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John

Evolution: They has mythed the point again.

Where are all those century 21 bone readers when the chips get to smelling funny? I have one that'll really make your liver quiver (they use to read fortunes in those too, you know). The only reason evolution is the central thread woven through all public education text books is to teach us that we are only animals. Well, you see, you can tame, train and chain most animals...or can you? Wonder if that has anything to do with the presence of armed guards and metal detectors in our public schools? The "AYES" have it.

John.


Tod Billings

Oh my, do you really believe that?

JOHN
>The only reason evolution is the central thread woven through all public 
>education text books is to teach us that we are only animals.

TOD
Eek, where does one begin with such gross error? Evolution is not "the central thread woven through all public education text books", but is included in only a small percentage of public school text books, such as the obvious: biology, geology, paleontology (if offered), etc. You won't find it mentioned at all in any algebra books, geometry books, trig books, calculus books, english books, spanish books, American history books, civics books, health books, chemistry books, home economics books, literature books, ROTC manuals, sociology books, choral books, orchestra books, typing books, spelling books, or a multitude of other books that one could think of.

Furthermore, the reason that evolution is "the central thread woven through" biology is because there is much evidence to support it, and only within it's context does everything in this field and other field's like paleontology make sense. For example, the fossil record makes sense in the context of evolution, but not biblical creationism. If all life evolved, we would expect to find in the lower rock strata all of the smaller and simpler organisms, and in the higher strata, the more complex organisms.

That is what we find. The oldest fossils aren't even fossilized bone, but fossilized imprints of single-celled algae dating back to over 3 billion years ago. You move up the strata, and you begin finding fossilized imprints of more complex invertebrates (such as in the Burgess Shale), but still no vertebrates . Moving up still, we find the first true fossils of simple vertebrates . From there we move up through more and more complex classes of animals, from fishes, amphibians, reptiles, and finally to mammals.

Within each classification of animal, we find they increase from simple to complex. You have amphibian-like reptiles, and you move up to dinosaurs. Within the dinosaurs, you go from simple to more complex, all the way up to creatures like T. Rex and Triceratops, creatures thought to even be warm-blooded.

65 million years ago, you find only simple, rodent-like mammals. Going up through the strata, you find increasingly more complex mammals, all the way up to hominids such as ourselves.

If the fossil record was laid down by a global flood, which is the only way an antievolutionist can explain the fossil record, we would expect that there would be no order to the fossil record, at least not one in a ranking from simple to complex. You would expect to find grizzly bear remains with trilobites, T. Rex remains with human remains, etc.

Furthermore, you have such things as wisdom teeth. How is that explained in a creationist context? Here we have an extra set of teeth that don't fit in our mouths! They serve no purpose, as people live better and more comfortable lives without them. When the erupt, they cause pain in almost everybody, and before modern medicine arose, even caused death on occasion.

What kind of cruel being would have purposely created such a redundant and painful thing as wisdom teeth?

On the other hand, they make perfect sense in the context of evolution. Early hominid remains show that the trend of evolution in hominids was a reduction of the face or reduced sub-nasal prognathism (the jutting of the jaw below the nose, such as in chimps). We also find that throughout the ages, we have maintained the same number of teeth. Now, if you shrink the area of the teeth, but keep the same number of teeth, common sense tells you they will get shoved together, and wisdom teeth will result.

In the area of human evolution in particular, only a person who doesn't know the evidence would make such a claim such as we didn't evolve.

You start out with Australopithecines, which walked upright like a human, but had an apes face and brain, especially regarding the size of the latter (cranial capacity was about 400 to 500 cc's, like a chimp, as opposed to our average of 1200 cc's).

The sub-nasal prognathism was great. The teeth were larger than ours, and not uniform in size like ours. They had a complete lack of a forehead or chin, and heavy browridges. They were about three and a half feet tall and weighed from 60 to 90 lbs. Existed circa 4 to 1.5 million years ago.

From later Australopithecines, we move up to finds of another fossil hominid, Homo habilis, who had a slightly larger brain (500 to 750 cc's). Still has sub-nasal prognathism, but it is not as extreme as the Australopithecines. The browridges were prominent but less pronounced also than the former. You have a higher forehead, and an increase in size. It's teeth have become uniform in size. Existed circa 2.5 to 1.5 million years ago.

Next is Homo erectus, with a brain capacity approaching ours (750 to 1200 cc's). The browridges are still apparent, but the sub-nasal prognathism is almost gone. A chin is developing, and a yet more distinct forehead. Size has increased to about that of modern humans, maybe ten pounds less than the average, and three inches shorter than the average. Lived circa 1.8 million to 100 thousand years ago.

Then you move up to the archaic Homo sapiens, who are almost like us, with the exception of very slight browridges and a not so high forehead.

A little over 100 thousand years ago, we begin to find modern Homo sapien sapiens.

The interesting thing is, the lower end of the morphological norm for each species overlaps the higher end of the norm of attributes of the species preceding it. This is found temporally as well. The transition is undeniable.

Early Homo erectus, for example, had a cranial capacity equal to the higher end of Homo habilis. Later Homo erectus had a cranial capacity that overlapped modern humans. When we line up Australopithecus afarensis, Australopithecus africanus, Homo habilis, Homo erectus, archaic Homo sapien, and Homo sapien sapien (us), we see a continual and unbroken transition in all details, in all respects. If one arranges their skulls chronologically on a table, one can literally see that transition from one to the other.

It seems that if we were specially created, God went out of his way to make it look as if we evolved, in the slightest details.

Furthermore, we are believed to be animals not because anybody is out to "train" or "control" humans, but because we are so obviously animals one cannot honestly deny it. Even if the theory of evolution didn't exist, it wouldn't be hard to conclude we are another animal.

We are mammals, sharing all the characteristics of mammals. We have hair, are warm-blooded, and our females produce milk to feed their offspring. Dogs match us in every category. We have to defecate and urinate, just like a dog. If you cut yourself and I cut my dog, you will both bleed, and it will even be the same color. What will kill my dog will kill you, with very few exceptions. If his head is smashed with a brick too hard, he dies. Same with you. If I shoot him in the gut he dies, so do you. If he is decapitated, he dies. So do you. He has a desire to have sex. Humans have a desire to have sex. He procreates through sex. So do we. He has a genetic makeup, so do we. He has a skeleton, so do we. He has the same bones as we do, just in different proportions. Social animals, like chimps, have emotional needs. So do we. They have rules in their group. So do we. They breath oxygen and give off carbon dioxide. So do we. If they are deprived of oxygen, they die. What a coincidence, so do we.

There are no differences in kind, only in degree. We have larger, more complex brains, but other animals have large and complex brains too, it isn't that other mammals have no brains at all! It is a difference of degree. If we are going to allow differences of degree to separate beings from the animal kingdom, we will have to separate a lot of what we now call animals from that classification. Sure, we have the best and biggest brains, but a cheetah is the fastest runner. It is the best in the land speed category. Is it still an animal, just because it is better than the others? Sure, it won't make great civilizations, but we can do that only because of our superior brains.

What about a severely retarded human? They don't even have that difference of degree. They don't have ANYTHING that other animals don't have. They can't do anything that other animals can't do. In fact, there are some people so severely retarded that they have an IQ less than a chimp's. Is that person still a human? Of course he/she is. Do they have the difference that people claim separates us from other animals? Not at all, there are a few animals on earth that surpass a severely retarded person in mental abilities, e.g., chimps, gorillas, orangutans, elephants, dolphins, and whales.

Furthermore, comparisons of our DNA with chimpanzee DNA show that we share over 98.4% of our genetic code with a chimp. That means that the differences between us and the chimp are all compacted in a slight 1.6% of our cellular DNA.

To separate us as a different class of being altogether based upon 1.6% difference is silly. Sure, we are different, drastically in some ways, but obviously, we are genetically just another type of animal.

On a side note, genetics examination has reached the conclusion that we shared a common ancestor with the chimp about five million years ago, and wouldn't you know it, the fossil record concurs, with upright apes dating back to over four-million years ago.

I don't see the aversion to being considered an animal. As if animals are all the same, and you can't have some that are better than others. Is a lizard the same as a dog? Which makes a better defender of his/her master? Who shows more love? Is a chimp comparable to a dog? I'm putting my money on the chimp any day to perform a mental task.

Do you know that several chimps, gorillas, and even an orangutan have been taught human language in the form of sign language or computer lexicons? Kanzi, a pygmy chimp, has learned over five-hundred signs, enough to carry on a small conversation with you. He can conceptualize abstract concepts, just like a human. This has been tested in several experiments. In one, he is told to go outside and get the ball. There is a ball inside, but he ignores it, going outside to get a ball he doesn't know is out there yet, but has abstractly conceptualized that it is based upon his understanding of the human language.

I'm already well aware of creationist's arguments against evolution, so if you'd like to offer them to me, I'll refute them one by one

Ciao,

Tod Billings



Part II

John

Bless God, I've been rebutted by an encyclopedia.

Sir, you are so encumbered with the facts that seem to support your theory it is a miracle that we speak the same language. Well, perhaps even that too shall evolve. I could invest some hours here quoting the facts from the many archeological digs that support the accuracy of the Bible but I am simply not as disciplined as you are.

