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Lars Vilks attacked again; goes into hiding

Vars Vilks, the Swedish cartoonist who was head-butted at a university lecture last week and the target of an alleged murder plot hatched here in the U.S., has gone into hiding. Two men, ages 21 and 19, were arrested Sunday attempting to set his home on fire Friday night. Lars was not home at the time and the fire burned itself out. Police found personal belongings at the scene that led them to the two Swedish nationals of Kosovar origin.

Lars on why he’s gone into hiding:

“During the day I don’t think it is dangerous because I can keep watch over myself,” he told the Associated Press news agency. “But I have to realise that I can’t be there during the night.”

Community Comments

#1 Woodrow Barlettani
May/17/2010
@ 8:49 am

…..religion is a powerful opiate for the unenlightened masses,hang in ,for the rest of us Lars, even if it takes going into hiding, you may think I am a dreamer,imagine, no religion too,and we all live as one….

#2 dan reynolds
May/17/2010
@ 11:16 am

There’s nothing wrong with religion. The problem is the small number of whack jobs who like to use their own religion as an excuse to be outrageous.

To throw a particular religion under the bus is to throw the baby out with the holy water. If you think there are not as many or more crazies who do offensive acts and who not affiliate themselves with any religion, you’re kidding yourself.

In ANY group…politicians, lawyers, clergy, teachers, etc. there are always a percentage of losers who give their profession a bad name, but that should not cause one to throw demean all those who are worthy and well meaning.

#3 Pat Bagley
May/17/2010
@ 11:17 am

SL Trib once hosted an outreach to the Salt Lake muslim community. One of the participants explained to me that I needed to be especially sensitive when throwing around words like Mohammed or Allah. He said they were more important to him than his own children. This is the problem with religion: when an abstraction trumps reality.

#4 dan reynolds
May/17/2010
@ 11:32 am

I agree wholeheartedly Pat, and that is a perfect example of what I’m talking about, but that doesn’t change the fact that MOST people who are God loving and who subscribe to a religion are not “those” people.

People who insist they are, are people who buy into stereotypes, anti religious sentiment, or who are ignorant of the facts. These people are many times no better than the people who they themselves point the finger at.

#5 Ted Rall
May/17/2010
@ 11:40 am

Actually, there’s plenty wrong with religion. The main problem with it is that encourages people to believe things that aren’t true. It’s plenty difficult for societies to tackle their problems; when they’re not even dealing with reality, it’s impossible.

Personally, I don’t care if people are religious. Whatever gets you through the night, you know? Besides, many of my best friends are religious. They think they’re good people because of religion (although I think they’d be good anyway), and I can’t dismiss that.

However, religious belief is a form of stupidity, an opiate one might say, and like an opiate it tends to magnify and legitimize character traits we would be better off without.

#6 Steve Skelton
May/17/2010
@ 11:50 am

When mutant alien zombies attack earth, all religions will simultaneously be rendered useless and obsolete at the same time. And in the mayhem that will follow, there will be clearance sales on crucifixes.

#7 dan reynolds
May/17/2010
@ 11:52 am

Ted is exercising his freedom of speech. I totally disagree with his premise, but God Bless America. I don’t know Ted, but I bet he’s a good guy.

#8 Tom Wood
May/17/2010
@ 12:17 pm

God is Dead

There’s a growing movement toward the abandonment of religion as the source of morality. Sam Harris’ next book will posit a science-based approach to morality that has the intention of eventually knocking religion off its claim to the moral high ground. Incidents like the attacks on cartoonists, the pope’s complicity in child rape, and outwardly homophobic preachers with secret gay lovers, are all working to destroy faith in religion as well.

#9 dan reynolds
May/17/2010
@ 1:05 pm

I must say, being a cartoonist myself, I have never come across such a large group of non believers in a profession in my life. It’s sad. That being said, maybe there are many who God loving who say nothing. If they are out there, it’s too bad I don’t hear from them more often.

I would think people who have the gift of making others laugh such as cartoonists would have an appreciation this gift as something bigger than themselves. There’s a great quote that goes something like “Laughter is the hand of God on the shoulders of a troubled world.”

I’m not sure how many of the naysayers here have had a one on one life and death experience, but I can tell you from my own personal experiences with life and death (and yes, I mean my own as well as the near death of a child) there’s nothing like experiencing real helplessness to understand that we are not the one’s who are ultimately in control. If you believe in nothing greater than yourself, then you have every reason to believe there’s nothing greater than yourself. That’s a sad state of affairs.

There’s also another saying that “There are no atheists in a foxhole”. Believe it. It’s easy to be all brave and act self-sufficient unto yourself while your not being put to the test, but we all, eventually, will come up against our own mortality and then we will have to be true to our inner selves and to our Creator.

You don’t have to believe what I say. Just remember it and when the time comes in your life that you are truly faced with the big questions, one on one, as we all will, then you can deal with them. Most importantly, remember we have a loving and forgiving God.

I don’t go around preaching, but there are times when I have to light a candle.

#10 Terry LaBan
May/17/2010
@ 1:44 pm

Muslim fanatics attack people who they think insult Islam–and that means ALL religion is bad? I guess that means the fact that a few Wall Street billionaires wrecked the economy means all money is bad. And that the fact that Nashville got flooded means all water is bad as well.
Ted’s statement that religion encourages people to believe things that aren’t true is an utterly meaningless generality. You could say the same thing of any system that orders reality. Take politics, for instance. As I recall, before 1990 or so, you rarely heard about religiously-motivated terrorism Back then, most of the terrorists were either Marxists or extreme right wingers. Was Ted arguing back then that politics shouldn’t exist? I don’t think so. In fact, as I recall, not long ago Ted was arguing that all wars were caused by oil. But then, we all know oil is bad.

#11 Ted Rall
May/17/2010
@ 2:12 pm

@Dan: Have had near-death experiences. Have lost people dear to me. Have been at the front at war. Multiple times on each.

Those experiences certainly affected me profoundly. But they did not make me think there was a God. They increased my understanding of what is true, which is that life is random, often tragic, and frequently quite ridiculous.

It’s funny how believers can claim that God is “loving.” I look around and see a world in which 99% of humanity lives in miserable squalor, and ask where God is for them. I see a world in which there is a fish that swims up a man’s urine stream and lodges itself in his penis, killing him unless it is immediately sliced open.

I’m giving God credit for not existing.

@Terry: It is a fallacy to blame all members of a group for the sins of a few. However, my critique of religion is that it is fundamentally a lie: that there is a deity that rewards good, punishes evil, or whatever variant on those themes.

Politics isn’t inherently flawed; it is possible to participate in politics without lying. It is impossible to be a religious person without believing and/or telling lies.

As for capitalism, that system is not bad because some bankers are bad. It is bad because the idea behind it–that some people are better than other people–is evil and untrue.

#12 August J. Pollak
May/17/2010
@ 2:15 pm

“As I recall, before 1990 or so, you rarely heard about religiously-motivated terrorism Back then, most of the terrorists were either Marxists or extreme right wingers.”

Extreme right-wingers being well known for their atheism, of course. That whole Army of God movement had, like, the worst marketing department.

#13 Dan Killeen
May/17/2010
@ 3:59 pm

Ted, please name a politician in the history of politicians who has never lied.

And regarding your critique of what you see is the idea behind capitalism (that some people are better than other people) as being “evil and untrue” … seems like a poor choice of terms given their religious/philosophical nature. I thought atheists didn’t believe in evil or absolute truth. Isn’t everything relative? The concept that no one person is better than any other person is a truth, not an empirical fact. You have to “believe” it, which you seem to, to your credit. Be careful though, going around believing in things and using words like evil and untrue…some might peg you as a religious type.

#14 Tom Wood
May/17/2010
@ 4:31 pm

I thought atheists didn?t believe in evil or absolute truth. Isn?t everything relative?

Here’s an atheist making a presentation that argues strongly against moral relativism:

Science can answer moral questions

Watch the TED video, it’s only 20 minutes.

#15 Carl Moore
May/17/2010
@ 5:04 pm

Ted,

“As for capitalism, that system is not bad because some bankers are bad. It is bad because the idea behind it?that some people are better than other people?is evil and untrue.”

This is simply nonsense. Capitalism has nothing to do with whether people are “better than others” except in the sense that one guy’s business is better than another’s. Or one guy selling his car is a better deal than another guy’s. Or one fat-cat banker’s interest rate is a better deal than another’s. That’s capitalism. Whether anyone involved in free-market competition is a “good” person, a “better” person or the “best” person is irrelevant. That a well-educated, supposedly well-informed cartoonist such as you believes otherwise is astounding.

#16 Dave Stephens
May/17/2010
@ 5:11 pm

“Better” has infinite definitions – one person’s ‘better’ is another person’s ‘worse.’

Is more ‘better’ than ‘less?’ More money? Yes.

Is ‘less’ better than ‘more?’ Less poverty? Yes.

So everyone is both better and worse, in all dimensions, simultaneously, compared to everyone… Men, women, religious people, non-religious people, atheists, agnostics, communists and capitalists, rich and poor, geniuses and idiots. Even Ted Rall, who uses the word “better” and defines it as a foundation of capitalism… Which seems very much like a straw man, to me. You might as well say inequity is a foundation of wealth and decry its existence…

LOL

#17 Robert George
May/17/2010
@ 6:33 pm

@Ted: “As for capitalism, that system is not bad because some bankers are bad. It is bad because the idea behind it?that some people are better than other people?is evil and untrue.”

Capitalism is based around the premise that allowing people to own property and use that property within a framework of state enforced contractual obligations is going to produce a superior result to communal or state based use of property, especially capital.

Obviously, no pure capitalism exists and everyone operating within a capitalist system usually allows for some state based and community based resource use, (and even Lenin allowed some market mechanism to exist in his communist Soviet Union) but that is the general idea. Many capitalists have tried to drape moral frameworks around the system, but that is not what it is, or how it is practiced.

#18 Robert George
May/17/2010
@ 6:38 pm

@Dan: “If you believe in nothing greater than yourself, then you have every reason to believe there?s nothing greater than yourself.”
The problem, Dan, seems to me is that you really have trouble imagining living a life where the greater thing than yourself is not some deity or another. I value my family, my friends, my community, even my country greater than myself because of themselves. No deity needs to provide value to them.

