The top 10 signs that you don’t understand evolution at all

Evolution can be confusing...especially if you make no effort to really understand it.

Evolution can be confusing...especially if you make no effort to really understand it.

According to the most recent Gallup poll of Americans’ views on evolution, almost half of all respondents rejected the mainstream view of human origins. The number — 46 percent — has not changed meaningfully in more than two decades.

It’s anyone’s guess as to why that is. But to understand my theory, I offer an analogy, which actually involves individuals from the opposite side of the fence.

When I’m talking with atheists or agnostics who are passionately against any and all religion, I sometimes find that they have inaccurate (or just plain wrong) ideas about the teachings of the Bible, the nature of the Christian faith and the qualities of the God I believe in. In other words, some of those whom I’ve encountered have a poor understanding of the very thing they think they oppose.

And I’ve found that the same is often true of anti-evolutionists — in my experience, anyway.

So, as a free public service to my friends who think evolution should be spelled “evilution,” I offer the following Top 10 Signs That You Don’t Understand Evolution At All.

1. You think “it hasn’t been observed” is a good argument against it.

Popularized most recently by Ray Comfort’s mind-bendingly bad, gospel-poisoning movie, “Evolution vs. God,” this claim generally betrays not only a misunderstanding of evolution, but science in general. If the idea (that “scientific evidence must be both observable and repeatable”) were carried to its logical conclusion, it would cripple not only the study of evolution, but every line of historical inquiry. We would, in fact, be prohibited from exploring most matters that cannot be brought inside or recreated within a laboratory, whether they be large (the composition and origin of stars, for example) or small (like the forensic recreation of a crime scene).

Making viable conclusions based on inferences from the available evidence is not at all unscientific, and it is this reasoning that has compelled us toward the theory of evolution. Interestingly, evolution is observable and repeatable in the sense that scientists can make and test predictions of the theory, and this is exactly what they have been doing for more than a century. For example, the theory of evolution predicts that large-scale changes, like those that turned fishy ancestors into land-treading mammals, take many millions of years, so the fact that we haven’t observed anything like that since Darwin is a confirmation of his idea. If the fossil record, genetic evidence, laboratory experiments and more had not borne out this and other predictions, it would have immediately required modifications to the theory, and may have falsified it altogether.

This, of course, is the defining characteristic of science: Not that is observable and repeatable, but that it is testable and falsifiable. There is very little that fit the former criteria, but evolution absolutely fits the latter. As a side note, I do get a chuckle from YECs who claim evolution isn’t scientific because it isn’t observable or repeatable. Because, if anything is not observable or repeatable, it’s creationism. Therefore, their beliefs, too, are invalidated by their own argument.

2. You think we’ve never found a transitional fossil.

This claim is demonstrably false, and its use by those who claim to serve the Lord through whom came grace and truth is reprehensible. Strong language, I know, but Christians are explicitly commanded not to lie to each other, so this is inexcusable. We have found fossil series that clearly illustrate the transitions of dozens of major features in various lines. We have found “fishapods” and “frogamanders” and walking whales and feathered dinosaurs and half-shelled turtles. We have often and repeatedly found exactly what the theory of evolution predicted we would find, in the time period in which the theory predicted we would find it.

3. You think macroevolution is an inherently different process than microevolution.

At its core, “macroevolution” is simply the steady accumulation of the small changes we observe in “microevolution.” It seems any sane person must admit that, if small changes can occur, then it is logically consistent that small changes adding up over extremely long periods of time would result in very large changes. On the other hand, the creationist assertion that there is some mysterious, invisible barrier within “kinds” that prevents large-scale changes is as logically consistent as saying you can walk from your front door to the sidewalk, but walking to your friend’s house across town is fundamentally impossible.

4. You think mutations are always negative.

This is another one of those incredibly common and completely untrue statements that nothing more than a few minutes’ research on the Internet could have corrected. The truth is that mutations in nature are usually neutral — i.e., they have no effect on the gene or resulting protein. Of course, whether a mutation has a positive or negative effect — or no effect at all — is often dependent on environmental factors (for example, sickle cell anemia is a genetic disease, but it also protects against malaria — making it either a defect or a survival mechanism depending on one’s environment). Mutations that are inherently harmful are very rare. A 2000 study in Genetics showed that on average, out of 175 mutations in humans, only three are deleterious. And purely beneficial mutations have been observed, even in humans. Just ask the handful of villagers at Limone sul Garda, Italy, who possess a rare protein mutation that shields them from cardiovascular disease. I doubt they’re complaining.

5. You think it has anything to do with the origin of life, let alone the origins of the universe.

This is like the king of all straw men, and it’s extremely common. It involves something like the thoroughly debunked theory of spontaneous generation (the idea that life can come from non-life under normal circumstances) being used as evidence against the theory of evolution. Hear me on this, guys: Evolution has nothing to do with the origin of life. The theory of evolution presumes the existence of life, and it is a useless concept in the absence of life. And, as such, scientists’ current confusion over how life started has no impact whatsoever on the validity of the theory of evolution. In the same way, Newtonian physics presumes the existence of the universe; Newton did not have to explain how the universe came to be in order to understand how it operates now. Evolution is no different.

I’ve even seen people use things like stars and planets, or the supposed implausibility of the Big Bang theory (the cosmological model, not the show), to try and cast aspersions on the prevailing theory of how biological organisms on earth have come to look the way they do. These attempts are so nonsensical that I hope I don’t really need to address them here.

6. You use the phrase “it’s only a theory” and think you’ve made some kind of substantive statement.

I think the “only a theory” argument is so popular because of the unfortunate disparity between the common definition of “theory” in American pop culture, and the working definition of the word in science. In popular usage, “theory” means a “hunch” or a “guess” — and it’s the opposite of a “fact.” It’s conjecture, a shot in the dark that has just as much chance (and probably even more so) of being wrong as it has of being right.

In science, this definition is far more consistent with a “hypothesis” than a theory. Hypotheses are guesses; they are subject to experimentation, and they have no hope of progressing beyond the hypothesis “stage,” unless they are supported by experimentation. Theories are hypotheses that have “graduated”; they are comprehensive explanations of the available hard evidence. Scientific theories are not the opposite of facts; they are actually superior to facts in the hierarchy of terms because they explain facts. And while it is true that scientific theories can never really be “proven,” they can be confirmed through prediction, testing, experimentation and observation — which is exactly what has happened to evolution for the past 150 years.

Consider gravity. What is it? We don’t know. It is a theory, created to explain facts like “When I drop something, it falls down.” Gravity is, in fact, “only a theory,” just like evolution. But that doesn’t seem to make people any less nervous around heights.

7. You think acceptance of evolution is the same as religious faith.

Another one that you may have heard from our friend, Banana Ray. In his film “EvG” (which is subtitled, “Shaking the Foundations of Faith”), he underscores this supposed parallel by asking his victims — oh, I mean, “interview subjects” — ridiculous questions like “Are you a strong believer in evolution?” and “When did you first start believing in evolution?” His point, as he goes on to explain, is that anyone who accepts the truth of evolution based on the testimony of expert scientists is relying on “blind faith” in the same way atheists accuse religious people of doing.

“Blind faith” does indeed have pejorative connotations in secular usage, but RayCo lends credence to these undertones in a way that no True Christian™ should. That’s because the Bible talks about “blind” religious faith, and its description is anything but negative. In John 20:29, Jesus declares that those who “believe without seeing” are “blessed” (contrasting them with “doubting” Thomas, who asked for proof), and 1 Peter 8-9 warmly declares that those who have not and do not see Christ nonetheless are “filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.”

So, ironically, if RayCo really understood scripture he would realize that he was actually giving his victims — er, “interview subjects” — a compliment when he accused them of having “blind faith.” But I reject his assertion that the trust college students place in their experienced professors and peer-reviewed textbooks is in any way comparable to the glorious, joy-bringing, life-saving faith that the Bible describes.

Don’t misunderstand me. I’m a big supporter of critical thought — and of an engaged populace that rationally considers the information it receives before accepting it. But there are far worse people one could open one’s mind to than those who are sharing their expertise within the fields they have risen to the top of — especially when their conclusions are based on mountains of hard evidence that are available to anyone who doesn’t willfully choose to ignore it. The scientific community is extremely competitive, but it is also inherently open and transparent — and the modern comforts and advances you enjoy every day are proof that their methods work.

8. You think our modern understanding of it rests on a long series of hoaxes perpetuated by scientists.

Affirmed by the likes of everyone’s favorite nut-job conspiracy theorist meets cartoonist, Jack Chick, this idea is alive and well in evangelical culture. And why shouldn’t it be? Repeatedly assured by young-earth creationist groups that there is “absolutely no evidence for evolution,” what else would explain the theory’s unshakable dominance in the scientific community, courts and public schools besides a vast atheist conspiracy? And so, young-earthers on the Internet commonly parrot blatant falsehoods like “Archaeopteryx was a hoax” (they’re actually thinking of this; we have more than a dozen verified specimens of Archaeopteryx) and “Java Man and Peking Man were frauds” (not actually true; probably because of Piltdown Man, creationists seem to believe that any fossil with the word “man” in its name was a hoax).

The truth is that we have found fossilized remains of many of the links along our most recent evolutionary heritage, and anyone who thinks we haven’t is simply wrong. But what I find most interesting thing in the cases of Archaeoraptor, Piltdown Man and Nebraska Man (an accidental misclassification rather than a deliberate hoax), it was scientists — not skeptical creationists — that brought the truth to light. That alone should be enough to sink this conspiracy theory nonsense. Why would the very people who are supposed to be perpetuating a hoax be solely responsible for debunking evidence that would otherwise support their hoax?

They answer is obvious: They wouldn’t.

9. You don’t like Pokémon because you think it “promotes” evolution.

I haven’t encountered this sentiment in my dealings on this site, thankfully, but I was reminded of this “controversy” after the recent release of the latest entries in the Pokémon franchise, which I think are called Pokémon Yin and Yang, or Pokémon Peanut Butter and Jelly, or Pokémon Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus. Something like that.

Here is what the Pokémon version of evolution has in common with the theory of biological evolution as we understand it. No. 1: They’re both called “evolution.” No. 2: That’s it. In the game, Pokémon “evolve” into completely different creatures when they reach a certain level, or walk a certain number of steps, or are exposed to a “moon stone” and similar malarkey. In real life, species “evolve” when inheritable characteristics change over time and are passed onto successive generations.

Plain and simple: If a silly game causes you psychological discomfort just because it uses the word “evolution,” then it would seem you have problems I’m not trained or licensed to help you out with.

10. You think it’s inherently opposed to Christianity or the Bible.

Evolution, as defined by Helena Curtis and N. Sue Barnes in their textbook, “Biology,” is “any change in the frequency of alleles within a gene pool from one generation to the next.” It is beyond me how accepting this fact of science could possibly undermine one’s faith in Jesus — from whom originated all things which science is capable of exploring.

Christ is before all things, and in him all things hold together. Therefore, if evolution is true — as everything we know about biology, and a number of overlapping fields of inquiry indicate — then it is incapable of conflicting with the God-breathed truth of sacred scripture. If there appears to be a disagreement between the two, then the interpretation of the passage in question must be incorrect. For the Bible-believing Christian, there is no other option.

Thank you for reading this unusually lengthy post! Hey, you made it this far, so why not take another moment and connect with us via Facebook and Twitter? Thanks!

Tyler Francke is founder of God of Evolution and author of Reoriented. He can be reached at tyler@godofevolution.com.

Category: Current Events, Latest Developments, Science, Theology

  • PeterandEmily Fitzgerald

    “Therefore, if evolution is true — as everything we know about biology, and a number of overlapping fields of inquiry indicate — then it is incapable of conflicting with the God-breathed truth of sacred scripture. If there appears to be a disagreement between the two, then the interpretation of the passage in question must be incorrect. For the Bible-believing Christian, there is no other option.”

    You started this with an if-then statement and ended with an absolute. IF evolution were true then an apparent disagreement would have to be an incorrect interpretation, but if it is not then such an interpretation would not be wrong. The final sentence should not be an absolute. Making it an absolute makes those who do not agree with evolution and do find the Bible in disagreement appear foolish, when in all possibility they could be correct in finding a disagreement.

    • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

      You are right: The concluding statements are dependent on the proposition that the theory of evolution is correct — which is what all the available evidence strongly indicates.

      • PeterandEmily Fitzgerald

        Although some may feel that’s what the findings indicate it doesn’t mean such an interpretation of the Bible is definitely wrong, but that is what your final sentence indicates. It’s not helpful for maintaining a fair discussion which I believe is part of the purpose of this article, right, to weed out some unfair and useless arguments?

        • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

          I cannot agree with your premise you appear to be setting forth in your previous post. By saying “Although some may feel that’s what the findings indicate…” you seem to be expressing an incorrect view of how the scientific process works.

          Science does not operate in the realm of opinion and feelings. It is not a democracy or a tolerant society, where any view is permitted “just because.” If a hypothesis doesn’t match the evidence or experimental results, it doesn’t get a gold star for participation — it gets tossed out. In science, everyone has access to the same evidence, and the explanations and conclusions that make the best sense of that evidence are accepted, until new evidence or information comes to light, or until/unless a better explanation is developed.

          It is an objective fact that both special creationism and intelligent design FAIL to make better sense of the available evidence than biological evolution. If they did not, they would not have been rejected by 99.9 percent of scientists in the relevant fields, as well as every impartial court of law that has examined them in the past century. Not that one has to take the experts’ words for it. Like I said in the article, the evidence is out there and available to anyone who chooses not to willfully ignore it.

          That is the position I write from for this website, and that is the basis of my closing paragraph that you have taken issue with. Like the 99.9 percent of scientists in the relevant fields and our court system, I see absolutely no reason that evolution and special creationism be viewed as being on equal footing scientifically. And I’m sorry that you disagree, but I’m not going to pretend otherwise.

          • PeterandEmily Fitzgerald

            I am very far from a stranger to the scientific process. It does not matter if you think you have the only possible answer there are in fact still different views. I’m simply saying because there are different views you might want to re-think accusing your brothers and sisters in Christ of being foolish with their Biblical interpretations. The only thing that can stand against someone’s interpretation of the Bible is the Bible itself. When dealing with false interpretations one must show substantial evidence in the Bible why a passage is being misinterpreted. Scientific evidence would suggest many things in the Bible must be untrue but I suspect you believe them anyway. It’s not helpful to anyone or anything to challenge someone’s Bible based beliefs unless you feel the Bible shows more evidence against that belief than for. Evolution is just not one of those things. You know what it’s like to believe something in the Bible science tells you can’t be true, why do you as a believer need to worsen that issue?

          • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

            I have written a number of articles about what I believe to be the biblical shortcomings and failings of the young-earth creationist exegesis. Here’s just one example.

            As to your other point, I completely disagree. I don’t believe science is at all in conflict with scripture. The Bible and creation are both books written by God. They have the same author, and he is incapable of lying. If you’re referring to miracles, that is something entirely different.

            Miracles are rare examples in which God broke the laws of how nature normally operates — always for a specific purpose. This would not be an example of science conflicting with scripture, unless we had some evidence tied to that specific miracle, which we could scientifically test. For example, if we had the body of Jesus, and could somehow scientifically verify that it was the body of Jesus, then that would conflict with the Bible’s teachings about the Resurrection and the Ascension. But if the only scientific evidence you have to refute the Resurrection is that, under normal circumstances, bodies do not rise from the dead, that fact is not being disputed by me or by the Bible. We agree with that — that’s why the Resurrection of Jesus is considered a miracle.

            In this way, God’s work in creation is different than his work in the Resurrection, because we do possess a record which we can explore scientifically, namely, creation itself. And we see that the evidence in creation does not in any way match up with the claims of young-earth creationism, which leads me to believe that the biblical interpretation underlying young-earth creationism is incorrect.

          • PeterandEmily Fitzgerald

            I was referring to miracles. Non-believers will use science to break apart miracles. You know what that can be like. It’s the same thing trying to use science to say a miracle someone believes in, even if you don’t, must not have happened and they must be reading the Bible wrong. I don’t need science to ever back up Creation, maybe it was a miracle and just like other miracles science will never be on the same side. I do however think research does not completely disagree with Creation and I came to this conclusion having studied a lot of Biology from evolutionist teachers and textbooks. I have actually spent very little time studying things like Answers in Genesis. My views against evolution come from the side of evolution so please don’t think I just don’t know enough about it. This isn’t about that at all and I present my educational background so that assumption won’t be in the way. Whether I think science backs up Creation and whether you think science backs up evolution is not what matters. What matters is you can’t use science to disprove the Bible. Science is ever changing and the Bible will always be the same, so there will always be disagreements. If science doesn’t agree with Creation that is okay, it doesn’t mean someone must be interpreting the Bible wrong; only the Bible can show that to be true. How can something constantly changing ever completely agree with the only never changing thing? If Creation continues to loose out to science and we have to add it to the list of miracles science will never agree with then fine, it still doesn’t mean there must be an incorrect interpretation of the Bible. Unless the Bible can show why hands down an interpretation is wrong, that is, unless the Word of God, the only thing we know to be entirely true, you shouldn’t accuse a brother or sister of that. It is a tough and hurtful thing. We are called to show grace and truth. Truth is sometimes harsh but if you can’t show truth with the only thing in the world that is pure truth, then show grace and leave the hurt and harsh behind. No matter what we have found on earth to be positively true (laws of physics, discoveries, etc…) some new positively true discovery can be made at anytime changing everything. There are things in Revelation that suggest the possibility of things on earth will get very weird and possibly unexplainable. The only thing that will always be true is the Word of God.

          • ha. haha…

            I feel like I’m watching two homeless crackheads argue over what color hat a unicorn is wearing.

          • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

            That’s a strange thing for you to imagine. Wouldn’t the unicorn’s horn get in the way of its hat? Or is a big, Abraham Lincoln-style top hat that your hypothetical homeless crackheads are envisioning?

          • L.W.

            Ha. Haha

            Actually, Christianity is slightly more asinine than hat-wearing unicorns.

          • Guest

            Tyler:

          • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

            Yeah, this all sounds good, but you don’t apply this principle consistently throughout scripture; no one does. If you were really consistent with “never allowing science to disprove the Bible,” then you wouldn’t believe the earth rotates or revolves around the sun. Instead, you would affirm that the earth does not move (like the Bible says in, e.g., 1 Chronicles 16:30, Psalm 93:1 and Psalm 96:10) and the sun does (again, as scripture teaches: Joshua 10:12-13, Habakkuk 3:11 and Ecclesiastes 1:5). You would reject the heliocentric cosmological model as surely as the Galilean contemporary Cardinal Bellarmine did, who said, “To assert that the earth revolves around the sun is as erroneous as to claim that Jesus was not born of a virgin.”

            Today, we read these passages in 1 Chronicles and Joshua and Habbakkuk and Ecclesiastes and Psalms and understand that the authors are using figurative language. But it is only because of science that we read the passages that way. Before Copernicus and Galileo proved that the earth revolves around the sun, those passages were widely interpreted literally, and if we didn’t know better (thanks to our scientific knowledge of the created cosmos), they still would be today.

            Do you believe the mustard seed is the smallest of all seeds on the earth? Modern science has revealed to us that it is not; orchid seeds are smaller. But Jesus said the mustard seed was the smallest (Mark 4:30-32). Do you think the scientists are wrong, or can you accept the fact that Jesus obviously had no problem accommodating his listeners’ inaccurate understanding of the world around them in order to convey a deeper truth?

            What about wheat kernels? Do you think they must die before they take root? Of course you don’t. Modern botany assures us that dead seeds don’t grow. But Jesus’ ancient listeners believed that they did (probably based on the fact that wheat kernels’ outer shell rots away before germination), and he affirmed this incorrect precept in John 12:23-24.

            The Bible reflects an ancient understanding of science and the universe. That’s why it describes the earth as flat and the sky as a hard firmament. That’s why it calls tornadoes the “finger of God” and describes precipitation like rain, snow and hail as being kept in heavenly storehouses by God. That’s why it describes people as thinking with their hearts. I seriously doubt that you accept the plain meaning of any of these passages, because your educational background has taught you otherwise. But the original pre-scientific audiences most certainly would have read them literally, because that is how they thought things operated.

          • PeterandEmily Fitzgerald

            Those things come from tiny parts in larger passages. They are brief mentions and don’t go into any detail. You’re talking about entire detailed chapters in which the details are supposed to mean something with different details. We’re getting off my main purpose now. I didn’t want to get into that kind of debate, just purely that the last sentence should be rethought. I gave my reasons.

          • L.W.

            The and creation are both written by God!!?

            Good grief!!!!! Are you really Kirk Cameron in disguise, and without a silly 1980′s sitcom!!!

          • L.W.

            The above should say the bible and creation. I’m trying to watch the Saints game and respond to Christian nonsense at the same time.

          • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

            How magnanimous of you. The greatness of your charity is matched only by the depths of your wisdom. We’d be lost without you.

          • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

            No, I’m not. But thanks for asking.

  • Dave

    #1: You deny it

  • ShortLong

    Just a quick note, gravity is a law, as in Newton’s Universal Law of Gravitation, not a theory.

    • micktravis

      Gravity is a thing. The laws of gravity explain what it does. And Einstein’s theory explains how it works.

      • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

        Yes, this is what I meant. Newton’s law of universal gravitation simply says that gravity works. It doesn’t explain how it works. That’s where the “theory” of gravity/gravitation comes in.

        • beanyk

          No, Newton’s Law of Gravitation explains *how* gravity works to the same extent as Einstein’s Law of Gravitation (General Relativity); the latter just does a better job. Newton’s Law of Gravitation is, in fact, a theory. It doesn’t just say that things fall, or quantify the way they fall; it actually gives an explanation (force = G*M1*M2/r12^2) that allows for further predictions.

    • Kevin

      Fact – A discreet observable value or true statement. Law – A verifiable and observed behavior that is consistent, and describes some aspect of the world. f=ma, e=mc^2, things drop at a particular speed when I let go, If I push on something it pushes back, etc.

      A theory is a collection of facts and laws used to make predictions about as yet unobserved behaviors. In this way, there are hypothesis, facts, and laws concerning gravity that all fall with the Theory of Gravity and shape it as new information is added or old discarded.

  • CarolPeterman

    Great post. There is a Coursera class that I think you and your readers would love, Introduction to Genetics and Evolution. It’s taught by Professor Mohamed Noor at Duke University who is a spectacular instructor. A new session of the course starts Jan 3rd, and it’s free. I think you’d particularly appreciate how he handles the issue of evolution and religion. https://www.coursera.org/course/geneticsevolution

    • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

      Thanks for the link! I will check it out.

  • Bryan Richards

    Well I think the fundamentalists do understand one thing better, that with a literal interpretation and evolution in the mix some very foundational tenets are undermined.

    • Samuel Kimathi Muriithi

      This is why I tend to respect the fundamentalist stand on evolution being wrong because they seem to admit something the moderates are trying to sweep under the rug so that they can have their cake and eat it too. If evolution is what happened and continues to happen then your brain needs to learn some serious gymnastics for you to hold the position that there is no inherent conflict with the bible.

      • Sturgeon

        I don’t see how the classical fundamentalist theology is any more internally consistent. There’s plenty of stuff, and not just in the old testament, that they sweep under the rug as well. Everybody interprets the Bible. Attempting to take as much as possible literally and at face value, is itself an interpretation of the Bible.

        Some people even go so far as to argue that the Earth is flat and the center of the universe, based on verses referencing the corners of the earth, spread out like a tent, Joshua making the Sun stand still, etc. Interestingly most YECs have no problem relegating those verses to the “metaphor” category.

    • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

      Except that people largely disagree on what’s “foundational” and what isn’t. In my view, the foundation of Christianity is the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, which is not affected in the slightest by the theory of evolution. What “very foundational tenets” of my faith do you think are undermined by my acceptance of evolution and rejection of the literal reading of Genesis 1-3?

  • Samuel Kimathi Muriithi

    I still think accepting evolution and jesus is the son of an omnicient god and he literally walked on water is a severe case of cognitive dissonance.

    • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

      Why? What does the scientific theory of evolution have to do with the question of whether God, if he exists, is capable of performing miracles?

      • Joe Walsh

        Simply that “miracles” violate the laws of physics while evolution is one aspect of biological life that cannot exist without stable physical laws. otherwise, water might turn acidic and light may gain measurable mass.

        • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

          The laws of nature are stable and reliable. The doctrine of miracles doesn’t suggest that they aren’t, merely that the God who set up the laws of nature may intervene in them should he choose to do so. The biblical stories of miracles teach that God can do miracles, not that anyone can do miracles, or that they can happen on their own for no particular reason.

          • Joe Walsh

            If anything is capable of violating the laws of physics, even a supposed creator-god, then they are not stable.

          • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

            I disagree with you. The doctrine of miracles is fully in agreement that the laws of nature are stable, meaning they cannot be broken by the things they bind: matter and energy, and everything else that is a part of this universe. However, if you acknowledge a being that created the universe, then why would anyone supposed that he would be bound by the laws he created? He is not a part of the universe as you and I are.

            At any rate, there is absolutely nothing within Christian theology, the doctrine of miracles or the Bible that would suggest that, on their own, “water might turn acidic and light may gain measurable mass,” as you suggested in your original post. The Bible would suggest that God could do these things if he chose and had a reason for it, but there’s nothing that would indicate these things could happen without direct divine intervention.

          • L.W.

            Tyler said “he is not part of the universe as you and I are”

            Good grief!!!!! What is your evidence to support such an asinine statement?

            Hoe do you ‘know’ that ‘God’ isn’t subject to the same laws that we are?

            While I appreciate your articulate defense of evolution, when you discuss Christianity you sound every bit as absurd and ridiculous as Ray Comfort, whom you criticize.

          • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

            What is your evidence to support such an asinine statement?

            Hoe do you ‘know’ that ‘God’ isn’t subject to the same laws that we are?

            It’s simple logic. If you believe in a being that created the universe, then the being obviously existed before the universe and therefore wouldn’t be part of it. If the being is not part of the universe, then it wouldn’t be subject to the same laws that bind things that are part of the universe.

          • Russell Linton

            This sounds like the basis for an argument to deny evolution, frankly. In fact this gives any believer carte blanche to think what they will about science and pretty much negates your work above. Positing the existence of an omniscient being outside the laws of physics means you can cherry pick which physical laws your deity wants to ignore or violate. Why wouldn’t evolution be one of those?

          • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

            Not really, since the world and everything in it is full of positive evidence of our evolutionary past. As I tell other believers frequently, in light of the evidence there are really only two options: Evolution happened, or God really wanted to make us think that it did.

          • Russell Linton

            You are ignoring the other option of the “God is outside physical laws” argument – you are wrong. Evolution did not happen, the bible, written by omnipotent “outside physical laws God” says people were made of mud, the earth in seven days, etc. The fossils and other evidence you claim are fabricated by godless scientists who don’t get that God can do whatever he wants and doesn’t play by their rules..

            IMO the safest thing is to admit God is a matter of faith and completely remove it from scientific discussion. Rationalizing the idea as you are doing is a recipe for the misunderstanding and abuse you seem prone to thwart.

            If you believe in God, great, it’s a matter of faith, it’s unassailable, end of story. Trying to describe him/her/it in relation to physical things doesn’t work. That’s the whole point. It’s the whole reason why this debate is silly and why I think “Creation” Scientists are perhaps the most faith-starved people I can imagine. They are actively seeking evidence to prove their God exists, even fabricating said evidence. Pathetic. Believe or not, its a personal choice IMO.

          • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

            You are ignoring the other option of the “God is outside physical laws” argument – you are wrong. Evolution did not happen, the bible, written by omnipotent “outside physical laws God” says people were made of mud, the earth in seven days, etc. The fossils and other evidence you claim are fabricated by godless scientists who don’t get that God can do whatever he wants and doesn’t play by their rules..

            Yes, I suppose it’s technically an “option,” and I must admit I have talked to some people who seem to hold some variant of this perspective, but the conspiracy theory mindset is just way too much nonsense for me to ever treat it as a legitimate view of reality. The idea that millions of “atheistic” scientists (even though approximately half recognize some form of a higher power), working in countries all over the world for the past 200 years, have, for some reason, sold their lives and integrity to perpetuate a manufactured falsehood that doesn’t even rule out the possible existence of God…. It just boggles my mind.

            Thanks for your other thoughts. They are appreciated.

