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The semantics of the gay marriage debate & the meaning of the institution

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 6:30 pm - July 8, 2010.
Filed under: Civil Discourse,Gay Marriage

Among the many constants in my posts on gay marriage ever since we were at blogspot has been a plea for civil discourse on the issue.  I have faulted gay marriage advocates for being more ready to trash the opponents of state recognition of same-sex marriage than to defend the merits of the institution.  Simply put, they would rather whine on how miserable we are because the state deprives us of a right that they already have and lament how the failure of the state to call our unions marriage has caused incredible damage to our self-esteem.

If you feel a victim because the state doesn’t call your union what you want to call it, well, then you have really politicized your psyche.

I have long dwelled on the distinction between the right to marriage (which we have) and the benefits accruing from state-sanctioned unions (which, by and large, we lack) because I believe w need, as I expressed in a recent comment, highlight “difference between ‘freedom to’ and ‘state recognition of.’”  The state has long privileged monogamous unions between individual of different sexes–and for good reason.  Such relationships benefit society and protect women.

Unfortunately, with states liberalizing divorce laws, they reduced the benefits of the unions.  If you don’t penalize a spouse for straying, then you don’t discourage behavior which threatens the stability of the marriage (and which particularly hurts children).  Serious advocates of marriage would call for laws which make divorce more difficult and offer severe penalties to an unfaithful spouse.

Unfortunately, the trend seems to be in the opposite direction, with New York set to become the “last state” to “adopt no-fault divorce”.  Now, I’m sure some social conservatives are opposing such legislation.  Those who don’t while continuing to oppose state recognition of same-sex marriage, are just plain not sincere about their support for the institution and the ideals which undergird it.  Indeed, no-fault divorce laws are far more damaging to the institution of marriage than would be state recognition of same-sex marriages.

According to the New York Times, opponents of the law include

. . . the Roman Catholic Church, which objects to making divorce easier, as well as some women’s advocates, who feared that no-fault divorce would deprive women — especially poor women who could not afford lengthy litigation — of leverage they needed to obtain fair alimony or child support agreements from husbands seeking to divorce them.

These women’s advocates are right.  No-fault divorce hurts women.  If gay marriage advocates were serious about their cause, they would join these advocates in opposing the legislation.  Such opposition would show that they understand the meaning of marriage, an understanding I find all too absent in the current debate.

I make this distinction because I believe advocates need show that they have that understanding–that they recognize why the state privileges such unions.  This, let me repeat, this is a debate about which relationships the state chooses to privilege.  I believe states should privilege same-sex monogamous unions, but am not beholden to the state calling such unions “marriages.”

That said, those who want the state to define our unions as such need to do a better job making the case why state-recognized marriage is a good thing.  And why our unions are worthy of the privilege.

It is because I believe that debate is so important (more in a subsequent post on why this is particularly beneficial to men) that I fault those who lament that the absence of state-sanctioned marriage means they lack to the freedom to marry or play the victim and contend the state renders our unions illegal.

In short, I favor an open debate on the meaning of marriage because I believe a serious debate on marriage will benefit gay people (and not just gay people) as the institution benefits those who seek its protections and understand its purpose.

Finally, I had fun last night as I was looking for a title to my post on the semantics of the gay marriage debate.  When the title that I used popped into my head, a puckish grin alighted on my face.  I knew it would be provocative and knew as well that some of our critics would miss my point.

As if on cue, some critics (as predicted) responded by misrepresenting my point (in one case faulting me for saying the exact opposite of what I actually said) and attacking myself and our defenders in mean-spirited terms.  (Yup, that’ll help further the debate). That said, there were a number of critics, notably Pat, who did get my point and engaged me in the spirit the post was offered and who offered insightful commentary.

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122 Comments

  1. they would rather whine on how miserable we are because the state deprives us of a right that they already have

    I found that a tad unclear. Did you mean that gay couples already have the right to commit to each other, whether or not the State is going to recognize them with a license? (which would be true)

    Serious advocates of marriage would call for laws which make divorce more difficult… no-fault divorce laws are far more damaging to the institution of marriage that would be state recognition of same-sex marriages.

    Thank you. Something I’ve long said.

    No-fault divorce hurts women. If gay marriage advocates were serious… they would join… in opposing [it].

    Fair point. Something I will think about.

    this is a debate about which relationships the state chooses to privilege

    Now I’m back to saying, thank you. Even for straights, a State marriage license is a thing created by State legislation (which I call a privilege); not a thing which morally precedes the State and exists apart from it (which I call a fundamental right).

    those who want the state to [recognize] our unions as such need to do a better job making the case

    Agreed. That is the key to victory at the polls. Straights are persuadable… if you take the trouble and time to persuade them.

    Gay marriage advocates (including me) need to stop screeching about equality and alleged “rights”, and talk about why and how the inclusion of gay couples in marriage licensing will benefit the whole society. Advocates who screech about equality, rights, etc. only make straights shake their head at how little gays understand the burden of marriage.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — July 8, 2010 @ 7:26 pm - July 8, 2010

  2. Legalizing SSM will do nothing to benefit society. Supporters of SSM don’t care about society, they only care about getting that Golden Ticket of a governmental imprimatur on their aberrant sexual lifestyle, an imprimatur which represents their victory over America’s traditional, Bible-based values. Benefitting society? If legalizing gay marriage will benefit society then allowing a straight man to legally wed two women, especially if he has kids by them, will benefit society even more, right? If gays are going to push SSM by arguing that the demise of marriage’s traditional definition is crucial to society’s well-being, then how can they object to any other non-traditional domestic arrangements without being monumental hypocrites?

    Comment by Seane-Anna — July 8, 2010 @ 9:29 pm - July 8, 2010

  3. Gay marriage advocates (including me) need to stop screeching about equality and alleged “rights”, and talk about why and how the inclusion of gay couples in marriage licensing will benefit the whole society. Advocates who screech about equality, rights, etc. only make straights shake their head at how little gays understand the burden of marriage.

    Sadly, I think that all too many gay marriage advocates don’t want it because they think it will benefit society. I think that for those people, it’s at best a greedy grab for legal benefits and relationship validation, and at worst a way to radically change society and destroy the quaint, patriarchal institutions that it has lived by.

    Comment by NYAlly — July 8, 2010 @ 9:48 pm - July 8, 2010

  4. Since gays are so good at organizing demonstrations, how about this:

    Pick a day, maybe Gay Monogamy Day, when gay couples en masse take vows of lifelong sexual exclusivity in front of a pastor or judge or even a notary public. Even though the vows have no legal weight, gay couples will then show the country how serious they are about marriage by living out these vows in their various communities. As a couple, these gays could do helpful things like volunteer at homeless shelters, adopt-a-highway, or even become foster parents, showing not only their commitment to each other but their concern for society as a whole. I think that such a demonstration would lead to marriage rights.

    Or, we could have another Pride parade. Or a film festival where all the films are about gay victimhood. Or we could throw more rocks at more churches.

    Of course, you’ll say that gays don’t have to prove they are worthy of marriage, and that straights are hyper-adulterer-hypocrites. Has that worked?

    Comment by Ashpenaz — July 8, 2010 @ 10:32 pm - July 8, 2010

  5. I wrote at the bottom of the previous ghey-marridge thread:

    On the other hand, the facts that homosexual relationships can have positive value for society as a whole, and that they can be of immeasurable value for us homos, do not automatically obligate society to recognize them with the “special legal status” that we confer on heterosexual marriage.

    After all, strong and enduring platonic friendships — whether male/male, male/female, or female/female — certainly have enormous positive value for society. And the individuals in such friendships may even consider themselves to be “even closer than real siblings”, and may become godparents and/or “honorary uncles and aunts” to each other’s children.

    Yet the law does not provide any formal recognition for platonic friendships that develop to the “blood brothers / kindred spirits” level, and few have argued that the law has any obligation to do so.

    So, advocates for same-sex marriage might begin by articulating why homosexual love-relationships are entitled to a formal legal recognition that is not bestowed on “close as siblings” platonic friendships between adults.

    Comment by Throbert McGee — July 9, 2010 @ 12:00 am - July 9, 2010

  6. 4: Great. And when can we expect M/F couples to do the same thing? Or pass laws that prohibit marriages while the participants are intoxicated? Screenings to determine if they’re worthy to have children (beyond a sex act that can take just a few minutes)?

    Comment by Kevin — July 9, 2010 @ 5:24 am - July 9, 2010

  7. Kevin,

    See that’s the great thing about our Republic. You can lobby to have your state of origin pass any of your reducto ad absurdium laws you want. Go ahead, knock yourself out while adults are working.

    Comment by The_Livewire — July 9, 2010 @ 6:32 am - July 9, 2010

  8. Among the many constants in my posts on gay marriage ever since we were at blogspot has been a plea for civil discourse on the issue. I have faulted gay marriage advocates for being more ready to trash the opponents of state recognition of same-sex marriage than to defend the merits of the institution. Simply put, they would rather whine on how miserable we are because the state deprives us of a right that they already have and lament how the failure of the state to call our unions marriage has caused incredible damage to our self-esteem.

    Oh Dan, you’re just wrong. Gay marriage advocates aren’t just pitching a fit becausue we’re whiners or because our feelings are hurt or because we think that gays need validation in the eyes of the state- you’re creating most of that stuff out of whole cloth and are naively glossing over the real issue at the core of the gay marriage debate; demonization.

    As much as you’d like to pretend that conservative opposition to gay marriage is focused on states rights issues and strict interpretation of the Constitution, you and I both know that the heavy bulk of opposition to gay marriage is because there are lots of people that think gays are icky, that gays are going to corrupt their children, gays are eternally damned, gays are the reason that God sent Hurricane Katrina and the 9-11 hijackers, etc. There is real prejudice and real discrimination against gays as well as outright hate and hostility, mostly due to peoples’ religious beliefs and their own sexual insecurity. The effect that a government ban on gay marriage has is that it legitimizes these viewpoints in the prejudiced. If the government sees fit to exclude gays from marriage, then a prejudiced person will feel justified in their viewing of gays as abnormals.

    This is the easiest way to marginalize a minority – have the government treat them differently than the rest of the population. Moving forward and legalizing gay marriage will do more to reduce discrimination and hatred against gays in this country than any other single act you could describe. The gay marriage issue isn’t about validating gays feelings and inflating their self-esteems, it’s about invalidating those prejudiced peoples’ feelings and shaming them into finally accepting their fellow citizens for who they are. And it will help the economy to boot – I read somewhere that gay marriage in California alone could be a $300 million a year industry.

    Comment by Levi — July 9, 2010 @ 9:55 am - July 9, 2010

  9. I do not think I am persuadable when it comes to gay marriage. I can not see the rationale for opening the can of worms that is populated by same-sex marriage, plural marriage, child marriage, arranged marriage, platonic marriage, etc.

    Anna Nicole Smith was a wonderful example of screwed up marriage and the circus that can surround heterosexuals acting solely on their impulses. I do not know what her version of “love” was, but I know the trail of state mandated legal destruction her antics unleashed. Good, gosh, she even managed to die on an Indian reservation.

    I can understand why the state promotes fidelity in heterosexual marriages. Straightening out the claims and rights of bastards is a legal mare’s nest. But since bastards are not part of the same-sex combination, perhaps a good case could be made to discard fidelity as well. I find it intellectually viable. Why should a gay father and son be kept from marrying? Why shouldn’t a threesome be one better than a couple?

    There is much more to same sex married than one man and one man or one woman and one woman. Yet, I have seen no real discussion of why the marriage laws concerning close kinship, monogamy, etc. should also apply.

    I favor civil unions as a way to clean up “inequities.” I also believe that gay people are fully protected under the 14th Amendment. The fact that many gays reject the traditional form of marriage does not mean they are being denied a civil right. Many gays seem to want to enshrine gay sex as a civil right. At this point in our culture, gay sex is a private matter that is of little interest to the state. Looking the other way is far different from blessing it with a marriage certificate.

    If gays have a way of defining their relationship without the sex, I would like to hear it. Heterosexual marriage assumes heterosexual sex and progeny. It is considered the norm and many laws have resulted in protecting marriage and the legal rights of marriage. Civil unions allow society to look the other way and extend the legal benefits to same-sex partners. What civil unions do not do is to change the basic understanding of the tradition of marriage.

    Marriage does not confer respect on anyone. It allows people to build respect as a couple. Civil unions would do the same.

    In the case of many gays, I am convinced that marriage is just a step toward demanding respect and a gimmick.

    Comment by heliotrope — July 9, 2010 @ 10:46 am - July 9, 2010

  10. “No-fault divorce hurts women.”

    Wait. The law is stacked against men in divorce cases. Men lose a lot in property, wealth, and child support. The premise that it hurts women ignores the impact on men. In no fault states, the property is divided evenly, which usually means the woman gets the house, the furniture, and the children, with alimony and child support.

    I believe marriage should be a contract and that its dissolution should be treated fairly and properly. I do think same sex marriage or unions dilutes the intent of marriage. The state does not need to sanction same sex unions. Maybe it just needs to get out of way of those who want it.

    Comment by anon22532 — July 9, 2010 @ 10:54 am - July 9, 2010

  11. Why should a gay father and son be kept from marrying?

    Because State marriage licenses are how two unrelated adults make themselves “a family” in the eyes of the State, and the father-son are already a family.

    Why shouldn’t a threesome be one better than a couple?

    Because, in fact, it isn’t. It is an enormously less stable structure. There would be no benefit to society in promoting it, in terms of having an ordered society.

    heliotrope, this isn’t hard. Many kinds of relationship are possible. Some add to (or benefit the ’cause’ of) an ordered, settled and peaceful society; others do not. The State, i.e. the People, get to pick and choose which ones they want to privilege. There is always going to be a value-judgment involved and, under a regime of making value-judgments, there are always going to be some relationships that should be privileged and others that shouldn’t. Gay marriage doesn’t change that.

    BUT hey – if I can’t persuade you, then you will allow civil unions and I am fine with that. Again, it comes down to what the People are willing to legislate and if that’s it, I’ll take it.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — July 9, 2010 @ 11:07 am - July 9, 2010

  12. Levi:

    there are lots of people that think gays are icky

    There are lots of differences between a gay person and what some gay persons do. You must love the sinner, but you do not have to accept the sin.

    that gays are going to corrupt their children

    There is a curious double meaning here. Gays trolling at the park restroom makes many people uncomfortable and more. But there is also the question of whether a gay couple can raise a heterosexual child without an environment of confusion, intended or not.

    gays are eternally damned

    Acting on gay sexual impulses is what is damned. That may be a distinction without a difference for you, but it is not for the believer. However, when it comes to radical Islam, you are correct. They will sodomize you and then slice your throat. And they will be in the perfect position to do it.

    Your childish crusade against evil Christians is laughable. Since you have no concern about eternity, how can it possibly matter what your version of the lunatic fringe believes?

    Your ilk of gay crusaders is always after making people recant from hurting your gay sensitivities. Instead of strutting your raw nerve endings, why don’t you try opening your mind a bit?

    Earn respect. Show some integrity. Try some intellectual honesty. Stop tilting at windmills. Make your case with logic and clarity. Be willing to think things over. Be open to rethinking things that didn’t work.

    And, when you resort to name calling, take time to pause and reflect. Maybe you are trapped and lashing out. To call the name makes you doubly inept.

    Comment by heliotrope — July 9, 2010 @ 11:08 am - July 9, 2010

  13. ILC,

    The father-son are not a family in the eyes of the state. They are a part of the family structure. If only the father and son exist, the son can claim next of kin for a lot of the legal stuff that irritates gay couples. But if an older sister shows up, the son is not the next of kin or some legal battle is going to ensue.

    I agree that a threesome as in two women and one male or two males and one woman is a mess. But we have no real statistical experience with three males or three females. We are on new territory here and we all resort to our conventional wisdom.

    As there are folks who can advocate for plural marriage among heteros and pull out statistics and studies, I am certain there would be plural marriage advocates among homosexuals who could do the same. The major point in the latter is that the state does not have to concern itself with the children.

    Take the civil union. For you, it could be a stepping stone. For me, it is my best offer. No malice intended, just shooting from the lip as a member of the vast majority on the issue.

    Comment by heliotrope — July 9, 2010 @ 11:19 am - July 9, 2010

  14. The father-son are not a family in the eyes of the state. They are a part of the family structure.

    Fine; that’s essentially what I meant, or not in conflict.

    we have no real statistical experience with three males or three females.

    You’re speaking tongue-in-cheek and you know it. We have no statistical experience with it, for a reason. If a six-person structure had any power to last, we would see at least a few examples of it. There are none – for a reason.

    As there are folks who can advocate for plural marriage among heteros and pull out statistics and studies, I am certain there would be plural marriage advocates among homosexuals who could do the same. The major point in the latter is that the state does not have to concern itself with the children.

    No, the major point is that the former would just be wrong, and that the State/People need not concern themselves with people who are wrong.

    Take the civil union. For you, it could be a stepping stone. For me, it is my best offer. No malice intended, just shooting from the lip as a member of the vast majority on the issue.

    No problem. No offense taken, no malice interpreted. Every legislated outcome is (or democratically should be) a balance between people who think it doesn’t go far enough, people who can let it go that far and no farther, and people who think it is going too far. It takes all kinds to make a horse race.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — July 9, 2010 @ 11:28 am - July 9, 2010

  15. I love how Levi makes his bigoted and fascist views so completely obvious.

    First he rants this:

    The effect that a government ban on gay marriage has is that it legitimizes these viewpoints in the prejudiced.

    But then:

    The gay marriage issue isn’t about validating gays feelings and inflating their self-esteems, it’s about invalidating those prejudiced peoples’ feelings and shaming them into finally accepting their fellow citizens for who they are.

    So Levi screams that the government shouldn’t be marginalizing and shaming views — then demands that the government marginalize and shame views.

    Meanwhile, given what gay and lesbian people do to children, Levi, with your full blessing and approval, why should people believe otherwise? People recognize that “progressives” like yourself insist that gay organizations like NAMBLA have the constitutional right to sexualize and have sex with children.

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — July 9, 2010 @ 11:40 am - July 9, 2010

  16. NDT, If I may add:

    The gay marriage issue isn’t about validating gays feelings and inflating their self-esteems, it’s about invalidating those prejudiced peoples’ feelings and shaming them into finally accepting their fellow citizens for who they are.

    The struggle between the two worlds [Fascism and Democracy] can permit no compromises. The new cycle which begins with the ninth year of the Fascist regime places the alternative in even greater relief — either we or they, either their ideas or ours, either our State or theirs!

    Comment by The_Livewire — July 9, 2010 @ 12:49 pm - July 9, 2010

  17. And here’s the method that the piece of filth progressives like Levi are using: they refuse, adamantly refuse, to remove dead and ineligible voters from the voting rolls.

    Again, there’s the plan. The Obama Department of “Justice” is openly opposed to removing dead voters from the rolls. What earthly reason could there be for them to oppose that?

    Answer: Levi and his fellow “progressives” are voting on behalf of the dead, using dead peoples’ identities to obtain and submit ballots.

    Isn’t that right, Levi? You support this, right Levi? You’re not going to criticize the Obama Party and the Obama Department of Justice, right Levi?

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — July 9, 2010 @ 2:44 pm - July 9, 2010

  18. There are lots of differences between a gay person and what some gay persons do. You must love the sinner, but you do not have to accept the sin.

    So, suppress it, right? The impulses that feel natural for gay people, they should just push those down for their entire lives, and never experience the joy of sex, is that your prescription? Do you think that it’s possible to pray the gay away? Do you think that God can make gay people straight? If so, why did he make them gay in the first place? Jesus Christ – this religious stuff sure is confusing!

    There is a curious double meaning here. Gays trolling at the park restroom makes many people uncomfortable and more.

    Well, anyone trolling anywhere makes people uncomfortable. What I was referring to was a couple of gay dudes walking down the street holding hands or a girl giving her girlfriend a peck on the check on a street corner. There are people that think seeing this kind of stuff turns their kids gay, and they are morons.

    But there is also the question of whether a gay couple can raise a heterosexual child without an environment of confusion, intended or not.

    No, no there isn’t. Kids grow up in lots of confusing environments, a nuclear family with a married mom and a dad can be a confusing environment depending on what kind of people the parents are. That’s to say nothing of other situations like single moms, single dads, divorces, step-parents, being raised by an uncle/sibling/grandparent because the parents died in a car crash, etc. What matters to the kids are whether or not the parents love them and are able to help them prepare for their adult lives.

    Acting on gay sexual impulses is what is damned. That may be a distinction without a difference for you, but it is not for the believer.,/blockquote>

    That doesn’t make any sense. God can read minds after all, can’t he? Why would God make a distinction between thinking about having homosexual sex versus actually having it? If some dude were to live an outwardly heterosexual life, complete with a wife and 2.1 kids and a white picket fence, but had to think about Steve from work whenever he was with her, would that fly with your God? God would be cool with that, this guy would get into heaven, and then presumably he would become straight, or something?

    However, when it comes to radical Islam, you are correct. They will sodomize you and then slice your throat. And they will be in the perfect position to do it.

    Ooooookay??

    Your childish crusade against evil Christians is laughable. Since you have no concern about eternity, how can it possibly matter what your version of the lunatic fringe believes?

    Because the lunatic fringe wants to make rules in this realm of existence that affect me. Even though I’m not gay and wouldn’t be affected by a ban on gay marriage, and even though my girlfriend and I don’t have to worry about accidental pregnancy and wouldn’t be affected by a ban on abortion, both of these positions are undoubtedly harmful to the society that we live in, and this is why it matters to me. And there are about a million more reasons that I think religion is terrible, your propensity to wage violent wars, the undue reverence towards authority that is crippling to freedom of thought, the hypocritical disdain for science, etc.

    Your ilk of gay crusaders is always after making people recant from hurting your gay sensitivities. Instead of strutting your raw nerve endings, why don’t you try opening your mind a bit?

    As I explained in an earlier post, those of us advocating for gay marriage aren’t trying to give gays a win to make them feel better themselves, we advocate for it because it banning it creates imaginary divisions in the society that prejudiced people can use to feel superior or to justify their hatred.

    Earn respect. Show some integrity. Try some intellectual honesty. Stop tilting at windmills. Make your case with logic and clarity. Be willing to think things over. Be open to rethinking things that didn’t work.

    And, when you resort to name calling, take time to pause and reflect. Maybe you are trapped and lashing out. To call the name makes you doubly inept.

    Sorry, you’re in no position to lecture anyone on integrity and earning respect and name calling, Mr. Love-the-Sinner, Hate-the-Sin.

    Comment by Levi — July 9, 2010 @ 3:27 pm - July 9, 2010

  19. The impulses that feel natural for gay people, they should just push those down for their entire lives, and never experience the joy of sex, is that your prescription?

    Let’s update this to show Levi’s “logic”.

    The impulses that feel natural for people who are sexually attracted to children, they should just push those down for their entire lives, and never experience the joy of sex, is that your prescription?

    The impulses that feel natural for people who are sexually attracted to animals, they should just push those down for their entire lives, and never experience the joy of sex, is that your prescription?

    The impulses that feel natural for people who are sexually attracted to blood relatives, they should just push those down for their entire lives, and never experience the joy of sex, is that your prescription?

    The impulses that feel natural for people who are sexually attracted to more than one person, they should just push those down for their entire lives, and never experience the joy of sex, is that your prescription?

    Now, Levi, practice some intellectual consistency. You are shrieking that restrictions on sexual activity is wrong. Man up and own up to the fact that you and your fellow “progressives” openly endorse and support organizations that push sex with underage children and demand government recognition of plural relationships.

    Or reveal yourself as a complete and total hypocrite for imposing your moral beliefs on others when you have screamed that no one has the right to judge anyone else’s sexual behaviors.

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — July 9, 2010 @ 3:44 pm - July 9, 2010

  20. No, no there isn’t. Kids grow up in lots of confusing environments, a nuclear family with a married mom and a dad can be a confusing environment depending on what kind of people the parents are. That’s to say nothing of other situations like single moms, single dads, divorces, step-parents, being raised by an uncle/sibling/grandparent because the parents died in a car crash, etc. What matters to the kids are whether or not the parents love them and are able to help them prepare for their adult lives.

    This is where moral relativists like Levi invariably run.

    Problem is, Levi, there is scientific evidence that shows that your welfare liberal line about how family structure doesn’t matter is utter bullshit.

