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Roger Waters Speaks Out Against the War

Posted by iusbvision on November 6, 2006

Last month, I had the privilege of seeing Pink Floyd’s legendary Roger Waters perform songs from both his new album To Kill The Child / Leaving Beirut and the famous Dark Side of the Moon. One could imagine the excitement of the previous months leading up to the concert. After a four hour drive and a half an hour wait in line, the show began. Within the first hour, my excitement turned to utter disappointment, when Roger began to sing Leaving Beirut from his new album, which I had not yet heard. Roger Waters has always been known for his open disapproval for violence, conformity and war. His previous albums were littered with these concepts, and it is what made them so famous.  However, never did I expect the advocator of peace to become an instigator for hate. 

Leaving Beirut brings people back to a hitch-hiking excursion Waters had made in Lebanon back in the 1960s where he was taken in by a family. Touched by the generosity, Waters creates an emotionally powered sympathized message towards the middle-east: “Are these the people that we should bomb? Are we so sure they mean us harm?”  Around me stood hundreds of people, inhibited by alcohol, becoming emotionally attached to Water’s message.  He continues: “Don’t let the might, the Christian right, <explicit> it all up for you and the rest of the world.” Immediately, cheering ensues from the crowd. They had made their decision, the war had become the direct responsibility of the Christian Right.

Ironically, Waters fails to grasp the reality of the message he preaches. While claiming to be advocating peace, he advocates hatred towards both the Bush administration and towards the Christian right. He also fails to grasp it is not only Christians on the right who stand for the war, but individuals of all denominations, political parties and faiths. In fact, many Christians on the right are against the war. Leaving Beirut is a testament to the hypocrisy of the entertainment industry. If you are not with them, you are against them and deserve to be put down.

Craig Chamberlin
Assistant Editor

111 Responses to “Roger Waters Speaks Out Against the War”

  1. mansen said

    Craig, I think he’s speaking about the false Christians in the Whitehouse who maintain power by saying they are Christians, when we all know that a true Christian would never be involved in invading a country under false pretence, violating international law and be directly responsible for the slaughter of 100,000 Iraqi in the name of liberation.

    Roger is European, from London, England as am I. We Europeans seem to have a very different view on this war. Maybe it’s because 60 years ago we had to deal with another problem maker who instead of mudering Muslims was mudering Jews. He also had concentration camps like Guantanamo, was involved in torture and like Mr. Bush’s regime and operated some clandestine prisons in Eastern Europe too.

    Anyhow, like many of my fellow Europeans, I’m breathing a small sigh of relief after having seen the results of your mid-term elections..

  2. Erkki Kochketola said

    A minor stylistic nitpick, Craig:
    Song names should be in quotes, not italicized.

    I think the confusion arising from Mr. Waters’ use of the term “the Christian Right” highlights what George Orwell complained about in “Politics and the English Language,” namely sloppy use of language which in turn leads to sloppy political discourse. The terms “right” and “left” have been outmoded since the French Revolution. More contemporaneously, they refer to loose collections of ideologies: the “right” are typically those who advocate for less corporate regulation, lower taxes, the involvement of religion in civic and private affairs and the supposed benefits associated therewith, harsher punishment as crime deterrent, strong military and military expeditions to foreign countries to “protect US interests,” etc.; the “left” is basically anyone who opposes a significant number of these, both in terms of economic and social regulation.

    Unfortunately, calling these “right” and “left” obscures the fact that they often feel like they have more separating them than they have in common. For example, I’m a socialist, which would be considered “far left.” The Democrats, on the other hand, operate squarely within the mainstream of US politics, even if their more “liberal” (another buzzword) members have been relegated to the fringes. I think the Democrats are incapable of cutting the Gordion knot of Capital, and constantly work to untie it, even if they mean well (which I think most of them do).

    What Mr. Waters was referring to, then, as Mansen observes above, was a group of people who identify as Christian, use Christian rhetoric and associate themselves with a mass base that calls itself Christian (which includes the majority of the editorial staff of this newsletter, if not the entirety) and peddle their politics with these religious associations. This group is widely regarded as being dangerous fanatics (which is an arguable point), who want to impose their precepts of morality (those the majority don’t share) on others.

  3. Rachel Custer said

    Erkki,

    Actually, it sounds more like what Mr. Waters was referring to was people who identify themselves as Christian who then act in ways inconsistent with Christian beliefs.

    I tend to think it is difficult to be involved too much in politics and still hold faithfully to Christian beliefs – I think this more and more as I see the corruption of politicians on BOTH sides of the aisle.

    I don’t think any one political side has claim to being the “Christian” political party – I know several independents and Democrats who are Christians. My problem tends to come when people who say they are Christians begin to advocate things in the name of politics that are not consistent with Christian beliefs (everything from pre-emptive war in the name of God – the Republicans – to killing babies in the name of convenience – the Democrats.) I guess I just can’t find support in Jesus’ sayings for killing.

    Mansen makes some really good points, although I think he may go a bit far in his comparison of Bush to Hitler. I do wonder if a Christian can be too involved in politics – right OR left – and still be, above all, a Christian.

  4. Jarrod Brigham said

    Rachel,

    First of all, there was no pre-emptive war in the name of God. Did the war on terror come before or after the 23 UN sanctions the Iraq laughed off? Did it happen before or after 9/11? Did it happen before or after the USS Cole? Did it happen before or after the bombing of the American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania? Did it happen before or after over 240 marines were killed in Lebannon? This is not even an exhausive list. Secondly, how is the war on terror in the name of God? This is not a holy war against Muslims. It is a war on terrorists, the vast majority of whom are Muslim. They hate Christians and JEws, we don’t hate them. They are trying to make it a holy war, not us. If you want to follow the Koran, that is your business, when you start blowing up innocent people, that is our business.

    Have you read the Old Testament? There are battles after battles. David is called a man after God’s own heart, and he killed people in battle. God commanded the Israelites to go into the promised land and kill the giants. Joshua is praised for laying siege to Jericho. Saul is praised for battling the Phillstines. Roman’s chapter 13 is all about submitting to your government, so Christians are supposed to be involved in politics. This idea that Christians need to be pacifists and stay out of government comes from non-Christians who think they can tell Christians how to be a Christian.

    Erkki,
    I agree with your synopsis on the left and the right (aside from your use of strategically placed parenthesis). However, I do not agree with your last statement. Are you saying that Christians are somehow not allowed to lobby our political leaders? Those of you on the left are pushing much harder than we are to push your morality on us. And by the way, the majority of Americans don’t want abortion, they don’t want gay marriage, and they don’t want Christmas taken out of public schools. This is why the left needs activist judges and keeps it in the courts, because if the people had the chance to be heard, none of this would take place.

    Jarrod

  5. Craig Chamberlin said

    Mansen, Erkki and Rachel,

    I could see where your implications may come from. However, there is an aweful lot of in depth interpretation going on over his lyrics “Dont let the might, the Christian right” Let’s look at the implications of the “Christian right”.
    The Christian is obviously anyone who follows or attempts to follow the faith of Christianity.

    The “Right” implies those who stand for ‘conservative moralistic values’. Now we could go into a history lesson as to where the ‘right’ as Erkki did, but the contemporary association is with it is ‘the republican party’ or ‘conservative moralistic values’.

    Put the two together and you have the “Christian Right” which implies any person following the Christian faith who stands for conservative moralistic values. When one states “dont let the Christian right *explicit* it up for the rest of you” they are stating, whether they realize it or not, all Christians who stand for these values are responsible for and agree with the war. This is obviously not true, and carries with it a direct insult and blame to those who are Christians on the right.
    Once again, Waters is guilty of the notorious stereotyping of our culture, and is doing nothing to bring people together but is simply driving people apart.

    I’d suggest everyone check out the lyrics to the song:
    http://www.oldielyrics.com/lyrics/roger_waters/leaving_beirut.html

    While his lyrics are saturated in ethos, there is not much context to his actual argument. However, one may rightly believe it isn’t an argument, rather a piece of art reflecting the stance of certain individuals within society. My dissent is not with the argument, rather with the philosophical message being portrayed. Somehow, through hatred for those whom you disagree, you can advocate peace? Hypocricy is the only way to address such a notion.

    This isn’t about whether he was right or wrong about the war, this is about his advocating peace while instigating hatred towards those who disagree with him.

    Who are the victims of such a message? The “Christian Right” that is deliberately stereotyped, blamed and put down as a result.

  6. Rachel Custer said

    Jarrod,

    I guess I should clarify. My point was that I don’t feel God likes war. And sometimes, we here in the United States tend to like it a little too much. I didn’t mean to imply that this war was technically being fought in the name of God, but rather that a lot of Americans believe that, whatever fight we are in, we are automatically on the side of God, or rather, He is on our side. I’m just not so sure that’s always true.

    Yes, I have read the Old Testament, and yes, there were a lot of battles. However, the New Testament is just what it states, a “New Agreement or New Covenant.” The Old Testament should always be viewed in light of the New Testament. Nowhere does Christ say to do battle FOR ANY REASON. As a matter of fact, if we followed the steps of Christ exactly, we would submit to even the people who wanted to harm us – even to the point of death. This is what Christ did. He REFUSED to fight.

    Also, I’m not sure submitting to your government is the same as what I was speaking about, which is getting deep into politics, which tends to lead to intoxication with power. I did not mean to say that Christians should never be involved in civic action, but a good example of my point is Jimmy Carter. While I think he is a good Christian and a good man, it was precisely those qualities that made him a horrible president. I’m not sure someone can actually be a career politician (at least, an effective one) and still follow Christ well. I’m not saying Christians shouldn’t vote, or shouldn’t debate, or shouldn’t be involved in political issues. My problem comes when Christians are getting so caught up in politics they are more concerned with the Republican or Democrat party lines than with the Bible.

    I also take issue with your comment that “This idea that Christians need to be pacifists and stay out of government comes from non-Christians who think they can tell Christians how to be a Christian.” The way I understand the teachings of Jesus, HE was telling Christians to be pacifists. In my opinion, the idea that Christians need to be pacifists comes straight from the mouth of Jesus Christ. Every church I have ever attended has taught pacificism as doctrine (of course, I have attended the Church of the Brethren, which is historically a pacificist church.) I am a Christian, and I believe more and more as I learn about Christ that we are meant to be pacifists. I don’t think of myself as a non-Christian who thinks I can tell people how to be Christians.

    Craig makes a good point about stereotyping. Not all conservatives are happy about this war, not all Christians are happy about this war, and not even all of the so-called “Christian Right” is happy about this war anymore. It surprises me, frankly, how quick we all are to pigeonhole people. For instance, it is well-known by you and most people on this site that I am fairly conservative both politically and morally. However, when I make a comment that is the product of my independent thinking, and does not necessarily fall along the “party line,” the people whose politics mine most closely resemble are very quick to disagree with everything I have said, dismissing it almost out of hand.

    Another thing is, I’m getting sick of Christians being lumped in with a political party that, recently, has been rife with corruption and indecency. Quite frankly, affiliation with politicians like Mark Foley is not something I think is good for the image of Christianity. At the very least, it makes us look hypocritical. While corrupt politicians may be conservative, I have a difficult time identifying them as Christians. And that was my point about Christianity and politics.

    My hope is that in the next two years, our leaders will learn to have more open dialogue and work together despite their differences, because this is the only way our nation will truly grow.

  7. Ryan said

    The current ‘Christian right’ is a group of very non christian individuals who misrepresent the faith in their pursuit of power. Ie, Pat Robertson, and George Bush. These are the smiters of evil, that forget the command to lay down the sword. They are the ones out to crucify gays, conveniently ignoring the concept that he without sin should throw the first stone. These are the men and women who have sold our country to oil and tobacco, blissfully ignorant that it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter heaven.

    The Christian right uses the faith as an issue, not a practice. I have no problems with people exposing them. True christians need no party, they support those who would lay down the sword, help the poor and the meek, and work so all can pursue happiness and fullfillment, regardless of race, creed, or orientation.

    Finally, David was jewish, not Christian. I would believe the words of the son of God over that of an old testament profit. Also Jarrod, if all authority is placed by God, were you a Democrat when Clinton was president?

  8. Craig Chamberlin said

    Ryan,

    *sigh* You just epitomized the very thing I criticized Roger Waters for. You stereotyped the ‘Christian Right’ as warmongers and obvious non-Christians, however, far more people than those you cited as an example fall under the category, and simultaenously you attack their beliefs when “Christian Right” stands for nothing more than a Christian who is Pro Conservative Moral Values.

    If you truely believe Bush is an obvious non-Christian who is using faith as a tool to justify the means to his end – then you also must believe he does not fall under the category of “Christian Right”, rather, he would fall under the category of Manipulative Radical Neo-Conservative. In this case he is neither “Christian” nor is he technically standing for Conservative Moral Values because he violates both criteria.

    Now, one can claim they stand under the ‘banner’ of the “Conservative Right”, but those who travel under the banner of a structure and do not practice it are far from being a component of the structure itself.

    For Example, is it right to label a man Christian if he claims to be a Christian but follows none of the Christian Principles? Let us say this man causes genoside, would it be right to create an accusation such as “Don’t let the might, the Christians *explicit* it up for the rest of you.” solely on a man whom does not actually represent Christianity, but rather acts under the banner of it? No, the deeds of one man do not reflect the deeds of others nor the structure itself. Stereotypes do nothing to push ideas forward, they are a way of belittling and exploiting categories of individuals in order to point a blame or make an assertion.

    In essence, such words as Republican, Democrat, Liberal and Conservative actually de-humanize individuals. When information stems from each of these categories, they instantly lose credibility simply by association. The same can be said about religion.

    For Example
    Under the banner of:
    Republicans -> Lose Credibility with Democrats and Liberals
    Democrats -> Lose Credibility with Republicans and Conservatives
    Neither -> Credibility Remains Neutral unless designated by the other parties as a particular party.

    These stereotypes actually do nothing productive. In fact, they create credibility between one group (Republicans favor Republicans) and lose credibility to another (Democrats do not favor Republicans). In reality, credibility shouldn’t be determined by association, rather by the deeds of the individual. Such analyzation and evaluation takes time, so usually we create ‘groups’ to drop individuals into without realizing it. This only becomes dangerous when we de-humanize those groups and start making assumptions and accusations.

  9. Ryan said

    I disagree. I think at times labels are appropriate and necessary. While I think the lyrics you cite obviously go too far, I don’t feel the ‘Christian Right’ ia misnomer because that is how they define themselves. Its a very narrow group who use that definition for a particular purpose.

    Also note that I said misrepresent the faith. Not that they don’t believe it at all. To me though, this groups need for power and influence has become the prime force when they look to make interpretations of faith, not the other way around. I have no problem with labels. They serve a purpose in providing some definition. Its only when one lets themselves be blinded soley by the label that it becomes a problem.

  10. Craig Chamberlin said

    Rachel,

    You’ve raised a turmoil within me today. You have me re-evaluating the teachings of Christ and the act of war. I’m going to do a little brainstorming here, so feel free to disagree with anything I may post in respect to this topic.

    War appears to be inevitable. As long as there are men, evil will exist, and as long as evil exists, it will want power and control. The question becomes, how does a Christian respond to such evil? On one hand, I’d like to believe “Loving your neighbor as you love yourself” signifies not ignoring the pain and tyranny placed upon them by an evil. On the other hand, is it the responsibility of Christiandom to thwart the evil causing the tyranny on fellow brothers and sisters? In reality, those causing the pain are our brothers and sisters as well.

    When is it justified to draw blood? Is it ever? Christ was an advocate for passificm and self-sacrifice. Christ brought about violence and anger through his acts of love. In fact, the very acts of Christ instilled turmoil within the normally complacent. In this sense, it is normal for those who follow Christ to create an act of rebellion from those surrounding them, but is it normal for those who follow Christ to do nothing to thwart such a rebellion? Can a human being lovingly kill another? Is such a thing possible?

    I suppose one would have to look at the concept of heaven and hell. If the Bible says God loves us all, then why ought people go to hell? Obviously it is because he is a just God, and in order for Justice to exist there must be Injustice and therefore, punishment for said injustices. If man can see this injustice, and has the ability to thwart it, then is it not his responsibility to acknowledge said injustice?

