Saturday, December 30, 2006

The Grand Canyon

PZ Myers, atheist extraordinaire, is having a hissy fit over on his blog regarding a book being offered in book stores at the Grand Canyon that features a young earth perspective on the origin of the Canyon.

Myers states that:
It should be removed from their catalog immediately.
What a close minded, book burning *$#%! (Did I just say that out loud? Whoops! It's not that I don't like PZ, it's just that he is such a stubborn 'ol cuss.)

Why is it that these zealous, hard core Darwinists are so set on destroying academic freedom? They believe that they must eliminate the freedom to consider other interpretations of the data accumulated through scientific research.

Ah well...let them rail.

Hey, if you want to read an absolutely fascinating theory on the origin of the Grand Canyon, you should definitely read Walt Brown’s latest addition to the upcoming 8th edition of his book, In the Beginning: Compelling Evidence for Creation and the Flood.

The entire 7th edition of Brown's book is available on line, and it is regularly updated to correspond with what you will find in his upcoming 8th edition. The 29-page chapter on the Grand Canyon can be found here.

Other interesting chapters in his book include the hydroplate theory, and Brown’s ideas about the origin of asteroids and comets, which correspond with the hydroplate theory.

Recently, photographs were released showing that liquid may have recently flowed on Mars. The experts are baffled because Mars is colder than Antarctica in the winter, but considering the hydroplate theory, there is a simple explanation according to Brown.

Also in the news, dramatic results from two spacecraft that recently intercepted comets continue to contradict the decades-old explanation for how comets formed. The latest issue of Science (12-15-06) contains the most recent study. These discoveries fit perfectly with the hydroplate’s explanation for comets.

After reading Brown’s book, it will put an end to the false notion put forth by Darwinists that “Creationists don’t do scientific research”.

Enjoy reading the links!!

[Brown's credentials for those interested: Walt Brown received a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) where he was a National Science Foundation Fellow. He has taught college courses in physics, mathematics, and computer science. Brown is a retired full colonel (Air Force), West Point graduate, and former Army ranger and paratrooper. Assignments during his 21 years in the military included: Director of Benet Research, Development, and Engineering Laboratories in Albany, New York; tenured associate professor at the U.S. Air Force Academy; and Chief of Science and Technology Studies at the Air War College.]

I'm a push over

I just showed my kids the ID vs. Evolution game, and they talked me into buying the thing.

I hope it's educational and accurate. I guess I'll find out soon enough.

I'll let you know if it's worth the purchase.

An ID board game??

This is a hoot. Check it out...

William Dembski at Uncommon Descent posted a link to this site featuring an Intelligent Design vs. Evolution board game!

Evidently this is a Kirk Cameron/Living Waters related product.


But, I'm not sure the name of the game should be "ID vs. Evolution". ID certainly isn't at odds with evolution, and in fact doesn't even rule out common descent. But, if they mean evolution in the sense that Dawkins supports the theory (as a philosophical naturalist), then perhaps it is a good name for the game.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Top 10 Darwin vs. Design News Stories for 2006

From Access Research Network, Dennis Wagner presents ARN's Top 10 Darwin vs. Design News Stories for 2006.

Taking off 10 lbs. in ‘07

It’s time to make that New Year’s Resolution again, and mine will be the same as it is every year. When Halloween rolls around each year, I get tempted by all the candy the kids bring home, and then we roll right on to Thanksgiving and Christmas and the yummies are just too good to pass up.

With the time change, I can no longer walk outside because it is dark by the time my work day is over, and I detest walking on my treadmill.

All this leads up to the holiday weight gain, so January 1 is always the date I start eating healthy and exercising regularly again.

This year a few of my friends are going to participate in losing 10 lbs. We’re going to post our weight loss on my blog each Monday, and then use the comment section of that post to encourage each other, give tips, etc. until we all lose 10 lbs. We’ll also state whether we exercised each day.

If any of you out there want to join us, please feel free to do so. You don’t have to tell us what you weigh, you merely have to log in each Monday and state how much you lost, gained, or whether you remained at the same weight.

We’ll start Tuesday, Jan. 2.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Weirdest Science Stories in 2006

Vote for the weirdest science story from ‘06. Choices include:

1. Scientists Create Cloak of Partial Invisibility
2. Amazon River Flowed Backwards in Ancient Times
3. A New Wave: Scientists Write on Water
4. Stingray Kills 'Crocodile Hunter' Steve Irwin
5. Whales Found to Speak in Dialects
6. Rats Born to Mice in Bizarre Lab Work
7. The Red Sea Parts Again
8. Spider Cries Out While Mating
9. Penis Transplant Removed After Two Weeks
10. Coins Don't Smell, You Do

Sunday, December 24, 2006


May the Maker of Heaven and Earth light your way this Christmas.

Attn: Rich Hughes

Rich, why don't you send me an email - we'll talk privately before I start posting your comments. Thanks.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

The shopping is complete!!

Yeah! I just made my last trip to the store, and all the packages are wrapped and under the tree. Now I can sit back, relax, and appreciate the real reason for the season...the birth of Christ and His gift of salvation for us.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Road Trip?

Bill Dembski has just offered an interesting proposition for Barbara Forest.

Perhaps we can settle the matter of cowardice directly: let Forrest and me debate the matter at a symposium spanning a day with each of us delivering two hour-long lectures and then going toe-to-toe in a final debate.
Um....could that take place in Topeka, KS or am I going to have a lengthy road trip to plan ...cuz, there is no way that I’d miss that little rendezvous.

What led up to this little invite?

It seems Barbara Forrest has written an article for the Skeptical Inquirer Magazine regarding the Dover trial and why she thinks Dembski did not appear as a witness.


Come on Barbara, this issue has been addressed time and time again. What’s up with this latest article in which you’re beating a dead horse? I can only come up with a few reasons...

1. You don’t read articles put out by the Discovery Institute.
2. You do read them, but think they “aren’t good enough” (to quote the incorrect phrase attributed to Behe in the trial).
3. You read them, but figure no one else will, so you relay your incorrect version time and time again.

Well, we know #1 is out because it is your job to weed out the “paranormal” and “religious” nonsense in society, and as ~you~ deem Intelligent Design to be in that category, you would certainly keep a watchful eye on anything put out by the Discovery Institute. I hate to think that you'd actually believe that #3 is a possibility. So, I’m guessing you honestly believe that the very reasonable and logical reasons why Dembski didn’t testify in the Dover trial are just “not good enough”.

Well, Dembski has addressed your claims again, and this time he’s made an offer you simply can’t refuse ... unless you’re frightened of his scary vise, because that vise does look pretty darn frightening (and weird for that matter).

Now, if Barbara takes him up on his offer and Dembski backs out, well then we have something to go after him about. But, I have a sneaking suspicion that he would love to get it on with Barb. So, I’m just waiting for a date, time, and place so that I can plan my road trip to observe this meeting of the minds.

The Problem with Secularism

Here is a very thought provoking article from the International Herald Tribune.

From the article:
Although the cultured despisers of religion are once again making strident appeal to secular values and unmediated reason, they do not realize that the religious absolutism they denounce is but a variant of their own fundamentalism returned in a different guise.

Richard Dawkins's barely literate polemic "The God Delusion" declares that religion is irrational without ever explaining the foundations of reason itself. Sam Harris's diatribe "The End of Faith" has to falsify history by claiming that Hitler and Stalin were religious in order to make its case for the malign influence of faith. The attacks on religion are becoming ever more shrill and desperate — a clear sign of atheist anxiety about the status of their own first principles and explanatory frameworks.

This atheist apprehension is well founded, as the latest developments in biology, physics and philosophy all open the door to a revivified theology and a religious metaphysics.

Thursday, December 21, 2006


They still haven't posted the Behe lecture at the KU Hall Center for the Humanities website. They have the link for the panel discussion posted, but Behe's lecture isn't available.

I'm sure it will show up soon....I hope.

Edit: 12/21 11:30am

I emailed them, and they fixed the link. Technical difficulty, I guess.

The Nativity Story - the movie

Don't forget to see the movie The Nativity Story in theatres everywhere this holiday season.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

A virgin birth

Far out...

An article you MUST READ

Don’t miss this article by John West of the Discovery Institute.

West gives an excellent summary of how the “scientific debate over Darwin is as vigorous as ever”.

From the article:
It is becoming sharply evident just how much Darwinism functions like a religion for many of its leading champions, and how the blind allegiance to atheism or agnosticism of leading Darwinists skews their evaluation of the debate over evolution. Ironically, Darwinists routinely criticize defenders of intelligent design because many of them happen to be traditional theists (just like the vast majority of Americans), but these same Darwinists see nothing wrong with the fact that leading evolutionists are largely anti-religious. Indeed, according to a 1998 survey of members of the elite National Academy of Sciences (NAS), nearly 95% of the NAS biologists identify themselves as either atheists or agnostics. As I’ve said repeatedly before, the debate over Darwin’s theory should be decided on the evidence, not on motives. But if Darwinists insist on stigmatizing the motives of anyone who criticizes Darwin’s theory who happens to believe in God, then the Darwinists' own motives surely should be open to scrutiny. Either motives are irrelevant for everyone, or they are relevant for everyone. As public knowledge of the metaphysical baggage of leading Darwinists increases, the ability of Darwinists to maintain their double-standard about motives in the public debate should diminish. [my emphasis]
A year ago, I had no idea how very true this statement is. After being involved in this debate for some time now, it is abundantly clear that Darwinism is a supporting factor for atheist and humanist groups (which in my mind are no different than religious groups), and you’ll find that many of the leading Darwinists are associated with these organizations.