    The positive effects of married fathers are not limited to income alone. Children raised by married parents have substantially better life outcomes compared to similar children raised in single-parent homes. When compared to children in intact married homes, children raised by single parents are more likely to have emotional and behavioral problems; be physically abused; smoke, drink, and use drugs; be aggressive; engage in violent, delinquent, and criminal behavior; have poor school performance; be expelled from school; and drop out of high school.[2] Many of these negative outcomes are associated with the higher poverty rates of single mothers. But, in many cases, the improvements in child well-being associated with marriage persist even after adjusting for differences in family income. This indicates that the father brings more to his home than just a paycheck.

    The effect of married fathers on child outcomes can be quite pronounced. For example, examination of families with the same race and same parental education shows that, when compared to intact married families, children from single-parent homes are:

    More than twice as likely to be arrested for a juvenile crime[3];
    Twice as likely to be treated for emotional and behavioral problems[4];
    Roughly twice as likely to be suspended or expelled from school[5]; and
    A third more likely to drop out before completing high school.[6]
    The effects of being raised in a single-parent home continue into adulthood. Comparing families of the same race and similar incomes, children from broken and single-parent homes are three times more likely to end up in jail by the time they reach age 30 than are children raised in intact married families.[7] Compared to girls raised in similar married families, girls from single-parent homes are more than twice as likely to have a child without being married, thereby repeating the negative cycle for another generation.[8]

    Finally, the decline of marriage generates poverty in future generations. Children living in single parent homes are 50 percent more likely to experience poverty as adults when compared to children from intact married homes. This intergenerational poverty effect persists even after adjusting for the original differences in family income and poverty during childhood.[9]

    That’s what makes you so obviously incompetent, Levi. You decry child poverty, social damage, and whatnot at the same time as you push relationship structures that make it six times more likely a child put into them will end up poor.

    That’s because liberalism is all about rationalizing irresponsible behavior. You don’t want to take accountability for your choices to have promiscuous sex, so you demand abortion. You don’t want to take accountability for raising the children you produce, so you ditch the woman and insist “family structure doesn’t matter”.

    Science clearly shows that welfare liberals like yourself hurt children. But you aren’t interested in science. If you were, you would not make such stupid statements as to say that single mothers are identical to married moms and dads. It is delusional. Your liberal ideology demands it, but it has nothing to do with reality.

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — July 9, 2010 @ 3:54 pm - July 9, 2010

  21. Well, Levi, I never gave a thought to turning to you for information on how God thinks.

    You rail against religion constantly. You do not show any evidence of even an elementary religious belief system.

    Stay away from Christians. They rile you up by their very existence. What earthly difference does it make to you if a Christian sees gay sex as a sin? You don’t give Christians any respect, so why does their belief system trouble you in the least? Are you afraid they hiding under your bed or tsk-tsking as you waddle by?

    Pete Stark is a proud and aggressive atheist. Barney Frank has no closet. Both have been in the House for many long years. Somehow, they have learned to navigate a world in which Christians abhor their sins. Try following their lead. (But maybe you can do it without being arrogant and obnoxious. That would place you above the two aforementioned.)

    Comment by heliotrope — July 9, 2010 @ 4:52 pm - July 9, 2010

  22. Well, Levi, I never gave a thought to turning to you for information on how God thinks.

    You rail against religion constantly. You do not show any evidence of even an elementary religious belief system.

    Here’s my take; I’ll believe it when I see it. Is that too much to ask? I’m not going to waste my time listening to another human being drone on and on about things they couldn’t possibly know anything about. None of the religions of the world appear to me to be concerned with truth and justice, just power and control. It’s a dinosaur, it’s an artifact left over from our evolution, and we’ll all be better off when it’s past us (if the species survives for that long.)

    Stay away from Christians. They rile you up by their very existence. What earthly difference does it make to you if a Christian sees gay sex as a sin?

    It wouldn’t make a difference if these were privately held beliefs that affected no one outside of your own mind, but religion can never leave it at that. You’ve crossed a line when you start thinking that you should get to establish rules and customs based on your opinions about the nature of the universe. If you hate gays or Jews or blacks or liberals or whomever, I respect your right to do that, to believe whatever you choose to believe in your own mind, but as soon as it stops being private and becomes an effort to legislate, you’re now wreaking havoc.

    And in this sense, gay marriage is the least of my problems when we’re talking about gays and religion. There are millions of closeted gay people around the world that are sincere believers in a variety of faiths that don’t dare admit their true feelings, even to their closest loved ones, because of the social, familial, and theological rejection that they fear will come with it, which is usually a very well-founded fear. People commit suicide over this stuff and for what? Because religious people like splitting people into illusionary groups? No thanks.

    You don’t give Christians any respect, so why does their belief system trouble you in the least?
    Are you afraid they hiding under your bed or tsk-tsking as you waddle by?

    Again, because Christians are in positions of power and are capable of affecting my life with their silly superstitions.

    Pete Stark is a proud and aggressive atheist. Barney Frank has no closet. Both have been in the House for many long years. Somehow, they have learned to navigate a world in which Christians abhor their sins. Try following their lead. (But maybe you can do it without being arrogant and obnoxious. That would place you above the two aforementioned.)

    What are you talking about? I’m navigating things just fine. Religious people don’t cause me any problems directly, but I recognize that they do cause problems for others directly, and I don’t think that’s right.

    And you mean to tell me that I’m the one being arrogant? You get to sit in your chair and call me a sinner because you think you’ve got a pipeline to the creator of the universe who tells you that people that don’t believe in him are sinners, and I’m the arrogant and obnoxious one? Yeah right.

    Comment by Levi — July 9, 2010 @ 11:37 pm - July 9, 2010

  23. That’s what makes you so obviously incompetent, Levi. You decry child poverty, social damage, and whatnot at the same time as you push relationship structures that make it six times more likely a child put into them will end up poor.

    That’s because liberalism is all about rationalizing irresponsible behavior. You don’t want to take accountability for your choices to have promiscuous sex, so you demand abortion. You don’t want to take accountability for raising the children you produce, so you ditch the woman and insist “family structure doesn’t matter”.

    Science clearly shows that welfare liberals like yourself hurt children. But you aren’t interested in science. If you were, you would not make such stupid statements as to say that single mothers are identical to married moms and dads. It is delusional. Your liberal ideology demands it, but it has nothing to do with reality.

    Well, that was…. retarded. It’s a good thing you’re proving things that most people know and that I wasn’t arguing against, way to go! I never said single parents end up with better kids, but hey, why should that stop you from launching into your standard, cliche-ridden tirade about how I want to impregnate dozens of women and force them to have abortions because I’m so irresponsible and because I hate babies?

    The point, again; saying that gays shouldn’t be able to marry because it might be confusing for their hypothetical kids is simply not illegitimate because it assumes a bunch of things that simply aren’t true. There are plenty of sociopaths and alcoholics and child molesters and arsonists raised in this country by heterosexual married couples, too, so why don’t we throw out straight marriage? That seems a reasonable solution given helio’s and your logic. Obviously single people are going to have a harder time for a number of reasons, but there is nothing specific about a gay married couple that means that they are for sure going to be terrible parents. And even though I shouldn’t have to point this out, I’m gonna; two gay people might not have kids to begin with and if they do, they will likely adopt, which will almost assuredly guarantee a better life for the child than going from foster home to foster or spending their youth in detention centers.

    But why am I wasting my words?

    Comment by Levi — July 9, 2010 @ 11:51 pm - July 9, 2010

  24. And you mean to tell me that I’m the one being arrogant? You get to sit in your chair and call me a sinner because you think you’ve got a pipeline to the creator of the universe who tells you that people that don’t believe in him are sinners, and I’m the arrogant and obnoxious one?

    Yes.

    I’m smarter than most conservatives, this is beyond any doubt. I’m also a better person – you guys have given up any claim to that argument with your morally decrepit positions on torture and wars. If that sounds condescending, it’s because it is.

    Next:

    You’ve crossed a line when you start thinking that you should get to establish rules and customs based on your opinions about the nature of the universe.

    Really.

    People like you need people like me to drag you kicking and screaming into the future. The entire scope of human history has been a march of liberalism, and this jingoistic, laissez-faire, God-fearing path you fools are prescribing is only knocking us off the right track.

    Checkmate, hypocrite.

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — July 10, 2010 @ 1:28 am - July 10, 2010

  25. And this is hilarious.

    Even though I’m not gay and wouldn’t be affected by a ban on gay marriage, and even though my girlfriend and I don’t have to worry about accidental pregnancy and wouldn’t be affected by a ban on abortion, both of these positions are undoubtedly harmful to the society that we live in, and this is why it matters to me.

    Notice how Levi’s belief is that it is harmful to society if he and his fellow progressives are prevented from killing over a million babies per year.

    I really want to hear this. Tell us, Levi, what societal good is done by you and your fellow progressives killing over one MILLION innocent, helpless, human babies per year?

    Come on, Levi. You’re all up in arms about murdering al-Qaeda terrorists being sacred, but you and yours kill over one million innocent, helpless human babies per year and write it off as doing good for society. You and your fellow leftists won’t extradite a convicted terrorist without a guarantee that he won’t be imprisoned for life, but you send millions of innocent, helpless children to their deaths every year and not only brag about how wonderful it is that you’re doing it, but demand that the Federal government use taxpayer dollars to pay you to do it.

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — July 10, 2010 @ 1:44 am - July 10, 2010

  26. I never said single parents end up with better kids

    And, as Livewire puts it, here we go with the usual Levi lies.

    Me, Livewire, ILC, Et al: Levi said this.

    Levi: I didn’t say that!

    Me: Sure you did (link)!

    Levi: You’re taking my words out of context! I don’t care if you link to my words in context, where I said these things! You’re taking them out of context!

    Me: How can I take them out of context when I link to your entire statement?

    Levi: You’re a poopy head! I’m your moral and intellectual superior! You need me to think for you! Socialism works! I don’t need to provide any proof of my statements, and won’t read yours!”

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — July 10, 2010 @ 1:49 am - July 10, 2010

  27. Checkmate, hypocrite.

    Making recommendations based on scientific and economic evidence and theory is one thing, trying to force your church’s teachings on non-believers is quite another. Religion gives the believer this convenient last resort in any and all arguments that secularists simply can’t match; “Well, my God tells me this is the way it should be, and nothing will ever dissuade me from that belief.” While the rest of us are concerned with the scientific method and repeatedly verifiable conclusions, too many people are making up their political minds based on the sweet-nothings that they think are being whispered into their ear by the master of the cosmos. I’ve arrived at my conclusions because I’ve been convinced by proof, religious people arrive at their conclusions because they’ve been commanded to by their authority figures who they’re compelled to obey regardless of what they’re saying. My advocacy for gay marriage is based in the founding documents of the country and on hundreds of years of legal precedent, opposition to gay marriage comes from a Dark Ages mentality about who is getting into heaven and who is getting into hell. If you can’t tell the difference, you’re in no position to call anyone arrogant.

    Comment by Levi — July 10, 2010 @ 9:58 am - July 10, 2010

  28. Notice how Levi’s belief is that it is harmful to society if he and his fellow progressives are prevented from killing over a million babies per year.

    I really want to hear this. Tell us, Levi, what societal good is done by you and your fellow progressives killing over one MILLION innocent, helpless, human babies per year?

    If I were to wake up tomorrow, and the government was at my doorstep with a newborn baby and they told me that I was required to raise the child – I would do a terrible job. I know me, and I know that I am in no way prepared to care for another human being based on my finances and life goals. Now imagine that happening to a crackhead? Or a 16 year old girl? Or a homeless person, a mentally handicapped person, a person whose already had the government show up with six other kids and who is already doing a terrible job with them?

    Among other important issues like a women’s right to control her own body, that is why abortion is good for society, and it should be obvious; people that don’t want kids, for whatever reason, shouldn’t be raising kids. And I know this is when your tiny brain shuts down and you start prepping your “WELL THEY SHOULDN’T HAVE DONE THE DEED, LIBERALS ARE SO IRRESPONSIBLE AND THEY LIKE KILLING BABIES” canned response, but that’s simply unrealistic. People are going to have sex without thinking things through, people are going to have sex while drunk, people are going to have sex and the condom is going to burst, someone is going to forget to take their birth control pill, a high school girl is going to get talked into it, etc. Forcing these people to pay for the slightest little lapse in judgment or a little forgetfulness with a lifetime of care-giving that they might not have expected or feel incapable of pulling off is just absurd.

    Nobody on the left gets off on the idea that people are having abortions, and that’s why liberals are usually the ones advocating better sex education and more affordable healthcare coverage for more people. The progressive position on abortion is to try to reduce the number of accidental pregnancies in the first place, which is a more successful effort than anything that you will see from the right. Liberals are likely far more responsible for reducing the number of abortions in this country than conservatives are, would be my bet. Conservative tactics that try to pretend that teenagers don’t have any sexuality and ridiculously recommend abstinence as a solution are as ineffective as the morons that stand outside Planned Parenthoods and scream at teenage girls.

    Come on, Levi. You’re all up in arms about murdering al-Qaeda terrorists being sacred, but you and yours kill over one million innocent, helpless human babies per year and write it off as doing good for society. You and your fellow leftists won’t extradite a convicted terrorist without a guarantee that he won’t be imprisoned for life, but you send millions of innocent, helpless children to their deaths every year and not only brag about how wonderful it is that you’re doing it, but demand that the Federal government use taxpayer dollars to pay you to do it.

    You really can’t make it through a comment without busting out with this kind of stupidity, can you?

    It is undoubtedly true that tens of thousands of people that the United States has imprisoned during our wars in the Middle East have been absolutely, one hundred percent not guilty of any crime against the United States or anyone else. That’s just the way it is, and you should be taking it up with George Bush if you disagree with that statement, since his administration is the one that released the vast majority of them (after years of torture and abuse in far too many cases, of course.) Acknowledging these facts of the world does not mean that i love Al-Qaeda and that I want them to be free and self-determining or whatever other garbage you’d like me to believe, is any of this getting through? I oppose the detention of citizens of any country that haven’t been charged with a crime and who were likely scooped up in a far-too wide dragnet based on gossip and local rivalries – what is wrong with that statement?

    Comment by Levi — July 10, 2010 @ 10:21 am - July 10, 2010

  29. And, as Livewire puts it, here we go with the usual Levi lies.

    Me, Livewire, ILC, Et al: Levi said this.

    Levi: I didn’t say that!

    Me: Sure you did (link)!

    Levi: You’re taking my words out of context! I don’t care if you link to my words in context, where I said these things! You’re taking them out of context!

    Me: How can I take them out of context when I link to your entire statement?

    Levi: You’re a poopy head! I’m your moral and intellectual superior! You need me to think for you! Socialism works! I don’t need to provide any proof of my statements, and won’t read yours!”

    Well, can you walk the walk? Where did I say that single parents are better? We’re waiting….

    Comment by Levi — July 10, 2010 @ 10:22 am - July 10, 2010

  30. And you mean to tell me that I’m the one being arrogant? You get to sit in your chair and call me a sinner because you think you’ve got a pipeline to the creator of the universe who tells you that people that don’t believe in him are sinners, and I’m the arrogant and obnoxious one? Yeah right.

    Yep! But why does it bother you so?

    And, out of curiosity, when you pull religion out of morality, where do you turn for authority in the battle between right and wrong?

    Lord of the Flies is an adequate read for people like you who have benefitted from the luxury of an ordered society, but who feel superior to it. If you pull the Judeo-Christian ethic out from underneath your society, what will you plant in its place?

    Crusades, jihad, witch burnings, the Inquisition, the Divine Right of Kings, Papal Bulls, Fatwahs, theocracies, etc. are all examples of the acts of man in the name of religion.

    But more important, morality, culture, civilization, ethics, law and the common good are also the acts of man in response to man’s belief system.

    So, Levi, you are a sinner if you practice same sex. However, you are not going to be arrested, shunned from the village, put in the stocks, refused employment or accommodations or the protection of the 14th Amendment.

    You want to have same-sex marriage. You want the same-sex sexual gratification to be made a civil right. Others, likely a strong majority, say no to making same-sex gratification a civil right. It goes against their belief system. That is the clash. One side hauls out the Judeo-Christian ethic and you, Levi, haul out petulance and threatening to hold your breath until you turn blue.

    As you well know, you can find churches that will overlook your sinning. In fact, they may even drape you in feel good robes of rainbow hues. But do not be misled into believing they are winning the day in the battle for making same-sex sex a civil right.

    So, we have a stalemate. Time for you to bring your wit and wisdom and civilizing forces of reason, tolerance, morality, ethics, and justice and convince the rest of us that the Judeo-Christian ethic is no longer needed.

    Then, you can move on to the Islamists.

    Comment by heliotrope — July 10, 2010 @ 1:23 pm - July 10, 2010

  31. If I were to wake up tomorrow, and the government was at my doorstep with a newborn baby and they told me that I was required to raise the child – I would do a terrible job. I know me, and I know that I am in no way prepared to care for another human being based on my finances and life goals.

    So you would kill that baby right there on the spot.

    Go ahead, Levi. Say it. You would take a rock and crush that baby’s skull right there. Or maybe you would be “merciful” and put it to sleep, just like you would an animal.

    Because that’s what you’re doing. You are just too cowardly to admit it. That’s why filth like you try to dehumanize it, call it a “fetus”, claim it’s nothing but “tissue” and whatnot. You are cowards — dirty, rotten, filthy, pathetic cowards, who kill the most helpless and innocent of human beings because they are inconvenient to YOU.

    People are going to have sex without thinking things through, people are going to have sex while drunk, people are going to have sex and the condom is going to burst, someone is going to forget to take their birth control pill, a high school girl is going to get talked into it, etc. Forcing these people to pay for the slightest little lapse in judgment or a little forgetfulness with a lifetime of care-giving that they might not have expected or feel incapable of pulling off is just absurd.

    So by that pathetic logic, Johannes Mehserle should not be going to jail, drunk drivers who kill people should not be held accountable, and lesbian sex partners of embezzlers should not be punished because they were talked into it.

    Notice again the hypocrisy. Levi wants people sent to jail for getting drunk and making bad decisions — unless they kill a baby in the process, in which case he applauds it says it’s good for society to kill babies.

    It is undoubtedly true that tens of thousands of people that the United States has imprisoned during our wars in the Middle East have been absolutely, one hundred percent not guilty of any crime against the United States or anyone else.

    And it is absolutely true that tens of MILLIONS of innocent babies who are absolutely, one hundred percent not guilty of any crime against the United States or anyone else have been killed by you and your fellow “progressives” because you got drunk, lied to a girl, refused to wear a condom, and were too lazy, too irresponsible, and too selfish to consider your actions or to care for them. And now you’re demanding that taxpayer dollars be used to fund you killing human beings because you’re too lazy, selfish, and irresponsible and don’t want to be “penalized” for your poor decisions.

    Checkmate again, hypocrite.

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — July 10, 2010 @ 1:55 pm - July 10, 2010

  32. Hey, Levi:

    The progressive position on abortion is to try to reduce the number of accidental pregnancies in the first place, which is a more successful effort than anything that you will see from the right.

    Well, well, well. Let’s have co-ed dorms and condom machines on the wall. Get your daughter on the pill at the first sign of fertility. Show kids how to dress a cucumber in a condom and teach, teach, teach. Make sure the abortion clinic is nearby. Join in the war on accidental pregnancy.

    Oh, and if the girl produces a bundle from momentary love, sign her up for welfare and support the little critter with health care, food, shelter and social workers.

    And, if the girl hooks up and produces another bundle of momentary love from a new stud of the moment, we should double up on the welfare.

    Levi, it really is cheaper to kill the fetus, isn’t it? Why not let the girl turn in her bundle of momentary love for a car or something? Then the child can be raised by the Social Justice Department.

    You see, the girl was not properly educated enough. That is why she got preggers. Perhaps the Social Justice Department should pre-screen these girls and just adjust their plumbing so they can hump without consequences. Perhaps the Social Justice Department can pre select who may have children and how many. Perhaps the Chinese Communist Party thought it all out.

    Here is a lame, right-wing idea: When the girl gets pregnant, start a rigorous motherhood program complete with medical attention. Those who are wealthy enough to comply must do so and those who are not get a state ride. But every unmarried female goes through it, no matter what her age. If there is no family or financial stability in the picture for raising the child, the dreaded, draconian, cruel state takes the child for adoption.

    Remember how Hillary was going to adopt a child before she got side-tracked? Remember how Justice Roberts did adopt children …. from outside the US because our adoption rules are so progressive?

    Comment by heliotrope — July 11, 2010 @ 10:53 am - July 11, 2010

  33. Well, well, well. Let’s have co-ed dorms and condom machines on the wall. Get your daughter on the pill at the first sign of fertility. Show kids how to dress a cucumber in a condom and teach, teach, teach. Make sure the abortion clinic is nearby. Join in the war on accidental pregnancy.

    And your alternative is…… what exactly? Trying to pretend your adolescent teenager isn’t developing sexually and getting them so warpped up in your religious brainwashing that they’ll think they’ll be headed for eternal damnation if they even think about having premarital sex? Yeah, sure. Ask Sarah Palin how effective that kind of ‘parenting’ is.

    I’m not sure how you can be against the idea of arming the youth of America with better knowledge and resources for dealing with these issues, especially if you’re so concerned with abortion. Teenagers are bombarded incessantly with sexual imagery and advertising that is completely manipulative and we need parents and teachers to be able to to give them a shot of reality. Many conservatives seem to think that kids view comprehensive sex education as permission to have sex, but that just isn’t the case. Their solution is to put their fingers in their ears and shut their eyes and hope all that Sunday School carries the day, which means the only information kids end up getting about sex comes from their peers.

    The problem isn’t abortion, it’s unwanted pregnancies. Young girls are under tremendous pressure these days and the best way to help them is to inform them.

    The rest of your post was so utterly pointless that it seems intentional. Was it?

    Comment by Levi — July 11, 2010 @ 7:31 pm - July 11, 2010

  34. Ask Sarah Palin how effective that kind of ‘parenting’ is.

    Levi, get a clue! The best of kids get “caught” with pregnancy. You will meet all sorts of people who were born before their parents had been married for nine months or who were raised by a mother with no father in sight. Do you know what they all have in common? Education didn’t work and none of them were aborted.

    I do not expect education to be 100% effective, but you seem to delight in a Christian who errs or sins. Your delight is proof positive that you do not understand the basics of forgiveness and redemption. Oh, well.

    Palin’s daughter carried the baby to term and, so far as I know, is a fine mother with lots of family support. So, is your beef with the Palin’s that they didn’t have the fetus killed? Why would that concern you?

    What is your hang up with adoption? Is nine months to long a time to spend adjusting to new realities and getting an education? Is pregnancy such an inconvenience that it totally outweighs the right to life of the child. How does the mother come up with the right to kill the unwanted fetus? Why shouldn’t she have the right to kill a screaming three month old baby? Those little buggers can really annoy you, don’t you know?

    Comment by heliotrope — July 11, 2010 @ 10:45 pm - July 11, 2010

  35. And your alternative is…… what exactly?

    Parents teaching their children and children taking responsibility for their actions.

    Bristol Palin chose to have sex and got pregnant. She turned to her family, had the baby, and now is raising it with their help and support while continuing her education.

    And you mock and attack her and her family for this.

    That’s what really reveals your true agenda, Levi. You attack the girl and family who took responsibility, and you support the girls and families who kill over a million infants in the United States annually.

    You and your fellow liberals project your own inability to take responsibility for your choices and your promiscuity onto teens. You yourself were promiscuous and irresponsible, so, rather than admit your own promiscuity and irresponsibility, you insist that all teenagers behave like you.

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — July 11, 2010 @ 11:00 pm - July 11, 2010

  36. […] A good article on gay marriage by “The Gay Patriot” If you feel a victim because the state doesn’t call your union what you want to call it, well, then you have really politicized your psyche. […]

    Pingback by lunes linkage – 7/12/10 | MzEllen – For the Life of Me — July 12, 2010 @ 12:56 am - July 12, 2010

  37. #29

    So Levi admits that what I said about him is true, and asks someone else to use the same methodology on him. Wonderful.

    Oh, and irony abounds in Levi’s statement “Ask Sarah Palin how effective that kind of ‘parenting’ is” Sarah Palin is exactly that, a parent. She din’t condemn her daughter, (nor, FYI did Dick Cheney) she helped Bristol take responsibiltiy and stood with her when the heat was on her. She stood by her daughters in the face of media attacks, the sperm donor turning on Bristol, David Letterman’s rape jokes, and Sullivan’s examination of her womb. It’s a family, not a government, that supported Bristol when things got rough.