#19 dan reynolds
May/17/2010
@ 7:03 pm

Robert…
I honestly don’t understand what you said. Maybe my words confused you. All I’m saying is…
I don’t believe other humans are better, greater than me or visa versa. That’s not for me to judge. I do know that God is. That’s all I’m saying.

Ted…
Don’t hear my words as telling you what to believe. It’s your choice if you decide to believe there is no God. That’s free will.

My choice is to believe. One of us is right and one of us is wrong. Either God exists or not. There’s no third way. So, we’ll be able to settle this bet in just a matter of time. Your questions are all good ones. They will be answered.

Check out http://www.amazon.com/When-Things-Happen-Good-People/dp/0380603926

#20 Carl Moore
May/17/2010
@ 7:41 pm

The atheist who anchors his non-belief in a denial of a power greater than himself and who grounds his position in science and reason, is faced with a terrible and teasingly mysterious question – who or what caused something to arise from nothing? In other words, who caused the Big Bang?

#21 Tom Wood
May/17/2010
@ 7:48 pm

No third way?

If god exists, does it reach down and meddle, or did it create and leave? Does it have everything all planned out, or is there any randomness taking place?

If god doesn’t exist, is the universe a deterministic automaton, or a random series of events? Was the universe intentionally fine-tuned just for us, or are we just lucky enough to live in a universe that allows for the evolution of people?

Is it turtles all the way down, or gods all the way up?

#22 Woodrow Barlettani
May/17/2010
@ 7:51 pm

…Dan, Robert, I don’t understand either of you,” I am better than nobody, and nobody is better than me”… ” you may think I am a dreamer, but I’m not the only one, some day you may join us, and we can life as one “, bless the universe for John Lennons words here.To quote Jonathan Livingston Seagull,” … keep practicing kindness and love”

#23 dan reynolds
May/17/2010
@ 8:18 pm

Tom
Yes, no third way.

I’m not sure what you were saying, but I restate…”No third way.”

I totally believe in reason and science and all that stuff. God and science are IN NO WAY mutually exclusive. Science reveals God’s handy work piece by piece. To me, the more we learn through science, the more we should be in awe of the designer of the Universe. Science points to a higher being, not away from it.

#24 Rich Diesslin
May/17/2010
@ 8:57 pm

Dan, you’re making sense to me, but these arguments generally lead nowhere, as everyone has a point of view they aren’t going to change. There are valid points on both sides of the issue, but logic eludes both sides since either approach builds on a set of postulates or axioms that are are assumed, not provable. Thus all arguments, no matter how cleverly conceived are circular. This applies equally to science and religion. So it does come down to faith in your base assumptions regardless of which side of the issue you are on. You you “pays your money and takes your choice.” Personally, I don’t see science and religion as incompatible and I’m not willing to give up either – both make my life better.

Now back to the discussion, regardless of whether you are religious or atheist, if you take a moral position on this situation it is hard to say there is any justification for violence in return for a cartoon, regardless of whether the cartoon was in poor taste or not. So would can we agree that a moral position should not normally be fanatic (be it Muslims or Greenpeace)? Let me guess … no we probably won’t agree on that either. ;)

#25 dan reynolds
May/17/2010
@ 9:04 pm

I agree wholeheartedly. It does come down to faith. I choose to put my faith in a supreme being as opposed to random nothingness that leads nowhere.
Why anyone would go after that cartoonist is beyond me.

#26 Larry Trepel
May/17/2010
@ 11:02 pm

Dan,

If it’s true that many cartoonists do not “believe in God”, than I have to say I am proud to be in a profession where we do not live under the archaic delusion of believing in some imaginary father figure that is used to justify whatever actions you think he’s directing us to do. If you want to believe in your God, fine, go ahead, but please stop foisting it on others as the truth. There are way too many religions in the world who believe they represent the face of God, and that the rest of us are doomed non-believers. Get over it, and stop using this as an excuse to do the destructive actions that are a result. The only real god is in our ability to not destroy, kill, and consume the other human and animal inhabitants of this planet. Cartoonists are good at exposing the absurd, religion being at the top of the list.

#27 Matt Bors
May/17/2010
@ 11:19 pm

dan reynolds: “I must say, being a cartoonist myself, I have never come across such a large group of non believers in a profession in my life. It?s sad.”

Is there something wrong with being a non believer? Are we inferior to believers in some way? Please explain why it is “sad” to encounter people who believe in science and humanism.

As for your belief that religious people believe in something other than themselves… well, great for them, but it doesn’t make people inherently moral or better. (see: History)

#28 dan reynolds
May/17/2010
@ 11:50 pm

Larry said…

“I am proud to be in a profession where we do not live under the archaic delusion of believing in some imaginary father figure that is used to justify whatever actions you think he?s directing us to do”

God doesn’t “direct” you or I to do anything. God gave us free will. I don’t blame God for bad things I do or use God as an excuse. Do some people? Sure. Then again, people use all sorts of things to excuse their behavior. This has nothing to do with God.

Larry also said…

“If you want to believe in your God, fine, go ahead, but please stop foisting it on others as the truth.”

Huh? How am I forcing anything on you or anyone else? How? By expressing my believes about God? Is that what you mean by “forcing”???

Then, Larry said…

“There are way too many religions in the world who believe they represent the face of God, and that the rest of us are doomed non-believers. Get over it, and stop using this as an excuse to do the destructive actions that are a result.”

Larry, are their some fanatics that do that sure, but as I said before to paint all believers with this broad brush due to a small percentage of fanatics who get tv news time, that is unfair as it would be to say non believers are hate mongers or think they are superior or that they have no hearts. Both are wrong and ignorant.

@ Matt…

I didn’t say it was “sad” to encounter people who believe in science and humanism. I said it was sad to come across such a large group of non believers in a profession (cartoonists) in my life. Being science minded or humanistic does not a non believer make. I’m all for science. What’s that have to do with faith in God???

Having experiencing the love of God, I feel “sad” for anyone else who has not opened themselves to that experience. If a person grew up not knowing the love of their parents, I would feel “sad” about that. Who wouldn’t? It in this vain to use an analogy that I feel “sad”.

Matt said:

“As for your belief that religious people believe in something other than themselves? well, great for them, but it doesn?t make people inherently moral or better. ”

I’m not sure if that statement is in general to anyone or to me. As re: to my own beliefs, it doesn’t make anyone inherently moral or better. How good or bad someone is is for God to judge, not me or you.

#29 Dave Stephens
May/18/2010
@ 12:03 am

Try this.

I am sad that others are poor when I have wealth.
They are not inferior. They are not less than I. But I think they would enjoy life more if they had money. But they do not. So I am sad.

Well, that’s an analogy but it’s pretty lame. So substitute whatever you actually enjoy, maybe a peaceful life or a life with minimum stress or maybe you’re a pet owner.

Nothing wrong with unbelievers. Nothing wrong with believers, either. And either party can BELIEVE the othe party is missing out. Which might make them SAD. Imagine that.

;)

#30 Rich Diesslin
May/18/2010
@ 1:08 am

Dan, I don’t see how anyone should be offended by you stating your opinion – plus it has been done in a civil manner with no “forcing” whatsoever. Generally it’s seems that those objecting the loudest about someone “forcing” their opinion on others, are smack in the process of doing just that.

Warning: dead horse alert. ;)

#31 Tom Wood
May/18/2010
@ 3:30 am

One more whack at that horse…

Science and religion are totally incompatible and irreconcilable with each other. The cause of the universe coming into being is a matter of scientific discovery. ‘God did it’ is not a scientific answer unless science can investigate god, and discover how god was created too.

Random nothingness?

“I tell you, we are here on Earth to fart around, and don’t let anybody tell you different.” – Kurt Vonnegut

Works for me.

(IMO and the standard disclaimers)

#32 Ted Rall
May/18/2010
@ 7:46 am

@Carl wrote:

The atheist who anchors his non-belief in a denial of a power greater than himself and who grounds his position in science and reason, is faced with a terrible and teasingly mysterious question ? who or what caused something to arise from nothing? In other words, who caused the Big Bang?

Who caused the Big Bang? No one knows.

Believers have made up the answer: God. Believers who also believe in science, anyway. The truth is, there is much that science can’t and won’t explain about the universe. But it doesn’t follow that what is not known is supernatural. What is not known has a rational explanation, even if we haven’t, or never can, figure it out. God is made up–like the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy. I don’t hate religious people or even dislike them in the least. It’s just that, in this one respect, they are incredibly stupid.

When I do something stupid, I appreciate it when people point it out to me. When I tell religious people that they are being stupid (for being religious), I do it to help them. Reason and rationality are useful tools in life.

Most atheists are not “anchored in non-belief.” They don’t spend time thinking about the non-existence of a deity. They don’t care. Except to laugh a little at the stupidity of it all.

If the slightest evidence were to emerge of God’s existence, I would be most interested and open to the possibility of His existence. But no such evidence has emerged, so why bother?

#33 August J. Pollak
May/18/2010
@ 7:59 am

F&$king magnets, HOW DO THEY WORK?

#34 Terry LaBan
May/18/2010
@ 8:06 am

The problem with people like Ted Rall and Tom Wood and the other atheist fundamentalists of the world is that they make sweeping statements–that religion is by definition based on lies, that science and religion are “totally incompatible”–and then argue as if they’re proven truths, instead of meaningless generalities and straw men. The fact is that the term “religion” encompasses vast and varied ways of knowing about the world, some empirically provable and some not, mixed up with culture and ethics and all sorts of other things. Religious impulses are at the core of what it means to be human; you can deny them if you want, but they deserve your respect. There is no way the ethics you think you just sort of come by naturally would exist without the last 3000 years of Judeo-Christian(I hate that term, but in this case, it applies) tradition. Even today there are many places in the world where practices that would be condemned as unequivocally evil in our society are common and even approved of. And yeah, I know the Bible doesn’t condemn, among other things, slavery. The argument still applies.
Of course, I understand that I’ve just called for moderation and that some people think it’s more fun to toss around terms like “lie” and “stupid”. But then, I’m a Democrat.