          • Syn Holliday

            Or maybe there was a creator before God, a creator who created God. Maybe there was more than one creator. “In the beginning, the gods created the heavens and the earth.”

          • http://www.philrmusic.com/ Phil R

            While I support the assertion that God is not part of the Universe, I find the search for logical reasons for God’s existence or non-existence preposterous and somewhat counter-productive. However, something that challenges me as a software engineer is the relationship between a programmer and a software program. Say you create a program to do a task X in a time t that you could never complete in that time-span t. The program does X successfully. You’ve defined the bounds and algorithm for that program. You’ve defined X. Can that program prove your existence? Is that program greater than the programmer? Can you conceive a way to write or modify a computer program existing in a computational sub-world that can prove the existence of its programmer to other programs in that sub-world? Now I don’t want to claim that “we are like programs” or we are constrained to a predestined path, I just want us to think about the relationship between the created and the creator. When we do this (of course I can only speak from my experience), it is hard not to resolve that there is no proving or disproving God using logic bounded by our world. We have a choice to accept or refute, and either is a matter of faith. However, beyond our decision of faith is the choice to love or hate, to defend or destroy our fellow humans and our environment, and to be selfless or selfish.

          • Chuck Thom

            The answer is, “No, because computer programs aren’t conscious.” Are you really comparing computer programs to sentient beings?

          • http://www.philrmusic.com/ Phil R

            I’m not comparing programs and people or machines and sentient beings. My analogy is about the relationship between something that is created and its creator. Even if we could implement sentience such that programs could [pseudo-] subjectively (e.g. using machine learning) perceive their environment, signals from the programmer/operator/creator would still be perceived, interpreted and evaluated in the digital world. My point is that perception and belief in a creator is subjective, based on one’s experience and worldview used to bootstrap reasoning.

          • Huh?

            Don’t confuse your ignorance with a suitable counter argument. The creator is separate from the creation by a matter of definition. If the creator wasn’t, it wouldn’t be the creator. The entire conversation revolves around that basic understanding. You are wanting to move the goal posts to discuss an entirely different being.

          • Syn Holliday

            Many of the more than 2500 deities created my man are capable of miracles.

          • L.W.

            Joe, please don’t being logic and reason to a discussion about Christianity.

            It will just piss you off. And it’s a waste of your time.

          • Huh?

            Not even remotely true, merely a complete misunderstanding of the concept of God and classical theism.

          • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

            Agreed. Thanks!

          • http://www.philrmusic.com/ Phil R

            The laws of physics also account for explosions. Do you see explosions as violations of physics or do you see explosions as stable? The laws of physics are there to explain and predict observations in a useful manner, not restrict them.

          • Chuck Messenger

            I’m curious: You seem ready to accept the conclusions of scientists. Are you likewise open to the findings of archaeologists? You yourself make the argument that historical sciences (e.g. evolution, astrophysics, etc) are not unscientific merely because we can’t go back in time and watch what happened. It’s well-established fact, in archaeology, that Jews were never enslaved in Egypt, they had nothing to do with building the pyramids, and they never crossed the Sinai. That Adam, Abraham, Moses, and everything else in the Old Testament, prior to roughly the Babylonian Captivity, is non-historical. Do you accept that? Or do you draw the line?

          • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

            It’s a good question, and I must admit, an area of scientific inquiry about which I am far less familiar than evolution. I certainly am not a Christian you would dismiss the evidence and views of expert archaeologists simply because, “Well, that’s not what the Bible says,” if that’s what you’re asking.

            I knew that there was little evidence of Jews having been enslaved by Egypt during the time Exodus describes, but I thought the issue was more that the numbers that the Bible gives (which would put Israel’s population in the millions) seem to be impossible. I thought it was possible that a smaller group of Hebrews had been enslaved by Egypt at some point? Surely, the names and nationalities of the people they enslaved were not particularly important or thorough records that the Egyptians kept?

            I do think that the archaeological questions are important ones for religious people to consider, especially when they seem so clearly at odds with the text of their holy books. And, as I said, I have great respect for the work archaeologists do. That all being said, what I often come back to is an opinion that I, funnily enough, found espoused in the writings of Martin Luther (a literalist if there ever was one). Nonetheless, he said something like (I’m paraphrasing from memory), “The Old Testament serves me no purpose, except inasmuch as it points me toward Christ.”

            Basically, whatever historical, cultural or religious information the Old Testament may (or may not provide), the most important information for the Christian is the theological truth that we believe it conveys about the messiah.

            So the archaeological questions may indeed perplex me at times, but my faith is not rooted in the historical, literal interpretation of the Bible. It is in Christ.

      • Samuel Kimathi Muriithi

        Simply because of the methods used to arrive at conclusions in science and how much they differ from faith based belief. I’m not calling you a liar or anything its just my opinion that its intellectually dishonest to say you believe in evolution because of more than a century’s worth of confirming evidence in many scientific fields but do a complete flip when it comes to the claims of the bible and the existence of any god. Either you form your beliefs according to the best available evidence that is currently available or you DON’T.

        • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

          Yeah? So please enlighten me: What scientific evidence is there that disproves the existence of a creator God? What experiment has clearly evidenced that I’m not a sinner and I don’t possess a soul? What scientist has irrefutably shown that a spiritual place like heaven does not exist? I must have missed all of this research somehow.

          You are welcome to your opinion, but I don’t see how the issue is as clear as you think it is. I don’t understand the inconsistency you seem to see in my beliefs. I accept the scientific evidence for evolution, and I have great respect for the scientific process. But, as many of even the most personally atheistic scientists admit, science is simply not able to aid us in the answering of spiritual questions. It is an extremely powerful process, but it is limited to the material world. And, God, if he exists, is Spirit, not matter. He acts within this world, but he is neither a product nor a part of it.

          • Samuel Kimathi Muriithi

            That’s just it, there’s absolutely no reason whatsoever for you to even rationally entertain the concept of a god let alone to accept scriptures and go as far as to make decisions in your daily life based on these beliefs. You would NEVER entertain any other concept presented to you the way god and christianity are and you would brush it off as nonsense as you probably do with concepts of all other gods and things like reincarnation.

            You clearly demonstrate that you only adhere to the scientific method only when it suits you when you try to use the “prove a negative” trick, no one can prove a negative and you know that. Its dishonest to try to shift the burden of proof on to us when you’re the one making claims that a supernatural being exists.

            My main point is this, as far as I’m happy that a moderate believer who accepts evolution is one less fundamentalist scientists have to unnecessarily fight with to keep nonsense out of the science class I still maintain that the fundamentalist is being intellectually honest when they say their book is either the inspired word of a perfect god or it isn’t.

          • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

            I absolutely do not “brush off as nonsense” other religions and faith traditions. Ultimately, I do believe Christ makes more sense of the human condition than other religions as I understand them, but I have great respect for other faiths. Really, I think all religion is man’s attempt to “find and feel their way toward God, and perhaps reach out for him and find him,” as described by Paul in Acts 17, something he said that “pleased” God.

            It is your opinion that my faith is not reasonable or that there is no rational basis for it. There is no scientific evidence to consider, one way or the other, because the questions my faith answers are not scientific questions.

            And finally, just because I apparently don’t fit your definition of a “fundamentalist,” you seem to think I don’t believe the Bible is the inspired word of a perfect God. As a matter of fact, I do. You can find my full statement of faith here.

          • Samuel Kimathi Muriithi

            You believe the bible is the inspired word of a perfect god except where it gets everything wrong about the natural world, morality and history those places you’re fine disagreeing with.

          • L.W.

            Great response, Samuel. Tyler tries to come across as an ‘enlightened’ Christian, but his defense of Christianity is every bit as convoluted as Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron’s asinine version of it.

          • Huh?

            L.W. It must be nice to have such a simplistic and juvenile understanding of the world. Tyler disagrees with you so he must be exactly the same as other people who disagree with you. Great take man.

          • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

            I believe the Bible is the inspired word of God. That doesn’t mean I believe every word is literally true.

            I believe the Old Testament authors were inspired. The Old Testament was written exclusively in Hebrew. Does that mean I believe God exclusively speaks Hebrew? No. I simply believe the human authors used their human language to convey the revelations they received as best they could.

            In the same way, some of their inaccurate views about science and history were incorporated into the books they were writing. I believe it was not part of the revelation they received (as the primary goal of the Spirit’s inspiration was to impart theological and moral truth about God and mankind), but some of it was incorporated incidentally. Just because I believe the authors of the Bible were inspired doesn’t mean I believe they weren’t human.

          • Huh?

            Samuel, things can have value and truth without being 100% literal recipes and historic recreations. I derive truths about humanity and life from literature all the time. In short, what is your point? If the Bible isn’t 100% truth in how you understand it with your limited perspective, then it must be 100% useless trash?

          • Samuel Kimathi Muriithi

            I said nothing about the bible being useless trash or only being relevant if its 100% true. Its a very important book my only problem is the fundamental belief that for some reason this and only this book was inspired by some god, there are a lot of books that are valuable in many ways but none of them are blindly used by people to claim weird things about the world especially when they contain more fiction than comic books.

          • Syn Holliday

            I suppose if the book itself didn’t claim itself infallible, I could respect it even in part.

          • Syn Holliday

            When it comes to literature, credibility has a lot to do with who the writer is. The authors of all four Gospels are anonymous.

          • Syn Holliday

            The burden of proof is on the claim of existence, never on non-existence. The neutral, or default, is non-existence. No one can prove Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny does not exist. The burden is never on proving non-existence because no one can prove non-existence, therefore not being able to prove the non-existence of something provides no weight at all to an argument for existence.

          • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

            Yes, if you’re looking at the matter scientifically, but I don’t believe the question of God’s existence to be answerable scientifically. If it were, we could devise an experiment that would demonstrate whether or not he exists. Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny certainly can be proven to not exist. The claims about Santa, for example, include that he lives with elves in the North Pole, rides his sleigh around the entire earth on Christmas Eve and visits every house in the world to give children presents. Any of these claims can be scientifically falsified quite easily.

            On the other hand, the claims about God include that he is all-powerful, that he created the universe, that he revels himself to those who believe, and so on. How might we scientifically falsify any of those claims?

          • Syn Holliday

            That could be the myth around Santa, such as the Cherry Tree or the wooden dentures myths about George Washington. Just because those things are myth does not necessarily mean George Washington didn’t exist. Santa, who sees all kids sleeping or awake, who keeps tabs of who is naughty or nice, can’t be disproven.

            None of the over 2500 deities created by Man can be disproven, none of the Hindu deities, the Wiccan Goddess, the Native Indian spirits.

          • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

            None of the over 2500 deities created by Man can be disproven, none of the Hindu deities, the Wiccan Goddess, the Native Indian spirits.

            Right. So if one is willing to entertain the idea of spiritual things — the possibility of something that lies “beyond” the material world we can see and smell and explore scientifically, then it comes down to a question of what view of spirituality — whether it be Christianity, Wicca, Hinduism, Islam, etc. etc. — makes the most sense.

          • Syn Holliday

            Then it is somewhat arbitrary, none of them are really “wrong”. Therefore, I choose a religion of self-worship, a worship of the most important deity in my own personal existence. It’s the human ego that causes the burning desire to believe in an afterlife, that we’re just too important to simply cease to exist. That, coupled with human fear of the unknown. I prefer not to be driven by fear in regards to that. For some, the possibility of ceasing to exist is a reality. For others, it just couldn’t possibly be. But the thought isn’t really too hard to concept. We can just concept our existence before we were born.

  • Rab Simpson

    The theory of evolution by natural selection takes the garden of eden story and blows it out of the water, meaning no original sin and no need for a saviour character.

    Accepting both the theory of evolution by natural selection and the sacrifice* story of the gospels requires a serious level of ignorance in one or the other.

    * Being resurrected negates the whole idea of sacrifice, especially when it’s your alter-ego that’s performing the resurrection itself.

    • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

      The theory of evolution by natural selection takes the garden of eden story and blows it out of the water, meaning no original sin and no need for a saviour character.

      The Bible does not teach that the need for a savior is predicated on the idea of original sin. Indeed, original sin is a doctrine that some believe is derived from scripture, but it is not named or clearly defined anywhere in the text. In fact, if by “original sin,” you mean the idea that humans have inherited guilt from their parents and are born spiritually dead, I don’t believe that is taught in the Bible at all.

      The Bible clearly teaches that we are in need of salvation because of our own personal sin, not the sin committed by our supposed ancestors thousands of years ago. Romans 3:23-25: “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith.”

      Nothing about Adam and Eve in there, nor is there anything in that passage that the scientific theory of evolution could possibly make more or less true.

      * Being resurrected negates the whole idea of sacrifice, especially when it’s your alter-ego that’s performing the resurrection itself.

      This is a logical discrepancy that you believe exists in the Christian faith. It has nothing to do with evolution. This issue would remain regardless of whether the theory is correct or not.

      • Rab Simpson

        If this is the case, why do so many christian preachers reference Eve taking and eating the fruit from the tree of knowledge as the origin of original sin?

        This whole “you’re not perfect so believe (for no good reason) in this guy who’ll help you or he’ll burn you for eternity” thing doesn’t hold water either. Why would a supposedly perfect being create imperfect beings? By definition that couldn’t happen (perfect being perfect, it can only do things perfectly).

        Either humanity was created perfect and something happened (the descent of man), or this YHWH character isn’t the great guy his fans claim he is. Interestingly, reading the torah had me asking the question “who in their right mind would worship such a jealous, genocidal tyrant?” His alleged offspring wasn’t much better with his introduction of eternal torment.

        Regarding the logical discrepancy, there’s no belief involved, the logic speaks for itself. You’re not sacrificing your life if you’re resurrecting yourself shortly afterwards. That’s the sacrificial equivalent of a flesh wound. My mentioning it was off-topic and tangental, but I felt like adding it anyway, regardless of relevancy to the theory and its lack of impact therein.

        • Sturgeon

          >If this is the case, why do so many christian preachers reference Eve
          taking and eating the fruit from the tree of knowledge as the origin of
          original sin?

          Because earlier generations of Christian theologians came up with this idea in order to help tie the whole collection into a single, internally consistent narrative.

          • Rab Simpson

            So now to avoid having the theory of evolution negate the whole thing, someone has decided that it doesn’t quite work that way? That sounds a lot like fixing the game to me. If christianity can’t stand up to scrutiny without moving the goalposts, what does that tell you?

            Either what christianity claims to be the case is the case or it isn’t. I really don’t care what people believe but *everyone* (and that includes we skeptics if we’re mistaken) needs a huge dose of intellectual honesty when it comes to what’s really going on. All this beating around the bush crap is nothing more than theological masturbation and diversion tactics to disguise the fact that it doesn’t make sense.

            I appreciate what Tyler is doing in terms of putting creationists in their place, but at the very least they’ve taken the contents of their version of the bible and stood behind it saying “this is historical and how it happened”. Now, are they wrong? You’re bloody right they’re wrong, and demonstrably so, but that doesn’t mean the moderates who’re perpetually trying to reconcile the basic framework of their beliefs with reality (while lending legitimacy to insane creationist politicians who claim moderates as part of their support numbers) are right either.

            The basic parts of all the religions which comprise christianity don’t make sense when examined through the lens of rational and honest inquiry. Are there some reasonable ideas we can take from it? Sure there are, but it doesn’t make any of it factual in a historical sense and it doesn’t make any of the characters within it worthy of worship.

            I care about my beliefs being accurate, anyone who doesn’t doesn’t value honesty.

          • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

            People can be mistaken about the truth revealed in scripture just as we can be mistaken in the truth revealed in nature. How many times has the theory of evolution had to be updated or tweaked as new information has come to light? I doubt you consider that a case of “moving the goalposts,” and I don’t either.

            I don’t believe the truth of God as revealed in the Bible has changed, but people may have certainly been mistaken about it.

          • Rab Simpson

            Unless you can back it up with empirical and logical evidence, you don’t get to call it truth.

            It’s *possible* (at least some of the parts, some of them are just plain impossible and can be dismissed as such) they could be facts, but until you can demonstrate it you don’t get to call them facts. They’re claims until shown to be otherwise.

            Using the old ‘science changes, therefore it’s not very credible’ line is completely disingenuous, and you know it. Religious scripture *claims outright* that what it contains is *entirely* true, and yet for generations people have saw fit to change it and not even fix the parts which contradict each other. Scientific theories change to match reality, humbly admitting that what we thought was the case wasn’t as accurate as it could be, thus making the theory *stronger*. Why does religious scripture change? Politics.

            If the bible (being the claim, not the evidence), any version, were true it’d be demonstrable. Any part of it requiring a suspension of disbelief or belief for no good reason (‘faith’) shouldn’t be accepted as true until evidence is provided that demonstrates otherwise. This is the only intellectually honest position to take, otherwise you’re lying to yourself because you *want* something to be true.

          • Christopher Lee Hartsock

            I’ve got to take exception to your portrayal of the scientific community as humble, and willing to quickly intake new information, as that’s a little too rose-colored-glasses to be taken seriously.
            Phlogiston. End of case.

            Having said that, what I see you doing here is setting two standards for differing viewpoints. The words of the Bible essentially haven’t changed in their history, but interpretations of their meaning and import have. How is that in any way different than what has happened with the parallels of ‘reality’ and science’s interpretation of it?

            For the longest time, science embraced the Steady State theory of the infinite universe, while theology held on to ‘In the Beginning’…
            In 1992, science officially caught up to theology, acknowledging the universe’s basic nature as finite. I guess the word ‘humble’ is what stuck in my craw. I didn’t see humility from the scientific community when finally acknowledging what a scientist (Christian) had proposed in the 19th century, and what we all now know was true all along…the universe had a beginning. The Christian who said so was mocked, and reviled.
            Now, he’s barely mentioned, but to be generous, perhaps it’s because he was Belgian…

            To suggest that the Bible in some of its claims, has no veracity because other parts of it are subjectively questionable doesn’t ring my bell on ‘intellectual honesty’.

          • Rab Simpson

            “I’ve got to take exception to your portrayal of the scientific community as humble, and willing to quickly intake new information”

            Then you know nothing of the scientific community or the scientific method. I also find it amusing that someone acting as biblical apologist would attempt to paint religiosity as humble by implying that science is arrogant, especially when you consider that followers of the bible think their imaginary friend created a universe which is roughly 47 BILLION light years across JUST FOR THEM.

            “The words of the Bible essentially haven’t changed in their history”

            This is demonstrably false.

            “How is that in any way different than what has happened with the parallels of ‘reality’ and science’s interpretation of it?”

            Science updates itself when new discoveries are scrutinised and confirmed as genuine. Religious scripture fights against these things. What you’re perhaps not seeing is that scripture has a preconceived position, a bias that it wants to confirm, and the institutions who peddle this nonsense have a lot to lose when what they claim as truth is exposed as erroneous, so they fight against it. Science has no bias, it’s only concern is what’s really going on and will forever be striving to discover everything it can about the reality in which we live regardless of whose feelings (or wallet) that may hurt.

            “To suggest that the Bible in some of its claims, has no veracity because other parts of it are subjectively questionable doesn’t ring my bell on ‘intellectual honesty’.”

            There are parts of the bible which are demonstrably true, and they’re not particularly groundbreaking and in no way revelatory. There are parts of the bible which are demonstrably false (the exodus story being a shining example, with thousands of jewish archaeologists coming right out and admitting that there’s zero evidence whatsoever for such an enormous series of events, which if any of them actually happened there’d be some kind of record, especially when you consider how anal the Egyptians were about recording things back then), this puts the more fantastical claims in hot water because if there’s no evidence supporting parts which are more believable why should anyone believe the parts which make claims about what is basically magic? The fact that these claims are unfalsifiable (this means they can’t be tested) relegates then even further into the dustbin of “not worth bothering with” in terms of determining what’s actually *true*.

            Religions make stupid claims and then attack (both verbally and physically) those who question them for being ridiculous nonsense.

            Science puts forward hypotheses which are then tested to exhaustion until it’s determined whether the hypothesis has any merit, which if it doesn’t it gets discarded and put in the trash with nonsense like the parting of the Red sea, mammalian virgin birth, and a jewish guy who was nailed to a pair of twigs getting up and walking away after death.

            If you want to challenge a scientific theory you’re more than welcome, in fact it’s ENCOURAGED, but if you try to get out of doing the hard work and try to cut corners you will be exposed along with your own lack of intellectual honesty. If you succeed, there’ll be a Nobel prize waiting for you and you’ll be recognised for your work. Best of luck.

          • Corey

            the thing that I don’t get is why people view the Bible as some sort of “text book.”

            Most the stuff that people get hung up on (Christians and Atheists) is actually just things being misconstrued, misunderstood, etc.

            These exact problems come when Christians (AND Atheists) idolize/think that the Bible itself is God. When Christians think the Bible is God/our religion. Then atheists think that the Bible IS our religion. And thus these wars begin.

            This is further muddied when they use phrases like “the Bible is God breathed”…..or “it is inspired”……or “it is the Word of God.” All of which I think are basically true….but are completely misconstrued to people who hear things like that being said.

            I am religious. I am a Christian. The Bible is not my God. However…..it is important to my understanding of God. Whether it is historically, or scientifically accurate is honestly not that important…because that’s not necessarily what it is about….ESPECIALLY when it is understood historically (context it was written in….time period it was written in….who/where it was written, etc.)….understood that it is a compilation of biographies, stories, parables, metaphors, histories, dictated words passed down, etc….and indeed….it was recorded by men……and that it is NOT a text book which contains all truth.

            Most the time Atheists don’t think God exists because they’ve been presented that the Bible is God.

            And most the time Christians think God exists because they think the Bible is God.

            They/re both wrong. And so the fight just circles.

          • Rab Simpson

            “Most the stuff that people get hung up on (Christians and Atheists) is actually just things being misconstrued, misunderstood, etc.”

            You say this as if there’s someone out there who hasn’t misconstrued or misunderstood it. I hate to break it to you but there’s no be all and end all guide to making sense of the ramblings of iron age goat herders who’ve been edited, re-edited, translated and re-translated countless times over 1600 years.

            The words are what they are, and people who claim they mean something that they clearly don’t because they’re biased in such a way that they’re doing everything they can to save the contents of the books from being exposed as the more often than not primitive barbarism that they are are ‘Liars for Jesus’.

            “These exact problems come when Christians (AND Atheists) idolize/think that the Bible itself is God.”

            There isn’t an atheist on earth who thinks the bible is ‘god’. If they did they wouldn’t be an atheist, by definition of the word itself.

            “When Christians think the Bible is God/our religion. Then atheists think that the Bible IS our religion.”

            Is this the point you try to claim that your religion *isn’t* defined by the contents of the bible? I know lots of disgusting things have been added by religious institutions in the centuries since the first edition was compiled in Nicea, but it always comes back to the bible, especially when trying to justify something horrid.

            “All of which I think are basically true….but are completely misconstrued to people who hear things like that being said.”

            You make this statement then provide no explanation as to *how* they’ve been misconstrued. You say you think they’re basically true, but if they can be misconstrued that would imply that they mean something other than what the words themselves suggest which in turn makes the words themselves completely useless. Say what you mean.

            “I am religious. I am a Christian.”

            I had made these assumptions by the time I reached this paragraph.

            “Whether it is historically, or scientifically accurate is honestly not that important…”

            I think you’ll find the millions who’ve been killed over its contents would make the above statement false.

            Claims require support. Claims require evidence. When you make claims about the meaning of life and the origin of the cosmos and attempt to back them up with threats of torture and murder you’re going to start an enormous fight, something religious (not just christian) institutions have been guilty of for centuries.

            When a claim concerns such important matters as ‘how did we get here?’ and is scrutinised and the response to that scrutiny is verbal and physical violence, the claim exposes itself for what it really is: a power grab.

            Historical and scientific accuracy are of the utmost importance.

            “Most the time Atheists don’t think God exists because they’ve been presented that the Bible is God.”

            Where do you get this nonsense? Only an imbecile would believe that a book is a deity, just as only an imbecile would consider the tyrant deity character in the book to be worthy of worship.

            “And most the time Christians think God exists because they think the Bible is God.”

            A lot of religious people are easily led, but with that being the case they’re not all stupid, and thinking that a book is a deity is nothing short of stupid.

            You’ve built a straw man and proceeded to blow him down, well done, but that doesn’t change the fact that huge swathes of the book are demonstrably false and huge swathes of believers believe because they’ve been told the contents of the book are true by some charlatan who has something to gain from their victim’s belief (hello tax free tithing money) or by someone they trust (like a parent) having been a victim of said charlatan.

            People believe a lot of stupid crap for a lot of stupid reasons (tradition, argumentum ad populum, flawed logic etc etc) but when it comes to life’s most important questions it’s equally as important to scrutinise the claims made by those who tell you they have the answers and do it in the most intellectually honest way you can (throw confirmation bias out the window, personal wants just get in the way of reality), because if they’re right they’ll have no reason to threaten you, and if they’re wrong you’re one step closer to having a complete understanding of what’s really the case.

          • Corey

            I’m referring to how Christians present the Bible. When Christians incorrectly view the Bible as God then they present it that way. (This isn’t necessarily that they believe the LITERAL book is a deity ….it is more of a subconscious viewpoint manipulation). Then most people aggressively respond to that by saying “heck no, there are parts of the book that aren’t true! Or correct.” And get caught up in that.

            “People believe a lot of stupid crap for a lot of stupid reasons
            (tradition, argumentum ad populum, flawed logic etc etc) but when it
            comes to life’s most important questions it’s equally as important to scrutinize the claims made by those who tell you they have the answers
            and do it in the most intellectually honest way you can (throw
            confirmation bias out the window, personal wants just get in the way of
            reality), because if they’re right they’ll have no reason to threaten
            you, and if they’re wrong you’re one step closer to having a complete
            understanding of what’s really the case.”

            Well ya, obviously…..

            What Atheists fight against (or what I see you fighting against) is the societal problems/manipulations that come from “religion.” Which for the most part we certainly agree on.

            The difference is the fact that most Atheists are presented with a skewed form of “Christian religion” which of course they rise against…..just as I do.

            What you’re arguing over is religion. What I’m trying to construe is that our religion is based off of Jesus. Not the Bible. Or rather that that is what it SHOULD be…..but it has been misunderstood and misconstrued, and manipulated.

          • Huh?

            Rab, if you think the only things in life worth considering are the ones that can be proven to be true or false, particularly within the scope of your incredibly short life, you are embarrassingly myopic. The greatest minds throughout history have believed in truths they could not definitively prove. Just because your sad little self wasn’t born with intuition certainly doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist.

          • Rab Simpson

            If you have no way of determining whether something is true or false you have no business referring to it as a ‘truth’.

            “Just because your sad little self”

            That’s called argumentum ad hominem. Go look it up.

            For your info I do have intuition at my disposal, I’m just not moronic enough to claim that it carries any weight with any truth claim I might make.

            This would be the point where you tell me to “look at the trees” and see your imaginary friend amongst them. Been there, done that, saw nature behind it, no supernatural entities required. The universe and/or anything it contains is not evidence which supports any fairy tale based claims believers like to make.

          • Huh?

            “If you have no way of determining whether something is true or false you have no business referring to it as a ‘truth’”

            Yeah, we get it. You are incredibly myopic. You don’t have to dedicate all your free time on a blog dedicated to things you don’t believe in to reiterate that with everybody.

            “That’s called argumentum ad hominem. Go look it up.”

            It would only be an ad hominem if it was part of my argument. In this context, it was merely an accurate observation. Its quite sad that you are so short sited you can’t see what is directly in front of you.

            “For your info I do have intuition at my disposal, I’m just not moronic enough to claim that it carries any weight with any truth claim I might make.”

            Perspectives and testimony can be valid and useful without passing some epistemological gauntlet. Most great minds in history has understood this.

            “Been there, done that, saw nature behind it, no supernatural entities required.”

            You don’t find the supernatural by studying nature. You find the supernatural by studying the supernatural. Sorry you weren’t privy to that rather obvious detail.

            “The universe and/or anything it contains is not evidence which supports any fairy tale based claims believers like to make.”

            So 4.5 billion people are just completely missing the mark. Seems unlikely.

          • Rab Simpson

            You conflate not accepting any old bullshit as true with short sightedness. Do you accept claims that this universe exists within the anus of an unimaginably huge pink unicorn who just happens to be cornholing what appears to be the corpse of Ronald Reagan? Of course you don’t, that’d be stupid! Accepting claims of men walking on water, men raising the dead, talking snakes, talking donkeys, men made from clay and women made from the aforementioned men’s ribs, that’d be perfectly reasonable.