    Levi just needs moral and upright people like the Palins and the Cheneys to drag him kicking and screaming into the future.

    Comment by The_Livewire — July 12, 2010 @ 7:09 am - July 12, 2010

  38. Yep! But why does it bother you so?

    For the third of fourth time; because most religious people can’t just keep it to themselves. I wouldn’t care what you you prayed to or what your beliefs about gays were as long as you kept that nonsense in your house, but that’s the fundamental defect with religion, isn’t it? It’s not enough that it works for you, it has to work for everyone else, like it or not.

    The brilliant idea underpinning this country is that we’re not supposed to govern based on anybody’s religious convictions. It is completely immaterial how widespread the belief is or how many adherents it has, we’re supposed to be making laws according to different metrics than ‘GOD SAYS SO!’

    And, out of curiosity, when you pull religion out of morality, where do you turn for authority in the battle between right and wrong?

    Lord of the Flies is an adequate read for people like you who have benefitted from the luxury of an ordered society, but who feel superior to it. If you pull the Judeo-Christian ethic out from underneath your society, what will you plant in its place?

    And speaking of arrogance, what could be a better example than a religious person taking credit for all of civilization and the very concept of human morality?

    So many things wrong here. First, the authority to determine right and wrong. We don’t need an external, objective authority figure for this job, we’re perfectly capable of doing it ourselves. Morality is just a fancy word for human social behavior, which like anything else about us, is a set of characteristics that evolved with our species over millions and millions of years. Morality is hard-coded in us at a genetic level because it increases an individuals’ chances of reproductive success – not because we’re imbued by a creator. Other animals can have complex social organization and ethics codes as well. Our closest relatives, chimpanzees have best friends, they have leaders, they mourn the loss of the dead, they build tools, etc. Boost the volume of their brain by a couple hundred cubic centimeters and you’ve got human beings – who know instinctively to help fellow humans and except in extreme circumstances do no harm to them.

    The bottom line is that the survival of an individual to reproductive age is helped immeasurably by forming groups with tight-knit bonds, so where evolution guided the human race, as well as many thousands of species of similar, warm-blooded social mammals. That isn’t to say we’re coded to treat all human being similarly. While humans were evolving, we were spread around in little pockets of communities, and it was often the case that a tribe or clan external to yours was competing directly for food and water. This is an interesting limitation – we’re built to want to cooperate with our own families and groups while competing (through war, murder) with outsiders. It’s difficult for modern humans to think of everyone on the planet as part of their group when they think “All of us, in this together” because of our local, small group beginnings.

    On to the second big problem; that now you’d like for your religion to take all the credit for civilization. As I’ve just described, rules for human behavior towards one another have been wired into us for millions of years, but you’d have us believe that morality was something that was bestowed upon us a few thousand years ago by some magical man. What you’re doing here is taking credit for something that was already built and that had worked capably for quite a long time. I just don’t buy it. If humans had no morality before we were imbued by the creator with it, then why didn’t we kill each other off in any of the 100,000 years that lead up to the dawn of civilization? At a minimum, that’s how long humans have been anatomically modern, so how did we make it through those times? (Are you one of these that believe that everything was blinked into existence 6,000 years ago? If so, good luck buddy!)

    Another problem here is the implied assertion that the world as we know it today is at the maximum of its potential in the minimum amount of time. Look at how far religion has brought us, you’d likely argue. But how can we know that this is the best we could have done in the past 2,000 years? Maybe if we had committed to atheism back then instead of Christianity being founded, the Industrial Revolution might have moved up a few centuries and we’d be having this conversation in 2010 on a space station orbiting Mars? Obviously, being a Monday-morning quarterback for the past 2,000 years of global history is a little absurd, but it just doesn’t make sense to think this is the best we could have done with a law-giving creator guiding us. All the wars, the Crusades, the Inquisition, the decimation of indigenous peoples, slavery, the world wars? What good is having an external judge if he allows all of these things to continue?

    I’d also like to point out that there is a correspondence between human beings getting the really good stuff (democracy, science, industry) and secularization in government. That’s interesting. When we were praying to God, we didn’t get George Washington or germ theory or iPods, but now that royalty and religion don’t rule the day, we get all of it! Why doesn’t God want us to have iPods?

    Crusades, jihad, witch burnings, the Inquisition, the Divine Right of Kings, Papal Bulls, Fatwahs, theocracies, etc. are all examples of the acts of man in the name of religion.

    But more important, morality, culture, civilization, ethics, law and the common good are also the acts of man in response to man’s belief system.

    Religion has been useful in spots, there is no denying that. It’s impossible to deny that a lot of really beautiful art was financed and inspired by religion, and obviously there are good works. I wouldn’t change the way that the past few thousands years have gone if I could.

    So, Levi, you are a sinner if you practice same sex. However, you are not going to be arrested, shunned from the village, put in the stocks, refused employment or accommodations or the protection of the 14th Amendment.

    No, it’s your opinion that I’m a sinner if I practice same sex. This is another thing that bugs me about religion – the complete abandonment of personal responsibility for the things that you say. When you go around tossing out the ‘you’re a sinner’ insult, you’re talking about it like it’s some knowable, objective truth. It isn’t. It’s your opinion, but you’re too frightened of putting your name behind it, so you invoke God. It’s a cowardly way to live your life if you ask me.

    You want to have same-sex marriage. You want the same-sex sexual gratification to be made a civil right. Others, likely a strong majority, say no to making same-sex gratification a civil right. It goes against their belief system. That is the clash. One side hauls out the Judeo-Christian ethic and you, Levi, haul out petulance and threatening to hold your breath until you turn blue.

    Who cares about your strong majorities? That’s not the type of society we live in. Go by the law, regardless of how many people do or do not support it, and in any reasonable interpretation of the Constitution, gays should be allowed to marry. I don’t know what’s with the bizarre ‘same-sex gratification as a civil right’ thing, we’re talking about marriage, not sex.

    As you well know, you can find churches that will overlook your sinning. In fact, they may even drape you in feel good robes of rainbow hues. But do not be misled into believing they are winning the day in the battle for making same-sex sex a civil right.

    How is same-sex not a civil right? Is straight-sex a civil right?

    So, we have a stalemate. Time for you to bring your wit and wisdom and civilizing forces of reason, tolerance, morality, ethics, and justice and convince the rest of us that the Judeo-Christian ethic is no longer needed.

    Then, you can move on to the Islamists.

    To reiterate, the Judeo-Christian ethic that you’re so fond of is a term used by religious people to co-opt the instinctive social behavior that makes most human beings treat each other decently. You’re claiming a victory for evolution as a victory for religion, and that just doesn’t fly with me. I’ve never been to church a day in my life, and there are no moral statements that you could make that I could not.

    I’ll leave you with something I wonder on occasion – when you give charitably, with your time or money, do you ever give thought to what God thinks of your behavior? Do you think you’re pleasing him with your generosity and that he will reward you for your efforts in this life or the next? Is there a touch of selfishness in such acts of charity? Are good religious deeds motivated in some respect by currying favor with the big guy?

    Comment by Levi — July 12, 2010 @ 10:49 am - July 12, 2010

  39. I can think of one Evolutionary vs Ethical thing to shoot holes in Levi’s overly complex argument, again.

    “Morality is hard-coded in us at a genetic level because it increases an individuals’ chances of reproductive success – not because we’re imbued by a creator. ”

    So apparently, by Levi’s statement, he’s fine with rape, since, as argued in this book “that rape evolved as a genetically advantageous behavioral adaptation.”

    indeed, since Greed is good, and since gathering and hoarding resources are both actions that increase the odds of survival, attracting a mate, and procreation, then Levi shouldn’t have an issue with the evil Dick Cheney characture in his mind, acter all, it must be moral to deceive and hoard since “it increases an individuals’ [sic] chance of reproductive success.”

    More fun. Serial killers are moral because they’ve determined what’s right and wrong and “We don’t need an external, objective authority figure for this job, we’re perfectly capable of doing it ourselves.”

    Levi also fails biology, forever. “Boost the volume of their brain by a couple hundred cubic centimeters and you’ve got human beings – who know instinctively to help fellow humans and except in extreme circumstances do no harm to them.”

    Neither absolute brain weight nor the relationship between brain weight and body size provide us with sensible criteria for comparing the intelligence of different species. Link

    And just because I’m having fun. “any reasonable interpretation of the Constitution, gays should be allowed to marry.”

    Ignoring for the moment that as has been pointed out, they can marry, let me go back to Baker v. Nelson and this Levi chestnut.

    “Yes, some parts of the document are more important than others, and yes, men in black robes get to decide.”

    So, now, Levi has said that the Constitution is determined by men in black robes, and those men in black robes have said there’s nothing that demands SSM. Congratulations Levi! You’ve just successfully argued that, by Levi Standards, there is no right to SSM in the constitution!

    So, Levi fails biology, fails government, fails understanding the constitution, is fond of making statements he can’t back up. OTOH, he does know Verizon cell plans very well.

    Comment by The_Livewire — July 12, 2010 @ 12:20 pm - July 12, 2010

  40. This is probably the most delusional statement that Levi has made yet.

    Who cares about your strong majorities? That’s not the type of society we live in. Go by the law, regardless of how many people do or do not support it, and in any reasonable interpretation of the Constitution, gays should be allowed to marry.

    Silly us. Here we thought the United States was a democratic republic in which the voters create their Constitution, establish their fundamental basis for law, elect representatives, and on occasion establish new laws — all by majority vote.

    Levi apparently believes the will of the majority can be disregarded and ignored at will by the government.

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — July 12, 2010 @ 12:33 pm - July 12, 2010

  41. I’ve never been to church a day in my life, and there are no moral statements that you could make that I could not.

    Sure there is.

    Heliotrope: “I do not support the killing of innocent, unborn babies for personal convenience.”

    Levi: “I fully support and endorse, and in fact demand Federal funding for, the killing of innocent, unborn babies, simply because I find their existence to be inconvenient.”

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — July 12, 2010 @ 12:35 pm - July 12, 2010

  42. I’ll leave you with something I wonder on occasion – when you give charitably, with your time or money, do you ever give thought to what God thinks of your behavior? Do you think you’re pleasing him with your generosity and that he will reward you for your efforts in this life or the next? Is there a touch of selfishness in such acts of charity? Are good religious deeds motivated in some respect by currying favor with the big guy?

    Compare.

    If I were to wake up tomorrow, and the government was at my doorstep with a newborn baby and they told me that I was required to raise the child – I would do a terrible job. I know me, and I know that I am in no way prepared to care for another human being based on my finances and life goals……Among other important issues like a women’s right to control her own body, that is why abortion is good for society, and it should be obvious; people that don’t want kids, for whatever reason, shouldn’t be raising kids.

    So let’s see; Levi says that doing charitable work for others is selfish, wrong, and immoral, but insists that murdering unborn babies because they inconvenience him financially and lifestyle-wise and he doesn’t want them is good for society.

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — July 12, 2010 @ 12:43 pm - July 12, 2010

  43. NDT,

    Levi’s contempt for the rule of law is well documented. Let’s not forget that he believes we should be ruled by men in black robes, well unless they disagree with him.

    Comment by The_Livewire — July 12, 2010 @ 1:35 pm - July 12, 2010

  44. Before I get started with your response, I’d like to know your opinion on the theory of evolution through natural selection. Do you think man has evolved over millions of years? Do you think God planted us here a few thousand years ago? Do you split the difference and believe in some form of creator-guided evolution? I’d just like to be clear about what your opinion is….

    I can think of one Evolutionary vs Ethical thing to shoot holes in Levi’s overly complex argument, again.

    “Morality is hard-coded in us at a genetic level because it increases an individuals’ chances of reproductive success – not because we’re imbued by a creator. ”

    So apparently, by Levi’s statement, he’s fine with rape, since, as argued in this book “that rape evolved as a genetically advantageous behavioral adaptation.”

    Obviously, I’m not fine with rape, and that I have to make that explicit demonstrates exactly how seriously you take politics. Grow up.

    With that out of the way, while I suppose that it’s possible that there are some genes encoded in our DNA that might make certain individuals more prone to committing rape, it’s almost certainly the case that environmental factors have the most impact on wether or not one will become a rapist. It may seem counter-intuitive, but rape doesn’t necessarily confer the greatest reproductive advantage for an individual. Otherwise, rape would be the most common form of sexual intercourse for all organisms, but it isn’t. In most of the species closely related to us, some degree of courting must be done by the male to successfully reproduce with a female. Females have evolved to be picky so that the strongest genes are passed to the next generation. Males will compete with one another to see who is the strongest, or they’ll build the most elaborate nest, or they’ll collect the most food, and females will mate with the winners, thereby selecting the best genes. It’s called sexual selection, and it is another evolutionary filter that works in tandem with natural selection to pass on the best genes. If you remove female choice from the reproduction equation so that every sexual encounter becomes this random pairing of genetics, lots of bad genes will be transferred and species won’t evolve quickly enough to compete.

    And regardless, even if there were genes that said wether or not we would rape each other, that isn’t an excuse for human beings. Genes governing social behavior don’t dictate what an individuals’ behavioral choices are going to be, they simply lay out guidelines for normal social behavior. Inevitably there will be outliers to those social norms but again, that has more to do with individual environmental factors that genetics has nothing to do with. Given our atypical and extended development processes, we learn a lot about what these social norms are from our parents and communities, but those simply serve to reinforce our instinctive, genetic impulses towards caring for those closest to us.

    indeed, since Greed is good, and since gathering and hoarding resources are both actions that increase the odds of survival, attracting a mate, and procreation, then Levi shouldn’t have an issue with the evil Dick Cheney characture in his mind, acter all, it must be moral to deceive and hoard since “it increases an individuals’ [sic] chance of reproductive success.”

    Again, somewhat counter-intuitively, this is not necessarily the case. If you’re too greedy and many members of your community die of malnutrition or due to a harsh winter because you didn’t offer them aide, you might not have very many females to mate with, you might not have enough people for a hunting party, your community may be too weak and depleted to repel an invaders’ attack, etc. If greed was an exclusively positive genetic characteristic that didn’t have signficant drawbacks, there would be no such thing as a social organism. Like everything else in life, the correct balance has to be struck. A little more greed might help you reproduce a statistically insignifanct amount more, while a lot more greed might end up compromising your ability to reproduce altogether.

    More fun. Serial killers are moral because they’ve determined what’s right and wrong and “We don’t need an external, objective authority figure for this job, we’re perfectly capable of doing it ourselves.”

    Serial killers are not a good example of humans determining what’s right and wrong. They are statistically insignificant outliers that aren’t representative whatsoever of the human consensus on anything. And regardless, most serial killers are capable of recognizing that what they’ve done is wrong, they just make the decision to do the wrong thing, or they can’t control themselves, or whatever. Very few murderers believe they’re making the morally correct choice when they take a life, which bolsters my argument more than it does yours.

    Levi also fails biology, forever. “Boost the volume of their brain by a couple hundred cubic centimeters and you’ve got human beings – who know instinctively to help fellow humans and except in extreme circumstances do no harm to them.”

    Neither absolute brain weight nor the relationship between brain weight and body size provide us with sensible criteria for comparing the intelligence of different species. Link

    Aw, isn’t that cute? Does the creationist think he’s going to teach me about biology now?

    This is hardly worth responding to, but it is another prime example of you twisting one of my harmless figures of speech into something that you think is a point. I’m well aware that brain size doesn’t directly correlate to higher intelligence, probably better aware than you. Neanderthals and other hominid fossils have been discovered that would have had larger brains than us, and it didn’t do them a bit of good; we were smarter and we ultimately won out. My intention was to stress how similar we are to chimpanzees in terms of social organization by contrasting one of the few differences between our physiologies – which is something that I think most fourth-graders would have understood, but you’ve got an axe to grind, so here we are….

    And just because I’m having fun. “any reasonable interpretation of the Constitution, gays should be allowed to marry.”

    Ignoring for the moment that as has been pointed out, they can marry, let me go back to Baker v. Nelson and this Levi chestnut.

    “Yes, some parts of the document are more important than others, and yes, men in black robes get to decide.”

    So, now, Levi has said that the Constitution is determined by men in black robes, and those men in black robes have said there’s nothing that demands SSM. Congratulations Levi! You’ve just successfully argued that, by Levi Standards, there is no right to SSM in the constitution!

    So, Levi fails biology, fails government, fails understanding the constitution, is fond of making statements he can’t back up. OTOH, he does know Verizon cell plans very well.

    Judges can get things wrong as well. I don’t think it takes more than a second-graders’ understanding of fairness to recognize that gays should be afforded the same marriage rights as straights, but that just shows the power of religious doctrination.

    Comment by Levi — July 12, 2010 @ 4:51 pm - July 12, 2010

  45. Levi, get a clue! The best of kids get “caught” with pregnancy. You will meet all sorts of people who were born before their parents had been married for nine months or who were raised by a mother with no father in sight. Do you know what they all have in common? Education didn’t work and none of them were aborted.

    Of course it’s unrealistic to expect any solution to any problem to be 100% effective, particularly when you’re dealing with educating kids in their most rebellious years. Nobody’s perfect.

    I’m not sure how you can say that education didn’t work in these situations – how do you know they were even given the opportunity? My assertion here is that the conservative position on sex education does very little to fix the problems of unwanted pregnancies in the first place. I think the very public Palin preganancy is proof positive of this assertion, that’s why I brought it up. I know people are conceived in less than ideal circumstances and I’d be without some very important people in my life if their parents had made a different decision. The people that decide to carry to term are great and I don’t begrudge them at all, and it’s saddening when people decide to go through with an abortion. But I’m not going to scorn those people – I respect their choice and I trust people to decide for themselves what their best course of action is.

    I do not expect education to be 100% effective, but you seem to delight in a Christian who errs or sins. Your delight is proof positive that you do not understand the basics of forgiveness and redemption. Oh, well.

    Well, I’m not sure what you think I’m delighting in. What are you talking about?

    Palin’s daughter carried the baby to term and, so far as I know, is a fine mother with lots of family support. So, is your beef with the Palin’s that they didn’t have the fetus killed? Why would that concern you?

    Yes, yes, good for Bristol. She is in the perfect situation to deal with an unintended celebrity, what with her large family and her mom’s status as an incredibly wealth political celebrity. How about you think of the inverse of that situation for a minute? What about a 16 year old girl that grows up in poverty in Washington D.C. and has two abusive and negligent parents? What if she’s never had ‘the talk’ because her mom never got ‘the talk,’ and she goes to an under-funded, over crowded school where her kind of family problems are not the exception? She gets pregnant and you’re saying that society needs to teach her a lesson by forcing her to raise a child she doesn’t want and is completely ill-equipped to provide for?

    Those are the girls I’m worried about, not Bristol Palin. And I’m sure you won’t believe me, but I have nothing but sympathy for that poor kid. I remember watching Greta van Susteren interview her, and Greta kept trying to steer her towards gushing about her baby, and Bristol would keep saying things like, “He’s great, I just wish it could have happened in like 10 years.” She said that a couple of times – and I think it sucks for her. No doubt, the best will be made of a bad situation and in the long run she’ll love the kid and all that, but for now, she knows she has to miss out on young adulthood and skip right to being a mom. She doesn’t get to do college like her friends, she doesn’t get to be on her own in her first apartment, she’s gotta spend her adventuring years raising a baby. She’ll be fine obviously, but I think that’s extremely unfair and reflective of some very terrible parenting on the part of Sarah and Todd. I don’t pretend to know what goes on in that household, but anyone who lets their teenage daughter get pregnant before high school graduation has failed their child. It’s my opinion that a kid shouldn’t pay such a high price for what is really a mistake on their parents’ behalf.

    What is your hang up with adoption? Is nine months to long a time to spend adjusting to new realities and getting an education? Is pregnancy such an inconvenience that it totally outweighs the right to life of the child. How does the mother come up with the right to kill the unwanted fetus? Why shouldn’t she have the right to kill a screaming three month old baby? Those little buggers can really annoy you, don’t you know?

    Look, it’s just a complete misrepresentation of the liberal position that we all love aborting babies and that the idea gives us great joy and that we’d like to see more and more of them all the time. My entire family is liberal, including my brother, and he was just visited by the unintended pregnancy fairy a few months ago, and they’re going to have the kid. We’re all really excited about it. Having babies is great and as I get older I’m looking forward more and more to having my own. It’s my position that we need to do what we can to prevent abortions from happening, and as I see it, the best way to do that is to prevent unwanted pregnancies in the first place.

    But the cold, hard truth that you abortion crusaders are going to have to face one of these days is that the United States will never, ever be abortion-free. Again, abortion is not the problem, unintended pregnancy is the problem, and simply eliminating legal abortion does nothing to address the real issue, and therefore the demand for abortion will not change. Prohibition of abortion will be as effective as the prohibition of alcohol. If people want abortions, they’re going to get them. Being told that you’re pregnant isn’t something that’s easy to deal, and people will go to extremes to avoid the responsibility that a pregnancy entails. So you have a choice; you can live in a country where abortion is legal, and where a woman get an abortion in a sterilized facility by a trained medical professional that might be able to teach her about her reproductive system and family planning, or you can live in a country where abortion is illegal, where a woman is forced out of desperation to seek abortions in motel rooms and truck stop bathrooms, performed by God-knows-who using power tools and kitchen utensils, where the risk of infection, irrepeperable damage to her reproductive organs, and death are increased dramatically. You’ll also see a huge increase in the number of those heart-warming stories about babies found in dumpsters and in toilets at the prom. How can that be any kind of hard choice at all?

    Comment by Levi — July 12, 2010 @ 5:51 pm - July 12, 2010

  46. Very few murderers believe they’re making the morally correct choice when they take a life

    Actually, quite a few do, Levi, including you.

    Among other important issues like a women’s right to control her own body, that is why abortion is good for society, and it should be obvious; people that don’t want kids, for whatever reason, shouldn’t be raising kids.

    You yourself have stated that murder is good for society, Levi. You yourself have stated that killing children is good for society.

    And this was the finest example of childishness and ignorance out there.

    Aw, isn’t that cute? Does the creationist think he’s going to teach me about biology now?

    Yup, because obviously he knows more about it than you do.

    And that’s a good question. Do you believe, Levi, that anyone who has religious beliefs or beliefs in God is incapable of being a scientist or understanding science? Go ahead. We want to know what your perspective is first.

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — July 12, 2010 @ 6:06 pm - July 12, 2010

  47. You yourself have stated that murder is good for society, Levi. You yourself have stated that killing children is good for society.

    And this was the finest example of childishness and ignorance out there.

    I’ll deal with this quickly – abortion isn’t murder. That’s all.

    In your ideal world, should women be given life sentences for having an abortion? Should abortion providers be given the death penalty?

    Yup, because obviously he knows more about it than you do.

    Based on his childish response, no, no he does not.

    And that’s a good question. Do you believe, Levi, that anyone who has religious beliefs or beliefs in God is incapable of being a scientist or understanding science? Go ahead. We want to know what your perspective is first.

    There is nothing about believing in God that disqualifies someone being a brilliant, capable scientist. Lots of great science gets done by people that are working at understanding God’s creation, and that’s fine and dandy by me. I have a biologist friend who very much believes in God and I’ll never know more about biology than she does (she also has one of the best bumper stickers I’ve ever seen; I’m Pro-Choice and I Pray).

    I might view belief in God and rigorous scientific pursuit as contradictory, but I’ve got my perspective, and they’ve got theirs. As long as we’re agreeing on the big points and not invoking the supernatural on the points of contention, we’re good. Just don’t go around teaching kids that people rode around on dinosaurs.

    One of the things that slightly annoys me about more religiously-minded scientists is their acceptance of evolution predicated on this notion that God was guiding it, which isn’t really evolution at all. It’s an attempt to have your cake and eat it, too, but it’s not a huge deal.

    So what about you NDT? Do you believe in the Biblical creation story or the mountains of evidence that point to evolution being true?

    Comment by Levi — July 12, 2010 @ 6:51 pm - July 12, 2010

  48. Look, it’s just a complete misrepresentation of the liberal position that we all love aborting babies and that the idea gives us great joy and that we’d like to see more and more of them all the time.

    A complete misrepresentation?

    Among other important issues like a women’s right to control her own body, that is why abortion is good for society, and it should be obvious; people that don’t want kids, for whatever reason, shouldn’t be raising kids.

    You have flat-out stated that abortion is good for society, Levi. In your own words. A direct quote.

