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In the US it's freedom OF religion NOT freedom FROM religion. What say you, atheists of the IDW?

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Boardwine 8 Nov 13
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I find it ironic (and rather irksome) that the diehard evangelicals often refer to atheism as a religion (which it isn't), so if they really believe that to be true then atheists have every right to practice their "faith", which would be no religion in this case. Aside from politics, perhaps no other force on this planet divides human beings more than religious beliefs or lack thereof. I believe in individualism and not collectivism, so everyone should have their right to believe what they may and live their lives as they wish, just so personal beliefs do not dominate our politics. Can't say I believe in any deities Shawn, but will fight for your right and the rights of others to believe in and worship who/whatever you want to.


Not an atheist, so I didn’t want to vote.

Feel free to express your opinion. I'm not an atheist either.


Would this also apply to the religion of evolution, to believe in the god of random chance takes great faith.

KeVince Level 8 Nov 13, 2019

The core definition of religion and faith is the believe in things without evidence.

Since there is OVERWHELMING evidence to support the THEORY of evolution, it cannot be, by definition, a religion.

You sure about that? If you do your homework, you cannot help but come to the conclusion that the opposition is not between evolution and religion, but between evolution and science.

Not only is the evidence for evolution not overwhelming, it’s virtually non-existent, if we’re talking about Darwin’s major premise that species evolve one to another through natural selection and random mutations. Darwin was clear that the theory rested on corresponding evidence being unearthed in the fossil record.

To date, we have fossils for myriad species from myriad eras, but virtually no transition fossils. And no explanation whatsoever for either the Cambrian explosion or flowering plants, both of which which Darwin admitted were a conundrum that presented a real problem.

So Evolution neither explains existing data other than modifications within a species based on environmental factors, nor is it a useful predictor of potential developments. But most damming, it is a “theory” that has never been subjected to the rigors of the scientific method. Instead, we have a calcified structure that screams “Settled Science!”

Science is never settled. It is an unending quest; educated guesses which are tested and developed or discarded for something better. No one needs to open The Book if Genesis to blow evolution out of the water. All one needs is a sophomore statistics text. Odds and probability. Math. Real science.

Yes, Evolution is a faith based religion, and like all religions, anyone who disagrees is not merely wrong, they must be silenced, banished, their research grant withdrawn and their careers destroyed.

@Edgework Hi Edge... there has to be at least some level of understanding in order to discuss these matters.
Your statement that there are no transitional species shows a complete lack of understanding of evolution.
ALL fossils and for that matter ALL living organisms are examples of transitional species as evolution is still continuing.
If you are looking for species in the fossil record that shows the development of new species... just pop over to the Smithsonian or any other Natural History museum. To busy? Just google Archaeopteryx to see the transition of a dinosaur to bird.
Want to see a living example of a fish evolving to live on land? Just google mudskipper.
The examples are endless.
The biggest breakthrough was in 2016 when we observed the evolution of bacteria in the laboratory.
Evolution is the scientifically the most scrutinised of all the Scientific Theories.
The evidence is vast and indisputable.
In over 150 years no evidence was found to question evolution or suggest that the basic tenants are wrong.
Sure we are still learning and our understanding is growing. However the understanding that all life evolved, is not disputed by anyone except people with religious motivations who has absolutely no proof or argument to the contrary.

Unlike climate change... and that is the reason no one talks about the Theory of Climate Change. All scientists (real ones) talk about the Theory of Evolution.

Let’s, by all means, continue this discussion, without hijacking the original post. I’ll drop a couple of points, however:

Darwin’s contribution was far more important from a cultural standpoint than scientific. In an academic community that could still smell the smoldering embers of Giordano Bruno wafting through Europe, Darwin offered the first real means to cut scientific inquiry free of the iron grip of the church and science lept at the opportunity. Science needed a Darwin and they very much needed his purely mechanistic process to supplant the myth and superstition of a divinely ordered world. Much like the function served by Adam Smith, and, later, Marx, in economics, and Freud in psychiatry.

But you have to come up with something besides a half-bird and a half-fish to counter the lack of a fossil record. Oh, and leading your argument by dismissing my position as merely the result of ignorance, or better yet, “religious motivation,” is precisely the kind of calcified, religious reflex that typifies the entire field, so I won’t bother to respond on that level. Instead, let’s talk fossils.