#35 Bill Hinds
May/18/2010
@ 8:13 am

Atheist orders a bowl of soup.
He looks at soup, and asks the waiter, “What’s this fly doing in my soup?”
Waiter looks at fly and says, “He’s praying.”
Atheist, indignantly, “That’s ridiculous! Take the soup away!”
Waiter, “His prayer was answered.”

Okay then how about this?

A skeleton goes into a bar and orders a beer and a mop?

#36 guy endore-kaiser
May/18/2010
@ 8:22 am

“There is no way the ethics you think you just sort of come by naturally would exist without the last 3000 years of Judeo-Christian”

Terry, that’s absurd. There are tribes in the Amazon who treat themselves and the world better than the rest of us. Morality doesn’t come from religion. If anything, the good parts of religion came from morality.

#37 darrylayo
May/18/2010
@ 8:34 am

I’m deeply offended whenever people imply that morality was created when Moses came down from the mountain. As if people thought murder and stealing and such were okay before that.

#38 Kelly Ferguson
May/18/2010
@ 8:49 am

Instead of reading all the proceeding comments, I’ll just post a link to this cartoon I did a few years ago:

http://www.basketcasecomix.com/?p=676

#39 rick stromoski
May/18/2010
@ 8:57 am

“…other atheist fundamentalists of the world…”

So I guess this makes those who do not believe in Poseidon, Thor and Mythras fundamentalist non-poseidonians, non-Thorists , and A-Mythrasiasts

“Atheism” is a religion like “not collecting stamps” is a hobby

#40 Terry LaBan
May/18/2010
@ 9:19 am

@guy There are tribes in the Amazon who treat themselves and the world better than the rest of us.

While noting in passing that you seem to have a somewhat patronizing attitude towards tribes in the Amazon, I’m wondering what ones you mean–the ones who shrink heads or the ones that eat people?
There’s nothing absurd about stating that the morality which orders our society and which you seem to think is somehow instinctual comes from religion. It’s a fact. Atheists are just copping a free ride on thousands of years of religious people’s hard work.

@Darrylayo I?m deeply offended whenever people imply that morality was created when Moses came down from the mountain. As if people thought murder and stealing and such were okay before that.

In fact, lots of societies think what we’d unhesitatingly call murder or theft was ok, and some still do. Take Tahiti, for instance, a book about which I’m reading now. If you stole something and got caught, they’d kill you. But if you got away with it, especially if it was a daring theft, you were lauded as a hero.
Honestly, anyone who thinks that our notion of right and wrong is shared by everyone in the world is just ignorant. C’mon, people–read some freakin’ anthropology.

#41 Tom Wood
May/18/2010
@ 9:30 am

The problem with people like Terry LaBan is that they make sweeping statements like – Religious impulses are at the core of what it means to be human; you can deny them if you want, but they deserve your respect.

We can probably play that game for a long time.

Here’s a video of Christopher Hitchens making the argument that Christianity is immoral and unethical because it undermines personal responsibility, the foundations of morality. And yes, he’s made an equally vigorous argument against Islam, and most other religions too.

He also makes the argument that our moral compass is innate, without drawing it from any of the religious texts. We’re a social animal, of course morality is innate, we couldn’t have survived without cooperation. We brought our morality TO the texts, not the other way around.

Go to Pharyngula and search on ‘atheist fundamentalist’ to get a long list of posts that vigorously rebut that term. How funny that you have to resort to a religious term to invent an insult.

We live in a country that is awash in religious nuttism, to the point that demagogues like Palin can call for disposing of our constitution and base our laws on the bible, and a huge portion of the population agrees!

Laws like Deuteronomy 25:11-12:

“If two men are fighting and the wife of one of them comes to rescue her husband from his assailant, and she reaches out and seizes him by his private parts, you shall cut off her hand. Show her no pity.”

But when those of us who think we should live in the reality-based world speak out in any way, we’re called fundamentalists.

#42 guy endore-kaiser
May/18/2010
@ 9:37 am

@terry

“There?s nothing absurd about stating that the morality which orders our society and which you seem to think is somehow instinctual comes from religion. It?s a fact. Atheists are just copping a free ride on thousands of years of religious people?s hard work.”

Is this performance art? If it is, I like it.

#43 rick stromoski
May/18/2010
@ 9:52 am

>>>There?s nothing absurd about stating that the morality which orders our society and which you seem to think is somehow instinctual comes from religion. It?s a fact. <<<

From the inerrant moral word of God in the Bible:

Deuteronomy 22:28-29 NLT)

If a man is caught in the act of raping a young woman who is not engaged, he must pay fifty pieces of silver to her father. Then he must marry the young woman because he violated her, and he will never be allowed to divorce her.

What kind of lunatic would make a rape victim marry her attacker? Answer: God.

5) Death to the Rape Victim (Deuteronomy 22:23-24 NAB)

If within the city a man comes upon a maiden who is betrothed, and has relations with her, you shall bring them both out of the gate of the city and there stone them to death: the girl because she did not cry out for help though she was in the city, and the man because he violated his neighbors wife.

Morality comes from religion? Where?

#44 Alan Gardner
May/18/2010
@ 10:00 am

You all know how much I abhor political and religious discussions on the blog. I’ve been more lenient lately, but once we start quoting scripture, I have to draw the line. This isn’t Sunday School and we’re FAR from the topic of the original post.

Bring it back to topic or this thread closes.

Thanks,
Alan

#45 LARRY TREPEL
May/18/2010
@ 10:52 am

@Dan,

Behind this air of acceptance you say you represent is the usual expression of pity mixed with contempt for those of us wayward sheep that are sadly on the path of disbelief. Here’s one of those comments from you:

“If you believe in nothing greater than yourself, then you have every reason to believe there?s nothing greater than yourself. That?s a sad state of affairs.”

Who says one has to believe in a traditional Judeo/Christian (I’m assuming you believe in something like that) in order to feel that one is part of a greater realm? If anything, the standard religious claim of man being created by God in his image leads people to believe that mankind deserves a privileged place in the world to carry out God’s work. This belief that mankind is a manifestation of God in a godless world has in many ways resulted in centuries of exploitation and destruction of our surroundings and of those who don’t agree with the master plan. You may believe God is greater than you, but next up on the club entry list comes all you faithful believers. It’s ‘Too bad for those Godless heathens, they are in for a rude awakening someday.’

Actually, you wrote something strikingly similar to that:

“So, we?ll be able to settle this bet in just a matter of time.”

You also commented:

“Huh? How am I forcing anything on you or anyone else? How? By expressing my believes about God? Is that what you mean by ?forcing????”

The word I used was foisting, not forcing.
Here’s the definition of foisting:

“To pass off as genuine, valuable, or worthy.”

At least we’ve entered an era where, in this country at least, it is more difficult for religious people to force their beliefs on others. But my point is there is still a lot of foisting going on.

I’m actually thankful for religion, it provides great cartoon material.

#46 Shane Davis
May/18/2010
@ 10:56 am

@ Terry,
“Of course, I understand that I?ve just called for moderation and that some people think it?s more fun to toss around terms like ‘lie’ and ‘stupid’. But then, I?m a Democrat.”

I totally agree. And I’m a Republican.

But back to the topic…I’m not sure anyone can really say this about religion anymore. At some point this extremism crosses the line and it’s not about anyone’s faith anymore.

When folks get this violent it’s not about a religion, it’s about uncontrolled anger and fanaticism disguised as religion in order to control by fear and terror.

Religion and cultish fanaticism is NOT the same thing. Kurt Westergaard, Lars Vilks and others like them who expressing their opinions (offensive as they may be to some) are being targeted by, in my opinion, terrorists.

What these thugs are doing is no more a religion than what Jim Jones’Peoples Temple and their purple Kool Aid was selling.

#47 Daniel Bielinski
May/18/2010
@ 11:04 am

we should be drawing.

#48 Tony Piro
May/18/2010
@ 12:11 pm

Steven Weinberg:

?With or without [religion] you?d have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, it takes religion.?

#49 Terry LaBan
May/18/2010
@ 3:19 pm

Citing bits of scripture which proscribe harsher punishments than we’d impose today for various crimes to prove that religion(of which the Bible is only one manifestation), is in fact IMMORAL(Rick Stromoski) is ridiculous. People will cite examples from our law in a few hundred years to “prove” the same thing about us. In fact, the Supreme Court ruled yesterday that the way Florida treats juvenile offenders is immoral, or at least unacceptable. I assume we all agree that rapists should be punished somehow.
In any case, I don’t argue that the laws of “Old Testament” are the sum total of modern morality, only the foundation of it(and no, that doesn’t mean I agree with Sarah Palin). Obviously, morality’s developed a great deal in the past few thousand years. If you want to consider how the laws themselves can be understood in more modern contexts, consult the Talmud.
As for Tom Wood, atheism is, fundamentally, a religious stance. You can’t prove whether there’s God or not; your certainty that there isn’t one is based on nothing more than faith. Therefore, the term “atheist fundamentalist” is entirely appropriate. And Christopher Hitchens, on this question at least, is an idiot.
Hope I got this in before Alan Gardner cut the whole thing off. All drawing and no arguing makes Terry a dull boy.

#50 shane davis
May/18/2010
@ 3:27 pm

Albert Einstein

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

#51 August J. Pollak
May/18/2010
@ 3:38 pm

“You can?t prove whether there?s God or not; your certainty that there isn?t one is based on nothing more than faith.”

Alan definitely needs to close the thread since we’ve just hit the Godwin’s Law of Christian tantruming.

#52 Tom Wood
May/18/2010
@ 3:44 pm

“Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof.” – Carl Sagan

You have to prove the existence of god. I don’t have to prove (or have faith in) anything, because I’m not making the extraordinary claim.

#53 Kelly McNutt
May/18/2010
@ 3:59 pm

Well, on the bright side, no one’s mentioned Hitler yet.

#54 shane davis
May/18/2010
@ 4:22 pm

?Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof.? ? Carl Sagan

Funny coming from a guy who could neither prove evolution nor the big bang, yet discussed them as fact.

#55 Tony Piro
May/18/2010
@ 5:07 pm

First of all, I thought the quote was that “extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence”. There’s a big difference between proof and evidence.