It’s amazing that we have been told for years that ID advocates and creation scientists are primarily motivated by religious factors, yet all the while the leading advocates for Darwinism are motivated by religious (or anti-religious if you prefer) reasons as well.

The intelligent design movement is the perfect solution to this unbalanced, dogmatically one-sided theorizing we have going on in the world of science.

Christmas Carols for the Disturbed

As the Christmas insanity mounts, I found these little carols rather amusing...

1. Schizophrenia --- Do You Hear What I Hear?

2. Multiple Personality Disorder --- We Three Kings Disoriented Are

3. Dementia --- I Think I'll be Home for Christmas

4. Narcissistic --- Hark the Herald Angels Sing About Me

5. Manic --- Deck the Halls and Walls and House and Lawn and Streets and Stores and Office and Town and Cars and Buses and Trucks and Trees and....

6. Paranoid --- Santa Claus is Coming to Town to Get Me

7. Borderline Personality Disorder --- Thoughts of Roasting on an Open Fire

8. Personality Disorder --- You Better Watch Out, I'm Gonna Cry, I'm Gonna Pout, Maybe I'll Tell You Why

9. Attention Deficit Disorder --- Silent night, Holy oooh look at the Froggy - can I have a chocolate, why is France so far away?

10. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder --- Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells , Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells ...

Blasphemy Challenge

I’m sure the proselytizing atheist crowd love this provocative link, but I find it simply beyond pathetic. By merely “damning yourself to Hell”, you can get a free video!!

From the link:
It's simple. You record a short message damning yourself to Hell, you upload it to YouTube, and then the Rational Response Squad will send you a free The God Who Wasn't There DVD. It's that easy.
This little stunt has Brian Flemming’s name written all over it. I heard him speak a bit at a Kansas City premier of his film The God Who Wasn’t There. He was part of the panel discussion which took place after his film was shown. I attended the film because I was curious as to what he was promoting, and I also knew someone who was going to be involved in the panel discussion.

Here is a link giving more information about the film, and here is my review.

My biggest concern about this film is that our youth may be conned into believing some of the bogus information he puts forth. Fleming, himself, admitted that in the film he quote mined from the Bible. He spoke about this during the panel discussion (talk about intellectual dishonesty!).

As far as his suggestion that perhaps Christ didn‘t even exist, any ancient historian will tell you that a fellow named Jesus actually walked the earth. Even ancient secular writers refer to the historical Jesus.

The film was immature, dishonest, and merely aimed at provoking Christians. If Fleming thinks Christianity is such a horrible thing, directing a film like this is certainly not going to convince anyone that atheism is morally the better choice.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Tight on cash this Christmas?

Dear all,

Somewhat embarrassing to admit, I'm not getting an annual bonus and Christmas is tight this year. I will be making bedroom slippers for you all as gifts. Please let me know your sizes. You'll most likely agree that it's a splendid idea, and should you wish to do the same, I've included the instructions below:

How to make bedroom slippers out of maxi pads:

You need four maxi pads to make a pair.

Two of them get laid out flat, for the foot part. The other two wrap around the toe area to form the top. Tape or glue each side of the top pieces to the bottom of the foot part. Decorate the tops with whatever you desire, silk flowers (this is most aesthetically appealing), etc.

These slippers are:

* Soft and Hygienic
* Non-slip grip strips on the soles
* Built in deodorant feature keeps feet smelling fresh
* No more bending over to mop up spills
* Disposable and biodegradable
* Environmentally safe
* Three convenient sizes: Regular, Light and Get out the Sand Bags.

I've attached a photo of the first pair I made so that you can see the nifty slippers for yourself.... Awaiting your response. It's crucial that I get the right size for each one of you.

[Thanks DW for this funny email!]

Is Christmas over yet?

As much as I want to enjoy Christmas each year, it seems the last two weeks leading up to D-day turn me into a complete lunatic. The parking lot of the mall this weekend was a dangerous place to be, and I almost lost myself to road rage at one point. My two boys starting laughing at me because apparently I'm funny when I'm on the brink of insanity. Thank God we all have a decent sense of humor or the holidays could very easily turn into a nightmare. I'm still trying to get my Christmas cards sent out as well. Ugh...

Anyway, I need to laugh my way through the holiday, so I'm going to pass on as many funny emails as possible in case there are others of you out there who are close to losing it as well.

Friday, December 15, 2006

The Discovery Institute hammers the Darwinists

Um...just when you thought it couldn‘t get any worse for the Darwinists... Whoomp there it is!

The staff investigation has uncovered compelling evidence that Dr. Sternberg’s civil and constitutional rights were violated by [Darwinist]Smithsonian officials.
[Thanks go to Salvador Cordova for pointing to this article in a forum I frequent. Sal is one of my VERY FAVORITE intelligent design advocates. He heads up the IDEA (Intelligent Design and Evolution Awareness) club at George Mason University. GO SAL!!]

Judge Jones continues to ~borrow~

Per Evolution News & Views, Jones evidently makes a habit of using other people's material.

Judge Jones' Commencement Address at Dickinson College (2006):

"...our Founding Fathers... possessed a great confidence in an individual's ability to understand the world and its most fundamental laws through the exercise of his or her reason... The Founders believed that true religion was not something handed down by a church or contained in a Bible, but was to be found through free, rational inquiry... this core set of beliefs led the Founders... to secure their idea of religious freedom by barring any alliance between church and state." (

Compare that to Frank Lambert's, The Founding Fathers and the Place of Religion in America (Princeton University Press, 2003):

"The Founding Fathers... had great confidence in the individual's ability to understand the world and its most fundamental laws through the exercise of his or her reason. To them, true religion was not something handed down by a church or contained in the Bible but rather was to be found through free rational inquiry...the framers sought to secure their idea of religious freedom by barring any alliance between church and state."

(Frank Lambert, The Founding Fathers and the Place of Religion in
America, pg. 3 (2003). You can also find this material online at
Holy buckets...

Now, let's stop and think for a moment as to what the Darwinists would have to say about this whole saga if the tables were turned and Jones had ruled that intelligent design is science. If they had discovered all this ~borrowing~, they'd have lost their freaking minds. As it is, they are falling all over themselves trying to make excuses for it.

This debate is simply fascinating...

Holiday eating tips

A friend of mine emailed me some great eating tips for the holiday season:

1. Avoid carrot sticks. Anyone who puts carrots on a holiday buffet table knows nothing of the Christmas spirit. In fact, if you see carrots, leave immediately. Go next door, where they're serving rum balls.

2. Drink as much eggnog as you can. And quickly. Like fine chocolate covered cherries, you can't find it any other time of year but now. So drink up! Who cares that it has 10,000 calories in every sip? It's not as if you're going to turn into an eggnog-alcoholic or something. It's a treat. Enjoy it. Have one for me. Have two. It's later than you think. It's Christmas!

3. If something comes with gravy, use it. That's the whole point of gravy. Gravy does not stand alone. Pour it on. Make a volcano out of your mashed potatoes. Fill it with gravy. Eat the volcano. Repeat.

4. As for mashed potatoes, always ask if they're made with skim milk or whole milk. If it's skim, pass. Why bother? It's like buying a sports car with an automatic transmission.

5. Do not have a snack before going to a party in an effort to control your eating. The whole point of going to a Christmas party is to eat other people's food for free. Lots of it. Hello?

6. Under no circumstances should you exercise between now and New Year's. You can do that in January when you have nothing else to do. This is the time for long naps, which you'll need after circling the buffet table while carrying a 10-pound plate of food and that vat of eggnog.

7. If you come across something really good at a buffet table, like frosted Christmas cookies in the shape and size of Santa, position yourself near them and don't budge. Have as many as you can before becoming the center of attention. They're like a beautiful pair of shoes. If you leave them behind, you're never going to see them again.

8. Same for pies. Apple. Pumpkin. Mincemeat. Have a slice of each. Or if you don't like mincemeat, have two apples and one pumpkin. Always have three. When else do you get to have more than one dessert? Labor Day?

9. Did someone mention fruitcake? Granted, it's loaded with the mandatory celebratory calories, but avoid it at all cost. I mean, have some standards.

10. One final tip: If you don't feel terrible when you leave the party or get up from the table, you haven't been paying attention. Re-read tips; start over, but hurry, January is just around the corner. Remember this motto to live by: "Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, diet coke in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming "WOO HOO what a ride!"

Have a great holiday season!
The best part of the holiday season is the spiked eggnog! Enjoy the gluttony, because the new year is right around the corner and it will be time again to start the weight reduction resolutions and head back to the gym!!

Freaky mutations going on

FOND DU LAC, Wis. — Rick Lisko hunts deer with a bow but got his most unusual one driving his truck down his mile-long driveway. The young buck had nub antlers — and seven legs. Lisko said it also had both male and female reproductive organs. "It was definitely a freak of nature," Lisko said. "I guess it's a real rarity."
... When he looked at the animal, he noticed three- to four-inch appendages growing from the rear legs. Later, he found a smaller appendage growing from one of the front legs.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

KU lecture series links

Links to the “Difficult Dialogues in the Commons” lecture series at KU are now available here. I highly recommend that everyone listen to all of them. Behe’s lecture is not available yet, but I’m sure it will be soon.

To be honest, the one I enjoyed the most was Os Guinness. He was so insightful in regard to the culture war we find ourselves in, and he offered some very good advise as to how we should respond to those whose views we oppose. In fact, when I start getting mouthy with people I disagree with I'm going to go back and listen to his lecture again. It was very inspiring.