    I fear giving to much power to men, because the power of acknowledging injustice is a dangerous one. However, then what was the purpose of “The Good Samaritan”? If we recognize a brother in pain, we are not allowed to simply walk by him and do nothing. What are we to do if someone is inflicting pain on him? I’d imagine it is our responsibility to risk our lives in order to help him… is it not? This may very well be one justification for war. It is not to thwart evil, rather, it is to protect our innocent brothers and sisters from our other brothers and sisters who are inflicting harm onto them. Is this justified? It would require more thought… and far more questioning…

  11. Ryan said

    I think you’ve hit a major dilemma, Craig. I would say this. The ideal christian is one who accepts Christ as their saviour, and strives to emulate him. However the very accpetance of Christ and the grace of God allow for some understanding that we are mortal human beings, given the reason and rational to make decisions on our own. Personally, I feel it is our duty to aid our fellow man when they are in trouble or udner attack. Christ never denied oen the right to defend others. He advocated pacifism, its true. When it was his own life at risk.

    Keep in mind though, he also stood up for the harlot when the others wanted to stone her to death. He stood up to the pharisees for their corrupt actions that hurt the people, and he pushed out the moneylenders when their activity was a disgrace to God. Sacrifice, i think, was more the message then pacifism in some ways. The understanding that ones own trials and tribulations are insignificant next to that accumulated misfortunes pushed upon our brothers and sisters.

  12. Rachel Custer said

    Craig and Ryan,

    First of all, Ryan, just a couple points. The vast majority of people who identify themselves as Christians and conservatives (that I know anyway), have no desire to “crucify gays.” Whatsoever. We simply have a problem with endorsing deviant behavior as a valid legal life choice equivalent to marriage. Also, while there are people like those you have described, there are also Democrats who use the “social issues” in much the same way the Right uses faith. Welfare is promised to people who vote for Democrats to keep them voting for Democrats – most politicians use issues to achieve their own personal goals.

    Both of you raise some VERY interesting points regarding pacifism, war and Jesus. I tend to sit here and amusingly think that, in one of the situations you describe, Craig, Jesus would have probably said the perfect thing to make the people who were harming others to stop – as a matter of fact, that’s what he did with the harlot. However, it’s also true that we’re not Jesus. Some very interesting things to think about, guys.

    Thanks for the great posts.

  13. Andrew said

    Rachel;

    You said “We simply have a problem with endorsing deviant behavior as a valid legal life choice equivalent to marriage.”

    Sexual relations between two consenting adults is none of your business (or my business, or the business of anyone but said adults).

    Deviance is a divergence from society’s norms, by definition, and homosexuality is more and more considered a valid lifestyle choice. Thus, unless you are using a different metric for determining what is deviant, homosexuality doesn’t qualify.

    I don’t think that many gay people are going to be lining up to ask for your blessing on their relationships, and I find this idea that your approval is required for these relationships to be meaningful very arrogant.

  14. Andrew Filmer said

    Andrew,

    While I concur with your comments on the term “deviant” I would like to add, also in response to Rachel:

    I’ve known since I was in high school, when my friend had to be rushed to the emergency room to have his stomach pumped after a suicide attempt – that being gay is not a “lifestyle choice”.

    Who would choose a path which leads to swallowing a bottle of aspirin?

  15. Erkki KochKetola said

    A little late getting back to you, Jarrod, but nevertheless you missed a key phrase at the beginning of the final sentence in my last post: “This group is widely regarded as being,” not “this group is.” I didn’t say that you are, just that you are widely regarded as attempting to push your morality on other people.

    I think your accusation that “those of [us] on the left are pushing much harder than [you, the “Christian Right,”] to push [our] morality on [you]” is irresponsible. We’re not asking you to like it, Jarrod, but you aren’t being given a choice about whether you have to live with it. Further, your claim that “the majority of Americans don’t want abortion” is untrue; according to a Gallup Poll, the majority of Americans think that abortion ought to be legal under some circumstances (81%, with 24% believing it ought to be legal under all circumstances) and other polls have returned similar results. “The American people don’t want gay marriage,” you say; “very well,” I reply, “we’ll simply have to keep working to convince people that it’s acceptable.”

    What is this about Christmas taken out of public schools? I’m not aware of any attempts to take Christmas out of public schools (don’t we still get a winter break?). Can you clarify, please?

    “Activist judges,” eh? What constitutes an activist judge, exactly? I know the standard definition; I want to know what it means to you. I can tell you what it means to me: A judge who decides that the law means whatever the heck he or she thinks it does and ignores the normal rules for interpreting law. I also call this incompetence. This is one of the problems I’m having on the SGA currently.

  16. Rachel Custer said

    Andrew,

    You’re right. What two people do in the privacy of their bedroom is none of my business. But the way they are or are not legally recognized by the state as a valid union IS my business as a citizen of the United States.

    Andrew Filmer,

    People choose paths that lead to swallowing a bottle of pills all the time. This goes to the debate “is homosexuality a lifestyle choice or a genetic condition”, which we have already had on this site and I don’t have time to get into here. But a lot of people who attempt suicide do it because choices they have made have led them to be that sad. However, I understand your point. Even if there is a genetic predisposition to homosexuality, Christianity teaches that ACTING ON that urge is wrong. However, people often think we in the church hate gay people because we teach this. There are many things that the church preaches against that members of the church still do…it is because we are imperfect and have a sinful nature. The issue I have with homosexuality is that people attempt to say there is no need within the church for people who have chosen that lifestyle to repent and change.

    Anyway, this wasn’t even the point I was trying to make initially…Andrew, did you see my points about the Democrats using welfare in the same way the right uses faith?

  17. Craig Chamberlin said

    Quite a few issues are in the process of discussion simultaneously, I’ll try my best to address each one starting with:

    Homosexuality and Christianity
    Homosexuality is by far one of the most controversial issues when dealing with marriage. The difficulty comes with various misconceptions that are currently in existence. Andrew, I am sorry to hear about your friend, unfortunately many individuals choose paths that lead to undesirable consequences. We wish most individuals wouldn’t have the desire to act on these decisions, but they do. For example, those who do drugs, steal or even murder make obvious choices that can bring direct harm to themselves. We’d like to believe no individual would choose to make these decisions, but it is far from the truth.

    The problem with contemporary Christianity’s approach to homosexuality is the emphasis placed upon it. Homosexuality is placed onto a pedistal by many Christians as a distinguishing characteristic of the individual. When, truthfully, we are all just as guilty and sinful as the individual who is committing homosexuality. If Christians believe that all individuals are living in sin, then no individual is living in more sin than others. For example, alcoholism is no different than homosexuality is no different than sexual immorality is no different than blasphemy is no different than murder. However, due to the cultural emphasis placed upon particular sins, the appearance is that of belittling and judging those who commit the particular sin.

    The legal fear is the granting of government benefits for a choice made between consenting adults in a relationship. Relationships therefore are left open to interpretation. For example, I would like to hear a reasonable argument against polygamist marriages that doesn’t actually act as a discriminatory accusation against the polygamists. The science of behavioral choice and genetic predispositions is tragically underdeveloped. Psychology, in a sense, attempts to be a science, but fails to understand the fundamentals of what a Theory of science actually is. In true science, such as physics, the theory must stand the test of time and contain no apparant contradictions for it to qualify as accurate. However, in psychology, there has been numerous studies on both ends of the spectrum showing people are born homosexual and they are not. Where does this leave us? In the exact same place we were before they even began their studies…

  18. Ryan said

    “But the way they are or are not legally recognized by the state as a valid union IS my business as a citizen of the United States.”
    No. Its not. The State is required under law to give equal rigths and representation to all citizens, whether one group likes it or not. You don’t have to applaud, appreciate, or approve the granting of those rights. They are already there. The government gives the recognition of marriage to two heterosexual people, they must ive it to two homosexual.

    Now, lets consider your argument a little further. As a citizen it is your business to see whether or not the government validates a union. What if we had a higher number of Catholics in the united States? The Catholic church does not recognize marriages outside of the church, to the extent that if one wishes to marry a catholic they can be excommunicated if they do not agree to raise the child a catholic. So if we were to have a catholic majority, they could make the decision that non-catholic marriage is immoral, and hence illegal. Afterall, the religion you choose is a definite choice, while homosexuality is a subject of deep debate in psychology.

    Your unhappiness with another couple wishing to have a monogamous union is irrelevant, unless you wish to accept the above situation as perfectly legal. Besides, with divorce rates going up, and marriage rates going down, don’t you think Christ would have preferred the sanctity of the idea of marriage, two people sworn to be together, over punsihing them for sins no greater than that committed by an human being on a given day?

    We could even get into the idea that homosexuality may not even be a sin, according to the original hebrew. However that is a discussion for another time. Whether it is or is not a sin is irrelevant, for marriage granted to two citizens by the state must be granted to all. Or none.

  19. Erkki Kochketola said

    Craig:

    You’re correct that psychology is not that well developed. However, this underdevelopment is a consequence of political and social factors and is not inherent in the discipline itself; an alternative interpretation of Human psychology (alternative, that is, to the one they used) was far more threatening to medieval nobles than a heliocentric cosmology. Still is, really. Cosmology is easier to deal with because it doesn’t involve humans. The problem with psychology is not scientific, but political.

    I should note that, in physics, there is a great deal of disagreement about whether there are such things as strings, or if we should talk about branes instead. I should also note that many theories have been invalidated under certain circumstances (Newtonian physics being a prime example) but still hold more generally. Other theories (such as the caloric theory of heat) have been completely discredited. Same as in psychology.

  20. Andrew Filmer said

    Ryan, once again, I concur.

    Craig, I sincerely hope you did not mean to relate homosexuality to the choice of doing drugs, stealing, or murder.

    While I firmly believe sexuality – any sexuality, not just homosexuality – is in no way a choice, there is a larger scope to this. Namely, the separation of Church and State. Freedom of religion also means freedom from having any one religion determining matters such as inheritance rights, and indeed freedom from discrimination. Church cannot decide on matters of constitutional and human rights in ways that affect the average citizen protected by the necessarily secular laws of a democracy. Otherwise, to continue the Catholic example given by Ryan, anyone who has divorced and remarried would have that second (or third…) marriage declared void. And any children from that marriage illegitimate. That’s perfectly valid within the Catholic Church and can be respected for its points of view. But imagine making that into a constitutional amendment in a place where the divorce rate is around 50%.

    But this is not only releasing a connection from the Church – it is, in a sense, protecting the individuality of Church in that the State cannot force any Church to marry any two individuals it doesn’t want to. We’re losing the focus, in more ways than one. But while we’re here, it’s not a Church marriage that is in question. It’s the position and rights of the average citizen, who very well may not be a Christian, and has every right not to be one, nor be beholden to its precepts.

    After all, freedom of religion also implies that everyone has a right to be equally respected depending on his or her beliefs in regards to religion, spirituality and morality – not always the same thing, by the way.

    No one has the right to discriminate upon people of a different sexuality using religion, any more than they have the right to assert that Jews, Muslims or Seventh Day Adventists should eat pepperoni pizza on a Friday night.

  21. Rachel Custer said

    Andrew Filmer,

    I don’t see much difference between the choice to be homosexual and other harmful life choices. Actions lead to consequences, something some in America have been trying to deny recently. ANY deviant sexual behavior (homosexuality, rampant heterosexual promiscuity, infidelity, etc.) can lead to disagreeable consequences, much like the choice to do drugs or steal. Every action has a consequence. For example, if a heterosexual person makes a choice to sleep around and gets an STD, that choice was a harmful one. But did that person not choose to engage in the behavior that led to that consequence?

  22. Craig Chamberlin said

    Andrew,

    Your first statement appears to villify me. The question you had arose was “How could someone choose a lifestyle that would lead to suicide (harming themselves)?” I was simply answering your question.

    Also, you took my statement out of context. I was implying that if Christians believe homosexuality is a sin then they also must remember it does not take priority over other sins. However, there is a cultural emphasis placed upon certain sins as if they are worse. Christian doctrine makes a large deal of “sin being sin”. In this respect, all sin is equivalent. So in the eyes of Christianity, sin is sin whether it be murder, adultery, sexual immorality or anything else. Since Christians are all in sin, we have no right to judge others who we may think are.

    Indeed it is not justified to dictate religious beliefs onto society. You stated you believe homosexuality is not a choice. The operative word in your statement is believe, is this not conductive to a belief system? If so, is it right for individuals of your belief system to dictate their beliefs onto society? What we believe and what science shows are two entirely different things. This is why I pointed out the fundamental flaws of the field of psychology, which attempts to be a science and prove the ‘gay gene’ but fails at it again and again.

    After Gay Marriage is passed, in a legal sense the concept of ‘Relationships’ is left open to interpretation. Which is why I asked the question “Is it possible to restrict polygamous marriages without discriminating against polygamists?” This is about legal rights being attributed to groups.

    The fact is I am now torn on the issue. I used to be adamantly against the concept of gay marriage on the grounds of future group unions which can cause many issues. However, people need the freedom to make decisions whether good or bad to find things out for themselves… If Christians believe Gay Marriages can’t work, then they ought not to worry about it because if they are right, those getting married would probably serve as a realization of that truth.

  23. Ryan said

    Rachel, please explain to me what the consequences are that you speak of for homosexual behaviour vs hetero. You seem to be adamant about this, I’d like to know why.

  24. Andrew Filmer said

    Craig,

    My redundant question was: “Who would choose a path which leads to swallowing a bottle of aspirin?”, not “How could…” I was implying – apparently unsuccessfully – that no one would choose a path so wrought with discrimination.

    As for your quote, I was refering to your first paragraph:
    “Andrew, I am sorry to hear about your friend, unfortunately many individuals choose paths that lead to undesirable consequences. … For example, those who do drugs, steal or even murder make obvious choices that can bring direct harm to themselves.”

    You’re right about the belief system. I will correct myself: I know that sexuality isn’t a choice. How do I know? Ask any straight person whether he’d consider being gay for a day.

  25. Craig Chamberlin said

    Andrew,

    I attempted to acknowledge your question above. The fact is many people choose paths wrought with ‘discrimination’. In fact, Christians take the very same path. Now, why would an individual choose to be a Christian if it is wrought with discrimination? It is because they believe in what they are following.

    Now before individuals state Christians are not discriminated against, we could apply this to any belief system. Why does an individual become a member of the Klan? Are they born white supremicists? Obviously not, but yet they choose a path wrought with discrimination. Why do they do this? Because they believe in what they are following.

    This is why I differentiated between what individuals believe and what is the truth. We can believe all we want, but eventually we need to come back to the facts. In this case, psychology is currently unable to supply us with those facts. It is a currently underdeveloped science.

    As for your example, if individuals didn’t choose the path of homosexuality, and they were born that way, how does one explain the countless homosexuals who have turned from it and became fulfilled heterosexuals with families?

    http://cat.inist.fr/?aModele=afficheN&cpsidt=14486242

    How many heterosexuals are ‘ex-homosexuals’? In 1984, a random sample of Dallas adults indicated that 8 (2.7%) of 294 currently heterosexual men and 4 (1.0%) of 393 currently heterosexual women said that they were ex-homosexual. Of an urban sample from 5 additional cities, 0.5% of current heterosexuals reported that they had been homosexually ‘married’. It thus appears that perhaps 1-2% of heterosexuals are ex-homosexuals. Proportionately more adults than teenagers and more men than women moved from homosexuality to heterosexuality. Of the 18 who changed, 12 became heterosexual and 6 bisexual, suggesting that perhaps two-thirds of those who abandon “being” homosexual ‘become’ heterosexual and a third ‘become’ bisexual. Because labeling oneself ‘homosexual’ is so mutable and value-laden, the term ‘omnisexual’ is suggested.

    Such change in sexual direction doesn’t make much sense if the path is not chosen.

  26. A. Reader said

    Problem with symbol for less than symbol (tag related).. yet another attempt: Please delete duplicates, if possible.