Second, Share are you really telling my you don’t believe that our Universe was much smaller, hotter, and denser 13.7 billion years ago? This is a simple fact of observation. How else do you explain the ratio of hydrogen to helium seen in our Universe? How do explain the 2.7 K cosmic microwave background permeating everywhere? How do explain the inhomogeneities in the early-time density that lead to galaxy cluster structure we clearly see today?

If this is the case, we might as well be arguing with someone who believes the Earth is flat.

#56 Matt Bors
May/18/2010
@ 5:17 pm

“People will cite examples from our law in a few hundred years to ?prove? the same thing about us.”

And they’ll be right. You forgot that part. Citing the abolition of slavery, for instance, is a good way to show that morals and laws have been changing for the better.

So why did God lay the moral foundation, as you say, of modern morality? Why not build the whole structure? He could have said rape and slavery were evil from the get go. Would have been pretty simple for him, being God and all.

#57 rick stromoski
May/18/2010
@ 8:03 pm

@ Terry

>>>Citing bits of scripture which proscribe harsher punishments than we?d impose today for various crimes to prove that religion(of which the Bible is only one manifestation), is in fact IMMORAL(Rick Stromoski) is ridiculous.

Why is it ridiculous?

It’s claimed to be the inerrant word of God. You yourself claim it to be the origin of morality. So how do you explain what I’ve cited? If you believe what you earlier claimed to be true, that religion is the moral center of all that is good, how do you explain what is cited in the Bible? I can quote several more passages just as abhorrent that justifies infanticide, genocide, slavery, rape, murder, human sacrifice etc. but then Alan will end the thread just in time so you won’t have to justify your “ridiculous ” assertion that religion is the source of human morality.

#58 Carl Moore
May/18/2010
@ 8:06 pm

Cartoonists, it seems to me, are by nature skeptics. They don’t buy orthodoxy, established religions or political philosophies without bringing to bear serious doubts.

That Muslim fanatics react to cartoons of Mohammed with threats of violence tells us they are not skeptics, don’t think like cartoonists and are made insecure and fearful by humor and sarcasm.

This thread is a testament to our western values of freedom of thought, of expression of humor, sarcasm and biting wit. Which is all the more reason to defend them in the face of rising Islamic fanaticism.

#59 Carl Moore
May/18/2010
@ 8:16 pm

Ted,

You may be surprised that our thinking on religion is not all that far apart. I’m an agnostic. I have no idea if there is a god or not. But I find it almost spooky how science in the last 100 years has move toward the idea of god, not away from it.

The statement that “something came from nothing” is seemingly an irrational contradiction, yet that is what the Big Bang says happened. The idea that this entire universe, so enormous that it cannot be imagined, was, a billionth of a second after the Big Bang, the size of a baseball violates rationality and common sense. Or that a particle can be in two different places at the same time, a postulate of quantum mechanics, is, well, kind of crazy. But these ideas move toward the idea of something much bigger than ouselves, something mysterious, huge, infinite and, yes, spooky.

#60 Tom Wood
May/18/2010
@ 9:05 pm

‘A Universe From Nothing’ by Lawrence Krauss

#61 Carl Moore
May/19/2010
@ 1:04 am

Tom,

Thanks for the link. Krauss’s lecture is terrific. I’m more confused than ever. But, at the same time, I’m more awed by these mysterious questions than ever. The universe is truly full of wonder. I think I’ll call that sense of wonder… God.

#62 Tom Wood
May/19/2010
@ 5:28 am

:facepalm:

LOL

#63 Terry LaBan
May/19/2010
@ 6:51 am

@Rick
Actually, Rick, I never claimed that religion is the “moral center of all that is good”. I never said the Bible is the sole origin of all morality. I certainly never said that I thought it’s the inerrant word of God. In fact, I’m pretty sure God doesn’t write books.
But yes, moral systems originate in religious systems. The Bible may be the most important single contributor to ours, but Greek and Roman thought plays an almost equal part and there are lots of bits of others in there as well. But all of these systems of morality have their basis in someone’s religion. It’s a fact so obvious that I’m surprised anyone bothers to argue it.
The fact that the Bible seemingly condones some behaviors we today do not doesn’t diminish the fact that, taken as a whole, it lays the groundwork for a moral system that was both a radical departure from the others that existed in the area at the time and one which, in large part, we continue to follow today. I don’t see how you can deny that without just ignoring most of Western history. But ignoring the obvious seems to be the mode these days. In any case, the Bible NEVER “justifies” rape, murder, infanticide or human sacrifice. On the contrary–all of these things are condemned repeatedly.

@Tom You have to prove the existence of god. I don?t have to prove (or have faith in) anything, because I?m not making the extraordinary claim.

Sure you are. You’re making a statement of fact. Prove it.
Anyhow, I’m not necessarily arguing for the existence of God. I’m arguing for the importance of religion.

@August Alan definitely needs to close the thread since we?ve just hit the Godwin?s Law of Christian tantruming.

I’m not sure what that is. Can you have a Christian tantrum if you’re not a Christian?

#64 rick stromoski
May/19/2010
@ 7:38 am

>>>The fact that the Bible seemingly condones some behaviors we today do not doesn?t diminish the fact that, taken as a whole, it lays the groundwork for a moral system

That’s like saying there are good parts of the NAMBLA handbook because it advocates giving candy to children.

>>>In any case, the Bible NEVER ?justifies? rape, murder, infanticide or human sacrifice. On the contrary?all of these things are condemned repeatedly.

Like most christians, you’ve likely never actually read your Bible because not only does God and Moses condone child murder, genocide, rape, slavery and human sacrifice but actually commands it.

#65 Tom Wood
May/19/2010
@ 7:46 am

Terry – “Anyhow, I?m not necessarily arguing for the existence of God. I?m arguing for the importance of religion.”

It’s served its purpose and it’s well past time to move on. Getting back to the topic, the attacks on cartoonists are entirely motivated by religion. There is no other way to justify actions that are so stupid. It’s doing way more damage than good now. We’ve taken the good bits and codified them into secular law.

What we lost

#66 Stephen Beals
May/19/2010
@ 8:04 am

On the plus side, it’s nice to know that you can declare your faith, or lack of faith, on the Daily Cartoonist. In America, we’re more likely to vote a snake handler into office than an atheist.

That stopped my presidential bid. (My first order business would be to declare September 1st as Stephenmas. As far as I know, none of you were here until I got here.)

#67 August J. Pollak
May/19/2010
@ 8:08 am

“In any case, the Bible NEVER ?justifies? rape, murder, infanticide or human sacrifice.”

This isn’t just a lie, it’s hilariously ignorant.

“When the LORD your God hands it over to you, kill every man in the town. But you may keep for yourselves all the women, children, livestock, and other plunder. You may enjoy the spoils of your enemies that the LORD your God has given you.” -Deuteronomy 20:10-14

That took THIRTY SECONDS on Google. Thirty. Seconds.

Murder and infanticide? Hello? Exodus? That whole twelfth plague thingie? Human sacrifice? Good lord; there are people who have never even picked up a bible and know the fable of Abraham.

I can’t believe you’d make a defense of the bible this stupid. There’s much to debate on how literally you want to take its mythology but to pretend it wasn’t a virtual instruction manual on human subjugation is laughable.

#68 Ted Rall
May/19/2010
@ 10:42 am

@Terry: “But yes, moral systems originate in religious systems. ”

There’s just no historical evidence for this. It’s far more likely that religious systems (like political laws) codify preexisting moral precepts.

You can argue that religions are a useful way to establish social control and create proto-legal systems in societies without, for example, a nation-state. But you can’t argue that religion precedes morality. That just doesn’t make sense.

Religion, after all, is invented by people. For new religions to catch on, they have to espouse systems of morality that were previously popular.

#69 Dave Stephens
May/19/2010
@ 11:33 am

The attacks on cartoonists were entirely motivated by a SUBSET of A religion.

Generalities are misleading. Or do you believe viruses are made by “computer users?” “Computer users” cause widespread damage? Nope. Virus writers are the culprits, specifically.

#70 Ted Rall
May/19/2010
@ 11:41 am

Also as a P.S. @Terry: Game theorists have proven that animals like chimps and dogs subscribe to traits we would consider to be related to morality. For instance, if you give 10 bananas to every chimp in a group but then only give 4 to certain other chimps, the shortchanged chimps will turn angry and throw the 4 bananas away, preferring to eat none than to be cheated. (Apparently they’ll accept more than 5, grumbling.) Justice and fair play, then, are innate.

@Dave: What do you mean by “the” attacks on cartoonists? Most political cartoonists in the US are routinely subjected to death threats. Such threats mainly come from so-called Christians (I say “so-called” since I have only met one or two actual practicing Christians, people who live according to the teachings of Christ, during my life.)

Anyway, I agree that it’s only a subset of Muslims who are fundamentalists (not, actually, that there is anything inherently wrong with being a purist). And an even smaller subset of those fundamentalists who burn embassies when a cartoon offends them.

I think the point isn’t that most religious people aren’t evil. The point is that all religious people believe something that isn’t true. Which makes them at least slightly insane.

#71 rick stromoski
May/19/2010
@ 11:51 am

>>.Most political cartoonists in the US are routinely subjected to death threats. Such threats mainly come from so-called Christians

I’m routinely pilloried by the Christian right because of what I put in my strip. Most of the time it’s completely innocent…I once had an evangelical preacher and several of his church members mass email, accusing me of pedophilia because i had a character eating a banana which turned into an apple in the last panel. According to them, the banana was an obvious phallus representing the homosexual agenda when turned into an apple, it represented the homosexual seduction of the child ie; adams fall from grace in the garden of eden.

Needless to say for the next few weeks fruit played a prominent role in my daily strips.

#72 Pat Bagley
May/19/2010
@ 12:31 pm

Terry wrote: “The problem with people like Ted Rall and Tom Wood and the other atheist fundamentalists of the world is that they make sweeping statements. . . ”

Like this one?

#73 Shane Davis
May/19/2010
@ 4:19 pm

@ Tony,
“Share are you really telling me you don?t believe……we might as well be arguing with someone who believes the Earth is flat.”

First off, I’m not arguing with anyone. That is pointless. Second, your straw man ‘flat Earth comment is unnecessary and petty. Let’s talk as adults who respect each other’s point of view while being able to simply disagree.