Of course, Behe’s lecture was awesome as well. I’m glad he was able to lay to rest so much of the misleading information that has been relayed to us by his opposition and the media.

Hope you enjoy the series as much as I did.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Christmas Greetings

Oh, my gosh, I just received this Christmas greeting from a friend. It’s hilarious...

For My Democrat Friends:
Please accept with no obligation, implied or implicit, our best wishes for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, low-stress, non-addictive, gender-neutral celebration of the winter solstice holiday, practiced within the most enjoyable traditions of the religious persuasion of your choice, or secular practices of your choice, with respect for the religious/secular persuasion and/or traditions of others, or their choice not to practice religious or secular traditions at all. We also wish you a fiscally successful, personally fulfilling and medically uncomplicated recognition of the generally accepted calendar year 2007, but not without due respect for the calendars of choice of other cultures whose contributions to society have helped make America great. Not to imply that America is necessarily greater than any other country nor the only America in the Western Hemisphere, and without regard to the race, creed, color, age, physical ability, religious faith or sexual preference of the wishes. By accepting these greetings you are accepting these terms. This greeting is subject to clarification or withdrawal. It is freely transferable with no alteration to the original greeting. It implies no promise by the wisher to actually implement any of the wishes for herself or himself or others, and is void where prohibited by law and is revocable at the sole discretion of the wisher. This wish is warranted to perform as expected within the usual application of good tidings for a period of one year or until the issuance of a subsequent holiday greeting, whichever comes first, and warranty is limited to replacement of this wish or issuance of a new wish at the sole discretion of the wisher.

For My Republican Friends:
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

Man, I’m gonna have to go with the second greeting on the cards I'm sending out because there is just not enough room on those little Christmas cards to do it up properly!! LOL

[Disclaimer: this post is not meant to poke fun of anyone, it's just all in good fun. I also think it's kind of funny how some people get so overly irate about people not using the term Merry Christmas. Everyone needs to chill about this issue and let everyone use the term they are comfortable with.]

The Discovery Institute points out some interesting facts...

In my Behe lecture review, I mentioned that Judge Jones used quite an extensive ‘cut and paste’ technique in his final decision in the Dover trial.

Today, the DI has posted a comparison of Judge Jones’ opinion in the Kitzmiller v. Dover trial with the plaintiffs’ proposed “Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law” document. You can read about it at their blog, Evolution News & Views. This post links to the actual 34 page comparison document as well.

From the DI’s document summary:
In December of 2005, critics of the theory of intelligent design (ID) hailed federal judge John E. Jones’ ruling in Kitzmiller v. Dover, which declared unconstitutional the reading of a statement about intelligent design in public school science classrooms in Dover, Pennsylvania. Since the decision was issued, Jones’ 139-page judicial opinion has been lavished with praise as a “masterful decision” based on careful and independent analysis of the evidence.

However, a new analysis of the text of the Kitzmiller decision reveals that nearly all of Judge Jones’ lengthy examination of “whether ID is science” came not from his own efforts or analysis but from wording supplied by ACLU attorneys. In fact, 90.9% (or 5,458 words) of Judge Jones’ 6,004-word section on intelligent design as science was taken virtually verbatim from the ACLU’s proposed “Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law” submitted to Judge Jones nearly a month before his ruling. Judge Jones even copied several clearly erroneous factual claims made by the ACLU. The finding that most of Judge Jones’ analysis of intelligent design was apparently not the product of his own original deliberative activity seriously undercuts the credibility of Judge Jones’ examination of the scientific validity of intelligent design.! 90.9%! Good grief!

Evolution News & Views

Casey Luskin has posted an article in regard to my review of Michael Behe’s lecture at KU last week at the Discovery Institute‘s Evolution News & Views blog.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the Discovery Institute, it is a nonpartisan public policy think tank based in Seattle, Washington which conducts research on technology, science and culture, economics and foreign affairs.

I was asked at the Behe lecture last week how one could find more information in regard to intelligent design. The Discovery Institute is the first place to start looking. Peruse their website and you will find the answers you are looking for. If you have a specific question that you‘d like answered, contact them and they will lead you to the information you need.

Interestingly enough, my lecture review was also posted at The Panda’s Thumb. They describe themselves as a “Group weblog on evolutionary theory, the claims of the anti-evolution movement, and the defense of the integrity of both science and science education.” They are extremely anti-intelligent design.

When Behe talks, people obviously listen very carefully. Yet, it is beyond amazing how differently the two sides view what is actually being said.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Deep Sea Discoveries

Freaky Cool!

Behe and Astrology

I found an interesting post at Andrew Rowell’s blogsite regarding Behe and the infamous statement about astrology.

Rowell offers the actual words from the transcript and Behe’s explanation.

It simply boggles the mind to think that people could actually believe that Behe considers astrology science. Darwinists would like to relay this to the public, but I guarantee you that there is not a one of them who actually believes that Behe truly meant that modern astrology should be considered science. This is nothing but an obvious ploy in attempt to degrade Behe.

The only people who might possibly believe something like this are those who know next to nothing about Behe and his expansive breadth of knowledge on various scientific issues. Anyone who has read Darwin’s Black Box would certainly reject any ridiculous notion that Behe believes modern astrology is science.

It’s amazing the lengths that those who oppose Intelligent Design will go to denigrate those who support it. I’ve been called just about every name in the book by those who oppose ID simply because of my involvement in this debate.

It's truly sad that people cannot rise above this type of behavior.

Added in edit 12/10:

Below are the actual words from the Dover trial transcripts regarding Behe’s statements about astrology and his reference to the “stack of books” on the immune system.

Q And now the term is used, “The divination of the supposed influences of the stars and planets on human affairs and terrestrial events by their positions and aspects.” That’s the scientific theory of astrology?

A That’s what it says right there, but let me direct your attention to the archaic definition, because the archaic definition is the one which was in effect when astrology was actually thought to perhaps describe real events, at least by the educated community.

Astrology – I think astronomy began in, and things like astrology, and the history of science is replete with ideas that we now think to be wrong headed, nonetheless giving way to better ways or more accurate ways of describing the world.

And simply because an idea is old, and simply because in our time we see it to be foolish, does not mean when it was being discussed as a live possibility, that it was not actually a real scientific theory.

Q I didn’t take your deposition in the 1500s, correct?


Q And I asked you, “Is astrology a theory under that definition?” And you answered, “Is astrology? It could be, yes.” Right?

A That’s correct.

Q Not, it used to be, right?

A Well, that’s what I was thinking. I was thinking of astrology when it was first proposed. I’m not thinking of tarot cards and little mind readers and so on that you might see along the highway. I was thinking of it in its historical sense.

Q I couldn’t be a mind reader either.

Immune system:
Q. We’ll get back to that. Now, these articles rebut your assertion that scientific literature has no answers on the origin of the vertebrate immune system?

A. No, they certainly do not. My answer, or my argument is that the literature has no detailed rigorous explanations for how complex biochemical systems could arise by a random mutation and natural selection and these articles do not address that.

Q. So these are not good enough?

A. They’re wonderful articles. They’re very interesting. They simply just don’t address the question that I pose.

Q. And these are not the only articles on the evolution of vertebrate immune system?

A. There are many articles.


Q. And I’m correct when I asked you, you would need to see a step-by-step description of how the immune system, vertebrate immune system developed?

A. Not only would I need a step-by-step, mutation by mutation analysis, I would also want to see relevant information such as what is the population size of the organism in which these mutations are occurring, what is the selective value for the mutation, are there any detrimental effects of the mutation, and many other such questions.

Q. And you haven’t undertaken to try and figure out those?

A. I am not confident that the immune system arose through Darwinian processes, and so I do not think that such a study would be fruitful.

Q. It would be a waste of time?

A. It would not be fruitful.


Q. And the fifty-eight articles, some yes, some no?

A. Well, the nice thing about science is that often times when you read the latest articles, or a sampling of the latest articles, they certainly include earlier results. So you get up to speed pretty quickly. You don’t have to go back and read every article on a particular topic for the last fifty years or so.


Q. You conclude the chapter called “Publish or Perish” by saying, “In effect, the theory of Darwinian molecular evolution has not published, and so it should perish,” right?

A. That’s correct, yes.

Q. And then all these hard working scientists publish article after article over years and years, chapters and books, full books, addressing the question of how the vertebrate immune system evolved, but none of them are satisfactory to you for an answer to that question?

A. Well, see, that again is an example of confusing the different meanings of evolution. As we have seen before, evolution means a number of things, such as change over time, common descent, gradualism and so on. And when I say Darwinian evolution, that is focusing exactly on the mechanism of natural selection. And none of these articles address that.

Q. Again at the same time you don’t publish any peer reviewed articles advocating for the alternative, intelligent design?

A. I have published a book, or – I have published a book discussing my ideas.


Q. Professor Behe, isn’t it the case that scientists often propose hypotheses, and then set out to test them themselves rather than trusting the people who don’t agree with their hypothesis?

A. That’s true, but hypothesis of design is tested in a way that is different from a Darwinian hypotheses. The test has to be specific to the hypothesis itself, and as I have argued, an inductive hypothesis is argued or is supported by induction, by example after example of things we see that fit this induction.

Friday, December 08, 2006

“Difficult Dialogues” Lecture Series

Since I attended and posted a review of every lecture in KU's "Difficult Dialogues" series, I’ve decided to gather them in one post for those who are interested in an objective view from a Reasonable Kansan who supports Intelligent Design.