    Craig

    I’m not sure I understand your argument here. This seems like such a small percentage (less than 3%) that one could more effectively argue that this merely reflects those willing to suppress their sexuality to conform with societal pressure. Specifically, if they also identify as Christian and belong to a denomination that strongly condemns their homosexuality, or have been subjected to familial or peer rejection, it seems reasonable to me that a small fraction like this would simply choose to deny their true sexual orientation. Given the severity of the discrimination and condemnation that many homosexuals face, I’m more struck by the fact that the vast majority of homosexuals continue to identify as such. I apologize if I’ve simply misunderstood your point.

  27. ryan said

    A choice can be made, but it generally isn’t about sexuality as much as avoiding persecution and retribution. That person then continues on with a life they were forced into by society, not by choice. Thats the only explanation for such a small percentage. Considering the amount of prejudice, if it were a choice a much larger group would make that change.

  28. Craig Chamberlin said

    A. Writer and Ryan,

    You are both failing to separate beliefs from facts, there are a number of studies on both ends of the spectrum as I had stated above. Such as twin studies, if it is genetic, then ought twins who are not reared together both turn out homosexual? Ironically, both of you can come back with “But what if they.. suppressed.. or what if they.. are pressured.. but what if they..”, what if’s are not conductive to scientific facts. The fact is homosexuals have turned from homosexuality and lived happy lives. The belief is they must have suppressed their homosexuality, which cannot be proven.

    http://www.worldpolicy.org/globalrights/sexorient/twins.html
    Twin studies and homosexuality
    “52% of identical (monozygotic) twins of homosexual men were likewise homosexual”

    This implication is those who are identical twins are more likely to both share the same sexuality, but what about the other 48%? According to the theory of ‘genetic sexuality’ each of these individuals is really gay but denying their true sexuality. Does this sound like a real scientific theory? Talk about a margin of error.

    The Theory of Genetic Homosexuality
    It can be said that people are either born homosexual or they are not. There is no in-between, therefore, if an individual was born homosexual (as the twins cited above) but does not embrace their homosexuality, they are living in denial of their true sexuality. Therefore, the 48% above are living in denial of their true sexuality.

    A. Reader,

    You have to remember, with the study above, homosexuals only consist of 1 – 3% of the population, so it makes perfect sense that a small percentage of heterosexuals are ex-homosexuals. The fact is many people are attempting to write off these individuals as suppressing their true homosexuality without proof.

  29. Jarrod Brigham said

    Erkki,

    Sorry about the late reply. I will attempt to address your questions, then I will leave the issue to rest since the blog has taken a turn away from my post.

    I concede your point about your wording. You did say widely regarded. I must contest your use of polls to determine people’s opinion. Polls can say anything you want them to say. You can find 100 polls to say one thing, I can find 100 to say something different. While they are very nice, elections determine the thinking of the people. The American people do not elect very many officials who want partial-birth abortions. The majority of candidates are against this, because the American people are.

    As for Christmas, you made my point for me. Even though Christmas is a federal holiday, it is now called a winter break. No longer is it a Christmas program, it is a holiday program. Christmas carols can no longer be performed in many schools. If you don’t think Christmas is under attack, you must be living under a rock. THis season, I will point out to you each instance I see of an attack on Christmas. Get ready for a lot of posts.

    Activist judges – An activist judge is anyone (right or left) who ignores the will of the people and legislates from the bench. The 9th circuit court of appeals is a prime example. Look at their track record. Over 50% of their cases are overturned because of judicial activism. I can’t speak about your trial in the SGA, I don’t know much about it. I tried to find out some information, but no one in SGA will talk to me about it. Not that I am concerned, it will eventually be released to the public.

    Like I said though, this blog has taken a tremendous turn, so I will respectfully end my comments here.

  30. Andrew Filmer said

    Ryan and Craig,

    There is another aspect to this – that sexuality is not (or not always) a static condition, and which may change in the course of a person’s lifespan. There certainly are straight people who have become bisexual or homosexual. These people would emphatically assert that it is not a choice that they are making, but who they are at different times of their lives.

    I don’t have the citations at hand, but I certainly have known a few people in this category.

  31. Craig Chamberlin said

    Andrew,

    Such assertions disprove ‘genetic sexuality’ at all. If people are born with a sexuality then it must be static, this is exactly what the argument of people being born homosexual means. Your argument is a show of sexual preference, which is choice based. If they are born one way then they cannot somehow become another, it is a logical fallacy. It would be like a white man willing himself into being black. He may convince himself he is black, but in reality, he is suppressing his whiteness because he was born white.

    You can’t have both. People are either born with a sexuality or they are not, there can’t be an in-between with the argument of ‘genetic sexuality’ unless you are talking about pre-dispositions. This is something else entirely and doesn’t qualify as being born one way or another. Pre-dispositions lead to choice, genetic “static” absolutes do not.

  32. A. Reader said

    Craig,

    Thanks for the clarification. You’re right; I did incorrectly interpret the information provided. I mistakenly assumed that the population considered were individuals who either currently, or ever, self-identified as homosexual. As Jarrod mentioned, we’re getting off topic, so I don’t want to prolong this diversion, but I did want to acknowledge my goof.

  33. Ryan said

    Craig, you are saying our argument is that it it genetic. THis is not necessarily the case. That is one factor among many. Its also widely considered that experience and learned behaviours contribute. Its still not a choice, anymore than its your choice to believe in certain cultural ideals like democracy, or piety. Its an ingrained aprt of the psyche. For those situations, it can change if experiences lead aperosn that way. But it is not a conscious choice. Even if it were, its their choice to make. Not yours. Definitely not the governments.

  34. Craig Chamberlin said

    Ryan,

    This indeed was Andrews argument. If someone says sexuality isn’t at all a choice, they are saying they have within their DNA a static marking for their sexuality. I was simply refuting the claim. I addressed earlier there are many alternative arguments to the ‘born gay’ argument, such as the one you posted here.

    Now, you are suggesting homosexuality is a ‘learned behavior’. This argument ironically refutes any notion of sexuality being statically genetic. Like I had said, one has to believe individuals are born with a sexuality or they are not. Now, if your argument is individuals are born pre-disposed to homosexuality I cannot refute your point. To me this is obviously true. Individuals are born pre-disposed to an enormous amount of things. However, individuals choose to act on those pre-dispositions or not.

    For example, if I am born pre-disposed to intelligence, does this mean I am definitly going to be intelligent? Of course not, I will only be intelligent if I willfully pursue the seeking of intelligence. If I am born with a pre-disposition to alcoholism (which I am), does it mean I am going to become an alcoholic? Of course not, I will only become one if I pursue the adamant use of alcohol. Now, there can be a number of environmental and social factors working against me and trying to get me to pursue intelligence or alcoholism, but in the end, I choose to pursue intelligence and I choose to pursue alcoholism. I am not a victim of my pre-dispositions, nor am I entitled to sympathy for them. In the end, I choose to grab the bottle or the book.

    If you are right, and it is a result of pre-dispositions, environment and experience, then it is important to note that people, adults at least, choose their environment and their experiences, and therefore, choose to act upon said pre-dispositions.

    Any way you slice it, if it is not a “static” genetic absolute, then it comes down to pre-disposition, which comes down to choice.

  35. Andrew Filmer said

    Hey. I don’t recall saying that sexuality is DNA or genetically-based. Craig, that was your assertion – that if sexuality is not a choice, it must be genetic. Please don’t put words in my mouth – or “refute” claims that aren’t made.

    But since you bring it up – who is to say that genetics could not be part of it? Though race is indeed static, some other genetic elements are not – for example, baldness. People aren’t born bald. But some develop it as early as in their teens. AND, in this context, they shouldn’t be thus be contrasted to Samson.

    Though I say again, and Ryan said it best, hardly the limits of the argument.

  36. Craig Chamberlin said

    Andrew,

    Feel free to correct me if I put your argument out of context. I apologize if I did. You stated, “I know that sexuality isn’t a choice. How do I know? Ask any straight person whether he’d consider being gay for a day.” If not an implication that people are born with a particular sexuality, then what was your implication?

    Baldness is no different than stating people are born homosexual, your just saying it doesn’t “kick in” until they reach a certain age. This doesn’t change the issue of identical twins reared together not having the same sexuality after the same amount of time, unless you agree one of the two must be suppressing their “true sexuality”. This assumption still leaves almost a 50% margin of error.

    I specifically stated genetics can indeed play a role in homosexuality. My previous post addressed genetic pre-dispositions to homosexuality for the last four paragraphs. If I didn’t make myself clear, please let me know.

    I’d suggest reading the following article elaborating on genetic pre-disposition and choices:

    Essentially, there’s a feedback loop at work. The choices we make as young, and later older, adults are informed, but not determined by, our genetic dispositions. (“Informed” does not mean the same thing as “determined.” For example, I cannot, in good faith, blame my genes for my habit of watching Jean-Claude Van Damme action movies at night instead of doing something constructive.)

    Thanks.

  37. Craig Chamberlin said

    The Article Link:
    http://www.indiana.edu/~rcapub/v28n2/twins.shtml

  38. Erkki KochKetola said

    Jarrod:

    Explain to me how that represents an attack on Christmas. It seems to me that most of the things you’re complaining about are mass culture, the very same sort of venal materialism you oppose. Are you upset because corporations aren’t selling you Christmas anymore? Is that the problem?

  39. Andrew Filmer said

    Craig,

    You made a good point about the apparent discrepancy of my points of view, namely 1. that of “being gay for a day” and 2. the possibility that sexuality is not necessarily static.

    So, to clarify: it is possible that at different stages in life, a straight person can become bisexual or homosexual. And vice versa, homosexuals can perhaps, as you have pointed out, become “fulfilled heterosexuals with families.” (Though I hope this doesn’t imply that you need to be heterosexual or married or with children to have a fulfilling life.)

    This change through stages in life, is not something which one can control, or “choose” at the click of a switch any one day. Thus my comment on asking any straight person whether he’d try being gay “FOR A DAY”.

    I doubt any of the “ex-homosexuals” just woke up one morning and said,
    “hey, you know what? I just realized it’s a bummer being gay. The bad jokes and name-calling were one thing, but good gosh, losing my job wasn’t that fun after all. I think I’ll be straight today. And fulfilled. Yay!”

    (Now, I will concede that ex-bisexuals are a different case – they are the one subset that actually could have a choice. The ‘morality’ of society pressuring them to make a choice for the opposite sex is a different issue entirely.)

    I am of the opinion that instead, the ex-homosexuals are either people who have moved to another stage – or, as Ryan pointed out, “avoiding persecution and retribution”.

    I’m glad the article you mentioned pointed baldness as well. As I see it, apart from it being genetic, baldness is neither a condition everyone experiences (like homosexuality), nor is it a static condition throughout a lifetime (like sexuality).

    As for the twins experiment, two twins, different sexualities. If nothing else, it doesn’t mean that sexuality is thus a choice (QED!), but that it’s not purely genetics either. I don’t see that it contradicts what I’ve mentioned thus far; I’ve simply said that sexuality is not a choice – I haven’t said that it must be DNA, or the environment, etc.

    While the following does not refer to you personally, I do feel it applies to more… extremist positions such as comment no. 21. Where I come from there’s a saying, which I will attempt to translate here: “some people can’t stop being itchy when others are happy.”

  40. Craig Chamberlin said

    Andrew,

    This was the overall point I was trying to make. When it gets down to it, science doesn’t know, and it comes back to beliefs. As your post shows, it comes down to “I doubt… I am of the opinion… As I see it… I do feel…” Now I’m not trying to discredit your posts, your beliefs may very well be valid, but that is what they are, beliefs. There is a firm difference between scientific facts and beliefs. Ironically, most people do not differentiate between the two and state beliefs as if they are scientific facts.

    You are correct in pointing out choice is not as a ‘light switch’ that can be turned off and on at the drop of the hat. Such behavior is known as conditioning. We condition ourselves in many ways in our life, but we allow ourselves to be conditioned. For example, I (may) condition myself to drink alcohol when I am stressed, but this is a result of my choices, not of my genetics. Ergo, every time I am stressed, I (may) drink alcohol. Over time, I become reliant on it when I am stressed, and it is not as if I can somehow flip a switch and start exercising instead of drinking to relieve my stress. It will require reverse-learning of the formerly learned behavior, which takes time.

    Baldness, in a sense, proves your explanation inaccurate. Once a person becomes bald, they cannot somehow become not bald. The same would be true as with sexuality. In your theory, if a person is found to be homosexual, they can in no way become not homosexual. You have categorized those who are ex-homosexual as individuals who were actually heterosexual and didn’t know it. This alleviates all discrepencies in your theory. However, there is no scientific basis by which to categorize these individuals as such. You believe all ex-homosexuals were not homosexual to begin with. Which may make you the victim of selective observation.

    While I disagree with you on this issue, I very much respect your ability to articulate a real argument for the role of genetics in homosexuality. Like I had said, my goal wasn’t to put people or your beliefs down, it was to point out the discrepencies in the ‘born gay’ theory. Many people accept this theory as fact when they do not realize the fundamental flaws of it. If individuals believe homosexuals are born gay, I respect their belief, I just hope they try not to state it as scientific fact.

  41. Erkki KochKetola said

    Sorry for the double post, I needed to correct my blockquote.

    Craig:

    This was the overall point I was trying to make. When it gets down to it, science doesn’t know, and it comes back to beliefs. As your post shows, it comes down to “I doubt… I am of the opinion… As I see it… I do feel…” Now I’m not trying to discredit your posts, your beliefs may very well be valid, but that is what they are, beliefs. There is a firm difference between scientific facts and beliefs. Ironically, most people do not differentiate between the two and state beliefs as if they are scientific facts.

    When you get right down to it, Craig, everything is a belief. I might state something as fact, and you might disagree; I say the water’s green, you say it’s blue. Who’s right? How do we determine what color the water is? This is where sciences comes into play.

    Science is a set of cognitive tools that are based certain assumptions about knowledge. Scientific beliefs are therefore ones that have been arrived at through a carefully controlled process that is designed to minimize the possibility of error. We call these theories.

    A theory is a selection of facts that are believed to be interrelated; a belief arrived at through scientific inquiry. The theory explains the relationship between the facts. Again, an explanation arrived at through scientific inquiry. Other scientists, working throughout the world, repeat these experiments under the same conditions often using standardized equipment (manufactured to fine tolerances), and attempt to replicate the results.

    There are a number of ways in which research on people differs from other types of research, and in which it is similar. Significantly, experimenting on live subjects cannot always lead to death; in the case of psychological or pharmacological research on Humans, it should not ever. This places significant limitations on our ability to do research. But these limitations are in place because of other beliefs that we have about how people are supposed to be treated; a significant one in this example is the fact that it’s considered bad form to kill someone.

    You are correct in pointing out choice is not as a ‘light switch’ that can be turned off and on at the drop of the hat. Such behavior is known as conditioning. We condition ourselves in many ways in our life, but we allow ourselves to be conditioned. For example, I (may) condition myself to drink alcohol when I am stressed, but this is a result of my choices, not of my genetics. Ergo, every time I am stressed, I (may) drink alcohol. Over time, I become reliant on it when I am stressed, and it is not as if I can somehow flip a switch and start exercising instead of drinking to relieve my stress. It will require reverse-learning of the formerly learned behavior, which takes time.

    The addiction meme is an interesting one, and actually has a certain usefulness. But I think you’re misunderstanding how it works. To extend your “light switch” metaphor, what I think you’re failing to consider is the fact that your “switch” can be turned off and on by other people. And in the case of Human sexuality, your switch is virtually always already on, waiting for you to be stimulated by the other people around you. Sexual urges are clearly rather strong for most people, as we tend to have sex and procreate quite a bit. It is like alcohol in that respect (i.e., once you’re addicted, you gotta have it).

    But it’s not like alcohol in the respect that, except in rare cases, you can’t help “getting addicted” when you reach puberty. Your body literally leaves you no other choice; your glands are pumping out hormones. It doesn’t take an outside influence, it happens to (virtually?) everyone.

    It’s also not like alcohol in the respect that (according to OutFront) there is no scientific evidence to suggest that any current “treatment” for alternate sexualities works.

    So, in summary, no, it’s not scientific fact; it’s a scientific theory, which is in some sense a “best guess.” Scientific inquiry is always tentative, aware of the limitations of the instrument(s) used, always seeking more precise calibration. But none of us really know the “state of the art,” as it were. So we’re working with information that is of uncertain pedigree.