In response to your first question, what I am saying is that we don’t even know what we don’t know about the universe.

I was impressed by your Spock-like take on our universe, but it still comes down to the fact that we are not really THAT much more informed than we were after Nicolas Copernicus defined the Earth’s daily axis rotation, especially when you take the entire totality of the universe into consideration.

We probably know .000001% X 10 to the 175,000 power of what there is to know about the universe and that’s not enough to make ANY grand conclusions.

When one thinks upon the potential age of the universe and all that is in it, it is clear that observation alone from our remarkably Lilliputian planet cannot in any way even begin to provide a staging point to deduce complete answers to all that exists. The galactic presumption of claiming to be able to know the mechanics of how or when the universe ‘happened’ seems to be a textbook definiton of sophistry.

We may be able to make observations about our universe (some surely are correct), but to take what we have observed up to this point (from the extremely miniscule, tiny perspective that our telescopes, satellites and probes have provided) and to draw sweeping conclusions about the entire origins of this limitless universe we live in is also a textbook defintion of faith.

In fact, taking the profoundly scant evidence we’ve collected to date and believing the leaping assumptions science has come to based upon that ‘evidence’ concerning the origin of all of space and time takes more faith than it does to believe in God.

It is akin to sitting in a basement in NY City, looking through the window blinds into an alley and then claiming you can extrapolate the entire history of the United States from what you see.

It’s walking into the ocean with a thimble, filling it up and remarking that by studying the contents of that thimble you can know the origins of the ocean and all that exists inside.

Religion may be ridiculous to those who rely on only their senses and logic to explain the reality around them but in many ways it relies on exactly the same foundation as many of today’s ‘advanced scientific theories’ do, which is faith; belief as evidence of something for which there is no proof.

Scientific conclusions drawn about the origins of the universe fail the very scientific method held so dear by science itself – they cannot be tested (the 4th step).

Sure, tests can be done to illustrate the reactions of matter or gases in an attempt to replicate potential possible originating causes, but those again are only assumed circumstances that have no basis in known fact. It can’t be proven. No one knows for sure.

Ultimately, proving any of the theories about the Big Bang have to be replicated abd tested somehow and that cannot be done anymore than ‘macro evolution’ (as it is colloquially known) can be proved. They remain theories. They are not fact and should not be taken as such. So why should the apologists for unprovable theories attack apologist for an unprovable God?

Even the underlying logic of a ‘Big Bang’ violates one of the very basic laws upon which our universe relies on in operating: the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics (Entropy). Believing a huge, cataclysmic disorganized, chaotic explosion caused an infinitely detailed and organized universe violates that law as well as basic common sense.

It is believing you can put a barrel of black ink, thousands of sheets of paper and several calf skins in a room, throw in a lit stick of dynamite, blow it up and come back later expecting to find a leather bound encyclopedia set. Specious and absurd.

Look, I’m not calling anyone is ‘stupid’, ‘liar’, ‘idiot’ or ‘dangerous’ for for not believing in God. Belief in God is an act of faith. But to disbelieve in God and believe in modern science’s explanations of the origin of life and the universe takes at least as much faith because the evidence for it cannot be laboratory proven either.

How many times has science made definitive claims about ‘what is’ and then proven wrong decades later? (The global warming scam comes to mind…)

Athiests have their faith in science and it’s exclusion of all that cannot be detected by human senses.

I have my faith in a loving God who provided redemption for all who accept the substitutionary death of His Son Jesus Christ for their sins at Calvary.

We disagree. Fine.

Now, I’m never going to belittle, minimize, offend or attack any atheists here for their faith in science.

Why should it be OK then for it to be done to those who simply hold a faith of a different kind?

#74 Ted Rall
May/19/2010
@ 5:21 pm

@Shane: I reject as false the binary choice between faith in God and faith in scientists.

Clearly, God does not exist. He was invented. This is a statement of fact. Most religions are predicated on a basic falsehood: that something that does not exist does exist.

It does not necessarily follow from that simple fact, however, that scientists are correct about the origins of the universe.

It would be simpler, are more accurate, to simply tell the truth about how the universe came to be: we don’t know.

At least not yet.

What’s wrong with that?

I don’t know what animal made the hole under my tool shed; indeed, I don’t know whether it was an animal at all. But I do know it wasn’t some Sky God.

P.S. There certainly are lots of attempts to replicate the conditions that existed a few moments after the Big Bang, so testing is indeed being done.

#75 Shane Davis
May/19/2010
@ 5:36 pm

Ted,
“Clearly, God does not exist. He was invented. This is a statement of fact.”

This is what I was saying. Until you know the entire bounds of the entire universe, this is not something anyone can say.

It takes as much faith to say that as it does for me to say I believe in Him.

I’m not saying you’re stupid, I’m just saying you made a declarative statement about something that you cannot know. It is impossible because the only means you have to prove or disprove that statement is your own faculties, senses and observation. You are one bit of flesh amongst 6 billion on one small planet among roughly 200 billion.

To make that statement is no different than to say there is absolutely no such thing as a human soul. You can’t disprove it, I can’t prove it.

You may disagree about the reality of God, but claiming He’s not there because He can’t be defined or proven by your accepted standards is failing to use the simple open-mindednesss you used in this statement:

“It would be simpler, are more accurate, to simply tell the truth about how the universe came to be: we don?t know.”

In fact, it would be simpler, and more accurate, to simply tell the truth about God’s creating the universe: we don’t know.

It works both ways.

#76 guy endore-kaiser
May/19/2010
@ 5:50 pm

How many times has science made definitive claims about ?what is? and then proven wrong decades later? (The global warming scam comes to mind?)

I wasn’t aware the theory of global warming had been proven wrong, but then again, I believe in science… not Fox.

#77 Matt Bors
May/19/2010
@ 6:55 pm

“Until you know the entire bounds of the entire universe, this is not something anyone can say.”

I’ve made up and/or believe a religion. Until you know the entire bounds of the universe you can’t say that it’s false.

You see the problem there, right? How do you determine that other religions are wrong and yours is correct? Chances are a religious person simply believes in what they were raised to believe and has not read all religious texts. Why not? Others claim to have the word of God – shouldn’t they all be given a chance?

Seems to make a whole lot more sense to go with what we know ? with what science has discovered to be true and not supernatural claims in old books that, if written today, would be laughed at for their unscientific outlook, wild claims, and repressive rules.

#78 Tom Wood
May/19/2010
@ 7:57 pm

The primary problem with positing a god capable of creating a universe, is that such a complex creature must itself have been created. So you end up with an endless regression of things creating things that create gods that create universes.

Physics, however derived, has the advantage of simplicity of explanation. Or will have, once we get to a real understanding. ‘God did it’ cuts off the investigation prematurely.

#79 Keith Brown
May/19/2010
@ 8:24 pm

Concering the question of religion the fact of wheter God exists or not seems irrelevant to me.
Orgnaized religion, in and of itself is a business. Nothing more,nothing less.
The product they sell is salvation. There is stiff competion and these idiots who want to kill someone are just the most brand loyal.
It’s like the whole Ford vs. Chevy thing. Maybe what we need is a toon of Calvin pissing on various religious icons. We can pick the one we agree with and put on the back window of our pick-up?

#80 Terry LaBan
May/19/2010
@ 8:34 pm

@August ?When the LORD your God hands it over to you, kill every man in the town. But you may keep for yourselves all the women, children, livestock, and other plunder. You may enjoy the spoils of your enemies that the LORD your God has given you.? -Deuteronomy 20:10-14

I’m quite familiar with that passage, August. I’m equally familiar with the “fable” of Abraham and the Passover story. Neither of them justifies ANY of your bad boys.The passage you quote above addresses the treatment of specific enemies in wartime, not the way people are supposed to behave in civil society.If you spend a little more time googling, I’m sure you’ll run across some of the numerous passages condemning all of the behaviors you cite.

@Ted There?s just no historical evidence for this. It?s far more likely that religious systems (like political laws) codify preexisting moral precepts.

Huh? Who says it’s likely, besides you? I haven’t heard about anyone digging up any 20,000 year old morals lately. On the other hand, much of the earliest evidence we have of modern human behavior involves religion. There’s no evidence that any modern humans society without a religious aspect has ever existed. And if you want to cite chimpanzee behavior, well, hey, they paint too! Maybe you’ll say they invented art. As for your conviction that God doesn’t exist, well, I think someone said once that you’re entitled to your own beliefs but not your own facts. But as all good Tea Partiers know, if you keep restating a belief long enough, it’ll become a fact. So hang in there.

@Pat Terry wrote: ?The problem with people like Ted Rall and Tom Wood and the other atheist fundamentalists of the world is that they make sweeping statements. . . ?

I only have a problem with sweeping statements that are dumb. Statements like “Most people have 10 toes and fingers” or “Atheist fundamentalists tend to be both ignorant and smug” trouble me not at all.

@Rick Like most christians, you?ve likely never actually read your Bible because not only does God and Moses condone child murder, genocide, rape, slavery and human sacrifice but actually commands it.

Actually, Rick, I’ve read my Bible plenty, particularly the Moses part. and again, with the exception of specific instances involving conduct in war, you’re wrong. Spectacularly. You’re also wrong about me being a Christian. I am not now, nor was I ever, a Christian. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

#81 Shane Davis
May/19/2010
@ 8:43 pm

Matt,

You argue that believing a religion is largely invalid because a believer cannot know all their ‘truths,’ therefore since a religious person does not know all religions through and through then that person can never be sure that any religion is correct, and as a result you say that religions should be disregarded as unknowable, and instead people should turn to ‘knowable’ science.

Well for one, science isn’t always that knowable, that?s why there are so many theories. Two, the claim you made that all religions need to be known before a person can have a valid faith is flawed and falls apart when that exact same standard is applied to science. What branch of science does NOT have researchers and scientists with multiple points of view that disagree (very strenuously at times) on what the real truth of that science is. To criticize a believer for not knowing all religions means you also have to condemn every scientist who doesn?t believe every possibility about that particular branch of science that he studies. Shouldn?t every possible theory about any given science be considered valid and given equal weight? No, because that?s not required in science – so why do you require it from religion?