    My entire family is liberal, including my brother, and he was just visited by the unintended pregnancy fairy a few months ago

    So that is reflective of horrible parenting on the part of your parents — because, after all, they are responsible for his promiscuity. Isn’t that what you said — that unintended pregnancies prove that your parents are failures?

    Also, since your brother is liberal, that means he had “sex education” — which proves that sex education is a failure in preventing unintended pregnancy, since obviously it didn’t work on him.

    Now spin for us, hypocrite.

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — July 12, 2010 @ 6:56 pm - July 12, 2010

  49. You have flat-out stated that abortion is good for society, Levi. In your own words. A direct quote.

    Yes, abortion is good for society, for the reasons that I’ve enumerated. Things that are good for society aren’t necessarily things that everyone has to feel great about. Taxes are necessary but that doesn’t fill people with joy. Same with abortion.

    So that is reflective of horrible parenting on the part of your parents — because, after all, they are responsible for his promiscuity. Isn’t that what you said — that unintended pregnancies prove that your parents are failures?

    Also, since your brother is liberal, that means he had “sex education” — which proves that sex education is a failure in preventing unintended pregnancy, since obviously it didn’t work on him.

    Now spin for us, hypocrite.

    Well, my brother is 24 years old, has a firmly established career, and is in a long-term relationship, so it’s not exactly the same situation as a 16 year old girl going to high school, living with her parents, dating a horndog.

    Comment by Levi — July 12, 2010 @ 7:49 pm - July 12, 2010

  50. Yes, abortion is good for society, for the reasons that I’ve enumerated.

    And the hypocrisy just gets even more hilarious.

    Why do we have to have abortion, Levi? Oh, that’s right.

    You’ll also see a huge increase in the number of those heart-warming stories about babies found in dumpsters and in toilets at the prom. How can that be any kind of hard choice at all?

    Where do you think aborted babies end up, Levi?

    So let’s review Levi’s logic; to avoid a few babies being left in trash cans and toilets, he and his fellow abortion pushers have to be allowed to flush, dump, and burn over one MILLION babies annually — and receive Federal funding to do it.

    This really makes me believe that progressives like Levi are sociopaths. They will say to your face that they would rather murder their own child than to be inconvenienced.

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — July 12, 2010 @ 9:04 pm - July 12, 2010

  51. The amusing thing about leftists like Levi is that the lies and masks they put on to hide their fascist idiocy and bigotry slip so easily.

    For example, Levi babbles this when cornered:

    There is nothing about believing in God that disqualifies someone being a brilliant, capable scientist.

    But then later says:

    So what about you NDT? Do you believe in the Biblical creation story or the mountains of evidence that point to evolution being true?

    If Levi believed what he said the first time, he would never have said that it’s an “or” situation. Levi claimed you could believe both and still be brilliant and capable. But then, when it comes to actually applying that, his mask slips and out comes the bigot we all recognized a long time ago.

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — July 12, 2010 @ 11:22 pm - July 12, 2010

  52. If Levi believed what he said the first time, he would never have said that it’s an “or” situation. Levi claimed you could believe both and still be brilliant and capable. But then, when it comes to actually applying that, his mask slips and out comes the bigot we all recognized a long time ago.

    You’re stalling, with the same old “Let’s pretend Levi’s saying something that he clearly isn’t!” tactics that have become second nature for you and others around here. It’s all so predictable.

    I framed my question the way I framed it because those are the two typical poles of the debate; some people think that the earth is very old and that life on the planet is being continuously molded by evolution, and some people think that a few thousand years ago, God blinked everything into existence. Those are the two biggest categories, but if you’ve got something different, then by all means, I’d like to hear it. Some people think that dinosaur fossils are a test of our faith in him – is that something that you believe? In the post you’re pretending to have a problem (the one in which my supposed bigotry is on full display), I even specifically identify one of these in-the-middle positions, that of people who believe in creator-guided evolution.

    You know what I think? I think you’re afraid to admit what you believe because you’re worried that it sounds ridiculous. Scientific theories like evolution and plate tectonics are as ironclad as they get, and I understand your hesitance to publicly state that you’d prefer to discard all that and attribute everything to an invisible super-man instead. Let me take the pressure of you by just assuming that you literally believe in the widely-held Christian creation stories – Genesis, Adam & Eve, Noah and the Flood – all that. Is that fair?

    Comment by Levi — July 13, 2010 @ 1:53 am - July 13, 2010

  53. Once again, Levi gets upset when quoting him word for word is ‘taking him out of context.

    Levi doesn’t understand the constitution, biology, humour, ethics, morality…

    But he does know Verizon’s plans very well.

    It is cute how the ‘scientist’ makes a statement, then when he’s called on it being wrong he’s ‘just kidding’.

    Comment by The_Livewire — July 13, 2010 @ 6:42 am - July 13, 2010

  54. Levi,

    I do not believe there is any way to end abortion. I do not believe a woman should be imprisoned for having an abortion. I do not believe a woman who has a second abortion passes the pity test for ignorant victimhood. I do not believe that carrying the child to term is an impossible goal.

    My wife worked with pregnant high school girls in the days when they were not allowed to come to school once they began “to show.” She and the local health services kept the girl up with her school work, monitored her nutrition and pre-natal care habits, prepared her for motherhood and helped assist in adoption, if she chose it. It was no picnic for the girl, but in those days, very few of them went to the abortion clinic.

    My wife even had girls whose mother had been through my wife’s program 15 years earlier. You probably see that as a failure of the program. But, would you like to tell the pregnant girl that her mother would have been better of if she had had her killed when she was still a “life form” in the womb? How would you know that you were positively correct? Abortion may sweep things under the carpet for strangers, but it has varying effects on the mother.

    Now, we have billboards advertising abortion services like they are just so much body piercing. Planned Parenthood scours the sub-standard housing populations selling their services. It is amazing how much of Margaret Sanger’s eugenics is played out on minorities. It should make you immensely proud.

    Nobody has legally declared abortion to be murder. But you have to tie yourself in knots to avoid saying that it is a killing. The fetus is a life form in the development stage. If you crush it, you kill it. Planned Parenthood helps the girl get the life form crushed. They think about it in advance, they arrange the process and they follow through with killing the life form and ending the pregnancy. While it has all the elements of premeditated killing, no one has elevated it to the level of murder. However, it also has all the elements of first degree murder. Naturally, you could argue that “inconvenience” is not the same as malice. But, then there is no way to get the dead life form’s opinion.

    Why do liberals so hate the concept of advised consent before a girl can choose abortion? I know all the old bloody coathanger stories and how the girls can not tell their parents lest they get severely beaten. Those possible realities are addressed in “informed consent” laws. A judge can step in if necessary to protect the pregnant girl from outrage. He can even place the girl in a foster home for protective purposes.

    So much of the liberal drivel on abortion is “victim” driven by people who have some utopian idea of how to iron out the wrinkles in society. Well, one of the realities of being a female is the magic of procreation. Unwanted pregnancies often result in a marvelous life well worth living. Abortion is final. Unwanted pregnancy is inconvenient to a selfish mother or couple, but so is losing your job. You can overcome inconvenience without taking draconian action.

    Comment by heliotrope — July 13, 2010 @ 10:33 am - July 13, 2010

  55. Do you believe in the Biblical creation story or the mountains of evidence that point to evolution being true?

    Levi, not speaking for anyone, but for some reason, it’s difficult to get a straight answer from a lot of people on evolution and/or Creation. In fact, I read a survey about a year ago that about 60% (yep, 60%) actually believe in the Creation story literally as explained in the Bible. This is remarkable on many levels. While I give a pass to say, people over 60, who might actually believe it, I am dumbfounded that anyone under 60 who has had at least 12 years of education (even at most Catholic schools) or has not lived a sheltered life, could really possibly believe in the Creation story literally. I know many religious friends, colleagues, and acquaintances (including sisters, and a rabbi who is more dumbfounded than I am that anyone could possibly believe it), while believing in God creating the universe (which I do, in some vague sense), also believe that evolution as a fact.

    So where does the 60% come from? While some of that may come from actual ignorance, I think a good portion of those are afraid to admit it, out of fear of punishment of God, or some nonsense like that, or they don’t want to admit to their family or friends what they really believe out of “respect.” Funny though, while most people, even religious Christians dismiss most of the Bible’s teachings, many will still believe the Bible’s teachings on Creation and homosexuality as a sin (another piece of absolute nonsense). Go figure.

    Howver, I can’t blame people who, at least question the Creation story, but are afraid to admit it. For similar reasons, I refuse to touch the other off-topic piece on this thread. Debating abortion on a blog is an exercise in utter futility, while ugly rhetoric gets spewed from both sides.

    Comment by Pat — July 13, 2010 @ 11:20 am - July 13, 2010

  56. You’re stalling

    Actually, I’m stepping back and letting you talk, because in my experience, bigots who are telling lies to cover up their bigotry invariably contradict themselves if given enough opportunity.

    And of course, you did.

    You know what I think? I think you’re afraid to admit what you believe because you’re worried that it sounds ridiculous. Scientific theories like evolution and plate tectonics are as ironclad as they get, and I understand your hesitance to publicly state that you’d prefer to discard all that and attribute everything to an invisible super-man instead.

    But previously, when trying to back out of clear statements calling out your belief that religious belief = scientific ignorance, you babbled this.

    There is nothing about believing in God that disqualifies someone being a brilliant, capable scientist. Lots of great science gets done by people that are working at understanding God’s creation, and that’s fine and dandy by me. I have a biologist friend who very much believes in God and I’ll never know more about biology than she does

    So again, you mock people who believe in an “invisible superman” as being ignorant and dismissive of science and call them “ridiculous”…..while you babble about your friends who “very much believe” in an “invisible superman” and know more about science than you do.

    In short, you tell contradictory stories in every situation to justify your bigotry and try to make it publicly more palatable, even though it is obvious that someone like yourself who deems all people with religious beliefs to be ignorant and incapable of scientific thought or knowledge is hardly scientific or knowledgeable himself.

    Own up to your bigotry, Levi. We all know it’s there. Be a man and admit that you are bigoted against religious beliefs.

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — July 13, 2010 @ 11:53 am - July 13, 2010

  57. Scientific theories like evolution and plate tectonics are as ironclad as they get…..

    Levi, you are amazing.

    You slap plate tectonics in the same breath with “evolution.” Plate tectonics is a very specific, carefully defined and measured process. “Evolution” is a broad category that covers geology, biology, botany, behavior, astronomy, and much more.

    Please, please, please direct me to a source on “evolution” outside of geology that makes “evolution” ironclad.

    I suspect you are still reading Genesis with the strictest of all interpretation and claiming that Christians are idiots to fall for such “fairy tales.” You probably have written Bible thumpers into the Flat Earth Society of primitive naifs.

    But, before you declare “evolution” to be ironclad, you will have to come back here and explain what “evolution” means in your universe. I suspect you have no more understanding of the scope and particulars of “evolution” than you do of faith and religious belief.

    Comment by heliotrope — July 13, 2010 @ 1:51 pm - July 13, 2010

  58. While I give a pass to say, people over 60, who might actually believe it, I am dumbfounded that anyone under 60 who has had at least 12 years of education (even at most Catholic schools) or has not lived a sheltered life, could really possibly believe in the Creation story literally.

    And why is that, Pat?

    What is so different about people over the age of 60, hm? Do you think they have diminished mental capacity? Do you think they’re unintelligent? Why do you discriminate in that fashion?

    While some of that may come from actual ignorance, I think a good portion of those are afraid to admit it, out of fear of punishment of God, or some nonsense like that, or they don’t want to admit to their family or friends what they really believe out of “respect.”

    Oh, we see.

    So if you believe the Biblical account of creation, you are either a) ignorant, b) a believer in “nonsense”, or c) a liar who doesn’t tell people the truth about their beliefs.

    Thanks for making your bigotry so blatantly obvious, Pat.

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — July 13, 2010 @ 1:53 pm - July 13, 2010

  59. I know many religious friends, colleagues, and acquaintances (including sisters, and a rabbi who is more dumbfounded than I am that anyone could possibly believe it), while believing in God creating the universe (which I do, in some vague sense), also believe that evolution as a fact.

    I always am amused by these people.

    They insist that they believe in God’s omniscience and omnipotence, especially his ability to create the universe…..but they are insistent that there is no way he could have done it in the fashion described in the Bible because that would be impossible.

    If one accepts the omniscience and omnipotence, one must also accept the ability to do the impossible. But if one cannot accept the ability to do the impossible, one does not accept the omniscience and omnipotence.

    So in this sense, these “religious” folk like Pat describe really don’t believe in God. They believe in a magic genie who is more powerful than humans are, but is inferior to human comprehension and understanding. They are, strictly put, worshiping human beings because they put what humans can understand as the highest order of rationality and reasoning in the universe.

    Bluntly put, they are “dumbfounded” that anyone can believe the account of creation in the Bible because they are incapable of understanding it — and since they cannot understand or rationalize how, clearly it never happened.

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — July 13, 2010 @ 2:04 pm - July 13, 2010

  60. Actually, I’ll disagree with you on this NDT,

    It is quite possible that, in setting down the word of G_d in Genesis, it was put in terms that the writer could understand. I mean IIRC, one’s heritage as a Jew is traced through the Mother’s line, for example, long before mitocondrial DNA was discovered to be traced through the mother. Likewise a lot of laws handed down have a scientific basis after the fact.

    G-d: “Then once all the molecules were in place, I initiated the reaction that caused the big bang. Suddenly Matter spread across an ever expanding universe, to form in an accreation disk.”
    Moses: “What?”
    G_d: *sigh* “I said ‘let there be light’, and there was light. Got that?”

    Personally, I find it funny that Levi doesn’t believe in the Divine, but believes there are ‘smart, competent and incorruptible’ people. Which one is more fantastic?

    Comment by The_Livewire — July 13, 2010 @ 2:29 pm - July 13, 2010

  61. And why is that, Pat?

    What is so different about people over the age of 60, hm? Do you think they have diminished mental capacity? Do you think they’re unintelligent? Why do you discriminate in that fashion?

    First of all, NDT, 60 was an arbitrary age that I picked. Perhaps it should be a little higher. I’m accounting for the era that many older people grew up with. Times were different. On the other hand, if you don’t think they should be excused, fine by me.


    Oh, we see.

    So if you believe the Biblical account of creation, you are either a) ignorant, b) a believer in “nonsense”, or c) a liar who doesn’t tell people the truth about their beliefs.

    Congrats, NDT. You accurately reflected something I wrote. 🙂


    Thanks for making your bigotry so blatantly obvious, Pat.

    Maybe so. But,

    1) But if I’m bigoted, then you should reread many of your comments to people with different opinions than yourself. When the vitriol of my rhetoric reaches 10% of yours, then we’ll come back and talk about it.

    2) On the other hand, I treat religion like any other topic, and don’t treat it with kid gloves. It will receive the same thought, analysis, and criticism as any other topic. Perhaps when it comes to religion, you are the big time bigot.

    So, why don’t you knock off the silly bigotry rhetoric.

    They insist that they believe in God’s omniscience and omnipotence, especially his ability to create the universe…..but they are insistent that there is no way he could have done it in the fashion described in the Bible because that would be impossible.

    Yes, it’s called common sense. It’s refreshing when religious and non-religious types employ it.

    If one accepts the omniscience and omnipotence, one must also accept the ability to do the impossible. But if one cannot accept the ability to do the impossible, one does not accept the omniscience and omnipotence.

    Yeah, whatever. ???

    So in this sense, these “religious” folk like Pat describe really don’t believe in God. They believe in a magic genie who is more powerful than humans are, but is inferior to human comprehension and understanding. They are, strictly put, worshiping human beings because they put what humans can understand as the highest order of rationality and reasoning in the universe.

    Uh oh. Here we go with the scare quotes again. When a religious person disagrees with your point of view on God, Creation, whatever, they get the scare quote treatment. Well, I disagree with your Christian views, so I guess that makes you a “Christian.” What utter nonsense. And I’m the bigot? Yeesh!

    Bluntly put, they are “dumbfounded” that anyone can believe the account of creation in the Bible because they are incapable of understanding it — and since they cannot understand or rationalize how, clearly it never happened.

    What’s their not to understand? Most people understand what the Biblical account of Creation is. They simply don’t believe it.

    Look, NDT, if you believe the Creation account as stated in the Bible, go right ahead. But if you do then,

    you are either a) ignorant, b) a believer in “nonsense”, or c) a liar who doesn’t tell people the truth about their beliefs.

    as I said above. Now you tried to explain a fourth possibility. I don’t buy it. But if you do. Fine.

    Comment by Pat — July 13, 2010 @ 2:50 pm - July 13, 2010

  62. It is quite possible that, in setting down the word of G_d in Genesis, it was put in terms that the writer could understand.

    Quite. However, saying that that means the event didn’t happen as described because of that potential difference is a bit like saying that a newspaper article written in Spanish is incorrect because it’s not the same as the English one written on the same topic.

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — July 13, 2010 @ 4:21 pm - July 13, 2010

  63. However, saying that that means the event didn’t happen as described because of that potential difference is a bit like saying that a newspaper article written in Spanish is incorrect because it’s not the same as the English one written on the same topic.

    Not even close, NDT. Good try, though.

    Comment by Pat — July 13, 2010 @ 5:10 pm - July 13, 2010

  64. First of all, NDT, 60 was an arbitrary age that I picked. Perhaps it should be a little higher. I’m accounting for the era that many older people grew up with. Times were different. On the other hand, if you don’t think they should be excused, fine by me.

    Or, more precisely, you’re rationalizing for why the opinions of people who are older and have more experience than you do don’t matter.

    On the other hand, I treat religion like any other topic, and don’t treat it with kid gloves. It will receive the same thought, analysis, and criticism as any other topic. Perhaps when it comes to religion, you are the big time bigot.

    Unfortunately, your branding 60% of Americans as “ignorant” does not qualify as thought, analysis, OR criticism. Knee-jerk opposition and bigotry would be more appropriate as a description.

    Well, I disagree with your Christian views, so I guess that makes you a “Christian.”

    Suit yourself. Doesn’t change my beliefs a whit.

    Now you tried to explain a fourth possibility. I don’t buy it. But if you do. Fine.

    Of course it’s “fine”; you’re just going to call me a) ignorant, b) a believer in “nonsense”, or c) a liar who doesn’t tell people the truth about their beliefs.

    It all really boils down to you having a real problem with religious beliefs, Pat.

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — July 13, 2010 @ 6:29 pm - July 13, 2010

  65. Actually, I’ll disagree with you on this NDT,

    It is quite possible that, in setting down the word of G_d in Genesis, it was put in terms that the writer could understand. I mean IIRC, one’s heritage as a Jew is traced through the Mother’s line, for example, long before mitocondrial DNA was discovered to be traced through the mother. Likewise a lot of laws handed down have a scientific basis after the fact.

    G-d: “Then once all the molecules were in place, I initiated the reaction that caused the big bang. Suddenly Matter spread across an ever expanding universe, to form in an accreation disk.”
    Moses: “What?”
    G_d: *sigh* “I said ‘let there be light’, and there was light. Got that?”

    I’d give you that it might be a little difficult to explain astrophysics to pre-literate goatherders (though a supposedly perfect God by definition shouldn’t have had any trouble with it, but I digress – far too easy to do when poking holes in religious theories). On the other hand, evolution is actually a very elegant and relateable process, so what’s with the story about God making the first man out of dirt, and the first woman out of the first man’s rib? I don’t see how that can reasonably be viewed as a metaphor for our actual origins, could you be bothered to explain?

    God could have said something along the lines of, “Hey Moses, ever notice how most animals have the same basic body plan? Backbones, sense organs located in the head, four limbs, that kind of thing? That’s because all life is descended from a common ancestor, and subtle changes from one generation to the next have lead to the marvelous diversity of life that you see today. Also, arteries are for oxygenated blood and the rate of acceleration due to gravity is about 9.8 m/s^2. That stuff will come in handy later, trust me!”

    I just can’t think of any reason for God to hide the truth of his creation to his people, can you? The Adam & Eve story is straight-up mysognistic; he’s made first, she’s only created because Adam gets bored and needs a plaything, she’s ultimately solely responsible for the fall of man and original sin because she’s such a stupid girl and listened to the snake…. God would rather have us believe that’s the origin of the species instead of attempting to explain the far more wonderful reality?

    Personally, I find it funny that Levi doesn’t believe in the Divine, but believes there are ’smart, competent and incorruptible’ people. Which one is more fantastic?

    Of course there are, they’re just relegated to the political sidelines by the completely corrupt people that have leveraged their absence of ethics into more power and wealth, and they’re able to prevent these kinds of people from getting close to any kind of significant political leadership position.

    Comment by Levi — July 13, 2010 @ 7:41 pm - July 13, 2010

  66. Levi, you are amazing.

    You slap plate tectonics in the same breath with “evolution.” Plate tectonics is a very specific, carefully defined and measured process. “Evolution” is a broad category that covers geology, biology, botany, behavior, astronomy, and much more.

    Please, please, please direct me to a source on “evolution” outside of geology that makes “evolution” ironclad.

    I suspect you are still reading Genesis with the strictest of all interpretation and claiming that Christians are idiots to fall for such “fairy tales.” You probably have written Bible thumpers into the Flat Earth Society of primitive naifs.

    But, before you declare “evolution” to be ironclad, you will have to come back here and explain what “evolution” means in your universe. I suspect you have no more understanding of the scope and particulars of “evolution” than you do of faith and religious belief.

    I mean, what is this? You don’t know what the common usage of the word evolution is? As in “The Theory of Evolution by Natural Selection?” As in Darwin? On the Origin of Species? The Galapagos Islands? I thought it should be fairly obvious that in a discussion about religion versus science, people would assume that evolution meant the specific theory regarding the gradual changes in plants and animals that accumulate over millions of years and eventually spawn new species – but I guess I’m still giving you guys way too much credit. I simply don’t know how I could dumb it down any more for you.

    I really don’t even know what to make of most of your post; do you not think that the theory of evolution is accurate? What do you mean with your assertion that evolution refers to a broad category that includes astronomy? Without more clarity, I’m just going to talk about how the evolution is an ironclad scientific theory. We’ll use the example of plate tectonics, which you agree is ironclad based on it being a “very specific, carefully defined and measured process.” If that is your metric of what constitutes an ironclad scientific theory, then congratulations, you have nowhere to go but to accept that evolution is just as ironclad. Evolutionary theory is nothing if not a “very specific, carefully defined and measured process.” How does it not meet that criteria? What is vague or ambiguous about it? How is it not a measured process? Have you heard about all of these fossils that humans have been digging up for the past century?

    You’re going to have to expound here, because that’s just a laughable assertion if you’re not going to go into specifics. The theory of evolution is one of the most enduring scientific principles in modern times – after 150 years, every piece of scientific data across a variety of disciplines has supported its fundamental hypothesis during a period of unprecedented scientific discovery. It’s like Evolution is throwing a 1,000 inning perfect game against the 1927 Yankees. As a highly respected and widely assumed scientific theory, plate tectonics is a relative newcomer that only started gaining real traction 50 or 60 years ago. If it’s ironclad, then evolution is titanium-clad.

    I couldn’t say what most Christians believe, although I’ll point out that I’ve directly asked NDT and Livewire to describe their theories for how human beings came to be and they’ve thus far failed to respond. I invite you to let me know what you think as well; it’s entirely possibly you have some perspective that I might find sensible and I don’t want to attribute to you beliefs that you don’t hold, so what have you got?

    Comment by Levi — July 13, 2010 @ 8:19 pm - July 13, 2010

  67. Actually, I’m stepping back and letting you talk, because in my experience, bigots who are telling lies to cover up their bigotry invariably contradict themselves if given enough opportunity.

    And of course, you did.

    You know what I think? I think you’re afraid to admit what you believe because you’re worried that it sounds ridiculous. Scientific theories like evolution and plate tectonics are as ironclad as they get, and I understand your hesitance to publicly state that you’d prefer to discard all that and attribute everything to an invisible super-man instead.

    But previously, when trying to back out of clear statements calling out your belief that religious belief = scientific ignorance, you babbled this.

    There is nothing about believing in God that disqualifies someone being a brilliant, capable scientist. Lots of great science gets done by people that are working at understanding God’s creation, and that’s fine and dandy by me. I have a biologist friend who very much believes in God and I’ll never know more about biology than she does

    So again, you mock people who believe in an “invisible superman” as being ignorant and dismissive of science and call them “ridiculous”…..while you babble about your friends who “very much believe” in an “invisible superman” and know more about science than you do.