    Checking JSTOR, I found an article that talked about Exodus Ministries (“Crafting Stories of Sexual Identity Reconstruction,” by Christy M. Ponticelli, appearing in Social Psychology Quarterly in 1999, a hit I found for “ex-gay”), and their attempts to convert gays and lesbians. Ponticelli claims that “longitudinal studies” would be necessary; I have no idea, unfortunately, if such studies have been done.

  42. Ryan said

    Craig, environment is not a choice. A perons sexuality is generally set by the time they are in their teens, and a child has little to no control over their environment. Even if they did, I doubt its on a 6 year olds mind to make sure thye have a ‘positive’ environment for thier masculinity.

  43. Jarrod Brigham said

    Erkki,

    No my problem is that a federal holiday is being taken out of our schools because a fraction of a percent of the population might find it offensive. If store wants to sell “holiday trees” I can choose to shop elsewhere, but my tax dollars do go to schools. Offending a small portion of America is not a reason to remove something from our schools. If that were the case, sex ed and evolution would have been removed long ago. I don’t have time this weekend to do the research, but by next week I will provide instance after instance where Christmas is being attacked solely because of the first five letters of the word.

    Jarrod

  44. Rachel said

    Ryan,

    First of all, the oldest tezts we have of both the Old and New Testaments are written in the original Greek. They were then translated to Hebrew. If you study the original Greek, there is no way to conclude that homosexuality is not a sin. Therefore, I submit that, if you can find this evidence in the Hebrew, either you are misreading it to attempt to make it mean something you want it to mean or some meaning was lost in translation.

    Also, there are many consequences for promiscuity, both heterosexual and homosexual, including AIDS and other STDs, as well as pregnancies (in heterosexual relationships). This is not even to mention the cultural impact of heterosexual promiscuity or homosexuality, including children being raised without both a mother and a father, increased promiscuity (the gay community is, on the whole, VERY promiscuous), a decrease in the general level of morals, and even death (AIDS).

    Homosexuals are a very small percentage of the total population – the majority of people in America think gay marriage is harmful to the future sociocultural atmosphere in this country. So why should we change culture to appease a very small, mostly radical percentage of people? The family unit, based on marriage, is the most basic, most influential force in American culture. Even with all its problems, it will not help to weaken it further. The slippery-slope argument is, unfortunately, very accurate in this case…if we redefine marriage to include two men or women now, in twenty-five years how will we be redefining it?

  45. Craig Chamberlin said

    Erkki,

    I appreciate your distinction between scientific theory and beliefs. Since science plays the mediator between belief and “facts” then ought a credible argument contain hard-hitting science to back it up? This is the problem I have been re-iterating time and time again. The science of psychology and sociology can not currently determine where sexuality comes from. It is all guess work. I can find article upon article contradicting and giving credence to each scientific “discovery” about the ‘gay gene’. The fact is whether someone believes individuals have no control over their sexuality is a belief that cannot credibly be called a theory because the science is far too contradictory and underdeveloped.

    I wasn’t placing the blame on the science, as you even stated above, too many individuals are using it for political uses (ranging from justifications for alcoholism to insanity pleas). It can hardly be called a true science because of it’s inability to generate actual theorys without a large margin of error and disagreement from the community within it. Also, as you stated above, there are moral and scientific reasons as to why the science cannot fully develope. However, the majority of individuals do not realize how underdeveloped and contradictory this science currently is.

    Secondly, are you suggesting that baldness can be turned on and off by people around me? If this is the case, what if it involved alcoholism, could I just as easily have my ‘alcoholic light switch’ turned on by the people around me? Then if I get into a bar fight, can I blame it on my genetics? Do I actually ever get to choose anything? It appears you are suggesting that somehow there is a genetic switch within us that gives us no control over our own decisions and desires. In fact, this switch makes us victims of our surrounding environment.

    Ryan,

    Environment is a choice for children who become adults. This would be like one arguing they were justified in their alcoholism because they grew up in an alcoholic family. Do you think the cop who pulls them over driving drunk would take this as a justification their current behavior? No, he’d tell him he’s a grown man now, and isn’t living at home, so it is his responsibility to choose an environment other than parties and bars.

    There is not an age group where sexuality is determined, this hasn’t been proven. Since there is no determining to actually be done (because it hasn’t been proven people are born with a particular sexuality) then how can there be an age group where their sexuality is actually determined?

  46. Erkki Kochketola said

    First of all, the oldest tezts we have of both the Old and New Testaments are written in the original Greek. They were then translated to Hebrew. If you study the original Greek, there is no way to conclude that homosexuality is not a sin. Therefore, I submit that, if you can find this evidence in the Hebrew, either you are misreading it to attempt to make it mean something you want it to mean or some meaning was lost in translation.

    Have you actually read the original Greek, Rachel? I strongly suspect that you have not. Where are you getting this information?

    Also, there are many consequences for promiscuity, both heterosexual and homosexual, including AIDS and other STDs, as well as pregnancies (in heterosexual relationships). This is not even to mention the cultural impact of heterosexual promiscuity or homosexuality, including children being raised without both a mother and a father, increased promiscuity (the gay community is, on the whole, VERY promiscuous), a decrease in the general level of morals, and even death (AIDS).

    Objection: asserts facts not in evidence. You’re tying everything to some sort of promiscuity problem. You’ve yet to successfully demonstrate to the readers of this thread that (1) such a problem exists, (2) that it is a significant cause of single-parent households, (3) that the “gay community” is significantly more promiscuous than the “straight community,” (4) that there can objectively be measured some sort of “general level of morals,” and (5) that “promiscuity” leads to AIDS (there are several major vectors of HIV that have nothing to do with sex).

    Homosexuals are a very small percentage of the total population – the majority of people in America think gay marriage is harmful to the future sociocultural atmosphere in this country. So why should we change culture to appease a very small, mostly radical percentage of people? The family unit, based on marriage, is the most basic, most influential force in American culture. Even with all its problems, it will not help to weaken it further. The slippery-slope argument is, unfortunately, very accurate in this case…if we redefine marriage to include two men or women now, in twenty-five years how will we be redefining it?

    Unfortunately, Rachel, this argument works against you. This is basically the same thing that was being said about interracial marriage back in the ’50s and ’60s. Marriage, as a social construct, has always been subject to redefinition. We now allow divorce, interracial marriages, etc. The roles people play in their marriages have also changed over time.

    How will we be redefining marriage in 25 years? However we want to.

  47. Erkki Kochketola said

    Craig, the problem you seem to be having is that you regard science as a fully-developed, static process. It’s not. We have to go through this phase in order to progress to another; the body of knowledge that will allow us to understand this better has to be developed first. Thus, it is “true science,” even if it’s not particularly useful.

    With regards to your point about baldness, no, I’m not suggesting that. Baldness is not in and of itself a psychological or behavioral characteristic (although causes certain characteristics to be exhibited). However, your “alcoholic light switch” is, and is therefore amenable to manipulation by other people. As a consequence of our sociality, we rely on other people to validate us.

    Do you ever get to choose anything? That’s a very good question; I, personally, am of the belief that we have free will and that we therefore make choices. But I also recognize that sometimes choices aren’t real for people in some situations; while the choice may formally exist, it’s not a viable option in comparison to the likely consequences and in view of previous decisions. We’re also subject to peer pressure (which takes a lot of willpower, which most people don’t possess, to resist) and other forms of conditioning stimuli. We aren’t a blank slate, but we’re not fully in control of ourselves, either.

    I should note that, while conclusive evidence does not yet exist, the evidence that does exist strongly points toward a significant role played by genes and biochemical interactions in utero, at least for men. The origins of Female homosexuality remain in doubt. I should also note here that “homosexuality” is beginning to appear to be a misnomer; there are many homosexualities. Certain subsets of homosexual behavior may be caused by different genes.

    Of course, this is all very speculative; but, again, I think the evidence strongly points toward genetic and biochemical interactions occurring both in utero and at puberty. There may be some degree of environmental influence, but such influence occurs at a subconscious level, often without you being aware of it. If you don’t know, how can you make a choice?

  48. Rachel Custer said

    Erkki,

    I now know that a professor who told me recently that “common sense is not so common” was absolutely correct. Do you actually need statistical proof that promiscuity (defined as having sex with multiple partners) leads to sexually transmitted diseases (which are transmitted by having sex)? It’s statistical common sense that the more people a person has sex with, the more likely they will be to run into someone who has a disease, in which case they will be more likely to contract a disease. Also, promiscuity leads to teenagers becoming pregnant, and a lot of those teenagers don’t get married. It happened to several of my friends and classmates in high school. Their children are currently being raised without the benefit of both a mother and a father. Also, believe it or not, I have some personal experience with the gay community. Is it really so out there to assume that several of the people who leave gay bars together, grabbing condoms out of the “free protection” basket on the counter, are going to have sex? I have observed the promiscuity of the gay community…and you’re right about one thing, the straight community isn’t much better. But you don’t make the straight community better at fidelity by embracing homosexuality as a good choice. Are you kidding me with this stuff? It’s the same problem I have with your “the water is green, the water is blue” argument. Words mean things, Errki. Luckily, I can LOOK at something and tell you what color it is, and I hope I never become so wrapped up in relativism that I lose my common sense.

    You are correct in assuming I have never sat down and read the original Greek text of the Bible. However, my father has, and I have learned from the many enriching conversations we have had. As a matter of fact, I consulted him on the comment regarding the “original Hebrew” because I was curious where this justification for homosexuality could be construed as being.

    Finally, there is a HUGE difference between interracial marriage and gay marriage. Again, though, it goes back to common sense. People are born black. When it can be proven, or even scientifically suggested, that homosexuality is something people are born with, I will re-examine my belief about gay marriage.

    Frankly, Erkki, I understand that manipulating language and redefining words and phrases is a big part of the culture war we are currently engaged in, but try to remember there are still those of us out here who have some common sense and can draw reasonable conclusions from obvious evidence without looking at a study done by some political institution.

  49. Ryan said

    Here’s the source Rachel.
    http://www.futurechurch.co.za/item/homosexuality-3-the-new-testament-1-corinthians-6-9-10-and-1-timothy-1-9-11
    It discusses all three instances of homosexuality in the New testament.

    Craig, you are incorrect. A person as an adult can change their environment, but at that point the subconscious is well formed qand desires and urges are already there. So they could change environment, but why should they? Denying the right to marriage is denying them rights other citizens have, because some people don’t like it. In a free society, reasons are needed to make something illegal, not the other way around. I think the gays should sue the government for granting marriage to anyone, honestly. If we can’t allow it for all of our citizens, we shouldn’t have government sanctioned amrriages at all.

    Now then, Rachel has not shown any consequences of homosexuality, other than being the subject of prejudice. UNless I missed something. The promiscuity charge would need some evidence to back it though.

    I invite you to show some ‘consequences’ in her stead. I’d also like to mention that a recent study published in the Lancet had some interesting things to say about sex and consequences.
    “Wellings said the research implies that promiscuity may be less important than factors such as poverty and education—especially in the encouragement of condom use—in the transmission of sexually transmitted diseases.”
    http://www.advocate.com/news_detail_ektid38617.asp
    The Lancet is a peer reviewed journal, I believe, so the study would have been verified by others.

    FInally, you all keep mentioning how weak marriage has been getting in the US. What do you consider more important. THe idea of two people dedicating thier lives to each other, or the genders involved? Personally, I think the dedication is the more important part. The family unit with two careing parents is the more vital issue. Any complaints of gender are religious problems, which the government is forbidden form involving itself in.

  50. Craig Chamberlin said

    Erkki,

    You like to nit-pick my words : ). When stating “True Science” I was implying a science that is particularly useful and accurate.

    You stated at the beginning of your post that the science isn’t particularly useful, which I agreed with (from a generalization, not an individualist point of view). Then you proceeded to cite the consensus of the scientific community on homosexuality from that very science as if it is actually credible.

    My ‘alcoholic light switch’ is a behavior but sexuality is not? Your basically stating a person doesn’t choose to be a homosexual any more than I choose to be an alcoholic.

    “There are many homosexualities”? Really? I’d like to see how credible that research is.

    In conclusion, you are re-iterating the point I’ve been making the past numerous posts. Psychology doesn’t know, so it comes down to what individuals believe.

  51. Jarrod Brigham said

    Erkki,

    I can and have read the ancient Greek manuscripts. It is quite clear in Romans 1:26-27. Look at the preceding verses. Starting with verse 24 “Paredoken autous ho Theos en tais epithumiais tone kardione autone eis akathoarsian” which is translated God gave them up to the unclean desires of thier own hearts (sin). I will spare everyone from the actual Greek words from this point on, since I doubt anyone else can read Greek here. I just wanted to prove to you that I have a copy of the Majority texts and a copy of the Textus Recepticus at my disposal. Here is how the rest of the passage is translated: “to dishonor thier bodies between themselves” (sin), vs. 25 “who changed God’s truth into a lie (sin) and worshipped the created more than the Creator (sin). Vs. 26 “God gave them up to vile affections (sin) Vs. 27 “the men, leaving what is the natural use of women, had lust toward each other, men with men, working out shame and the recompense of their error. This is all sin. What more explanation do you want? Verse 28 says that they did things that are not right with God. Verses 29 adn 30 says that these same men are filled with all manner of unrighteousness such as fornication, wickedness, envy, murder, strife, even haters of God. What part of that passage even hints that it is not against homosexuality?

    Allow me also to address your question of the Hebrew texts. I don’t have a Hebrew Text, but I can get a copy of the Septuigint tomorrow if needed. Lev. 20:13 “If a man lies with a man as he lies with a woman (what do you think that means?), both of them have committed an abomination (what do you think that means?) The entire 18th chapter of Lev. is about sexual morality. Do you know where homosexuality is in that passage? Sandwiched between sacrificing your children by burning them to a false god and having sex with an animal. All of these things are abominations.

    If you are more of a Biblical scholar than I, please enlighten me as to how an abomination is acceptable before God. I would be happy to translate any other passages that seem unclear. The fact is the total opposite of your statement. You would have to cut out many passages of the Scriptures to get the idea that homosexuality is not a sin. Homosexuality is an abomination. There is no interpretation needed, it is there in the black and white.

  52. Craig Chamberlin said

    Ryan,

    I wasn’t arguing against gay marriage, I was discussing whether homosexuality is a choice or not. Try not to shift the debate.

  53. Erkki KochKetola said

    Jarrod:

    My compliments on your linguistic achievements. Ancient Greek is an arcane language these days, and not even someone as learned as I knows how to read it (of course, when it comes to languages, I’m not all that learned; this is something I’ve always wanted to correct, but have never had the ability to). My hat’s off to you.

    That said, when do these texts date to?

  54. Jarrod Brigham said

    Ryan,

    I looked at your website and allow me to make a few critiques of their translation. I noticed that they used the Westcott and Hort text since they quote predominantly from the newer translations such as the NIV. This text is the worst of the three major texts, many verses are cut out of that text and it is not a complete text.

    Secondly, they made a common mistake in their translations. Instead of translating word for word, they translated meaning for meaning. Which means the translator takes the liberty of interpreting the text and applying what he or she wants it to mean rather than letting the reader decide. This is done by many cults such as the Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons.

    There is no scholarship on this weblog. The main source of information comes from a former professor, not a Ph.D. from Fordam. I cannot find that he even has a degree, his personal website list no education.

    The second source is from John McNeill, a defrocked priest who was ex-communicated from the Church.

    The apparent Greek expert is a Robin Scraggs (again not a Ph.D. and again no sign of a degree) She is apparently a faculty member at the unaccredited Union Theological Seminary, but she is not listed under the faculty.

    The only person listed as a source with a degree is Dale Martin, a professor who was brought to Yale to teach two classes. He is quoted as being in opposition to the writer.

    I don’t think this is a good source to site as a Biblical support for homosexuality.

  55. Erkki KochKetola said

    Rachel:

    Yes, I absolutely require statistical proof. I need to know exactly what you consider a problem and why. When we’re dealing with questions like this, it is important to understand exactly how we’re arriving at our conclusions so that there’s no possible room for misunderstanding. I am by no means arguing that we should immediately conform to the standards of academic discourse (nor do I think we should do so here), but I am saying that we should at least act as if we’re engaged in scholarly inquiry if for no other reason than to reinforce the habits of doing research, citing sources, and clearly and concisely stating our findings – beginning with being a bit more careful about what we argue is “fact.”