Theories are basically only very educated guesses, not fact. Is it then ok to have believe in an educated guess that can?t be proven but not to believe in a God that can?t be proven? If you held science to the same standard you hold religion, then you wouldn?t take the scientific theories of the Big Bang or Evolution seriously at all.

You seem to give science a wide birth to make mistakes or to create conclusions based on the smallest threads of evidence that cannot be proven under any circumstances, but criticize religions for making conclusions based upon claims that cannot be proven from old books.

That’s why I said that before you put the shutdown on religion you should realize that science in many ways requires as much faith to believe as religion does to others. You cannot prove either of the evolutionary or universal origin sciences, but claim religion is absurd because it cannot be proved. That?s called hypocrisy.

Religion is not science and should not be treated as such or held to the same types of standards. But some sciences are accepted in the same exactly manner as a religion and are even excused from the very methods that science requires in order to achieve validation. Frankly, today?s intolerance of religion is doing TO religion what religion did to science 450 years ago and it?s just as persecutory.

Ted was starting to head down the right track; it?s more honest to simply say ?I choose not to believe in God? than to attack those that do believe and make it a vitriolic contest of ?enlightened? versus ?barbaric.?

#82 Matt Bors
May/19/2010
@ 8:52 pm

“The passage you quote above addresses the treatment of specific enemies in wartime, not the way people are supposed to behave in civil society.”

Thanks for clearing that up. Kill all the men and take their women. Thanks for the great wartimes rules, God!

#83 Matt Bors
May/19/2010
@ 8:59 pm

Shane, I this is a good place to address your argument:
“Religion is not science and should not be treated as such or held to the same types of standards. ”

Religion isn’t science. You are absolutely right. Yet it makes claims about that state of the universe, where we came from, how we should live, where we go when we die, etc. People base their lives around it. People kill for it. But let’s not hold it up to the same standard we do for every other subject in society? Makes no sense.

Science is a process and people like you like to point out how all scientists don’t agree and then try to leap across a logical canyon by saying that means it’s OK to believe in any old claim if you call it religion.

Scientists agree on a lot. Gravity, the structure of the universe and solar system, evolution (yes, that). They found out about these things through what is called the scientific method. I’ll stick with science.

If people, institutions, et al, make incredible claims, any rational person should need evidence to believe them. There isn’t any for religion, so I don’t believe in it.

#84 Matt Bors
May/19/2010
@ 9:01 pm

“Frankly, today?s intolerance of religion is doing TO religion what religion did to science 450 years ago and it?s just as persecutory.”

Scientists are burning religious people alive after torturing them for confessions? Surely that would be on Youtube.

#85 Rich Diesslin
May/19/2010
@ 9:43 pm

Well said Shane.

#86 Shane Davis
May/20/2010
@ 6:23 am

Matt,
Yes, science is not religion and vice versa. Religion does not pretend to be science nor should it, but science scarcely has proven that it is the sole authority on every facit of humanity’s existence.

Science can no more address the human soul than religion should address gravity. Science cannot speak to the extreme grief a mother feel after losing a child, to the pain a man feels during a horrible disease nor the terror people feel when faced with natural disaster.

Science feels a critical need by providing a dizzying cornicopia of technologies, but God fills an even bigger need…the restoration, redemtion and sanctification of the human soul.

I would argue that yes, science is highly needed in solving the world’s problems of providing food, shelter and medical resources.

But peaceful belief in God is even more needed to provide love, kindness and brotherhood.

No science can accomplish that.

#87 Shane Davis
May/20/2010
@ 6:28 am

Matt,
Also, I do appreciate your choice to not believe.

But it is not true there is no evidence of God. The evidence is profoundly clear and real to me, in that when Christ entered my heart, I changed.

I know that is not measurable by the scientific method and therefore not verifiable, but science cannot measure the truth of all things. And the truth is God changes hearts and lives.

And I thank Him every day He changed mine.

#88 Peter Allende
May/20/2010
@ 7:28 am

@Ted Rall “Actually, there?s plenty wrong with religion. The main problem with it is that encourages people to believe things that aren?t true.”

Like crop circles, UFO’s, vampires, global warming, Obamacare will save money, etc…

#89 August J. Pollak
May/20/2010
@ 8:24 am

“That?s why I said that before you put the shutdown on religion you should realize that science in many ways requires as much faith to believe as religion does to others. You cannot prove either of the evolutionary or universal origin sciences, but claim religion is absurd because it cannot be proved. That?s called hypocrisy.”

No, that’s called “theory.” See, things have actual definitions which don’t change just because you personally don’t understand them. You’re a perfect example of where religion becomes problematic: when it turns from inspiring personal moral guidelines into an ignorance rights movement.

Pretending that scientific theory isn’t tangible only to whine that personal emotion is your “evidence” of something that is not a theory at all is insulting to people who actually try to learn something about both science and theology. You have the right to be ignorant but not the right to demand that other people think at your level as a requirement to debate something with you. Nor are you oppressed because others demand more than you in terms of factual evidence and you’re frustrated that you can’t supply it. You are, no pun intended, quite faithless in your debate tactics and until you are ready to be mature about it you’re not going to learn much. Though it seems that the nature of your argument is that you don’t really want to.

#90 Shane Davis
May/20/2010
@ 12:30 pm

August,

I am quite sure I am neither ignorant, whining, immature nor frustrated. I also have the ability to discuss an issue without the anger that seems to permeate your posts.

I can also assure you that I’m not trying to win some kind of competition with non-believers nor am I trying to ‘outwit’ you into faith in God.

I am saying that, despite your best efforts to cloud the issue by attacking me, you cannot intelligently answer the questions you claim science has answered. “Theory” means coherent group of general propositions used as principles of explanation for a class of phenomena. I am not changing the meaning of the word. Science has by using to describe the Big Bang and evolution, both of which must run in exact opposition to the Laws of Thermodynamics.

Whether you agree with believers, are disguted by believers, or would just rather rally around your maypole of bitterness towards the concept of God, that’s your business.

But you cannot expect anyone to rationally debate anything with you when you claim specious evidence for a non-provable theory is a basis for science, but insult and attack those who hold a sincere belief in a God thay have seen move very concretely in their lives.

Until you have proof, not a search, but proof of what you claim, then you have no right to be so high handed towards folks who believe in something that also cannot be proved.

#91 Stephen Beals
May/20/2010
@ 12:49 pm

The word “theory” is used differently by scientists. Nobody goes around saying, “Oh, the Atomic Theory is just a theory.” We’ve seen the mushroom clouds.

That said, I’m not sure why science should be threatening to religion. There have been many religious scientists who were able to separate their science from their faith. The Pontifical Academy of Science endorses evolution and Catholic priests believe in evolution.

Carl Sagan gives his proof of evolution in the first episode of Cosmos, and I would also recommend his excellent book Demon Haunted World.

I lived with a woman for 10 years who was obsessed with religion. She was (and is) highly intelligent and visited every type of church, synagogue and mosque. She was constantly reading ancient texts. She’s still writing about religion today. If she were into baseball cards, we’d probably still be together, but this is an exhausting and inexhaustible topic.

#92 Matt Bors
May/20/2010
@ 1:21 pm

Science does threaten religion. It’s called the “God of the gaps” argument. Science has figured out a lot since the Big Three monotheistic religions were introduced and since then God’s role has been diminished. Only the most idiotic people still think God sends earthquakes and plagues to punish us. So religious people today take the gaps in our knowledge and fill it with God. His role seems to be getting smaller and smaller as time goes on. He used to burn bushes and part seas, now he watches from a distance and fill the occasional heart with love.

There are scientists who are faithful, but they are known to be one of the least religious groups as a whole. I think there’s good reason for it.

#93 Ted Rall
May/20/2010
@ 2:59 pm

@Shane:

But you cannot expect anyone to rationally debate anything with you when you claim specious evidence for a non-provable theory is a basis for science, but insult and attack those who hold a sincere belief in a God thay have seen move very concretely in their lives.

“Rationally debate”? As August points out, your basis for God’s existence is purely emotional. There’s nothing rational about it; indeed, most believers will happily concede there’s nothing rational about faith.

Belief in God is stupid. Not because it can’t be proven–lots of things can’t be proven. Because there is no evidence. None. The only basis for believing in God is one’s own desire for such a being and/or some feeling that there must be Something Bigger that Explains Everything.

We all have desires and wishes and yearnings, but they are not tantamount to evidence.

No one has ever seen “a God move very concretely in their lives.” No one can. No one will. Which actually really sucks, but that’s how it is.

@Stephen: Another major threat to religion is history. The fact that our views of God change over time, that cultures simultaneously have different views of God, that there are multiple deities, indicates that anyone who believes in God now merely buys into the latest myth.

#94 August J. Pollak
May/20/2010
@ 4:01 pm

“But you cannot expect anyone to rationally debate anything with you when you claim specious evidence for a non-provable theory is a basis for science, but insult and attack those who hold a sincere belief in a God thay have seen move very concretely in their lives.”

No, Shane. I think I am being quite clear when I am saying that I cannot expect _you_ to rationally debate anything. Because you are now just pretending that words mean what you want.

“Non-provable theory?” Umm, yeah, that’s why it’s a theory and not a rule or a law. I don’t understand why you want to keep embarrassing yourself proving over and over again that you know nothing about what you’re claiming you know something about. I’m not throwing a tantrum about the flaws in Japanese translation because I don’t speak a lick of Japanese. You’re flailing about scientific terms and you do not even know what they mean. That is irrational. Pretending there isn’t evidence backing scientific theories like relativity, gravity and evolution is irrational. Being affected emotionally is, by definition, irrational.

I was generous before but I’ll have to phrase it more directly now: you are not right just because you’re too stupid to realize you’re wrong. And the only reason you are feeling “insulted” is the same reason morons like the Taliban feel “insulted” by challenges to their unwavering religious dogma: because you’re too g*&d^&ned stubborn to accept you don’t know what the hell you’re talking about and learning about it might prove you wrong.

#95 Shane Davis
May/20/2010
@ 4:24 pm

Ted,
If belief in something that can’t proven is stupid, then belief in the big bang, evolution or even the human soul is stupid. You can’t prove any of those either.