            That was sarcasm, just in case you didn’t catch it.

            “You don’t have to dedicate all your free time on a blog dedicated to things you don’t believe in to reiterate that with everybody.”

            Who said I dedicate all of my free time to it? I do feel that it’s important enough to spend some time on though, given that there are people who believe in such nonsense are *running countries with access to a nuclear arsenal*.

            “It would only be an ad hominem if it was part of my argument.”

            That’s the point, an ad hominem *isn’t* an argument, it’s a complete lack of one, and says a lot about the person who uses it.

            “Its quite sad that you are so short sited you can’t see what is directly in front of you.”

            A computer? A computer based on the work of a man who religious leaders would gladly strip rights from thanks to his nature? Tell me, genius, what am I looking at?

            “Perspectives and testimony can be valid”

            Not when it comes to questions of great importance. Personal testimony and navel gazing nonsense are utterly invalid when it comes to these things.

            “You don’t find the supernatural by studying nature. You find the supernatural by studying the supernatural.”

            Oh look! Circular logic. I was wondering when that’d make an appearance. Is this like ‘the bible is true because the bible says so’?

            Present something supernatural and we’ll study it together. Don’t give me any of this crap about having to believe it exists in order for you to present it.

            “So 4.5 billion people are just completely missing the mark. Seems unlikely.”

            Earlier you committed argumentum ad hominem, and now you’re committing argumentum ad populum.

            How about this: “Why don’t you eat shit? Billions of flies can’t be wrong.”

          • Huh?

            “You conflate not accepting any old bullshit as true with short sightedness.”

            We’re not talking about any old bullshit here, chief. We are talking about a subject that has united the greatest minds in history in debate. The existence of the creator. Dismissing this subject with such childish contempt says more about you then it does the topic itself.

            “The claims made by religion are no more credible than the claims of a mental patient who suffers paranoid delusions and hallucinations.”

            Yeah, that’s why the vast majority of people are spiritual or religious but those very same people don’t believe in the ravings of the mentally insane. Because, like, they are the exact same thing, like, and stuff, like, you know?

            “Who said I dedicate all of my free time to it? I do feel that it’s important enough to spend some time on though, given that there are people who believe in such nonsense are *running countries with access to a nuclear arsenal*.”

            Nobody on this blog has their thumb on the button. You have a sad little ego that feels better when you talk e-smack to Christians. It’s okay, you can admit it to me, big guy.

            “That’s the point, an ad hominem *isn’t* an argument, it’s a complete lack of one, and says a lot about the person who uses it.”

            You are conflating people who disagree with you to mental patients and in the same breath getting on a soap box about proper rhetoric decorum. Do you own any mirrors?

            “A computer? A computer based on the work of a man who religious leaders would gladly strip rights from thanks to his nature? Tell me, genius, what am I looking at?”

            Yikes. My point ———>

            Your sad little head :(

            “Not when it comes to questions of great importance. Personal testimony and navel gazing nonsense are utterly invalid when it comes to these things.”

            And that is why you fail. How do we know quasars exist? Or positrons? By studying the equipment that records and interacts with them. If a personal God exists, we, persons, humans, would be the equipment that interacts with said personal God. That’s like me saying I don’t believe hubris filled arrogant militant internet atheists exist and at the same time refusing to look at comments sections as a valid source of information.

            “Oh look! Circular logic. I was wondering when that’d make an appearance. Is this like ‘the bible is true because the bible says so’?”

            Stating you find more about something by studying it directly is circular logic? It’s like you just flunked out of your first rhetoric class and are desperate to misuse the terms you never actually learned.

            “Present something supernatural and we’ll study it together. Don’t give me any of this crap about having to believe it exists in order for you to present it.”

            Sure, it’s called God. The vast majority of people interact with it on a daily basis. Hundreds of thousands of pages of testimony have been written about it. All you have to do to study it is ask it directly. It’s pretty simple stuff, when you really break it down. Of course, you have to admit there is something in this universe bigger then your own ego first. That’s the part that tends to trip people up.

            “Earlier you committed argumentum ad hominem, and now you’re committing argumentum ad populum.”

            You really, really need to stop using rhetorical terms you don’t properly understand. When the very belief itself is the evidence we are looking for, the fact that a vast majority of people have some derivative of said belief is quite valid. If 4.5 billion people believe they have experienced God, then we most certainly do have evidence within this universe to suggest a personal God exists. Does it prove that God exists? Of course not. But you said “The universe and/or anything it contains is not evidence which supports any fairy tale based claims believers like to make.” This is factually untrue, times 4.5 billion…

          • Rab Simpson

            “We’re not talking about any old bullshit here”

            Yes we are. Unfounded claims.

            “We are talking about a subject that has united the greatest minds in history in debate.”

            Argumentum ad verecundiam.

            The fact that some intelligent people have believed that this nonsense is true won’t make it true.

            “Dismissing this subject with such childish contempt says more about you then it does the topic itself.”

            I hold contempt for those who would push it upon the rest of us through policy, which as I’ve stated is why I spend some of my time arguing in favour of reason. It’s an important question, one which countless people have killed each other over (“my god is more peaceful than your god so I’m going to kill you”), and one which one side has absolutely no support for it’s claims of divinity. The other side simply promotes doubt where there’s no good reason for certainty. It’s called being honest.

            “Yeah, that’s why the vast majority of people are spiritual or religious but those very same people don’t believe in the ravings of the mentally insane. Because, like, they are the exact same thing, like, and stuff, like, you know?”

            How does this grab you?: “If a man talks to God he is religious, yet if God talks to man – he is insane.”

            People who hear voices have mental problems. It’s not a fucking fairy talking to them.

            “You have a sad little ego”

            There’s that argumentum ad hominem again. What’s the matter? Can’t address my points without getting a dig in? You were talking about what my arguments say about me, what do your little attempts at insulting me say about your arguments?

            “You are conflating people who disagree with you to mental patients and in the same breath getting on a soap box about proper rhetoric decorum.”

            If you have a problem with it, perhaps I’ve hit a nerve? Perhaps deep down you know that religiosity is a very popular mental issue, but you’re too afraid to admit it? Think of it like alcoholism, the first step to solving your problem is admitting that you have one.

            “Yikes. My point ———>

            Your sad little head :(”

            More ad hominem. Is this really all you’ve got? Come on genius, what am I looking at?

            “And that is why you fail.”

            And you were trying to accuse me of projection? Seriously? Imagine this scenario: You’re in a courtroom, someone is being tried for murder, there’s no evidence besides the testimony of a single witness. What does the judge do? Take their word for it and lock up the defendant? Not if the judge has any kind of integrity. If we require solid evidence for the court room, why the hell isn’t it required for questions regarding the existence of the fairies people believe in? Because religious leaders have gotten their claws into politics and rig the game in their favour. No intellectual integrity to be found amongst men and women of the cloth.

            “If a personal God exists, we, persons, humans, would be the equipment that interacts with said personal God.”

            Did you just claim to have evidence for your personal imaginary friend? I hate to break this to you, but you’re not lab equipment and you’re not a telescope, and like the extreme majority of humans you’re blissfully unaware of the fact that your brain is easily fooled and it happens on a daily basis. The calibration of your detection equipment is all over the place but you’ve convinced yourself that it’s working perfectly.

            If (and it’s a colossal if), you could detect your personal ghost pal, it’d be a repeatable experiment, there’d be data that could be recorded, but I’m afraid your personal testimony just won’t cut it in the science lab. Your personal testimony isn’t worth shit.

            “That’s like me saying I don’t believe hubris filled arrogant militant internet atheists exist and at the same time refusing to look at comments sections as a valid source of information.”

            That looks like some thinly veiled ad hominem right there. Are you upset? Also, the arrogant bit is a laugh. Tell me, who do christians think their fairy created a 47 billion light year wide universe for? Oh yeah, for them. If there’s something that’s more arrogant than that, I have no idea what it is.

            “Stating you find more about something by studying it directly is circular logic?”

            You didn’t say that you find ‘more about something’ by studying it, you said that you *find* it. Here are your words verbatim: “You find the supernatural by studying the supernatural.” That is circular logic, and attempting to change what you said is disingenuous.

            “It’s like you just flunked out of your first rhetoric class and are desperate to misuse the terms you never actually learned.”

            More ad hominem. I should start keeping score with these.

            “Sure, it’s called God.”

            Where is it then?

            “The vast majority of people interact with it on a daily basis.”

            If this were the case there’d be evidence to reflect it. Where’s the evidence?

            “Hundreds of thousands of pages of testimony have been written about it.”

            Worthless.

            “All you have to do to study it is ask it directly.”

            You’re the one making the claim, I don’t need to study anything when the burden of proof lies with you, and you’ll need to do that before I can ask it anything. Remember what I said about don’t give me any of this crap about having to believe it exists in order for you to present it, this is exactly what I’m talking about.

            “It’s pretty simple stuff, when you really break it down.”

            Then it should be no problem for you to provide evidence to back it up.

            “Of course, you have to admit there is something in this universe bigger then your own ego first.”

            Of course there is, we’re on a spinning rock which orbits its parent star at a distance of roughly 93 million miles. That’s bigger than my ego, and yours, and just about everyone else’s (except maybe Rush Limbaugh’s). That doesn’t make it a deity though.

            “You really, really need to stop using rhetorical terms you don’t properly understand.”

            I understand them just fine. Like claiming your fairy exists without providing evidence, repeating the same crap over and over won’t make it true.

            “When the very belief itself is the evidence we are looking for”

            This is what we in the industry refer to as ‘a joke’. Belief that something is real doesn’t make said thing real ergo belief is not evidence for said thing.

            “the fact that a vast majority of people have some derivative of said belief is quite valid”

            It doesn’t matter in the slightest. Millions of people in Germany in the 1930s thought it was a great idea to elect a certain short statured Austrian, look how that turned out. Mass delusion at its worst, thy name is religion.

            “This is factually untrue, times 4.5 billion…”

            And this ^ is demonstrably false.

            When you get out of your maze of circular logic and logical fallacies, let me know, we can chat theology.

          • Syn Holliday

            Could we even ultimately know “Truth” (with a capital ‘T’)? All we have is our senses, all of which can be fooled. We have intuition, but we know intuition is not infallible because my intuition could at times totally contradict someone else’s – we couldn’t always both be right. We have evidence, but we know evidence can be interpreted incorrectly and can be incomplete, new evidence could still be uncovered which could change theories. Science could never be ultimate Truth because true science is always open to new evidence. And even if God existed, he could be fooling everyone with His Words, He could possibly be lying about many things. Just because “It Is Written” doesn’t mean it is Truth.

            For that reason, I prefer not bringing up Truth in discussions because it always seems to end up in the same place – we ultimately don’t know.

          • Christopher Lee Hartsock

            Calm down. And before you think the scientific community, just another institution of men, can’t become dogmatic, entrenched, and WRONG…google ‘phlogiston’ and get back to me.
            Does your post which responds to me sound humble? Or is it presumptive, arrogant, and strident….since you are the self-appointed apologist of the entire summation of the scientific community. A little honest here would probably make you backtrack a bit on my simple observation that MOST scientists I know personally are more concerned with LOOKING to be right, than actually being right. It’s a human foible to which you seem to think those humans are immune.
            As to the rest of your canned blather…

            You’re sort of all over the place. Some parts of the bible are true, but not ‘groundbreaking’?
            You mean….like…the first three words of the Bible…’In the beginning’…which clearly puts for immediately a FINITE universe theory, which the scientific community didn’t acknowledge as true for certain until 1992?
            3,500 years of entrenched Steady State Universe theory sounds pretty arrogant and dogmatic to me…but hey, at least a Belgian Christian got the ball rolling…even though he was mocked for being correct…scientifically.

            Your PARTICULAR hatred of Christianity doesn’t sound at all humble to me…so perhaps in some clever, ironic way, you’re…agreeing with me? Or are you just being a dishonest ‘intellect’.

          • Syn Holliday

            I believe what you mentioned about the Bible not being unchanged is true. As I understand, some books were chosen for the Bible, some were thrown out because they were either too inconsistent with what was already included, or they did not fit the agenda of the authorities who made the decision.

          • Syn Holliday

            The Inquisition, or the execution of people who said there are no four corners of the world, that the Earth is round, doesn’t seem so humble either. Claiming that at one time, it was moral to slay children and force girls into marriage seems far from humble.

          • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

            Unless you can back it up with empirical and logical evidence, you don’t get to call it truth.

            Spiritual truth doesn’t work that way, and it was spiritual truth that I was alluding to when I was discussing the truth of the Bible and Christians’ perspectives of it.

            Religious scripture *claims outright* that what it contains is *entirely* true, and yet for generations people have saw fit to change it and not even fix the parts which contradict each other.

            That may be what some literalists believe it claims, but I don’t find that claim in scripture, at least not in the way you claim to be using it. I believe the purpose of scripture is to teach us about God and the spiritual nature of mankind, and hence, I believe it’s infallible on theological and moral matters. Beyond that, I acknowledge that it was written by fallible men who were limited in some of their historical and scientific knowledge, and that it has been copied numerous times as it has passed through the ages. I don’t claim that it is infallible or *entirely* true on matters about which it was never intended to teach.

          • Rab Simpson

            “Spiritual truth doesn’t work that way”

            This is a cop out. More goalpost moving. Something is either TRUE or it is FALSE. Putting the label ‘spiritual’ on it won’t change whether or not it’s factual. Step out of the realms of woowoo and into the realms of reality and determine what’s actually going on.

            “That may be what some literalists believe it claims, but I don’t find that claim in scripture, at least not in the way you claim to be using it.”

            So what you’re saying is that you have no way of determining which parts are actually true beyond the methods of investigation offered by science such as archaeology and geology? And on top of that you’re just going to decide for yourself which bits are true and which bits aren’t based on what? A gut feeling? Sorry, you can have your own opinions, but you don’t get to have your own facts.

            “I believe it’s infallible on theological and moral matters.”

            Moral matters such as how to best keep slaves, committing genocide, and who the real victims of rape are (the actual victim’s father)?

            Your claim of biblical infallibility would imply that it’s entirely correct in these matters despite the fact that we as a progressive society are an order of magnitude more ethical right now in how we treat others than how that codex would have us behave, and more often than not we find people committing atrocities IN THE NAME of the religious books they wave above their heads.

            Here’s a question for you: have you ever noticed how roughly 20% (and growing) of the American (as in the US, not continental America) population are openly atheistic, and yet well over 90% of the American prison population are religious? It turns out that being a student of the bible won’t stop you from committing crimes. (Addendum: There are laws on the books which in themselves are immoral and serve to keep a class of criminals out of jail, but this doesn’t change the fact that the majority languish in their cells for crimes carried out that’ve hurt other people in some way.)

            Theology is nothing more than sitting around talking about fairy tales, and the words of primitive, iron age men know nothing of morality beyond that which they plagiarised from the likes of Confucius.

            Coming back to your ‘spiritual’ truth claim, do you know what a huge factor in what you consider moral to be? The standards set by the people around you (this would go some way to explaining why the aforementioned primitive men thought keeping slaves wasn’t a bad thing). Whether you like it or not the standards we try to live to in this day and age are secular, but yet you try to attribute these to men who wrote stories about killing the entire populations of cities with the exception of the young virgin females, the fairy in the sky said they were to be kept for the killers. This reminds me of how angry I get when someone survives a life threatening illness and thanks their imaginary friend instead of the doctors, nurses, and COUNTLESS individuals who’ve worked tirelessly for centuries to bring medicine up to the point where that person could be saved from an early death. Open your eyes and give credit where it’s due.

            “I don’t claim that it is infallible or *entirely* true on matters about which it was never intended to teach.”

            Who said it was never intended to teach these things? Who are you speaking on behalf of? Quite presumptuous of you there Tyler. Despite what you may think it intended to teach, it’s doing it, and people are killing each other over it.

          • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

            This is a cop out. More goalpost moving. Something is either TRUE or it is FALSE.

            I agree something is either true or false; I wasn’t saying otherwise. What I did say is that spiritual truth does not operate in terms of empirical evidence, as you asserted (I’m not sure what you mean by “logical evidence”). Believe me, I would love to see an empirical experiment that could test whether or not God exists, or whether people have souls, or whether heaven or hell is real. But there is simply no way to do it. As I said, spiritual truth doesn’t work that way.

            Moral matters such as how to best keep slaves, committing genocide, and who the real victims of rape are (the actual victim’s father)?

            Jesus said everything that the Old Testament is meant to teach can be summed up in two commands: to love God and to love one’s neighbor as oneself. As a Christian and a theist, yes, I think this is an excellent basis for a moral life.

            Your claim of biblical infallibility would imply that it’s entirely correct in these matters despite the fact that we as a progressive society are an order of magnitude more ethical right now in how we treat others than how that codex would have us behave, and more often than not we find people committing atrocities IN THE NAME of the religious books they wave above their heads.

            Entirely secular/atheistic regimes have committed more than their fair share of genocidal atrocities, and you know it. People do terrible things to each other for many reasons. If you really want to claim that most people do so because of their belief in the Bible, then the burden of proof is on you. I would love to see a single piece of evidence that supports this assertion.

            Here’s a question for you: have you ever noticed how roughly 20% (and growing) of the American (as in the US, not continental America) population are openly atheistic, and yet well over 90% of the American prison population are religious? It turns out that being a student of the bible won’t stop you from committing crimes.

            This is a fallacious argument. First of all, the religion one claims to have — or even one’s knowledge of their holy book — does not in any way translate to inherently prohibiting them from doing unspeakable things. I know the Bible pretty well, but that knowledge, in and of itself, does nothing to prevent from murdering someone. People do things all the time that they know are wrong.

            Finally, we would have to know more about the study you claim supports this view. Many people become more religiously devout while they are in prison.

            Whether you like it or not the standards we try to live to in this day and age are secular, but yet you try to attribute these to men who wrote stories about killing the entire populations of cities with the exception of the young virgin females, the fairy in the sky said they were to be kept for the killers.

            What Bible passage do you think you’re alluding to here? Just curious.

            Who said it was never intended to teach these things? Who are you speaking on behalf of? Quite presumptuous of you there Tyler. Despite what you may think it intended to teach, it’s doing it, and people are killing each other over it.

            Everyone who reads the Bible interprets the Bible. I am being no more presumptuous than any other human being who has ever read it.

          • Rab Simpson

            ” If you really want to claim that most people do so because of their belief in the Bible, then the burden of proof is on you.”

            That wasn’t what I claimed, but nice try.

            “Jesus said everything that the Old Testament is meant to teach can be summed up in two commands: to love God and to love one’s neighbor as oneself.”

            You say ‘summed up’ as opposed to ‘replaced by’. How does loving one’s neighbour as oneself come into keeping slaves?

            “Entirely secular/atheistic regimes have committed more than their fair share of genocidal atrocities, and you know it.”

            And whose name were they committed in? Also, fair share? You’re joking right? Secular states weren’t even a thing until about 250 years ago and wars carrying death tolls into the millions have been raging for thousands of years prior.

            The closest you’ll get to secular and/or atheistic regimes getting involved in the carrying out of atrocities were under Stalin (who funnily enough was raised in a seminary and there’s no public record of his renunciation of his christian beliefs, how weird!) and Mao, both of which were what you would call ‘cult of personality’ regimes, where the head of state is worshipped like a living deity. Religion style brain washing without the imaginary friend. If you feel like bringing up Stalin’s former buddy, Adolf, and you have any kind of integrity you’ll be fully aware of the very christian population of Germany at the time, the very, very close ties the man himself had with the Vatican (do I need to mention his own well documented christian beliefs and his own words explaining very clearly why he did what he did?) and of course the little slogan all nazi soldiers wore on their belt buckles ‘gott mit uns’.

            On top of all of that, when was the last time you heard about a militant atheist going around killing people? It plain doesn’t happen. Militant atheists talk, but this seems to threaten the ‘faith’ of religious people to the point of being terrified anyway. What does this say about faith? Do you know what terrifies me? A man holding a rifle and wearing a cross.

            The religious like to claim a monopoly on morality, when in reality the religious really have a monopoly on murder.

            Objectivism might harm your beliefs, but don’t worry, it’s not like they’re living people who actually feel pain.

          • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

            That wasn’t what I claimed, but nice try.

            No? Then what were you claiming when you said this: “more often than not we find people committing atrocities IN THE NAME of the religious books they wave above their heads”?

            You say ‘summed up’ as opposed to ‘replaced by’. How does loving one’s neighbour as oneself come into keeping slaves?

            The Old Testament law provides a few general rules for the keeping of slaves. It was a part of the society of the day that people, including the Hebrews, might sell themselves into slavery for the benefit of themselves or their family, or might be enslaved as punishment for a crime or a debt. The archaeological and historical evidence we have indicates the Hebrews kept few slaves. Perhaps it was because they were following the clear OT teachings such as Exodus 22:21-24 and Exodus 22:9: “You shall not oppress a sojourner. You know the heart of a sojourner, for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt.” In context, of course, “sojourner” is practically a synonym for “slave.”

            And whose name were they committed in? Also, fair share? You’re joking right? Secular states weren’t even a thing until about 250 years ago and wars carrying death tolls into the millions have been raging for thousands of years prior.

            “Whose name were they committed in?” Great question. Groups go to war for complex reasons, and it seems disingenuous to call for nuance in the case of non-religious societies, and simplicity in the cases of more openly religious societies. Purely religious wars are exceedingly rare, even in antiquity. Check out this article, based on information from the Encyclopedia of Wars.

            And no one has more blood on their hands than modern day, anti-religious Communist regimes.

            The closest you’ll get to secular and/or atheistic regimes getting involved in the carrying out of atrocities were under Stalin (who funnily enough was raised in a seminary and there’s no public record of his renunciation of his christian beliefs, how weird!) and Mao, both of which were what you would call ‘cult of personality’ regimes, where the head of state is worshipped like a living deity.

            Stalin never renounced his Christian beliefs? Interesting. I wonder, then, why he said, “You know, they are fooling us, there is no God…all this talk about God is sheer nonsense,” and is almost universally acknowledged as an atheist by historians. Since he was so fond of Christianity, I also wonder why he systematically sought to remove all religion from his communist society, through atheistic education in schools, anti-religious propaganda, the antireligious work of public institutions like the Society of the Godless, discriminatory laws and a terror campaign against religious believers.

            If you feel like bringing up Stalin’s former buddy, Adolf, and you have any kind of integrity you’ll be fully aware of the very christian population of Germany at the time, the very, very close ties the man himself had with the Vatican (do I need to mention his own well documented christian beliefs and his own words explaining very clearly why he did what he did?) and of course the little slogan all nazi soldiers wore on their belt buckles ‘gott mit uns’.

            Nope, wasn’t thinking of Hitler. But don’t forget about Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge, which orchestrated the Cambodian genocide and outlawed all religion — executing anyone who was known to practice it.

          • Syn Holliday

            Could you honestly agree that at one time, it was moral to slay children and force girls into marriage? Please be honest.

          • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

            Sure, I will be as honest as possible. I do not believe it was ever moral to view women as property. I believe God’s intention and his view of men and women has always been that we are equal, both made in his image (Genesis 1:27). Funnily enough, the literalists that claim the Bible teaches strict, “complementary” roles for men and women (with men in charge, of course) ignore the fact that, according to scripture, the idea of men “ruling over women” actually came from the “curse” in Genesis 3.

            As to the slaying of children, I’m guessing you’re talking about the handful of OT verses in which God commands genocide upon cities with which Israel was at war? If so, those are clearly distinguished from the moral imperatives of, say, the 10 commandments. Those were specific commands, given to a specific group of people, about a different specific group of people, at a specific time. I.e., the Bible never records God saying, “Hey guys, listen up: I want you to slay children at all times, whenever you can. It’s totally cool with me.”

          • Syn Holliday

            But would you agree, a command wouldn’t be exempt from moral judgment simply because it was directed at a specific group or at a particular time? A deity claimed to be perfect in morality wouldn’t have any free passes. I would think it immoral to command the killing of babies or forcing girls into marriage regardless of when it was or who were mandated to do so.

            The idea of submissive women is even in the NT.

            “Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to
            speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law. And
            if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a
            shame for women to speak in the church” (1 Corinthians 14:34-35).

            “Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to
            teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. For Adam was
            first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived
            was in the transgression” (1 Timothy 2:11-14).

            “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the
            wives be to their husbands in every thing” (Ephesians 5:22-24).

            “But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of
            the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God” (1 Corinthians 11:3).

            The idea of a curse doesn’t really sit well with me. The punishment of many due to the actions of two, I can’t seem to ethically reconcile. Your thoughts?

          • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

            A deity claimed to be perfect in morality wouldn’t have any free passes.

            Yes, except that if an objective moral law exists, as I believe it does, then it came from God, and therefore it wouldn’t bind him any more than the natural laws he created can bind him.

            The idea of submissive women is even in the NT.

            I agree with the New Testament scholars who believe Paul’s writings here is a reflection of certain cultural mores of the time, and in at least a couple of the cases, his directives were specific to a certain church where a group of women were deliberately causing divisions within the body. At any rate, it’s pretty undeniable that Paul’s “mandates” couldn’t have been as universal as they might seem, since some of his other letters mention the existence of deaconesses and female teachers — at least one of whom (Priscilla) — he served with quite closely and clearly held in very high regard.

            The idea of a curse doesn’t really sit well with me. The punishment of many due to the actions of two, I can’t seem to ethically reconcile. Your thoughts?

            No, I agree with you, I was just making a point about yet another inconsistency in the biblical exegesis of those who claim to take the Bible literally. As you no doubt know by now, I interpret the first few chapters of Genesis largely metaphorically, and I think Genesis 2 and 3 are more about the human condition than the two literal first humans. As such, “the curse,” in my mind, is not something God directly did to anyone as a punishment, but rather a description of some of the inherent consequences of sin. When I read Genesis 3, I see it more as a change in the sinners’ perception of things, rather than a change in the actual things themselves.

          • Syn Holliday

            If morality is defined as whatever God decides at the moment, even if it contradicts His past or future moral codes (even codes we would consider His most basic), then that opens it up to any of the “God told me to” types. We might read about a mother killing her kids and saying God told her to do it. We might say how horrible it is, that God would never command such atrocity. But then that contradicts the concept you mentioned. It could be completely moral and right since it was God who commanded the mother to do so. A Christian passing any kind of judgment would be questioning God’s wishes.

            A racist could still be considered racist, even if he actually respected a few of the “good ones”. I’m sure we’ve all heard it before from a few racists, “I’m not racist, some of my best friends are black.” They will generalize a group, but then point out that some are “not like the rest of them”. “Well, we’ll allow Mr. Cole in to perform here because he’s a special one, not like the rest.” Sexism can exist the same way.

            If the concern was certain acts causing division within a body, you make it unlawful to cause division within a body, regardless of gender. “Since all the bank robbers have been men, we have made a law prohibiting all men from entering any bank.”

            Regarding your perception of God’s curses, I can’t completely agree. God is not beyond condemning an entire population for the wrongdoings of some. For instance, he created a flood which also drowned small children and babies. He Himself was even sorry afterwards and promised never to flood the Earth again. The pain of childbirth was a conscious decision to punish women for the sins of Eve.

          • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

            I think you make some fair points, Syn. I’d like to just make clear that I don’t condone infanticide, racism or gender inequality. The Bible is a complex book, and people can and have used it to justify many terrible things. However, in so doing, every single time they make a mockery of the repeated and consistent teachings that God is a God of love, even that he “is Love.” Read in that light, I don’t see any way someone could use the Bible to justify a general practice of racism or random murders.

            The one specific point I wanted to respond to was the pain of childbirth thing. First of all there is nothing within the text of Genesis 3 (or anywhere else in the Bible) that implies that punishment would be passed onto all women. The text was specific to Eve. Secondly, the text says that the woman’s pain in childbirth would be “multiplied,” implying that some pain in childbirth was and is inherent; the punishment was that it would be increased.

          • Syn Holliday

            The problem with using the Bible to teach those things, the “useful” lessons, is that it does not end there. There is an agenda. I prefer to teach my kids (8, 10, and 14) ethical values without condoning a particular religion to go with it, teach it without a supernatural threat (or afterlife enticement). The virtues of basic ethical values are inherent.

            There are just too many examples in the Bible of God not being an example of love. That’s the problem. I couldn’t teach it without honestly and sincerely believing it myself. The concept of an eternal Hell is one major example, one big characteristic I can’t reconcile. “God loves all His children” and the concept of eternal Hell, just raises a red flag for me.