    When we write here, we tend to write our conclusions, “what we think about” X. But to simply state one’s conclusions is to say nothing of significance. What’s important is not what you believe, but how you came to arrive at that belief. When discussing anything, it’s important to (1) be aware that you don’t know everything there is to know about a subject (except Chuck, of course, who is an expert in so many fields he should be on the faculty, not taking classes), (2) be aware that other people might know more than you do (again, Chuck isn’t included), and (3) be aware that there is likely to be data out there that could be read to contradict your conclusion(s) thereby leaving open the possibility that someone will disagree with you (except in Chuck’s case, because he’s always right and anyone who disagrees with him is a hyper-partisan).

    Contradict others all you like, but be prepared for others to attempt to find flaws in your argument as well. And most of all, know that Chuck is always right.

  56. Rachel Custer said

    Erkki,

    Herein lies the problem, and the reason why I haven’t spent hours finding conclusive research to back up my common sense arguments…you say “What’s important is not what you believe, but how you came to arrive at that belief.” I think what we believe is VERY important, and I know you won’t accept a statement that I accept certain things on faith. Therefore, we seemed to be at an impasse before we even started, and I quite honestly wasn’t sure I wanted to waste my time trying to get you to hear a point of view you are not prepared to even acknowledge.

    Nonetheless, it’s a slow night, so…

    Consequences of promiscuity including increased risk for HIV and other STDs (there are also several excellent links at the bottom of the page this link leads to addressing other issues of risk and promiscuous sexual behavior):
    http://www.cdc.gov/HealthyYouth/sexualbehaviors/index.htm

    Addressing differences between homosexual and heterosexual relationships, including homosexual promiscuity and health risks-pulls together information from studies by several reputable sources:
    http://www.frc.org/get.cfm?i=IS04C02
    http://www.gatago.com/sci/electronics/repair/31114314.html

    A link that talks about the connections between sexual behavior and AIDS, both historically and now:
    http://www.healthsquare.com/fgpd/fg4ch22.htm

    There are a million results for every search I have done, so I’m sure if you were of a mind to, you could find even more results proving that sexually transmitted diseases are, indeed, transmitted by sex. And quite possibly, you will even believe that the more sex you have, the more likely you are to get infected (didn’t your health teacher ever draw the diagram for you in middle school…you know, you sleep with one person, they’ve slept with two people, those two people have slept with four people…etc, etc.?)

    Also, I understand that when discussing things academically, it is necessary to consider other viewpoints. However, when it comes to matters of faith, I guess I must admit that I am fairly inflexible…if I wasn’t, how strong would my faith really be? :) Have a nice night Erkki. Thanks for the reply.

  57. Andrew Filmer said

    Here is what I think is a fairly balanced article on the subject:

    http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1112856,00.html

    which covers quite a few of the points put forth by both sides of this debate. I think this line is significant:

    “That’s in part because of the growing influence on the right of another gay force: gays who don’t want to be gay, who are sometimes called, contentiously, “ex-gays.”

    It’s important to note that nearly all mental-health professionals agree that trying to reject one’s homosexual impulses will usually be fruitless and depressing–and can lead to suicide, according to Dr. Jack Drescher of the American Psychiatric Association, who has studied programs that attempt to alter sexuality.”

    I should state out front that the article also talks about organizations who differ in that opinion – namely, Exodus International. A distinction I personally note is that the quote is based on science, the latter on religion.

    An issue one needs to address is whether issues at a national level – such as civil marriage licenses – should be determined by passages from the Bible, which cover only the Christian population. As far as I know no one – not even the New Jersey Supreme Court – is insisting a Church should change its internal rules.

    Should a Buddhist American same-sex couple, for example, have any more rights to a civil marriage license than a Christian one? This comes back to the separation of Church and State, and if we look at areas in the world where this does not exist – such as Islamic States (which is not the same as Muslim nations, a very important distinction) – we may see things a little differently.

    But yes, I digress from the topic of choice of sexuality, or of whether or not it is a static condition. It’s just that I believe I’ve said all I need to say on those issues… well, except to add that in the Time Magazine article it does touch lightly on ‘multiple homosexualities’, though not in those exact words.

    As the debate here gets more… energetic – and I admit that I’ve contributed to that in being at times ascerbic, Craig, and I hope that there are no hard feelings as a result – let us celebrate that this discussion is useful, and that we can all learn from another. I know that sounds like a Miss USA line (no pun intended), but I do know a thing or two about what it’s like to not be able to have the right to have such a discussion: and that’s a right I think we will all, again, celebrate, whether you are from the right, the left, or the center.

  58. Rachel Custer said

    Andrew Filmer,

    Well said. Having the freedom to discuss these things is something for which we should always be thankful. I think part of the reason Christians are upset right now is we seem to be getting stifled more and more recently, and we don’t want to lose that right.

  59. Erkki KochKetola said

    “Stifled?” Hardly. If anything, you get more attention these days than ever before. This smacks of a Dolchstoßlegende.

  60. Sam said

    Likewise, I do not understand the contemporary assertion that Christian beliefs and views are being suppressed in this country. Aside from the separation of church and state, people can believe whatever they wish to believe and raise their children however they like. A lot of this seems to be outright fabrication, such as the supposed “war on Christmas” late last year.

    Oddly enough, some people believe that our political system was predicated upon Christianity. Nothing could be further from the truth.

    A clear majority of adults in the United States does not believe in macroevolution.

    In many ways, the U.S. is a very strange place.

    :)

  61. Rachel Custer said

    Errki,

    That smacks of a German thesaurus.

    Erkki and Sam,

    To understand how much Christians are truly attacked in this country for their beliefs, you would have to be a Christian. For example, we have hundreds of comments on the Vision website, while the Preface has five. Why? Because people believe we are a bunch of “right-wing neo-con Christian fundamentalists trying to force our views on others,” and therefore they write comment after comment telling us how wrong we are. Never mind that part of the reason we started the Vision in the first place was because the Preface refused to allow students with our views any space, even though we account for a considerable percentage of IUSB students. Interesting, too, that while we disagree with many of the things printed in the Preface, there are virtually no comments on their blog deriding their beliefs that differ from ours.

    So you tell me…are conservative Christians reacted to in the same way as liberals. Apparently, at the very least, not when it comes to certain numbers of the student population at IUSB.

    Trust me, guys, in the same way Christians wouldn’t want to live as “gay for a day,” as I think was suggested earlier on this thread, most liberal humanists would not want to live as Christians for a day. And if they did, they would quickly realize that there is some discrimination, ranging from the way people look at us with disgust and attack our viewpoints without actually listening, to accusing us of everything from racism to hatred to holding beliefs in line with the Nazis.

    In my opinion, the most discriminated against group in America today is the white Christian male. Before you all get in an uproar, I ask that you take some time to just think about the possibility. Think about the fact that there is affirmative action for every group but the white male. And the fact that political correctness dictates that every religious belief is acceptable, except for the belief that Christ is the one and only way to Heaven. Think about the way the women’s movement has “empowered” women by degrading men. In America today, it sucks to be a white Christian male. I feel a bit sorry for them, in truth.

    Here’s the thing. If everybody would quit with the politically correct crap and try to think through things without all the buzzwords and party lines, with common sense, we would be a lot better off.

  62. Erkki KochKetola said

    Rachel, do you routinely store your cranium in your anal cavity, or have I caught you at a bad moment? Alternatively, please share what you’re smoking.

    I think we’re done here.

  63. Sam said

    As a non-Christian, I maintain the exact opposite view. I believe that non-Christians receive most of the scorn in this country. I’m one of those “Godless” liberals. That has been my experience. Christians brag about their beliefs and use them to the best of their advantage, such as during an election campaign.

    Part of the problem is that showing others the way, i.e. influencing others in this regard, is a natural part of the Christian philosophy. As a non-believer on the other hand, I have no interest whatsoever in trying to convince others of my views.

    Christians are not attacked in this country for their beliefs, unless one mistakes the anticipated denial of an even greater Christian influence in this country as some sort of “attack” (for example, attempts to undermine evolution in the high school biology classroom as “just a theory”). To claim otherwise is gratuitous hallucination. Just a mind-bogglingly false claim.

    Not trying to politically correct there :)

  64. Sam said

    “do you routinely store your cranium in your anal cavity”

    Hmm… not the daintiest of prose :)

  65. Sam said

    Also, I find it very surprising, even on a site like this, that some people question the fact of homosexuality as an inherited trait in many cases. It’s a nature/nurture balance in every case, and sometimes nature is the dominant factor.

  66. Andrew said

    Sometimes I wonder if conservative Christians want to be discriminated against, and are looking for reasons to claim they are. I mean, your lot has had control of the congressional branch for roughly 10 years, you’ve a (thankfully tenuous) majority in the judicial, and for the past 6 years you’ve had the presidency as well.

    I’m not really sure what more you could ask for.

    “War on Christmas”? This is laughable. I hate to break this to you (ok, I really don’t) but most corporations aren’t in business to make you feel accepted, but to make money. If saying “Merry Christmas” instead of “Happy Holidays” will make them more money, they’ll do that.

    I think that if I were in your position, I’d be more offended by the idea corporations were capitalizing on my faith than by one of their employees saying “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas”.

    Rachel, if white males are discriminated against in this country, why do we have an overwhelmingly white male government? It couldn’t be that this pesky reality is again getting in the way of conservative talking points, could it?

  67. Andrew said

    By the way, I find your complaints about the volume of comments here vs. the Preface a little hypocritical; when you were trying to get “space for students with your views” you deluged the Preface with letters. Why is it OK for you to publicly disagree with the Preface, but not for people to disagree publicly with you?

    This is what you get for publishing polarizing editorials. If you can’t stand the heat, I suggest you get out of the kitchen.

    The other side of this coin is that the Preface publishes bar reviews, and I really don’t care about bars.

  68. Rachel Custer said

    I knew it would elicit a firestorm. Here goes…

    Erkki,

    You’ve proven my point better than I ever could have.

    Sam,

    You put quotes around “godless liberals,” as if it is inaccurate. Yet you readily and freely admit you have no belief in God. So where is the discrimination there? You have said you are a liberal, you have said you do not believe in God, so it would seem the phrase is merely stating a fact. However, I do understand what you’re saying about it being used as a derogatory phrase, and I think it’s used as a blanket statement too often.

    However, if you really don’t think Christians are looked down on for their views, I suggest one of the following experiments:

    1. In one of your humanities classes, suggest that A.) There is such a thing as absolute right and wrong, because God said so; B.) Abortion is wrong because the Bible says life is sacrosanct and God forms us in the womb; C.) The best way to stop the spread of AIDS is to teach abstinence education.

    2. In one of your science classes, suggest that A.) Macroevolution has never been proven and it is entirely possible that God created the Earth, or B.) Intelligent Design should be given equal treatment in biology classes as evolution.

    3. The next time you go on a date, tell your date that you don’t believe in sex before marriage.

    Then, watch the looks students, professors, and your date give you. See how fast they begin to ridicule you, and to put you down for your professed beliefs. See how nasty people can get when your beliefs disagree with theirs. Nobody is more unaccepting than a liberal when confronted with a conservative. Trust me, it can get pretty tough to defend your beliefs with pride when most students, the professor, and your potential girlfriends are looking at you like you’re an idiot or telling you you have your “cranium inserted into your anal cavity (thank you, Erkki, for proving my point.)”

    Andrew,

    “Our lot?” Is that not an example of the very stereotypical behavior you constantly deride when practiced by others? Personally, I have stated several times on this blog that I don’t feel politicians are very good representatives of Christianity, whether they are Republicans or Democrats. Regarding the majority of our government, it’s a good point. Let me think about it further so I can respond intelligently, please. Also, I agree about corporations trying to make money, which is becoming more and more difficult for them in this era of political correctness. I’m not sure I even mentioned a “war on Christmas.” The problem I have with not saying Merry Christmas is the REASON for the change, not the actual fact that people aren’t saying it. First of all, to me (and the majority of Americans, I might add) Christmas will continue to be about the birth of Christ whether or not commercial enterprises recognize it.

    Also, Andrew, regarding the Preface…again with the stereotypes. I didn’t deluge anybody with letters. I didn’t even send a letter when I was personally maligned in an editorial after a personal conversation I had with the editor was taken out of context, misquoted, and published (I had no idea it was being considered for publication, and was not told). I have no problem with people being able to disagree publicly with me. I just reserve the right to disagree publicly with them in an equal forum. So we took some initiative and created that forum.

  69. Sam said

    “Sometimes I wonder if conservative Christians want to be discriminated against, and are looking for reasons to claim they are.”

    I agree completely. It’s about rallying the forces and driving the Wedge. There are many who secretly or openly believe that this country should, in fact, be run by right-wing Christians.

    ID enthusiasts, for example, constantly complain of being “discriminated against” essentially because our government stubbornly continues to enforce the separation of church and state. Many conservative Christians disagree with this notion of separation, instead preferring unity. It is a test of wills that will probably never attenuate in our lifetimes.

    Anyway, back to your point: it is a ploy indeed, at least among the more intelligent members of the religious right. Their job is to convince the less intelligent.

  70. Sam said

    “You put quotes around “godless liberals,” as if it is inaccurate.”

    It was a pun based on the title of the latest Coulter book (I quoted only “godless”, not the phrase by the way.

    “Yet you readily and freely admit you have no belief in God. So where is the discrimination there?”

    Likewise, almost every one of your posts includes a reference to your strong religious faith, explicit or implicit. This is the first time I made mention of my nonreligious beliefs on the Vision. I wasn’t accusing you of discriminating against me, nor can I imagine cricizing your faith. Incidentally my lack of faith has certainly presented its own set of social challenges.

    I am politically liberal as well as a nonbeliever. I am also a single data point out of hundreds of millions in this country. That’s the flaw underlying a book title like Godless: The Church of Liberalism. A sizeable fraction of left-leaning people not only believe in God but are Christian.

    I joked about the phrase “Godless liberal” due to its inaccuracy. Not all liberals are godless, not all godless are liberal, and so forth. The flaw in your comment (to suggest that “Godless liberal” lacks any complication) is analogous to young earth scientists accusing the theory of evolution as being driven by an underlying atheist dogma. The existence of many Christians who do not challenge the notion of common descent eliminates the basis for this contrived dualism.

    “You have said you are a liberal, you have said you do not believe in God, so it would seem the phrase is merely stating a fact.”

    I, for one, happen to be a political liberal who also does not believe in the Christian God. But the phrase you refer to and the premise upon which it is based, which you seem to concur with, rests upon a false dichotomy. It is logically incorrect. I hope you understand that.

    “However, I do understand what you’re saying about it being used as a derogatory phrase, and I think it’s used as a blanket statement too often.”

    Fair enough – perhaps I misunderstood your previous comments. Again, I alluded to the “Godless” title precisely because of its disingenuousness.

    “1. In one of your humanities classes, suggest that A.) There is such a thing as absolute right and wrong, because God said so; B.) Abortion is wrong because the Bible says life is sacrosanct and God forms us in the womb; C.) The best way to stop the spread of AIDS is to teach abstinence education.”

    I see nothing wrong with any of those opinions and would not waste any time debating them. I respect and admire your deeply felt religious beliefs. No kidding. After all, these are beliefs. My own non-belief is a belief.

    “2. In one of your science classes, suggest that A.) Macroevolution has never been proven and it is entirely possible that God created the Earth, or B.) Intelligent Design should be given equal treatment in biology classes as evolution.”

    Thank God it isn’t (pun intended). By the way, gravity is also a theory. The speed of light and the big bang are both theoretical. Theories are not proven per se. The evidence for macroevolution is sufficient for the vast majority of people who do science for a living to recognize macroevolution as a fact (i.e., it certainly happened and continues to happen) and a scientific theory as well (we are still trying to figure out which mechanisms underlying common descent are most compatible with the accumulating evidence).

    There is no empirical evidence for ID. It is a sociopolitical, religion-based movement. In contrast to macroevolution, ID is predicated 100% on a pre-existing religious perspective. One might call it faith-based science.