And millions of people have seen God move very solidly in their lives every day. I have in mine…I know when He has taken a hand in my life and events occur that can not be rationally or logically explained. Telling my own experience and the experience of millions of others is wrong is presumptious in the least. How could you know? That presumes you know conclusively every possiblity in this universe of every event that has evey happened to anyone who calls themself a ‘believer’ and as a result you know for certain that it is not God because there is not God.

Making the claim you travelled back in time and witnessed the Big Bang in person would be a less fantastic claim than that one.

And my ‘evidence’ is not emotion. Emotions are fleeting feelings, not a relationship with God, which I have. I know the difference as well as you the difference between your emotions about a person you know and your understanding of your relationship to that person. They are seperate things.

Your belief in scientific theories and your belief in the non-existence of God are acts of faith because you as a finite, limited being with finite, limited senses and intellect (as we all possess) do not have the means of proving conclusively that you are correct. You have as little evidence I do in some cases of science. I believe miracles happen every day and that there is far more to this universe than only what can be measured, cataloged and scanned.

ow, I’m sure I’ll get the old “you’re just throwing out the blah blah blah fallacy of blah blah blah” saw tossed at me, but I’ll quote this fellow anyway. Robert Jastrow was the Professor of Geophysics at Columbia University and was a brilliant physicist and astronomer. He was also an agnostic.. Here are some of his takes on science v. religion:

“There is a kind of religion in science, it is the religion of a person who believes there is order and harmony in the universe, and every effect must have its cause, there is no first cause…this religious faith of the scientist is violated by the discovery that the world had a beginning under conditions in which the known laws of physics are *not* valid, and as a product of forces or circumstances we cannot discover. When that happens, the scientist has lost control.”

“We see how the astronomical evidence supports the biblical view of the origin of the world….the essential elements in the astronomical and biblical accounts of Genesis are the same. Consider the enormousness of the problem : Science has proved that the universe exploded into being at a certain moment. It asks: ‘What cause produced this effect? Who or what put the matter or energy into the universe?’ And science cannot answer these questions. For the scientist who has lived by his faith in the power of reason, the story ends like a bad dream. He has scaled the mountain of ignorance; he is about to conquer the highest peak; as he pulls himself over the final rock, he is greeted by a band of theologians who have been sitting there for centuries.”

For a man who didn’t believe in God, he was certainly fair enough to be open minded about that which he admitted scientists cannot know.

Science and religion are not mutually exclusive and should not be used to try to terminate one another. I frankly think they should compliment each other. I don’t need science to be wrong for the Bible to be right, nor do I think good science has to or can prove God does not exist.

It’s more than Windex clear that we disagree, and will most likely never budge one another off each other’s deep seated beliefs. Maybe this is a good place to call it a draw because the last thing I am interested in any discussion is things getting ugly or personal. Matt & Ted, I appreciate how sharp and passionate you guys are and I respect your belief.

Talk at you later and yeah, I can’t resist….

God Bless.

#96 August J. Pollak
May/20/2010
@ 4:35 pm

“Maybe this is a good place to call it a draw ”

LOL

#97 Shane Davis
May/20/2010
@ 4:36 pm

Matt,
Sorry you seem to be so angry about someone having a belief system you disagree with.

I’ll grant you I’m not a scientist and I’ll grant you I may misuse terms, but the statements I made still stand unchallenged by you. The only challenge you seem to be able to make is “you’re wrong, you’re stubborn, you’re stupid’ etc. Your accusastions are that I can’t rationally discuss this with you, but you rip and tear and call names like a child. Is this the rational debate you were speaking of?

also, you have made every good faith effort to insult me, but I assure you I am neither insulted nor offended – believe me, I ‘m not. I’ve taken much, much worse than you’ve dished out and I’m still smilin’. Thanks for worrying about me, though.

Again, as I said in my previous post, I don’t have any desire to engage in personal rage raids with other folks. I’m happy you’re comfortable with your beliefs, I’m comfortable with mine.

Peace and joy, man.

Ciao.

#98 Shane Davis
May/20/2010
@ 4:37 pm

Sorry, that last post was to August, not Matt.

But look! I made him laugh! He’s happy again!
See, there is a God!

#99 Matt Bors
May/20/2010
@ 5:12 pm

“And millions of people have seen God move very solidly in their lives every day.”

God is poop?

#100 August J. Pollak
May/20/2010
@ 5:15 pm

“but the statements I made still stand unchallenged by you. ”

Jeez, I don’t think anyone even knows what “statements” you’re demanding “challenging” on with all the babbling you’ve done. Could you condense and replay them for us please?

“That said, I?m not sure why science should be threatening to religion. ”

Because in many cases they’re polar opposites. Science is the process of continuing to learn more about the universe and discovering new things about it and the way it works. Religion, like it or not, is based on the idea that there are core tenets handed down from the beginning of time that should be followed according to entity that is characterized by our inability to understand it. As people like Shane in this thread have proven, religious fundamentalists are incredibly threatened by this.

One of my best friends is incredibly religious, with many moral viewpoints based on that which I disagree with. She’s also a master’s candidate in animal mammal science. Her dad’s a minister. She’s the most deeply Christian person I know. She also understands that evolution is real, because to think otherwise would be, well, stupid. She spent three months in Africa seeing evidence of it.

What I love about some of the wingnuts in this thread is how similar it all was to talking about Sarah Palin in the 2008 election. We knew nothing about her- she gave no interviews, hid from the press, and just offered tiny little soundbites and had other people talk about how great she was. And yet those same right-wingers wailed that Obama wasn’t a citizen, was secretly a Muslim, and so on. Like I said before, being stupid and not understanding facts doesn’t mean you’re right because it’s all you know.

#101 Matt Bors
May/20/2010
@ 5:18 pm

Let’s look at it this way, Shane.

You have a personal relationship with God. A Muslim has a personal relationship with God. Another christian has a personal relationship with God who only send the Hitlers to hell, while well-meaning atheists like myself get a pass. Another talks to a slightly different God because this one sends all non-believers to hell.

You have to admit that at most, only one of these Gods could be real. So we could agree that the vast majority of humanity believes in myth and superstition and religions that are wrong and falsely think they have a relationship with a deity that doesn’t exist, right?

#102 Shane Davis
May/20/2010
@ 5:50 pm

August,
I’m not threatened by science at all. If I believe in an all powerful God, why would I be threatened by the very nuts & bolts of the universe He created? When I see photos of stars by our satellites or babies in the womb getting heart surgery, I’m both extremely grateful for science and in getting to see God’s amazing handiwork. Science reveals to me more and more the God is real, not the opposite. There is too much amazing detail, too much organization, too much thought behind the incredibly complex systems that cooperate and intergrate from the largest star systems to the smallest atoms.

And yes, historical “religion” has attacked science, but religion is not always the same as people who believe in God throughout history. In our discussion here, I should have said ealier that there is a hugh difference between religion and honest, God fearing people. Have religions gotten hijacked and used to brutalized, enslave and kill? Sure. But no true God fearing person would participate in that religion because at that point it is no longer a religion…maybe a cult, and army, a political movement, whatever. But not a religion seeking the heart of God. Should have clarified that earlier.

Matt,
If your wanting me to set foot in that trap, I’ll go ahead and jump to the end for you. If there is only one God, how do I know I believe in the right one, right? The answer may not please you because, as someone said above, my evidence will be called “mere emotion.”

It is not emotion, it is the fact that I have experienced a changed life and have seen it in others. I hesitate to engage in one of my marathon posts because it would require quoting the Bible, and Alan earlier stated he didn’t want to see that.

I believe because I heard the Gospel and I knew in my heart, mind and soul (not emotion, knowledge) that I was imperfect, corrupted and had committed many offenses against a Holy, loving, just God. And in that moment, I knew that it was true that although I was responsible for answering for my sins to Him, I also knew He loved me (and all others) so much He provided a means of paying for those sins for me. By the death of His Son Jesus.

Not trying to preach a sermon here, but the only way to answer your question is to tell you the truth. You ask me how I know God lives, He lives within my heart. I know He is kind, patient, loving, merciful and desires to connect with all of us.

In the end (and please understand my answer is not in anyway intended to sound flippant or self righteous) I know God can be found when you get on your knees and seek Him. I’ve seen this truth happen before my eyes and in my life, I know He is real.

Alan, I’m sorry to break your rules, but just this once.
Here’s how I can tell you God is real:

Jeremiah 29:13 “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”

If you do, then you will.
If you want to know, there is the door.

#103 Carl Moore
May/20/2010
@ 8:50 pm

One of the following statements, it seems to me, has to be true:

1. The universe came into existence for a reason, it has a purpose and our lives, as a consequence, have meaning.

2. The universe came into existence for no reason, it has no purpose and our lives, as a consequence, are meaningless.

Shane and religious people believe number one is true. August, Matt and Ted believe number two is true.

There’s a good argument for both, but, doggone it, I’m going with one – it not only FEELS better (emotion), it just makes more sense (reason).

#104 Tony Piro
May/20/2010
@ 9:25 pm

Yes, Shane, physicists, astronomers, and cosmologists have all been wasting their time for the last 40+ years, assuming a theory for the early beginning of the Universe that violates one of the fundamental laws of thermodynamics. Maybe you should notify them, because clearly they never thought of this.

Oh, and that theory of evolution you belittle is the same principle used to predict mutations so that we can make working vaccines. But I’m sure you’ve never benefited from a vaccine in your life.

Shane, for the love of God, at least read a basic science text. Maybe you can at least join the 1800s. With a little work you might even join the 1900s, but be careful about that quantum mechanics stuff. It can get tricky.

See, I stand by my previous statement. We are arguing with someone who believes the world is flat.

I’m not wasting any more time with this. I’m out.

#105 Matt Bors
May/20/2010
@ 10:34 pm

“2. The universe came into existence for no reason, it has no purpose and our lives, as a consequence, are meaningless.

August, Matt and Ted believe number two is true.”

No. Both of your statements are false and rooted in horrible logic.

A deity or afterlife don’t magically grant life meaning. Nor does the absence of these things strip all meaning from life. Does any God grant life meaning, even the horrible, petulant, misogynist psychopath in the old testament?

The universe has to have a grand purpose (as defined by you) for you to get through your day? I hope we don’t turn you into an atheist – you’d jump off a bridge!