My hats off to your thoroughness. Will I be recieving a bill for this class? however, you have, as so many proponents of evolution do, jumped directly to the conclusion that I have dismissed the overwhelming evidence for a theory of evolution to be held forth. It is clear from the evidence that the one thing we can all count on is the consistancy of CHANGE. Everything and everyone evolves, either upward or otherwise. My position on evolution is not so much a defiance of the theory itself as to how the theory is being utilized by spiritually dark forces to divide and undermine a Godly base of moral upbringing for our future evolution to un-fold.

For men to hold forth this theory as the origin of life is absurd. The fact that an evolutionary process is evident everywhere and in all things in no way justifies the dismissal of God Almighty as the creator of all things both static and dynamic. Men of high mind, as yourself, have always been uncomfortable with dealing with the un-known, or the arena of faith. Here's an evolutionary thought for you:) Faith precedes all knowledge. The acqusition of fact begins with hypotheses. In other words someone had to have the courage to step beyond the realm of orthodox knowledge and believe that something would work and try it in order for the evolution of our technology to advance. The Wright brothers believed (Faith) that if they fashioned a set of wings after the design of a bird's that they could fly. Someone had to believe that the world was not flat in order to brave the horizon.

God created a universe big enough to contain all our evolutionary processes without contradiction. Just because we don't have all the facts yet shouldn't make us enemies, it should encourage us to carry on. On a simpler note I'm just a bit concerned with the de-evolution of our social morals that are degenerating from generation to generation.

It will be much easier on us all if we refrain ourselves from throwing out the baby with the bathwater. There is, after all, a highway between Athens and Jerusalem. And there is ample evidence to suggest that the way to train up a child does not begin with teaching him that he is nothing more than an animal on a slightly higher evolutionary rung of the ladder. Survival of the fittest. Oh I hear you satan. Let's kill off the population starting on both ends, after all, these intellectuals are the fittest and deserve to live the longest. Lean not unto thine own understanding but in all things acknowledge the Lord and He shall preserve thy days. By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God (oops, not that again), so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible. Hebrews 11:3.

John.


  Tod Billings


JOHN
>Bless God, I've been rebutted by an encyclopedia. Sir, you are so encumbered 
>with the facts that seem to support your theory it is a miracle that we speak 
>the same language. Well, perhaps even that too shall evolve. I could invest 
>some hours here quoting the facts from the many archeological digs that support 
>the accuracy of the Bible but I am simply not as disciplined as you are.

TOD
That implies an either or mentality. If parts of the Bible have archaeological support, it all must be true.

That isn't valid. Confirmation of the ordinary in no way confirms the extraordinary. Who denies that the stories of the Bible, as the stories of Greek mythology, weren't written against a historical background, even if fictional?

If you read a story that is historically accurate in some ways against the background of say, the late 1800's, but the story also claims that the main character was abducted by aliens who took him back into time where he became the person we know in history as Caesar, would the fact that some parts of the story were shown factual lead to the conclusion that the entire story was factual?

A lot of fiction books are written against a historical background, and employee actual historical characters and landmarks. That doesn't make them true.

Let's look at some of the archaeological finds that support some parts of the Bible:

The Moabite Stone provides extrabiblical support to the claim from the Bible that king Mesha of the Moabites was a historical person. So what does that provide evidence for? Only the fact that king Mesha was a historical person, and what Biblical critic ever denied that? How does that support any other claim in the Bible? It does not. Further examining the stone shows it contradicts the Biblical account. It claims that the war between Moab and Israel came out differently than in II Kings 3. It claims of course, that Mesha had an overwhelming victory, while the Israelites claim they were the winners.

Then you have the Black Obelisk, which provides a record of the payment to the Assyrian king Shalmaneser III by Jehu. Again, what does this act as evidence for? That Jehu existed. Does that mean that any other story in the Bible is proven true? Absolutely not, it supports only the claim that Jehu existed.

There are many claims in the Bible that nonbelievers such as myself accept, particular those of us that have studied the Bible indepth (as I have done). I accept most of the books of Kings and Chronicles as historically accurate, at least in a general sense. I accept that the kings it lists actually ruled over Israel for example. Those are ordinary claims, that require only ordinary evidence. Extraordinary claims require extra ordinary evidence. If I'm late for work under you and I say I ran out of gas, you'd probably accept just my claim and excuse me, providing I don't do it often. If I'm late for work and I tell you it is because aliens abducted me, you'd probably want more than my mere claim before you'd believe me.

Archaeological evidence swings both ways for the biblical account. There have been some archaeological finds that have proven claims in the Bible wrong. Observe this article, amazingly enough published in the magazine "Biblical Archaeology Review", which tends to have a conservative slant. It was written by a very conservative Southern Baptist preacher, professor at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, and archaeologist, Joseph Callaway. He spent nine years excavating the ruins of ancient Ai searching for support for the account in Joshua. This is what he reports:

"The evidence from Ai was mainly negative. There was a great walled city there beginning about 3000 B.C., more than 1,800 years before Israel's emergence in Canaan. But this city was destroyed about 2400 B.C., after which the site was abandoned. Despite extensive excavation, no evidence of a Late Bronze Age (1500-1200 B.C.) Canaanite city was found. In short, there was no Canaanite city here for Joshua to conquer."

"Archaeology has wiped out the historical credibility of the conquest of Ai as reported in Joshua 7-8. The Joint Expedition to Ai worked nine seasons between 1964 and 1976…only to eliminate the historical underpinning of the Ai account in the Bible." (Biblical Archaeology Review, "Joseph A. Callaway: 1920-1988." Nov./Dec. 1988, p. 24, emphasis added.)

So using the same all or nothing mentality, one can conclude that this story proves the whole Bible wrong, right? Wrong of course, it is only evidence against a small part, proving only that Ai was not destroyed by Joshua when the Bible claims it was, but had been destroyed a thousand years before Joshua was even born. It doesn't act as evidence for or against any other part of the Bible.

So you have archaeological finds that verify some parts of the Bible, and some the nullify others. No archaeological evidence could strengthen the Genesis creation claims however.


JOHN
>My hats off to your thoroughness.

TOD
Thank you sir, I do much research.


JOHN
>Will I be receiving a bill for this class?

TOD
No, that was on me. ; )


JOHN
>however, you have, as so many proponents of evolution do, jumped directly 
>to the conclusion that I have dismissed the overwhelming evidence for a 
>theory of evolution to be held forth.

TOD
I foresaw that as a possible mistake on my part, but in the interest of thoroughness, I went ahead and acted as if you were attacking the evidence as well, so if you did, I wouldn't have to respond seperately.


JOHN
>It is clear from the evidence that the one thing we can all count on is the
>consistancy of CHANGE. Everything and everyone evolves, either upward or
>otherwise. My position on evolution is not so much a defiance of the theory 
>itself as to how the theory is being utilized by spiritually dark forces to
>divide and undermine a Godly base of moral upbringing for our future 
>evolution to un-fold.

TOD
The problem I saw with your post however is that such people are rare. Hitler is the only person off the top of my head (although I don't deny there have been others, but not many) that ever tried to apply evolution to society and actually act on it in a way that harmed others.

Furthermore, he wasn't even using the valid theory of biological evolution, but taking precepts from it and warping them. He was employing "social Darwinism", which isn't a part of Darwinism at all. "Survival of the fittest" doesn't refer to actual physical conflict or eradication of one species by another, but rather to the success of those creatures best suited for their environment. They will most likely survive and pass on their successful genes. It refers to completely natural processes. Society is by definition not a natural process. The actions of humans are conscious decisions, not mindless forces of nature. Social Darwinism isn't supported by evidence.

Furthermore, the fact that people have used the theory of evolution for evil acts doesn't imply anything wrong with the theory itself. In fact, you are on shaky ground by taking this angle. How many people have been killed in the name of your religion? People have used Christianity throughout it's existence more times than for evil than for good, especially in the Dark and Middle Ages. You had the crusades, the witch hunts, the inquisitions, etc. Now days, you have abortion clinic bombings, gay night club bombings, abortion doctor assassinations, gay beatings, sometimes to death, the KKK which claims to be a Christian organization based on biblical teachings, various militias, cults based on the Bible, the Christian Identity movement (another racist denomination like the KKK), Christian reconstructionist, who call for a return to Old Testament law and punishment, Christian based war in Bosnia and Ireland, people like Rev. Phelps holding up "God hates fags" banners at homosexual funerals (which doesn't harm the homosexual, who is dead, but rather the grieving family, who probably isn't gay at all), I think you know I could go on and on.

Using your reasoning, that would imply that there is something wrong with Christianity. I'm sure you'd be quick to argue that the misuse of Christianity by some isn't evidence against Christianity itself. Likewise, you can't hold the theory of evolution responsible for the deeds of people who misuse the theory.

Furthermore, I assume what you specifically refer to is the spreading of the idea that we are just another animal. I am still having problems with that. I asked you, and you didn't answer, why is this bad? Are all animals the same? Can you not find nobility in the animal kingdom? What's wrong with being "just an animal", if you are the greatest of animals? I don't understand it. It is made abundantly clear by those that teach the theory of evolution that we are seperated from the other animals by our higher reasoning skills and complex level of self-awareness. What is in the title "animal" that is inherently bad to you? It's better than "plant" isn't it (and definitely more descriptive)? ; )

Furthermore, as I pointed out, we are so obviously an animal, particularly a mammal, that it is hard to deny.