    Faith-based opinions about macroevolution are well and good, but they do not belong in a science classroom.

    Finally, macroevolution is not an argument against the existence of God. It does not address the origin of the universe or meaning of life. Some Christians, for example, believe that God created the heavens and the earth and used evolution as the mechanism for propagating life. Around two thousand years ago he elected to intervene in a very specific and unusual way (not to imply that he doesn’t intervene constantly in people’s lives) by having the virgin Mary bear his son.

    It is entirely possible that God created the universe including the earth. Macroevolution does not argue against that. It does (along with other accepted lines of evldence), however, argue against a young earth, humans being created separately from other life on earth, and religious fundamentalism in general. None of that stuff belongs in a science classroom.

    “3. The next time you go on a date, tell your date that you don’t believe in sex before marriage.”

    Well, that is a personal decision each of us must make. Should your stance on the issue preclude a marriage with someone, the acute issue is having sex before marriage, not your religious views themselves.

    Cheers :)

  71. Erkki KochKetola said

    Rachel, why don’t you try getting up in an economics class and tell your professor that orthodox economics are pseudoscience and deliberately examine economic phenomena in a manner guaranteed to produce results that favor capitalism, and that heterodox economists have it better than them? Or try getting up in a history class that deals with the 20th century and claim that the Jews weren’t gassed at Auschwitz and that the holocaust is a hoax.

    The former position is one I would (and do) hold; the latter, naturally, I consider repugnant. Yet, in the classroom, you’re supposed to be able to express each equally, so long as you can present evidence to defend your stance. Some positions are simply untenable; abstinence being the best way of stopping AIDS is one of these – the simple fact is that you can’t prevent most people from having sex, the human sex urge is too strong and our society too manipulated by sexual imagery in advertising. So is the claim that macroevolution hasn’t been proven (there are multiple observed instances of speciation in the laboratory; see, for example, Talk.Origin’s Macroevolution FAQ). The evidence simply contradicts your assertions.

    Further, with regards to the issue of ridicule, think how I get ridiculed because I’m a socialist. “Oh, socialism is such a great idea, too bad it doesn’t work in reality,” being a common response; do you think I’m not sensitive to the patronizing tone there? The problem, I’m afraid, is that your beliefs are considered extreme (as, indeed, they are) by most people; admittedly, most people consider me somewhat extreme as well. The difference, however, is that I don’t go around yelling at them to accept Christ or burn in hell.

    Rachel, the bullshit in your posts is so deep, I don’t have time to deal with it all, and you’re unlikely to be receptive to my corrections. I don’t have a party line, I don’t use buzzwords, I don’t use political correctness; you, in fact, are doing that. This country was built on white supremacy, and runs on white supremacy. The discrimination you perceive is actually suppposed to fix the slight problem that White Male Christians have been running this country since they landed. Far from being discriminated against, White Male Christians in fact hold the overwhelming majority of elected and appointed office in our governments[1][2][], run the overwhelming majority of major corporations[4, and own the overwhelming majority of the wealth in this country; and this is also the pattern in most of Europe and Latin America (most of the elites in Latin America are predominately of Spanish descent, not mestizo). This is symptomatic of discrimination? In what universe?

    Most of the people in the links I provided above are white males, and since the majority of the population (esp. the white male population) in the West is Christian, most of them are also going to be Christian. They certainly aren’t “godless liberals.” Atheists are a small minority in this country, and I’ve encountered shock and incomprehension when I share this fact with people; they simply aren’t capable of understanding how you wouldn’t be able to believe in God. I consider it a no-brainer.

    To sum up, Rachel, you’re way out there, and you need to come on in.

  72. Sam said

    “Then, watch the looks students, professors, and your date give you. See how fast they begin to ridicule you, and to put you down for your professed beliefs.”

    But wait – you’re not a white Christian male.

    :):):)

    Seriously, that is unfortunate.

    I was just making the point that people aren’t out to attack individuals like you or (presumably), even worse, white male Christians. At least that has been my experience as professor, fellow student, boyfriend, etc. I have definitely been in situations where my relationship with a woman could not go any further because my religious beliefs were unacceptable (one very recently) and thus can relate.

  73. Erkki KochKetola said

    Crap, that came out wrong. That should be:
    “White Male Christians in fact hold the overwhelming majority of elected and appointed office in our governments[1][2][3], run the overwhelming majority of major corporations[4], and own the overwhelming majority of the wealth in this country; and this is also the pattern in most of Europe and Latin America (most of the elites in Latin America are predominately of Spanish descent, not mestizo).”

  74. Bret Matrix said

    Congrats Rachel, you have successfully sent Erkki running from a debate. Bravo.

  75. Craig Chamberlin said

    Everyone,

    This is by far one of the most interesting debates I’ve been able to follow. Rachel has made some very good points in the distinction of reverse-discrimination occurring within our culture. I do believe it is a natural side effect of our history of racism.

    For example, it is not wrong to accept a minority female into a college with a lower GPA over a white male simply because they are a minority and are female. This, in itself, is discrimination. However, since it is discrimination against the majority, it is not claimed to be. This happens very much in our culture.

    Rachel really hit it on the nose in her reference to macroevolution (which has been found to have many scientific flaws) and intelligent design. Although Andrew believes there can be no scientific case for intelligent design, I’d like to ask him to find some hard hitting scientific facts for any theory in the field of philosophy or psychology. All of these theories, although they fundamentally disagree with eachother, are taught. Most of the time it is based upon outdated assumptions.

    The fact is intelligent design and creationism are not taught because teachers and institutions are too terrified to teach them out of fear of ‘separation of church and state’ threats. The fact is, they are still theories and there is indeed scientific facts to back up each one. Let me know if you guys want me to elaborate further.

    Secondly, Rachel made a strong case for discrimination based upon religion. Many Christian students are terrified to talk about abortion, sex and their own personal beliefs because science frowns upon beliefs. What a beautiful irony. The science that is supposed to support critical thinking is thwarting the individual students ability to think outside it’s pretty little rationalized box.

    Needed to be repeated:

    1. In one of your humanities classes, suggest that A.) There is such a thing as absolute right and wrong, because God said so; B.) Abortion is wrong because the Bible says life is sacrosanct and God forms us in the womb; C.) The best way to stop the spread of AIDS is to teach abstinence education.

    2. In one of your science classes, suggest that A.) Macroevolution has never been proven and it is entirely possible that God created the Earth, or B.) Intelligent Design should be given equal treatment in biology classes as evolution.

    3. The next time you go on a date, tell your date that you don’t believe in sex before marriage.

    Also, do not forget, these cases are not an attempt to force religious beliefs on anyone, just merely suggest them. Even suggestions, however, are quickly put down and in many cases laughed at for being ‘silly and outdated’. Heck, many of these suggestions are based upon science as well, but since the science comes politically “under the banner of religion”, it doesn’t merit being taught as a theory.

    Don’t get me wrong, there are many fantastic teachers out there who do not thwart these theories and actually give them a fair shake. These are the teachers who actually respect individual beliefs and the importance of sharing all forms of science not based upon politics, rather the progession of ideas.

  76. Ryan said

    Rachel, to say I’m offended by your comments about godless liberals is an understatement. A social conservative has to deliberatly ignore extensive portions of Christs teachings to maintain such a stance. Conservatives dwell on sin, the religious liberals dwell on salvation.

    Craig, the entire pretext of a discussion about the nature of homosexuality is the marriage debate. Pretending otherwise is fruitless.

    The white christian male is not the most discriminated group in the country. While our demographic has some issues thanks to irresponsible legislation attempting to band-aid social problems, we still have significant advantages.

    Rachel, the problem with your questions is that they are misapplied. A humanities class is meant to be an exploration of human interaction, not on human and divine. Which would God comdemn in your mind, the starving man who steals a loaf of bread to feed his family, or the shopkeeper struggling to feed his own children by refusing to donate the bread?

    Abortion. Wrong. Exodus makes it clear thats not the case, and many Biblical scholars agree. Humans are a soul, not a body. The soul is not present until the body is ready.
    Evidence has consistently proven that abstinence only education is ineffective and wrong. It is not the best way to stop aids, nor even a mildly responsible way. Not everyone is Christian, so that kills it right there.

    “Macroevolution cannot be proven and it is entirely possible God created the Earth.” But science is the exploration our knowledge of Gods creation. The assertion above is irrelevant in a science class room, because it cannot be proven or disproven. Same thing with ID. Bringing that into the class room is an affront to Gods gift of intelligence. We have been granted the capacity to learn and understand creation, ID is just a lazy excuse to fail at that understanding.

    I’ve had that discussion on whether to wait or not with any woman I’ve been serious with, because I’m willing to do what they are comfortable with. Your assertion of being laughed at is not always correct, and indeed I know many who prefer to wait. People are only looked down upon when they are christian when they make the rest of us look like fools. This is done by emphasizing the sins over the salvation, as I mentioned earlier. Leave people to live their lives, and live yours. But having hissyfits when someone recognizes yours aren’t the only type out there (Holidays vs Christmas, Commandments on government property, No alcohol on Sundays)makes us all look like petulant children. Thats why the faith is increasingly looked down upon.

  77. Ryan said

    I may need to withdraw from this discussion. It is getting to a point where civil discourse may not be possible much longer. When Ann Coulter starts coming up, you know things have gone down hill.

    Ah, and Jarrod. In translations, meaning is everything. I will choose to go with the interpretation that is not pushed as a means of hatemongering, in hopes that God is indeed a just God. I’ll see if I can’t dig up some of the other readings I’ve had on this, but if God condemns a person to hell before they are even born, then how can God conceivably be just?

  78. Sam said

    “Rachel really hit it on the nose in her reference to macroevolution (which has been found to have many scientific flaws) and intelligent design. Although Andrew believes there can be no scientific case for intelligent design, I’d like to ask him to find some hard hitting scientific facts for any theory in the field of philosophy or psychology. All of these theories, although they fundamentally disagree with eachother, are taught. Most of the time it is based upon outdated assumptions.”

    Macroevolution theory is incredibly vast in what it does explain relative to what it does not yet explain. There are certainly people who wish to cordon off those yet-unexplained areas from further analysis and instead ascribe what we can’t yet explain to the work of a supernatural designer (hence the phrase “God of the gaps”). In other words, “Stop right there!”

    “The fact is intelligent design and creationism are not taught because teachers and institutions are too terrified to teach them out of fear of ’separation of church and state’ threats. The fact is, they are still theories and there is indeed scientific facts to back up each one. Let me know if you guys want me to elaborate further.”

    Yet, the drive to insert ID and/or “critical analysis” of evolution is based on exactly that: an attempt to get the church into the state by framing creationism as “science”. ID has no scientific support (which includes the fatally flawed “irreducible complexity” argument) save for a very few Christian scientists, in particular Michael Behere of Lehigh University. Moreover, ID fails miserably as a “scientific theory” right off the bat. It is a rather pithy, untestable notion that belongs in a religion or sociology classroom.

    The “fear” mentioned above is owned by religiously conservative parents who are concerned that the teaching of macroevolution in high school poses a threat to evangelical or fundamentalist spiritual upbringing they worked hard to provide. The “fear” on the part of scientists such as myself results from this sociopolitical drive to insert religious dogma into the high school science classroom.

    ID is predicated 100% upon religious dogma. There is not a single ID advocate in this country who has any question about the reality of God coming into it. Evolutionists, on the other hand, are a mixed bag – some Christian, some Jewish, some Hindu, some agnostic, some atheist, etc. IDers in this country are essentially 100% protestant Christian, especially Catholic (even though the Vatican office itself does not question macroevolution) and, obviously, evangelical.

    Creation science is, in fact, dead. ID is just creationism in a lab coat, attempting to pass itself off, to a largely ignorant U.S. public, as “science”.

    Here’s the evidence for macroevolution as of several years ago:

    http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/comdesc/default.html#intro

    Here are the refutations (even though I generally don’t care for the term) of the young earth arguments:

    http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/hovind/howgood.html

    This should help those who may not fully understand what is meant by the terms “theory” and “fact”:

    http://www.stephenjaygould.org/library/gould_fact-and-theory.html

    The full, verbatim text of Jones’s ruling this past January makes for interesting reading (I have the document, but not a link – sorry).

    The Wedge document is also quite revealing in terms what really underlies the recent ID movement.

    “Secondly, Rachel made a strong case for discrimination based upon religion. Many Christian students are terrified to talk about abortion, sex and their own personal beliefs because science frowns upon beliefs. What a beautiful irony. The science that is supposed to support critical thinking is thwarting the individual students ability to think outside it’s pretty little rationalized box.”

    No, it’s because science is simply NOT CONCERNED with views on abortion, sex, spiritual beliefs, etc. It is not concerned with morality.

    I agree with the notion of reverse discrimination in terms of race, but tend to doubt the idea that Christians need to worry about censorship in this country.

    “Don’t get me wrong, there are many fantastic teachers out there who do not thwart these theories and actually give them a fair shake.”

    It depends on the classroom setting. ID is an interesting sociopolitical movement. Creationism is an interesting (well, to some) religious notion. None of it belongs in a biology or science classroom.

    “These are the teachers who actually respect individual beliefs and the importance of sharing all forms of science not based upon politics, rather the progession of ideas.”

    I’m not sure how many forms of science you think exist. Most scientists are aware of one. I certainly respect individual beliefs and the progression of ideas in general. ID has been discounted as science, but owing to 100% religious dogma, agencies like the Discovery Institute won’t let go. If a judge rules against ID as worthy of being taught in the science classroom, that judge is “activist”. People who acknowledge the reality of macroevolution are “driven by an atheist dogma”. It gets old.

    ID is indeed an interesting subject. It is not science.

  79. Rachel Custer said

    Sam,

    My point in stating the experiments was to suggest you actually try one.

    It was suggested earlier that most Christians would not consider being gay for a day to find out how gay people felt about discrimination. My contention is that you may be surprised by how discriminated against you feel when you try one of these experiments.

    And Craig is right, there is actually some excellent evidence for intelligent design in the universe. And there is very little for macro-evolution. Micro-evolution, yes, we have seen substantive evidence that it happens. Macro? As far as I am aware, there is absolutely no evidence that one species has ever changed into another species.

  80. Sam said

    Hi Rachel,

    I’m not going to push the subject. ID is the sort of issue I have no problem agreeing to disagree about. I gave my own views in a subsequent, more detailed post (apparently it is still under “moderation”).

    BTW in terms of evidence for biological underpinnings of homosexuality, an investigator named Simon Levay described quantitative differences in the volume of several hypothalamic nuclei maybe 15 years ago. Once again, however, the lack of manipulation precludes the inference of cause and effect (for example, one could argue that the practice of homosexuality incluences neural structure, not the other way around.

    Sam

  81. Rachel Custer said

    Hi all,

    Thanks for the thought-provoking discussion. I kind of feel like I am beating a dead horse here, so I may withdraw as well. When it is suggested that there is Biblical support for killing a baby, you know the thread has gone south.

  82. Sam said

    Rachel,

    I didn’t understand that whole thing about the Bible advocating the killing of fetuses or whatever. Haven’t read the Bible in many years but even so, I find it hard to believe that it promotes abortion.

    Still waiting for my latest comments regarding evolution and ID to get beyond “moderation”. There was nothing inappropriate about them wirth respect to tone. They were submitted at 8:59 p.m., nearly 90 minutes ago. I did read your comment in the other thread regarding one of your own posts being moderated and also recall an observation by Craig several days ago that Chuck Norton’s posts were for a time being moderated in a certain thread.

    In any event, there is no rhyme or reason behind this arbitrary and capricious need for “awaiting moderation”. It amounts to temporary censorship at the least.

    By the way I am a professor of human anatomy and neurobiology. In my courses, doctoral students dissect the human body from head to toe, then we examine the fixed human brain in considerable detail. I also teach statistics and research methodology.

    Wasn’t sure regarding the experiments you suggested in terms of conducting. Do you mean in my classes? Just asking.

    Cheers :)

  83. Erkki KochKetola said

    Testing; I have posts that have been pending since 6:20 and 6:26. I thought you folks said this place was uncensored?

  84. Sam said

    It’s being censored, alright.

    Eliminating profane or abusive posts is one thing.