Ken Miller

Judge Jones

Os Guinness

Richard Dawkins

Eugenie Scott

Michael Behe

The Panel Discussion

Read it and weep

Read this post written by William Dembski at Uncommon Descent. Unbelievable.

What on earth makes those scientists who are theists so indifferent to these atheist goals that are being forwarded by science??

You theistic scientists better wake up and smell the coffee. Pretty soon, they'll be telling you that you "aren't doing science" because of your "supernatural" tendancies. PZ already accused Francis Collins of this.

The Panel Discussion

Something kind of interesting happened on my way over to Hall Center to listen to the panel discussion. I was leaving Murphy Hall after the Behe lecture, and I was trying to figure out how to get to Hall Center when low and behold Sue Gamble (Kansas Board of Education) and Steve Case (Science Standards Writing Committee) and two others with them walked past me. I figured I’d just follow them over because I knew Sue was going to be on the panel, and obviously she’d be going in the right direction. So, I joined their group, and as we were walking they asked me what I thought of the lecture.


I knew my opinion was not going to popular with them, but I dove in anyway. I told them I thought it was quite good actually, and we proceeded to discuss what science is and isn’t. Case didn’t believe ID was a valid theory because he didn't believe it was testable. The other guy with them thought that the ID community has not been clear enough about where design starts and natural causes end. I told them that if they aren’t comfortable with calling it a “theory”, there is absolutely no doubt that it is a valid scientific inference, and it certainly isn’t religion or philosophy. I can’t imagine philosophers discussing all the scientific issues that Behe touched on today!

The most interesting thing about this debate is how people can hear the exact same information and come away with completely different opinions. Gamble and Case told me emphatically that ID is not science, and of course I completely disagreed. Behe talked “science” the entire lecture. I didn’t hear any religion and very little philosophy.

The panel discussion itself was pretty one sided, though interesting. Behe was not on the panel as was originally indicated by Krishtalka in the email he sent me. Perhaps Behe had to catch an early flight back or something.

The panel discussed how faith and reason can work together. The Methodist Bishop felt that there needs to be more education in the churches stressing the fact that science and faith are not in conflict and that evolution is not a problem for religion. Good luck with that.

Then there was of course the “fringe groups” discussion, and how we need to work to bring a more moderate voice to this debate. They were all in agreement that this “problem” of “fringe groups” with their “tampering, “annoying” and “distracting” trends that take us away from more important issues are not going away any time soon. Personally, I think there are many ID advocates who are moderates, but you wouldn’t convince this panel of that.

The Bishop on the panel stated that for years there was no problem with religion being taught in schools as most people held the same faith beliefs within their communities. But, as our nation has become more and more secular it has become increasingly difficult to find common ground between various religions and their ultimate affect on science education as well. The problem we find ourselves in is that there are so many different faith beliefs or disbeliefs that secularism has become the only option in the schools.

This, in my mind, is part of the problem. We have become so secular that we are almost leading our students into an agnostic society. It appears to me that many people who believe they hold a certain religious belief are actually agnostics themselves. They call themselves Catholics, Methodist, Muslim, or whatever, but they also feel that all religions are similar and you choose what works for you. That seems agnostic to me because you don’t believe in anything with conviction, you merely believe there is an ultimate divine first cause of the universe.

The question was asked as to how we can build bridges between these groups and allow for faith and reason to live together peacefully. Edward Wiley, Professor and Senior Curator in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, and Sue Gamble felt that part of the answer is to put religion in the schools!!!!! These are the same people who believe that Intelligent Design is religion, and because of that it shouldn’t be in the schools. But, Sue informs us that the difference is that she is condoning “religion(s)”, not “religion”. The two of them felt that if students were more aware of the various religions then they would be more accepting of those beliefs and that might help in further “bridge building”.

At this point, I was about out of my seat.

Here’s what happens when you teach comparative religion in the public school system. First of all, nobody wants bias on a subject like this - so what is the best solution? Well, you teach all religions as being on an equal playing field, and you throw in ancient mythical beliefs as well. You would also want a teacher who is not biased - so what’s the best option? An agnostic teacher leading the discussions. They certainly won’t show bias because they are “agnostic” on the subject of religion. The problem is that agnosticism is a form of faith belief, and atheism is as well.

Do people not realize this?

My other objection is that ID doesn’t say anything about religion - nor does it in any way favor a particular religious belief system. But, if it is religion, as Gamble seems to think, why would it not be included in this agnostic comparable religion environment? Sheesh... what a convoluted mess.

My opinion is that religion should only be taught in history classes when appropriate. Otherwise, we’re shoving our students into the realm of agnosticism, and we’ve seen this to be a fact over the years. More and more students are losing their faith at the universities, and my personal opinion is that it is due to comparative religion, philosophy of religion, and the fact that we teach our kids that they are the product of chance which arose from a murky pond. There is not time in one semester to do anything other than touch on the main beliefs of the faith systems being discussed, and this can lead to a horrendously misleading environment to study a topic as important as religion.

The other solution the panel believed would solve this problem of religion and science continually butting heads, would be further education. I agree, although not in the sense that they are promoting. I feel strongly that the general public has had the wool pulled over their eyes in regard to what the Intelligent Design movement is all about, and the more they are educated about the true nature of ID, the more it will be accepted as a scientific inference that belongs in a science class - not a religion class. I do not believe that the scientific community is doing this purposely, because I think they truly believe what they attest to in regard to ID. But, the problem here is a worldview issue. You can have two people listen to the same information regarding these issues and you will have them walk away with entirely different reactions. It’s the strangest thing I’ve ever seen....truly. It’s not that both sides are lying or deceiving each other, it’s that they truly perceive the issues completely differently and cannot comprehend how the other side cannot understand their position. It’s incredibly interesting to observe and think about.

Case in point.....

After the lecture, I approached Sue again to ask a few more questions. She was talking with another woman, and she brought me into the conversation, so I gladly shared my views as well. Let me say upfront that after talking with Sue personally, I have changed my opinion about her just a bit. She has always appeared to me to be someone who has completely rejected all reasonable, objective discussions on the subject of Intelligent Design, and I still believe that to be true. But, I can tell that she is passionately concerned about Kansas students and wants them to have the highest possible degree of education. I could feel that passion when I spoke with her, and I’m glad I had the chance to meet and talk with her personally.

But, as the three of us were discussing the issues, the other women in the conversation (I’ll call her Ann) was reiterating my same feelings to Sue -- that Behe’s lecture certainly seemed to be a discussion of science - not religion or “creationism”. Sue told “Ann” that ID is creationism, and I told her emphatically that it is NOT creationism. There is no correlation whatsoever except that both creationists and advocates of ID believe there is an ultimate designer of the universe. Sue and I went back and forth about this a bit, and I finally told “Ann” to ask a creationist whether ID is creation. There is not a creationist on earth who would say that ID is creation science. Well, Sue had to agree with that claim. End of story.

"Ann" was quite interested in learning more about ID and told me afterward that it’s very hard to find information about it. She also wondered why everyone keeps saying that ID is religion or “Creationism“. Well, there is only one answer for that -- it’s due to the information being relayed to us by the “scientific community” via Eugenie Scott, et. al.

That is what is going to be the winning point for ID in the end. The public has been fed so much information by the “scientific community” that is just not accurate. When people dive into these issues thoroughly for themselves, they are going realize that there is much more to this topic than the sound bites we are given by the media.

We’re seeing this slowly happening throughout the country and worldwide as well. Sue Gamble mentioned that in 2000, other countries were wondering why the US has this "problem" with ID and evolution, but in 2005 she noticed that this "problem" has spread throughout the world.

People are opening their eyes, and delving into these issues more thoroughly and realizing that ID is a valid scientific inference, and that there are indeed many areas of Darwinian evolution that are highly questionable. The UK is up in arms over this topic right now, and other nations are involved in the debate as well. Of course, it’s spread all over the US, and Kansas is no longer the only state in the hot seat.

Things will slowly change, but education is needed. I asked a gal sitting next to me what she thought about the Behe lecture, and she said that it was obvious that Behe had a wide breadth of knowledge in the various areas of science, but she believed he was probably the exception in the Intelligent Design community. I almost accidentally laughed, but I caught myself before I did something rude like that. This is the problem we are faced with. We are told by the media that anyone who contemplates the arguments for ID is an uneducated hick, and everyone pictures the leaders in the ID movement as a little group of rather anti-intellectual fellows raising a ruckus for their religious beliefs. That opinion will not last much longer, because for those who are literate and have even a small interest in the subject, they can find an overwhelming amount of impressive literature put out by the Discovery Institute fellows along with many other scientists throughout the nation that will answer every question they have about ID, Darwinism, and the rest of the bogus claims being made about the movement.

All in all, it was quite an interesting day. I didn’t get a chance to talk to Behe personally because I was hoping to meet him after the panel discussion. But, unfortunately he wasn’t included. I did meet The Angry Astronomer, but he didn’t look so angry. LOL. I didn’t notice any of the other Kansas bloggers that I’m familiar with, so perhaps they won’t have much to say about the lecture.

Long day - I'm off to bed...

Behe Lecture

Krishtalka, of course, gave Behe a formal introduction, and was sure to reiterate his message from every other lecture in this series - that ID is not science blah, blah, blah....the usual. Nuf said.

On to Behe...

He started out his lecture with a rebuttal to some of the information that was provided from earlier lectures in this series.

He spoke at length about the Dover trial and Judge Jones’ decision that ID is “religion”. He said that the scientific community has put Judge Jones on a pedestal and announced that his judgment is rock solid evidence that ID is not science and does not belong in the science classroom. Behe stated that he didn’t believe that the credit for this should go to Jones, but to the lead attorney for the plaintiff, Eric Rothchild.