In fact, it seems to me you aren't denying it, but rather just don't like it. Well, I don't like it that I will die, but that is the way things are, I have to accept it. I don't like it that money doesn't grow on trees, but that is the way it is, I have to accept it. I don't like it that there is suffering and pain in the world, but that is the way it is, and I have to accept it. You may not like it that we are animals, but it is clearly a fact of life, and you must accept it.


JOHN
>For men to hold forth this theory as the origin of life is absurd.

TOD
The theory of evolution isn't used to explain the origin of life, but the development of life since its origin. Biogenesis is the field that covers life on earth. I would ask you, why is it absurd?

Furthermore, there is no reason why the theory of evolution can't be married with your theistic beliefs. It isn't as if they are mutually exclusive terms. In fact, more Christians than not have given into reason and the evidence and joined the two notions together. It certainly is far more rational than the creationist model of six-days, six-thousand years ago creation of everything as is by God.


JOHN
>The fact that an evolutionary process is evident everywhere and in all things 
>in no way justifies the dismissal of God Almighty as the creator of all 
>things both static and dynamic.

TOD
And what public school teacher advocates that? I taught in the public schools for three years, and never saw a teacher teach that evolution must be atheistic. I personally am an atheist, but respect the beliefs of my students. I would argue the evidence for evolution until I was blue in the face, but I'd leave the ultimate cause up to the decision of my students. If they want to believe supernatural processes were responsible, that is fine with me. I only want them to see the evidence of what is presently known, I don't try to offer ultimate answers.


JOHN
>Men of high mind, as yourself, have always been uncomfortable with 
>dealing with the un-known, or the arena of faith. Here's an 
>evolutionary thought for you:) Faith precedes all knowledge. The 
>acqusition of fact begins with hypotheses. In other words someone 
>had to have the courage to step beyond the realm of orthodox knowledge 
>and believe that something would work and try it in order for the 
>evolution of our technology to advance. The Wright brothers believed 
>(Faith) that if they fashioned a set of wings after the design of a 
>bird's that they could fly. Someone had to believe that the world was 
>not flat in order to brave the horizon.

TOD
The difference is between evidential faith and blind faith. We have evidential faith for every fact we believe. The sun will rise tomorrow. Do I know this? I don't know beyond doubt, because tomorrow isn't here yet, and I've not seen the sun rise tomorrow. I have pretty darn solid faith however, since it has risen every day of my life, and history records it has risen every day of recorded history. Science has shown us how the sun appears to rise due to the motion of the earth, so we further have evidence that it has risen every day for over four-billion years.

Scientist or inventors have a faith, but it is based upon evidence, it isn't blind. The Wright brothers didn't arbitrarily hypothesize they could fly, nor did they pick an arbitrary design. The picked an aerodynamic design because the evidence showed them that was what they needed. They got the idea we could fly because evidence had shown them that with the right engineering, things could fly through the atmosphere (birds come to mind). Their hypothesis was based on evidential faith.

As to those that acted on the idea that the world was round, you have the same case. They didn't just arbitrarily guess it was round, they saw much evidence for it. Aristotle had outlined centuries before the evidence that the earth was round, and those like Columbus and Magellan simply saw the reasoning behind Aristotle's arguments. Aristotle argued: When a ship is going out of sight out to sea, the lower half disappears before the mast, implying the world is round. When you go from Greece to Egypt, certain stars visible in the north from Greece were no longer visible. That implied that they had dropped down below the curvature of the earth. If the earth was flat, you should see all stars from all points. Thirdly and most convincing, the shadow of the earth in all lunar eclipses is always round. The only shape that is always round from any angle is that of a sphere. Even if the earth was a flat circle (which is what most ancients believed), it would not always have a round shadow. From the complete side, it would only be a line. From a three-quarter angle, it would be like a football. Only a sphere casts a round shadow 100% of the time. So Columbus bravely tested his hypothesis which was based on faith, but it was a faith based upon the evidence.

Religious faith is blind. You have no evidence that the red sea parted, but you believe it. You have no evidence that a donkey talked to Balaam, but you believe it. You have no evidence that Jesus walked on water, raised the dead, healed the sick, or resurrected from the dead, but you believe it. In fact, the evidence of the world is AGAINST these beliefs, as we have no precedents for people resurrecting from the dead after three days, walking on water, or donkeys talking. In fact, the evidence is that a person can't walk on water, donkeys can't talk, and dead corpses don't magically reanimate after three days of decomposition.

So you not only have blind faith, but blind faith that contradicts the evidence. That is hardly analogous to the faith employed by the Wright brothers or Columbus.


JOHN
>God created a universe big enough to contain all our evolutionary 
>processes without contradiction. Just because we don't have all the 
>facts yet shouldn't make us enemies, it should encourage us to carry on.

TOD
Those seeking truth should never be enemies, I agree.


JOHN
>On a simpler note I'm just a bit concerned with the de-evolution of 
>our social morals that are degenerating from generation to generation. 
>It will be much easier on us all if we refrain ourselves from throwing 
>out the baby with the bathwater. There is, after all, a highway between 
>Athens and Jerusalem. And there is ample evidence to suggest that the 
>way to train up a child does not begin with teaching him that he is 
>nothing more than an animal on a slightly higher evolutionary rung of 
>the ladder.

TOD
What is wrong with that? So long as you point out that the child is an animal with a superior mental ability that makes him/her responsible for his/her actions, unlike the OTHER animals, what is wrong with that? Every noble thing, every expectation, you want to ascribe to humans can still be ascribed to humans whether you call humans animals or not! You act as if animals are all the same, as if you can't have varying degrees of behavior in the animal kingdom.

The notion that if we subscribe to the idea that we are "just animals" that will lead to us failing to be responsible for our own actions because we can argue we were acting on our instincts is nonsense, pure and simple. Most of the behavior of social mammals, like chimps, is not instinctual but learned. Using rocks to crack nuts isn't instinctual. Using a stick to probe for termites is equally learned. A chimp isn't born with a knowledge of the group's social hierarchy and rules, they are taught. If they don't heed what they learn, they are punished. If chimps are held responsible for their learned behavior by their peers, then we should not be held to any lower standard.

The bottom line is, we are animals, but we are not like the other animals. We are vastly different, thanks to our increased brain-size and complexity. The only thing that has changed is the title. We are called animals now. That doesn't negate ANYTHING regarding our culture and society, our expected behavior and values.


JOHN
>Survival of the fittest. Oh I hear you satan. Let's kill off the 
>population starting on both ends, after all, these intellectuals 
>are the fittest and deserve to live the longest. Lean not unto thine 
>own understanding but in all things acknowledge the Lord and He 
>shall preserve thy days. By faith we understand that the worlds 
>were prepared by the word of God (oops, not that again), so that what 
>is seen was not made out of things which are visible. Hebrews 11:3

TOD
Oh John, don't start getting weird on me. ; )

Just kidding, but seriously, Bible quotes or mere assertions about God or Satan aren't evidence of anything. One can easily quote the Q'uran or the Hindu Veda's, or the Book of Mormon. One can easily assert that there are many gods, or a God different from the Christian God. Unsubstantiated assertions mean nothing.

Especially from the Bible, which is notoriously inconsistent. How about: Ex. 6:3 which tells us Abraham knew God as "God almighty but by my name "YHWH" (or depending on your translation, "Jehovah" or "LORD") was I not known to him". Okay, Abraham didn't know God's name. But wait, didn't he name a place after God using his name in Gen. 22:14? "And he called that place, Jehovah-jireh..." Apparently Abraham knew God's name.

I Kings 15:5 tells us that David did "that which was right in the eyes of the LORD ... save ONLY (emphasis mine) the matter of Uriah the Hittite". Well, the last chapter of II Samuel, chapter twenty-four, tells us that because David took a census, Yahweh had 70,000 Israelites killed. Clearly, this matter, which was not the "matter of Uriah the Hittite", was not "right in the eyes of the LORD", and so clearly, I Kings 15:5 is erroneous to tell us that the "matter of Uriah the Hittite" was the only act David committed not "right in the eyes of the LORD".

Furthermore, we are told at the beginning of the chapter that Yahweh "moved" David to take the census in the first place! What justice is it to "move" a person to do something, then punish that person? Especially if you punish others for that person's sins, killing 70,000 innocents. Where is the justice for those people from this infinitely just God? This further contradicts Yahweh's own orders that people shouldn't be put to death for the sins of others (Deut. 24:16), as well as his assurance that "the soul that sinneth shall die", and not others for the sins of the one who sins (Ez. 18:19-20).

What of Jesus' claim that he will be in the grave "three days and three nights" like Jonah was in the belly of a whale for the same time? (Matt. 12:40) Do the math however: He died the day before the Sabbath (Good Friday) and rose early the day after the Sabbath (Easter Sunday). Wait a minute, that is one day and two nights. Even if you allow a part of a day to equal a whole day, you have three days and two nights, not "three days and three nights", nor is it "after the third day".

Ecc. 1:4 tells us "the earth abideth forever", and so does Psalms 78:69. Jesus says "...earth will pass away" however, in Matt. 24:35.

The first creation account in chapter one tells us that animals were made before man, but the second chapter says that man was created first.

What of failed prophecy? Yahweh decrees through Ezekiel in chapter 29-30 that Egypt will be destroyed by Nebuchadrezzar, that he will take its people into captivity, that it will be made desolate and uninhabited for forty years. None of this occurred, and Nebuchadrezzar died with the prophecy unfulfilled.

Jer. 36:30 tells us that Jehoiakim will have no heir to the throne, no son to rule. In II Kings chapter twenty-four however we read that his son Jehoiachin ruled immediately after him.