    My speculation is that the editor, Jarrod Brigham, in conjunction with Craig Chamberlain, gets to a point where he decides the very next post by a given individual will receive a time-out because he doesn’t like what he thinks is about to be posted. Without such a pre-emptive strategy, they would show up right away and he would then need to remove them.

  85. Rachel Custer said

    Guys,

    Come on. I really don’t think anything like that is going on. Craig and Jarrod have set up this weblog for just such discussion as we are having. I have a hard time believing they malevolently plan to censor certain peoples’ posts.

    Sam,

    That post regarding abortion was in reference to another post responding to someone else. But no, I don’t think God would support that either. Also, no to your question about experiments. Earlier, I listed some experiments for anyone who doesn’t believe Christians are discriminated against, just in case anyone should want to find out for themselves. Since you are a scientist, perhaps you will take me up on it :). Here are the experiments:

    1. In one of your humanities classes, suggest that A.) There is such a thing as absolute right and wrong, because God said so; B.) Abortion is wrong because the Bible says life is sacrosanct and God forms us in the womb; C.) The best way to stop the spread of AIDS is to teach abstinence education.

    2. In one of your science classes, suggest that A.) Macroevolution has never been proven and it is entirely possible that God created the Earth, or B.) Intelligent Design should be given equal treatment in biology classes as evolution.

    3. The next time you go on a date, tell your date that you don’t believe in sex before marriage.

    Just see how people react. :) By the way, no offense on the science class thing…didn’t know you were a science professor. So cool, by the way, to get to dissect a whole corpse! My dad did it in med school and they named him Ernest so they could say they were working in dead Ernest…dumb huh?

    Ryan,

    I just re-read one of your posts, and wanted to say, I sincerely apologize for offending you. It was not my intent. As I have stated elsewhere, I know there are many liberals who are Christians. My point was specific to someone else, who went on from saying something about the phrase godless liberal, using a pun on Ann Coulter’s book (a pun I missed, by the way), and then went on to say he was a liberal who did not believe in God. I just found it amusing. Anyway, hope I have explained, and even if I haven’t, hope you will forgive me for offending you.

  86. Craig Chamberlin said

    Sorry, posts have been added. It throws any posts with over 2 links into the moderation bin, I have yet to figure out how to make it not. Sorry about the inconvenience.

  87. Rachel Custer said

    Erkki,

    If you would refrain from using curse words in your posts they might not get stuck in moderation (just an idea).

    So discriminating against white Christian males now will make up for discrimination in the past against other groups? Exactly how long should this discrimination go on before things are even? When things are even, who should we discriminate against to make up to the white males for discriminating against them? Two wrongs don’t make a right, Erkki.

    Also, I don’t EVER recall going around yelling at people to accept Christ or burn in Hell. If I have ever yelled anything like that at anyone on this weblog, please remind me of that, and I will pay for your lunch.

    Thank you and have a nice day.

  88. Andrew said

    I don’t think anyone’s suggesting that we discriminate against white Christian(!!!) males, Rachel (although I find your choice of adjectives interesting; again I am forced to wonder if you want to be persecuted). I think the spirit of affirmative action programs is admirable; they recognize that at times, minorities are discriminated against, and they work to correct this.

    Now I’m not saying that affirmative action is the answer to discrimination, or that it always works, but I do think that it addresses a very real problem, and as such it cannot be entirely bad. Even if it doesn’t work, we owe it to ourselves to try to correct for discrimination. That’s a very ugly thing.

  89. Craig Chamberlin said

    Sam,

    A Scientist creates a unproovable theory (macro-evolution) and you call it a science. Others create an unproovable theory (Creationism) and you call it a religion. How very interesting.

    The fact is, if you leave creationism out as an option, what other option do you have? Dumb-luck. Which is exactly what the macro-evolution theory is. “Oh, the world, it just so happen to all smack together a long time ago, and in a series of impossible events, we have the world today.” What other option could there possibly be? Either the world was created by an intelligent being, or it was not. Science is unwilling to even consider it being created by an intelligent being because it is “religion”. So obviously their conclusion is going to be it all happened on ‘dumb-luck’. What other possibility could it be?

    Science doesn’t want to admit it could have been created by an intelligent being, although in the vastness of the universe, it has been so perfect, we’ve come to the conclusion that man-kind should not have ever existed. The odds of our planet containing just the right atmosphere, just the right distance from the sun, just the right resources, just the right everything for man to exist is explained by science as ‘dumb-luck’. When the actual odds of this dumb-luck actually occuring is so minute, that it couldn’t possibly be dumb-luck.

    “We should take care not to make the intellect our god; it has, of course, powerful muscles, but no personality.”

    – Albert Einstein

    “Science without religion is lame. Religion without science is blind.”

    – Albert Einstein

    Deleting Duplicate Posts.

  90. Erkki KochKetola said

    Craig:

    Macroevolution has been well-studied and verified multiple times. Far from being unprovable, it has been very well demonstrated to exist. That you continue to say that indicates that you either: (1) didn’t visit talkorigins.org, (2) didn’t understand what was being said, or (3) rejected it out-of-hand.

    And as to the issue of dumb luck…we have absolutely no idea how probable life actually is. We’re just beginning to be able to detect planets in other solar systems, and the ones we’ve found so far are not suitable for lifeforms as we understand them. At this point, all we can say is that it looks like we got lucky, but that estimate will certainly be revised as our ability to scan other solar systems improves. This is how science works.

    We may quibble with science education, but we’ve got to teach people something. Most of the population is not going to be involved in research in evolutionary biology. Due to the political economy of education, we often receive badly outdated (and therefore innacurate) information through high school. Also, most people don’t keep abreast of the latest developments in science. I try to, but my time for leisure reading is quite limited, and so most of it is spent on topics of relative congruity with my academic pursuits. So the problem is not so much a function of science as of how we teach it.

    And that’s it for the time being.

  91. Craig Chamberlin said

    Erkki,

    (4) Read the theory and the refutations, brainstormed on both, therefore concluding they have not yet prooved their theory which in essence, makes it a theory.

    Either way you look at it, science is deliberately biased in it’s education because it chooses to teach one theory without reference to the other. This hinders the education process because both theories may very well be true, and neither can be dis-proven or fully proven.

    Creationists and evolutionists, Christians and non-Christians all have the same evidence—the same facts. Think about it: we all have the same earth, the same fossil layers, the same animals and plants, the same stars—the facts are all the same.

    The difference is in the way we all interpret the facts. And why do we interpret facts differently? Because we start with different presuppositions. These are things that are assumed to be true, without being able to prove them. These then become the basis for other conclusions. All reasoning is based on presuppositions (also called axioms). This becomes especially relevant when dealing with past events.

    http://www.answersingenesis.org

    Dare I suggest that if science is as Sam suggests it, separate from the conceptualization of intelligent design, then it holds the presupposition of the non-existence of God, and therefore holds Atheistic pre-suppositions? If this is the case, then why is education based upon Atheistic pre-suppositions allowed to be taught and not theistic? This is what we call separation of church and state. If both theories are meant to teach the basis of the creation of man from a atheistic or a theistic point of view, then neither should be taught, because both are based upon religion and can neither ever be fully proven scientifically (unless we went back in time).

  92. Erkki Kochketola said

    Science is not “deliberately biased in its education” because it teaches a basic version of the commonly-accepted theory of evolution. There are multiple theories of evolution; Stephen Jay Gould, for example, came up with the theory of punctuated equilibria (or equilibrium). This theory holds that change doesn’t occur as the result of very small baby steps spaced more-or-less evenly throughout the evolutionary history of the lifeform, as does the mainstream Darwinian view of evolution (known as phyletic gradualism), but rather that multiple changes occur at a very rapid pace at some times and very little change happens at others. Punctuated equilibrium is an alternative scientific theory. Scientific education in anything but evolutionary biology teaches the basics of evolutionary theory; enough for you to grasp what’s going on, but not the whole picture. Think of it as reading the abstract of a journal article as opposed to the article itself.

    In order to qualify as good science, Occam’s Razor must apply. The theory must be as simple, yet as robust, as possible and contain the least number of unproven assumptions. God cannot be verified to exist by scientific means, is therefore not falsifiable, and is therefore left out. Far from starting from an atheistic pre-supposition, it starts out from a non-theistic pre-supposition, i.e. one in which the question of God’s existence is irrelevant because the theory is concentrating on those phenomena which can be demonstrated to exist.

    Intelligent Design requires that you believe in an intelligent designer, i.e. God. Evolutionary theory, on the other hand, takes no position on God. His existence or lack thereof is irrelevant to the theory. Attempts to introduce Him lead to pseudoscience because you can’t prove or disprove God’s existence with our present level of technology. So nobody’s expressly denying that He exists when they argue that natural selection is the mechanism by which life forms evolve. They are, however, rejecting a literal reading of the Bible.

    And atheism is not a religion.

  93. Craig Chamberlin said

    Erkki,

    It teaches the ‘commonly-adapted’ theory of evolution but refuses to teach the theory of intelligent design. Intelligent design does not make an effort to prove there is a God, rather, it is an attempt to prove the existence of an intelligent being partaking in the creation of the earth and its inhabitants. Science assumes this means God. Let us pretend, for example, that evolutionists find out that there was an intervening agent from “billions” of years ago of a higher intellect that caused it’s theory to take place. Will the theory of evolution somehow become a religious theory?

    The fact is, if you create a theory on the creation of man there are only two possible explanations:

    1) Man was created by an intelligent being or
    2) Man was created by dumb-luck

    Since science openly admits it can never possibly prove (1), it makes no effort to teach such a theory. However, it makes every effort possible to teach (2). The fact is science has conveniently become a medium through which an intelligent designer can not be a part of it, and because you are dealing with a theory about the creation of man, the science can only result in the non-existence of an intelligent designer. Therefore, it is teaching an atheistic viewpoint on the creation of man, because it is not allowed to make reference to a theistic viewpoint.

    You are basically stating: “As long as science makes no effort to suggest there is an intelligent designer, it is a accurate theory, throw in any suggestion of intelligent design, and it is religion.”

    Atheism is not a religion?

    Religion – a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, esp. when considered as the creation of a superhuman agency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs. (www.dictionary.com)

    Atheismdisbelief in the existence of a supreme being or beings.

  94. Erkki Kochketola said

    Man was not created by “dumb luck,” as you would have realized if you’d read Dawkins. It’s a series of changes that have accumulated over the millions (if not billions) of years of history of life on this planet. ID is pseudoscience, because it explicitly assumes the existence of a designer (which, of course, despite protests the contrary is the Christian God, since the only people promoting ID are Christians) – they throw up their hands when they can’t explain some evolutionary mechanism and say, “It must be God!”

    Throw in intelligent design, and you have the possibility of a valid theory, but at this point, it’s not appropriate to teach it in science classrooms because it’s not yet a well-developed theory. When you can demonstrate conclusively that your designer is necessary (the arguments advanced in favor of ID are very very old, as Dawkins points out in The Blind Watchmaker, dating back to the late 19th century, and have been refuted many times since then), it’ll be science. Like it or not, scientists are the ones who get to determine what is and what is not science.

    No, atheism is not a religion.

  95. A. Reader said

    Evolution is a valid theory because it effectively explains observable phenomena and makes predictions that are testable. It has nothing to do with a theistic or athesitic approach; it is the net result of applying the scientific method to observed biological diversity.

    Nothing about the theory of evolution precludes (or in fact says anything at all about) the existence of a supernatural being. There is a very common misconception that evolution is specifically an atheistic concept; this is false.

    ID is not a product of the scientific method and is therefore not a scientific theory. This is a fact. It is absolutely not on the same footing as evolution in terms of providing a framework within which we can understand current and new (i.e. through making predictions) observations about biological diversity.

    The fact that ID gained ground with public opinion in recent years is a result of popularized misinformation about what the scientific theory of evolution actually includes and confusion about the scientific method in general. There is essentially no support for ID in the scientific community. ID is not rejected because scientists insist on an atheistic explaination; it is rejected because it does not have any scientific value.

    I can’t stress enough the notion that evolution (and science in general) does not contradict theism. It is about trying to learn the rules governing what we observe– not why the rules are there.

  96. Craig Chamberlin said

    Erkki,

    “It’s a series of changes that have accumulated over the millions (if not billions) of years of history of life on this planet.”

    A series of impossibly unlikely connected changes over millions (if not billions) of years. This is called dumb-luck.

    What I especially enjoyed was this particular paragraph in Dawkins:

    The worldwide scientific research community from over the past 140 years has discovered that no known hypothesis other than universal common descent can account scientifically for the unity, diversity, and patterns of terrestrial life. This hypothesis has been verified and corroborated so extensively that it is currently accepted as fact by the overwhelming majority of professional researchers in the biological and geological sciences (AAAS 1990; NAS 2003; NCSE 2003; Working Group 2001). No alternate explanations compete scientifically with common descent, primarily for four main reasons: (1) so many of the predictions of common descent have been confirmed from independent areas of science, (2) no significant contradictory evidence has yet been found, (3) competing possibilities have been contradicted by enormous amounts of scientific data, and (4) many other explanations are untestable, though they may be trivially consistent with biological data.

    Hmm, how about that, no other possible theory than dumb-luck. That is because there can be no other possibly theory without intelligent design. Sometimes I laugh at the masking of scientific theories by acting as if they actually attempted to find another possible theory.

    There are only two possible solutions Erkki:

    1) Intelligent Design
    2) Dumb-luck

    Since (1) is scientifically unprovable, science is going to discover (2). Why is this so hard to understand? The only way for the dumb-luck theory to be contradicted is to consider an intelligent designer, which science can not do. So of course they will have “empirical evidence” proving (2) because it is the only possible solution science can predict!

    Science, in essence, is proving a moot point with macro-evolution. It is an attempt to prove dumb-luck when dumb-luck is the only solution it can possibly prove.

    Atheism is a religion. It is the belief in the non-existence of a diety, therefore it adheres to a univeral creation theory of randomness. By definition, this is what religion is, a stance on the purpose and creation of the universe.

  97. Rachel said

    At the bottom of the lifeorigins.org page:

    “The Panda’s Thumb is dedicated to explaining the theory of evolution, critiquing the claims of the anti-evolution movement, and defending the integrity of science and science education in America and around the world.”

    Are we to take this as unbiased evidence? Their very reason for existence is to critique the claims of the anit-evolution movement! Give us an unbiased source claiming proof of macroevolution please.

    Also, explain from a macroevolutionary standpoint the bombardier beetle’s evolution. Just that one animal…explain the evolution to its current existence without killing itself off.

  98. A. Reader said

    Rachel,

    I’m not a biologist and don’t have the expertise required to address your challenge regarding the bombadier beetle. However, it looks like that is another common ID/creationsism argument that is covered by TalkOrigins. If you care to read their explanation:

    http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/bombardier.html

    I understand your frustration with language such as you quoted regarding the panda’s thumb. Keep the purpose of the TalkOrigins website in mind: to debunk often-cited and demonstrably incorrect arguments perpetuated by creation scientists. Although it is unfortunate in the sense that it will likely turn off some readers, I’m not surprised that the writing often expresses exasperation.

  99. Craig Chamberlin said

    Erkki,

    Is Atheism a Religion?
    http://www.worldmagblog.com/blog/archives/017109.html

    The Court’s even say so…

    Wisconsin prison inmate Jack Kaufman filed a suit in federal court claiming that his First Amendment rights had been violated because the warden had refused to allow him to practice his religion – atheism. In an ironic ruling that is a victory for religious liberty yet will likely be viewed as a setback for those who subscribe to this particular “religious belief”, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with Kaufman that his rights had been violated since atheism is indeed a “religion”: “[W]hether atheism is a “religion” for First Amendment purposes is somewhat different question than whether its adherents believe in a supreme being, or attend regular devotional services, or have a sacred Scripture. The Supreme Court has said that a religion, for purposes of the First Amendment, is distinct from a “way of life,” even if that way of life is inspired by philosophical beliefs or other secular concerns. A religion need not be based on a belief in the existence of a supreme being (or beings, for polytheistic faiths), nor must it be a mainstream faith.

    Emphasis mine.