            But then again, someone pointed out something interesting that could explain that:

            Rom 6:23: “The wage of sin is death.”

            Ecc 9:5: “For the living are conscious that they will die; but as for the dead, they are conscious of NOTHING AT ALL, neither do they anymore have wages, because the remembrance of them has been forgotten.”

            Ceasing to exist is what it sounds like. Something like the Jehovah’s Witnesses believe. Your thoughts?

            Thanks for clearing that up regarding the pain from childbirth, the increase as opposed to the pain itself. I do now recall “multiplied” being mentioned.

          • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

            Thanks for asking. I think my conception of hell is somewhat different than the most mainstream evangelical view. I actually am largely partial to the view you’ve described — which is not particular to Jehovah’s Witnesses. A number of Christians believe in something similar — it’s often referred to as “annihilationism.” It is distinct from the common idea of “eternal torment” in that it posits that the souls of those who are punished are destroyed and cease to exist. It finds biblical support in passages like the one you quoted, as well as a number of statements of Christ, such as Matthew 10: 28: “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul.Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.”

            In the Gospels, Jesus frequently discusses eternal “punishment,” but I think even this could be understood in light of such a of view in a perfectly reasonable way. Quite simply, what he could be saying is not that the punishment (i.e. conscious torment) is eternal, but rather that its results are eternal (that the “second death” that Revelation 20 refers to is permanent and irreversible; those who die a second time cease to exist).

            The way I commonly understand and share my view of hell is in light of our free will. I believe God does give each person a chance to choose him and life or their own way and death. And I believe those who knowingly and willfully reject him receive exactly the alternative they have chosen: death.

            In my view, this would include most people, who try and live basically good, decent lives, but ultimately choose to reject Christ. The one wrinkle that I might add is that scripture does repeatedly talk about those who have done “real evil” toward others being repaid by God. So I do imagine that those who had not already been duly punished in this life would be punished in the next — again, probably not eternally.

          • Syn Holliday

            Yes, there are actually many verses that point to that concept that is not of the “fire and brimstone” type. Someone sent me a PDF that used many verses to support the idea. The early Christians didn’t even believe in an eternal Hell. It makes much more sense, because one would have to think what the purpose of eternal punishment would be for. It obviously wouldn’t be for rehabilitation. It couldn’t be a vengeance that had no end, not when we’re talking about a forgiving God who loves ALL his children and recognizes that He Himself created them in a way that He knew beforehand how they would turn out.

          • Evidence Please?

            You don’t get to call “Spiritual truth” truth until you’ve established that it’s truth in the first place. Otherwise, I can make my own religion and choose my own spiritual truth, and then call it truth.

      • Martin

        Tyler

        “The Bible does not teach that the need for a savior is predicated on the
        idea of original sin. Indeed, original sin is a doctrine that some
        believe is derived from scripture, but it is not named or clearly
        defined anywhere in the text. In fact, if by “original sin,” you mean
        the idea that humans have inherited guilt from their parents and are
        born spiritually dead, I don’t believe that is taught in the Bible at
        all.”

        Then perhaps you should read the Bible more carefully:

        “Therefore, as through one man’s offense [judgment] came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man’s righteous act [the free gift came] to all men, resulting in justification of life. For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous.” (Romans 5:18-19 NKJV)

        Indeed this passage makes the concept of Evolution impossible if the Bible means anything at all. We are made sinners & hence we sin & for our sin receive judgement. But the reason we sin is that we are sinners, fallen in out forefather Adam. You cannot have the gospel and Evolution.

        • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

          “Therefore, as through one man’s offense [judgment] came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man’s righteous act [the free gift came] to all men, resulting in justification of life. For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous.” (Romans 5:18-19 NKJV)

          Yes, but how were the many made sinners? Was it an inherent result of the first man’s action, a result that we played absolutely no part in, or did we have a choice and a role to play in the matter?

          Think carefully before you answer, because if you answer that we had no choice in the decision to become sinners, I can’t see how you could logically believe that we do have a choice in the decision to become righteous (the second parts of verses 18 and 19). In other words, if you construe the condemnation to apply universally, an inherent consequence of Adam’s action, then you must also construe the justification to apply universally, an inherent consequence of Christ’s action. Which would make you a Christian universalist, and something tells me that you are not.

          Indeed, if you read Romans 5 holistically, then it seems to present the clear understanding that we do play a role in our own condemnation and spiritual death. Notice verse 12: “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned.” In other words, the action of the first man who sinned may have opened the door to us sinning, as well, but it was our decision to walk through that door.

  • Psiloiordinary

    I think perhaps number 10 is the reason why the other nine are never really looked into.

    • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

      You may be right.

  • Chris Fox

    As an atheist, I appreciate this post, so thank you for bringing these 10 to the light in the Christian community, but in the opening paragraph: “When I’m talking with atheists or agnostics who are passionately against
    any and all religion, I sometimes find that they have inaccurate (or
    just plain wrong) ideas about the teachings of the Bible, the nature of
    the Christian faith and the qualities of the God I believe in…”

    This is one of the biggest problems we (atheists) tend to have with religion in general. If it can’t be explained, it regresses to the confines of “my god” or the “god I believe in”. The idea of a personal god is inherently contradictory to the doctrine, since there was only one savior (or none thus far or many, depending on your faith). You can’t pick and choose pieces of a story to be true, and pieces that are relegated to your personal, and unique, belief system.

    This is why, in a way, creationists make sense – it’s either all true or none of it is. But then the evidence points toward the latter, so people began sinking their arguments in the thought that it is a matter of a difference in opinion. If it is a personal god, then why do you still believe SOME of the biblical stories?

    Apologies for the rant, just food for thought. Thanks for this thoughtful post.

    • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

      Hey Chris! Thanks for your thoughts. I meant no offense in the introduction, and I should have added that I have met many thoughtful atheists or agnostics (including through this website) who would not at all fit the description above. It has only been some who I think would fit. To give an example, I once had a commenter on this site who was insistent that the earliest copies of the Gospel of Mark contain no mention of the Resurrection and were added (and therefore, made up) at a later date. He didn’t seem much interested in correction, despite the fact that he was mistaken. The earliest copies of Mark that we have most certainly do describe the Resurrection and Christ’s tomb being empty. It is just the last few verses — which describe some of what happened afterward — that are not included.

      Anyway, that’s neither here nor there. I should also say that I don’t believe in a personal pet God, whom I believe I can shape to fit whatever challenges to my faith that might arise. I’m sorry if I conveyed otherwise. However, reason and logic and open-minded respect toward other people’s positions is all very important to me. I strive very hard to draw so-called “lines in the sand” in many aspects of my faith and my religion, because 1, the Bible is a complicated book, and I could very well be wrong in my understanding of it, and 2, because I am keenly aware of the harm that can be caused to others by taking such unrelenting stances on debatable matters.

      I agree that the creationists’ view of God and the Bible is more simple and straightforward than mine, but I’m not really all that interested in a simple view of God Almighty :)

      • Ara Dimidjian

        “the Bible is a complicated book, and I could very well be wrong in my understanding of it,”. In fact the Bible is much more simple than a common fairy tale story. It’s a book written by primitive mammals thousands of years ago, full of contradictions, immoralities and false observations.

        • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

          I appreciate your opinion, but there’s nothing simple about the Bible. Huge commentaries are written debating and discussing the meanings of a single chapter.

          • Jeremy Higgens

            I imagine that two thousand years from now people will write entire books on the graffiti in the New York subway system.
            That doesn’t make the graffiti wisdom.

          • Christopher Lee Hartsock

            I imagine you could write about anything, and fill entire books, but the comparison of the graffiti on the subway system to a literary work such as the Bible is just superfluous, and lacking substance.

            To expand on what I think Tyler was saying, the Bible tackles many many complicated issues straight on, and from a unified perspective. It has endured in a way that subway graffiti simply would not, especially in two millenia.

            To suggest that just because someone engages in the pursuit of graffiti trivia extensively somehow translates into ‘the Bible contains no wisdom’ is just a mental leap most intellectuals would avoid. Rightly so.

          • Jen

            To be fair, we do have entire books on graffiti done by Banksy.

          • Christopher Lee Hartsock

            To be fair, show me how they’re the most reproduced and read books in 3500 years. ;)

          • Utterly B Groovy

            But being ‘popular’ doesn’t make it ‘right’. Burning witches used to be all the rage too.

          • Christopher Lee Hartsock

            Thus ends any possibility of taking you seriously.

          • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

            That doesn’t make the graffiti wisdom.

            It doesn’t make it simple either.

          • Huh?

            Horribly flawed analogy.

          • salkash

            Have you ever read Veda the Hindu Books were written 2000 years before Jesus.

          • Chuck Messenger

            The New Testament – the early, most authentic writings – are in very simple Greek, and express simple ideas. The ideas became more elaborate over time. John, the most elaborate gospel, is written much later than the synoptic gospels, for example.

        • Leager

          I’m not a fan of religion (though I suppose that is unfair — I am not a fan of zealots who reject reality, and those people just happen to be related to religion), but this is unnecessary, rude, and rather trite. I’m an atheist, and I feel the Bible is an extremely important book. Whether or not you agree with what was put forth in the Bible is up to you, but its cultural impact cannot be denied, and it is both a part of our cultural canon and a touchstone for understanding society as a whole (particularly the English-speaking/primarily Christian segments of society). A majority of our morals and values are derived, whether directly or indirectly, from the Bible, and are only now truly being questioned.

          And remember, the Bible might be full of myths, but myths are stepping stones to understanding the world around us.

          Lastly, just don’t comment if all you plan to add is crude and pointless observation intended only to provoke or spite.

          • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

            Thanks, Leager! I appreciate your thoughts.

          • Samuel Kimathi Muriithi

            I agree with @3e1ce3b28a88786498b46d16af358c94:disqus as much is I disagree with the author I think we can do better than resorting to insults especially when we meet someone on the “other” side of the argument who is genuinely interested in a discussion.

          • Syn Holliday

            Insults is an indication of intelligence being thrown out the window; emotion creeps in and rational thinking fades. The only way to have a good discussion is with people who can remain objective, who are secure enough not to take any contradicting view or evidence as a personal attack.

          • Huh?

            Excellent post Leager.

          • David Fruchter

            “A majority of our morals and values are derived, whether directly or
            indirectly, from the Bible, and are only now truly being questioned.”

            Can you name a single modern moral code that has its genesis (no pun intended) in either testament of the Bible?

          • Syn Holliday

            Actually, most of the same basic moral codes were common amongst other religions.

          • David Fruchter

            Other religions and other cultures. That’s my point. People figured out murder was wrong in many places and at many times independent of the Bible. And, in fact, we now reject many of the things the Bible condoned, like slavery. We create our own morality. It doesn’t fall from the sky.

          • Josh

            Where in the bible does it condone slavery?

          • Utterly B Groovy

            Try Leviticus 25:44-46

          • Bert

            People didn’t figure out murder was wrong independent of God. We’re created in God’s image and therefore have an immediate understanding of how murder and certain other sins are wrong. Slavery hasn’t always been “wrong”. God often allowed people to be taken into slavery as punishment for them denying him as God and living wickedly. If all of America became sinful and spurned God and he decided to allow another nation to come in, take over, and enslave us he would be absolutely just in doing so.

          • Janelle Austin

            So basically what you’re saying is, God told you, tomorrow, that He allowed some people to be murdered and raped as punishment for their wicked ways, you would find a group of non-Christians and go on a rape/murder spree? If not, why? Wouldn’t that mean you’re doing God’s work?

          • Utterly B Groovy

            Sorry, but slavery has indeed always been wrong. If the god of the bible is in any way meant to be ‘timeless’ then that god should have got the human scribes to expressly state that it is morally repugnant, now and for always, to “own” another human being.
            That the bible not only condones, but actively encourages slavery, including sexual slavery remember, is surely proof enough that no ‘divine’ being was involved in it’s writing.

          • Robert Gehrman

            You have been trained by religion to ignore and not develop your own inner sense of empathy. Does it feel good to assume you are morally devoid without assistance? I think it not true. Peace.

          • ptolemy

            The mosaic code of laws as presented in the Jewish bible is a fascinating contrast with contemporary codes of law. If you hold up mosaic law with hammurabbi law, the differences are what make the mosaic law revolutionary for its time.

            Examples include how mosaic law treated slaves, various societal classes, and perhaps most importantly the universal nature of literature and worship. Unlike any other laws of those days mosaic law encourage all members of society to be as the priest class of contemporary Egypt and Babylon: reading and writing were meant to be universal.

            This topic is a perfect example of the general populace having strong opinions but little knowledge about a religious topic.

          • Josh

            A good portion of our real estate code (land ownership laws) is based on biblical principles.

          • Bert

            Why does this have up votes? Yes, just to name one. “love your neighbor as yourself”…?

          • 3/1 Marine

            Of course God’s moral code existed before either Testament. God’s moral code is objective, not subjective. It is not limited by time or history.

          • Loulou Von Spiel

            What do you call a “modern” moral code exactly?
            You’ll find that many(often distorded) “Judeo-Christian” concepts, having forged the backbone of western society are still ingrained in our behaviour today.

            It may not be so much in what we do but what we don’t do.
            And I became very aware of it once I moved to Asia.

            We never really respected nature and animals, and there ‘s a lack (until recently) of vegetarian culture.
            There’s a lack of acceptance of fate and a constant wasted reactivity (we do not accept things as they are), always trying to “put things right”, an overblown sense of justice and righteousness.

            A very negative view of death.
            Monogamy.
            A certain prudishness towards bodily function (particularly for Catholics)
            Symbolism of the colour white(as a sign of purity)

            These are just some exemples I can think of on top of my head.

            If we had based our culture on Pagan beliefs or Buddhist teachings etc. our approach to life would be very different and so would our everyday lifestyle.

            Not judging it either way, but to say that you see no direct influence from the bible in today’s values is very naive. Even going purposely against some of those biblical values would still mark it(the bible) as an influence.

          • Robert Gehrman

            Morals are derived from within !
            Empathy is a human condition. How natural would it feel to you to commit genocide, engage in a stoning, or submit your virgin daughters to a mob to be raped? The bibles are not very moral overall. Humans are born with AMAZING abilities to empathise… How sad the ones trained to ignore their inner longings good or bad, in liu of religion’s impersonal excercise. This is corruption……. If religion ever wins the minds of all men, I submit mankind’s tombstone should read “We once were Human”.
            I follow my heart, not some horrible book of atrocities touted as not only honorable but the final word in righteousness. :puke:

        • Huh?

          Those “primitive mamals” are the exact same species as us with the exact same IQ range. We are talking a few thousand years ago, not a few million. In short, this comment is as ridiculous and short sited as you are attempting to make the Bible.

          • Dave Yngvar Hayes

            I took his “primitive mammals” in the same sense as in Army of Darkness, as an insult to simple people, not a “less evolved” species.
            Complicated commentaries are necessary to try to make the primitive (culturally) fairy tales fit, even remotely, into the modern world we (some of us) understand so much better than the people who originally spread these stories, or even the more “civilized” people who edited them over the years.

        • 3/1 Marine

          “written by primitive mammals..”
          It is hard to believe there are still people around who will make comments like this.
          It points out the irrationalism of Atheism.

      • Syn Holliday

        One thing that is quite peculiar about the four Gospels is that only one reports on the dead who rise out of their graves and walk amongst the living. All four mention uneventful details, so it seems odd that something as important as people crawling out of their graves is not mentioned in all four.

        • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

          I agree; it’s very confusing. But, at the same time, the four Gospels were written by four different people, who each had their own subtly different agendas in mind in their writing, and so, each chose to highlight different aspects of Christ and his life. This is the case for, literally, every other historical figure about which biographies have been written. There are thousands of biographies of Abraham Lincoln — many of them very different from each other, based on who wrote them and the information that was or wasn’t available to him or her.

          • Syn Holliday

            True, but such a major detail being left out of three of the four books? It seems a bit suspicious. Among the biographies of Lincoln, there would be major events in his life that would be in most of the books. And there are similarities between the Gospels that go beyond just reporting the same events, but use identical wording, as if the stories were passed around. There were quite a few reliable historians in that area during that time, but they report nothing of the the dead rising out of their graves and walking amongst the living, or even the resurrection.

          • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

            There were quite a few reliable historians in that area during that time, but they report nothing of the the dead rising out of their graves and walking amongst the living, or even the resurrection.

            Really? What “reliable historians” do we know of who inhabited Jerusalem during the same time as Jesus of Nazareth? There were plenty of Roman historians of approximately the same time period, but the Roman Empire was quite large after all, and they took little notice of Palestine. Even Pontius Pilate, probably the most high-ranking Roman official of the area in his day, isn’t mentioned in their writings. There’s Josephus, of course, who chronicled the Jews, but he wasn’t a contemporary of Christ.

          • Syn Holliday

            Justus of Tiberius was a native of Galilee and documented history during the time of Christ. No mention of it.

            Philo-Judaeus, born before Christ and lived long after Christ’s death, lived in and near Jerusalem. He wrote an account of the Jews the entire time of Christ’s life. He was there during the time of the crucifixion with its earthquake, supernatural darkness, and the dead walking out of their graves. He was there during the time of Christ’s resurrection and ascension into Heaven. No mention of any of it.

          • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

            Justus of Tiberius: How do we know? I thought only fragments of his work survived? And, just out of curiosity, what qualities of Justus do you think make him and his work patently more “reliable” than, say, the author of the gospel of Luke? I’m honestly curious.

            I’m somewhat familiar with Philo of Alexandria. I studied some of his views on Old Testament exegesis while working on my college thesis. I didn’t know he wrote any history; I thought he was primarily a theologian and philosopher. Did any copies of this history book actually survive to modern day?

            I think we also must consider, even if there were “reliable historians” living in Jerusalem alongside Jesus, what they might have been expected to experience and record. I think an earthquake would hardly be worth mentioning unless it leveled a city. The Bible doesn’t say how large the earthquake was, merely that “the ground shook” — at least in the area of Golgotha. Its effects were probably quite limited.

            In the same way, “darkness came over the land” for three hours. I see nothing that requires this to be a remarkable event. We don’t even know what happened. Clouds could have covered the sun for all we know.

            Finally, the dead rising from their graves. This, clearly, is described as a supernatural event, and I agree that it seems worthy of notice. But here’s just how I personally make sense of it. The text does not say much about what the dead did, what they looked like or who they appeared to, only that they did raise and that they appeared to “many people” (a relative term). The only raised figure that any of the gospels do describe is Jesus, and he has the following characteristics:

            - he apparently had the power to change his appearance at will
            - he had a physical body, was able to eat and be touched
            - he appeared only to people he knew him
            - he seemed to have the ability to appear and disappear at will, even materializing within a locked room
            - he reassured the people he spoke to that he was OK and was going to be with God

            If the saints who were raised shared these characteristics, then I can understand why it would not have caused a panic. We’re not talking about a zombie invasion here.

          • Syn Holliday

            Photius, who was acquainted with Justus’s writings before they perished: “He (Justus) makes not the least mention of the appearances of Christ, of what things happened to him, or of the wonderful works that he did.” Photius was a Christian scholar.

            Again, the Gospels’ authors were anonymous, so that’s another step away from verifying credibility. The authors could have been writers of fiction, or were tasked by dictators to create something that would keep the masses docile.

            Back to the historians, regarding what details they choose to include in their documentation. The problem with that argument is that many of those historians during that time and in or near the area, were so thorough that they included some really mundane information, small detail that would be much less remarkable than the dead rising out of their graves or three hours of darkness. People meeting with their long dead friends and relatives, that would have been quite remarkable. With that in mind, I would expect one of them would write about those things. None of them did.

            Apollonius, Persius, Appian, Petronius, Arrian, Phaedrus, Aulus, Gellius, Philo-Judaeus, Columella, Phlegon, Damis, Pliny the Elder, Dio Chrysostom, Pliny the Younger, Dion Pruseus, Plutarch, Epictetus, Pompon Mela, Favorinus, Ptolemy, Florus Lucius, Quintilian, Hermogones, Quintius Curtius, Josephus, Seneca, Justus of Tiberius, Silius Italicus, Juvenal, Statius, Lucanus, Suetonius, Lucian, Tacitus, Lysias, Theon of Smyran, Martial, Valerius Flaccus, Paterculus, Valerius Maximus, Pausanias.

            I’m sure you understand, for someone like me, the more remarkable the claim, the more verification I require to honestly say I can draw the assumption. If you told me you went to the grocery store last night, it’s in a whole different league than if you told me you jumped over the moon last night. I don’t rule out any possibility. If there was an all-powerful God, then you very well could have jumped over the moon yesterday. However, where I draw the line as far as belief, I do require reasonable evidence, or else I could fall for any of the remarkable tales told by the many religions throughout the world.

            An earthquake is not remarkable. But if, let’s say, you told me an earthquake yesterday in your area was caused by a certain man waving his arm, well…

            Still, I find the many world religions fascinating.

          • Jacob

            “But, at the same time, the four Gospels were written by four different people, who each had their own subtly different agendas in mind in their writing”

            Doesn’t it bother you that the main accounts of Jesus all came from people who were (clearly) not very interested in being objective?

          • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

            To answer your question, no, it doesn’t bother me in the slightest. That’s because I don’t believe any writer ever has been or ever could be “objective” in the purest sense of the word. Do you think Richard Dawkins, even when he is writing as a scientist, is completely without objective? Even when I write as a journalist, I have an objective: to convince readers that whatever I am writing about occurred, and to convince them that my account and interpretation of the event is accurate. And, indeed, I believe this to be very close to the primary “objective” that the gospel writers had (the author of Luke says as much in his first four verses). Now, having such an objective certainly doesn’t necessarily mean that they were correct or truthful in their accounts, but neither does it mean they should be discounted offhand.

            Indeed, if one had no “objective” in writing something whatsoever, I seriously doubt that they would write at all.

          • 3/1 Marine

            No. Because they were all devout in accurately transmitting the Gospel.

    • Rodrigo Barbosa

      Hey Chris, I’m also an atheist, and a militant one at that.
      That being said, I will have to agree with Tyler that often said atheist don’t know anything about religion. Which doesn’t make religion or god any more true, it just make them ignorant. We, as atheist, have to shred the idea that all atheists are intellectually and culturally superior, which is often not the case. Just a few days ago, in one of the atheist forums I’m a member of, people were defending theories such as “aliens visited earth many times”, “Roswell was real” and a whole bunch of conspiracy theories.
      Plenty of atheists know quite a lot about religion, and make good arguments, based on demonstrable inconsistencies, circular logic, negative proof and so on. But plenty are also ignorant people.

      I think Tyler’s point that ignorance is not restricted to one side of the fence is a valid one.

      • Dave Yngvar Hayes

        Absolutely true, but ignorance of a book does not say anything about the truth of the contents.
        Many atheists reject all superstition AND specifically oppose varieties that are impacting their culture/world.
        I would like to see some of the “wrong” things atheists believe about religion; I suspect the objection is not that they aren’t true, but that the objector doesn’t personally subscribe to some of the particulars of their own claimed faith.

        • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

          I would like to see some of the “wrong” things atheists believe about religion; I suspect the objection is not that they aren’t true, but that the objector doesn’t personally subscribe to some of the particulars of their own claimed faith.

          I’d be happy to share some of what I’ve experienced. I have had an atheist try to tell me that the majority of historical scholars doubt that Jesus was a real person, when the truth is that scholars in any relevant field almost universally reject the “Jesus myth” hypothesis that is so popular on the post-”Zeitgeist” Interwebs. I have also had an atheist on this website try to tell me that the earliest copies of the Gospel of Mark don’t mention the Resurrection, which is demonstrably false.

          Not to mention, more than once within this very thread, atheists have attempted to argue that the doctrine of original sin is the only basis for the necessity of salvation, per Christian theology. It is not only myself, but virtually any Christian theologian I can think of who would say this isn’t true, so this is also not a case of the claim simply being something I don’t “personally subscribe to.”

    • Phil R

      [Re: "The idea of a personal god is inherently contradictory to the doctrine..."]
      If we all started collectively saying, “this is my earth” we would treat it better and it wouldn’t suddenly cause billions of “earths” to emerge…..or would it?… could be cool! Hence there is beauty in the personal God and the coming together of people with the same belief for a greater, collective faith. Christians were called “Christians” by people outside the community. They observed them as following a certain pattern of communal behaviour and teachings of Christ, which tended to be against the norm of that time. The purpose of bible stories (i.e. the message to be applied today) is greater than the content and subsequently historical accuracy. One person reads the Bible and concludes, “this book promotes slavery and is the reason for so much evil today”, while another concludes, “this book shows that slavery to ideology fails and we need to focus on Love.” Changing the frame (i.e. context) without changing the lens (i.e. the perspective) will lead to the same insights and conclusions. Faith in itself is great, but coming together and reasoning in love trumps it all the time.

      • Syn Holliday

        The problem with the idea of a homogeneous world where everyone believes in one single religion is that most will say, “Yes, that is a GREAT idea! Of course, as long as the deity everyone worships is MY god.”

        • http://www.philrmusic.com/ Phil R

          I’ll add on, “…and as long as the laws we submit to suit my purposes”. I agree with you. Problems always arise when we think about self over community and laws over love.

    • Syn Holliday

      True, once you turn to picking and choosing from a religion whose own texts claim it to be wholly infallible, then you’ve basically created a whole new religion, because the basis for your religion is now based on your own wishes of what a religion SHOULD be about.

    • joe

      It’s not that Christianity cannot easily be explained. It can, and a child can understand it. However, it is also filled with such depth that even the most cerebral minds can be occupied for years unraveling it’s meaning (if you want your head to explode, read Romans 8 through Romans 10. Oceans of ink have been spilled debating that passage and there still is no consensus). I think the author was trying to say that most non Christians (trust me, it’s not just atheists. Usually the ones that have NO CLUE what we’re talking about are our Muslim friends) don’t understand the faith at a fundamental level. I don’t think the author intended any harm, and neither do I, as there are plenty of nonchristians who do possess a firm grasp on the bible. God bless :)

  • Grazer #E2H

    I’m currently reading “Lost World of Genesis One” by John Walton and that, combined with this, is helping to make so much more sense of the whole discussion thank you :)

  • Joe Walsh

    “If there appears to be a disagreement between the two, then the interpretation of the passage in question must be incorrect.”
    Your faith rests upon a mountain of hoaxes perpetuated for nearly 2000 years.

  • Kathy

    Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Sometimes I lose hope that Christians have any respect for truth and fact. You are a the best example I have ever seen of someone who does not fear science as an affront to their faith. I see so many bumper stickers/decals with “Truth” and then the god fish eating the darwin fish. I have also had many conversations with antievolution christians, that in spite of so much evidence presented, end with the christian saying, “well I just CAN”T believe in evolution.” As a mother concerned for the future of her children and our country, I know that education, science, and inventiveness are huge strengths for the United States, and I thank you so much for pointing out the travesty of perpetuating falsehoods. ( I wish I were better at expressing myself, but I hope you understand what I am saying) That is why I thank you for posting your views so eloquently, as well as your responses to comments.

    • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

      Thanks, Kathy. I, too, have had discussions about evolution with many Christians, and for a lot of them — after you’ve answered every “scientific” or theological objection they can come up with — it becomes painfully clear that the only real reason they don’t accept evolution is because they don’t want to.

  • BigBrother Olé-Biscuitbarrel

    How do you reconcile “original sin” with evolution?

    If you accept evolution as the reason why humanity is on this planet, the biblical tale of Eden becomes a metaphore at best. Without “original sin” there is no need for a christ, no need for a human blood sacrifice, and chritianity and the other Abrahamic religions become nothing more than a Dianetics cult. A religion based around a work of fiction.

    • Sturgeon

      Where in the Bible does it say that I need a savior because Eve sinned? It doesn’t. The doctrine of salvation is not necessarily dependent on the doctrine of original sin.

      • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

        Yeah, what he said ^ I addressed this exact same question above, but my answer was essentially what Sturgeon said much more succinctly than I did. I’ll copy and paste my answer below:

        The Bible does not teach that the need for a savior is predicated on the idea of original sin. Indeed, original sin is a doctrine that some believe is derived from scripture, but it is not named or clearly defined anywhere in the text. In fact, if by “original sin,” you mean the idea that humans have inherited guilt from their parents and are born spiritually dead, I don’t believe that is taught in the Bible at all.