    In short, you tell contradictory stories in every situation to justify your bigotry and try to make it publicly more palatable, even though it is obvious that someone like yourself who deems all people with religious beliefs to be ignorant and incapable of scientific thought or knowledge is hardly scientific or knowledgeable himself.

    Own up to your bigotry, Levi. We all know it’s there. Be a man and admit that you are bigoted against religious beliefs.

    I’m not sure why you’re having such a hard time with this. The religious people that I can respect are the ones that aren’t so stubborn in their views that they deny basic scientific facts, things like the theory of evolution and the age of the Earth being about 4 billion years. My religious biologist friend, as well as many millions of religious scientists from around the world, are capable of reconciling their personal religious views with the empirical data that they collect in their respective fields.

    The religious people that bug me are the ones that deny this data and choose to believe in the literal word of a 2,000 year old book or some other explanation. And while someone’s opinions about the origin of life and the universe and philosophical in nature and wouldn’t matter much in and of themselves, often times this disregard for the scientific method creeps into their political positions as well. People that interpret the Bible literally are also likely to believe in other nonsense like homosexuality being a sin, another ill-formed and ridiculous belief.

    So… still waiting. Where do you stand on this spectrum? Evolution? Creationism? Alien intervention? Spaghetti Monster? Are you ever going to answer?

    Comment by Levi — July 13, 2010 @ 8:41 pm - July 13, 2010

  68. I thought it should be fairly obvious that in a discussion about religion versus science, people would assume that evolution meant the specific theory regarding the gradual changes in plants and animals that accumulate over millions of years and eventually spawn new species

    And, Levi, that’s not what you’ve been saying evolution is.

    You have been stating that evolution is a theory that disproves the existence of God.

    You have been stating that evolution is a theory that explains fully the production of life and therefore disproves the Biblical account of creation.

    You have stated that belief in evolution and belief in God are completely contradictory and that it is impossible for one to be an intelligent individual and have both.

    You clearly do not understand what science is. Science does not pretend to explain that which it cannot examine, nor does it draw absolute conclusions from the absence of evidence. Heliotrope has, through his simple question, nailed the problem completely — which is that you have perverted a scientific theory to support your own irrational antireligious bigotry.

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — July 13, 2010 @ 8:53 pm - July 13, 2010

  69. And the contradictions and spin from Levi get more and more entertaining.

    First Levi tries to claim that he respects Christians who are scientists — after stating above that all religious people have a “hypocritical disdain for science”:

    And there are about a million more reasons that I think religion is terrible, your propensity to wage violent wars, the undue reverence towards authority that is crippling to freedom of thought, the hypocritical disdain for science, etc.

    and that Christians are silly and follow superstititions.

    Again, because Christians are in positions of power and are capable of affecting my life with their silly superstitions.

    and that people with religious beliefs are incapable of thinking for themselves and only repeat what they’re told by authority figures.

    I’ve arrived at my conclusions because I’ve been convinced by proof, religious people arrive at their conclusions because they’ve been commanded to by their authority figures who they’re compelled to obey regardless of what they’re saying.

    Of course, now that Levi’s bigotry has been called out directly, he tries backpedaling.

    I couldn’t say what most Christians believe

    But, as we see, he’s already done so — multiple times.

    This again demonstrates that Levi is not in the least scientific; he is an irrational bigot.

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — July 13, 2010 @ 9:10 pm - July 13, 2010

  70. So… still waiting. Where do you stand on this spectrum? Evolution? Creationism? Alien intervention? Spaghetti Monster? Are you ever going to answer?

    But you already answered, bigot.

    Scientific theories like evolution and plate tectonics are as ironclad as they get, and I understand your hesitance to publicly state that you’d prefer to discard all that and attribute everything to an invisible super-man instead. Let me take the pressure of you by just assuming that you literally believe in the widely-held Christian creation stories – Genesis, Adam & Eve, Noah and the Flood – all that.

    Again, this is not scientific behavior on Levi’s part. It is simply repeating his personal bigotry.

    That is what makes Levi amusing. As his bigotry becomes more and more obvious, his desperate attempts to spin away from his previous statements and “conclusions”, all of which make clear that his assessments are not based on empirical evidence and are strictly a product of his bigoted personal beliefs, become more and more pronounced.

    Levi is unable to reconcile his statements even within the same comment thread. This makes it clear that he is incapable of understanding the basics of science and logic.

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — July 13, 2010 @ 9:16 pm - July 13, 2010

  71. I don’t see how that can reasonably be viewed as a metaphor for our actual origins, could you be bothered to explain?

    And the bigot finally puts his foot completely in his mouth.

    Please state, Levi, the exact, repeatable, PROVABLE process by which life on earth was created.

    And this is where the idiocy of Levi and his ilk comes into play.

    Levi DOESN’T KNOW the exact process. But he INSISTS, even though he doesn’t know, that it WASN’T as the Bible described it.

    In the absence of evidence, you cannot draw conclusions, especially ones that absolute. That is a basic tenet of science.

    But again, Levi is not a scientist. He is an antireligious bigot, an irrational hatemonger who has twisted and corrupted science for his own perverse endings.

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — July 13, 2010 @ 9:21 pm - July 13, 2010

  72. Meanwhile, on a meta level, the entertaining thing is that Levi denies the existence of God while he himself plays the omniscient being.

    Among other important issues like a women’s right to control her own body, that is why abortion is good for society, and it should be obvious; people that don’t want kids, for whatever reason, shouldn’t be raising kids.

    So according to Levi, every kid who is aborted should have been aborted. Of the millions of babies that Levi and his fellow progressives abort, none of them would have had a life worth living. Abortion is always a positive, always a good for society, because every single baby aborted was unwanted, never would be wanted, and never would have contributed anything to society.

    In short, Levi states that your entire life potential is based on whether or not you’re convenient when you’re conceived. If you’re not, no problem killing you, because your life will never be worth anything anyway.

    Isn’t it funny how evolved those morals are?

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — July 13, 2010 @ 9:27 pm - July 13, 2010

  73. And, Levi, that’s not what you’ve been saying evolution is.

    You have been stating that evolution is a theory that disproves the existence of God.

    I haven’t said that explicitly, though I’ll say now that I think that’s pretty much the case. Properly understood, evolution leaves no space for the existence of a God.

    You have been stating that evolution is a theory that explains fully the production of life and therefore disproves the Biblical account of creation.

    It does both of those things, mostly. There is some question of how life came to be in the first place, but there are many competing theories that don’t require any sort of intervention by anything divine.

    You have stated that belief in evolution and belief in God are completely contradictory and that it is impossible for one to be an intelligent individual and have both.

    That’s just not true. I haven’t said that a smart person can’t believe in evolution and God at the same time. I’ve said that a think such a belief is contradictory, but I haven’t said I think that people that hold those those beliefs are automatically not intelligent.

    You clearly do not understand what science is. Science does not pretend to explain that which it cannot examine, nor does it draw absolute conclusions from the absence of evidence. Heliotrope has, through his simple question, nailed the problem completely — which is that you have perverted a scientific theory to support your own irrational antireligious bigotry.

    This last part just doesn’t make any sense – what scientific theory am I perverting?

    Comment by Levi — July 13, 2010 @ 11:23 pm - July 13, 2010

  74. Or, more precisely, you’re rationalizing for why the opinions of people who are older and have more experience than you do don’t matter.

    Make that “less precisely,” NDT, since I never implied what you said. It’s kind of like people over 60 did not grow up with computers, so, in general, they tend to be less technically savvy than younger people. But there are certainly exceptions, in fact plenty. Getting back to our discussion, I know religious people over 60 who don’t believe the literal Creation story, and believe in evolution. Anyway, this was a point I conceded to you anyway. So you win on that point, okay?

    Besides, I’m fairly certain that the last few popes have not believed in the Creation story literally. In fact, at least Pope John Paul II has stated that he believed in evolution, I believe. And I sincerely doubt that most religious leaders believe in the literal Creation story.

    Unfortunately, your branding 60% of Americans as “ignorant” does not qualify as thought, analysis, OR criticism. Knee-jerk opposition and bigotry would be more appropriate as a description.

    Look at it anyway you want. You are usually outspoken about your beliefs, but again, when it comes to a religious belief, I’m supposed to be gentle. Why is that? Anyway, I liken the 60% to reports you hear sometimes that, say 60% or whatever 10th graders underperform in math. It’s not a good stat or anything to brag about. But there’s good news. I figure that if the survey was conducted 50 or 100 years ago, the percentage would have been at least 90%, so we’re making progress.

    Suit yourself. Doesn’t change my beliefs a whit.

    Well, you missed my point, deliberately or otherwise. My point was the scare quotes in this instance was nonsense. The fact that you use them when one doesn’t share your narrow view of religion is more evidence of bigotry than you have on me. Besides, I really didn’t believe that my employing scare quotes (this one time to make the point) was going to change your beliefs. I gave you more credit than that.

    Of course it’s “fine”; you’re just going to call me a) ignorant, b) a believer in “nonsense”, or c) a liar who doesn’t tell people the truth about their beliefs.

    Yeah, you’re probably right.

    It all really boils down to you having a real problem with religious beliefs, Pat.

    No, just yours. 😉

    Comment by Pat — July 13, 2010 @ 11:25 pm - July 13, 2010

  75. Levi,

    I have read and reread and studied Darwin and his “theory” has failed to produce squat.

    Perhaps you can direct me to the “ironclad” part. Perhaps you can show me the fruit flies that have evolved under controlled scientific study. (I pick fruit flies because, like cockroaches, you don’t have to spend much time waiting for the 100th generation.)

    Did you know that the Vatican accepts evolution? Not Darwin, but the evolution over time and the stress of change. You can say that the horse species has “evolved” since the time the dinosaurs and you can kind of/sort of assemble a spotty and weak string of fossils as evidence. But the sweeping “ironclad” claim of evolution is enormously scant in evidence. Since you are a Darwin buff, you know that his greatest worry would be that sufficient fossil evidence would not be found to prove his theory.

    The world is rife with evolutionists of the Darwin variety who are still looking for the chain, let alone the missing link.

    Adaptation and change are no particular mystery. We can take the measure of man back to the Bronze Age and catalogue the changes. They are all quite predictable and reasonable adaptations to a changing diet and climate. But the link with apes is an entirely different matter altogether. And, when you think about the time span involved in such evolution theory, you must give pause to the whole Darwin theory on how the beaks on finches “evolved” to fill a specific niche. (My remark on the famous finches is that niche adaptation is such a long process that the intervening time would work a terrible toll of the survival of the adapting client. Dog breeders experiment constantly with scientific breeding and have had remarkable success over generations and years. But random “evolution” of the dog in the wild is fairly unremarkable and spans a vastly longer time continuum.)

    I am satisfied that you have a very poor understanding of the term “evolution” and that you use it as a blunt object. In your case, an ironclad blunt object.

    One thing is for sure in science and that is “ironclad” is reserved for precious little in the scientist’s lexicon when he considers the scope of the realm of science.

    You are welcome to believe that man oozed forth from primitive slime. It is a fascinating and exciting concept. But if you had to bet your lunch money on it as settled science, you would go without lunch. I will stipulate, however, that many “scientists” are satisfied with the evolution creation story and have created a strong belief system centered on it. It is sort of a religion for them.

    Comment by heliotrope — July 13, 2010 @ 11:35 pm - July 13, 2010

  76. So… still waiting. Where do you stand on this spectrum? Evolution? Creationism? Alien intervention? Spaghetti Monster? Are you ever going to answer?

    But you already answered, bigot.

    Scientific theories like evolution and plate tectonics are as ironclad as they get, and I understand your hesitance to publicly state that you’d prefer to discard all that and attribute everything to an invisible super-man instead. Let me take the pressure of you by just assuming that you literally believe in the widely-held Christian creation stories – Genesis, Adam & Eve, Noah and the Flood – all that.

    Again, this is not scientific behavior on Levi’s part. It is simply repeating his personal bigotry.

    What exactly is unscientific about what I’ve been saying? I’ve asked you three or four times now what your position is and you’ve refused to answer. I’m doing everything I can to find out your opinion and learn about your perspective, and all you’ve got is some childish taunts about my bigotry…

    Again, I’m left with no other option than to assume that you’re too embarrassed to admit publicly what you believe, which is actually a pretty good clue as to what your beliefs are. I’m pretty sure it’s written down somewhere that if someone bizarrely stonewalls you for no good reason when you ask them a direct question over and over again, then you’ve got free license to assume whatever you want.

    Comment by Levi — July 13, 2010 @ 11:35 pm - July 13, 2010

  77. So in this sense, these “religious” folk like Pat describe really don’t believe in God. They believe in a magic genie who is more powerful than humans are, but is inferior to human comprehension and understanding. They are, strictly put, worshiping human beings because they put what humans can understand as the highest order of rationality and reasoning in the universe.

    NDT, besides the silly scare quote stuff, I missed your other misinformed point here. These persons I described, deeply believe in God. You’ll have to ask them what their beliefs are in detail. They believe God is omniscient, omnipotent, and all that, but that Creation simply did not happen in the way the Bible describes it. Perhaps they believe that God is more than omnipotent enough to create the universe and life as described, but simply put, that’s not what He did.

    Comment by Pat — July 13, 2010 @ 11:48 pm - July 13, 2010

  78. Levi, you persist in making this entirely too easy.

    To whit, your statement:

    Properly understood, evolution leaves no space for the existence of a God.

    Now, we couple it with this one.

    I have a biologist friend who very much believes in God and I’ll never know more about biology than she does

    Thus, Levi, in your attempt to spin away from your obvious antireligious bigotry and belief that scientific knowledge and religion are incompatible, you cite people who, quote, “know more about biology than (you) ever will”, but according to you, are ignorant of and do not have a “proper understanding” of evolution because they “very much believe(s) in God”.

    Now, bigot, please state for the record that your “friend” does not understand evolution because, if she had a “proper understanding”, she wouldn’t believe in God.

    And state that, despite her “knowing more about biology than (you) ever will”, you in fact are an expert on evolution and she is ignorant, not having a “proper understanding”.

    I have no doubt that you are arrogant and stupid enough to do that, bigot. You definitely are not going to choose the option that the scientists who actually know more about evolutionary theory than you do fail to see your ironclad belief that it disproves the existence of God — because that would make it clear that your use of “science” is not in fact scientific and is simply a rationalization for bigotry.

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — July 14, 2010 @ 12:14 am - July 14, 2010

  79. I’m doing everything I can to find out your opinion and learn about your perspective, and all you’ve got is some childish taunts about my bigotry…

    Actually, no; you’re making absolute statements on what I believe and THEN asking me to provide you information. Hence why I’m calling you a bigot, which is the terminology one uses for someone like yourself who makes public announcements and statements based on stereotype with no actual consideration for the facts involved.

    The basic problem you don’t understand, Levi, is that you have confused “scientific” with “antireligious”, “anticonservative”, and “anti-Bush”. In the world of “progressives”, statements like that of Rosie O’Donnell’s “fire cannot melt steel” are considered “scientific”, even though they have no relationship whatsoever to actual scientific fact, because they are anti-Bush and anti-conservative. Similarly, you claim that your belief that evolutionary theory disproves the existence of God is “scientific”, even though by your own admission scientists that know more about it than you do disagree, because it is antireligious.

    So what are we to think of you, Levi? You insist that fire cannot melt or weaken steel, even though it clearly can. You insist that evolutionary theory disproves God, even though people who are admittedly much brighter and better in biology than you are disagree. Clearly you are not scientific, but an irrational hater and bigot.

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — July 14, 2010 @ 12:27 am - July 14, 2010

  80. Levi,

    I have read and reread and studied Darwin and his “theory” has failed to produce squat.

    Uh….. lol?

    This shoould be good….

    Perhaps you can direct me to the “ironclad” part. Perhaps you can show me the fruit flies that have evolved under controlled scientific study. (I pick fruit flies because, like cockroaches, you don’t have to spend much time waiting for the 100th generation.)

    Well, yeah. Insects are great animals to study if you want to find out about evolution, because you don’t have to wait very long for the next generation. Bacteria is even quicker, and there’s a great experiment going on at Michigan State that has tracked more than 45,000 generations of a particular strain of E. coli since 1988 that we’ve learned all kinds of interesting things from. In those 45,000 generations, one of the E. coli strains’ genes altered in such a way that it could metabolize a source of food that the other strains couldn’t, and it thusly reproduced at a much greater rate. There are similar experiments and examples around the world where evolution is on display at a scale and pace that humans can detect – is this really what you’d like to talk about when your thesis on evolution is that it has ‘produced squat?’

    Did you know that the Vatican accepts evolution? Not Darwin, but the evolution over time and the stress of change.

    What is the significance of this distinction? Darwin’s theory was evolution over time, caused by the stress of change. That isn’t to say that evolutionary theory today is identical to Darwin’s original theories, but he basically got the broad strokes right, a commendable task considering they had no concept of genetics or DNA back then. Darwin figured out the forces at work like natural selection and speciation, and since then scientists have figured out the mechanisms operating under the surface like genetic frequencies and DNA. If the church accepts evolution, they’re accepting Darwin, how can that be seen differently?

    You can say that the horse species has “evolved” since the time the dinosaurs and you can kind of/sort of assemble a spotty and weak string of fossils as evidence. But the sweeping “ironclad” claim of evolution is enormously scant in evidence. Since you are a Darwin buff, you know that his greatest worry would be that sufficient fossil evidence would not be found to prove his theory.

    Darwin would have nothing to worry about – he’d be absolutely thrilled to hear about all the fossil evidence that we’ve collected in the past 150 years, especially the hominids, fossils of which were unknown in Darwin’s time. We have a fairly complete picture of human evolution over the past few million years, from specimens that are common ancestors to all the great Apes, to the upright australopithacenes, through to the early tool uses like Homo habilis and Homo erectus, right up to Neanderthals and the Indonesian ‘hobbits’ that shared the planet with our species as early as 30,000 years ago. The fossil record is becoming more and more complete by the day, and you’re boasting that it’s a ‘weak string?’ You either haven’t been paying attention or are willfully ignoring contemporary developments.

    Fossils are a great piece of evidence in support of evolution, helping to prove that birds evolved from dinosaurs, for example. One of the easiest ways to disprove the theory of evolution would be to find a fossil somewhere that it wasn’t supposed to be, but that’s never, ever happened. That’s right, every fossil that’s ever been found was located exactly where it could be expected to be found according to the theory of evolution. If we know the age of the rocks (easily done with a variety of methods), then we can have some idea of what kinds of fossils we’ll find in them, and vice versa. It’s now possible to postulate a certain type of animal from a certain time, go to a certain part of the world and look in rock layers that are known to be of a certain age, and find fossils of the animal that you thought you might find.

    The world is rife with evolutionists of the Darwin variety who are still looking for the chain, let alone the missing link.

    The chain is well described and a fixation on THE MISSING LINK is more a convention of pop culturists or evolution deniers. Every fossil that is discovered produces two more missing links. If that’s what we were looking for, each fossil would only make the broader picture more obscure.

    Adaptation and change are no particular mystery. We can take the measure of man back to the Bronze Age and catalogue the changes. They are all quite predictable and reasonable adaptations to a changing diet and climate.

    Nothing has changed all that much biologically with humans in that short a time. Minor things maybe, like the ability to process dairy, blood that is resistant to malaria, adaptations to live at altitude, but nothing major. What changes are you talking about?

    But the link with apes is an entirely different matter altogether.

    Why? Because you say so? Because that’s convenient for you? It’s simply not the case. Simple observation demonstrates that anatomically and behaviorally we are very similar to chimps, and a genetic analysis shows that we share 97% of our genes. This is true everywhere else in the animals kingdom as well.

    And, when you think about the time span involved in such evolution theory, you must give pause to the whole Darwin theory on how the beaks on finches “evolved” to fill a specific niche. (My remark on the famous finches is that niche adaptation is such a long process that the intervening time would work a terrible toll of the survival of the adapting client. Dog breeders experiment constantly with scientific breeding and have had remarkable success over generations and years. But random “evolution” of the dog in the wild is fairly unremarkable and spans a vastly longer time continuum.)

    This is a fairly common refrain among evolution deniers – essentially, what good is half a wing? What good is half an eye? Well, it’s better than no wing, and it’s better than no eye. If you’re some critter from a few million years ago and you’ve got 5% of the wing that your eventual ancestor will end up with, there is some height X that you can fall from, or there is some distance Y that you are able to glide, that make you more likely to reproduce than your contemporaries that only have 4% of a wing. Given hundreds of millions of years, your descendants finally get the whole package. Incremental advantages can result in tremendous changes given a long enough time scale, and we’re dealing with a billion years here.

    I am satisfied that you have a very poor understanding of the term “evolution” and that you use it as a blunt object. In your case, an ironclad blunt object.

    That’s a total joke. From what you’ve produced so far, I’d say you haven’t looked been tracking contemporary advancements in evolutionary theory for quite some time, especially if you’re trotting out tired old cliches about THE MISSING LINK.

    One thing is for sure in science and that is “ironclad” is reserved for precious little in the scientist’s lexicon when he considers the scope of the realm of science.

    Like I said, evolution was introduced 150 years ago and every piece of scientific data has supported its fundamental hypotheses. The entire theory of evolution could be disproven in a flash in any number of ways, and the fact that it hasn’t been, especially given the enormous number of well-heeled religious elements who would benefit greatly from disproving it, is a testament to its veracity. If anyone on the planet found the wrong kind of fossils in the wrong kind of rocks, evolution would be disproven in an instant. If it could be demonstrated that environmental pressures don’t produce changes in an organism over time, evolution would be disproven in an instant. But the trend is going in the other direction – evolution appears to be gaining more and more credibility as more methods are implemented and more information is discovered. Why is that?

    You are welcome to believe that man oozed forth from primitive slime. It is a fascinating and exciting concept. But if you had to bet your lunch money on it as settled science, you would go without lunch.

    Now you’re talking about abiogenesis, which is entirely different than the theory of evolution. In any case, man didn’t spring forth from the primordial ooze, it was likely some simple protein chain or amino acid that eventually lead to RNA and DNA, then to unicellular organisms, then to complex mulitcellulars, over billions of years. People are working on figuring out how it could have happened and there are lots of compelling theories, though I’ll admit while this is something I have fun thinking about, it’s not really fulfilling enough to hold my interest for very long.

    I will stipulate, however, that many “scientists” are satisfied with the evolution creation story and have created a strong belief system centered on it. It is sort of a religion for them.

    Well, belief systems aren’t necessarily a bad thing, especially when you have gobs and gobs of repeatedly verified data to back up your beliefs.

    I’d still like to know what your origin-of-man theory is. I’m assuming you’re not all that impressed with evolution for some reason, but just answer these two questions for me if you can;

    1. How old do you think the planet is?

    2. Do you think the life is shaped by evolution?

    Comment by Levi — July 14, 2010 @ 1:06 am - July 14, 2010

  81. It’s so much fun to watch how Levi’s moral relativism, his belief that anything he says must be true, looks so idiotic in public.

    Example #1:

    That isn’t to say that evolutionary theory today is identical to Darwin’s original theories

    Followed by:

    If the church accepts evolution, they’re accepting Darwin, how can that be seen differently?

    So we have Levi insisting that, because the Church accepts modern evolutionary theory, it must accept Darwin — after just stating that Darwin and modern evolutionary theory were not synonymous.

    Next:

    In those 45,000 generations, one of the E. coli strains’ genes altered in such a way that it could metabolize a source of food that the other strains couldn’t, and it thusly reproduced at a much greater rate.

    But then:

    Nothing has changed all that much biologically with humans in that short a time. Minor things maybe, like the ability to process dairy, blood that is resistant to malaria, adaptations to live at altitude, but nothing major.

    So we have Levi insisting that bacteria being able to process a new dietary source constitutes major evidence, but then pooh-poohs humans being able to process a new dietary source as “nothing major”.

    And then it gets even funnier.

    This is a fairly common refrain among evolution deniers – essentially, what good is half a wing? What good is half an eye? Well, it’s better than no wing, and it’s better than no eye.

    Not really. A useless wing on an animal is extra weight to carry, extra mass to maintain at a higher caloric cost, and extra area to be entangled or caught by a predator.

