm rational. Part of being rational, to me, is not to ever wholly *believe* in *anything* because of the simple fact (apparent to all not blinded by belief) that beliefs themselves are by their very nature totally illogical. Since they're where YOU start from as the foundation and *only* then do you build upon that cracked and crumbling base a magnificent edifice of well-spun thoughts, they thus constitute the glaring fundamental flaw in all your apologies.

    I do have thoughts, though. (they, unlike beliefs, can be updated as more data becomes revealed)
    Some I'm fairly sure about, but absolutely none are at 100%, not even the NON-existance of your tribal bronze-age god Yaweh. Try it sometime. Thoughts instead of beliefs. Very liberating.

    (That Yaweh one's at 99.999995734 right now and still rising asymptotically though)

    Beliefs are terrible things, since they're very often wrong, and even when they're right the world goes and changes on them and they never, ever adjust to that cold, hard fact.

    ***

    I'm doing the next post on the Limbaugh speech, er, atrocity at the CPAC yesterday... Hope you stop by. It's always interesting to talk to "the adversary."

    And sometimes I wonder if you not that in the "Revelations sense" as well... lol. You little devil you.

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  151. Has anyone suffered from the flu that's going around? At least around RI? I'll describe it for you.

    In the last four days I lost about seven pounds. All torpedo tubes blowing at once. Severe dehydration leading to severe cramping. Throbbing kidney pains that make you gasp. Severe charly horses everywhere, especially when trying to sleep; both legs and ankles, toes, even the middle finger of my left hand. I literally had to use my right hand to straighten it out... I really needed an IV I think but I was determined to drink a whole glass of water between hurlings, etc. only because I was so dangerously dehydrated that I was less caring about even the puking and "etc." than from more serious damage at that point. And I'm forty-eight, no spring chicken but hardly senescent and in fairly good shape. At my last physical I had textbook blood pressure and a heartbeat of sixty. And now I know what it feels like to be ninety-five. On a bad day.

    I've never been that sick in my life. And I know that for a fact.

    Hope your respective areas don't get it. Everyone in my family was very ill from it, my stepson very nearly as bad as I was. And it's everywhere around here.

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  152. I'm still amazed by that flu. My legs and ankles and feet charly-horsed (can that even be a verb?) so badly that I can tell that the muscles are slightly torn (having done a lot of overstretching in karate class;) it's like tiny pulled hamstrings all throughout my legs. Still like that, and I'm over the flu now. I'd get them constantly, almost incessantly at one point, everywhere at once for hours. The pain was quite interesting, really. It was actually so horrible an experience overall (especially one moment in particular that was too gross to really relay in any form) that it's very, very funny to me now. (but it wasn't at the time)

    I just can't effin' believe that I just experienced that! It was like a caprophile's dark comedy, not a real sickness.


    Pboy, I would have made the two girls jealous.
    And I'm still mad at you for ever showing me that, lol.

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