Douglass Adams, who apparently thought the world was meaningless enough to contribute more to it than we ever will, imagined a puddle gaining sentience and thinking, “This is an interesting world I find myself in?an interesting hole I find myself in?fits me rather neatly, doesn’t it? In fact it fits me staggeringly well, must have been made to have me in it!”

#106 Stephen Beals
May/20/2010
@ 11:26 pm

Just to clarify, I guess I was being rhetorical. I understand why science (and history) is threatening to religion, I just don’t understand why some religious people (especially the ones I’m familiar with in America) feel threatened and are angry if their position is one of faith. They’re so angry that athiests, agnostics, and anybody with a subscription to Scientfic American has to walk on egg shells in certain parts of the country.

I think it does boil down to education. The highly educated religious people I know (I guess even the basically educated) are not angry about science.

But if I go around calling people stupid, I put myself in a glass house. I freeze up during quizzes, so I try not to do that.

I think it’s also a cultural thing, which is why I don’t visit my mother’s side of the family in Mississippi as much (devout Church of God folks who have very …. old fashioned ways of thinking).

Is there an eject button in this thread? Hitler! Hitler!

#107 August J. Pollak
May/20/2010
@ 11:39 pm

“August, Matt and Ted believe number two is true.”

Guess God came to you and told you that since we sure didn’t.

#108 Dave Stephens
May/21/2010
@ 12:40 am

1: There is a God.

2: There isn’t a God.

Mr. Pollak, you believe number two. Good for you. I wish you the best of luck. I hope you are able to achieve your hopes and dreams.

I believe number one.

Good for me?

(crickets chirping)

#109 August J. Pollak
May/21/2010
@ 7:16 am

“Mr. Pollak, you believe number two.”

Wow, he must have talked to you too! God, you guys do have it easy when you get to just make up whatever you think supports your point.

#110 Ted Rall
May/21/2010
@ 7:51 am

@Shane:

Please don’t conflate proof and evidence. There are many things science can’t prove. But science relies on evidence.

There is no evidence that God exists.

Example of evidence: Policeman finds the murder weapon in your car.

Example of proof: Videotape of you stabbing the victim.

Evidence doesn’t prove anything. It marks the beginning of scientific inquiry, which may then lead elsewhere, or nowhere.

In the case of religion, we have nothing: no evidence whatsoever. There is literally no more reason to believe in God than to believe in the Easter Bunny.

@Dave: Bad for you. Believing things that aren’t true reduces your ability to reason or act rationally. The truth will set you free.

#111 Tom Wood
May/21/2010
@ 8:06 am

But, but….the Easter Bunny is REAL!!

#112 Ted Rall
May/21/2010
@ 10:16 am

Why is it wrong to call out stupidity or to ridicule stupid people? What could be more important than to hold up the highest standards of intellectual rigor as the norm?

#113 Jeremy Nell
May/21/2010
@ 10:37 am

I have only just caught this conversation.

Without giving my own views, a simple observation is what I will provide.

This is an odd statement by Ted Rall:

“Politics isn?t inherently flawed; it is possible to participate in politics without lying. It is impossible to be a religious person without believing and/or telling lies.”

According to Wikipedia, being religious is:

“a system of human thought which usually includes a set of narratives, symbols, beliefs and practices that give meaning to the practitioner’s experiences of life through reference to a higher power, deity or deities, or ultimate truth.”

Truths and lies are relative to time, place, and culture.

Relativity.

#114 Jeremy Nell
May/21/2010
@ 10:41 am

“The truth will set you free.”

And what is “the truth”? (I thought only Jehovah’s Witnesses used that phrase…?

#115 Jeremy Nell
May/21/2010
@ 10:54 am

“It is winter right now.”
“No, it is summer.”
“Nope, it is winter and I can provide scientific evidence.”
“Yes, well so can I. It is impossible that is winter.”
“It is entirely possible.”
“How so?”
“I live in the southern hemisphere.”
“So do I. And I’m on acid.”

What is this “truth” you speak of, young padewan?

Relativity. Time. Location. Level of consciousness.

#116 Matt Bors
May/21/2010
@ 11:08 am

Acid! Winter! Something or Other!

#117 Dave Stephens
May/21/2010
@ 12:06 pm

@Ted Rall. The truth has set me free. Too bad it’s not YOUR truth – LOL

In my limited experience, agnostics typically show respect to folks who believe in God, realizing that they, being agnostics, do NOT have the answers to the mystery of God. Their position on whether God exists has many facets but the main foundation is simple: it’s unknowable.

In contrast, and also from my limited experience, atheists seem more likely to show disrespect since they KNOW there is no God. And they have an amusing ability to assume it is others’ lesser intelligence or lesser ability to reason or lesser logic that is the reason. As if smart people would naturally go one way and not the other… Now that kind of deeply flawed logic is just silly. Which is why arguments of this nature are just silly.

“Hey, dummy, your beliefs are stupid!”

“Oh, really, you are saying I’m a dummy? Because of my beliefs? Oh. How insightful. I’ll be sure look into that. No, wait, I looked into it and it turns out I’m not so dumb. Strange, huh? Well, I guess you’ll now compare my belief in God to believing in the Easter Bunny, right? I seem to remember that line of reasoning in the 3rd Grade…”

And so on.

#118 Stephen Beals
May/21/2010
@ 12:23 pm

Ah, Wikipedia. Truthiness. Wikipedia is now being quoted, like Time Magazine, instead of whoever happened to be the author. I’m glad Wikipedia is there to explain all of this to me. It’s so much easier than cracking open a book by some sort of professor who’s devoted years of study to a subject.

@Ted, I’ve always thought that calling out stupidity is sometimes useful when trying to educate, but when it comes to certain subjects there’s no end to the debate because people are arguing from such radically different perspectives.

Anyone catch that scientists have succeeded in using gene therapy to restore some muscle function in patients with a certain type of muscular dystrophy? I’m going to concentrate on rewarding stories like that and less on this stuff. If you think prayer is going to help those suffering from muscular dystrophy, go for it. Just don’t interfere with the work the scientists are doing.

#119 Peter Allende
May/21/2010
@ 12:41 pm

Question 1 (from Ted Rall): “Why is it wrong to call out stupidity or to ridicule stupid people?”

Answer: Because it’s usually done by stupid people.

Question 2 (from Ted Rall): “What could be more important than to hold up the highest standards of intellectual rigor as the norm?”

Answer: To be intellectually honest.

#120 Abell Smith
May/21/2010
@ 2:31 pm

“In my limited experience, agnostics typically show respect to folks who believe in God, realizing that they, being agnostics, do NOT have the answers to the mystery of God. Their position on whether God exists has many facets but the main foundation is simple: it?s unknowable.”

Speaking as one, I can tell you that agnostics will also be laughing our asses off when the apocalypse hits and “GOD” (which, for so many believers can only possibly mean one thing and any other notion is just plain stupid) turns out to be some God followed only by a tiny aboriginal tribe in West Africa or something…

#121 Shane Davis
May/21/2010
@ 4:23 pm

Ok, I think I must suffer from a machochistic complex of some kind.

I’m sure I’ll be fed into the woodchipper of tolerant, generous enlightened intellectual discourse again for daring to speak, but why the heck not! I like the sound it makes. Vrrrmmm! Vrrmmmm!

1. Science claims that based upon what humans on one tiny planet out of 200 billion have observed from their satellites, observatories and space probes exploring maybe
.0000000000000000000000000001%
of the galaxy that the universe began some 14 billion years ago with a huge explosion or collision, but do not know where the elements causing the explosion or collision came from. But they are fairly sure it happened.

2. In the 150 years since Darwin published ‘Origin of the Species'(out of the 4.5 billion years of Earth’s age) scientists claim to have backtracked and discovered where all animal and plant life came from and how it developed into the forms it is today.

3. The evidence for both claims cannot be proven nor tested, which is why they are called theories (as some kind gent schooled me on earlier). In many quarters, they are simply accepted as fact.

4. There are millions of humans living in the 21st Century who disagree with these theories. They also believe that there may have been an intelligence behind the design of both the universe and life on Earth. Some of these are in fact astronomers, physicists, cosmologists, biologists and anthropologists. They are far from stupid, idiotic morons who live in the 1880’s. Some are even Democrats. In fact, many are much smarter than the sum total of all the folks posting in this thread.

5. Folks disagree about these facts about science and God because neither can be proved and throwing flaming dog turds at each other while cursing the the tissues and bones of the other person’s carcass advances neither cause beyond the diameter of your average Chiclet.

6. Repeatedly posting the same talking points at some point becomes running laps in circles -cooler heads should recognize that repeatedly arguing an unwinnable argument is like trying to teach a pig to dance. You just get muddy and you tick off the pig.

Oink oink oink.

I appreciate the dialog, but are we tired of dancing yet?

#122 August J. Pollak
May/21/2010
@ 6:39 pm

“I appreciate the dialog, but are we tired of dancing yet?”

I think you’re the only one tired from running around in circles.

God, guys. Will everyone PLEASE just let Shane have the last word because that means he’s right? Hilarious.

#123 August J. Pollak
May/21/2010
@ 6:47 pm

“In contrast, and also from my limited experience, atheists seem more likely to show disrespect since they KNOW there is no God. ”

I can’t speak for atheists, but since you already lied to label that on people, myself included, I have never shown any disrespect to someone who is more religious than I and/or has a deep belief in the supernatural/religious/magical/whatever.

I am, however, proudly and happily open about my disrespect for people who try to use religious belief as a defense against their ignorance of fact. It’s no different than the defiant, stubborn ignoramuses who said that God must have made the maggots appear on the meat, or the Mullahs in their caves saying suicide bombing gets you virgins in heaven, or a celibate pedophile in a pointy hat saying that you go to a place where you burn forever if you stop an egg from attaching to a uterine wall.

#124 Shane Davis
May/21/2010
@ 7:25 pm

LAST WORD, LAST WORD, LAST WORD, LAST WORD!! ;)

#125 Alan Gardner
May/21/2010
@ 8:07 pm

End of the week is a good time to end this thread.

Based on the intensity and convincing nature of the debate,I’m assuming all the atheists have found god, but unfortunately all the believers have lost their faith.

Have a great weekend everyone.

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