    Perhaps if you were more educated on biology, Levi, you would recognize that. But again, as we’ve demonstrated above, you are in fact not educated when it comes to biology, and in fact are a bigoted zealot who declares that actual scientists with knowledge of biology know less and lack a “proper understanding” because they don’t believe in God.

    Really, that’s the issue here. Levi insists that, no matter how talented you are, no matter how gifted you are in the field of science, no matter how much you have studied, if you believe in God, you know less about evolutionary theory and biology than Levi does.

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — July 14, 2010 @ 1:46 am - July 14, 2010

  82. Correction:

    Perhaps if you were more educated on biology, Levi, you would recognize that. But again, as we’ve demonstrated above, you are in fact not educated when it comes to biology, and in fact are a bigoted zealot who declares that actual scientists with knowledge of biology know less and lack a “proper understanding” because they believe in God.

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — July 14, 2010 @ 1:47 am - July 14, 2010

  83. Maybe Levi just needs more brain volume, then he’d be more enlightened on the Divine and his works.

    Comment by The_Livewire — July 14, 2010 @ 6:47 am - July 14, 2010

  84. It’s so much fun to watch how Levi’s moral relativism, his belief that anything he says must be true, looks so idiotic in public.

    Example #1:

    That isn’t to say that evolutionary theory today is identical to Darwin’s original theories

    Followed by:

    If the church accepts evolution, they’re accepting Darwin, how can that be seen differently?

    So we have Levi insisting that, because the Church accepts modern evolutionary theory, it must accept Darwin — after just stating that Darwin and modern evolutionary theory were not synonymous.

    Here you go again. They aren’t identical in the sense that we have a much more complete understanding of evolutionary theory than Darwin, although his fundamental argument is still the foundation of the theory. It’s impossible to accept evolution and somehow deny Darwin – if this is the church’s position, then they don’t really understand the theory at all.

    Next:

    In those 45,000 generations, one of the E. coli strains’ genes altered in such a way that it could metabolize a source of food that the other strains couldn’t, and it thusly reproduced at a much greater rate.

    But then:

    Nothing has changed all that much biologically with humans in that short a time. Minor things maybe, like the ability to process dairy, blood that is resistant to malaria, adaptations to live at altitude, but nothing major.

    So we have Levi insisting that bacteria being able to process a new dietary source constitutes major evidence, but then pooh-poohs humans being able to process a new dietary source as “nothing major”.

    These two adaptations are completely different. The ability of the bacteria to metabolize their new food source would be more akin to human beings metabolizing carbon dioxide or ammonia. This change is revolutionary for the bacteria, the human change, not so much.

    And then it gets even funnier.

    This is a fairly common refrain among evolution deniers – essentially, what good is half a wing? What good is half an eye? Well, it’s better than no wing, and it’s better than no eye.

    Not really. A useless wing on an animal is extra weight to carry, extra mass to maintain at a higher caloric cost, and extra area to be entangled or caught by a predator.

    Perhaps if you were more educated on biology, Levi, you would recognize that. But again, as we’ve demonstrated above, you are in fact not educated when it comes to biology, and in fact are a bigoted zealot who declares that actual scientists with knowledge of biology know less and lack a “proper understanding” because they don’t believe in God.

    Really, that’s the issue here. Levi insists that, no matter how talented you are, no matter how gifted you are in the field of science, no matter how much you have studied, if you believe in God, you know less about evolutionary theory and biology than Levi does.

    Not sure what to say about this – it’s patently false. If 5% of a wing makes you 5% more likely to escape a predator, then the energy investment is well worth it. There are a range of animals with these kinds of in-between adaptations, like flying squirrels and lizards and snakes, and they benefit greatly from their ability to glide. All a mutation has to do is confer any kind of reproductive advantage, however slight, and it will eventually be passed down to the next generation.

    Comment by Levi — July 14, 2010 @ 10:07 am - July 14, 2010

  85. Maybe Levi just needs more brain volume, then he’d be more enlightened on the Divine and his works.

    Christ dude, you are such a baby! I never said that brain volume alone correlates to intelligence, you know it and I know it. This is all that you’ve got – you can’t have an intelligent discussion, so you deliberately distort, ignore my attempts to correct and clarify, accuse me of being overly defensive for trying to set you straight, and then just wait for the thread to fall of the main page and people stop bothering with the discussion. This is Conservative Argument 101 – when you’re in over your head, just start pretending something else is happening until everyone gets bored and leaves you alone.

    Comment by Levi — July 14, 2010 @ 10:12 am - July 14, 2010

  86. ““Boost the volume of their brain by a couple hundred cubic centimeters and you’ve got human beings – who know instinctively to help fellow humans and except in extreme circumstances do no harm to them.”

    Yes, indicating that increasing the volume of the brain would make them more intelligent in no way implies that increasing the volume of the brain would make them more intelligent.

    Funny how Levi’s gone from “harmless figures of speech” to “deliberately distort” Care to spin anymore explinations?

    Poor Levi, he hates it when his own words, in context are used against him. It reduces him to name calling and boasting of his own intellectual superiority.

    He gets so upset when you quote him, or when you ask him to back up what he says. (Guess what! Looks like BP might plug the hole in shorter time than it took for Levi to admit he couldn’t name two successful socialist countries, let alone ‘several’!)

    And now he still claims to be an expert on science. It would be funny, if he wasn’t the kind of person who believes in dragging people kicking and screaming into his future.

    Of course he also holds the contradictory positions of saying that uncorruptable people are kept out of government by “the completely corrupt people [Completely corrupt? Not just 75% corrupt?-me] that have leveraged their absence of ethics into more power and wealth, and they’re able to prevent these kinds of people from getting close to any kind of significant political leadership position.” And yet MORE Government is the solution to everything.

    Also, how is it these ‘completely corrupt’ people are able to function when they clearly are not able to “instinctively to help fellow humans and except in extreme circumstances do no harm to them” being ‘totally’ corrupt and all.

    Hmm, so lets see, these ‘totally corrupt people’ have somehow been able to override their G-d given, excuse me, naturally evolved instincts to rise to a position of power which helps them increase their odds of procreation and raising and supporting offspring.

    Apparently, by Levi’s standard, being totally corrupt is a positive evolutionary trait.

    Comment by The_Livewire — July 14, 2010 @ 10:52 am - July 14, 2010

  87. How old do I think the planet is? Wikipedia says:

    The age of the Earth is around 4.54 billion years (4.54 × 109 years ± 1%). This age has been determined by radiometric age dating of meteorite material and is consistent with the ages of the oldest-known terrestrial and lunar samples. The Sun, in comparison, is about 4.57 billion years old, about 30 million years older.

    It works for me. I don’t understand the science and I don’t know where they got the test samples for the sun, but I will play along with the “ironclad” theory. I even miss “ironclad” Pluto. I thought he was a cute little planet. And I miss oil being the residue of dinosaurs, as well.

    Wikipedia says this about dating creation:

    In the English-speaking world, one of the most well known estimates in modern times is that of Archbishop James Ussher (1581–1656), who proposed a date of Sunday, October 23, 4004 BCE; he placed the beginning of this first day of creation, and hence the exact time of creation, at the previous nightfall, exactly 4,000 years before the birth of Christ according the ideas of his time.

    Also from Wikipedia is this:

    The question how many angels can dance on the head of a pin? has been used many times as a trite dismissal of medieval angelology in particular, of scholasticism in general, and of particular figures such as Duns Scotus and Thomas Aquinas. Another variety of the question is How Many Angels Can Sit On The Head Of A Pin? In modern usage, this question serves as a metaphor for wasting time debating topics of no practical value.

    Levi, I am not playing your game, am I? You want me to jump down the rabbit hole of some over zealous scholastic who took to the extreme Kelvin’s dictate that all things can be measured. (Have the Kelvinists created the “ironclad” science for measuring love yet?)

    You ask if I think life is shaped by evolution. I said as much. How did you miss it? Things evolve. Even rocks get into the picture like limestone and metamorphic rocks. The Vatican has no beef with that picture.

    The understanding of the forces of adaptation and change in the biological world of science far pre-dates Darwin. Darwin did not have an Archimedes “Eureka” epiphany that changed all of science. He drew scientific theories and understandings together and laid out his massive theory of the origin of the species. And you declare it “ironclad.”

    You also clearly imply that evolution has destroyed creation myth. Joseph Campbell did wonderful research around the world comparing and contrasting creation stories. What they all have in common is placing the beginnings of the human mind.

    Now, Levi, you have your own evolution claptrap to worry about. When did human reasoning power begin? Forget the e. coli and fruit flies and sandstone and primitive ooze and DNA. When did the Planet of the Apes turn the most miraculous corner of all species?

    I just know you are going to blather on about dolphin and whales and termites using tools and the likes. You science religion types are all alike.

    Here is the American Museum of Natural History in New York City speaking about evolution:

    Evolution Today: How Do New Species Evolve?

    Separate groups of organisms belonging to the same species may adapt in different ways to better exploit diverse environments or resources. They also may evolve varied characteristics for attracting mates. That is, different groups evolve in different directions. Over time, these groups or populations may become so different that they can no longer breed together-separate species are formed.

    May” denotes theory, not “ironclad” theory.

    Here is the Natural History Museum in London expllaining why Darwin’s fossil record theme is so tenuous:

    There are countless species that live in environments such as jungles and mountaintops, where the bodies of dead animals are more likely to be eaten or broken up than preserved. Therefore, palaeontologists are faced with a daunting challenge: to construct the history of life on our planet with knowledge of only a tiny fraction of the creatures that once lived here.

    Here is Dr. Geral Schroeder musing about the London Museum of Natural History:

    The magnificent Natural History Museum in London devotes an entire wing to demonstrating the fact of evolution. They show how pink daisies can evolve into blue daisies, how gray moths change into black moths, how over a mere few thousand years, a wide variety of cichlid fish species evolved in Lake Victoria. It is all impressive.

    Impressive, until you walk out and reflect upon that which they were able to document. Daisies remained daisies, moths remained moths, and cichlid fish remained cichlid fish. These changes are referred to as micro-evolution. In this exhibit, the museum’s staff did not demonstrate a single unequivocal case in which life underwent a major gradual morphological change.

    I place your “ironclad” religious adherence to the theory of evolution in the same pew with man caused global warming, carbon credits and the pucks who adhere to the hockey stick pseudo-scientific babble.

    Fools rush in where serious scientists fear to tread. Have and “ironclad” great day.

    Comment by heliotrope — July 14, 2010 @ 11:23 am - July 14, 2010

  88. Levi, stick with me on this little circular argument you have made:

    It’s impossible to accept evolution and somehow deny Darwin – if this is the church’s position, then they don’t really understand the theory at all.

    Premise: It’s impossible to accept evolution and somehow deny Darwin.

    Darwin is not the father of evolution. He organized existing knowledge and proposed his theory of how things fit together. You can accept parts of Darwin as the most probable theory and reject parts of Darwin. Darwin is not the bedrock upon which evolution rests. (http://anthro.palomar.edu/evolve/evolve_1.htm)

    Conclusion: if this is the church’s position (rejecting Darwin while accepting evolution), then they don’t really understand the theory at all.

    There must be a second premise to arrive at a conclusion. You can not assert one premise and reach a conclusion based on the assertion. There is no proof and the argument twirls endlessly on its own head.

    The first premise (It’s impossible to accept evolution and somehow deny Darwin) is actually a conclusion. It is not a fact. So, you have stated a conclusion as a premise which proves your conclusion without a second premise and the demand that the first premise is fact.

    Try again.

    Comment by heliotrope — July 14, 2010 @ 11:52 am - July 14, 2010

  89. heliotrope,

    Don’t be too hard on Levi.

    It’s clear his brain doesn’t have enough volume to hold a second premise. 🙂

    Comment by The_Livewire — July 14, 2010 @ 12:02 pm - July 14, 2010

  90. You also clearly imply that evolution has destroyed creation myth. Joseph Campbell did wonderful research around the world comparing and contrasting creation stories. What they all have in common is placing the beginnings of the human mind.

    Heliotrope, you stated “creation stories.” So I gather that while you believe that God created the universe (as I do), that it did not happen literally as explained in the Bible. A lot of people see the Creation story of the Bible as a metaphor. And while I personally don’t believe that evolution proves that God does not exist, I believe it does prove that Creation story in Bible (literally) is false.

    When did the Planet of the Apes turn the most miraculous corner of all species?

    I don’t think there was any miraculous turn of a corner. It apparently happened quite gradually. So I gather you don’t believe that humans evolved from apes. My understanding is that there is a common ancestor of humans, gorillas, and chimpanzees, say from about 10 million years or so.

    Comment by Pat — July 14, 2010 @ 2:00 pm - July 14, 2010

  91. Levi, I am not playing your game, am I? You want me to jump down the rabbit hole of some over zealous scholastic who took to the extreme Kelvin’s dictate that all things can be measured. (Have the Kelvinists created the “ironclad” science for measuring love yet?)

    You ask if I think life is shaped by evolution. I said as much. How did you miss it? Things evolve. Even rocks get into the picture like limestone and metamorphic rocks. The Vatican has no beef with that picture.

    If I’m understanding you correctly, you believe in the concept of micro-evolution, where superficial things change from time to time like hair color and and height, but you don’t believe that evolution can drastically alter physical anatomies over any length of time, is that right? You’re saying that speciation as theorized by evolutionists is impossible, correct? Would I be in the wrong to assume that you think the origin of all species is divine, that God created all organisms and wants them to remain effectively static? I think you’re still being evasive and needlessly coy, but your use of the term ‘micro-evolution’ is revealing. Is someone a Ray Comfort/Kirk Cameron fan?

    The understanding of the forces of adaptation and change in the biological world of science far pre-dates Darwin.

    This is true. People had some concept of heredity for a long time. Lamarck described environmental-driven evolution decades before Darwin arrived with his book, and his ideas had their precedents, as well.

    Darwin did not have an Archimedes “Eureka” epiphany that changed all of science. He drew scientific theories and understandings together and laid out his massive theory of the origin of the species. And you declare it “ironclad.”

    This, however, is not true. Darwin’s key contribution was his description of how the process actually worked. Lamarck believed that children inherited traits from their parents – if your dad had strong forearms and tough skin because he was a blacksmith, then the son would end up with those characteristics. Darwin introduced the concept of natural selection as the mechanism of evolution. After Darwin’s theory was hybridized with Mendel’s work on genetics, most of the foundational work was done. Since then, it’s been a century worth of fieldwork that has proven time and time again that this evolutionary process is responsible for the diversity of life.

    You also clearly imply that evolution has destroyed creation myth. Joseph Campbell did wonderful research around the world comparing and contrasting creation stories. What they all have in common is placing the beginnings of the human mind.

    I’d say that evolutionary theory has destroyed the credibility of creation myths. Evolution is the far simpler explanation for the origin of man than the postulation of an incredibly complex creator of the universe. Occam’s Razor, ya know?

    Now, Levi, you have your own evolution claptrap to worry about. When did human reasoning power begin? Forget the e. coli and fruit flies and sandstone and primitive ooze and DNA. When did the Planet of the Apes turn the most miraculous corner of all species?

    I’d like to take a moment to point out the desperation of this particular point of yours – I’m supposed to just forget all of the copious amounts of physical evidence that supports my position because poor little heliotrope has absolutely none that supports his. It’s like a defense attorney arguing to the court that they should forget about the murder weapon, the eyewitness testimony, the confession, and the forensic experts and just give his client a free pass.

    Reasoning and intelligence are not the exclusive domain of human beings. Just like everything else about us, they evolved over time. It simply can’t be said that animals don’t reason – and wouldn’t you know? The ones that are the most genetically similar to us are the ones that are smartest. There are many examples of mammals using language, mourning their dead, having best friends, problem-solving, and yes, using tools. This isn’t intelligence? They aren’t reasoning? Just because our capabilities are that much more advanced, doesn’t mean that there aren’t similar nervous systems that are capable of more rudimentary thought.

    I just know you are going to blather on about dolphin and whales and termites using tools and the likes. You science religion types are all alike.

    You know, that gets me thinking. How can you justify using the religion label as a slam against me? Isn’t that the very definition of irony? “Hey, you’re basing your beliefs on nothing but blind faith! That is so stupid!” I think you may want to rethink that tactic.

    And regardless, nothing about my belief in the authenticity of evolution could be described as ‘religious.’ There are any number of things that could be discovered that would disprove evolution, like finding the wrong kind of fossil in a geological strata. It’s the religious people that say, “No matter what information is presented to me, I will always have my faith. Nothing that I can think of would disprove the existence of God in my mind.” I certainly wouldn’t say that I’d believe in evolution regardless of what new information is discovered and I’d venture that no one else on my side of the fence would either.

    Here is the American Museum of Natural History in New York City speaking about evolution:
    Evolution Today: How Do New Species Evolve?
    Separate groups of organisms belonging to the same species may adapt in different ways to better exploit diverse environments or resources. They also may evolve varied characteristics for attracting mates. That is, different groups evolve in different directions. Over time, these groups or populations may become so different that they can no longer breed together-separate species are formed.

    “May” denotes theory, not “ironclad” theory.

    You’re reading that wrong. He’s not explicitly stating that the theory of evolution may or may not be true, he’s stating that a particular species may or may not adapt in any given situation. It all depends on what kind of selection pressures are in the environment. Suppose there was a bird population on an island, and a volcano erupted that split the island into three separate islands, isolating the population of birds into three separate groups. Depending on the environmental characteristics – maybe one island gets more rain, another island has a specific kind of predator – the birds may or may not adapt, and ultimately a new species may or may not originate. More often than not, things don’t adapt and they die out. For every extant species, there are about a million hypothetical species that could have existed but for some reason or another did not.

    Here is the Natural History Museum in London expllaining why Darwin’s fossil record theme is so tenuous:
    There are countless species that live in environments such as jungles and mountaintops, where the bodies of dead animals are more likely to be eaten or broken up than preserved. Therefore, palaeontologists are faced with a daunting challenge: to construct the history of life on our planet with knowledge of only a tiny fraction of the creatures that once lived here.
    Here is Dr. Geral Schroeder musing about the London Museum of Natural History:
    The magnificent Natural History Museum in London devotes an entire wing to demonstrating the fact of evolution. They show how pink daisies can evolve into blue daisies, how gray moths change into black moths, how over a mere few thousand years, a wide variety of cichlid fish species evolved in Lake Victoria. It is all impressive.
    Impressive, until you walk out and reflect upon that which they were able to document. Daisies remained daisies, moths remained moths, and cichlid fish remained cichlid fish. These changes are referred to as micro-evolution. In this exhibit, the museum’s staff did not demonstrate a single unequivocal case in which life underwent a major gradual morphological change.

    Well, it’s a good thing evolutionary theory doesn’t have to put all of its eggs in the fossil basket. There is so much other evidence supporting evolution that if we never found another fossil, evolutionary theory would still be ironclad. Fossils are a great part of the puzzle though and are a great way to test the hypothesis.

    Comment by Levi — July 14, 2010 @ 4:02 pm - July 14, 2010

  92. Evolution is the far simpler explanation for the origin of man than the postulation of an incredibly complex creator of the universe.

    Except that Levi previously said that evolution DIDN’T explain the origin of man.

    Now you’re talking about abiogenesis, which is entirely different than the theory of evolution.

    The problem, again, is that we are not dealing with a scientist, or even someone who has a basic understanding of science. We are dealing with Levi, who is a zealot and an antireligious bigot and who is trying to cloak both his zealotry and bigotry as being rational and scientific.

    For example, Levi has stated that scientists who believe in God do not have a “proper understanding” of evolution — even though he tried to use the example of his “friend” who believes in God, of whom he says he’ll “never know more about biology than she does”.

    What becomes clear here is that science is only scientific inasmuch as it confirms Levi’s already-stated beliefs and bigotries. If the facts contradict, such as an expert in evolutionary theory who believes in God, Levi’s explanation is simple; the expert in evolutionary theory is wrong and does not have a “proper understanding”.

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — July 14, 2010 @ 5:05 pm - July 14, 2010

  93. You have to laugh at Levi’s prattling and how it completely and totally confirms the point.

    For example, when Levi’s non-scientific zealotry is pointed out, he says the following in an attempt to appear rational.

    There are any number of things that could be discovered that would disprove evolution, like finding the wrong kind of fossil in a geological strata.

    But then what does Levi say when confronted with the possibility of exactly that?

    Well, it’s a good thing evolutionary theory doesn’t have to put all of its eggs in the fossil basket. There is so much other evidence supporting evolution that if we never found another fossil, evolutionary theory would still be ironclad.

    So Levi admits that, even if evidence that he himself stated would disprove evolution was provided, in his mind, evolutionary theory would still be ironclad.

    Again, this is simply an example of how Levi uses evolutionary theory in the same fashion that a drunk uses a lamppost — more for support than illumination.

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — July 14, 2010 @ 5:25 pm - July 14, 2010

  94. Levi asks:

    you don’t believe that evolution can drastically alter physical anatomies over any length of time, is that right?

    Wrong, I am quite open to it. Show me the proof and I will accept it. I think it is as good a theory as any. I am not, however, going to flush God down the crapper over what evolutionists have produced so far.

    You’re saying that speciation as theorized by evolutionists is impossible, correct?

    No. I am saying that anyone who says that speculation as theorized is ironclad is an idiot. Furthermore, I am saying that anyone who thinks he has disproved religion over said ironclad “speculation as theorized” is grasping at straws and feeding his inner bigot. But he sure as heck is not acting as a respected academic.

    Would I be in the wrong to assume that you think the origin of all species is divine, that God created all organisms and wants them to remain effectively static

    You will have to check with God for these answers. I believe in God and you clearly do not. That much I know. Did God create the species? Yes. Did He get the process started and then let them adapt and evolve over time, I don’t know. That is why you need to call God and ask Him. You seem to place an emphasis on “all” as if there is some sort of embedded trap. If God created the species and set evolution in motion, then we have a scenario I am comfortable with, but that must make your hair itch. You want to assassinate God, so He can not possibly exist for you.

    I think you’re still being evasive and needlessly coy, but your use of the term ‘micro-evolution’ is revealing. Is someone a Ray Comfort/Kirk Cameron fan?

    Sorry, I don’t know of Ray Comfort or Kirk Cameron. I quoted Dr. Geral Schroeder who used the term in question. I did not use it. That should be abundantly clear since the term was in a blockquote clearly attributed to Dr. Geral Schroeder. Oh, well. (Sigh.) You will have to point out where I have been evasive and needlessly coy. I am questioning your insistence that Darwin’s theory on evolution is “ironclad.” That type of hyperbole is closed minded bigotry. You are declaring evolution to be settled science.

    You can not produce the proof.

    Darwin’s key contribution was his description of how the process actually worked.

    Good for Darwin. Time to apply the scientific method to it. Bring in the fruit flies.

    God and evolution can co-exist. Clearly, Levi type evolution adherents and God can not co-exist. You set out to kill God with evolution. You have not even scratched Him.

    You would be very comfortable on Little Green Footballs massaging Charles Johnson’s hungry ego. He hates God, too.

    I certainly wouldn’t say that I’d believe in evolution regardless of what new information is discovered and I’d venture that no one else on my side of the fence would either.

    Catch a clue, Levi. You are backpedaling away from your “ironclad” claim here. Maybe you had better not massage Charles Johnson. He may banish you.

    Next time you drag your evolution dog and pony show in here, remember not to slam the door.

    Hey, Levi, what is the universe expanding into?

    Comment by heliotrope — July 14, 2010 @ 9:32 pm - July 14, 2010

  95. before I get properly smacked……I wrote “speculation” instead of “speciation.” However, speciation or speculation, as Levi uses the whole ball of jumbled “ironclad” mumbo-jumbo, the speculation over speciation is all one in the same.

    Comment by heliotrope — July 14, 2010 @ 10:22 pm - July 14, 2010

  96. Wrong, I am quite open to it. Show me the proof and I will accept it. I think it is as good a theory as any. I am not, however, going to flush God down the crapper over what evolutionists have produced so far.

    The proof is everywhere, you’re just ignoring it. Evolutionary theory is supported by a convergence of data from a wide range of fields like paleontology, biology, anthropology, geology, and others, while there is exactly zero evidence for the existence of God. And you’re not ready to throw God down the crapper yet? Contrary to your high opinion of yourself, this is the exact opposite of being ‘quite open to it.’ If the fossils don’t convince, and if you the genetics doesn’t convince you, and if the in-field experiments don’t convince you, and if the mind-bogglingly simple logic of it doesn’t convince you, then nothing will. If you’re waiting for an elephant to give birth to a rhinoceros or something, you’re just never going to get it.