Behe went on to show in detail that Jones’ written 139 page decision was filled with cut and paste sections from Rothchild’s documents. Whenever Jones wrote on an academic issue, he provides a lightly edited “drag and drop” from the trial lawyer’s documents. Behe said that some judges do this to a certain extent, but not on as large a scale as Jones did. This made Behe wonder if Jones even understood all of the academic issues that were being presented to him if he had to copy so much from Rothchild's documents.

Jones did state in his lecture at KU a few months ago that he was presented with a “mind numbingly technical presentation” from the witnesses. If his mind had gone “numb”, do we have reason to believe he actually absorbed all the information presented to him? When he spoke at KU he didn’t touch on any of the issues of the debate, he only spoke of how he was deemed an “activist judge”. Perhaps this is because he wouldn’t have been able to reiterate the science that was presented to him, so he took another route. Personally, I don’t think he took as much heat for being an “activist” as he claims. The dude was featured in Time magazine as one of the most influential people of the year. He was also voted by Wired magazine as one of the “10 sexiest geeks”, and was even asked to speak at graduation commencement speeches. It sounds like his life has been pretty exciting since the Dover trial.

As far as the “stack of books and articles” presented at the trial, Behe took it as bad courtroom theatre. He said that the “stack of books” we always see in pictures was staged because pictures were not allowed to be taken in the courtroom. So, obviously, this was an antic to try to make Behe look foolish.

Behe said that current studies do not provide evidence that the immune system has been explained by evolutionary mechanisms, so he was certain that this older material piled up in front of him did not contain anything that would explain it either. In the trial, he referenced the most current 2005 standard view of the immune system and he discussed this in depth with Ken Miller during the trial, but this information was not referenced in the Jones decision. He said the 2005 article on the immune system used words like “may have”, “appears to be”, “probably”, “might have”, etc. etc. It was speculative information, and if that were true in 2005, then obviously earlier papers wouldn’t have added anything more pertinent to the discussion. The papers in question do not address how random processes explain evolution of the immune system... they simply assume that they do.

Jones also made the statement in his decision that Behe said, “Those papers were not good enough”. In fact, Behe did not say this. Those are the words Eric Rothchild tried to put in his mouth while Behe was on the witness stand. Behe actually said that they were wonderful articles, that they were very interesting, but that they simply don’t address the question as he posed it. They address a different question.

Behe said that he seems to find himself following Ken Miller around correcting these issues that Ken keeps relaying to the public. Apparently, Richard Dawkins uses these same words (“those papers were not good enough”) in his latest book, The God Delusion. So, both Miller and Dawkins are relaying inaccurate information and the scientific community is eating it up and using it against him as well.

Another misperception came out in the Q&A session. Behe was asked if he believed astrology was science because he had been quoted all over the media as saying astrology would fit in with his definition of science.

Behe stated that at that point in the trial they were discussing the definition of science. He was asked if astrology was science and Behe said he stated astrology was considered science in the 13th and 14th century and that it in part led to astronomy. He was referring to historical times, not current times. But, the media only picked up his reference to astrology being acceptable in his definition of science.

Behe made the comment that some of the things that came out of the Dover trial were “surreal distortions”, and he seemed to be frankly shocked at how much information was inaccurately relayed in Jones’ final decision.

He then went on to talk a bit about Dawkin’s lecture. Basically, Dawkins states in his book that “ID is a scientific claim“, and that he also sees design in nature. But, obviously he takes another route with this information. If Dawkins believes that ID is a scientific claim, why did Judge Jones believe it to be a religious argument?

Behe mentioned another atheist by the name of Thomas Nagel who believes that Dawkins attempts at philosophy in his book are particularly weak. You can read Nagel’s article, The Fear of Religion, on line at The New Republic (subscription needed).


Behe then goes on to make his argument for Intelligent Design. I will give a quick overview, and when the recording of the lecture is available, I’ll provide a link. He covered so much in a short amount of time, and everyone interested in this topic should listen to the entire lecture.

He broke his argument for design down into five points.

1. Design is not mystical. It is deduced from the physical structure of a system.

We detect design when we see a purposeful arrangement of parts. The more parts there are and the more precise the purpose leads to a stronger case for design.

2. Everyone agrees that aspects of biology appear to show design.

Even atheist extraordinaire, Richard Dawkins, mentions time and time again that he sees things in nature that give the appearance of being designed for a purpose. We now know so much more than we did in Darwin’s time, and we have to consider the irreducible complexity of the cell’s macromolecular machines. Recent findings give so much more direct evidence for intelligent design in nature than in the past.

3. There are structural obstacles to Darwinian evolution.

He went into his famous mouse trap example, and explained that the mouse trap needs all it’s parts to trap a mouse. If one part is missing, it doesn’t function as a mousetrap. The same is true of the bacterial flagellum and other macromolecular machines. If one part is missing, it is no longer functionable. The cell is chalk full of irreducibly complex machines such as this. He showed a few slides on how intricate these systems are and explained that for these machines to stick together and work as a system, they must have a certain shape, specific chemical surfaces, etc., etc.

4. Grand Darwinian claims rest on undisciplined imagination.

Behe said imagination is a good thing, but you may find that you are imagining things that aren’t actually there. Science is full of “just so” stories that attempt to explain many things in science. Often times these “stories” are relayed as facts. To this date there are no detailed accounts of the evolution of complex biochemical systems.

He said Dawkins and others accuse ID advocates of providing arguments from “personal incredulity” - (I don’t see how that could happen). But, Behe said that many Darwinists argue from “personal credulity” - (I don’t see any problems with that happening - how hard could it be?) They can imagine it - consider that it’s no big deal - and, then they take that as evidence.

But, when you really think about and research the many issues regarding molecular machines, there are a lot of problems to overcome in order for one to believe that Darwinian evolution can explain their appearance in nature.

5. There is strong evidence for Design and little evidence for Darwinism.

Life overwhelmingly impresses us with the appearance of design. He then showed a picture of a duck, and stated that if it walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, it’s probably a duck. He said design is an In-duck-tive argument. (cute humor)

Basically, inductive reasoning is a logical scientific argument, and his conclusion is that ID is rationally justified by scientific data.


In the Q&A, Behe stated that ID is falsifiable as there are many papers written which try to falsify information in regard to ID arguments. He felt that Darwinian evolution is not falsifiable because even though these papers fail to refute ID arguments, (such as trying to explain the evolutionary steps for the flagellum) when they fail, scientists merely say that they still need to do further research and that at some point they will have the answers. This makes Darwinian evolution unfalsifiable.

He also said that a scientific hypothesis does not have to generate new scientific approaches, it merely has to be a true description of what happens in nature. For instance, when we discover a new planet, that doesn’t usually generate new scientific research, but it tells us about nature. There are many examples such as this. But, even though this is a fact, Behe feels that ID does trigger new research. I believe that is quite apparent, as we see paper after paper coming out trying to refute ID claims. Harvard University also has a new research project regarding the origin of life due to the push to refute the ID movement.

A few other things mentioned in the Q&A were that:

Evolution does not explain everything, and randomness and contingency in nature usually breaks things down, which can be beneficial in certain things, but breaking a system does not explain how it was made in the first place.

It was also mentioned that ID has no problems with common descent, and it is actually easily compatible with it. He said that many scientists are telling us that evolution is not random, but though natural selection is not random, random mutations are. Random mutations do not build complex structures. This is the argument between Darwinism and ID.

In my personal opinion, I find absolutely no reason why anyone would find ID non-scientific or a religious argument unless they adhere to philosophical naturalism. There was much talk at the panel discussion about the fact that we cannot invoke the supernatural into a science discussion, but this is where I completely lose patience with these “enlightened“, self appointed intellectuals. Clearly, ID, in and of itself, does not invoke discussions about the supernatural or include topics of religious thought. These type of issues only pertain to those who are considering the ~religious implications~ that may arise from the scientific inference of design. In this same manner, Darwinian evolution has ~religious implications~.

What is very interesting is that there are many people who are not philosophical naturalists, yet they disagree with design as well. There is no objective reason for this, and it will always remain a mystery to me how people perceive this movement as merely a “religious argument“.

[Edit made: 12/9 - After checking my notes from the lecture, I found an error in transmission to this post.]

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Just got back from the lecture

Okay, I'm back from the Behe lecture. Wow! What an interesting day.

I have a lot to write..... and I'm typing as fast as I can.

Stay tuned.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Interesting use of billboards

Apparently, there are some provocative billboards going up in Minneapolis, MN. For more information, link here.

6th Grade Science

Interestingly enough, my two boys are at the perfect age for me to follow whether this ID/evolution debate taking place throughout the nation will have any impact within the science classrooms in the next ten years.

A couple weeks ago, my oldest told me that they were discussing the age of the earth and touching on the origin of life. They discussed the “primordial soup” concept.

I was impressed that his teacher at least offered an introduction to the discussion. She basically told them that they may be provided information by their parents that will conflict with some of the topics they learn regarding evolution, but she will be teaching them the theories that coincide with the scientific consensus. She told them they can decide for themselves what they agree with when they are older and have studied the issues more carefully. ~Fair enough~

I’m not of the belief that parents should go running to the teachers and handing them all kinds of books refuting evolution. The teachers have already been freaked out by the media that parents may raise a ruckus about evolution, and there is no sense in causing a scene. Most teachers are doing the best they can with the issues, IMO. But, I did send my son's teacher a quick e-mail telling her that I’m an ID advocate, and that if she is interested in knowing more, I’d be happy to share some information with her. I also gave her my blog address so she could stay updated on current events surrounding this debate. She sent me a nice reply...end of story.