Lev. 11:21-23 tells us that insects, specifically "grasshoppers...locust...and beetles" have and use "four feet". They have and use all six legs.

There is plenty more where that came from, and it is ample evidence that the Biblical account is not inerrant or flawless.

Ciao,

Tod Billings



Part III

John

TOD
>That implies an either or mentality. That isn't valid. (For the sake of time
>I won't quote you word for word but just the highlights)

JOHN
It is equally as valid as the claims you make based on dug up bones. You have taken just as firm an either or position as I have so I toss that one back into the sea. Let's not use dramatics to avoid the real issues here, Tod. The Bible makes no absurd claims of abduction by aliens but your use of this concept will not turn me from the point. Non-believers have always been willing to concede, even if only partially, the historical accuracy of the Bible, but you and I both know what it is that you really fear so let's cut thru the chase and just call a spade a spade. You, as a non-believer, are terrified of any concept of the miraculous. Isn't that what you are really contesting here, Tod? Given the choice between the validity of the Bible or a Moabite Stone Which do you think I'm going to choose. In fact, if I were a Moabite I wouldn't want people to know that a miraculous Yaweh kicked my butt either. What, you don't think men were capable of lying in stone? Regarding your reference to Joseph Callaway you might want to check out an article published in "The Lost World" circa 1994 Sept. that brought his methods into question especially in the area of DATES. Oh well, he's only a man. Neither has there been any archaeological discoveries to strengthen the evolutionists claims.


TODD
>The problem I saw with your post however is that such people are rare...

JOHN
Again I must take responsibility for submitting a post in need of clarification. The intent of my original post was not to cast a shadow upon any particular individual or group but rather to express my frustration at the general drift of the intelligensia of this generation away from God and as we all know, the whole world follows the lead eventually and I cannot help but see the theory of evolution as one of the factors that has led to this drift. I do not attribute it to any one individual but to all men such as yourself who professing themselves to be wise have been blinded by the prince of this world and are taken captive at his will. In every age and in all places there are the authentic and the genuine and then there is the psuedo-whatevers pushing their own private itineraries...we both agree on that. I have no problem with animals, in fact, I keep several as pets for companionship, but I donot consider myself an animal but a peculiar creation of the Almighty seperate from the animals, created to exorcise dominion over them and that not by joining them in their so called kingdom, as I believe you referred to it. I, sir, would rather join myself to another kingdom. In the statement I made concerning the teachings of the evolutionists in their classifications of humans as animals I was speaking part metaphor and part allegorical in reference to the animalistic behavior evidenced by our children in public education, as in the recent school masacres.


TODD
>What is wrong with being "just an animal"

JOHN
That's the weakest link in your evolutionary chain isn't it Todd. There's not an animal on this planet capable of reaching into the heavens and beyond but we will! Is there an animal in your beloved kingdom that can plan for tomorrow or refrain itself from killing when it is hungry, but we can! Have you un-earthed the skeleton of a bird or monkey with his paws wrapped around the controls of a nuclear cyclotron? No, I reject your pitiful attempt to herd me into a kingdom such as yours. Todd, you don't have to accept everything the evolutionists have taught you and on this one crucial point you would be wise to reconsider.


TODD
>The theory of evolution isn't used to explain the origin of life, but the 
>developement of life since its origin.

JOHN
Maybe in your mind and understanding it isn't but the world percieves it otherwise and embraces it without question when it relieves them of the responsibility of their actions which it often does.


TODD
And furthermore there is no reason why the theory of evolution can't be married 
with your theistic beliefs.

JOHN
My Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is coming back for a much nobler bride. There is, however, no reason why the theory of evolution cannot take its place beneath the canopy of God's creation...but not equal to it.


TODD
>What public school teacher advocates that?

JOHN
Many. You may be the exception rather than the rule.


TODD
>The difference is between evidential faith and blind faith.

JOHN
There is no such animal as "blind faith" All faith is evidential or it is not faith. Even if the only evidence happens to be one's own thoughts, which, by the way, is the origin of Aristotle's hypothesis proven fact. But it was not Aristotle that discovered America was it? Faith turned fact is as much building upon the existing as it is discovering the new. The evidence I offer you for my faith in God is His power to change the human condition. If you would prefer mathematical theorum perhaps you should consult your colleages on the quantuum physics level and take their pulse on the whole matter.But of course, that's blind faith for you...no bones to pick apart really leaves one fickle of heart:} If there ever is a blind faith it would have to be religious. Fortunately for me, I'm not...just spiritual and definately not blind. Todd, you have no evidence that those bones you stake your theory upon even originated on earth you just believe it. You have no evidence that the carbon dating methods employed to determine age are accurate, you just believe it. You have no evidence that the classifications you've developed that fit so nicely into your theorum are really correct, you just believe it. And, honestly Todd, have you ever really gone to bed not sure that the sun would rise in the morning? Actually Todd, it is not really evidential faith or blind faith that so disturbs your preformed universe as much as it is miraculous faith...is it.


TODD
>What's wrong with that? So long as you point out that the child is an animal
>with a superior mental ability that makes him/her responsible for his/her
>actions,unlike the OTHER animals, what's wrong with that?

JOHN
A theory has been recently set forth, based on some odd shapes discovered on a meteorite, that there was once life on Mars. So now based on this theory, do we start teaching our children that we were once little green men that got lost in space, landed on earth and evolved into little tan men? To set these teachings, based on THEORY, forth into the minds of our children as though they were facts (and don't try to convince me that most children recognize the difference between fact and theory), is not only irresponsible but grossly negligent. And to set this theory forth not only as equal too, but as a replacement to God is a terrible travesty of righteousness. The spiritual aspect of creationism and God is pro family, pro responsibility and pro morality. How can you replace these values with bones and films about monkeys? The spiritual quality of God and creationism offers hope for the future in this life and in the life to come. What does evolution offer? Well, son, if you live to be ...oh...say...three billion years old you'll see some changes around here. In all honesty, Todd, both believer and non-believer alike have failed many times to be responsible for our decisions and actions and that is precisely why we need an Almighty God...to hold us accountable for those times and He does. I could take you into the evolution of the Law and beyond but time will not permit it. Maybe later.

Finally, in response to the accuracy of the scriptures you quoted I'm impressed with your biblical knowledge. You found some errors that I had missed. I have always known the bible contained errors. It is not the word, as we have it, that is in-errant...but the God who inspired holy but errant men, is perfect in all of His ways. Considering all that book has endured to become what it has become I am impressed more by the accuracy than the errancy. But I am impressed most by the MESSAGE. I was hoping you would be too.

John


  Tod Billings


>TOD
>>That implies an either or mentality. That isn't valid.(For the sake of time 
>>I won't quote you word for word but just the highlights)

John
>It is equally as valid as the claims you make based on dug up bones.

TOD
That isn't an analogous situation at all John. Come on, I'm trying to get you to use a little reason here. Furthermore, this is evasion pure and simple. I asked you, if you read a book which got some aspects of the temporal setting historically accurate, but than made a claim that the main character performed some superhuman feat or made any extraordinary claims of ANY kind, let's say it claims that the main character, John, is God and that he walked on water, would you see the historical accuracy of the background of the story as evidence that the extraordinary was true?

Furthermore, "dug up bones" are evidence. Where is your evidence? Your claim isn't "equally valid", and how you can say that defies all reason. Come on, I meticulously explained WHY fossil evidence is valid, I didn't just arbitrarily assert it as you have. I offered validation for my assertions, you offer NONE. That certainly isn't equally as valid. You are just typing to see yourself write something, you clearly aren't thinking about what you say. Let's see some JUSTIFICATION. Should I repeat that? Give us EVIDENCE of your position. Use some LOGIC here.


JOHN
>You have taken just as firm an either or position as I have so I toss that
>one back into the sea.

TOD
What "either or position" have I taken that is based upon "dug up bones"? Besides that, some issues are an either or issue. Either we evolved or we didn't. Either we change over long periods of time or we don't. There is no intermediate between change of some kind and no change at all. This issue of biblical accuracy isn't one of these either or issues. The fact that some archaeological finds have verified some of the most trivial, mundane, and unquestioned even by the most diehard atheist, claims of the Bible doesn't act as evidence that the entire Bible is correct! Besides, the Bible isn't one book, but a collection of books. The fact that a couple of kings listed in the books of Kings have had evidence found that supports their existence does not in any way offer evidence that say, Genesis or the Gospels are historically accurate in all details! You make this assertion, but you don't justify it in ANY WAY.

Please don't even bother to reply to this if you don't intend to provide an argument to back up your claims. Take me from A to B. Show me how an archaeological find that supports that Jehu was a historical character acts as evidence that the Genesis account is correct, or that the Gospels are correct.

I thought we could have an intelligent conversation here, I would prefer not to discuss an issue with a person that just arbitrarily asserts something without offering justification, and who completely ignores my arguments. It is clear who has a better argument here. If you disagree, provide one, otherwise it is clear by default on your part! You forfeit ANY intellectual credibility if you refuse to back up your arguments.

Furthermore, I demonstrated that some archaeological evidence has shown parts of the Bible to be FALSE. You didn't even so much as comment on this. It sure shows that your "either or" mentality is without any justified basis.


JOHN
>Let's not use dramatics to avoid the real issues here, Tod. The Bible makes 
>no absurd claims of abduction by aliens but your use of this concept will not 
>turn me from the point.