        The Bible clearly teaches that we are in need of salvation because of our own personal sin, not the sin committed by our supposed ancestors thousands of years ago. Romans 3:23-25: “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith.”

        Nothing about Adam and Eve in there, nor is there anything in that passage that the scientific theory of evolution could possibly make more or less true.

        • Sam Haylor

          if by “original sin,” you mean the idea that humans have inherited guilt from their parents and are born spiritually dead, I don’t believe that is taught in the Bible at all

          You’re kidding right?

          “Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, And in sin my mother conceived me.” – Ps. 51:5

          “The wicked are estranged from the womb; These who speak lies go astray from birth.” – Ps. 58:3

          “All of us like sheep have gone astray, Each of us has turned to his own way; But the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all To fall on Him” – Is. 53:6

          “Do not be amazed that I said to you, ‘You must be born again” – Jn. 3:7

          “that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you” – Jn. 14:17

          “ … both Jews and Greeks are all under sin; as it is written, “THERE IS NONE RIGHTEOUS, NOT EVEN ONE; THERE IS NONE WHO UNDERSTANDS, THERE IS NONE WHO SEEKS FOR GOD; ALL HAVE TURNED ASIDE, TOGETHER THEY HAVE BECOME USELESS; THERE IS NONE WHO DOES GOOD, THERE IS NOT EVEN ONE.” – Rom. 3:9-12

          “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” – Rom. 3:23

          “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned” – Rom. 5:12

          “The gift is not like that which came through the one who sinned; for on the one hand the judgment arose from one transgression resulting in condemnation, …. For if by the transgression of the one, death reigned through the one, …So then as through one transgression there resulted condemnation to all men, even so through one act of righteousness there resulted justification of life to all men.” – Rom. 5:16-19

          “But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised” – 1 Cor. 2:14

          “For since by a man came death, by a man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive” – 1 Cor. 15:21-22

          “Now I say this, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.” – 1 Cor. 15:50

          “And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, … and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest” – Eph. 2:1-3

          These passages (and others) show us that we sin BECAUSE we are sinners, not the other way around. They also show that we inherited this sinful state from Adam. The Bible could not be more clear!

          • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

            All of these passages are far more ambiguous than you claim. The strongest evidence you have provided is from Psalms, which is bursting with hyperbole and metaphor. Do you think David’s bones literally wasted away in Psalm 32? Do you accept the literal interpretations of Psalms 90, 93 and 104 that say the earth is firmly established and cannot be moved, hence making the widely accepted heliocentric model a blasphemy?

            I could go on and on. The Psalms are poetry. I believe, as you do, that they are divinely inspired, but that doesn’t mean they are meant to be juxtaposed, literally, into some kind of theological treatise. I think that to try and do so is a misuse of the text.

            On the other hand, there are teachings that clearly contradict the idea that we are born spiritually dead. How about Romans 7:9: “I was once alive apart from the law, but when the commandment came, sin came alive and I died.” This would seem to make no sense in your theological construct, since Paul was born dead — there was never a point that he was “alive apart from the law.”

            The dire warnings of James 1:14-15 also are difficult to understand in your view: “But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.” Isn’t all of this is irrelevant if we are born dead anyway, regardless of what we do or don’t do?

          • Sam Haylor

            That’s a pretty unfair sweeping statement, since you yourself quoted one of them (Rom. 3:23) and had no trouble taking it at face value. Paul is not explicit when declaring the sinner condemns himself but ambiguous when declaring that “ALL have sinned”! How does one explain the 100% sin rate without accepting the fact that we all sin because we all WANT to? Do you deny that all have sinned? Has there been one living soul, apart from Jesus Christ, who has lived without sin? No, “not even one!”

            How is it ambiguous when Paul repeats himself over and over? How is he ambiguous when he says, rather plainly, “a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit… and he cannot understand them”? How is Jesus ambiguous when He says, “that which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit” sandwiched smack in between two declarations that one “must be born again”? He certainly expected Nicodemus to understand His words in verse 10!

            I’m not really sure how to respond to your comment about Rom. 7:9 without coming across as rude or condescending. For lack of a better way to say it, you’ve misunderstood Paul’s entire point of the passage. Suffice it to say, his point hinges on the concept found in verses 8 and 11 with sin “taking opportunity” and then really comes to a head in verse 13. As he states elsewhere, he believed himself to be blameless with regard to the Law. What he describes in Rom. 7 is him being confronted with the specific commands of the Law and that he in fact was NOT blameless. When he recognized that, he “died” in that he realized he was already dead because his righteousness was as “filthy rags”. This is precisely what Jesus meant when He said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Mt. 5:3) and “It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick; I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners” (Mk. 2:17). He was not suggesting that there were some who did not need His salvation, but that only those who recognized their wretchedness can come to Him.

            Yes, the Psalms are poetry, Hebrew poetry. Is there a rule stating every word in Hebrew poetry must be either hyperbole or metaphor? Hebrew poetry is not like western pop culture poetry where each line is intentionally vague and impossible to comprehend. Its distinguishing characteristic is its use of parallel phrases, either one contrasting the other or one repeating the other in a different way, but obscurity is not its aim. How else does one interpret Ps. 51:5? “Brought forth” certainly COULD be a metaphor, except that the parallel line after it restates it more plainly. He was sinful before he was born; pretty basic but it flows perfectly within the psalm as a whole being a plea for forgiveness and reconciliation.

          • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

            That’s a pretty unfair sweeping statement, since you yourself quoted one of them (Rom. 3:23) and had no trouble taking it at face value. Paul is not explicit when declaring the sinner condemns himself but ambiguous when declaring that “ALL have sinned”!

            Saying it’s ambiguous doesn’t mean I reject the literal interpretation. It simply means that even the literal interpretation has multiple possible meanings. It means the literal interpretation does not necessarily mean what you asserted that it means in your earlier post (that people are born condemned, without any choice in the matter, and that we inherited this state from Adam).

            I do not deny that all people are sinners, nor do I deny any of the attributes that Bible describes of sinners (we are “dead,” we are blind, we are deaf, we are separated from God, etc.). That is, in my view, exactly the basis of our need for the atonement of Christ — not a single act of sin our supposed ancestors committed thousands of years ago.

            The question is not whether all people sin, the question is how did we become sinners? Were we born that way, or did we become sinners because we chose to sin? You think we were born dead in the sin of people we would never know. You think we never had a choice of whether to be on the good side or the bad; we were born onto Satan’s team and destined for hell, all because of a single ancient act that we had absolutely nothing to do with.

            I think we had a choice in the matter, and I think most of the passages you quoted (and all the ones I did) support this view at least as well as they support yours (that’s why I called them ambiguous). I think that the drama of Adam and Eve, on a smaller scale, has been reenacted with every human person who has ever lived. We have all been offered a chance at God’s way, except only one man has ever had the strength and obedience to make the right choice, and to carry it out all his life. All the rest of us rejected God’s offer and have fallen short, instead gleefully choosing to plunge down the pathways of sin.

            You may disagree with my view, but you can’t deny that it fits most of the verses you quoted just as well as your interpretation does. And it fits the ones I quoted better.

            I’m not really sure how to respond to your comment about Rom. 7:9 without coming across as rude or condescending. For lack of a better way to say it, you’ve misunderstood Paul’s entire point of the passage.

            You seriously couldn’t think of a less rude or condescending way to say this? How about, just for future reference, you consider even the barest possibility that you may be wrong about your interpretation of a complex theological text that was written almost 2,000 years ago. Then, you just may be able to avoid statements like this, which convey your clear belief that you are the mouthpiece of the Holy Spirit, and you alone are able to correctly interpret what he meant.

            Suffice it to say, his point hinges on the concept found in verses 8 and 11 with sin “taking opportunity” and then really comes to a head in verse 13. As he states elsewhere, he believed himself to be blameless with regard to the Law. What he describes in Rom. 7 is him being confronted with the specific commands of the Law and that he in fact was NOT blameless. When he recognized that, he “died” in that he realized he was already dead because his righteousness was as “filthy rags”.

            Like anyone else, you accept the “face value” meaning of passages when they suit your theology, and you ignore them when they don’t. What’s hypocritical about you is that you accuse other believers of spitting on “biblical authority” for doing the exact same things that you do: INTERPRETING THE TEXT, often in ways that go outside its most straightforward meaning.

            I agree that sin “taking opportunity” through the commandments is a key concept in this passage. What I don’t understand is how you think it changes the meaning of Romans 7:9, where Paul seems to be saying, in no uncertain terms, that there was a point in his life when he was spiritually alive, until he was presented with a choice; he chose sin, broke the commandments, and he passed from spiritual life to death.

            Your interpretation seems to me to be significantly at odds with Paul’s words. For example, how can you say that what Romans 7:9 is really describing is Paul’s blamelessness according to the law, when the verse clearly says the “life” he once possessed is entirely distinct from the law (“I was once alive apart from the law“)? Throughout the chapter, Paul describes sin’s action in terms such as bringing death to him (verse 13), even killing him (verse 11). I can’t see how this could be reasonably interpreted as nothing more than a “realization” that he was “already dead.” At any rate, the “face-value” meaning of the words is that he passed from a state of life to death, because of his sin.

            This point is driven home by the introduction of Romans 7, which is all about life and death (not blamelessness and guilt) and how it pertains to the law.

            Is there a rule stating every word in Hebrew poetry must be either hyperbole or metaphor?

            No, but since the two verses that are, by far, the strongest support for the idea that people are born spiritually dead both come out of a poetic book that is characterized by metaphor and hyperbole, I would certainly want to tread carefully.

            How else does one interpret Ps. 51:5?

            I interpret it as a hyperbolic statement, just as I interpret David’s descriptions of his bones wasting away, or his enemies surrounding him and their every thought being about shedding his blood.

        • Bryan Richards

          This makes me wonder why all of god’s creation wasn’t born with sin then… if all have sinned and fallen short then what about the heavenly host that didn’t fall? Are they sinless? Or are they sinful and remain with god?

          • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

            Romans 3 is about all people, not everything in creation.

          • Bryan Richards

            So you don’t think angels are people of any kind, or that they don’t have free will and a soul?

          • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

            I’m not sure if angels have “free will” as we understand it. The Bible doesn’t seem to say much on the matter one way or another. But there’s certainly no indication within scripture that the angels in heaven are, like humans, fallen and in need of salvation, and that’s what Romans 3 is about.

          • Bryan Richards

            Sure there is… 1/3 of the host “chose” to follow lucifer. Doesn’t that indicate free will to you?

          • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

            Well, that’s relying on a speculative interpretation of Revelation 12, a very difficult and confusing text indeed. Even if one does interpret verse 4 as referring to the angelic host, which I know many people do, I think it’s still more than a bit of a stretch to say this proves angels have free will. If anything, the more straightforward reading would say the angels were forced down, perhaps manipulated, by some scheme of Satan, not necessarily that they willfully “chose” to follow him.

          • Bryan Richards

            All interpretations of the bible are speculative… otherwise it wouldn’t require interpretation lol.

  • Steve

    As a believer who sees nothing contradictory about evolution as a means of creation, I find it strange that young-earth creationists and bible literalists believe that somehow God worked “instant magic” for 6 days, then suddenly changed to a slow process model for working in the world. Why, after all, did it take thousands of years – generations of life and death – between the ancient Messiah prophesies and the coming of Jesus? Wouldn’t a “magical god” just send his Son instantly and save us eons of grief? When I read scriptures (in their context – not literally) I don’t see a God who’s in a hurry. Another, theologically-exciting aspect of this is that creation wasn’t a one-shot deal – it’s still in process. Regardless of whom you believe is behind it all (if anyone), that’s an exciting prospect.

    • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

      Really great thoughts, and very well put! Thanks for posting, Steve!

  • Alex Nielsen

    Tyler:

    Thanks for the article, it really is wonderful.

    However, I did want to address one point you made in the comments below. Regarding false information in the bible you said “Today, we read these passages [...] and understand that the authors are using figurative language,” and “can you accept the fact that Jesus obviously had no problem accommodating his listeners’ inaccurate understanding of the world around them in order to convey a deeper truth?”

    You go on to argue that “the Bible reflects an ancient understanding of science and the universe.”

    I don’t think you can really make the argument in good faith that Jesus, Peter, etc. were writing in “figurative language” to the benefit of “accommodating [an] inaccurate understanding of the world.” We’re to believe that Peter and the disciples alone among all men after Christ knew the material secrets of the universe, and told no one? Or more importantly, that Christ himself, with his powers to persuade, educate, and illuminate would intentionally utilize misinformation out of convenience, a teacher who inconvenienced every student he ever had as a basis of his pedagogical method?

    Occam’s Razor tells us that the reason that Peter, Christ, etc. propagate misinformation is not because they wanted to make things easy for their lay audience though they had access to the whole truth of the universe, but rather that they said these things because either:

    a) they were simply men who didn’t know better, or
    b) they have been written, translated, interpreted, and rewritten by men who didn’t know better.

    To argue that Christ would use the parable as earthly evidence is hardly a stretch – he does so constantly. To claim that he intentionally took the easy path with his audience to do so seems a little more shaky, since Christ typically chose to challenge in the Gospels through his selection of narrative frame. To believe that Christ and his disciples were “accommodating” pre-existing “inaccurate understandings” is to throw irrationality in the face of irrationality. Even within the framework of the Christian rhetorical mode, that is the one thing Christ would never do.

    I’m not going to make an atheistic argument for why these errors exist, because that would be rude in this context, and you’re well-informed enough to already know the scholarship that would explain these errors from a secular standpoint. I will say, however, that from a purely Christian framework, the argument that anybody actively spoke in “figurative language” in the Bible to “accommodate” or to “reflect ancient understanding” would be disingenuous at best. Figurative language, by definition, has to include a choice to ignore literal language in favor of the alternative. To claim figurative language is to necessitate that the disciples knew about elements, and the theory of relativity, and the heliocentric model of the universe, and the existence and composition of other planets, and even knowledge we still do not have access to, and chose to reject the opportunity to progress mankind infinitely in order to promote Christian thought in a time of disease, strife, and social unrest.

    I’m just saying, if you wanted to gather followers, “hey, I’m Paul, and this is Matthew. We made this flying machine. Also, here’s some rocks that Simon brought back from the moon with rocket technology. Have you guys ever seen a vaccine before? By the way, here’s a compendium of knowledge it would take your civilization 5,000 years to compile. You can thank that guy over there, he’s an all-knowing being of infinite power, and a manifestation of the Lord” would be a really great marketing pitch. And it doesn’t violate any of the expectations of faith-based Christianity that changing water into wine or curing the blind doesn’t already. The reason the disciples didn’t do this is probably because they didn’t have access to any of this information, and neither did Christ.

    I’m not sure what argument might work to maintain the religious status quo and explain these errors, but figurative language is at best a first-level dodge, and not a real answer to the questions at hand.

    Thanks again for the article, I’m going to link it to all my friends. It’s just fantastically well-written. I hope you don’t feel I was jumping down your throat with my commentary.

    -Alex

    • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

      Thank you, Alex. I’m glad you liked the article. I think you make a very good argument. It is indeed a difficult concept to understand, and I must admit I don’t fully get it either. All I can guess is that, if Jesus really was God, and if the Bible really was inspired by God, then the theological truths being conveyed were considered far more important than any scientific or historical truth that might have otherwise been shared. If it is true that this life is temporary, but our souls are eternal, then it does make some sense why the means to eternal salvation would be considered more pressing than information about germs and diseases and vaccines.

      I will say that I do believe the men who wrote the Bible were men. I don’t believe they were inherently in possession of special knowledge about the future and the universe that they did not share. However, I do believe in the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, so the question is why he wouldn’t have revealed things that God obviously knows, especially since it would have made the inspired nature of scripture more obvious (as you point out, in the same way Christ’s miracles would have to the observers).

      Thanks again for reading, and for sharing. I do appreciate your thoughts very much :)

      • Alex Nielsen

        Tyler,

        Thanks for the response. I appreciate your thoughts on the topic, as well, but I would say that there’s one thing that doesn’t ring true in your explanation:

        “…it does make some sense why the means to eternal salvation would be considered more pressing than information about germs and diseases and vaccines.”

        Sure, if only the bible didn’t focus on these kinds of topics so frequently. The bible would like us to know very specifically the mathematical engineering of many things, such as arks, the temple of Solomon, and dozens of other examples, but gets this information impossibly wrong. The bible would like us to know important information about hygiene at several points (we’ll skip over the unfortunate misogyny that springs from this information repeatedly) but doesn’t understand how the human body functions to the point of… awkwardness. The bible uses concepts of the firmament and questions of astrology to address several significant concepts incorrectly. Genesis 30 wants us to know a whole lot about animal husbandry, as do other points throughout the bible. It’s an important topic to the target audience, and yet it’s based entirely on bad science and old-wives-tales.

        I don’t mean to pile on, it’s not productive, but the point is that the bible does indeed consider several worldly topics to be pressing information and under the purview of the word of god, topics like cosmology, biology, mathematics, anatomy, physics, agronomy, history, etc.. And every time it approaches one of these topics, it gets almost *everything* horribly, horribly wrong.

        That’s not to be dismissive of the bible based on these errors. The bible is a millenia-old text written not by scientists but priests and shepherds. It should be wrong about these things where it addresses them. But why is it addressing them?

        So, your argument that the bible is too concerned with salvation to sweat the small stuff begs the question: why would the bible spend a significant amount (indeed, the majority) worrying about topics not related to salvation, but instead to lists of begats to establish regency and the birth history of kings, to military records, to architectural blueprints for buildings, to explanations of the classification of the animal and plant kingdoms, and to other various topics?

        I’m not sure there’s a right or wrong answer theologically. Biblical historians can answer these questions from a pragmatic, secular viewpoint in terms of the literary and social functions of these passages, but we should spend time carefully considering the spiritual and pedagogical implications of textual and scientific errors in the Bible.

        I appreciate your response, and will “take my answer off the air,” as they say. I don’t want to waste your time. But I do enjoy your approach to difficult questions, and hope you can spare just a few more moments to share your thoughts.

        Thanks again,
        Alex

        • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

          Hey Alex,

          You make some more excellent points. I will be happy to try and share my thoughts. I have much respect for some of the teachings of the Jewish philosopher Philo of Alexandria, who lived contemporaneously with Jesus and the authors of the New Testament. He taught that the Old Testament had two meanings: the literal (ad litteram) and the allegorical (allegorice). And, he believed the literal meaning was of less importance and value than the allegorical, which he took as the “real” meaning of the passage in question, something he thought only the initiated could comprehend.

          I see this exact kind of thinking even within the New Testament scriptures themselves. An obvious example is Galatians 4:24, where Paul, quite clearly, tells his readers that he is interpreting the story of Hagar and Sarah allegorically — going well beyond what the story seems to be saying on the surface, to, instead, claim it as an early signpost point to the truth of the new and old covenants. The author of 1 Peter does a similar thing in chapter 3, and the author of Matthew does it multiple times throughout his gospel — claiming Old Testament passages as prophecies of Christ — even ones that, in their original contexts, explicitly referred to the nation of Israel, like Hosea 11:1.

          I think there is clearly a “literal” meaning to the passages you mention, like the genealogies or the directions for building the ark of the covenant. Their literal meaning is, well, to be a genealogy, or to direct the people of Israel as to how to build the ark of the covenant.

          The question is, do these passages also have allegorical value and meaning? Can they offer any instruction to me, as a Christian believer with no interest in building an ark, living thousands of years later? And I think the answer is yes. As to the specific teachings (“Make the ark this tall,” “make the poles this long,” etc.), maybe a Christian can see in them the great care that one should assume, when presuming to go before a holy God?

          I hope this makes some sense. I am a little short on time at the moment, but would be happy to explain more if you have further questions.

          • Eric

            I know you feel that you some parts of the bible or literal, some are metaphorical, Tyler, but really, what were reasons behind the metophors? Why couldn’t it have been straightforward? These are rhetorical questions, I know you don’t have the answers, just trying to see what you have to say about it. Without empirical evidence of God’s existence, with the bible being open to interpretation and retranslated hundreds of times and full of metophors and fairy tales, what exactly is a logical skeptic supposed to do? Historical documentation of Jesus is shoddy at best, there are no clear cut answers. Why do you need a thousand metophors to do the right thing anyway?

            Just doesn’t add up. Its all shrouded in mysteries and lies. Some of its true you say, some of it isn’t. But the bible is largely regarded as infallible, although if one part of it is incorrect, I feel that the whole thing looses credibility. The whole Christianity thing is just so conveniently unable to disproved, but highly unlikely. If the bible isn’t a reliable source, there isn’t one anywhere. Then all we have to go by is what others tell us, which is usually some interpretation of the bible, written by fallible man, interpreted by fallible man. The only thing we can trust with any certainty is the scientific method, which also changes with new discoveries (as it should). Ultimately, we have to come up with our own truth bases off what makes sense to us. The difference between atheists/agnostics and Christians/religious fols is that the former choose reason and logic, because that’s the most reliable tool we have. The religious population generally just use interpretations of a book that is rife with tall tales and contradictions. I just don’t see how that is wise.

    • Eric

      I know I’m extremely late to this party, and I don’t think anyone’s really participating anymore. I am an agnostic, scientific person. It’s organized religion, mainly Christianity that I have a problem with. For reasons that have already mentioned by others. I would like to believe that there may be a higher power, or at least forces we don’t understand at work, hence why I consider myself agnostic rather than an athiest.

      What I did want to bring up is that if Jesus and his disciples did indeed have the secrets to the universe, they surely didn’t have the means (monetary or influence) at the time to make a flying machine, or go the moon, or make vaccines. But I Jesus could perform miracles, why not pull these things out of thing air? Someone who could walk on water, turn water into wine, heal the sick and blind, and raise the dead could surely do that. So if he did have this knowledge and ability. He chose not to.

      Now, I’m not saying he had to, or he should have…just saying he could have. For someone who allegedly was a champion of the sick and poor, someone who spoke out against tyranny and oppression, it seems like he could have done more in his lifetime to help. Why cure a few sick people when you could have cured and prevented disease for everyone with that vaccine. He fed hundreds of people with a few fish and loaves of bread, but didn’t make some vaccines out of nowhere for the sick people.

      Instead, he spoke in cryptic riddles, wrote nothing himself, and the only accounts of his existence are shoddy at best. Then he became the sacrificial lamb for all of our sins.

      What is with God requiring live sacrifices anyway? The barbaric stories of the old testament have already been mentioned. This doesn’t sound like a loving, forgiving God. Slavery, genocide…sacrifices? He loves and forgives you, but requires blood to forgive your sins? This pleases God? The God of the old testament also admits to bring a jealous God. Jealousy, vengeful, murderous traits don’t sound they belong to a perfect, divine creator who is the very definition of love. These sound like the traits of a villainous human being. Just the worst kind of person. Not the kind of God I choose to believe in or have anything to do with, whether or not God chooses to be above his own moral code, as you put it, Tyler.

      So when I die, if I find out that this God does exist and he wants to send me to hell, or destroy my soul or whatever…all because he left no empirical evidence to confirm his presence, and the accounts of him in the bible portray him as some kind of monster, then so be it. He can send me far away from him, because he is a sociopath.

      That being said, I did enjoy the article, and had a blast reading the comments. Thank you Tyler for writing this, and thank all of you who contributed intelligent comments…and that wasn’t all of you.

  • B.C.

    But atheists score higher on religious knowledge tests. Also most atheists in the U.S. are former Christians.

    I will agree that we often use what might appear to be straw men arguments. We tend to use THE WHOLE Bible in our opposition to it. While Christians tend to just use the parts they or their religious leaders like.

    I appreciate the article overall though.

    • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

      Thanks, B.C. I didn’t mean for my comment to be read as referring to all atheists. I have indeed met many atheists and agnostics who are very reasonable, respectful and open-minded, who greatly delight in the pursuit of knowledge and information and truth. It is only a few whom I’ve encountered that seem to have a personal vendetta against religion, which is immune to any facts that would contradict their pre-existing biases.

    • Huh?

      “We tend to use THE WHOLE Bible in our opposition to it.”

      That’s laughable. You are making a joke, right?

  • B.C.

    Why do you think evolution was picked as the “last stand” against science? There are things in cosmology, geology, psychology and other areas of science that contradict a literal reading of the Bible as much as evolutionary theory.

    Does it come down to evolution simply requiring one to know more about science than other areas? Or was it just easier to latch on to “my daddy wern’t no monkey!”.

    As a former Christian the anti evolution disinformation seems like just another cynical cash grab by charlatans.

    • Rab Simpson

      In a word: vanity.

  • Daniel William

    Tyler, I’m sure your a sweet family guy but you have been programmed and conditioned by other post modern christians. Displayed in your writing here are ignorant and sweeping statements .

    • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

      Tyler, I’m sure your a sweet family guy but you have been programmed and conditioned by other post modern christians.

      Yeah, because this doesn’t seem like an “ignorant or sweeping statement” at all.

      • Daniel William

        Yes, absolutely my response can be classified as a sweeping statement, Now you understand some of the fallacies in your original post?

        • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

          Yes, of course! Your two-sentence post has shown me all the errors of my ways. Once I was blind, but now I see. Thank you, Daniel. Thank you.

  • Greg

    I guess I don’t think of the Bible as a science book nor On the Origin of the Species to be a book on morality, I do have to point out some Bible verses -
    First story of creation:
    Genesis 1:11 – Let the EARTH produce plants.
    Genesis 1:14 – promotes that the sun and moon were not even created until the 4th day. Today’s concept of day and evening didn’t even exist until the 4th day.
    Genesis 1:24 – Let the EARTH produce animals.
    Second story of creation:
    Genesis 2:7 – Man was created out of soil/clay – see http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131105132027.htm

    At some point I think all agree man has reached a point of self-awareness (ate the apple) the other creatures haven’t. Thanks for an interesting blog

    • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

      Thank you, Greg! I agree that the passages you mention need not be opposed to evolution at all. Young-earthers, in my experience, tend to try to skim over these verses as much as possible.

      • Greg

        I am a way beyond my area of expertise (both scientifically and theologically) – but it really wasn’t until the 1950s and the application of Einstein’s theory of relativity to create the Big Bang theory that scientists came to recognize the universe did indeed have a beginning. The realization was that the universe was expanding. Up to that point it was scientific assumption/theory that the universe was “static state”. Einstein himself was a supporter of the static state until he came to see the error of his thoughts by use of his own theorems. To me I see more and more agreement between them rather than opposition.

  • James I. Kirkland

    People need to visit Utah, explore are geological parks, join a dinosaur dig, ect. Our rocks preserve on of the most complete sequences of life in any one small geographic place on Earth. Here is a cartoon of Utah’s dinosaur story during Mesozoic (remember birds are now considered to just be flying dinosaurs) plotted against a linear timescale (Our sequence of Upper Cretaceous is nearly 100X times thick than our ALower Cretaceous sequence of rocks because of the thrusting up of the Sevier Mts. about 125 Ma across central Utah). It does not include the new Wahweap tyrannosaurid Lythronax named just this past Wednesday, as I have to update this every few months since Utah is such a hotbed of discovery.

    Our fossil mammal record is also great, but without a Cenozoic seaway, our fossil whale story sucks the our primates went extinct about 40 Ma. Our Paleozoic record in Utah’s west desert preserves a record of the origins and radiation of multicelluar life that is second to none! We have more paleontological museum exhibits and interpreted sites than any other state. If people would visit utah and look with there eyes open, evolution’s deep time story is hard to deny.

    • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

      Thank you for your post, James. I completely agree with you.

  • Mike Calder

    “Scientific
    theories are not the opposite of facts; they are actually superior to
    facts in the hierarchy of terms because they explain facts.”

    WRONG!
    We kn ow that a fact is true. An explanation may or may not be true. So
    the explanation can not be superior in regard to truth because it can
    be wrong, where a fact by definition is never wrong.

    • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

      I didn’t say an explanation was superior “in regard to truth”; I said it was superior in the hierarchy of scientific terms. Which it is. “This fossilized bone is 165 million years old” is a fact, but it is not a particularly useful one. On the other hand, the theory of evolution — the power to explain why things are the way they are — is incredibly useful. That explanations can be wrong is indeed a weakness, but that is why scientists repeatedly use observation, experimentation, predictions and testing to confirm or falsify theories. However, the weakness of potential fallibility in no way negates the great predictive and explanatory power that theories can have.