So, since the kids are discussing the concept of the “primordial soup”, I thought I’d offer a couple links to consider:

Here’s a great on-line site and, here is an article titled Darwin’s warm pond theory tested.

Basically, the "primordial soup" concept is nothing but pure speculation, and has all but been completely rejected by "scientific consensus".

I guess someone forgot to tell the grade school teachers...

Religion by Any Other Name

A friend emailed me this interesting article by Regis Nicoll:

"Let's teach our children from a very young age about the story of the universe and its incredible richness and beauty. It is already so much more glorious and awesome--and even comforting--than anything offered by any scripture or God concept I know."-- Carolyn Porco, astronomer

A crusading troika

After four centuries of growing tension, the battle lines between secularism and religion have sharpened, owing in large measure to the efforts of Daniel Dennett, Sam Harris, and Richard Dawkins. Determined to reduce religion to the ash heap of Dark Age superstition, the crusading troika delivered four flaming arrows this year.

In Breaking the Spell, Daniel Dennett sets out to defang religion with statements like this: "Everything we value--from sugar and sex and money to music and love and religion--we value for reasons. Lying behind, and distinct from, our reasons are evolutionary reasons, free-floating rationales that have been endorsed by natural selection."

By presenting religion as an outcome of evolutionary development, rather than as a framework about ultimate reality, Dennett hopes to "break the spell" of our religious enchantment. Come to think of it--since Dennett's own beliefs about religion are, likewise, the products of evolution, maybe he'll disabuse us of those as well--but I wouldn't count on it.

In October, Sam Harris' book, Letter to a Christian Nation, became a New York Times best seller. Harris who, after 9/11authored The End of Faith--a jeremiad against religion--discussed his latest work in an NPR interview, insisting that religion was irrational and dangerous, and that faith had no place in a country founded on Reason. (The last time this writer checked, the founding document of our country mentioned something about rights that are endowed by a Creator).

Early this year Richard Dawkins produced The Root of All Evil--a film that places all the world's horrors squarely on the doorsteps of the church, synagogue and temple. Presumably, Mr. Dawkins skipped class the week they covered the social consequences of Stalin, Mussolini, Khrushchev, Mao Tse-tung, and Pol Pot--all anti-religious regimes, by the way.

Most recently, Dawkins issued a clarion call to arms with his book, The God Delusion. Convinced that there are far more atheists out there than meets the eye, Dawkins aims to embolden the silent throng with nothing less than atheist pride: "You can be an atheist who is happy, balanced, moral, and intellectually fulfilled...Being an atheist is nothing to be apologetic about. On the contrary, it is something to be proud of, standing tall to face the far horizon, for atheism nearly always indicates a healthy independence of mind and, indeed, a healthy mind."

Independence? Sure. Healthy? Only if you consider the greater incidence of suicide among atheists as healthy. But perhaps Dawkins' most quixotic hope is that "If this book works as I intend, religious readers who open it will be atheists when they put it down." Now that's what I call evangelistic zeal.

Another approach

Clearly Dennett, Harris, and Dawkins are unsettled that three centuries of Enlightenment have failed to rout religion from the cultural landscape. As well they know, today, two hundred years after the goddess of Reason was enthroned in Paris' Notre Dame Cathedral, there are over 5.5 billion religious adherents in a world whose populace is less than 3% atheist.

While the three firebrands of militant humanism are trying to convert the masses through a take-no-prisoners stratagem, others are suggesting an "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em" approach--well, sort of.

Research scientist and astronomer Carolyn Porco recommends that instead of denying humankind's yearning for transcendence, science should capitalize on it. Acknowledging that religion fulfills an essential human need--otherwise, it wouldn't have passed through the evolutionary sieve--Porco suggests that it is a need that can be satisfied in scientific inquiry.

Scientific discovery engenders awe and wonder by exposing us to the grandeur of the universe. Plumbing the hidden mysteries of nature, we gain a sense of meaning and immortality as we become aware of our part in a greater whole. This, says Porco, is "greatest story ever told"--a story that needs its own "church."

The church that Dr. Porco has is mind is a "Church of Latter Day Scientists" replete with ceremonies, communal worship, rituals (including baptism!), missionaries, apostles, and even its own sacred sites: research labs, particle accelerators, and observatories. There would be worship centers (museums, planetaria and lecture halls). It would use the media to spread the "word"-- extolling the genius of Darwin and showcasing the elegance of evolution.

What would a church service look like? Dr. Porco gushes, "Imagine congregations raising their voices in tribute to gravity, the force that binds us all to the Earth, and the Earth to the Sun, and the Sun to the Milky Way...can't you just hear the hymns sung to the antiquity of the universe, its abiding laws, and the heaven above that 'we' will all one day inhabit, together, commingled, spread out like a nebula against a diamond sky?... 'Hallelujah!', they will sing. 'May the force be with you!'"

Imagine, indeed--the Mendelssohn masterpiece replaced by the Obi-wan slogan? 'Hallelujah' is not the reaction that struck me.

Although the anti-religiensa are sure to dismiss her ideas as transmogrification, Carolyn Porco unwittingly reveals a deep truth about their secular and materialistic ideology--it is, at its core, religious.

Common themes

As previously chronicled in these pages, in my long-running debate with a UK philosopher, I argued that his atheistic beliefs were just as religious as my Christian ones. Although my arguments focused on the faith necessary to buoy the materialistic foundation of his secular humanism, I could have pointed to the religious themes in common with the biblical narrative.

Inspired by the goddess of Reason, modern humanists crafted their own narrative, beginning with a Creation account called, "Cosmogenesis." It goes something like this: In the distant past, a seed of quantum dimensions materialized and, then, exploded out of the pre-cosmic void. After a few quick phase transitions, and billions of years of nucleosynthesis and stellar genesis, a "just-right" planet formed containing a pre-biotic swill with all the ingredients necessary for life. In time, chemical evolution led to single-celled organisms which, after millions of years of natural selection, complexified and diversified into everything from the simple bacterium to the human mind.

After countless centuries of human and cultural progress, the sacking of Rome heralded the Fall of man. The disintegration of Greco-Roman civilization led to a black-out of literature, education, and scientific achievement leaving the Church as the sole centralized institution. Driven by its imperialistic vision, the Magisterium held the masses captive in the darkness of superstition and religious doctrine.

It would take over a thousand years for man to experience Redemption. In quick succession, Copernicus, Galileo and Newton announced their breathtaking discoveries about the universe--each, a flame that Descartes, Hume and Kant fanned with their philosophies of rationalism, skepticism and empiricism. And as the Light spread by the invention of Gutenberg, the Way to Reason and Freedom was illumined.

In the "now", there is hope in a coming Eschaton, when man's perfection, and that of the social order, will be realized through our unswerving commitment to Reason and the unfettered exercise of science. The unlimited potential of human ingenuity, once liberated from the morality of revealed religion, will free man from evolutionary object, to evolutionary master.

Through the wonders of genetic engineering, cloning, nanotechnology and cybernetics, we will advance from homo sapiens to techno sapiens, overcoming the plagues of birth defects, disease and even mortality. With the power of our collective minds, and our perfected bodies, we will put an end to poverty, ignorance, and war.

Essentials and trappings

Although Rationalism reigns supreme in the above narrative, it is hoisted on a pedestal of numerous Articles of Faith--things like materialism, cosmic inflation, macro-evolution, common descent, emergence, self-organization, unlimited progress, and reason as the sole source of knowledge--things that enjoy not one scintilla of empirical evidence, are non-falsifiable but essential, lest the "house of cards" collapses.

Then there are the religious trappings. In common with all religions, humanism has its patron saints: Voltaire, Charles Darwin, and Carl Sagan; its revered text: The Origin of Species; its creed: The Humanist Manifesto; its martyrs: Galileo and Daniel Dennett (!) who fancies himself as such because, as he puts it, he "risks getting poked in the nose or worse" for voicing his beliefs; its holy day: Darwin Day in celebration of evolution and its founder; and its evangelists: Dennett, Dawkins, and Harris who have all become quite the media darlings as of late. And, I almost forgot--its religious symbol: the Darwin fish plaque, available in assorted styles and colors.

Lastly, there are ceremonies. As advertised on the Humanist Society webpage, "In communities all over, individuals certified to our unique ministry stand ready to provide ceremonial observances of the significant occasions of life." (Emphasis added.) Among the ceremonies provided are: weddings, same-sex commitments, memorials, and "baby welcoming."

So, if you're surprised to learn that the American Humanist Association is classified as a 501(c)(3) organization exempt from federal taxes--you shouldn't be. Religion by any other name...

As it was from the beginning

In the 19th century, Lord John Morley of England mused, "The next great task of Science is the building of a new religion." Inspired by Morley's vision, Sir Julian Huxley later remarked, "I was fired by sharing his conviction that science would of necessity play an essential part in framing any religion of the future worthy of name." Huxley would emerge as a leading figure of humanism calling it, "a religion without revelation."

So Messrs. Dawkins, Harris, and Dennett--which spell, delusion or religion should we dispense with? All, or all but yours?