TOD
LOL! Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha

First of all, you either missed the point or are engaging in serious evasion here. The point was, extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof. It doesn't matter what the nature of the extraordinary claim is, only the degree to which it is extraordinary.

Secondly, there are claims in the Bible more absurd than alien abduction claims. So the claim that a donkey spoke isn't equally absurd!? The claim that a talking serpent deceived a human isn't equally absurd? The claim that The claim that a man walked on water or raised from the dead after three days isn't even more absurd? Come on, there is at least a possibility within the natural laws of the universe that aliens exist, there is no such possibility in the same context for many Biblical claims.

So if I tell you that I died last week and raised from the dead after several days, you wouldn't think that was an absurd claim? Would you believe me? Of course not, because extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof! You know this and accept it, whether you admit it or not. If you really didn't accept this, you'd believe everything you'd ever heard. Do you believe in Bigfoot, the Loch Ness Monster, alien abductions, fortune tellers, psychic hotlines, etc.? If you answer no to most or all of these questions, you accept that principle, and your protest are unsincere and hypocritical.


JOHN
>Non-believers have always been willing to concede, even if only partially, 
>the historical accuracy of the Bible

TOD
"Non-believers have [also] always been willing to concede, even if only partially, the historical accuracy of the" Greek Iliads, Babylonian Mythology and Edith Hamilton's Greek Mythology. Does that mean their supernatural claims occured? It has been found that Troy existed, and that the Trojan wars actually occured, does that mean that centaurs also terrorized the land, or that Zeus is God?


JOHN
>but you and I both know what it is that you really fear so let's cut thru the 
>chase and just call a spade a spade. You, as a non-believer, are terrified of 
>any concept of the miraculous.

TOD
Oh my, this is getting worst and worst John. You don't know me, and your claims are without basis. You have no evidence that I fear "any concept of the miraculous", nor do you have evidence of any of my fears in general. You are once more typing for typings sake, with nothing of substance to say.

Furthermore, if you're going to make silly and arbitrary statements, at least make them plausible! Come on, who wouldn't want the miraculous to occur? You think I don't like the idea of eternal bliss in paradise? Do you think I relish the thought of dying and ceasing to exist? Do you not think I'd like to be miraculously cured of a disease if I had a fatal one? You don't think I wish that somebody could feed the hungry of the world with just a few loaves of bread and some fishes? Hell, just the mere fact that humans like to see things that are out of the ordinary shows just what utter nonsense that statement is. Heck, we humans group around to watch a fist fight, can you not imagine the size of a crowd that would gather if the Arkansas river parted? You don't think I'd like to see that? You don't think I'd like to see a man walk on water? You don't think I'd be impressed by a man raising the dead, or that I wouldn't want to see that!?? Come on, USE YOUR HEAD JOHN!!!!! Who fears miracles? Who doesn't want miracles to occur? For the record, I would LOVE to see a miracle. I wish the miraculous occured. I wished there was an afterlife. I wish I had a bunch of simple little answers to the questions of the universe's existence. It is the utmost of foolishness for you to suggest that ANY human wouldn't like ALL of these things.

The problem is, these quaint little answers your religion offers don't fit the evidence we see, by a landslide. I reject miracles and an afterlife because there is no objective evidence for either. I'd like for both to exist, but I don't let wishful thinking guide my beliefs, as I wish a lot of things were true that no evidence exist for.


JOHN
>Isn't that what you are really contesting here, Tod?

TOD
No John, it isn't what I'm contesting here. I have outlined explicitly and very precisely what I'm contesting. I'll tell you what is "really" happening here, you are being so evasive that you remind me of a squirrel caught in my headlights.


JOHN
>Given the choice between the validity of the Bible or a Moabite Stone Which 
>do you think I'm going to choose.

TOD
Nobody doubts which you will choose, what is doubted is your criteria for making your decision. Of course you will choose the Bible, but you have no valid reason for doing this. You believe beforehand with no evidence and despite the evidence that the Bible is infallible.


JOHN
>In fact, if I were a Moabite I wouldn't want people to know that a miraculous 
>Yaweh kicked my butt either.

TOD
And of course there is no reason at all to believe that Yahweh exists or kicked anybody's butt. In fact, the evidence suggest otherwise.

He has contradictory attributes. He is said to be everywhere at once he "fills all of heaven and earth", yet Cain left his presence, and so did Satan in the first chapter of Job.

He is said to be all-knowing, but what he had to "test" Abraham to see if he would do his bidding, in the matter of Isaac. You don't test a person if you already know what they will do, you test them for the exact opposite reason! Test are for humans who lack knowledge of an outcome, not for gods that already know. Furthermore, what did he say when he stopped Abraham? "Now I know that you fear God. You have not refused me your own beloved son." "NOW I know that you fear" me, implying he DIDN'T know before.

It is said before the flood story that God said "I regret having made them [man]". He regrets, he repents, he is sorry he made man. You don't regret doing a good thing. A perfect and omnimax being would NEVER make anything that he/she/it was later sorry for. You regret mistakes or wrong actions, and perfect, all-knowing, and all-powerful beings don't make mistakes or do things wrong. It would be impossible for such a being to make a mistake.

A being with contradictory attributes cannot exist, as a square-circle cannot exist by definition. Your God concept is illogical.


JOHN
>What, you don't think men were capable of lying in stone?

TOD
Jeezus John, do you miss every point? When did I say I thought the Moabite stone was correct about anything? I was only pointing out that it was one of the finds that supported a biblical claim, but then contradicted another one.


JOHN
>Regarding your reference to Joseph Callaway you might want to check out an 
>article published in "The Lost World" circa 1994 Sept. that brought his 
>methods into question especially in the area of DATES. Oh well, he's only 
>a man.

TOD
Who wrote the article? Just because somebody questioned a person's method's doesn't mean that this person is correct in their criticism! Living in Arkansas, I know a lot of backwoods yahoos that question evolutionary theories, but their criticism is null and void based upon their mere opinion. What exactly did they question about his dating methods? What did they say his mistake was, and what sources did they cite, what evidence did they provide? There is always debate, even among scholarly circles. Just because criticism was leveled doesn't make it valid.

Notice you didn't provide the arguments, or even a few direct quotes. You once again made an arbitrary assertion. I provided a source only so you could check to make sure I wasn't making it up, I didn't just provide the source to convey my argument and expect you to go to the library and search through periodicals! I suspect you don't have this article, and are only parroting apologetics material.

In fact, the context of this issue brings your claims into suspicion alone. Of course he got criticism, he contradicted the Bible! Is your source a theologically biased one? If so, you automatically lose all credibility. Unless the criticism is completely secular, or at least based on completely secular evidence, than it has no merit.

Furthermore, that is only one example. The discovery of the Babylonian Chronicles and the works of Herodotus expose the book of Daniel as having multiple historical inaccuracies, ranging from getting who was king when and in what order to who conquered the Chaldeans. Belshazzar wasn't even related to Nebuchadrezzar, much less his son. Furthermore, he was about six kings removed, and his father was installed as king through a coup that removed the whole one. There isn't even a political link between them! Furthermore, it is Belshazzar's father, not Nebuchadrezzar, who went mad. Furthermore, Persia conquered the Medians a full eleven years before the Chaldeans fell. The Medes didn't conquer Babylon at all, and Darius wasn't a Mede but a Persian ruler who followed Cyrus. Belshazzar was never king, and no employee of the king's court, as Daniel is said to have been, would have made such an error. He was regent in his father's absences, which ranged from archaeological endeavors to boughts of insanity.

In fact, this evidence is so widely accepted among scholars now that the World Book encyclopedia of 1970 blatantly points out that scholars view Daniel as inaccurate!

"Belshazzar was a Babylonian leader who lived during the 500's BC. The Bible identifies him as the last Babylonian king and the son of Nebuchadrezzar II. But scholars have found no relationship between Belshazzar and Nebuchadrezzar. Belshazzar was never king, but he was the son of Nabonidus the last Babylonian king."

Public criticism quickly led to their editing of this passage.

Furthermore, the work of Kathleen Kenyon strengthens Callaway's results. She found that the walls of Jericho were destroyed around 2300 B.C., about the same time Ai was destroyed, and that there was no city of Jericho in Joshua's era.


JOHN
>Neither has there been any archaeological discoveries to strengthen the 
>evolutionists claims.

TOD
First of all, archaeology is the study of human culture and civilization. Of course there isn't going to be much archaeological support of evolution, since the subjects of archaeological studies don't exist throughout 99.9% of the period in which biological evolution was occurring! DUH John! Of course there is going to be little support. Archaeology would have no way of supporting evolution as a whole, but in the realm of human evolution, it compliments it very well.

Archaeological sites around the world support paleoanthropological ideas on where and when human evolution occured, and this evidence fits to a tee. Evolutionist say that hominids evolved in Africa, that the first hominids left Africa about two million years ago and went to southeast Asia. About a million years ago they spread to Europe, and they didn't reach the New World until about 15 thousand years ago. Well guess what, archaeological sites support these ideas down to the letter. Dating of these sites fits the evolutionist scenario and the fossil evidence to the last detail.