    No. I am saying that anyone who says that speculation as theorized is ironclad is an idiot. Furthermore, I am saying that anyone who thinks he has disproved religion over said ironclad “speculation as theorized” is grasping at straws and feeding his inner bigot. But he sure as heck is not acting as a respected academic.

    Well, now it just sounds like you’re being a cry-baby over writing style and word choice. If I hadn’t said ‘the ironclad theory of evolution,’ but said something along the lines of ‘the theory of evolution which is almost certainly true,’ would you still be having such a fit?

    The theory of evolution is the cornerstone of biology in modern science, in the way that the theory of quantum mechanics is the cornerstone of physics and in the way that the theory of gravity is the cornerstone of astronomy. To say that any of these theories haven’t been rigorously put to the test over the years,that there hasn’t been enough evidence gathered, or to suggest that the jury is still out on whether or not they’re true, is just absurd. The modern world is built on advancements in these fields. Unless, of course, you’d like to announce here and now that you’re as unconvinced by Newton’s gravity and calculus propaganda as you are by Darwin’s evolutionary theories?

    You will have to check with God for these answers. I believe in God and you clearly do not. That much I know. Did God create the species? Yes. Did He get the process started and then let them adapt and evolve over time, I don’t know. That is why you need to call God and ask Him. You seem to place an emphasis on “all” as if there is some sort of embedded trap. If God created the species and set evolution in motion, then we have a scenario I am comfortable with, but that must make your hair itch. You want to assassinate God, so He can not possibly exist for you.

    Here’s the problem with saying that evolution was initiated or somehow guided by God, and it should sound familiar; there’s no evidence for it. The evidence doesn’t suggest that humans would inevitably result from an evolutionary process. That just isn’t how evolution works. We’re here by sheer coincidence and any number of things could have happened at many points in the history of life on earth and there would be no such things as Homo sapiens.

    Evolution occurs when a gene is randomly altered during an error in translation. Natural selection determines whether or not that alteration is beneficial or deleterious, and the organism earns the right to reproduce more (and pass on the genes) or not. Evolution is the result of random change filtered through an environment of some kind – I don’t see the need to postulate that there is an incredibly complex God pulling these strings behind the scenes. The theory is complete enough without supposing that there is any external interference.

    And if God is making all the changes and if God is perfect, then why does evolution have so many unusual features that look like they only could have arisen through random accidents? Why are there flightless birds? Why does childbirth hurt so much for human beings? What’s with the appendix? Why do mammals have a recurrent laryngeal nerve that connects the brain to the larynx in the throat, but does so by taking a detour down the neck, into the chest, and looping around the aorta? A God-less theory of evolution has the answers for all these questions, but what’s God’s excuse? If he’s so perfect, why is his work so imperfect?

    Sorry, I don’t know of Ray Comfort or Kirk Cameron. I quoted Dr. Geral Schroeder who used the term in question. I did not use it. That should be abundantly clear since the term was in a blockquote clearly attributed to Dr. Geral Schroeder. Oh, well. (Sigh.) You will have to point out where I have been evasive and needlessly coy. I am questioning your insistence that Darwin’s theory on evolution is “ironclad.” That type of hyperbole is closed minded bigotry. You are declaring evolution to be settled science.

    You can not produce the proof.

    Micro-evolution is a term bandied about young-Earth creationists to make them sound reasonable in the face of undeniable evidence of evolutionary change, like bacterial and viral resistance to medicine, plant domestication, and animal breeding. Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron love it – they’ll say something along the lines of “Well of course micro-evolution is true! God doesn’t say things never change, duh! But new species can’t form it, that’s just impossible!”

    As far as I know, micro-evolution isn’t a scientific term in any science.

    You can not produce the proof.

    Good for Darwin. Time to apply the scientific method to it. Bring in the fruit flies.

    Why don’t you tell me what would convince you? I can produce plenty of proof and have supplied you with some already, to which you’ve responded with “Forget all your proof. Convince me some other way.” You’ve told me not to bring up DNA, fruit flies, my E. coli example, the intelligence of sea mammals, the tool-making capabilities of monkeys – and now you’re whining that you’d like some proof? Am I missing something here, or are you being completely incoherent?

    So tell me, what would convince you? People have been using the scientific method for decades to learn more about evolution. There’s a colony of lizards that were introduced to a neighboring island that had different kinds of vegetation, and in a few dozen generations, the lizards’ heads have subtly changed shape so that they can chew the new food better. The giant turtles of the Galapagos are another great example of this – you’ve got one species that eats grass that is low to the ground and thus has a normal shell, and you’ve got another species on another island where the grass is taller, and there is a notch in the shell so they can reach their heads higher. These are things that have been observed in the wild, but controlled experiments are possible to. I’ve already shared my E. coli example, but there is one such experiment underway where fish are put in a pond that has predators and different color rocks, and the fish actually evolve to be a color that blends in with the rocks. Again, if you’re waiting for one type of animal to give birth to another type of animal before you accept evolution, you’ll be waiting forever (which I expect is what you want anyway).

    God and evolution can co-exist. Clearly, Levi type evolution adherents and God can not co-exist. You set out to kill God with evolution. You have not even scratched Him.

    Well, I wouldn’t quite put it that way. I wouldn’t say that God and evolution can co-exist, it sounds too much like wishful thinking. Either God and evolution co-exist or they don’t, and while we have mountains of evidence in support of evolution and can look forward to gathering much more, we haven’t even a single shred in support of God. I’m going with the simpler answer here. Maybe God and evolution and unicorns can co-exist? Why not throw Klingons into the mix? Where does it end? When you start making your theories needlessly complex, why bother stopping?

    You would be very comfortable on Little Green Footballs massaging Charles Johnson’s hungry ego. He hates God, too.

    I’ve been to the blog a handful of times, around the time when he switched sides I think. But I don’t know anything about the guy.

    Catch a clue, Levi. You are backpedaling away from your “ironclad” claim here. Maybe you had better not massage Charles Johnson. He may banish you.

    Next time you drag your evolution dog and pony show in here, remember not to slam the door.

    It isn’t backpedaling to point out what it would take to make you stop believing in your deeply held beliefs. I’m capable of recognizing the theory of evolution as ironclad as well as describing what would make me change my mind – what’s difficult or contradictory about that at all?

    Hey, Levi, what is the universe expanding into?

    Who knows dude. That’s some mind-bending stuff. I’d love to know, but it feels so far beyond the scope of human comprehension that I suspect none of us ever will. Maybe it’s like the intergalactic void, except for universes. And maybe beyond that void you’d get to whatever you’d call the thing that contained all the universes.

    Whatever’s out there, I feel pretty confident that it doesn’t have anything to do with a Christian God that wants to talk to me everyday and grant me eternal life after I die. That’s too complex of an answer – if you think the universe is expanding into some construct of God, then what is God contained in? Who created God? Who created whoever created God? And so on and so forth. Typically, the response here is “God is it. There’s nothing else, he always was and always is. He doesn’t have to have a creator, because he’s God.” But that’s just clearly an answer of obvious convenience – I find that religious people are only inquisitive right up until the point where they can shoehorn God into the equation, then they want to stop all further discussion or exploration.

    In other words, I don’t know. But I know what it’s not!

    Comment by Levi — July 15, 2010 @ 12:09 am - July 15, 2010

  97. So can we say it’s an ironclad theory that Levi doesn’t know what he’s talking about?

    Comment by The_Livewire — July 15, 2010 @ 6:38 am - July 15, 2010

  98. Livewire, I don’t share Levi’s nonbelief in God, and there has been some apparent inconsistencies in his argument. But in my judgment, he’s made some good arguments (although you obviously disagree with this). But I think you and Heliotrope have made some good arguments on your side.

    The two inconsistencies that were brought up were,

    1) possible evidence emerging that contradicts the theory of evolution. Personally, I would need to see more than one, or perhaps several, examples before I question evolution. As an example, a skull from a body named Piltdown Man was discovered that totally contradicted the thinking of the development and evolution of humans. Some time later, it was discovered and proved to be a hoax. There can be many reasons why evidence that emerge that contradicts evolution, but if it ever piles up, then I’ll have to put the theory on the scrap heap as well. Let’s put it this way, if there were as many contradictions in evolution that there was in the literal Creation story (internal and external contradictions), I would have abandoned evolution a long time ago.

    2) Brain size. As a general rule, the larger the brain, the more intelligent. Obviously, there are many exceptions. But as humans evolved, there seems to be some correlation to increased brain size and intelligence. Even within this narrow parameter, there are exceptions, such as with the Neanderthals, worth exploring.

    But I think the big problem with these discussions is that, in general, one has different standards regarding religion and science. Many people will hold science to high level of scrutiny (which one should), but not when it comes to religion, and just accept things on faith, even when there is evidence that contradicts it. Where Levi and I agree is that both should receive the same scrutiny. If that makes me a bigot when it comes to religion, so be it. Or perhaps my statement about my disbelief in the Creation story came off as too strong or arrogant. But I’ve seen stronger pronouncements when it comes to other issues on this blog. I simply treat issues involving religion the same as other topics, and will continue to do so, unless the blogmasters advise me otherwise.

    Comment by Pat — July 15, 2010 @ 8:33 am - July 15, 2010

  99. One other point, Livewire. While the question of God is interesting in and of itself, to me it’s irrelevant when it comes to evolution. The question is, that even if God exists and is a proactive Participant in the universe, how did life come to being the way it is today, i.e., how did God do it? NDT gave his view (I think), which I don’t find plausible at all. Heliotrope gave his view, which is more plausible (and also seems to contradict the little Creation story), but, in my view, there is evidence that contradicts his view.

    But to go back to the existence of God, Levi brings up an excellent point. Suppose it is proved that God exists. We will still have many more unanswered questions, such as who created God, and so on. And even if you believe that God is It (whatever that would mean), then why and how did that come about?

    Comment by Pat — July 15, 2010 @ 8:50 am - July 15, 2010

  100. Pat,

    Good questions all round.

    I don’t pretend to have all the answers. Evolutionary theory does a good job of providing a way to ‘connect the dots’ but so did heliocentric theory at the time. Maybe we’ll find out that there are things that make evolution as obsolete as heliocentric theory.

    As to creation and the Divine… A Rabbi once said “Even if there was a big bang, there’s still a big banger.” Even scientific theories are subject to the ‘and what came before that?’ argument you get with the “If G-d created the universe, who created Him?” For me, it’s a matter of how the theories don’t discount the Divine.

    I was watching that Stephen Hawking special on Discovery, and it went back to the big bang, and suggested that the odds of going from big bang to homo sapien were (pun intended) Astronomical. The theory proposed was that there are/were a multitude of universes, and ours is just the one that happened to make us.

    Now I’m not up on what CERN is doing, but last time I looked, Parellel universes were purely theoretical. We can’t see them, touch them or observe them, but we’re assuming that they’re out there. So even if evolutionary theory is correct, even if the Big Bang is correct, we’re down to either believing blindly that the universe was one of billions of random events, or that there was/has been a hand guiding it.

    Either one is a matter of faith.

    Now as to Levi’s posts and his general hostility to religion, they do make him hard to understand (his lack of understanding on religion, science, politics, history, and seemingly everything but Verizon cell plans does as well). But at least you (or I) will admit when our positions contradict and try to reconcile them. I’ve also admitted when I’m wrong. Being able to see our mistakes and correct them is what leads to intelligent discourse, and hopefully civil as well.

    Personally I find human invention amazing in and of itself, and proof we’re more than animals. Ever seen how something as simple as an atlatl works? I saw that and thought “How did someone decide, ‘if I make a stick like this, and put it and my spear in this weird position, and do this it will make my spear fly farther’?”

    Comment by The_Livewire — July 15, 2010 @ 9:15 am - July 15, 2010

  101. Livewire, excellent points. Like you, I don’t pretend to have all the answers either. In large matters such as evolution, the big bang, or God, it’s much easier to be able to conclude what didn’t happen, than what happened. With evolution, we have a pretty good idea what happened there, while, yes, there are still some details that are missing. Things like the big bang (if that’s how the universe began), or abiogenesis, or other matters entirely. There are good theories, but nothing (if you pardon the expression) ironclad.

    And Stephen Hawking’s thoughts about parallel universes is interesting. I do believe that they are there, in fact a continuum of them. I think one of the biggest evidence for it is the experiment where you have a flashlight, point it towards a wall with a large piece of cardboard in between, with a rectangular slit. When the flashlight is aimed at the slit, you would see on the wall exactly what you expect. However, when you construct another rectangular slit on the cardboard a certain distance, and even if you don’t point the flashlight at the second slit, you see a different pattern emerge on the wall. This happens, even when you reduce the amount of light to one photon at a time. Very spooky. To me, this suggests some interference from “nearby” parallel universes, but who knows for sure?

    Personally I find human invention amazing in and of itself, and proof we’re more than animals.

    Maybe so, but considering that much invention of humans occurred only in the past ten thousand years or so, and before then, I don’t think we were that much ahead of other animals (certainly not to the scale we are today), I don’t believe that current evolution theory is to be discounted. It seems like that once humans were able to perfect communication, things started to fly along. Is this a result of some extra push by God, more than what he may already have been doing with evolution, I don’t know. My guess is not.

    Comment by Pat — July 15, 2010 @ 10:37 am - July 15, 2010

  102. Pat,

    Levi uses the fact of evolution to include sweeping proof that there is no intelligent design or hand of God involved.

    Levi is not able to withstand basic Jesuit style questioning. He “knows” in the chain of evolution man has ancestors that will take him back to primordial ooze. He “knows” that because it feels right and obvious and rational and sane. Also, Levi “knows” that the “Hand of God” and “Intelligent Design” is for those who need the crutch of religion and the childish mystery spook as mover and shaker and the irrational belief in Heaven and Hell. For Levi, an adult who is religious is a bit insane.

    So, Levi short circuits the scientific method and reaches the conclusion that the theory of the origin of the species, which he calls evolution, is an “ironclad” theory and nothing will change it.

    But, Pat, Levi admits that evolution in geology and evolution in biology are two different things entirely. Only the word “evolution” bridges the two. So, if you accept the word “evolution” according to Levi, you must take the “origin of the species” with it along with all the other loose ends.

    There is no way imaginable to me that we can ever find the fossil evidence that will complete the proof. I have talked with many great paleontologists who agree. Not only that, but a striking number of the paleontologists are not trying to prove Darwin, they are trying to solve a puzzle one step at a time and seeing where it leads them.

    Genesis sticks in the craw of the God haters. They see it as one of the lamest fairy tales ever written. However, there are two ways to read Genesis. One is as an accurate record straight from the mouth of God. The other is to explain the origins of the saga of our faith. Biblical scholars are not dedicated to disproving the Bible, but to shed light on its benchmarks. There is an enormous body of artifacts that keep turning up to verify incidents in the Bible. There are also lots and lots of gaps and gray areas.

    Here is where Levi and the religious person have something in common: faith. Levi believes with great intensity (faith) that the origin of the species is purely a product of evolution and the religious person believes with great intensity (faith) that the origin of the species is the Hand of God.

    So, Levi believes that evolution is an either-or belief system and he uses the facts and theories of evolution as a club. He demands scientific proof of God. If you can not present it, then God does not exist. When I demand that Levi give scientific proof of the origin of the species, he goes off in all directions at once.

    When you get to the life sciences, the theory of evolution in text books is fairly detailed and a lot of it makes very good scientific sense. But it is not “ironclad” to the point of precluding intelligent design or the Hand of God.

    Here I drop a few quotes in. I am not saying these are proof of anything, but I am saying that they raise wonderful questions about whether Darwinism and Levi’s sweeping use of the term evolution are quite so ironclad and settled science:

    Robert Shapiro, a professor of chemistry at New York University and a DNA expert, calculated the probability of the coincidental formation of the 2000 types of proteins found in a single bacterium (There are 200,000 different types of proteins in a human cell.) The number that was found was 1 over 1040000.244 (This is an incredible number obtained by putting 40,000 zeros after the 1)

    A professor of applied mathematics and astronomy from University College Cardiff, Wales, Chandra Wickramasinghe, comments:

    The likelihood of the spontaneous formation of life from inanimate matter is one to a number with 40,000 noughts after it… It is big enough to bury Darwin and the whole theory of evolution. There was no primeval soup, neither on this planet nor on any other, and if the beginnings of life were not random, they must therefore have been the product of purposeful intelligence.

    Now, Levi will go into a perpetual spin when he reads that Chandra Wickramasinghe leaps from science to religion. That is because Levi is dedicated to the death of religion. He hates any faith or source of morality that does not serve his interests.

    Evolution is a fact in myriad ways. Darwinism is full of holes. Those holes are windows and doors that allow the light from God to penetrate.

    As to the textbooks, why is it so radical to include the arguments about probability and Darwinism. Probability studies are science too, you know.

    Comment by heliotrope — July 15, 2010 @ 10:40 am - July 15, 2010

  103. Pat makes this point:

    Maybe so, but considering that much invention of humans occurred only in the past ten thousand years or so, and before then, I don’t think we were that much ahead of other animals (certainly not to the scale we are today), I don’t believe that current evolution theory is to be discounted. It seems like that once humans were able to perfect communication, things started to fly along. Is this a result of some extra push by God, more than what he may already have been doing with evolution, I don’t know. My guess is not.

    No creation myth we have found existed before homo sapiens (“knowing man) and that includes Genesis, of course. Once homo sapiens began to “civilize” all sorts of communication and learning and questioning undoubtedly took place. The first days in Genesis may have been geological ages long. The age of homo sapiens is a brief period in terms of the age of the planet.

    Did God give man an extra push? Well, He certainly stepped into the picture when Adam and Eve didn’t follow instructions. Are they metaphor or actuality? That is an article of faith and those who demand scientific proof are not interested in faith at any level. Those who have the “answer” don’t have the scientific proof and are pitting faith against faith and faith against science.

    Deists are satisfied to say that God dropped by and created the whole ball of wax and moved on. I supposed, then, that the earth is available for rape, pillage and plunder because God is out of the picture.

    I do not discount evolution theory. When the “missing link” is proven, there will still be the question of whether “thinking man” evolved one step at a time or if the human mind morphed out the ancestor in one burst. I am at a loss as to how science is going to come up with that answer. We will have to find a Neanderthal Troy, I suppose where each step of development is layered on top of the last. I leave that to Levi’s ironclad dreamworld. He does so much want to find the proof of his faith.

    Comment by heliotrope — July 15, 2010 @ 11:11 am - July 15, 2010

  104. Levi uses the fact of evolution to include sweeping proof that there is no intelligent design or hand of God involved.

    Heliotrope, maybe Levi stated so, and I missed it, or forgot. It seems to me that Levi has concluded that God does not exist. And as such, God would not have a hand in anything. I disagree with Levi on that. I believe in God, but I am in no position to say that I am certain of that belief. I have not seen compelling arguments on either side. I even found Richard Dawkins, in Delusion of God, argument rather lacking, and he was only trying to “prove” that God probably doesn’t exist.

    But, Pat, Levi admits that evolution in geology and evolution in biology are two different things entirely. Only the word “evolution” bridges the two. So, if you accept the word “evolution” according to Levi, you must take the “origin of the species” with it along with all the other loose ends.

    I’m not sure I understand what you mean here, so my response may have nothing to do with what you wrote. I’m not sure exactly what Levi means when he says evolution. Regardless, I see biological evolution and geological evolution as two different things.

    But it is not “ironclad” to the point of precluding intelligent design or the Hand of God.

    Agreed. But I would also add that the existence of God or any other intelligent design is irrelevant towards the discussion of evolution. If God is responsible for it, the question that scientists are interested is how did it happen. Just like any other scientific endeavor. So God created chemical bonding, or quantum mechanics, or whatever. Fine. But how does it work or what are the mechanisms that happen.

    Genesis sticks in the craw of the God haters. They see it as one of the lamest fairy tales ever written. However, there are two ways to read Genesis. One is as an accurate record straight from the mouth of God. The other is to explain the origins of the saga of our faith.

    Personally, I do not view Creation (as stated in the Bible) as lame. In fact, at the time, the author(s) of the Bible did a pretty good job of describing how the origin of the universe, earth, life, and humans occurred, even if the story is contradictory and disjointed. Probably much better than I would have come up with at the time. However, we have obtained much more knowledge that existed at the time the Bible was written, and it is clear that Creation, as stated did not happen. However, I would also argue that this does not disprove the existence of God, and that He did not create the universe. It seems like we may be on the same page here.

    From Wickramasinghe: The likelihood of the spontaneous formation of life from inanimate matter is one to a number with 40,000 noughts after it… It is big enough to bury Darwin and the whole theory of evolution. There was no primeval soup, neither on this planet nor on any other, and if the beginnings of life were not random, they must therefore have been the product of purposeful intelligence.

    I wonder how he got those figures. Anyway, there are many things that are here today that would be considered extremely unlikely if analyzed before the event, that nobody would argue was due to some extra intervention from God. My best guess is that life did emerge from some primordial soup, or something similar. However, by no means am I willing to state that with a high degree of certainty. But I do believe there is some scientific explanation. As humans, we all too often have to come to conclusions on how things occurred. In the past, when a scientific explanation was not available, the answer was simply, “God did it.” As time went on, we were able to come up with scientific explanations that were consistent with all the physical laws of science. Now we haven’t been able to answer with any degree of certainty on the origin of life, or the origin of the universe (or multiverse), so once again, the answer seems to be “God did it,” or “Intelligent design.” Now, maybe we have finally reached the threshold where God is the only answer. I doubt it, because it seems like we always thought we reached that threshold a thousand times over.

    Probability studies are science too, you know.

    I think of it more as mathematics. I enjoy teaching it. 🙂

    Comment by Pat — July 15, 2010 @ 12:29 pm - July 15, 2010

  105. No creation myth we have found existed before homo sapiens (“knowing man) and that includes Genesis, of course. Once homo sapiens began to “civilize” all sorts of communication and learning and questioning undoubtedly took place. The first days in Genesis may have been geological ages long. The age of homo sapiens is a brief period in terms of the age of the planet.

    All good points, Heliotrope. Although I have to wonder if other animals believe in a Creator, and have come up with their own genesis, in whatever communication scheme they have? Granted, it does appear that humans are the only one that have done so. As for the first “days” in Creation being eons long, that’s fine. But even if I loosened “literally” to include that possibility, the Creation story does not pass the smell test. A methaphor for Creation, fine?

    Well, He certainly stepped into the picture when Adam and Eve didn’t follow instructions. Are they metaphor or actuality? That is an article of faith and those who demand scientific proof are not interested in faith at any level.

    And perhaps this is where we differ. I can’t even use the argument that God interfered with Adam and Eve, because I doubt that ever happened. I have no problem with faith, but faith is not a substitute for proof. And it’s not that I demand proof, unless someone is offering it as “proof” for the existence of God and/or the nature of God.

    Deists are satisfied to say that God dropped by and created the whole ball of wax and moved on. I supposed, then, that the earth is available for rape, pillage and plunder because God is out of the picture.

    Well, these bad things are available on Earth regardless of the existence and proactiveness of God. Now the question is, are these things bad, because of Divine Law, or because humans, for the most part, collectively thought these things were bad (and in many cases, attributed these revelations to God).

    I suppose where each step of development is layered on top of the last.

    I don’t know. To me, there seems to be a lot of layers out there already. I just don’t think you’re going to find a switch that separated us from other animals in terms of rational thought. It seems to me that this was a very gradual, and painstaking process.

    Comment by Pat — July 15, 2010 @ 12:44 pm - July 15, 2010

  106. Unless, of course, you’d like to announce here and now that you’re as unconvinced by Newton’s gravity and calculus propaganda as you are by Darwin’s evolutionary theories?

    Actually, yes, yes I will.

    Because Einstein demonstrated quite convincingly that Newtonian physics and the calculations based on them were not only inaccurate, but flat-out wrong in several respects.

    And that really is the situation here, Levi. You don’t understand evolutionary theory. You simply are using evolutionary theory and twisting it into crazy shapes to put a scientific veneer on what amounts to outright antireligious bigotry. As I pointed out above, you stated what would disprove evolution, but then insisted not two paragraphs later that that very thing would not disprove evolution.

    Frankly put, you are an irrational bigot. You are also a demonstration of why liberal education fails students, because quite clearly in your world, facts, logic, and the scientific method are subordinated to ideology. If something does not fit your God-is-dead theory, it is not scientific, regardless of how, where, or by whom it was collected.