      If we did not use theories and explanations we could not function in society in relation to anything we did not observe with our own eyes. We could not convict anyone of a crime in the absence of eyewitnesses, and we would be prohibited from doing most forms of scientific inquiry. The fact that you obviously use computers and the Internet indicates to me that you are OK with most of what science does.

      • Mike Calder

        You can not establish that a fossilized bone is 165 million years old. The dating methods are based on assumptions that one can not be certain of. Therefore it is an”educated guess” and a poor one at that.

        There use to be a theory that explained where flies came from. Louis Pasteur proved that explanation (theory) wrong. The explanation was far from stressful.

        • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

          The only assumptions radiometric dating relies on are perfectly reasonable ones, such as the rate of decay of certain materials, which we now see to be constant and stable, were also constant and stable in the past. Scientists date various materials within a certain sample, and also test other materials found in the same layer as the sample in order to establish a date range that is dependable and accurate.

          Using an example of a debunked theory is not a very good argument against theories in general. As I stated before, this is why scientists test theories with predictions, observations and experimentation. Spontaneous generation failed these tests, so it was rejected. Science works. Evolution has passed these tests for more than 150 years, so it remains the prevailing explanation, and it is incredibly useful and predictive. Science works.

  • Mike Calder

    In response to,“Blind faith” does indeed have pejorative connotations in secular usage,
    but RayCo lends credence to these undertones in a way that no True Christian™ should. That’s because the Bible talks about “blind” religious faith, and its description is anything but negative. In John 20:29, Jesus declares that those who “believe without seeing” are “blessed” (contrasting them with “doubting” Thomas, who asked for proof), and 1 Peter 8-9
    warmly declares that those who have not and do not see Christ
    nonetheless are “filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you
    are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your
    souls.”

    This again is a misrepresentation of fact. Thomas had the testimony of many eye witnesses. Jesus was not saying to have blind faith, but to follow the evidence which does not require seeing him. We do the same in a court of law. No juror actually sees the murder, yet they convict based on evidence, not “blind faith”. The same is true of Christians. “:Blind faith” is superstition. I am a Christian because the evidence has convinced ma beyond “reasonable doubt” that Jesus got up from that grave.

  • TheWild Webster

    It’s obviously the work of God. Like, for example, despite there being (allegedly – according to ‘science’) billions of molecules in a glass of water, how is it that every single time you pour the same amount of water out of the glass and back in, it always settles to the same level in the glass? It’s obvious Jesus is sorting those watercules every time!!!!
    http://thewildwebster.wordpress.com/2011/06/11/god-is-in-the-water/

  • Mike Calder

    I could offer a refutation for all of these, but the two that I have already done were good enough, but one has disappeared so I will add another. Point number 10 is clearly wrong. The Bible teaches that everything produces “after its kind”. Evolution teaches that one kind produces another over time. The two are irreconcilable.

    • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

      I don’t know what you mean by “disappeared.” I haven’t deleted anything from this thread, if that’s what you’re implying.

      Point number 10 is clearly wrong. The Bible teaches that everything produces “after its kind”. Evolution teaches that one kind produces another over time. The two are irreconcilable.

      Nothing anywhere in scripture or the most conservative theological models of salvation would suggest that one must believe that particular verse (or anything in Genesis 1) is literal in order to be a Christian. Since you have not suggested otherwise, I’m guessing you agree with this, and so you also agree with the main point of No. 10, which is that evolution is not inherently opposed to Christianity.

      As to it being opposed to the Bible, it’s only a contradiction if you read the passage as literal history, which I think is incorrect. You could also say the heliocentric model is inherently opposed to the Bible if you read passages like 1 Chron. 16:30, Psalm 93:1, Psalm 96:10, Joshua 10:12-13, Hab. 3:11 and Ecc. 1:5 incorrectly.

      In the same part of the Bible that describes animals producing after their kind, it also says the bodies of land animals and people are made from dirt. I’m guessing you don’t take that literally or you would avoid water for fear of dissolution.

  • Cathy Wells

    Things that I don’t feel are adequately dealt with in any evolution material that I’ve seen: 1. Mechanism of ability of a species to develop appendages or attributes. 2. Given what we know about DNA replication, what mechanism is responsible for these changes, are we chalking it all up to genetic mutations? Because, frankly, evolutionary theory seems to talk a lot about “necessary” adaptations or evolutions, which would involve some sort of sentient thought. Just saying, “some random mutations” is clearly chaotic and wouldn’t result in much of anything over time, certainly not systematic structures. 3. Engineer-minded systems and functions (flagella tail mentioned repeatedly in creationist circles). So….we’re chalking THOSE up to “genetic mutations?”

    In short, give me a break. Evolutionary theory has no real answers for the “how,” in my opinion. And since so many evolutionists seem dead set against intelligent design and have no actual answers for the “how” other than straight up conjecture based on their interpretation of the fossil record, I’m just not buying it.

    As I tell my students, some Christians are OK with evolution, others are not. To some, it’s important to their faith, to others, it is not. For me, I really could care less how long God took to make anything or even how He chose to do it. But ascribing the glory and complexity of creation to “chance” is asinine in my opinion. So, yes, that is where we diverge with evolutionists. And I don’t see much chance of resolution.

    • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

      Genetic mutation is only one of the mechanisms that drive evolution. There are several. One that is often ignored is the role genetic recombination plays in species that reproduce sexually. Through meiosis and the recombination of genes from two individuals, offspring usually come out looking slightly different than their parents. They may be lighter or darker in the color of their fur; they may be stronger or weaker, faster or slower, smarter or not so much. In a very competitive environment, these offspring would be more (or less) likely to survive and pass their (or not pass) their genes on to future generations. Over time, the species becomes lighter or darker, stronger, faster or smarter, depending on environmental factors.

      You seem to think we need to understand every step of the history of evolution on our planet before you will accept the theory. If that’s the case, then we should just give up now because that’s never going to happen. But the theory is based on the evidence, even on a few simple observations, such as 1) life as we now know it looks different than the life forms we see preserved in the fossil record, and 2) life looks more and more different the further one looks back into the fossil record. Based on this alone, the idea that modern life evolved from the ancestral forms we see represented in fossils is a very reasonable inference, and fossils aren’t even the strongest evidence of evolution.

      When we have all this evidence for evolution, not understanding steps here and there simply isn’t enough to sink the theory. We may not fully understand how this feature or that feature evolved, but given all the evidence that evolution occurred, we can reasonably accept that they evolved somehow.

      Imagine a bank was robbed. The vault shows no signs of being broken into; it doesn’t even show any signs of having been opened that night. And yet, the bank vault is empty, and security cameras show the robbers walking in empty handed and walking out with the goods. You may not understand how they got into the vault, but given the other evidence, you have to accept that somehow, they did.

      • Cathy Wells

        Tyler, I will research the processes that you are speaking about as I am NOT a scientist, merely a teacher. It sounds like to me, however, nothing that you’ve described there is going to produce a different SPECIES, merely a new version of the same species.

        Fish, for instance, have no viable reason to evolve into any other species, particularly a land-dwelling one, as some evolutionists purport that they did . More than not having a reason to do so, someone has to come up with a really good explanation of how a respiratory system that consists of de-oxygenating water somehow happens to morph into a completely different system devoid of water, gills, and the like. I suppose the argument would be made that they first became amphibious, then reptilian, etc. But, again, what mechanism or process could explain such a thing?

        I appreciate your comment about a lack of understanding not sinking the theory. But I think that we might diverge as to what “evolutionary theory” really is or at least the way it is presented to creationists. Origin of life as a “change combination” of non-living chemicals is a common definition. So, the mechanisms or at least the initial occurrence/mechanism is presented as essential doctrine, if you will, to evolutionary theory. Thus, we must outright reject the theory altogether because it has no plausible explanation for either the origins of life or the particular explanation of the manner in which species evolved.

        A creationist will just as easily reply that God simply created new species at will when He so choose, which covers both the presence of the difference species AND the mechanism by which they occurred. Which is one step farther than evolution goes, in my opinion. In short, it is not enough to simply say, “We know it happened, we know not how.” If we know not how, we do not know WHAT happened. We know that something happened, sure. But evolution appears to admit knowing the “how” along with the “what.” That is my main problem.

        The bank robbery analogy is an interesting one. But it presupposes robbers. What if we found out that the bank owner simply moved all of the money into another vault without telling anyone? This may seem trite or an oversimplification but the deliberate ignorance of any outside force expect robbers seems equally trite to me.”

        Perhaps this is all semantics. Perhaps you are trying to reduce evolutionary theory down simply to the “what” when others are trying to engulf the “how.” It would be most helpful to have the evolutionary community do a thorough job of explaining the “how” if they can or, otherwise, just sticking to the “what.”

        • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

          I suppose the argument would be made that they first became amphibious, then reptilian, etc.

          Precisely. You understand evolution better than you think.

          But, again, what mechanism or process could explain such a thing?

          Tiny, incremental changes over millions of years, honed by the natural selection of the species that are most capable of surviving and passing their genes on to their offspring.

          Origin of life as a “change combination” of non-living chemicals is a common definition.

          A bad definition, as I point out in the article above. Evolution is related to the origin of life simply in that evolution cannot operate unless life exists. But the theory of evolution was created to explain how life diversified over time. It is not the study of how life originated. That is abiogenesis.

          I included a good definition of evolution in the article above: “any change in the frequency of alleles within a gene pool from one generation to the next.”

          A creationist will just as easily reply that God simply created new species at will when He so choose, which covers both the presence of the difference species AND the mechanism by which they occurred.

          OK, as a Christian and a theist, I am willing to entertain this possibility. But let’s think of the implications of such an idea, and see if they really fit the observed evidence. For example, if each species is a special creation of God, we would expect their genetic code to be distinct and unique. We would expect similarities, of course, if the species are similar. For example, if they both have fur, we would probably expect the genes that code for the the production of fur to be similar.

          But we would not expect their genetic codes to be similar — let alone identical — in arbitrary ways, or in noncoding segments. We would certainly not expect two distinct species — who were supposedly not related to each other — to show identical marks of genetic viruses that an ancestor had borne.

          However, that is exactly what we see in humans and chimps. Look up endogenous retroviruses sometime. These are viral elements that are the result of ancient genetic viral elements. We have located a half-dozen in the human genome, meaning that these are the marks of ancient viruses that our ancestors contracted and passed on to us. Guess what? Chimpanzees have these exact same marks, in the exactly analogous locations of their own genomes.

          The theory of evolution explains this finding simply and elegantly: Both humans and chimpanzees share a common ancestor. We both inherited the endogenous retroviruses from that same ancestor.

          Your theory of special creation can offer only one explanation: God just did it that way. That’s not a very satisfying explanation, raising the question of why, of which the only possible answer could be: to deceive us. And that doesn’t fit the description of the God the Bible reveals, who “is not a man, that he should lie.”

          The bank robbery analogy is an interesting one. But it presupposes robbers. What if we found out that the bank owner simply moved all of the money into another vault without telling anyone? This may seem trite or an oversimplification but the deliberate ignorance of any outside force expect robbers seems equally trite to me.

          My analogy said that security cameras saw the robbers entering the bank empty-handed and leaving with the money. It does not presuppose the robbery at all. The only question the analogy leaves unanswered is how they got the money out of the vault.

          In the same way, we know what life looks like today, and we know that the oldest life we have ever found are tiny bacterial creatures fossilized in ancient rock. The question is how we got to where we are today, and the best answer, based on both fossil and genetic evidence, is evolution.

  • Matt

    Awesome article. God and evolution being mutually exclusive is a ridiculous assertion.

    • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

      Thanks, Matt!

    • L.W.

      Actually, Matt, it’s the Christian idea of a god that is contrary with evolution.

      You know, a ‘being’ who wants nothing more than to have a bunch of humans to commit some sins, build some churches, stone to death a few non virgins etc, etc, and then decides to spend 14 billion years watching black holes, bacteria and dinosaurs!!

  • WillMadison

    But the earth is only like 4000 years old, not enough time for evolution to take place. TRUTH.

    • Jay Timmons

      Dude, you mean 6000. 4000 years isn’t hardly enough time for teaching-myths to be interpreted as historical accounts.

  • Martin B

    Re: #1. This would completely neuter all of science, not just the historical ones. Science is fundamentally about explaining the familiar in terms of unfamiliar concepts. Science relies on observation in that outcomes of studies and experiments must be based on things that can be recorded and reinvestigated. This guards science against private, anecdotal, and authoritarian ‘knowledge’. The explanations themselves—i.e. the theories—are almost invariably things that cannot be directly observed. This is precisely how science investigates the unknown and casts light where we are otherwise ignorant. Denying science the right to make inferences is denying science the ability to discover anything.

    • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

      Sure, I think you’re right. If the creationists were in charge of the scientific community, I think no science would be done. Period. However, what I was alluding to is that many creationists do claim that they like science — as long as it can be done in simple experiments like making a vinegar-baking soda volcano. Because evolution is complicated and can’t be replicated in a simple experiment, they claim it’s inherently different than the science they “like” and therefore, bad science.

  • will

    wow! a reasonable person working for a holy roller website. great article, and I hope it opens a few closed minds

  • Peter

    1. There seems to be confusion with idea of repeatability. It is not the phenomenon that is to be repeated, but the experiment. Take gravity; we do not need to recreate gravity or supernovae in order to study those phenomena. Neither do we need to recreate or “repeat” evolution. DNA experiments can be repeated, fossils can be evaluated by other paleontologists, radiometric dating of rocks and fossils can be repeated, etc. So it is repeatable in that sense.

    5. Although abiogenesis (the origin of life from non-life) would not have been evolution in a “selfish gene” or DNA (mutation + selection) basis, but I do think it would have followed a process akin to evolution. It would constitute the emergence of the first stable DNA-like molecule. So we would have had permutations (similar to mutations) of peptide chains where the most stable ones “survived”, and the ones capable of replicating generated subsequent “generations” of molecules. The ones that didn’t have those properties simply dissolved again. Survival of the “stable”.

    6. Scientific hypotheses are in fact also more rigid and well-formed and usually based on a large body of scientific justification, than the layman’s hunch-”theory”.

    7. You say you’re a “big supporter of critical thought” — yet it seems you don’t actually think critically about your own faith?

    • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

      I do indeed believe I think critically about my own faith. One of the guiding Bible passages for me and this website in particular is 1 Corinthians 14:20: “Brothers, do not be children in your thinking. Be infants in evil, but in your thinking be mature.”

  • Alan Christensen

    I see “Big Daddy?” has been updated since the 1970s, when I had a copy.
    You forgot the 2nd law of thermodynamics! I remember thinking that was game, set, match for evolution: simpler life forms cannot evolve into more complex ones because that would be like a watch assembling itself or something. Of course the folks who pushed this line of reasoning failed to mention that entropy doesn’t apply when you have a constant source of energy fueling the process . . . like the sun.

  • alicia

    “You think that evolution means humans used to be monkeys.”

    • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

      Good one! :)

  • Stephen Hayes

    I don’t have time to respond every time I see this kind of misrepresentation posted, which is why I put up a web site http://www.questiondarwin.com where a few of the more common Dawkinisms and Theistic Evolutionist errors are addressed. Bottom line, you are claiming as a professing Christian that questioning Darwin = lying and poisoning the Gospel. You’re wrong, its the other way around. Or perhaps you can tell us about some of the people who came to Christ or found their faith deepened after reading Darwin? Millions have abandoned Christianity through Evolutionism. Ever heard the one about the bad tree and the bad fruit?

    But its hard to avoid refuting your falsehood about harmful mutations being very rare. As a doctor working in the field of skin cancer, I can tell you that ALL cancers and a very high proportion of other diseases (like the cardiomyopathy that just killed my friend Nicola, like her mother) are caused by mutations. OK, if you want to say that harmful mutations are rare because most are neutral, read John Sanford’s book ‘Genetic Entropy: The Mystery of the Genome’ where he shows that most mutations are NEAR neutral, but will eventually turn information into gibberish. As Michael Behe has shown, the tiny number of allegedly beneficial mutations (sickle cell disease, Lenski e.coli, antibiotic resistance etc) are examples of ‘blunted and broken genes, and very much 1 step sideways, two steps backwards. Mutations that build new meaningful information are not rare, they are undocumented. They are also mathematically impossible.

    Since natural selection acting on random mutations is the only creative mechanism in Darwinian evolution, what we know about mutations destroys any possibility of the ‘theory’ being true. I don’t have all night to address the other errors in this post, but I would be really interested to hear about anyone who came to Christ through Darwin. The traffic seems to be all the other way.
    Kind regards

  • JosephPote

    This is a good post, Tyler! I appreciate your thought-provoking post as well as your graceful responses to commentors.
    Your fundamental point, as I understand it, is that science need not be seen as being in opposition to Christianity, nor Christianity in opposition to science. Rather our world view should include all that we know and should continually change as we come to know more. I completely agree!
    You have also hit on another point that has been well illustrated by various commentors. It is much easier to throw darts at someone else’s position than it is to take the time to understand it.
    And therein lies the challenge to the writer…how to get a reader to lay aside their own prejudices long enough to understand a new paradigm…
    As my father used to say, “Convince a man against his will, he’s of the same opinion still.”
    Blessings to you in your endeavors!

    • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

      Thanks for the encouragement, brother! Blessings to you as well!

  • pauld

    ” If there appears to be a disagreement between the two [science and religion], then the interpretation of the passage in question must be incorrect. For the Bible-believing Christian, there is no other option.

    Well, there is an obvious alternative. It is possible that that the current beliefs of scientists are incorrect. I agree, however, as Alvin Plantinga has argued, that the scientific theory evolution is not necessarily inconsistent with Theism. It only inconsistent if one incorporates as part of the theory of evolution metaphysical naturalism.

    • Rab Simpson

      Scientists don’t deal in beliefs, sorry.

  • josh

    disagree on point 10
    Evolution is in direct contradiction with the bible. It does not mean god does not exist, but that the christian version of god does not exist. It could very well be a deistic god , Or better yet No God which is my opinion

    • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

      Evolution is only in direct contradiction to the literal interpretation of the first two chapters of the book. Since I don’t believe they were meant to be read literally, and instead read them metaphorically, much like the books of the prophets and the parables of Christ, there is no contradiction in my view. In other words, I think there is only a contradiction if you read the Bible incorrectly.

      • Bryan Richards

        and that undermines the very core of christianity (by reading it metaphorically), the fundamentalists understand this idea very well.

        “I think there is only a contradiction if you read the Bible incorrectly.”
        In which case the book is full of writers that couldn’t read it correctly and that almost everyone today reads it incorrectly.

        • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

          Actually, the authors of the New Testament were quite adept at ascribing symbolic meaning to Genesis and the rest of the Old Testament. The author of John drastically reframes the entire first chapter of Genesis in the introduction to his gospel. Paul explicitly describes Abraham’s wife and concubine, Sarah and Hagar, as allegories in Galatians 4:24. The author of 1 Peter describes Noah’s flood in deeply metaphorical terms in his third chapter. Most of the OT passages Matthew quotes from in his gospel, which he presents as messianic prophecies, go beyond the literal, surface meaning. For example, Hosea 11:1, “Out of Egypt I called my son,” explicitly refers to the nation of Israel in the original text, but Matthew interprets it additionally as a reference to the coming Christ.

          Beyond all that, some Christian theologians have been interpreting Genesis 1-3 as metaphorical at least as early as the third century, with the work of the early church father Origen. I believe, like I imagine Origen did, that my reading these chapters metaphorically doesn’t mean I think they aren’t true. I believe they describe the truth about God, the spiritual nature of mankind, and our relationship to him as surely as I’m standing here. But that doesn’t mean it’s the text I go to to understand scientific facts about biological processes.

      • Seth

        I understand what you’re saying. I’m still interested in your opinion on the theory that we evolved from apes.

      • Gayle Jordan

        “In other words, I think there is only a contradiction if you read the Bible incorrectly.”

        But Tyler, that’s the whole point: From where do you get your validation that you are reading the Bible correctly?! Why you and not Westboro Baptist? Don’t they have just as much an opportunity to have read the bible “correctly”? Do you see that what makes your interpretation “better” is that yours appeals to the humanism, empathy, and compassion that are a part of your human nature?

        Your original article is brilliant, but your subsequent defenses in the comments are a sophisticated, convoluted, intricate word salad and require a contorted assemblage of presuppositions and laser-precise definitions?

        I know no battles were ever won on the battlefield of the comment section, so I leave you with just this one thought experiment: For a moment or two, take off your God is Real goggles. Look around. Open your mind to the possibility that there is no god, that religions were created by people trying to explain their environments and settle disputes and overtake property. You have such an ability to think critically about evolution – apply those critical thinking skills to this thing you label Spirituality. You can always put the goggles back on.

        Tyler, from a former believer: Keep thinking. Keep thinking. And be assured there is much more light, air, and space on this side of the divide.

        • Atheist

          For a moment or two, take off your God is Real goggles. Look around. Open your mind to the possibility that there is no god, that religions were created by people trying to explain their environments and settle disputes and overtake property. You have such an ability to think critically about evolution – apply those critical thinking skills to this thing you label Spirituality. You can always put the goggles back on.

          This, this, this, a million times this.

  • Seth

    Tyler, how can the story of Adam and Eve be true if we evolved from apes?

    • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

      “True” is not synonymous with literal. If it were, we’d have to throw out most of the Bible, including the prophetic books of the Old Testament and every one of the parables of Christ. I think the story of Adam and Eve is metaphorical, a deeply symbolic account of our first ancestors to whom God revealed himself and offered a chance for a relationship with him.

      • Seth

        Tyler, what you’re saying makes sense, but is simply looking at the stories as metaphorical enough to claim that there is no contradiction with the idea that apes physically gave birth to the first “primitive” humans? The bible says that God created man in his image. I can understand that inaccurate worldly stories were used to convey deeper and more important spiritual lessons, but at a certain point don’t you have to take some of the bible’s claims at face value? You may not believe me but i have no bias on this issue. You seem to have a better grasp of the subject than I do so I’m genuinely interested in your thoughts on this matter, specifically regarding humans evolving from apes.

        • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

          Tyler, what you’re saying makes sense, but is simply looking at the stories as metaphorical enough to claim that there is no contradiction with the idea that apes physically gave birth to the first “primitive” humans?

          Um, yeah, it is.

          The bible says that God created man in his image.

          This is clearly metaphorical, even if you read the rest of the passage literally. If this teaching meant to convey that we are made in the physical image of God, then it means he has a physical body, which would mean not only that he is limited in the same way that we are limited by our fleshly prisons, but it would break the clear teaching of scripture that “God is Spirit” (John 4:24). It would also fail to account for the obvious anatomical difference between men and women, since we are both, equally made in God’s image (“In the image of God, he created man, male and female, he created them.”)

          I think that most theologians believe this verse alludes to us being made in the spiritual image of God. It speaks to the truth that we — unlike all other life on this planet — are spiritual beings, as well as material beings. And I agree with them.

          I can understand that inaccurate worldly stories were used to convey deeper and more important spiritual lessons, but at a certain point don’t you have to take some of the bible’s claims at face value?

          By “inaccurate worldly stories,” do you mean the parables of Christ? Because I think “stories that were used to convey deeper and more important spiritual lessons” is a pretty good definition of the parables.

          • Seth

            Okay I understand your view on this and I thank you for your responses, but you seem to be somewhat avoiding the main topic I’ve been asking your opinion on. Do you believe without any doubt that God created man by having apes give birth to them, or do you believe that they could be a separate creation from animals all together? Again..I would like to hear your opinion on the this topic, and this topic only.

          • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

            If you had actually asked me this question before, in any remotely clear way, I would have answered it. No, I don’t think “God created man by having apes give birth to them.” I accept what all the available scientific evidence indicates, which is that our species arose from a millions-of-years-long process of tiny, incremental changes passed along to successive generations. I.e., the most recent common ancestor of Homo sapiens, would have looked very, very similar to Homo sapiens.

            No, I do not believe humans were a separate creation by God. If God had made humans as a distinct and separate creation, I doubt he would have made our genome nearly identical to that of an animal (namely, chimpanzees) that we weren’t related to at all. Look up endogenous retroviruses some time. These are molecular remnants of a past parasitic viral infection. We have found more than 30,000 ERVs in the human genome, meaning that these are the marks of ancient viruses that our ancestors contracted and passed on to us. And, what’s more, in dozens of cases, chimpanzees have these exact same marks in exactly analogous locations of their own genomes.

            The theory of evolution explains this finding simply and elegantly: Both humans and chimpanzees share a common ancestor, and we both inherited these ERV sequences from that same ancestor.

            Your theory of special creation can offer only one explanation: God just did it that way. That’s not a very satisfying explanation, raising the question of why, of which the only possible answer could be: to deceive us. And that doesn’t fit the description of the God the Bible reveals, who “is not a man, that he should lie.” What’s so ironic about Christian anti-evolutionists is that they oppose science precisely because of their insistence that God “didn’t lie” in the Genesis creation accounts, but in so doing, they make him into a liar in what’s revealed in his other book, the book of nature.

          • Seth

            Alright I understand your view on this now. Although for your information I do believe in, and understand evolution. I simply wanted to hear your opinion, as a Christian, on this subject and didn’t want to seem biased in my question..though I guess I overdid it If you felt I was an anti-evolutionist.

            When I asked if you believed “God created man by having apes give birth to them?”, I didn’t mean if you thought that one day a chimpanzee gave birth to a fully bipedal hairless flesh bag capable of abstract thought. It was simply a crude summation of the process, one which I still feel is appropriate.

            Anyway I feel that most Christians would at least agree that God, who is omnipotent, had always intended for humans to play a special role in his creation. That God would give them souls, dominion over the world and all other animals, and ultimately make his covenant with them. So if you’re not tired of responding to me yet, my question to you is this

            As a Christian, how do you reconcile the creation of mankind, who was always predestined to such distinction by God, as being descended from an ape? Why do you personally believe God chose to fashion us that way when it was perfectly in his power to make us a “special creation.” Do you believe there is some kind of spiritual meaning or message in this? Or were chimpanzees simply the tool used to bring us about and the matter shouldn’t be dwelt on? Even if you can’t answer this with any certainty do you have any personal theories that you consider from time to time?

          • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

            Dear Seth, I did not mean to make presumptions about your beliefs. By saying “your theory of special creation,” I simply meant the idea of special creation, which you yourself had offered as an alternative to evolution. I apologize if I caused any offense.

            As to your question, I recently posted another article that I think speaks to this issue. Please check it out if you’re interested. But basically, no, I honestly don’t think the two ideas (evolution and God’s sovereign creation) are that fundamentally opposed. Genesis 1 says God called to the earth and commanded it to bring forth living creatures. Genesis 2 describes God “forming” mankind, along with animals and birds, but it is not very specific about the mechanism. If evolution is true, then I think it was God’s mechanism for creation, period.

            It is just like the water cycle, as far as I’m concerned. Scripture, both Old and New Testament, describes God as being the direct source of rain, snow and hail. Today, we have a much better understanding of the physical processes that cause precipitation than they did in biblical times. But, just because we know about evaporation and condensation, does that mean we can no longer consider God as sovereign over these events. Does this mean that a faithful farmer in a drought-stricken region must thank a precipitous cold front for the rain that comes, rather than God? I don’t think so.

      • Steven Carr

        In the beginning God created the Heavens and the Earth.

        An obvious metaphor. Nobody thinks ‘God’ literally created everything. That is not what Genesis is about.

        • L.W

          Steven, you’re trying to bring reason and logic into a discussion about Christianity.

          As you’re surely aware, Christians have no use of logic and reason when it pertains to their religion.

          When it pertains to Scientology or the LDS church, then fine. But otherwise, they say no thanks!

        • Rab Simpson

          “An obvious metaphor.”

          Given what we’re aware of now, but not so to the primitive people who lived up to the age of enlightenment.

          “Nobody thinks ‘God’ literally created everything.”

          Except christians and jews and muslims etc etc etc. Creating a universe involves creating everything within it, even if that involves some kind of theologically twisted version of the theory of evolution where a guy with a beard is tinkering with it as time goes by.

          “That is not what Genesis is about.”

          This would imply that you know what it’s about, as if you’re privy to some kind of information that we’re not, like for instance what the authors were thinking when they cooked it up.

      • L.W.

        It’s pretty handy when you get to pick and choose what parts of your ancient holy book are “metaphorical” and which are true.

        • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

          Any person who reads the Bible interprets the Bible. I am doing nothing remotely unique in accepting some parts as metaphorical rather than literal.