For Further Reading:
The God Delusion preface, Richard Dawkins
The Greatest Story Ever Told, Carolyn Porco, The Edge
Atheists Agonistes, Richard Shweder, New York Times
A Free-for-All on Science and Religion,
George Johnson, New York Times
Religious Affiliation and Suicide Attempt,
American Journal of Psychiatry
The Humanist Society webpage
American Humanist Association webpage

Regis Nicoll is a Centurion of Prison Fellowship Ministries Wilberforce Forum. In addition to writing Thinking Christianly, Regis is a columnist for BreakPoint and Crosswalk, and a contributor to Prison Fellowship's worldview blog, The Point.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Brownback for President?

Per the Topeka Capital Journal, it seems Brownback is testing the waters to see if the nation would support him in a run for President.

He’d get my vote, but I can tell you right now that the liberals would raise bloody hell before they’d let Brownback step into the oval office. I mean, the guy actually prays, and he admits it in public! [please note sarcasm]

Brownback is quoted:
"There is a real need in our country to rebuild the family and renew our culture," Brownback said. "There is a need for genuine conservatism and real compassion in the national discussion."
Liberals will freak over that quote, but the words that stand out for me are “genuine” and “real compassion”. Brownback has always appeared to be a genuine person who cares deeply about the success of American families.

I recently realized that Brownback lives less than a mile away from me. I noticed him walking down the same route that I take.

My husband’s cousin went to Boy’s State with Brownback way back when, and told my husband years ago that the man would make an outstanding President some day, and advised him to vote for Brownback whenever the chance arises. BTW, the cousin in question is not a “fundie” as he never even attends church. But, he did recognize great leadership skills when he saw them.

But, just like the media destroyed the credibility of the Kansas Board of Ed. members this past year, they would annihilate Brownback. Sad, but true.

I think he should go for it anyway...

How about Brownback vs. Clinton in ‘08??

Holy cow, the media would have a field day with those two!!!

Behe Lecture

Don’t forget that the Michael Behe lecture has been rescheduled for this Thursday, 11/7. He will also be included in the panel discussion listed below:

Difficult Dialogues at The Commons - Upcoming Events:

Thu., Dec. 7, 2006, 1:00-2:30 p.m.
Difficult Dialogues at The Commons
Michael Behe
“The Argument for Intelligent Design in Biology”
Crafton-Preyer Theatre, Murphy Hall

Thu., Dec. 7, 2006, 3:30-5:00 p.m.
Difficult Dialogues at The Commons
Panel Discussion on Knowledge: Faith & Reason
Sue Gamble, Bishop Scott Jones, Richard Lariviere, Derek Schmidt, & Edward O. Wiley
Hall Center Conference Hall

Monday, December 04, 2006

The present is the key to the past???

Check out what William Dembski posted at Uncommon Descent:

Written by G. K. Chesterton, published in 1920...

. . . The Darwinians have this mark of fighters for a lost cause, that they are perpetually appealing to sentiment and to authority. Put your bat or your rhinoceros simply and innocently as a child might put them, before the Darwinian, and he will answer by an appeal to authority. He will probably answer with the names of various German professors; he will not answer with any ordinary English words, explaining the point at issue. God condescended to argue with Job, but the last Darwinian will not condescend to argue with you. He will inform you of your ignorance; he will not enlighten your ignorance.

And I will add this point of merely personal experience of humanity: when men have a real explanation they explain it, eagerly and copiously and in common speech, as Huxley freely gave it when he thought he had it. When they have no explanation to offer, they give short dignified replies, disdainful of the ignorance of the multitude.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

A wonderful dinner awaits

My husband and two sons have a great love for hunting fowl. They’ve spent every weekend since opening season out shooting birds.

The first few weeks it was too warm to entice the birds in, but the last few weekends have been pretty exciting for them.

Yesterday, they came sashaying in with 5 very large Greater Canadian Geese. Stretched out they were about as long as my boys. They threw those suckers up on my kitchen counter and I just about died. Yuck.

I played along and told them what outstanding gunmen they are, but I was privately wondering how on earth they can shoot something so beautiful! These same three men stand in awe every time a formation of geese fly over our house or land on our pond. Yet, they seem to have no problem shooting the poor things.

But, there is an upside to their brutal killing of those beautiful birds. At the moment they are making me an outstanding dinner of smoked geese. They’ve been working all afternoon putting together an array of various side dishes to accompany their yummy geese. My husband is an excellent cook, which is a good thing because I’m not terribly talented in that department. My two boys seem to enjoy cooking as well. My youngest son made me an awesome egg omelet this morning. I haven’t had to cook a thing all day!

I’m very content letting them spoil me, but my concern at the moment is what my kitchen looks like. I’d imagine it resembles what Hiroshima looked like after it was nuked.

I’m staying far away and hoping that I don’t get stuck with clean up...

Friday, December 01, 2006

Podcast interview with Thomas Woodward

I’ve referenced in several posts now a book I am currently reading titled, Darwin Strikes Back: Defending the Science of Intelligent Design.

The Discovery Institute‘s Evolution News and Views blog provides an article about the book, and apparently the latest DI podcast features Casey Luskin interviewing the author of the book, Dr. Thomas Woodward.


Here is the link for the podcast.

One last conversation with Seldom

You quote me and then comment:
“Now, just relax for a moment because I know this will throw you for a loop, but yes, I favor a young earth for many reasons. Surprisingly, scientific data - not religion is what brought me to consider young earth arguments."

Oh boy. I know you may actually believe what you wrote about believing in a young earth based on scientific evidence, but you really should not expect anyone else to believe it. There is NO scientific evidence for a young earth. None. It does not exist. I know you probably read some interesting stuff, probably involving moon dust or helium concentrations, but it is all worthless. There is not a single one of those ideas that has not been thoroughly refuted. You cannot say you believe in a young earth and then expect me or anyone else to believe it is for any reason other than your prior religious world view, even if you have some scientific sounding creationist rationalization to back you up.
LOL... spoken like a true Darwin supporter! When I mention to philosophical naturalists that I find young earth arguments compelling, I always wait to see if the response will be any different from the last response I was given. It NEVER is. Actually it’s spoken almost verbatim each time.

Hmmm...well, obviously there will never be any data that will convince you to reconsider your position on this subject, but perhaps there are readers who are still open minded about this topic. So, I’ll provide some links for them to consider.

Regardless of what you may think, religion is not what brought me into this debate. About 5 years ago, someone showed me a film on flood geology, and I found it extremely interesting. I dug around for more information and it led to years of research on the topic of creation and evolution. At about the same time that I viewed that film, I decided to take an extremely in-depth course on the Biblical narrative that lasted for about two years. I’d had doubts about various aspects of the Christian faith and I’d taken college biology courses and a comparative religion course that threw more doubt into the mix. So, after I had my two boys, I decided I’d better look at this subject from an adult perspective for their sake more than anything else. That also led me to research other religious beliefs as well. Anyway, It’s been a fascinating journey, and my faith in God has grown immensely.

Though creation scientists can support their theories with scientific evidence, obviously the issues surrounding this debate have religious ~implications~. Any time science starts contemplating the origins of life, it will cross lines with theology. But, one can study the scientific evidence for and against the various theories without resorting to religious arguments. Of course, when considering creationist arguments, a worldwide flood is mentioned and many refuse to even examine the evidence for the event due to the mention of a worldwide flood from the book of Genesis. But, history provides supporting evidence for flood geology as well. There are many ancient flood legends that coorespond to the Genesis account.

While I do find many of the Institute for Creation Research articles and arguments against Darwinian evolution interesting, I find that the organization is at times too dogmatic for my taste and their atheist bashing seems to me to be counter productive. I mean, let’s be realistic....there will always be atheists, and there will always be theists. There is no point whatsoever in angering each other with verbal slurs.

This is where I differ from the Dawkins/Harris mentality as well. They believe that there is no need to show respect for those who hold “unrealistic religious beliefs”. Personally, I don’t believe it is ever appropriate to show disrespect for others. There are ways to speak to people respectfully and at the same time relay a very strong message in regard to your opinions on a variety of topics. I believe that if one has to resort to belittling others, then the message they are trying to relay is apparently too weak to stand on it’s own.

As far as creation science in concerned, the most compelling evidence I’ve read would be from Walt Brown, a Ph.D. from M.I.T.. The seventh edition of his book, “In the Beginning, Compelling Evidence for Creation and the Flood” can be found at this link. The entire book is on-line for those who do not want to purchase it, though there is so much information packed into this book that you should consider owning a copy. His hydroplate theory is extremely interesting and the eighth edition of his book will feature a theory about the grand canyon that certainly makes more sense than any theories I’ve read to date. Seldom, I doubt you’ll take the time to read his material thoroughly because I’ve yet to meet an atheist who has (and I’ve asked quite a few to consider it). But, for those readers who are interested, if you run across something that you disagree with in regard to Brown’s theory, call him. I’ve called and questioned him several times. He’s very interesting to talk to, and he has no interest in bashing atheists or getting into theological arguments. He’s all about the science.

Just like the theory of evolution, creation scientists have been updating their theories as well. There are so many things that evolutionists have had to revise due to new findings. The same thing applies to creationists, so to wave them off by saying that their theories have been “thoroughly refuted” is simply ridiculous.

You wrote:
You then provided text from "Darwin Strikes Back". I do understand that this is what ID folks think. I have read Dembski and do understand their 'theory', I just think they are completely wrong. The text you provided says:

"Also, the more we learn about the threadlike DNA molecule, which in human cells has 20,000 genes-- digital files embedded on the cell’s DNA hard drive--the more we realize that this DNA information is structurally identical to the ordinary coded information in human communication (books, digitized DVDs) and artifacts."