Furthermore, if you knew anything about archaeology, you would know that stone tools vary in degrees of complexity. The first tools, known as Olduwan tools, are part of the paleolithic classification, and the best and most recent stone tools are in the category of neolithic. Design improvements, variety of tools as well as the methods of creating them, and level of complexity of the tools determine their classification. Olduwan tools are extremely simply in design and function. They date back to beyond two million years ago. The closer you come to our time, the more complex they become. I'm sorry to burst your bubble John, but that supports evolutionary theories, because we would expect that as intelligence evolved, the complexity of stone tools would evolve, and that is precisely what we see!

You know, it is painfully obvious that you aren't educated in the areas of archaeology and paleontology.

Don't get me wrong, this isn't an insult of your intelligence, most people aren't educated in these areas. But if you aren't, why try to use them to support your arguments? You only make yourself look silly. Any archaeologist who read your above claim would roll their eyes at you, and wouldn't take the time as I do to even refute your claim, it is that proposterous.


>TOD
>>The problem I saw with your post however is that such people are rare...

JOHN
>Again I must take responsibility for submitting a post in need of 
>clarification. The intent of my  original post was not to cast a shadow 
>upon any particular individual or group but rather to express my 
>frustration at the general drift of the intelligensia of this generation 
>away from God and as we all know, the whole world follows the lead 
>eventually and I cannot help but see the theory of evolution as one of the 
>factors that has led to this drift.

TOD
First of all, it's "Tod", never "Todd" when referring to me. I do know how to spell my own name, there is no need to correct me (sorry if that seems a little anal, but this happens all of the time, and it really is kinda insulting when you label yourself "Tod" and people "correct" it by adding another "d", as if I don't know how to spell my own name).

If people follow the evidence, the get closer to truth. If that means drifting away from those things with no evidence, and hence those things that are furthest from the truth, so be it, I'm all for it. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying something cannot be true and have no evidence for it, BUT if you have two mutually exclusive ideas, and one has much evidence for it, and the other has much evidence against it, and none for it, it is clear which is closer to the truth.

Also, people aren't drifting away from God, btw, they are drifting away from YOUR concept of God, that is illogical and outdated. Belief in a God is as strong as ever. These beliefs we are discussing aren't mutually exclusive with a believe in God, even the Christian God, it is just in contradiction with a belief in the literal reading of the Bible.


JOHN
>I do not attribute it to any one individual but to all men such as yourself who 
>professing them selves to be wise have been blinded by the prince of this world 
>and are taken captive at his will.

TOD
Uh-huh, who has evidence to support their claim, me that we evolved, or you that "the prince" or Satan exist and has "taken captive" of anything? You are once more making arbitrary claims with no support. They are meaningless in a search for truth.


JOHN
>In every age and in all places there are the authentic and the genuine and 
>then there is the psuedo-whatevers pushing their own private itineraries...we 
>both agree on that. I have no problem with animals, in fact, I keep several as 
>pets for companionship, but I donot consider myself an animal but a peculiar 
>creation of the Almighty seperate from the animals, created to exorcise 
>dominion over them and that not by joining them in their so called kingdom, as 
>I believe you referred to it. I, sir, would rather join myself to another kingdom.

TOD
You can arbitrarily believe what you want, but where is the evidence? Once more, I offered you paragraphs and paragraphs of evidence, and you ignore it and comeback with your arbitrary assertions. You can label yourself an eggplant for all I care, but where is the evidence? Why do we share every physiological feature and function, EVERY ONE, with the animals, if we aren't animals? Why is it even in ability we have nothing original, but only are superior by degree? As I pointed out, being superior by degree, even the best, doesn't justify removing a creature from being classified as an animal. As I said, a cheetah is the superior runner in the animal kingdom, but other animals run as well. They don't deserve to be different because they are the best. The same for us. All higher mammals think, just not as well as we do. There is no difference of kind at all.


JOHN
>In the statement I made concerning the teachings of the evolutionists in 
>their classifications of humans as animals I was speaking part metaphor 
>and part allegorical in reference to the animalistic behavior evidenced by 
>our children in public education, as in the recent school masacres.

TOD
And you blame the theory of evolution for their violent behavior??? How do you link the two?

Belief that humans are another form of animal doesn't lead to the conclusion that they shouldn't be responsible for their actions, not in the least.

Also, what of violent activity that predates the theory of evolution, which makes up 99% of our history of violence? Clearly, violent behavior cannot be linked to the theory of evolution. In fact, isn't it a historical fact that more autrocities have been committed in the name of religion than any other single cause? Even if it isn't ranked as the highest, one cannot deny that billions have been killed in the name of religion. This "concerns" me, but it doesn't force you to examine the history of your religion now does it?

Furthermore, I believe I am an animal in every way, and accept the theory of evolution. Does that imply that I'm violent? Far from it, I'm actually anti-violent. In fact, isn't it odd that the same "liberals" who accept evolution oppose many military actions, nationalism, racist, sexual orientation discrimination, "gay bashing", and other forms of violence? Isn't it these liberally minded folks that support social programs and environmental programs? There exists such a correlation because all require a break from conservative tradition, and an embracing of new ideas.

Furthermore, what of violent children from the Yanomamo tribe in South America? They are warriors who participate in murder at the age of ten. They've never even heard of the theory of evolution.

Could it be that their society molded them, as our society molded the violent children we see today? It is simplistic in the extreme to blame the theory of evolution, as the reasons for these behaviors are multiple and detailed. There is violence on TV, there is peer pressure, there is gang activity that spawns from existence in poverty (I despise gang activity, but I can understand how a young black man living in poverty could see appeal to selling crack cocaine, considering they can go from nothing to $1,000.00 a day), there is increased drug use among children, there is rebellion against an increasinly complex and demanding society, etc. In other words, there are social pressures that explain youth violence, it isn't believe that we are animals!! I defy you to cite me a child killer interviewed who gave as the motive of his murder the fact that his biology teacher taught him that we evolved from other animals, and are animals ourselves.


>TODD
>>What is wrong with being "just an animal"

JOHN
>That's the weakest link in your evolutionary chain isn't it Todd. There's 
>not an animal on this planet capable of reaching into the heavens and beyond,
>but we will!

TOD
If you use that word in the theological sense, I dismiss your assertion as arbitrary and unsubstantiated. If you use that word in the sense of travel in outer space, I answer, of course other animals can't do it, they lack the brain power. They have brains however, just not as advanced as our own. Once again, it isn't a difference in kind, but of degree. No other animals wil ever run 65 mph, but does that make the cheetah somehow not an animal? We will never fly on our own accord without assistance through the air, as will no other animal besides the birds, the bat, and insects, but does that make the flying group something other than animals?

No other animal besides fishes, certain microscopic organisms, and amphibians will be able to naturally obtain oxygen from water, does that make amphibians, fishes, and microorganisms something other than animals?

No creature is as large as the Blue Whale, nor has any ever been. Does that mean they aren't animals?

My dictionary defines an animal as "any living organism, besides plants and bacteria."

Well John, think hard, are you living organism? Are you a plant? Are you bacteria? Then you are an animal.

You have yet to offer any justification for considering us different, except your wishful thinking, which amounts to nothing as evidence is concerned.


JOHN
>Is there an animal in your beloved kingdom that can plan for tomorrow
>or refrain itself from killing when it is hungry, but we can!

TOD
First of all, have you ever seen a severally retarded person plan for tommorrow? No, they don't have the mental capability. So I guess they are animals according to you.

Furthermore, Squirrels save nuts for the winter, they plan ahead. They probably don't do it consciously, but that is because they lack the complexity we possess in our brains. They have brains however. We can perform mental task better, but can we scurry up a tree and make thirty foot jumps from limb to limb?

All kinds of animals have specialized abilities that other animals do not. That doesn't mean they aren't animals. Any living thing that isn't a plant or bacteria is an animal.

Furthermore, humans don't refrain from killing when hungry, but rather most selectively refrain from killing certain things for food, primarily other humans. Most humans would rather die than kill another human being food, but then again, most humans would rather kill another animal than starve to death. Even then, there are cases where humans have practiced cannibalism, if not because they were hungry (although some have). Furthermore, is the motive important or the deed? Humans certainly don't refrain from killing their own for other reasons. We have the distinction of being the only species on the planet that habitually and frequently kills its own kind. In fact, killing out of hunger would be more justifiable than the reasons we kill. I don't see us as superior in this aspect at all, and you have only asserted as much.

Also, some animals do refrain from killing other organisms they have a bound with when hungry. I left out of town one time for five days (I'm embarrassed to tell the story because it is so neglectful on my part), and forgot to find somebody to feed my dog. When I came home, guess what? I had a living dog who was very, very hungry, and I also had a living ferret. The dog didn't kill the ferret as his natural instincts instructed him to do. He was raised by the ferret, and saw it as a member of his "pack". He has a bond to the ferret, as he does me. He plays with the ferret and sleeps with the ferret. He didn't kill to satisfy his hunger.

This argument is only another of differences of degree, not kind. Once again, there are many animals that have differences of degree to us and other animals that are superior. Does that negate them as animals?


JOHN
>Have you un-earthed the skeleton of a bird or monkey with his paws wrapped 
>around the controls of a nuclear cyclotron?

TOD
That is a feat that requires a certain level of mental ability that other animals don't possess. But other animals have mental abilities, so this is once more, a difference of degree, not kind.

Let me ask you, have you ever seen a retarded human being with operating a particle accelerator? Does that mean they are animals? They don't even have the capacity to EVER operate such a device, so by your criteria, they must be animals.


JOHN
>No, I reject your pitiful attempt to herd me into a kingdom such as yours.