      • Rab Simpson

        “”True” is not synonymous with literal.”

        You’re right there, but it is synonymous with ‘factually accurate’.

        “If it were, we’d have to throw out most of the Bible”

        This is also the case with factually accurate. So what does that leave you with? Books full of fairy tales. Who lives their life according to Hänsel und Gretel? Nobody, because that would be stupid.

        “prophetic books”

        That’s a laugh. Here’s how that works: book makes prediction -> someone reads it hundreds of years later -> same someone puts a plan into action to make the prediction come true -> that same someone again then makes the claim that the original book was ‘prophetic’. Ludicrous nonsense.

        “and every one of the parables of Christ”

        What a shame. Here’s an idea: take the good bits (you’ll know the good bits thanks to secular morality) from these stories and try to use them in your life, let’s call it ‘being Christ-like’, and stop pretending that any of it is actually true seeing as there’s no good reason to believe that it is unless you have such a poor grasp of logic that you actually fell for Pascal’s wager. Are you really that scared of ‘hell’ that you refuse to look at these stories through the eyes of reason?

        • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

          That’s a laugh. Here’s how that works: book makes prediction -> someone reads it hundreds of years later -> same someone puts a plan into action to make the prediction come true -> that same someone again then makes the claim that the original book was ‘prophetic’. Ludicrous nonsense.

          Thanks for the illuminating editorial remarks, but by “prophetic books,” I didn’t mean “books that make predictions. It’s a simple descriptive term for a division of the Bible. The writings are characterized by symbolism and metaphor, which is why I used them in my above illustration.

          What a shame. Here’s an idea: take the good bits (you’ll know the good bits thanks to secular morality) from these stories and try to use them in your life, let’s call it ‘being Christ-like’, and stop pretending that any of it is actually true seeing as there’s no good reason to believe that it is unless you have such a poor grasp of logic that you actually fell for Pascal’s wager. Are you really that scared of ‘hell’ that you refuse to look at these stories through the eyes of reason?

          Fear of “hell” has nothing to do with the reason I became a Christian or why I am one today. We might have a more productive discussion if you stopped presuming everyone who calls themselves a Christian is exactly identical in every way.

          • Rab Simpson

            “It’s a simple descriptive term for a division of the Bible.”

            Religious double-speak then. Thanks for the clarification.

            “Fear of “hell” has nothing to do with the reason I became a Christian or why I am one today.”

            So why not enlighten us then? Just so you’re aware, ‘faith’ is the antithesis of reason so doesn’t qualify as a reason.

            “We might have a more productive discussion if you stopped presuming everyone who calls themselves a Christian is exactly identical in every way.”

            I don’t, you’re taking my words to extremes. You must admit, however, that qualification for a label such as ‘christian’ comes with a certain number of pre-requisites which need to be met, and they more often than not come with a number of other characteristics which may or may not apply to the person having the label (or description, if you prefer) applied. For instance, acceptance of evolution is commonly associated with atheism, but isn’t a pre-requisite, whereas lacking belief in deities is. I’m using a process of elimination to determine just exactly what kind of christian you think yourself to be (what you are in reality is difficult to determine when I only have your words to go by).

  • Herro

    Regarding point #10. It depends on how you exactly want to define “evolution”, but biology and geology are most certainly in contradiction with the story of Noah’s flood. There was no recent global flood that killed almost all of terrestrial life. So if that’s what an anti-evolutionist means by point #10, then the anti-evolutionist is correct! :o

    • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

      It’s a valid point, but again, I think it’s a matter of interpretation. I, for one, think the text in question describes a local event, rather than a global one, and there is textual evidence for this view. However, like Genesis 1-3, I think the primary purpose of the flood story was to serve as a metaphor for deeper truth, as even the author 1 Peter seems to indicate in his third chapter.

      • Herro

        The story makes absolutely no sense if it’s just a local flood (did Noah need to save birds and cattle from extinction in a local flood? a local flood covers mountains? and so on) and there doesn’t seem to be any real “textual evidence” in that article.

        It might be a matter of interpretation, but I think it’s just blatant text-twisting and denial. Maybe YECs see that, so they really have to choose between biology/geology and admitting that the flood didn’t happen and that it’s an error in the bible.

        So if we want to get YECs to accept evolution, getting them to see that the bible is full of errors would be a good start.

        • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

          I’m guessing you didn’t read the article very closely, since it addresses all of your questions. The flood account is rife with universal language, which does convey the impression that it’s discussing a global event. And yet, if this universal language is taken at face value, the story contradicts itself repeatedly. For example, it says corruption was over the whole earth, and “all flesh” was corrupted, but then goes on to describe Noah and his family as righteous and blameless. So, clearly, the “all flesh” was a hyperbolic description, and not a literal one. Why can’t the same be true when it says everything that had the breath of life was destroyed?

          As to the local flood covering mountains, this is a question of translation. The Hebrew word “har” can mean “mountains” or “hills” or “hilly areas.” I think the flood account is usually translated with the presupposition that it’s describing a global flood. If Genesis 7:19 were translated as “All the highest hills under the sky were covered,” (which is just as reasonable a translation), it would give readers an entirely different impression of what is being discussed.

          It’s not like the global flood interpretation doesn’t have problems of its own, even purely from a textual standpoint, without getting into the utter lack of any geological evidence. For example, what did the herbivorous animals eat when they exited the ark onto a world that had been flooded for nearly a year, and therefore had no plant life growing? For that matter, what did the carnivores eat? If they had eaten any of their former shipmates immediately after the voyage, that would have meant immediate extinction for that species, since you know, there were only two of them.

          I also frequently come back to the olive branch. Olive trees are subtropical plants that grow in low-lying areas. They don’t grow on mountain tops. Therefore, the flood could have never been that high if the olive branch was what was brought as a sign that the waters were subsiding.

          One final comment. All of this is largely academic on my part. As I said before, I believe the primary purpose of this story today is in its metaphorical truth and symbolism. I really do think that the text is describing a local event and not something that engulfed the entire planet. But the jury’s still out for me as to whether I think the story was meant to be a historical account with some metaphorical aspects, or an entirely metaphorical account like Genesis 1.

  • L.W.

    Tyler asks what evidence scientists have presented that a place like Heaven doesn’t exist.

    Replace the word heaven with ‘unicorns’ and the statement is just as true, and just as absurd.

    And the fact that the earliest copies of the Gospel of Mark don’t contain any actual resurrection appearances of Jesus is more significant than Tyler seems willing to admit. Since Jesus doesn’t actually appear to anyone his resurrection can only be presumed. An empty tomb by itself means nothing. How do we know that the body wasn’t stolen? (And the ‘angel’ that supposedly speaks to the women hardly constitutes evidence).

    The lack of actual bodily appearances of Jesus undermines the a central tenet of Christianity.

    And whenever I see some Christian complain that non believers make a caricature of Christianity that they don’t recognize, I can only assume that they don’t adhere very closely with their holy books teachings.

    Christianity is founded on the belief that two thousand years ago in the Middle East desert some ethereal ‘Being’ chose to turn itself into a man and trot around among a small group of superstitious, illiterate peasants in backwater ancient Palestine for the ultimate purpose of allowing his own creation to hang him to a tree and savagely murder him as a blood atonement for their sins. Sins that were incurred when a man picked some fruit from a magic tree in a magic garden two thousand years earlier.

    Brother, if the idea of a god/human hybrid offering himself up as some kind of human sacrifice isn’t the most preposterous piece of Stone Age lunacy that the human mind has ever concocted, then please tell me what is.

    There is no need make a ‘caricature’ of the Christian religion. It is cartoonish bullshit that no thinking person in 2013 should believe or defend.

  • L.W.

    And regarding the empty tomb that Tyler mentions in the comments of this post, there is no remotely objective evidence that the empty tomb story in the Gospels is anything more than that, just a story. Where Jesus’ body was placed after his death is unknown. And at least one scholar (Crossan, I think) believes that it was most likely thrown in a common grave or eaten by dogs!

    • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

      There is evidence within the letters that any historical scholar accepts as the writings of Paul that the disciples were preaching the resurrection of Jesus at least within a year or two of his death. And, as the introduction to the gospel of Luke indicates, these stories were being preached, not as religious myths, but real historical events, attested to by eyewitnesses. If Jesus’ body had still been lying in a tomb somewhere, or it was known what had happened to it (such as it being thrown in a common grave or eaten by dogs), those who “really had” witnessed what happened would have still been plenty alive and well enough to share the truth.

      You are more than welcome to see the gospels as “just stories,” but most New Testament scholars (a surprising number of whom include atheists or agnostics like Bart Ehrman) agree that there is some historically reliable information within the texts. After all, with the criteria by which you might toss out the gospels (they’re biased, we don’t really know who wrote them, we don’t have the original copies, they talk about miracles and supernatural events, they were written decades after the fact, there aren’t a lot of corroborating sources, etc.), we would also have to throw out virtually every other ancient historical document.

      As an aside, L.W., your other comment was deleted. I thought you made some good points, but you ruined it at the end. If you would like to continue this discussion, I would ask that you review our brief comment policy before doing so. You are both welcome and encouraged to share your opinion here about my writing or my beliefs, I ask only that you treat me with the same respect with which I treat you.

      • L.W.

        Tyler, you’re sounding more like Ray Comfort with every post.

        Nowhere in Paul’s letters is there an indication that Paul was preaching a resurrected corpse, as the. Gospels were. You failed to mention, (accidentally?) that the apostle Paul never once refers to an empty tomb or to anyone experiencing anything other than his own type of encounter with Jesus. Which is described as nothing more than a bright light and a voice from the sky!!! Wow!!! That’s pretty powerful evidence!!!!

        What a shame that you can’t allow the same critical eye that guides you toward an understanding of evolution to also guide you to an understanding of the absurdity of religious belief.

        • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

          You are incorrect. Paul discusses the bodily resurrection of Christ in many of his letters. In 1 Corinthians 15, he describes several instances in which the resurrected Christ appeared to people, outside of his own experience. In that same chapter, he goes on to underscore the foundational importance of the bodily resurrection to the Christian faith.

      • L.W.

        Tyler, I wish that you would treat reasoned, rational thought with the respect that you claim to demand on this blog.

      • L.W.

        “…any historical scholar accepts as the letters of Paul”

        Tyler, please tell me that you don’t really believe that bit of hyperbole that you just wrote.

        There are no shortage of historical scholars who doubt the accuracy and authenticity of any and all of Paul’s letters.

        And yes, the followers of Jesus were probably preaching the resurrection of Jesus as a historical event. Because they believed it. Not because that they, necessarily, had good evidence for it.

        And what you don’t address is what kind of resurrection that the first apostles were preaching.

        You seem t assuming that the gospel stories were being preached by the earlier apostles, but you have no evidence of that.

        Richard Carrier’s writings on early resurrection beliefs would benefit you greatly, and some of his writings are available online.

        And Tyler, any good historian will look upon ancient writings with skepticism, which is warranted due to the lack of cooberation

        • L.W.

          Damn I hate this iPad. The above should read that a lack of corroboration means that many ancient documents have to be looked at skeptically.

          That is particularly true when the writers are anonymous and never name any of their sources, as the Gospels do.

          I doesn’t mean that we necessarily throw them out, as you so ignorantly stated.

        • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

          “…any historical scholar accepts as the letters of Paul”

          Tyler, please tell me that you don’t really believe that bit of hyperbole that you just wrote.

          There are no shortage of historical scholars who doubt the accuracy and authenticity of any and all of Paul’s letters.

          From Wikipedia: “There is wide consensus, in modern New Testament scholarship, on a core group of authentic Pauline epistles whose authorship is rarely contested: Romans, 1 and 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Philippians, 1 Thessalonians, and Philemon. Several additional letters bearing Paul’s name lack academic consensus: Ephesians, Colossians, 2 Thessalonians, 1 & 2 Timothy, and Titus. Scholarly opinion is sharply divided on whether the former two epistles are the letters of Paul; however, the latter four – 2 Thessalonians, as well as the three known as the ‘Pastoral Epistles’ – have been labeled pseudepigraphical works by most critical scholars.”

          You referenced only a portion of the full phrase I used, which was “within the letters that any historical scholar accepts as the writings of Paul.” You’ll notice that 1 Corinthians, from which I quoted, is among the letters that has near-universal acceptance among scholars as authentic.

  • L.W

    Tyler, while I appreciate your articulate defense of evolution, it is a shame that you offer no defense of how a cruel, torturous process like evolution was chosen by a benevolent God to create life.

    Evolution is the reason that we have Cancer, AIDS, SmallPox, the Black Plague, Malaria, Polio, brain eating parasites, etc, etc,.

    Praise Jesus for evolution!!!!!!!!!

    • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

      I’ve discussed this in several other articles I’ve written, here, here and here.

    • JeffWest

      Evolution is the reason we walk erect, have opposable thumbs and can perceive colors, for starters.

      • http://www.philrmusic.com/ Phil R

        Evolution is not the/a reason for any of the above, it offers a scientifically elegant explanation for how species (including viruses) have emerged, inhabited particular locations and survived certain conditions. I can explain the process of going to the supermarket, but driving my car is not the reason for going to the supermarket. Moreover, some of the lifestyle choices and ways we treat our environment tend to favour some of the viruses and bacteria mentioned above.

  • L.W.

    Tyler wrote “the bible and creation are both written by god”

    Holy mother of Zeus!!!!! Are you serious with this pathetic nonsense!!!

    You are no less of an embarrassment to Christianity than Ray Comfort and Pat Robertson.

  • L.W.

    Tyler attempts to come across as an ‘enlightened’ Christian, with his reasoned defense of evolution. But when he attempts to defend the absurdity of Christian belief, it’s an embarrassment.

  • Phil R

    Nice article! There are differences between revelation, observation and interpretation. Revelation is substantive and refers to signals/signs/realities that are always there even if they are never received. We might not be equipped to receive some signals or we might consciously or inadvertently filter them. Observation is more objective, as this refers to things to which we can all repeatedly, physically experience and relate. Observation lends to prediction – which I think is the real beauty of Evolution beyond the discourse on the origin of species. Interpretation is subjective explanation of observations, while faith is a stance taken on what we believe is being revealed. I believe that God is being revealed through science, art and experience – you can choose not to believe that if it makes you uncomfortable. However, I still get to choose my faith, although its great to have a community of people that share the same faith – great things happen when that faith has a productive, non-destructive purpose. I believe God is revealed, while science is about observation and interpretation, which we need to celebrate and apply to understanding and improving our existence. The Bible appears flawed because it spends many of its pages explaining journeys and flaws of legalism until it zeroes in on what I believe is the revelation of God – Love. Just like in science we have to spend time talking about failings to understand findings, the Bible does the same in the context of faith. However, Love is even said to be greater than Faith (we tend to forget that). We are so caught up with laws and our theories of Truth that we become blind, self-seeking and perpetuate hatred and disunity. The most persuasive, deceptive and exploitative among us tend to win. We find reasons to justify enslavement and genocide because of our human nature and limited understanding of what it really means to survive.

    • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

      Thanks for your thoughts, Phil! Glad you liked the article.

  • Aron Fisher

    You obviously have a great understanding of evolution but let’s take a look at your theology for a minute. #10 is erroneous in the fact that evolution totally negates the Bible, Old Testament and new, here’s why.

    You already understand evolution and know it’s true then you will realize that if there was no Adam and Eve then there was no original sin. No original sin then there is no reason for Jesus to die on the cross. No need for Jesus to die on the cross then that means salvation is false and the entire point of Christianity is nullified. Oooops.

    • JeffWest

      Mankind originated in what is now known as sub-Saharan Africa. As humans evolved, they spread out and developed characteristics that helped them adapt to their immediate surroundings. Compare Africans, Scandinavians and Eskimos to see the results of evolution in action. According to LiveScience, “nearly all modern men can trace their lineage back to a man who lived in Africa between 125,000 and 156,000 years ago, and that the same goes for women.” The tale of Adam and Eve seems obviously metaphorical.

    • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

      Hey Aron, this completely fallacious claim has already been fully addressed numerous times within this thread, by both myself and others, so I hope you will forgive my simply compying and pasting a previous answer. I’d be happy to talk with you more if you have any follow-up questions.

      The Bible does not teach that the need for a savior is predicated on the idea of original sin. Indeed, original sin is a doctrine that some believe is derived from scripture, but it is not named or clearly defined anywhere in the text. In fact, if by “original sin,” you mean the idea that humans have inherited guilt from their parents and are born spiritually dead, I don’t believe that is taught in the Bible at all.

      The Bible clearly teaches that we are in need of salvation because of our own personal sin, not the sin committed by our supposed ancestors thousands of years ago. Romans 3:23-25: “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith.”

      Nothing about Adam and Eve in there, nor is there anything in that passage that the scientific theory of evolution could possibly make more or less true.

  • Syn Holliday

    If a Christian uses point #1, then couldn’t you just ask if they observed God creating the universe?

    • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

      Sure, you could, but their answer would be, “No, no one was there but God, which is why his word, and his eyewitness account in Genesis, are the only things we can trust.” Ken Ham and his group, Answers in Genesis, say stuff like that all the time.

      • Syn Holliday

        Still wouldn’t work, the Christian wasn’t there to witness God being there. God might not have been there. It could have been any of the deities from the many other religions with creation stories.

        • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

          Logically, you are correct, of course, but this argument would never work on a fundamentalist, which I believe was the premise of your original comment?

          • Syn Holliday

            Totally agree.

          • Atheist

            It’s interesting to me how reasonable you are most of the time, yet when people question your personal interpretation of theology elsewhere in the comments you bend over backwards to justify things. Why not just take a step back and realize that you wouldn’t believe any of this Christianity bullocks if you hadn’t been raised to, even though you can justify things given this worldview you already have?

            Just an observation. Nice blog post.

          • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

            Hey, I appreciate your comment. And I’ve certainly seen such sentiments expressed on my site before. Believe it or not, I really do try to bring the same kind of logic and reasoning to my faith, such as it is, that I do to any other issue, including the theory of evolution. That being said, I’d be lying if I told you I never had any doubts about my religious beliefs, and I’d also be lying if I said my faith is entirely a “head thing.” Sometimes I do trust without fully understanding.

            I must tell you, however, that my faith does not really stem from a childhood upbringing. I was raised Catholic, but had all but abandoned faith save for a vague “deism-bordering-on-agnosticism” type of view by high school. I came back to faith in college after what I believe was a powerful spiritual experience. I discuss that at some length here, if you’re interested.

          • Atheist

            Somebody made my point for me perfectly. Writing it again here, since I’m guessing you only are notified for direct replies which my other comment repeating it wasn’t:

            For a moment or two, take off your God is Real goggles. Look around. Open your mind to the possibility that there is no god, that religions were created by people trying to explain their environments and settle disputes and overtake property. You have such an ability to think critically about evolution – apply those critical thinking skills to this thing you label Spirituality. You can always put the goggles back on.

            Nice blog post, and have a nice day.

      • Syn Holliday

        Still wouldn’t work, the Christian wasn’t there to witness God being there. God might not have been there. It could have been any of the deities from the many other religions with creation stories (or none of them).

      • Syn Holliday

        Still wouldn’t work because the Christian still was not there to witness God being there. God might not have been there. It could have been any deity from the many other religions with creation stories (or none of them).

  • Sam Kay

    Thank you for this. Good to know that there IS reason in the faith community after all.

    • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

      Thanks, Sam. Glad you liked it!

  • Syn Holliday

    Regarding #1: Christians were not there at the beginning either, so they were not there to witness the Judeo-Christian God being there creating the Earth and the universe. God might not have been there. It could have been any deity of the many other religions with creation stories (or none of them).

  • Josh

    Laughed at No. 10 lol….. Do you even Genesis bro ?

    • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

      Yeah, I write about Genesis on this site all the time, bro. Like other Christians going back at least as far as Origen in the third century, I believe the Genesis creation accounts were meant to be read metaphorically — not as literal history.

  • Peter Galik

    Thank you so much for having created this! This really helps to clear up a lot of confusion on the vastly complex subject of biological evolution! I’m a Christian and have no problem accepting evolution, or even that the world is millions and billions of years old!

    • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

      Thanks! Awesome to hear. Welcome to the fold :)

      • Peter Galik

        No problem, and thanks! ^_^

  • Gabriel

    “I agree that the creationists’ view of God and the Bible is more simple and straightforward than mine, but I’m not really all that interested in a simple view of God Almighty :)”

    I LOVE this. I agree – I don’t think that God can be condensed into a simple form by humans… and why He, when we are His creations?

  • John Thimakis

    Nice post. What about those Christians that listen to bible literalists like Ken Ham and his ilk? Telling children that Adam and Eve had dinosaurs in the garden of eden. Telling them to disrupt school lessons with ‘where you there’. What about YECs and the age of the earth. Have you posted something on that. Most importantly how can we know that you are really a Christian.

    • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

      Hey John, glad you liked it! Yeah, I have written lots of posts about all that stuff. Try searching the site for Ken Ham, biblical literalism, Adam and Eve, dinosaurs, etc. You’ll find my thoughts on all that and more. And here’s my statement of faith, if you’re interested.

    • Tim

      John Thimakis,

      This is what AiG says about how you can become a Christian. As you can see clearly, there is no requirement stated or implied that one must be a YEC, or agree with their view of the history in Genesis.

      https://answersingenesis.org/gospel/salvation/what-does-it-mean-to-be-saved/

      Do you agree with this?

      • John Thimakis

        No I don’t believe in that at all. I don’t believe the bible to be either the word of God or even inspired by God. I think it was meant as stories for the people of the time to explain the unexplainable and to keep them inline. With promises of an afterlife if they were good and an eternity of punishment if they were bad. Personally I don’t believe in the supernatural. That includes any Gods.

  • http://blogforthelordjesus.wordpress.com Mike Gantt

    Here are nine points of tension between evolution and the Bible. Help me resolve them and you’l have won me to your side. (To conserve space, the points are written cryptically; therefore, please don’t be uncharitable in interpreting them.)

    Evolution argues against the historicity of Adam and Eve

    Evolution is a theory of continuation while the Bible gives an account of origins

    Evolution postulates a common ancestor while the Bible says everything reproduces after its own kind

    Evolution speaks of random mutation and natural selection while the Bible speaks of God’s intentionality

    Evolution speaks of one continuous and self-sustaining process while the Bible speaks of God’s punctuated commands

    Evolution presents a primeval history which requires the Bible’s account of primeval history to be considered mythical

    Evolution makes faith in scientists more potent than faith in prophets

    Evolution speaks of improvement while the Bible speaks of corruption

    Evolution speaks of an unattended process while the Bible speaks of God’s word as the attending agent

    • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

      Mike, the fact is that most of these arguments can be (and once were) used just as well to support something like geocentrism, the idea that the earth is at the center of the universe, with the sun moving around it in the sky. There are numerous verses that could be mentioned in scripture that seem to say quite clearly that the earth does not move (e.g. 1 Chronicles 16:30, Psalm 93:1, Psalm 96:10 and Psalm 104:5) and the sun does (Joshua 10:12-13, Habakkuk 3:11 and Ecclesiastes 1:5).

      When Galileo was being tried by the Catholic Church for defending the idea that, instead, the earth revolves around the sun, one cardinal went so far as to say, “To assert that the earth revolves around the sun is as erroneous as to claim that Jesus was not born of a virgin.” It was once considered a doctrinal issue to deny the orbit of the earth.

      But the argument you use that I take the most exception to is the “Evolution makes faith in scientists more potent than faith in prophets.” I do not have “faith in scientists,” Mike, any more than you do when you accept the idea that earth orbits the sun even though it doesn’t appear to from where we’re standing. The fact is that there is overwhelming evidence for the ancient age of the earth and common descent, and it’s not a matter of just having a different opinion. The facts are there and they have to be explained somehow.

      This stuff about the billions of years of evolution is not something I just “choose” to “believe in” because I want to. There is a lot of evidence there, enough that I think we can reasonably presume the billions of years to be true. And, if it is, it does not stop being true simply because it is inconvenient for our theology. We have to acknowledge and we have to deal with it; we can’t simply pretend like it isn’t there.

  • Steven Hamblin
    • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

      Awesome!

  • salkash

    First of all the most important question about the Bible is that why did Constantine at Nicaea on 325 AD discard all the other gospels and chose only what he preferred that became the official Bible what exists today. We have no clue who are those writers and authors of the gospels for example when someone say according to that person then for sure there is confusion and this is not acceptable in the court of law notwithstanding Christians take this Book as a word of god most of the NT was written by Paul who plainly contradict the teaching of Jesus yet Christian follow Paul most of the historians have written about Paul that he was the founder of Christianity not Jesus because Jesus respected the Laws but Paul rejected the Laws he changed the entire teaching of Jesus but Christians don’t see that. Why did James reject the teaching of Paul just think about that not only James but the other apostles did not get along with Paul and they were all Jewish and never knew about the word Christian so where this word Christian comes from and who borrowed the philosophy of Greek and Roman no wonder Paul allowed that Christians can eat the meat of idol worshipers . Paul was very shrewd man that he proclaimed that Jesus died for us and we are free of any sin since we are under grace so we don’t have to follow any Laws. .I hope Christians should examine the Bible and the history and then discern the Truth .

  • Mookelchemist

    “This, of course, is the defining characteristic of science: Not that is observable and repeatable, but that it is testable and falsifiable”

    You’ve contradicted yourself here. In order to test something you have to observe something whilst it’s happening and repeat it multiple times. Then statistical analysis can be applied to determine meaningful results.

    Darwinism is a good theory because it’s falsifiable. Darwin said ‘if you can find a system which can’t be built up step by step then my theory would absolutely break down.’

    Modern science has discovered that biology is full of machines that are irreducible, so the theory has broken down.

    So why do people still believe it?

    • Nope

      “Modern science has discovered that biology is full of machines that are irreducible, so the theory has broken down.”

      This is absolutely false. Don’t know who told you that, but they were misinformed.

    • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

      In order to test something you have to observe something whilst it’s happening and repeat it multiple times.

      Yes, obviously you have to be able to observe what is being tested. The problem is that when creationists say “evolution isn’t observable,” they mean we can’t watch a species evolve over millions of years. And they’re right about that, they’re just wrong that a theory has to be “observable” in that way in order to be vindicated. Fact is, evolution is driven by certain mechanisms, and every single one of them can be and has been tested, and can be and has been observed.

      Modern science has discovered that biology is full of machines that are irreducible, so the theory has broken down.

      I know this has already been said, but yeah, this is completely wrong.

  • Tim

    The fact is that there is a reproductive barrier between species (talking here about species that reproduce sexually). That is why members of one species cannot successfully interbreed (produce fertile offspring) with members of a different species. That is the standard biological definition of species.

    Species arent differentiated because ‘small changes accumulate’, as if there were a certain number of changes that ‘add up’ to a new species. Its not some mathematical equation. The use of language like ‘accumulate’ and ‘add up’ shows a misunderstanding of what species are and how they are defined. If species were truly defined by small changes ‘accumulating’ then the natural question is “How many changes must accumulate?” and of course there is no answer for that because its a false view of species.

    The use of an ad hom within your argument “any sane person must admit…” further illustrates the bankruptcy of your position. Since when was good science determined by who can insult those who disagreed with him?

    • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

      The argument was not necessarily that small changes add up to a change in species. “Species” itself is a vague and difficult-to-define term, precisely because life is so fluid and ever-changing. The argument was that small changes will, over time, add up to larger-scale changes. Which is less a scientific argument as much as it is first-grade logic.

      The use of an ad hom within your argument “any sane person must admit…” further illustrates the bankruptcy of your position. Since when was good science determined by who can insult those who disagreed with him?

      I’m sorry you were offended by the tone of the article. In the future, I’ll try to be more sensitive in regards to my insane readers — oh, I mean, my readers with “an alternative view of reality.”

      • Tim

        Its more than a bit ironic that in order to establish ‘origin of species’ evolutionists must admit ‘well we really don’t know what a species is (i.e. how to define a species)’. This unfalsifiability gives evolutionists sufficient cover to say just about anything and maintain enough wiggle room. (For instance, they say ridiculous things like “there is no such thing as the very first homo sapiens”. And they say that after declaring that the species homo sapiens did ‘originate’ during history. The rub is they don’t want to say exactly when or how, because then it can be falsified.)