  100. Sam said

    Craig,

    I for one am not concerned about the semantic issue of calling atheism a religion or not. It is not germaine to the discussion and furthermore rests on a complete false insinuation. None of what you have stated hinges on whether atheism may be considered a religon itself.

    What remains, and is more important, is that acknowledging common descent as a fact (it happened) and a scientific theory (precisely how did it happen) is NOT based on atheistic world view. This is the contrived dualism you and other creationists seem to move beyond, deliberately or otherwise (a little of both, I would imagine).

    ID is most certainly based upon religious belief. The Discovery Institute readily admits that. Fine. Unfortunately, for your side of the argument, evolution is NOT based on religious belief. There are Christian evolutionists, as just one convincing example to support this additional fact.

    Here is a somewhat shorter link on how most in the U.S. do not understand the meaning of a scientific theory and how creationists have attempted to exploit the situation:

    http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/evolution-fact.html

    A. Reader made some good points above.

    Given your repeated use of the phrase “dumb-luck” in the context of evolution, and the notion that ID is a testable scientific theory on par with Darwinian evolution (and that failure to “teach both sides” in high school biology class therefore amounts to some kind of disservice to young students), I don’t think you have anything close to the level of understanding of biological evolution necessary to discuss this topic with people reasonably familiar with its principles.

    No one in this thread has attempted to use macroevolution as a tool to question intelligent design as a general notion, for example. Evolution (a purpose-driven phenomenon, not a random process as you seem to perceive) could just as well be a very intelligent design intended by God for life on this planet. What scientists and for a fact is that ID is not science. After seeing all the evidence from both sides and presiding over the Dover trial, judge John Jones, a Republican church-goer, also ruled that ID is not science.

    ID is outside the realm of scientific inquiry based on how science is defined by scientists, and that’s exactly how it should be. Remember also that the world of scientists includes theists as well as nontheists.

    Having said all that, I will concede or acknowledge that several major tenets of Christian fundamentalism specifically, such as the belief in an earth less than 10,000 years old, are completely disproven by science including the fact of macroevolution. No offense – that’s just the way it is. The earth really is nearly five billion years old, and humans and chimpanzees really do share common ancestry.

    If you choose to believe differently, that’s fine. But leave that stuff out of the science and biology high school classroom. Leave it in church, at Bible study, in your heart, in your relationships with others and with the God you worship.

    Sam

  101. Andrew said

    Ultimately, Sam, science can’t really prove or disprove anything where a omnipotent deity is concerned. Proponents of the idea can just say “Oh, well, God created everything so it looked as if evolution happened, in order to test our faith”, and there’s not really a counter to that statement.

    However, you can’t go down this road without discussing religion, so I doubt the ID people are willing to.

  102. A. Reader said

    Andrew,

    Science is the process of explaining what we observe in a way that allows us to make predictions.

    One can believe whatever he wants, but if he makes the statement you propose (I’ll paste it below), then he isn’t doing science. This doesn’t make his belief wrong, but it does make it unscientific.

    I may have missed some posts, but my sense is that the current discussion is about what is and what is not science– not religion. ID is definitively not science, whereas the theory of evolution is.

    “Oh, well, God created everything so it looked as if evolution happened, in order to test our faith”, and there’s not really a counter to that statement”

  103. Andrew said

    Certainly. I wasn’t suggesting that this line of reasoning is scientific.

  104. Craig Chamberlin said

    Sam and A. Reader,

    I appreciate your correctness and manner on addressing my unfairly villifying those in the field of macro-evolution. I do sincerely owe an apology to those involved in the science. The point I was trying to make, overall, is that if science is going back to look at creation without the notion of an intelligent designer, it is going to find macro-evolution. I ascribed the word dumb-luck because of the minute odds associated with the evolutionary process. I have now discovered this has an insulting connotation to it, which I should have realized before making the statement.

    If science looks into the fundamental creation and development of this earth, it is unable to associate it with an intelligent designer, because the notion of an itelligent designer is not inherently scientific. Therefore, the explanation for any unknown phenomena in science will, in the end, be luck. Other than luck, the only option would be intelligent intervention, which science cannot allow because it cannot prove.

    My intentions were to get people to look out the scientific box. The scientific box, in this case, is the inability to prove an intelligent designer therefore meriting it no discussion, and the ascribing of unknown scientific phenomena to luck. This is all science is allowed to do, and as you suggested, it is rightly so. I am discovering science is not supposed to create a suggestion to a intelligent designer because it will become philosophy. However, in dealing with creation, this will only lead to one possible scientific conclusion, luck.

    Now many are going to accuse me of creating a “God of the gaps” argument. Where anything unexplainable by scientific means must be the result of an intelligent intercessor. This is not at all my implication, it is that science, overall, can only deduce that the creation of the universe is a random sequence of events. So it will.

    Again, I appreciate both of your non-critical analysis of my arguments.

  105. Sam said

    Craig,

    “I appreciate your correctness and manner on addressing my unfairly villifying those in the field of macro-evolution. I do sincerely owe an apology to those involved in the science.”

    I don’t believe you owe anyone an apology. You are one of the more courteous and respectful writers at the Vision and again, I have nothing but respect for your world view, Rachel’s, etc.

    “The point I was trying to make, overall, is that if science is going back to look at creation without the notion of an intelligent designer, it is going to find macro-evolution.”

    Perhaps. Well, I don’t think people like Darwin were necessarily resistant to see evidence for creation so to speak, if it were there. He may well have been a theist, if I remember correctly. It was just one of those things where as a scientist you realize what is going on and in fact, he sat on Origin of Species for years before publishing it. He was afraid of political and religious backlash, knowing it would start a fight.

    “I ascribed the word dumb-luck because of the minute odds associated with the evolutionary process. I have now discovered this has an insulting connotation to it, which I should have realized before making the statement.”

    I didn’t think the phrase was inherently insulting. The odds of an earth being formed exacty like this one such that the form of life we perceive were indeed low, but it’s a circular argument. If you start with a $300M lottery winner and then retrace the steps of that individual, one might say “My gosh! Statistically speaking there’s no way you should have won the lottery. Must be design.” The odds themselves are under scrutiny at the moment.

    I find it interesting personally to imagine that vastly superior civilizations of some form of life as we perceive it may have existed many millions of years ago on other suitable planets in other solar systems in other galaxies. Wild speculation of course.

    People who have really studied macroevolution understand the process to be quite nonrandom. That’s all I was thinking upon reading the phrase “dumb-luck”.

    “If science looks into the fundamental creation and development of this earth, it is unable to associate it with an intelligent designer, because the notion of an itelligent designer is not inherently scientific.”

    I agree with this part. Moreover, perhaps one day we can use science to observe supernatural phenomena in some empirical fashion.

    “Therefore, the explanation for any unknown phenomena in science will, in the end, be luck. Other than luck, the only option would be intelligent intervention, which science cannot allow because it cannot prove.”

    Someone above – Andrew, perhaps – commented that science doesn’t actually prove anything with 100% certainty which is different from regarding something as fact, strange as that sounds.

    Actually I would be among the first to rejoice upon the scientific discovery of any actual evidence for a supernatural designer or the falsification of any of the main lines of positive evidence for evolution. That would be very exciting and, for me personally, the meaningfulness of life would be enhanced.

    “My intentions were to get people to look out the scientific box. The scientific box, in this case, is the inability to prove an intelligent designer therefore meriting it no discussion, and the ascribing of unknown scientific phenomena to luck.”

    Well, again, I don’t think macroevolution has been proven with 100% certainty. Otherwise we’d stop doing any more research on it. It’s just that the theory fits so well with the observeable history of earth that witholding qualified acceptance of it (the qualification being some kind of new evidence to refute it – falsification, for example) would be considered intellectually perverse.

    People look outside of the scientific box all the time. Scientists try not to, though not owing to some atheistic inclination. The box you are referring to is scientific naturalism (this has also been disputed by some sectors of the ID movement – who says science should be limited to observing only the natural?). In my opinion, the very term supernatural implies that humans are not capable of directly assessing or measuring it, at least in any empirical way.

    “This is all science is allowed to do, and as you suggested, it is rightly so.”

    That is a generous concession on your part. Just to paraphrase what I intended to state previously, scientists are the group of people we should look to in terms of how science is defined. Not everyone agrees with that, of course. The most mundane and atrocious counter-argument is that the American people should make that decision. Politicians have often been known to make such claims.

    “I am discovering science is not supposed to create a suggestion to a intelligent designer because it will become philosophy.”

    Not quite sure what you mean. Are you suggesting that science is, by definition, incapable of inferring an intelligent designer?

    You’ve heard the analogies such as bacterial rotary flagellum, finding a watch in a prehistoric desert, the cave painting, etc. It really would be interesting for someone to discover some sort of object that is neither man-made nor a result that can be easily explained by common decent over hundreds of millions of years. Scientists marvel over the profound complexity of the genetic code probably more than do non-scientists. Yet they understand that something so profound, so design-like in its structure, could evolve over such a vast temporal continuum. Did you know, by the way, that the genomes of certains plants are considerably larger than ours?

    “However, in dealing with creation, this will only lead to one possible scientific conclusion, luck.”

    Not sure I understand.

    “Now many are going to accuse me of creating a “God of the gaps” argument. Where anything unexplainable by scientific means must be the result of an intelligent intercessor. This is not at all my implication, it is that science, overall, can only deduce that the creation of the universe is a random sequence of events. So it will.”

    Well, I don’t think that science is capable of perceiving ONLY a random sequence of events, and even that phrase suggests that macroevolution is random.

    I mean if the big bang theory is true (and essentially all scientists agree with it), then what?

    Science is without a clue in terms of what preceded the big bang, although perhaps a physicist lurking on the site will suggest otherwise. (Me no physicist.)

    “Again, I appreciate both of your non-critical analysis of my arguments.”

    Likewise, I appreciate your collegiality and intelligent approach to the topic.

    Sorry for any typos above (like leaving out entire words, which I sometimes do. The edit box on my screen is so shallow that I usually just hit SEND without further ado.

    Cheers,

    Sam

  106. Rachel Custer said

    Sam,

    Very well-thought-out and intelligent statements. I agree with what you said about how scientists admire the genome more than others do. I think it must be one of the most amazing confirmations of faith (for those scientists who ascribe to a certain faith already) to see the wonderful order in the universe. I also think this about physics and mathematics.

    Incidentally, there have been some really interesting shows on the public channel recently (I think they’re called “String theory for dummies” :) ) that I have enjoyed watching. They talk about the ability of physicists to use mathematics to walk backwards through the earth’s development toward the Big Bang. They describe every phase of the earth’s development all the way from now through human development, dinosaurs, etc, and assign them a time based on a total 24-hour span for all of history. One of the most interesting things they said (to me personally, anyway) was that they can go back mathematically to approximately within nine seconds of the Big Bang, explaining with math exactly what is happening and when. Then, the math breaks down, and they can’t go any further. And they have no idea why the math breaks down.

    Several of the physicists made the comment that they had simply come to the conclusion that the first nine seconds are where God came in. They basically have decided to just accept that they may never know what happened in those first nine seconds; of course they don’t have much choice.

    Anyway, if anybody has a chance to see these Physics for Dummies shows on string theory, they are fascinating and very interesting – I would suggest watching them no matter what your beliefs are.

  107. Sam said

    Wanted to add a comments to just one part of the exchange above:

    “If science looks into the fundamental creation and development of this earth, it is unable to associate it with an intelligent designer, because the notion of an itelligent designer is not inherently scientific.”

    I can’t say that I agree with this, and therefore retract that part of my previous response.

    I don’t believe that the mere notion of an intelligent designer is inherently unscientific. The issue, according to scientists, lies in the nature of the evidence itself, not what the evidence may suggest.

    In other words, we currently lack a scientific method of discerning intelligent design.

    The arguments put forth lately by the ID community, in terms of their observations being intrinsically scientific, have been soundly rejected by the scientific community.

    This differs from stating that science – by definition – rules out an intelligent designer.

    Incidentally the Discovery Institute comes right out to state (i.e. defend) their position by claiming that one need not use the term “supernatural” in terms of the identity of the designer. Somewhat embarrassingly, they also have the audacity to claim that the designer need not be the Christian God (at least on their website), even though the “scientific” staff at the DI all hold adjunct appointments at explicitly Christian institutions. Nowadays they don’t like the term “supernatural”, instead preferring talking phrases such as “evidence of design”. They do so in order to continue their push to get this notion of ID into the biology classroom as some sort of scientific theory that, on the face of it, should be pursuable via the current definition of the scientific process (after all if it was “supernatural”, it wouldn’t be). They’ll do anything. Check out Ohio’s ID website (http://www.idnetohio.com/) which, if you read deeply enough, actually suggests that scientists have recently “redefined” science in order to restrict ID inquiry when, in fact, only Kansas recently did the exact opposite – they removed the word “supernatural” from the previous definition of science for the purposes of Kansas secondary science education.

    Anyway, I digress. (Hate that phrase too, but it was appropriate here.) Science currently lacks the tools to detect a supernatural designer based on the nature of the supposed evidence provided thus far, not some sort of intellectual distate for the outcome in question. Anecdote, the world’s beauty, etc., are insufficient.

    Sam

    (More typos, I’m sure)

  108. Sam said

    Rachel,

    Very interesting observations, none of which I disagree with. I am largely ignorant of string theory (know just a little about it) but your statements are compelling. Science has no capacity to suggest anything further back in time. Again I am no physicist, but that is my understanding. There’s the issue of dark matter, unforseen universes on the “other side” of black holes, the “meaning” of a singularity, etc.

    I feel as though human beings are naturally arrogant in terms of what they think they can perceive and explain. An idea such as macroevolution on this earth is less than a baby step in the grander scheme of things. I think macroevolution as an event should be considered factual, but prior to or beyond that? You got me. We tend to think that the laws of science and nature, as recognized by humans, should stand the test of immortal time.

    :):)

    Sam

    P.S. You’ve probably heard of some people defining God as what we don’t know and perhaps can never know. I would be one of those.

    I’ll look for your recommendations on String Theory for Dummies. Thanks :)

  109. Rachel Custer said

    Sam,

    I think the belief in God that you espouse is a valid one for someone who considers himself agnostic, or questioning, or whatever. If you do not feel that you know enough, it is valid to defined God as that which you don’t know or understand. I think the great thing about Christianity is we feel there are some things about God we can understand, even as mere humans :). However, I can respect a belief system that says, “I don’t know what or who God is, so God must be defined as that which I don’t know.” It is a logical argument for a person who does not feel they know enough to claim they know God, and one I find a lot of scientists hold because they come into contact with the wonders of the natural world (e.g. the human genome) all the time, and scientists are very interested in objectively measurable evidence. I think it would be wonderful in a way to be a scientist, because you get to see the amazing order of the universe (which I obviously believe was created and ordered by God). But all to say, I think it is a consistent and logical belief for someone who is admittedly questioning to say, “I don’t know, so therefore, God must be somewhere within that which I don’t know.” I don’t necessarily believe this makes someone an unbeliever in God, though…more of an agnostic who is questioning exactly what they believe or know.

    Great comments, Sam. I enjoy talking with you here on the blog, and I am excited that we have such a diverse group of people, regarding education levels and beliefs. It makes for some very good conversations and learning experiences. Thanks for your contributions.

  110. Sam said

    Rachel,

    I pretty much agree with what you said above. On a personal note, I guess I am more an agnostic than an atheist.

    For some reason I found myself recently searching the term “atheist” on Wikipedia (probably due to my recent participation in this blog). It was a learning experience. I didn’t know about the dualities of weak/strong and implicit/explicit in this regard. After reading everything, I felt as though I am more of a questioner versus one who dictates the lack of any sort of god.

    Anyway, thanks for your kind words over the course of this thread and one other. Same to Craig. You are both very kind individuals and I know you will be very successful in your postgraduate careers. You may wonder what I am doing even participating on this site, given my lack of affiliation with IUSB. All I can say is that I have come to sincerely appreciate the IUSB weblog and do not take for granted the opportunity to participate.

    High five,

    Sam

  111. Rachel Custer said

    Sam,

    How sweet! We are trying to create a good forum for discussion for everyone, whether or not they are affiliated with IUSB. Thank you for the compliments.

    High five,
    Rachel

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