TOD
Pitiful? Another arbitrary assertion. I have backed up my arguments with evidence and the reasoning that lead me to my conclusions. You have ignored my arguments without refutation. You arbitrarily assert your arguments, with no basis for them whatsoever.

It is you that have offered a "pitiful" argument for why we are different than animals, because EVERY single argument you make is of a difference of degree, not kind. Using an argument of differences of degree instead of kind, we can argue that humans should be broken down into seperate categories. What of the 140 lb weaklings such as myself? Sylvestor Stallone has a huge difference of degree of strength over me.

What of Einstein compared with a retarded person? There is a HUGE difference of degree, a difference that, IQ wise, is larger than the difference between you and a chimpanzee, and I'm granting that you have a reasonably high IQ. A severly retarded person could have an IQ as low as 30 or so. Einstein's was 220. A chimp has an IQ of about 50 or 60 (and that is using human standards, how high is it if we could give them chimpanzee designed IQ test?). So we have a difference of 190 between Einstein and a severly retarded person. If your IQ is say, 125, that makes you about 60 or 70 points above a chimp. Wow, that isn't as big of a difference of degree between you and a chimp as it is between Einstein and a retarded person, so retarded people must not be human by your standards.


JOHN
>Todd, you don't have to accept everything the evolutionists have taught you 
>and on this one crucial point you would be wise to reconsider.

TOD
I don't accept everything that the evolutionists teach me, I accept what fits the evidence. The evidence is blatant, we are animals, and we evolved from other animals. It would be very, very unwise to regard humans as other than animals, because that would be to contradict the mountain of evidence to the contrary.


>TODD
>>The theory of evolution isn't used to explain the origin of life, but the 
>>developement of life since its origin.

JOHN
>Maybe in your mind and understanding it isn't but the world percieves it 
>otherwise and embraces it without question when it relieves them of the 
>responsibility of their actions which it often does.

TOD
"The world" does not perceive it as such. Maybe some ignorant people that don't know what evolution is all about think that, but that is their fault, not the theory's fault. Nothing in the theory of evolution is designed to explain ultimate origins.


>TODD
>>And furthermore there is no reason why the theory of evolution can't be 
>>married with your theistic beliefs.

JOHN
>My Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is coming back for a much nobler bride.

TOD
This answer is either evasive, or shows an ignorance of the root of the word "marry". I mean simply to "join", not to "join in matrimony."


JOHN
>There is, however, no reason why the theory of evolution cannot take its 
>place beneath the canopy of God's creation...but not equal to it.

TOD
That is to be left up to each person's subjective view, and is not to be accepted as objective fact since it has no supporting evidence.

If however that is what a person chooses to do, I see no problem with it. I only have a problem with people hollering from the rooftops that evolution is a fraud, when they don't even know the evidence for it, and produce no evidence of their own.


>TODD
>>What public school teacher advocates that?

JOHN
>Many. You may be the exception rather than the rule.

TOD
An arbitrary assertion, again. Cite a few examples. I worked in the public schools for several years, and never, ever once encountered a teacher that taught that. You're once more typing for typings sake, with no valid point.


>TODD
>>The difference is between evidential faith and blind faith.

JOHN
>There is no such animal as "blind faith" All faith is evidential 
>or it is not faith.

TOD
"faith...unquestioned belief that does not require proof or evidence"

Another arbitrary assertion. There are different types of faith. What of the Polynesians, who believed that their island was formed by a bird that dove to the bottom of the ocean, gathered material, and built the island? They have absolutely no evidence for this, but they believe it.

What of faith that gravity will pull me down if I jump off of a building? I have much evidence for this, so this faith is based upon evidence.


JOHN
>Even if the only evidence happens to be one's own thoughts, which, by 
>the way, is the origin of Aristotle's hypothesis proven fact.

TOD
Thoughts are not evidence in the sense I use the word, and you know it. We are talking of science here, and science requires OBJECTIVE, empirical evidence. What you describe is subjective evidence, and that isn't applicable in this context.

Let me clarify, just for the record: by evidential faith I mean faith based upon objective evidence. By blind faith I mean faith that is founded upon no evidence, but only personal preference or tradition.

Furthermore, if you by "Aristotle's hypothesis" you refer to his hypothesis that the world was round, that hypothesis was not based upon his thoughts, but he used his thoughts to base the hypothesis on his observations of various phenomena. They are the ultimate basis. Come on John, do you really believe that those that accepted Aristotle's hypothesis would have done so had he given no reasons, save only that he thought it was so? No, they saw validity to his objective evidence, which was independent of his thoughts. Magellan betrays this fact by commenting that he believes the earth is round as opposed to flat as taught by the Catholic church at the time because he "[had] more faith in a shadow than in the Church". Hear hear, I couldn't agree more. He referred to Aristotle's observations of the earth's shadow on the moon during a lunar eclipse.


JOHN
>But it was not Aristotle that discovered America was it?

TOD
Is there a point here? Very good John, it wasn't Aristotle that discovered America. Columbus however had a faith that the world was round based upon the evidence presented by Aristotle. It was Columbus' own observations of the same phenomena that made him agree with Aristotle, it wasn't that he simply took what another man thought as evidence.


JOHN
>Faith turned fact is as much building upon the existing as it is discovering 
>the new. The evidence I offer you for my faith in God is His power to change 
>the human condition.

TOD
Give me evidence that God exists, and then give me evidence that he has changed the human condition. More arbitrary assertions...


JOHN
>If you would prefer mathematical theorum perhaps you should consult your 
>colleages on the quantuum physics level and take their pulse on the whole
>matter.

TOD
Well well, that happens to be my field of specialty. I teach physics and astronomy. Nothing that is considered a valid part of quantum theory is taken on blind faith, there is supporting evidence for all of it.


JOHN
>But of course, that's blind faith for you...no bones to pick apart really 
>leaves one fickle of heart:}

TOD
Blind faith!? Gawd do you lack a knowledge of every field of science or what? You insult the last century of laboratory work that has gone into the building of quantum physics, which is by no means taken on blind faith, but is taken due to the mountain of evidence in its favor. It is THE most successful scientific theory ever, and has been verified in countless ways. Every time you turn on a light bulb or your television, you further offer evidence for quantum theory.


JOHN
>If there ever is a blind faith it would have to be religious. Fortunately for me, 
>I'm not...just spiritual and definately not blind.

TOD
You have absolutely no objective evidence for your beliefs. If you disagree, by all means provide it.


JOHN
>Todd, you have no evidence that those bones you stake your theory upon even 
>originated on earth you just believe it.

TOD
Oh gawd, you keep going more and more off the deep end. There is much evidence the originated upon earth, I don't have blind faith. They couldn't have originated in empty space, as there is a lack of materials. They couldn't have originated in or on the surface of a star, as the environment is to harsh and there is a lack of material. They could conceivably have been formed on another planet, but considering that we have fossil representations of hundreds of thousands of species, the odds of these bones being removed from that planet and taken here by natural means and chance is so astronomical that they act as evidence against it occuring (the odds are better that I'll win the lottery three times in a row).

An intelligent mover would be majorly unparsimonious, further requiring the additional assumption that such an intelligent mover exist, which would be the burden of the one asserting it to prove that it does. If one hypothesizes the supernatural, they bear the same responsibility, having to provide evidence that such a supernatural creator exist, and then further that this creator made these bones somewhere else.

The evidence suggest the bones originated here on earth John. Do you have any evidence to the contrary? Heck, that even goes against the Genesis account, which says that animals were formed on earth.

You're once more typing for typing's sake, with no valid point.


JOHN
>You have no evidence that the carbon dating methods employed to determine 
>age are accurate, you just believe it.

TOD

Why do you judge subjects you are ignorant about? I'm willing to bet you have no idea what goes into the process of carbon dating.

There is much evidence that carbon dating is accurate. It has been checked against other positive means of dating events, and found to be accurate. 7,000 year old trees in the middle east have been carbon dated, and then matched against a count of the tree rings. It was a match. Egyptian mummies have been carbon dated, and then tested against the historical record. Once more, they match. This has been done on many archaeological finds of organic remains, the finds are carbon dated and matched.

Furthermore, scientist have tried to make the rate of decay change in the laboratory, with no success. The above experiments show time doesn't change the rate, so they have tried radiation bombardment across the magnetic spectrum, extreme temperature exposures, from very cold to a temperature so hot that any hotter would destroy the sample. Decay rates don't change, at least they have resisted every attempt to do so. They are a natural force, just like gravity, which behave in predictable and precise ways.


JOHN
>You have no evidence that the classifications you've developed that fit so 
>nicely into your theorum are really correct, you just believe it.

TOD
Oh Geezus John, you scare me sometimes. Classification systems are created for human convenience, so we can categorize the world. They aren't developed as models of truth. They aren't theories. There isn't a theory of animal classification, there is just one that has been accepted by all so that we can avoid undue confusion.


JOHN
>And, honestly Todd, have you ever really gone to bed not sure that the sun
>would rise in the morning?

TOD
No, and I didn't imply that I did. I only illustrate the point that a degree of faith is required for belief in anything, but there are different degrees of faith. One can be 99.99999999...% sure that the sun will rise tommorrow, but you haven't seen it yet, so you don't know with 100% accuracy.


JOHN
>Actually Todd, it is not really evidential faith or blind faith that so disturbs 
>your preformed universe as much as it is miraculous faith...is it.