        But of course we do have an objective, verifiable definition of species (referring here to organisms that reproduce sexually). It’s the same standard biological definition that is used by Mayr, Dawkins, Gould, etc. Members of one species cannot successfully interbreed (produce fertile offspring) with members of a different species.

        But evolution requires an arbitrary, unverifiable definition of species because the moment you can verify where one species begins and the other ends………..evolution wont work.

        Species is a term that describes what we find in Nature. Its not a term that is a man-made construct. Groups of organisms that can breed with each other but not with others are exactly what we find it nature. It is the way organisms are naturally categorized. And there’s no room to fudge. Either an organism can successfully interbreed, or it cant.

        Granted that sometimes we, as human observers, have a difficult time establishing an organism’s ability and therefore it’s correct classification, and as a result there are doubtless some organisms which are at any given time misclassified. But that doesn’t change the fact that these units exist, as written about by Mayr and Gould.

        But species are defined by this, not by ‘small changes adding up to larger ones’ as is so often the description given by evolutionists.

        • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

          But of course we do have an objective, verifiable definition of species (referring here to organisms that reproduce sexually). It’s the same standard biological definition that is used by Mayr, Dawkins, Gould, etc. Members of one species cannot successfully interbreed (produce fertile offspring) with members of a different species.

          Yeah, except that disparate species have been known to mate and produce fertile hybrids. Grizzly bears and polar bears produce fertile offspring. The male offspring of lion-tiger pairings are sterile, but the female offspring are fertile. The Lonicera fly is a naturally occurring hybrid species that is perfectly fertile, as is the red wolf.

          Then there are ring species, which illustrates the converse. In this biological phenomenon, there exists a connected series of isolated populations of the same species that may interbreed with one another, but the two “end” populations in the series are so distantly related that they can no longer interbreed. This has been observed in several bird populations, including Larus gulls and the Greenish Warbler.

          Young-earthers don’t tend to like to talk about ring species, because if all it takes to establish the evolution of a “new species” is reproductive isolation, then ring species offer numerous examples of evolution occurring right before our eyes.

          But species are defined by this, not by ‘small changes adding up to larger ones’ as is so often the description given by evolutionists.

          Are you even bothering to read what I’m writing any more? Again, I suggested that small changes, accumulating over time, would lead to large-scale changes. This is first-grade logic. I did not say that this alone is what would establish a change in species.

          • Tim

            “Yeah, except that disparate species have been known to mate and produce fertile hybrids”

            I think I addressed the problem of misclassification. So we could say ‘Yeah, except that sometimes *what we thought were* disparate species have been known to mate and produce fertile offspring’

            ————-

            Ring species! I love talking about so-called ring species. I wondered how long it would take you to bring it up.

            First I think we can agree that even proponents of ring species admit they are very rare. https://www.google.com/search?q=ring+species+very+rare&oq=ring+species+very+rare&aqs=chrome..69i57.6912j0j4&sourceid=chrome&es_sm=0&ie=UTF-8

            Next, as a result I think its hilarious that when asked to verify speciation, evolutionists almost invariably reach for the ring species card, even though these supposed cases comprise less than 0.0000001% of all species. What about the millions (no, billions) of non-ring species in which speciation must be verified?

            Also, I’ve yet to see even one example of a supposed ring species where the ability of the ‘ends’ to interbreed successfully has been conclusively ruled out by repeated testing and experimentation (actual attempts to breed).

            And then, even the gold standard of ring species, yes the one that started it all, turned out to be…….uh…..er….um….NOT a ring species. http://darrennaish.blogspot.com/2006/02/no-no-no-no-no-herring-gull-is-not.html

            ———————

            ” if all it takes to establish the evolution of a “new species” is reproductive isolation”

            Reproductive isolation will produce inbreeding, but I don’t think that’s what you are wanting to show.

            But lets talk some more about isolation, because I love the funny evolutionary examples of the things that cause isolation, like a mountain (or mountain range) growing up between two populations separating them forever. That, my friend, is good comedy.

          • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

            I think I addressed the problem of misclassification. So we could say ‘Yeah, except that sometimes *what we thought were* disparate species have been known to mate and produce fertile offspring’

            Grizzly bears and polar bears are not distinct species? Lions and tigers are not distinct species?

            I think I addressed the problem of misclassification. So we could say ‘Yeah, except that sometimes *what we thought were* disparate species have been known to mate and produce fertile offspring’

            The point is that they’ve been found. Must scientists analyze every population of every species in every part of the world before you would be satisfied that the phenomenon exists?

            Also, I’ve yet to see even one example of a supposed ring species where the ability of the ‘ends’ to interbreed successfully has been conclusively ruled out by repeated testing and experimentation (actual attempts to breed).

            Well, perhaps you should endeavor to do the scientific work yourself. You could score a major blow against us evolutionists, and simultaneously go down in history as the first young-earth creationist to ever actually engage in the scientific process rather than just criticizing the scientific process from afar.

            And then, even the gold standard of ring species, yes the one that started it all, turned out to be…….uh…..er….um….NOT a ring species. http://darrennaish.blogspot.co

            From the article: “Don’t get me wrong: there’s good evidence that speciation does occur in this way in some instances (e.g. in Californian Ensatinasalamanders, and southern Asian leaf warblers), but it seems to be very rare. And, as it happens, new study indicates that it did not happen in the case of Herring and Lesser black-backed gulls.” So ring species exist, the Herring gull just might not be an example of it.

          • Tim

            “Grizzly bears and polar bears are not distinct species? Lions and tigers are not distinct species?”

            Not if they can interbreed successfully. The bears seem to be able to do so. I don’t know much about lions and tigers, so I’ll let you answer the question for yourself.

            Remember that dachsunds and poodles and greyhounds and St Bernards and Dobermans and pit bulls are not distinct species.

            ——————

            “From the article: Don’t get me wrong: there’s good evidence that speciation does occur in this way in some instances”

            Yes, I am aware that Dr Naish is still a *believer* in ring species, despite his inability (and yours) to produce even one example where the ability of the ‘ends’ of the ring to interbreed successfully has been conclusively ruled out by testing and experimentation (actual attempts to interbreed).

            So that’s ring species. The Great Round Hope of evolutionists despite it only representing a tiny fraction of supposed speciation.

            —————–

            So what about all the OTHER speciation that is supposed to be happening, you know the 99.999999% of other species. Have you any evidence that these ‘new species’ actually originated (i.e. the very first member of the new species was born from a member of a different species)?

            All the examples of supposed speciation actually turn out disproving the concept. Look at the work of Peter and Rosemary Grant with the finches on the Galapagos. They see supposedly different species interbreed and produce fertile offspring. Whoops! I guess they weren’t different species after all.

            If all the domestic dogs of the world were extinct, there is little doubt that today’s evolutionists would examine their exceedingly different looking remains and tell us that they comprised dozens of species. But they are all one.

            Even among humans, the differences are very great yet we are all one species as well.

            ————-

            “Must scientists analyze every population of every species in every part of the world before you would be satisfied that the phenomenon exists?”

            ha ha

            yes, science involves hard work. You have to actually test your theory, not just proclaim it proven. LOL

          • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

            Remember that dachsunds and poodles and greyhounds and St Bernards and Dobermans and pit bulls are not distinct species.

            Dogs are essentially a ring species. It may be genetically possible, but you would have little hope of getting a male chihuahua to breed with a female great Dane, and no hope of getting a male great Dane to breed with a female chihuahua. Chihuahuas and great Danes remain in the same species because we still have all the intermediaries, which act as sort of genetic bridges between the two. If all the intermediaries died out, we would have two distinct species of dog.

            Yes, I am aware that Dr Naish is still a *believer* in ring species, despite his inability (and yours) to produce even one example where the ability of the ‘ends’ of the ring to interbreed successfully has been conclusively ruled out by testing and experimentation (actual attempts to interbreed).

            I’m sorry that the scientific evidence that has convinced those who actually study this for a living is not enough to convince your humble self. Again, I encourage you to engage in the scientific process. Why don’t you go ahead and just disprove ring species once and for all? You would be a hero to the young-earth crowd and shame a bunch of evolutionists in one easy stroke.

            Have you any evidence that these ‘new species’ actually originated (i.e. the very first member of the new species was born from a member of a different species)?

            Since the theory of evolution does not predict that this would ever occur, no I don’t personally have evidence of it, and I doubt any scientist does either.

            yes, science involves hard work. You have to actually test your theory, not just proclaim it proven. LOL

            The existence of one ring species proves the theory that ring species exist. To answer the question you failed to answer, no, scientists do not need to analyze every population of every species in every part of the world to demonstrate that the phenomenon exists. I never said that ring species proves evolution.

          • Tim

            “Dogs are essentially a ring species. ”

            lol Even the proponents of ring species admit that they are very rare. And no one but you has ‘identified’ dogs as a ring species. But good try. I suppose.

            ——————–

            “I’m sorry that the scientific evidence that has convinced those who actually study this for a living is not enough to convince your humble self.”

            All I’m asking for is evidence. I thought that was what all evolutionists said they had in abundance. Give me one example of a ring species where the ability of ‘ends’ to successfully interbreed has been conclusively ruled out by testing and experimentation (actual attempts to interbreed).

            Just one.

            C’mon.

            ——————-

            “Since the theory of evolution does not predict that this would ever occur”

            Of course it does. TOE includes ‘origin of species’, does it not? Where does the very first member of a new species come from ? It must be born, correct?

            It’s not beamed in on a spaceship, is it?

            ——————–

            “scientists do not need to analyze every population of every species in every part of the world to demonstrate that the phenomenon exists.”

            Apparently you don’t think they have to produce even one verified example.

          • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

            lol Even the proponents of ring species admit that they are very rare. And no one but you has ‘identified’ dogs as a ring species.

            Perhaps because it is not a natural occurrence. But the principles are the same. Do you dispute that great Danes and chihuahuas would diverge into different species if the intermediaries (all other dog breeds) suddenly died out?

            All I’m asking for is evidence. I thought that was what all evolutionists said they had in abundance. Give me one example of a ring species where the ability of ‘ends’ to successfully interbreed has been conclusively ruled out by testing and experimentation (actual attempts to interbreed).

            Look, man, like I already said, I did not present ring species as evidence of evolution. I do not believe that the verification for evolution rises or falls based on ring species. I presented ring species as a counter example to your claim that “species” is a clear-cut definition, when, in fact, the evidence in biology points to speciation being much more fluid. If you don’t want to believe ring species exist, I really don’t care.

            Of course it does. TOE includes ‘origin of species’, does it not? Where does the very first member of a new species come from ? It must be born, correct?

            Evolution takes many generations, and no evolutionary scientist predicts that an individual would be born that is so genetically distinct from its parents that it is a separate species. What is suggested is that an individual would be born that is so genetically distinct from its great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandparents that it would not be able to interbreed with them (hypothetically speaking, of course). If this individual survived and passed on its genes, and its genes permeated the gene pool of its population, then the species will have evolved from its ancestral form (the great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandparent generation). But that doesn’t mean that they would be unable to interbreed with their parent generation. Just as, with the ring species, the “end” population can interbreed with the adjacent populations, but not the other “end” population.

          • Tim

            “I did not present ring species as evidence of evolution”

            “Young-earthers don’t tend to like to talk about ring species, because if all it takes to establish the evolution of a “new species” is reproductive isolation, then ring species offer numerous examples of evolution occurring right before our eyes.”

            Will the real Tyler please stand up?

          • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

            Right. “If all it takes to establish the evolution of a “new species” is reproductive isolation…” That was your premise for what it means for a “new species” to be established, not mine. The point I was making is that this was not the case, and speciation is a much more fluid process.

          • Tim

            So you are admitting that ‘ring species’ do not provide evidence of evolution?

          • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

            I am saying that the vindication of evolution does not rise or fall on the existence of ring species. They are one example of evolution, just as a ball falling to the ground is one example of gravity, but whether gravity exists is not based on the one ball falling the one time.

          • Tim

            I asked for 1 (just 1) verified example of a ring species where the ability of the ‘ends’ to successfully interbreed has been conclusively ruled out by testing and experimentation. I didn’t ask for ring species to be your ‘only’ evidence for evolution.

            Do you have 1, or not? (It appears not).

          • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

            Several examples of ring species have been discovered, including the Greenish Warbler, Song Sparrow and Ensatina salamanders. All have been found to not interbreed with the “end” populations. I’m sorry you’re not satisfied that the scientists who researched these populations have done their job, but again, if you don’t want to believe ring species exist, I really don’t care.

          • Tim

            In order to verify that a ‘new species’ has been created, the ability of the ‘ends’ to interbreed successfully must be conclusively ruled out by testing and experimentation (actual repeated attempts to interbreed).

            This has not been done in any of the cases you mention.

            You’ve neither provided nor even seen evidence that this has been done.

            I know you probably assume it has, (as you assumed in the case of the Herring gulls), but it hasn’t been done.

            It’s not a matter of what I believe. I asked for evidence and you have provided none.

          • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

            The difficulty of classifying the Larus gulls as a ring species did not arise because the “end” populations were shown to be capable of interbreeding, as you seem to be suggesting. It was related to the genetics and taxonomy of the gulls being far more complicated than Mayr had proposed, such that it’s no longer clear that these populations arose out of the ring species model.

            This has not been done in any of the cases you mention.

            How can you be so sure of this? The scientists who did the research said the “end” populations don’t interbreed. If you want to believe that they’re lying or lazy or whatever, that’s fine, but it’s a bit of a stretch to simply declare this verification “hasn’t been done,” when the researchers said it had been done.

          • Tim

            “The difficulty of classifying the Larus gulls as a ring species did not arise because the “end” populations were shown to be capable of interbreeding”

            That’s right. But for 8 decades, the assumptions made about these critters caused evolutionists to refer to them as a ring species.

            You are certainly right that testing was not done. If we waited for evolutionists to test their assumption, they would STILL be referred to as a ring species because they havent and wont test them.

            “The scientists who did the research said the “end” populations don’t interbreed.”

            Do you understand the difference between ‘don’t’ and ‘can’t’?

            Eskimos generally don’t interbreed with Kenyans, but they can.

            Boston bluebloods generally may not marry biker chicks and have kids. But they could.

            Peter and Rosemary Grant did work with the finches of the Galapagos. They observed what they thought to be different species (based on their habitat, mating habits, other external features). The difference in the mating song especially was thought to be a great barrier between the ‘two species’. But surprise they interbreed successfully and produce fertile offspring.

            I’ll say it again. The ABILITY of the ‘ends’ to interbreed successfully must be conclusively ruled out by testing and experimentation (actual repeated attempts to interbreed) if you want to classify them as ‘different species’.

            “the researchers said it had been done.”

            No, they didnt. You assumed that was what they said.

      • Tim

        I think a scientific argument for speciation is preferable to first grade logic btw.

        Its like when someone told me a while back “You know nothing about evolution. My 11 year old understands it better than you.”

        I replied that just because he could convince his 11 year old didn’t mean that evolution was scientifically verifiable.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

    It’s nice to hear good sense from Christians about evolution. (I’m an atheist, and I hang around with Creationists a fair amount to understand where they’re coming from–gives me interesting material to blog about.)

    One suggestion: “Gravity is also a theory” isn’t the most accessible example. The Newton’s Law of Gravity is pretty familiar, but the theory (that is, the explanation) is not.

    Better: germ theory. We’re all familiar with that one, and no one denies its truth.

    • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

      Hey, thanks, Bob! Great suggestion :)

  • johnteetsarchitect

    Your hatred and total misunderstanding of God and scripture, your pride and arrogance, and your lack of basic understanding on how God works is appalling. Compromisers never win in the end, and your faith in fallible men and their interpretation of data is quite telling.

    • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

      You seem like a real swell, reasonable guy, Mr. Teets. I look forward to meeting you in heaven and sharing eternity with you.

      • johnteetsarchitect

        Sarcasm, huh?Well, I have been in a technical field for over forty years, and just like medicine or applied science, molecules-to-man evolution has zero impact on what we do. The desire by atheists to force belief in it is solely because they are at emnity with GOd and the Bible condemns their entire lifestyle. “The fool has said in his heart there is no God.”

        When you have been in Christ for almost 60 years and share your secrets with God and he with you, you may understand better. Believe me, I have heard just about all of it before, having taken advanced Biology in high school and attended a major scientific university with multiple degrees (Rensselaer). I have weighed the arguments and are far from alone in my conclusions. In fact, a NON-CHRISTIAN professor offered a $1,000 prize (that was al lot back then – almost half of one year’s tuition) to any student who could prove the earth was more than about 5,800 years old. No one could do it because at the base of all old-earth arguments is the assumption of uniformitarianism, a principle by the way that the Apostle Peter condemns. Believe me, I pray against the flood of supposedly enlightened approaches to Genesis, and you are far from alone, but have seen NOT ONE of them produce better Christians who accept the whole counsel of God and who better mirror the character of Jesus Christ. On the contrary, I have seen what compromise does. I see from the comments here that once you compromise what is crystal clear in the Bible, the world attacks some other belief. The devil is a Progressive! The progression in terms of “demythologizing” your faith would be (!) Creation and the inviolable distinction between men and animals and the creation of woman to be for the man and to be his glory (I Corinthians and I Timothy) (2) The long lives of early vegetarian men and women (900 years plus), (3) The Universal Flood (supported in most cultures, Christian or not throughout the entire world), (4) The birth of Isaac to aged parents, (5) The parting of the Red Sea (check out those chariot wheels at the bottom), (6) The collapse of Jericho, (7) The interesting history of Jonah, (8) the virgin birth of Jesus, (9) Jesus’ sinless life, (10) The physical Resurrection from the dead, (11) The miracles of Jesus and the Apostles. It is not always all, but believe me, no one will give you any credit for simply choosing to disbelieve Genesis. Until you disbelieve it all, you are an outsider. “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” Just some food for thought. Your path leads to disaster, not enlightenment.

        • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

          Hello again, Mr. Teets. Looks like your usual, run-of-the-mill stuff here. “There’s no evidence for evolution! I know more than the scientists, because I took some classes in college!” Forgive me for not finding your conspiracy theory nonsense convincing. Of course, your claim that anyone who does not read Genesis 1-3 literally is by definition a lesser and weaker Christian is the most laughable of all. Many, many, many important and influential theologians, ministers, church leaders and devout people of faith all throughout Christian history have held various non-literal views of Genesis, dating back to at least the third century. I don’t think any sane person would say C.S. Lewis or Billy Graham failed to “mirror the character of Jesus Christ” — at least not more than any mortal man or woman fails. And I certainly think these great men did far more for the kingdom of God — and did so far more virtuously — than folks like the sold-out young-earth creationist and convicted tax defrauder Kent Hovind.

  • arthur

    Very well written. There are quite a few other misconceptions about evolution, even among biologists (Jonas Salk comes to mind), but to delve into those would have diverted too much from much simpler points.

    I do not believe in God. But I believe in the Christian religion. It has done many wonderful things for people and any cited negatives were long enough ago it’s time for atheists to just let it go. People who read and follow the bible are at least trying to live good lives, and as an atheist who lives a good life I appreciate them.

    Unfortunately these issues of misconception are not reserved to strictly the religious fundamentalists. A study a few years back cited about 50% of the science graduates of Oxford weren’t sure that evolution is a real thing. Frightening.

    One final small criticism in your evaluation of fact vs theory. Stephen Jay Gould described the difference between the two in the best way I’ve ever heard; you didn’t quite make the distinction completely clear: (paraphrased) Evolution, like gravity, is both fact and theory. The fact is that evolution is occurring. The data is all around us. The theory attempts to explain how it happens. Like gravity is both fact and theory. The fact of gravity is if you jump off the roof you will hit the ground. The theory is why. Newtons’ explanation wasn’t all encompassing, so Einstein improved on it. But just because the theory needed adjusting didn’t mean pencils floated in the air in the meantime.

    • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

      Hey Arthur! Thanks so much for the comment. I appreciate the criticism and suggestions. And that Oxford study is frightening. I thought young-earth creationism was primarily a United States pandemic. Apparently not.

  • Mauro D’Ambrosio

    Thought I do disagree and I think Christianity and evolution are uncompatible (not God and evolution tough). I want to thank you for your job. You’re doing something we athiest cannot and is introducing science to people who has renounced critical thinking in favor of their dogma. I hope you never lose your faith in God (wich is weird for me because I’m pretty militant) because you wouldn’t be able to carry such terrific job otherwise

    • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

      Thanks, Mauro! Even though we disagree on that point, I appreciate the kudos :) Thanks for your comment!

  • http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJZ6xiQoOYCLQoE3EBpuaMA Alex Jones

    Pokemon evolution is more similar to metamorphosis than actual evolution.

    • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

      True dat.

  • Mr value

    Just like a 4 dimensional square is just a protruded cube from start to finish, could the way makes things in his higher dimension not be ‘God made man from the earth’ the protrusion/evolution of man from earth to homo-sapien.

    To explain, look at it as God is the Potter we are the clay (Isaiah 64:8). If you had an invisible potter and took snapshots of a lump of clay being moulded (with bits added on, and bits calved off during the process), would it not look like the clay lump had evolved into a beautifully designed pot? http://www.wikihow.com/Mold-Clay

    Similarly on a micro-scale He moulds use in our lives too, right?

    What I get from Genesis is that God created each animal group separately, not from one single organism [Geneticist Craig Venter argues that evolution seems to not be Darwin's tree from a 'single root' but more like a bush]

    Love God, Love science.. P.s. God is a mathematician by-the-way ;)

    Holla back!

  • Mario Marceau

    Hello Tyler. I’ll say upfront that I’m a militant atheist (for the sake of argument, let’s call it ‘my square one’).

    I’m not here to shake things up as you very clearly made several key points about the merits for and the true value of the theory of evolution.

    There is something I can’t wrap my head around though: In point 6, you said: – Theories are hypotheses that have “graduated” – So far, that is exact, logical and if I say so myself, described beautifully and very accurately further down for all to understand clearly, provided that they want to.

    But in point 10, you refer to a bible verse: Colossians 1:16 and claim science can explore this.

    My question is very honest and sincere: How can science explore something which has absolutely no observable nor verifiable quantitative basis for ‘any’ hypothesis to be built upon?

    Colossians 1:16, says “For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him.”

    This verse equate to nothing more then a mere idea, a human construct or at best a conjecture as you put it, a ‘theory’ as understood by pop culture. In other words: Science cannot explore unsubstantiated arguments if it cannot correlate them with something that is tangible and measurable.

    This unfortunately, puts me right back to ‘my square one’.

    Sincerely,

    Mario

    • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

      Hey Mario, thanks for the question, and I fully welcome your comments and your inquiries. However, I’m not sure I completely follow what you’re asking. I may have been unclear in my argument. Allow me to express that I was not intending to argue that I believe the existence or nature of God to be a question for science. I most certainly do not. I believe that science is limited to the exploration of the natural world — or in other words, that which is part of and exists within this universe. I do not mean this as a slight toward the scientific method; one of the roots of its power is in that it restricts itself to the hypothesizing and evalutation of material causes and not supernatural ones, which cannot be investigated by natural means.

      The existence of God, I believe, is a matter of faith — not scientific evidence. If he exists, and is the creator of the universe as the Bible declares, then he is not part of this universe. He, therefore, would be beyond the science, which analyzes only those things that are part of the universe.

      I hope that makes sense, but if I missed your question or you have any further questions, please feel free to continue the discussion :)

      • Mario Marceau

        Hi Tyler, this is the phrase that is unclear to me in point 10 of you post: “It is beyond me how accepting this fact of science could possibly undermine one’s faith in Jesus — from whom originated all things which science is capable of exploring.”

        When I read it again, It still looks like you are saying that science is capable of exploring what is being said in Colossians 1:16, in other words capable of exploring from whom originated all things. Like you, I do not think this will ever be possible.

        If I subtract “from whom originated all things” from your phrase, it reads: “It is beyond me how accepting this fact of science could possibly undermine one’s faith in Jesus which science is capable of exploring”.

        This is still problematic for me on a much more concrete level: It sounds like you are saying that science is capable of exploring one’s faith in Jesus. This directly relates to the natural world. Neuroscience is now capable through experimentation, of mapping the areas of the brain repeatedly using several methods including powerful MRI scanners. What they have come up with so far provides many clear explanations on several key points, one of which is how people fall in love! Other areas of research using the same approach have lead to novel ways to treat mental disorders.

        Along those lines, it is only a matter of time that neuroscience will be capable of explaining the more subtle neuro-feedbacks such as why we love our parents and ultimately, why some humans have faith in the supernatural and why some do not.

        Believe me, as a self-proclaim militant atheist, I can tell you that I dread the day when science experimentation will have acquired enough verified hypotheses to propose an informed, logical theory. I actually fear how people of faith as well as atheists and agnostic will react.

        Then again, I may have completely misinterpreted you point 10.

        Sincerely,

        Mario

        • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

          When I read it again, It still looks like you are saying that science is capable of exploring what is being said in Colossians 1:16, in other words capable of exploring from whom originated all things. Like you, I do not think this will ever be possible.

          Hey Mario. Now that you’ve pointed it out, I can see how the phrasing was confusing. All I meant, however, was that science is capable of exploring nature, and nature — according to the Bible — originated from God. I did not mean to imply my belief that science is capable of proving, disproving or otherwise investigating the existence of God. As I said before, I believe this is a matter of faith. Even the Bible says this: It is “by faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God” (Hebrews 11:3), not “by the scientific evidence.”

          • Mario Marceau

            Thank you for sticking with me Tyler. I understand. Like I said, I’m a militant atheist. You are a Christian. But despite both of us being bound by incompatible covenants, as human beings first and foremost, we cannot afford to ignore each other. I always welcome insights and I’m sure you do as well because above all, it is our inherent curiosity which drives us all. Thanks again, much appreciated.

            Sincerely,

            Mario

  • http://www.mosquitonet.com/~prewett/ John Prewett

    I don’t disagree with “evolution.” Technology evolved. Guided by intelligence. But if you tell me technology evolved sans intelligent choice, then I know you are an idiot.

    • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

      Unlike biological life forms, technology does not breed, nor does it self-replicate. You’re not comparing apples and oranges, you’re comparing iPhones and orangutans.

      • http://www.mosquitonet.com/~prewett/ John Prewett

        You seem to think “self-replication” was samehow automatic. The incredible array of life around is could not have come into existence without intelligent guidance. Think it could ? Well, like belly buttons everyone has an opinion. Thanks for sharing. JP

        • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

          No, I just think the ability to self replicate is an integral component of biological life. You seem to think that a living organism that can produce offspring with unique genetic makeups is the same as inanimate objects that cannot, which is rather stupid.

          The evidence of common descent is vast and persuasive. If you wish to ignore it, that is your prerogative, but don’t expect us to do the same.

          • http://www.mosquitonet.com/~prewett/ John Prewett

            You seem to think “self replicate” is something that everyone should take on faith that it just had to automatically occur. Self-replication is an example of something so complex it’s existence sansCreator is implausible.
            The evidence of the Creator is vast and persuasive. If you wish to ignore it, that is your prerogative, but don’t expect us to do the same.

          • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

            The ability to self-replication is not something anyone has to take on faith. It’s called sexual reproduction (although there are other forms of it), and it happens all the time. I could go into greater detail, but this is a family website.

            I believe in a Creator. I’m an evangelical Christian, and this is a Christian website. I just don’t believe the Creator’s existence is something empirical science can verify. It is “by faith that we understand the universe was created by the word of God,” not “by the implausibility of the competing naturalistic explanations.”

            By the way, the feeble attempt at mockery is not helping your cause. You made a comparison that was way off the mark, got called out on it, and now are just making yourself look more and more foolish with every comment.

          • http://www.mosquitonet.com/~prewett/ John Prewett

            Yes Tyler, certainly reproduction happens all the time. Not often I butt-heads with fellow belivers in THE Creator. Since we share faith in the Creator, we really have nothing to argue about. I see genuine science as confirming the implausibility of the sansCreator scenario by revealing complexity of life undreamed of in Darwins age. I don’t think you had good reason to object to my first statement,… but never mind. Let’s go argue with an Atheist ! OK ?

          • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

            Well, complex or not, everything in biology points to evolution by common descent. So, as long as you don’t teach people that evolution is incompatible with Christianity (thereby pitting the truth of the gospel against the truth found in God’s creation), then yes, I have no quarrel with you.

  • markou

    Well thanks for deleting my rebutal of your 10 points. Such dishonesty!

    • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

      No idea what you’re talking about, bro. If you have some kind of rebuttal, I’m sure I’d be glad to see it.