This is standard ID practice--find something complex in nature, then claim that it is just like some man made object, then say therefore it must have been designed. Here is one of the problems: ID folks search out a specific feature that they think was designed. They don't say everything was, they admit most things in nature are of natural occurance. Meaning, that we have found natural explanations for them. They find the one thing we haven't found the natural explanation for yet, analagize it with some human creation, then claim design. This is the very definition of the God of the Gaps, only in technichal language. It is also negative, not positive, evidence. Many things "look" designed but are clearly of natural occurance. Therefore, just because something looks designed does not mean it was. So how do you tell one from the other? That is the important question. ID says, well if the evolution guys can't find an answer right now, then we win. That isn't how science works and it isn't evidence for design. It is a momentary lack of knowledge.
Again, a standard Darwinist response. Readers should consider reading several of the books written by ID supporters. I’m about half way through “Darwin Strikes Back”, and it has been very informative. The book refutes Seldom’s claims quite nicely, and if your philosophical worldview does not interfere with your science, you’ll be able to appreciate the improbabilities that life arose by mere chance. Another book that articulates the genius, power, sophistication, and artistry found in the cosmos would be the book “More Than Meets the Eye", by Richard Swenson, M.D.

You quote me and then comment:
"We also find bloggers such as Larry Moran, a Professor of Biochemistry at the University of Toronto, making the statement that we should just “flunk” students who support Intelligent Design, or never let them be admitted to the university in the first place. Some of the more dogmatic scientists don’t hide the fact that they will reject tenure to those who support ID as well."

You shouldn't not admit student who believe in ID or flunk them because they believe in ID, but if they want to pass a science class they should have to understand evolution. As far as denying tenure--absolutely. Do our med schools tenure profs who don't believe in Germ Theory? Do physics departments tenure profs who don't accept Gravity? Of course not. And there is no difference here as long as we are talking about a science position. Philosophy fine.
Oh good grief. Denying tenure to those who support ID is absolutely obnoxious. This is only suggested by authoritarian dogmatic scientists who want to keep science in the hands of philosophical naturalists. You cannot possibly believe that those who support ID don’t understand evolution! Of course they do, and that is why they question the theory.

You quote me and then comment:
"Do you see how silly it is to refer to a camp of 100 kids and assume that Christians indoctrinate their children to become Christian reconstructionists in this same manner? These “Christian reconstructionists” are a fringe group, yet some people like to throw all Christians into this category."

But we weren't talking about "all Christians", I was replying to your "where do these fundamentalist I keep being told about live" comment. I don't think this is most Christians, but I do believe that the evangelical, fundamentalists types who were credited with getting Bush elected are only a slightly toned down version of the Jesus camp folks.
It’s interesting that you state that these “fundamentalists” were the ones who got Bush elected. Let’s see....I voted for Bush, I am a Christian, I support ID. Am I a “fundamentalist”? I’ve been called an “authoritarian fundamentalist” in an on-line forum, yet I do not want evolution taken out of the schools, nor do I want creationist theories taught in the public schools because people mistakenly view them as primarily religious arguments. I thoroughly disagree, but asking for them to be considered will cause endless problems. I do support ID because it is so obviously a valid scientific inference that to ignore it is simply wrong on many levels.

You quote me, and then comment:
"From the link: Dutch will allow paedophile group
....How far will society be willing to go?"

Well they are a political party, so society would go so far as to allow them to speak. That doesn't mean their agenda is going anywhere. Why is it that you read an article about pedophiles and bestiality and immediately jump to gay people. Seems like a rather sick and inappropriate comparison to me.
Why is it a “sick and inappropriate comparison“? Who’s to say that pedophilia or bestiality is “sick or inappropriate”. I mean, 50 years ago, if someone suggested that homosexuals would be marrying one another just as heterosexual couples, a majority of the population would have held that suggestion to be terribly “inappropriate” as well. Perhaps 50 years from now, we’ll consider bestiality or pedophilia semi-appropriate behavior. I mean, what’s to stop it? You’re not hurting anyone else by having sex with animals. And, there are many people out there who have a thing for young children. We hear about internet stings taking place all the time to stop this type of behavior. But, what’s wrong with it? Sure, there are some studies that show that children may suffer emotional problems later in life from these encounters. But, there are also studies that show that children of homosexuals suffer emotional problems later in life as well. Many people don’t think that those studies are accurate, so perhaps the pedophile thing isn’t all that bad either. Perhaps those results are just due to social stigma, right? If we have no real basis for moral decisions, society can eventually allow for this type of behavior to become the norm. GETTING MY POINT YET?

You quote me and then commented:
"By the time their parents might consider them to be old enough to “make a rational decision”, their kids may not even care to put forth the effort into researching various religious beliefs because they’ve learned from their parents that it doesn’t really matter anyway ("my parents don’t believe that stuff, why should I waste my time thinking about it"?)."

If any idea requires indoctrination at a young age in order to be believed, it is simply not worthy of being believed. End of story, no exceptions. Now if humans are inherently religious as was asserted earlier, surely once they are old enough to comprehend these issues, they will have that inner desire to learn more. I have no intention of teaching my kids that there is no god--because I don't "know" that to be true (I just don't think there is evidence for a god). I will teach them rational thought. If rational thought is a barrier to being religious, so be it, however I have been assured that it is not.
Believing in God does not “require” indoctrination at a young age. But, just like we teach our children math, science, reading, social studies, etc. at a young age, there is no reason why we wouldn’t start religious studies at the same time. It is certainly obvious ~to most people~ that there is a greater cause that created the cosmos, and it makes no sense not to search for those answers just as we do everything else in life.

I certainly wouldn’t keep my kids out of science class merely because there may be some information that may not be completely accurate. In the same manner, I wouldn’t keep them from learning about religion either.

"I often wonder if atheists even consider this...what if they are wrong? What if there is a Creator of the cosmos?"

This is Pasqual's wager which is a weak argument which I would expect you to be familiar with.
Sigh....yes, I’m familiar with Pasqual’s wager, but I don’t give two hoots about some “wager”. I’m talking about my children and giving them every possible opportunity in life. I want them to think -- about everything, and reason their way through those questions logically. My oldest has asked me some outstanding questions in regard to religion and the logic of religious arguments. We often look at the questions from both a theist and atheist angle. What atheists refuse to acknowledge is that for ~every~ argument they put forth, there is a Christian apologist armed with a logical answer from the word of God.

You quote me and then comment:
"What if that Creator really does want a relationship with us? Is that something you would deny your child simply because you believe you have reason to reject the idea?"

This is an interesting question. How do you think it is that I was raised by Christians, went to church, went to Sunday school, went to confirmation classes, etc. to learn about this loving god who wants a relationship with me and ended up with no relationship? Funny how that works. I was certainly not a close minded atheist back in those days.
Funny perhaps, but I wouldn‘t say your experience is the norm. You are an exception as the odds are still against the outcome that people will reject God altogether.

The problem in our churches today is that we are still teaching our children ~what~ to believe, but not ~why~ they should believe it. People are so interested in materialism these days. We want more, more, more of everything. Our kids spend their lives running from one activity to the next and parents are working around the clock to make ends meet. We’ve left our Bibles on the bookshelves to collect dust, and most people know next to nothing about what is in the book. That fact has opened the door to severe skepticism in regard to Biblical truth. We need to be studying our Bible, learning about what it contains and WHY we should believe it. Churches who teach their parishioners apologetic arguments for their faith are growing, and that is a good thing, IMO.

You wrote:
Second, back to Pasqual, how sure are you that you are not sending your children to hell for eternity because you are of the wrong religion? Have you read the Quoran? Have you considered converting to Judaism? Interesting how all these religions teach that they are the one true religion and everyone else is going to hell, yet Christians seem to always 'know' that their's is the right one. Good pick I guess. Lucky for you you weren't born in the Middle East.
Actually, I’ve done quite a bit of research in regard to other religious beliefs and the evidence that is available for the validity of those beliefs. I have a Quran sitting about 3 yards away from my computer at home that I can reference whenever I need it. I haven’t read the entire book, but I’ve certainly dived into it on more than one occasion. I’ve read the entire book of Mormon. I’ve read tons of on-line articles and information about various religious beliefs as well. At one time I was very curious as to what evidence each religion can provide for their beliefs. So, yes, I believe I have given considerable consideration to whether I am on the right track.

I’ve found that most atheists who I’ve had internet conversations with are quite close minded about giving consideration to reading anything I‘ve suggested. Their journey for truth has ended up in the science classroom, and they are absolutely certain there is no God, and see no need to search any further. I’m on a constant journey, and I can’t remember turning someone down when they suggest something else to consider or read. In fact, I’m done reading the book, “Letter to a Christian Nation”, that you suggested. Not surprisingly, I’ve heard every argument before. But, he makes a few good points, primarily in his claim that many “Christians” have little knowledge as to what is in the book that they base their faith upon.

But, Harris only quoted the Bible 11 times and made reference to 14 additional passages. I mean, let’s be real... there are appoximately 31,000 verses in the Bible, and his 25 total references relay nothing of significance to the reader other than pointing to a few passages pulled out of the overall context of the biblical narrative that seem to further his agenda. No doubt, there will be a book refuting Harris’s assumptions about religion in the near future.

You wrote:
have an extremely busy 2-3 weeks coming up. I will try to pop in to read any replies you might have, but I doubt I will provide any lengthy comments. Unless you say something really silly;) Happy Holidays.
Thanks. Seldom, I want to reiterate again how much I’ve enjoyed discussing these issues with you. I hope you have a wonderful Christmas, or perhaps I should just say “Happy Holidays“. Nah, Christmas just seems more appropriate. Have a great one!!