TOD
Why do you feel the need to try to ascribe beliefs to me that I don't hold, and that I haven't implied I hold? That is a dishonest and intellectually weak tactic John.

No, I'm disturbed only by blind faith that contradicts the evidence, and that can lead to an infringment upon human advancement and the acquisition of knowledge. Faith in the miraculous is the same as blind faith, since there is no objective evidence for miracles.


>TODD
>>What's wrong with that? So long as you point out that the child is an animal
>>with a superior mental ability that makes him/her responsible for his/her actions,
>>unlike the OTHER animals, what's wrong with that?

JOHN
>A theory has been recently set forth, based on some odd shapes discovered on a 
>meteorite, that there was once life on Mars. So now based on this theory, do we 
>start teaching our children that we were once little green men that got lost in 
>space, landed on earth and evolved into little tan men?

TOD
Okay, that is THE most crazy thing you've ever said. How does the fact that some scientist believe that life might have developed on Mars lead to the conclusion that we were once "little green men that got lost in space"? That is sooooo stupid, I don't know how to respond, except to say that the discovery of possible fossilized microorganisms imprints in martian rocks does not lead to this ridiculous conclusion.

Even if it did, if the evidence suggest it, yes, a child should be told what the evidence is.


JOHN
>To set these teachings, based on THEORY, forth into the minds of our children 
>as though they were facts (and don't try to convince me that most children 
>recognize the difference between fact and theory), is not only irresponsible 
>but grossly negligent.

TOD
So telling them about a theory based upon the evidence is negligent, but telling them about a religious idea based upon no evidence that contradicts known evidence isn't? That is pretty warped John, and represents another arbitrary assertion on your part that has no support.

Furthermore, you use the word theory as analogous to a hypothesis, such as a conspiracy "theory". The word has two uses in our vocabulary, and the use of the word scientific "theory" isn't the same as Joe Blow's "theory" that aliens planted human life on earth. In science, the status of "theory" is the highest status one can be accorded, synonomous with "fact" in the everyday venacular. To a scientist, there is no such thing as "fact" as in Truth with a capital "T", but rather there are theories that best fit the evidence. The theory of gravity is the same as the theory of evolution in that they are ideas which best fit the evidence.

I see nothing irresponsible in showing a child the evidence for a theory, but I do see it as irresponsible for asking a child to take an idea on blind faith, such as religion.


JOHN
>And to set this theory forth not only as equal too, but as a replacement to 
>God is a terrible travesty of righteousness.

TOD
Well gee, at least the theory is known to exist, and has evidence to support it. The same cannot be said of God.


JOHN
>The spiritual aspect of creationism and God is pro family, pro responsibility 
>and pro morality. How can you replace these values with bones and films about 
>monkeys?

TOD
You can have morality regardless of whether or not you belief in God. Morality is based upon the inherent desire of humans to be treated fairly, not some book that says something is right because some alleged being with no evidence of existing says it is so!

There is no evidence for a God, nor that morality is based upon his wishes. There is evidence that a social group dependent upon each other for survival cannot survive if they don't establish rules for how to treat others and respect their rights.

Furthermore, the "values" of the Christian population in America are highly questionable and definitely debatable. I see it as immoral to post a rule "thou shall have no other God before me" (the Judeo-Christian God), in public domain, as it belittles those of different faiths.

I see it as immoral to oppose the right of homosexuals to have the same benefits that heterosexuals have. I see it as immoral to insist that all families model themselves after a certain groups ideals. I see it as immoral that the apostle Paul belittles women so, saying that "I suffer not for a woman to teach", or teaching that it was the woman, not the man, who was deceived and therefore lead to the downfall of man.

I see the old moral code of the Old Testament, allegedly created by the same God, as the utmost of injustice. Stoning a teenager for being rebellious is just? Stoning a woman for not being a virgin when married is just? Stoning a person preaching another religion is just? Stoning a woman because she didn't scream when raped is just? What if she had a knife to her throat, laryngitis, or was petrified with fear? Allowing a rapist to marry an unmarried woman he has raped is just? Forcing her to marry him is just? Requiring that people only wear garments woven from the same material is just? Stoning homosexuals is just?

I find this God concept of yours to have been credited by the Bible as having come up with some pretty damn immoral "morality".

He commands the death of the Amalekites for the sins of their ancestors four hundred years prior in I Sam. 15:2-3, is that "moral"? I find the acts of your Jewish predecessors autrocious and immoral on a level with Hitler. They exterminated the entire Canaanite race, at Yahweh's alleged command.

I see the acts of Christianity throughout history as some of the worst ever committed. The Crusades, the witch hunts, the inquisitions, all are barbaric in the extreme.

In the meantime, contemporarily we see abortion doctors murdered, clinics and nightclubs bombed, homosexuals beaten to death, and many more autrocities, all commmitted by Christians who think they are living up to the values set down by their God.

Your values are not superior, I'm sorry to tell you.


JOHN
>The spiritual quality of God and creationism offers hope for the future in this 
>life and in the life to come.

TOD
What hope? That over 99% of the population is damned to eternal torment because of what they didn't believe?

Furthermore, it is a hope without basis or supporting evidence. I prefer a hope that is attainable.


JOHN
>What does evolution offer? Well, son, if you live to be ...oh...say...three 
>billion years old you'll see some changes around here.

TOD
Oh BS John, it speaks only of biological change, not social change. They are apples and oranges. No evolutionist has said that "change" in the general sense takes billions of years (heck, even biological change can occur in thousands, not billions of years). The theory of evolution doesn't apply to social change.

In fact, it has been Christianity that has opposed progress. Medicine was opposed because it was thought to take faith away from God's healing. Scientific theories, ranging from Galileo's heliocentric model to the theory of evolution have been opposed. Social programs are opposed, environmental programs, freedom of speech, the list goes on and on.


JOHN
In all honesty, Todd, both believer and non-believer alike have failed many times 
to be responsible for our decisions and actions and that is precisely why we need 
an Almighty God...to hold us accountable for those times and He does.

TOD
Where is the evidence it exist, or that it has held anything accountable for anything, or every will? More arbitrary assertions.

We don't need a God, we need more compassion for our fellow human beings. It is juvenile to require a higher being to monitor your actions, and leads to works that aren't truly moral.

After all, who is more moral, the guy that gave a poor stranded mother and her child a ride home for free, the one who did it for money, or the one that did it out of fear, because the lady had a gun?

The first obviously, and that is the category that my good deeds fall into. Your good deeds fall into the other, if you rely on a God's judgement to keep you in line. You either do things for a reward, heaven, like the man who gave the ride for money, or you do it out of fear of punishment, hell, like the one who gave the ride at gunpoint.

I find a moral system based upon the judgement of a higher being to be totally immoral, and devoid of any real goodness.


JOHN
>I could take you into the evolution of the Law and beyond but time will not permit 
>it. Maybe later.

TOD
Oh darn.


JOHN
>Finally, in response to the accuracy of the scriptures you quoted I'm impressed 
>with your biblical knowledge.

TOD
Thank you, I've spent about fifteen years studying the Bible, and two of that was in seminary school. I used to want to be a preacher, believe it or not.


JOHN
>You found some errors that I had missed. I have always known the bible contained
>errors. It is not the word, as we have it, that is in-errant...but the God who
>inspired holy but errant men, is perfect in all of His ways.

TOD
But it is the accuracy of the book the tells us about the God that is in question. If you admit that it has errors, why should it be a guide to the nature of reality, how we should live, and the nature of a God, if there is one? That is illogical.


JOHN
>Considering all that book has endured to become what it has become I am 
>impressed more by the accuracy than the errancy.

TOD
The trouble is, there is very little verifiable accuracy within it, and the parts that are, are either trivial (such as factual accuracy, like that Jehu lived) or common sense that you didn't need the Bible to tell you in the first place (such as accurate moral precepts, like the Golden Rule).

If you are impressed by an accurate stating of the obvious, you are easily impressed. If I say that the sky is blue, is that an impressive display of my accurate observation, or are you inclined to say "duh, Tod, I think we already knew that"? I feel the same with the few moral precepts the Bible offers that are valid. Did you really need Jesus to tell you that you should treat others as you would like to be treated? If you did, I feel sorry for you.


JOHN
>But I am impressed most by the MESSAGE. I was hoping you would be too.

TOD
A message that a God will sent unbelievers to a tormenting eternal hell despite the fact that they had no evidence to base such a belief on? I'm hardly impressed, mortified would be the word.

Should I be impressed by a being that kills the innocent for the sins of others (e.g., Achan's children for his sins, 70,000 Israelites for David's sins, David's newborn baby for David's sins, the whole Amalekite race for their ancestor's sins, etc.)? I despise such a being, and even if I die and find that it is all true, and stand before Yahweh, I will denounce him to his face, much in the same way I'd denounce Hitler to his face, even under threat of execution. Eternal damnation be damned, I'm not selfish enough to put the rights of the billions sent to hell for non-belief and the billions killed by Yahweh for the sins of others beneath my one, puny souls comfort, even for eternity.

Sure, I'm impressed with some of the moral precepts, and as a literary work, it is my favorite book, being that I like ancient things. But the negative far outweighs the positive. In fact, I'm sure that if you sat down and wrote down every good moral precept said in the Bible, and I wrote down all of the negative aspects, those murdered by God or at his command, the threats of damnation, etc., I'd have a longer list than you would.

Ciao,

Tod Billings


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