    Classic example, of one of the greatest fallacies of logic:

    In other words, I don’t know. But I know what it’s not!

    The two sentences are contradictory. You state in the first that you know nothing, but then in the second draw the absolute conclusion that you know a specific outcome.

    Epic fail, Levi. We knew that, given that you refuse to comment on the fact that you have stated that any and all scientists in the world who believe in God do not have a “proper understanding” of evolution, including your friend who you babbled knows more about biology and evolutionary theory than you ever will.

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — July 15, 2010 @ 1:17 pm - July 15, 2010

  107. Many people will hold science to high level of scrutiny (which one should), but not when it comes to religion, and just accept things on faith, even when there is evidence that contradicts it. Where Levi and I agree is that both should receive the same scrutiny.

    But Pat, that is not what you are doing.

    What you are doing is scrutinizing science based on science and religion based on science.

    If you wish the “same” scrutiny, you must give equal weight to scrutinizing religion based on religion and science based on religion.

    Science is based on the limit of what mankind can explain. As I mentioned above, Einsteinian physics demonstrated that Newtonian physics were by and large inaccurate and just plain wrong in explaining a great deal of what goes on in the universe. However, in day-to-day mundane existence, they work fine. That doesn’t mean that Newton was wrong; it just means that his frame of reference was limited. A smart scientist, or any educated individual for that matter, knows that there is a very clear dividing line between what is fact and can be proven, versus what is speculation.

    Levi’s postulate that evolution disproves the existence of God fails completely. From a pure logical sense, it is impossible to prove that God does not exist, for one cannot prove a negative. From a scientific sense, the failure to observe something or for a theory to explain an occurrence does not mean that it does not exist; indeed, by that logic, since Newtonian physics do not explain relativistic effects, relativistic effects cannot exist.

    Again, Pat, the very point of religion is a being or plane that is beyond humanity’s ability to experience directly. We see footprints, smell odors, talk with avatars, and whatnot, but ultimately religion is all about the acknowledgement by humanity that there is something greater than ourselves.

    That flies directly in the face of Levi’s moral relativism and belief that his convenience, his experience, and his knowledge are the absolute guiding force for the universe. In the case of abortion, for example, Levi claims to support life and not want to kill human beings, but that principle is set aside because a child would be too inconvenient for him and because he does not want to do anything that would limit his sexual pleasures. His ethos is to think of nothing but himself.

    Levi hates religion because religious beliefs pull the focus AWAY from the self and towards a greater and higher being.

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — July 15, 2010 @ 1:34 pm - July 15, 2010

  108. NDT,

    I think you’re letting the volume of Levi’s bigotry get away from the argument.

    Newton ‘proved’ gravity, with the instrumentation at hand, well the Doctor explained it to him:

    Romana I: Newton? Who’s Newton?
    The Doctor: Old Isaac. Friend of mine on Earth. Discovered gravity. Well, I say he discovered gravity, I had to give him a bit of a prod.
    Romana I: What did you do?
    The Doctor: Climbed up a tree.
    Romana I: And?
    The Doctor: Dropped an apple on his head.
    Romana I: Ah, and so he discovered gravity?
    The Doctor: No, no. He told me to clear off out of his tree. I explained it to him afterwards at dinner.

    Pat, if I may speak for him, doesn’t deny that a Divine influence may have led to the creation of humanity. Based on the evidence we have today evolution makes as much ‘sense’ as Gravity to Newton, or Heliocentric theory to ancient Greeks. Jsut as Heliocentrism was disproved, and Newton’s theories were suplimented by Einstein’s, we may find a marker that blows evolution out of the water. I can’t ‘prove’ the Divine, asking me to is like asking Levi to name just two successful socialist countries (except I won’t take 109 days to admit I can’t).

    Faith is that we know it is true. Levi’s faith in Evolution showing there is no G-D, ironically, is just as strong, if not stronger, than my belief that there is.

    Comment by The_Livewire — July 15, 2010 @ 2:09 pm - July 15, 2010

  109. But Pat, that is not what you are doing.

    What you are doing is scrutinizing science based on science and religion based on science.

    NDT, not quite. I am subjecting science and religion to the same standards, truth, evidence, common sense. Obviously, I am not perfect, and there may be inconsistencies in my argument, but it a standard I shoot for. When we have a discussion that intertwines religion and science, my belief is that we must apply the same standards of scrutiny.

    Again, Pat, the very point of religion is a being or plane that is beyond humanity’s ability to experience directly.

    That’s fine. I have no problem with that. But because that is the nature of religion, is the reason why there exist so many different religions, and so many different beliefs within a religion. While there are plenty of commonalities between religions, there are a lot of differences. Heck, we can’t even agree on the number of gods. Even the Bible, in Genesis, suggests there’s more than one. It’s a lot different with science.

    In other words, I don’t know. But I know what it’s not!

    Not a fallacy at all. An example, the number pi was known for a long time, because it was important to know the ratio between the circumference and the diameter of a circle, or at least an approximation. It was not known if pi was rational or irrational. But pretty much at the beginning, it was known it was not a natural number. In other words, we may not know or may be even to prove the full scope of something, but that doesn’t mean we can’t prove what something is not.

    Levi’s postulate that evolution disproves the existence of God fails completely.

    As I’ve stated before, evolution does not disprove the existence of God. It does disprove previous beliefs on the emergence of species.

    From a pure logical sense, it is impossible to prove that God does not exist, for one cannot prove a negative.

    That’s simply not true in general. One can prove that pi is not rational. And one can easily prove that 4 is not prime. But in the specific case of trying to prove that God does not exist, I agree. However, I believe it is virtually impossible to prove or disprove the existence of God. I’ve even hypothesized that perhaps the existence of God, a la Godel, is one of the questions, that even with omniscience, one cannot prove or disprove.

    but ultimately religion is all about the acknowledgement by humanity that there is something greater than ourselves.

    I don’t believe that is how religion started, but that seems to be the belief that a lot of people hold today.

    Comment by Pat — July 15, 2010 @ 2:20 pm - July 15, 2010

  110. Pat,

    I do not argue theology or quote the Bible in any argument I advance. Your questions about theology are for you to pursue on your own. Religion is not science or mathematics.

    Evolution is a scientific fact in many cases and a scientific theory that fuels an explanation in others. Darwinism is full of more holes than proofs, but that did not stop social Darwinists from marching straight into eugenics and exterminating idiots, homosexuals and Jews.

    When Levi says “evolution” is ironclad he sweeps all the looney stuff attached to Darwinism in with it.

    Suppose you were asked if you support the power of love. And suppose you answered yes. And then suppose the person asking then accused you of justifying pedophilia.

    Do I believe in mathematics? Yes. Do I believe in mathematics as practiced by a crooked bookkeeper and embezzler? No.

    Do I believe geological evolution is settled science. Yes. Do I believe evolution includes Darwinism? Yes. Do I believe Darwinism is settled science? Not by a long shot.

    Words have meaning. When someone questions whether I question evolution, my answer is that indeed I do. That usually satisfies them that I am a Bible thumping mouth breather who takes Genesis literally.

    Read what the leftists say about Sarah Palin’s religious beliefs. It speaks volumes about their sealed tight bigoted minds.

    Comment by heliotrope — July 15, 2010 @ 2:58 pm - July 15, 2010

  111. I do not argue theology or quote the Bible in any argument I advance. Your questions about theology are for you to pursue on your own. Religion is not science or mathematics.

    Fair enough, Heliotrope.

    Words have meaning. When someone questions whether I question evolution, my answer is that indeed I do. That usually satisfies them that I am a Bible thumping mouth breather who takes Genesis literally.

    That’s why I usually dislike simplistic slogans and whatnot. And that’s why I sometimes pose the questions that I do, to take away any possible (especially incorrect) preconceptions I get. Obviously, it is possible to disagree with many tenets of evolution, and still not take Genesis literally. As a side note, I once met an atheist, who believed less in evolution than you do.

    Comment by Pat — July 15, 2010 @ 3:31 pm - July 15, 2010

  112. I once met an atheist, who believed less in evolution than you do.

    Pat, I hope you understand that there is much under the heading evolution which I think has been adequately shown and proven. I am no different in my agreement over evolution than is the common, honest scientist who understands and applies the scientific method.

    I do not walk into a room labeled evolution without having my skeptic’s antennae up, because too many Darwinists play gotcha games and wriggle on the hook like an eel and then try to slime their way out of your grasp. (I am using “the room labeled evolution” as a metaphor for a discussion or a lecture or a book or whatever else uses the word “evolution” liberally.)

    Comment by heliotrope — July 15, 2010 @ 3:44 pm - July 15, 2010

  113. Pat, I hope you understand that there is much under the heading evolution which I think has been adequately shown and proven.

    Heliotrope, understood. My phrasing should have been better.

    Comment by Pat — July 15, 2010 @ 4:28 pm - July 15, 2010

  114. Pat,

    Levi uses the fact of evolution to include sweeping proof that there is no intelligent design or hand of God involved.

    Levi is not able to withstand basic Jesuit style questioning. He “knows” in the chain of evolution man has ancestors that will take him back to primordial ooze. He “knows” that because it feels right and obvious and rational and sane. Also, Levi “knows” that the “Hand of God” and “Intelligent Design” is for those who need the crutch of religion and the childish mystery spook as mover and shaker and the irrational belief in Heaven and Hell. For Levi, an adult who is religious is a bit insane.

    So, Levi short circuits the scientific method and reaches the conclusion that the theory of the origin of the species, which he calls evolution, is an “ironclad” theory and nothing will change it.

    Well, you really haven’t presented anything that directly challenges that argument. You shouldn’t feel too bad, there have been thousands before you that have tried and failed as well. It just makes too much sense, and it keeps being reinforced with no data. The bulk of your argument has been that there are too many gaps in the theory for it to be believable, mostly in the fossil record, but that just isn’t so. As I said before, the work that has been done across a broad spectrum of disciplines has converged on the validity of evolutionary theory. Taken alone, the evidence from biology, geology, and paleontology would be compelling enough proof to believe that the theory of evolution was very probably correct, but when the evidence from these fields is view in its entirety, it becomes practically undeniable.

    But, Pat, Levi admits that evolution in geology and evolution in biology are two different things entirely. Only the word “evolution” bridges the two. So, if you accept the word “evolution” according to Levi, you must take the “origin of the species” with it along with all the other loose ends.

    I’m sorry, but I’ve never heard any use the word evolution when describing geological formations. Evolution denotes slow and gradual change, and while geological change can be so and gradual, it can also be violent and instantaneous. You’re got erosion on one end and earthquakes on the other. When we’re talking about biological evolution – it is always very slow, the differences are hardly noticeable from one generation to the next. Biological evolution will never produce an instant change – a giraffe will never give birth to a dog.

    This is an important distinction to make. Yes, yes, lots of things change over time. But biological evolution refers to something very specific, and you’re either convinced by the evidence or you’re not. It seems to me that you’re trying to sound reasonable by accepting that the broader category of stuff-in-general changes over time, but are ultimately denying the scientific explanations for the concept of biological evolution.

    There is no way imaginable to me that we can ever find the fossil evidence that will complete the proof. I have talked with many great paleontologists who agree.

    What exactly are you looking for? Where are the gaps in the fossil record so huge that you refuse to believe that the proof isn’t complete? I’m not saying there are no gaps, I’m just trying to get some idea of what they would need to find to convince. How is an australopithacene not enough? If you visualize one, it is nearly a perfect mixture of chimp and man, walking upright, still mostly covered in fur, skull still tiny but getting bigger. Then you’ve got plenty of specimens of the Homo genus, discovered in rocks newer than the australopithecenes, that have increasingly complex tools as we approach modern man. Obviously we’d like to know more, but again, what are you looking for? What is lacking in these specimens? What isn’t complete about them?

    Not only that, but a striking number of the paleontologists are not trying to prove Darwin, they are trying to solve a puzzle one step at a time and seeing where it leads them.

    That’s called science. A good scientist never sets out to prove his previously arrived-at conclusions – they make a hypothesis about what they expect to find, collect data, and compare it to their expectations. If someone is digging in 100 million old rock, they can use the theory of evolution to predict the kind of complexity they should be finding in rocks of that particular age. Those predictions have been incredibly accurate so far and will continue to be so as far as most scientists can tell.

    Comment by Levi — July 16, 2010 @ 7:18 am - July 16, 2010

  115. Levi,

    Prove that Darwinism is ironclad theory. Period.

    You have no room for intelligent design or the Hand of God. Fine by me, but where is your ironclad science that rules Him out?

    I am afraid that you are so caught up in what you want evolution to prove that you have gone full blown zealot on the topic without stopping to be objective.

    Even if science is able to prove the primordial ooze theory, you have not succeeded in destroying God. I know that makes you cringe and gives you certainty that I am a full blown idiot who just has to have his God crutch.

    If you want to kill God scientifically, go ahead and look for the religious faith gene and breed it out of mankind.

    By the way, you give animals so much in the communication, friendship, intelligence areas I wonder if they have faith in God as well? Certainly your dedication to science should include such studies.

    Also, could you report back on the center of gravity and navel position of black athletes and how it fits into Darwinism and species and survival and eugenics and all the other science wrapped up in evolution?

    It is your nest, so defend it.

    Comment by heliotrope — July 16, 2010 @ 8:12 am - July 16, 2010

  116. It’s funny in a way,

    Levi’s convinced evolution is ‘ironclad’ even though science doesn’t say it’s so.

    So 100 years ago, Levi would have accepted the phlostogen in space, since science said so.

    So 200 years ago, Levi would have accepted as ironclad that whites were superior to blacks. After all science said so.

    500 years ago Levi would have taken as ironclad that the universe revolved around the sun, as it was proven by Copernicus.

    1000 years ago, Levi would have denounced the heliocentric idea as fantasy as ‘everyone knew’ that the universe revolved around the earth.

    Comment by The_Livewire — July 16, 2010 @ 10:15 am - July 16, 2010

  117. Levi Science”If someone is digging in 100 million old rock, they can use the theory of evolution to predict the kind of complexity they should be finding in rocks of that particular age. Those predictions have been incredibly accurate so far and will continue to be so as far as most scientists can tell.”

    So Levi, by your standards science has proved the bible is historically correct

    Congratulations, you’ve just proved the Divine.

    Comment by The_Livewire — July 16, 2010 @ 10:19 am - July 16, 2010

  118. Genesis sticks in the craw of the God haters. They see it as one of the lamest fairy tales ever written. However, there are two ways to read Genesis. One is as an accurate record straight from the mouth of God. The other is to explain the origins of the saga of our faith. Biblical scholars are not dedicated to disproving the Bible, but to shed light on its benchmarks. There is an enormous body of artifacts that keep turning up to verify incidents in the Bible. There are also lots and lots of gaps and gray areas.

    I don’t doubt that many of the things described in the Bible are based on real events. There was probably a guy named Jesus, and he probably got crucified, but he probably didn’t walk on water or rise from the dead. And it isn’t that the story is lame – it’s that it’s a work of fiction, based loosely on a few real persons and events – that is treated as though it is the way things really happened and is used to justify certain actions in the modern world – such as banning gay marriage.

    Here is where Levi and the religious person have something in common: faith. Levi believes with great intensity (faith) that the origin of the species is purely a product of evolution and the religious person believes with great intensity (faith) that the origin of the species is the Hand of God.

    Again, I’ll note that it’s ironic that you’re trying to diminish my argument by labeling it as an article of faith. As in, “You’ve already arrived at your conclusions and are simply believing what you want without ample evidence – which is foolish!” A religious person saying this is just too funny.

    I wouldn’t call it faith. The word faith implies some kind of unshakeable devotion that a person someone confesses they will never discard for any reason. I would say I have confidence that evolution is true, because I’ve been convinced by evidence that has held up to rigorous scrutiny (probably more scrutiny than any other scientific theory in human history.) This is a far cry from having faith in God – which is based not on evidence, but on wishful thinking about the nature of the universe and your place in it.

    So, Levi believes that evolution is an either-or belief system and he uses the facts and theories of evolution as a club. He demands scientific proof of God. If you can not present it, then God does not exist. When I demand that Levi give scientific proof of the origin of the species, he goes off in all directions at once.

    Well, why not? Why should I not use all of the tools at my disposal? You’ve alternated from asking for proof to asking me to leave aside specific pieces of evidence, so what else am I supposed to do? If you’ve got a problem with the fossil record, that’s fine – I can provide you evidence from genetics, from embryology, or from primatology. Again, a very convincing argument for evolutionary theory is the extremely diverse consensus that supports it. Biology points to evolution being true, and so does chemistry, and so does geology, and so does paleontology, and on and on. All of the relevant scientific fields are running in the same direction, and while objective, reasonable skepticism is worthwhile (it’s what helps refine and enhance scientific theories), stubbornness because of your personal allegiance to a particular belief system is simply unjustifiable.

    When you get to the life sciences, the theory of evolution in text books is fairly detailed and a lot of it makes very good scientific sense. But it is not “ironclad” to the point of precluding intelligent design or the Hand of God.

    Precluding intelligent design and the Hand of God is necessary because there’s no evidence for it. There’s no indication that there is any involvement by an outside force, that’s just a guess. Should we be wasting time with our kids’ educations on guesses?

    And let’s be real – the motivation to include some footnote about the possibility of a super-being’s interference is just a way for religious indoctrination to get its foot in the classroom door. It’s not an effort to teach kids anything about science or a lesson in having an open mind, it’s a desperate attempt to gain converts and prevent religious desertion, like any other religious public policy effort.

    Here I drop a few quotes in. I am not saying these are proof of anything, but I am saying that they raise wonderful questions about whether Darwinism and Levi’s sweeping use of the term evolution are quite so ironclad and settled science:

    Robert Shapiro, a professor of chemistry at New York University and a DNA expert, calculated the probability of the coincidental formation of the 2000 types of proteins found in a single bacterium (There are 200,000 different types of proteins in a human cell.) The number that was found was 1 over 1040000.244 (This is an incredible number obtained by putting 40,000 zeros after the 1)

    A professor of applied mathematics and astronomy from University College Cardiff, Wales, Chandra Wickramasinghe, comments:

    The likelihood of the spontaneous formation of life from inanimate matter is one to a number with 40,000 noughts after it… It is big enough to bury Darwin and the whole theory of evolution. There was no primeval soup, neither on this planet nor on any other, and if the beginnings of life were not random, they must therefore have been the product of purposeful intelligence.

    Now, Levi will go into a perpetual spin when he reads that Chandra Wickramasinghe leaps from science to religion. That is because Levi is dedicated to the death of religion. He hates any faith or source of morality that does not serve his interests.

    Who cares? The odds of anything happening at all are infinitesemal. Would you care to calculate the odds that you and I would be having a conversation about evolution and the nature of the universe on the internet on these specific dates? I’m sure that figure would have an enormous string of zeroes after it as well.

    As for this specific calculation – I wonder if the mathemitician took the logical next step and calculated the odds that God, a supernatural force that is all-knowing, all-powerful, and has always existed, is real. You’d have to multiply his figure by another enormous factor for those odds, and the more specific you get about the nature God (“I can communicate with him telephatically! He wants to grant me eternal life!”) you just have to keep adding zeroes.

    I don’t mind being told that the chances are small – on a large enough scale and given enough time, even crazy odds can be overcome. This is a huge universe that is billions of years old with billions of galaxies that contain billions of star systems with billions of planets orbitting them. Even the slimmest of odds become almost inevitable when you’re dealing with scales that large, over time periods that long.

    Evolution is a fact in myriad ways. Darwinism is full of holes. Those holes are windows and doors that allow the light from God to penetrate.

    Ugh. Step up to the plate and explain what the holes are. That isn’t to say that there aren’t any – you just haven’t got in depth about what they are so far. How is God shedding light on things that Darwinism is failling to explain? Is there a single biological adaptation or phenomenon where the evolutionists’ answer is lacking compared to invoking God? What are some examples?

    As to the textbooks, why is it so radical to include the arguments about probability and Darwinism. Probability studies are science too, you know.

    As long as we can include a unit on the far more remote probabilities of the various Gods and religions being true. Does that sound like a deal?

    Comment by Levi — July 16, 2010 @ 10:59 am - July 16, 2010

  119. Did God give man an extra push? Well, He certainly stepped into the picture when Adam and Eve didn’t follow instructions. Are they metaphor or actuality? That is an article of faith and those who demand scientific proof are not interested in faith at any level. Those who have the “answer” don’t have the scientific proof and are pitting faith against faith and faith against science.

    Adam & Eve is a terribly mysogynistic story that I simply refuse to belive could have been concoted by a ‘perfect’ God, either as a real event or as a metaphor. It establishes the primacy of males in God’s mind and relegates women to a secondary status that only exists because Adam was bored. It also puts original sin, which I think is a terrible concept, squarely on the shoulders of the women. This is what God would like for us to think about gender roles? Men came first, women came second, and we can’t have Heaven on Earth because of the dumb lady?

    It’s obvious this story was made up by some dude and not inspired by any kind of diving perfection whatsoever because men are still writing these kinds of stories. It’s become a cliche – everything is going as planned until some dumb woman forgets to do what she was told, or she blabs too much to her friends/mother, or is tricked by some rival or taken hostage because she’s such a defenseless weakling, etc. It’s an incredibly common plot point and in a lot of cases is the primary motivator in the climax of the story.

    Comment by Levi — July 16, 2010 @ 11:29 am - July 16, 2010

  120. It’s funny in a way,

    Levi’s convinced evolution is ‘ironclad’ even though science doesn’t say it’s so.

    So 100 years ago, Levi would have accepted the phlostogen in space, since science said so.

    So 200 years ago, Levi would have accepted as ironclad that whites were superior to blacks. After all science said so.

    500 years ago Levi would have taken as ironclad that the universe revolved around the sun, as it was proven by Copernicus.

    1000 years ago, Levi would have denounced the heliocentric idea as fantasy as ‘everyone knew’ that the universe revolved around the earth.

    Well, back before modern science was established, along with the scientific method and the practices of repeatedly verified experiments and peer review, that’s probably the case. I can understand why someone would think the sun revolves around the Earth – from our perspective, it certainly looks that way. I would have been the product of those times, just as you would have been. I’d like to think that in any circumstance, I’d be revulsed by slavery, but obviously that’s an impossible question to answer. If I would have been born to religious slaveholders, then that’s probably what I would have become.

    In any case, evolutionary theory is different in every respect from each of your examples. Modern science didn’t say that there was phlostogen in space or that certain races were superior to others, they employed obsolete, ineffective methods that aren’t in use today. Victorians were just guessing what they thought was in between the planets because they had no way of knowing, nor could they concieve of a method to figure out a way to know. Evolutionary theory is much more than the contemporary flash-in-the-plan guess at some natural phenomenon, it’s a rigrously scrutinzed theory that has a century and a half of rigorously conducted modern science supporting it.

    Comment by Levi — July 16, 2010 @ 11:38 am - July 16, 2010

  121. “Well, back before modern science was established, along with the scientific method and the practices of repeatedly verified experiments and peer review.”

    We’ll add history to the list of things Levi knows little about.

    Comment by The_Livewire — July 16, 2010 @ 2:56 pm - July 16, 2010

  122. I would say I have confidence that evolution is true, because I’ve been convinced by evidence that has held up to rigorous scrutiny (probably more scrutiny than any other scientific theory in human history.)

    Actually, no; you simply are an antireligious bigot who has glommed on to evolutionary theory as a means of making “rational” your irrational hatred. This is obvious from your constant contradiction of yourself.

    The classic example:

    The religious people that I can respect are the ones that aren’t so stubborn in their views that they deny basic scientific facts, things like the theory of evolution and the age of the Earth being about 4 billion years. My religious biologist friend, as well as many millions of religious scientists from around the world, are capable of reconciling their personal religious views with the empirical data that they collect in their respective fields.

    But then you state:

    Properly understood, evolution leaves no space for the existence of a God.

    Now, Levi, that demonstrates one of two things:

    1) You think every scientist in the world who believes in God does not “properly understand” the theory of evolution

    2) Your attempt to use evolutionary theory to disprove God is completely unscientific.

    Now, I don’t expect you to answer, because you’re terrified of the fact that you would make a fool out of yourself and demonstrate that you are not scientific or rational — just bigoted.

    But then again, your parents clearly were incapable and incompetent, since their liberal children were so uneducated and stupid that they couldn’t avoid unplanned pregnancies.

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — July 16, 2010 @ 7:23 pm - July 16, 2010

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