Paleontologists have been pulling them out of the ground for more than a couple of centuries now, and while it would be ignorant to suggest that their work is done, that there are no new surprises, they’ve compiled a fairly compressive record.

If I understand you correctly, you claim that the evolutionary process is ongoing, that it’s all around us. And yet, what’s clear is that if I go to a museum of natural history in London, the stegosaurus there will pretty much match the stegosaurus in New York, or Chicago. Or Paris. A mastodon in Siberia looks like a mastodon in North America. Lions and tigers and bears abound, all over the world, but they remain lions and tigers and bears. OH MY!

According to you, this ongoing process that’s all around us works like an endless morphing of species one to the next. There should be nothing but transition species. And yet, it’s not the case. There is no museum of transitional species. There isn’t even an exhibit.

I’ll restate my original position: the slow, incremental progression from species to species through a process of natural selection and random mutation, upon which the entire edifice of evolution rests, has never been demonstrated, much less proven. There are questions, fundamental questions, and they don’t come from the Book of Genesis. And as long as smug arrogance drives your approach, you’ll never ask them, much less look for answers.

@Hanno My disbelief in what I was taught about the theory of evolution came from reading origin of the species. Darwin himself is the author of Irreducible complexity and states it multiple time in the book. What I have seen of the fossil record and the geological evidence is more consistent with cataclysmic disaster than a slow progression of events. The circular reasoning that is used to date fossils by the strata layer and strata by fossils leaves one wondering.

@Edgework please visit the Smithsonian museum of natural history in Washington DC.
They have one of the most beautiful displays of the evolution of the elephant I have ever seen. It shows the gradual development of the different branches of elephant from the very early forms with their associated fossils all the way to the two modern species remaining. All in about 16 different “transitional species” if you want to call that from the shrew like probuscus to the modern trunks of African and Asian elephants. They also show the evolutionary dead ends of the mammoth and other extinct species.
The second best display I ever saw was in the development of the first gill plate into the jaw in early plate fishes.
If you look at these fossils and you still tell me evolution is fake or untested... you are wilfully ignorant.

@Edgework, @KeVince
150 years passed since Darwin. Basing evolution in Darwin is like basing a nuclear power plant on Niels Bohr‘a understanding of an atom.
In Darwin’s time it was thought the earth is no more that 50 million years old.
Darwin said his ideas will be validated if we find the fossils... and we found thousands.
Now with genetic sequencing we have even better proof about the evolution of species and are able to link the different species today with older fossils.
And in the intervening 150 years, not a single indication with any proof that evolution is wrong or misunderstood.
A third beautiful exhibition I need to add is the “Cradle of mankind” in South Africa. The extent of hominid fossils from australopheticus to homo erectus to Homo sapiens and no less than 8 “transitional species” are their on display. Original fossils from the Sterkfontein caves and other systems from Kenya and Tanzania.
The evidence is overwhelming.

The only way you can doubt that is if you have very strong religious motivation to do so. And that has nothing to do with evidence or reasoning.

@Edgework, @KeVince The display of gill plate to jaw was in the Vienna museum of natural history.

Ok, what is your explanation? Humans did not exist when dinosaurs did right? So there were a time no humans existed and then they did.
Where did they come from? Considering millions of years passed between dinosaurs and humans.

@Hanno Then why did the first emperor of china have a dragon to pull his chariot, as well as a position of royal dragon keeper these animals were not called dinosaurs until the mid forties.

@Hanno If we were to dig up dog skeletons we could arrange them to show a chain of evolution from a chihuahua to a german shepherd.

@KeVince ah, you believe in dragons... should have said so from the start.
There is excellent museums proving the existence of dragons... the best one is called Disney World and they have all the fossils... right next to the unicorns and family of the tooth fairy....


Sorry, I thought we were having an actual grown up conversation.

@Hanno1841 was the first use of the term dinosaur, before that they were called dragons ,Behemoths, worms(german for flying snakes)and just giant lizards. The reason ancient man never encountered a dinosaur was because they called them by another name. As with all things that are a nuisance to man these were simply hunted to extinction.

Come on, @Hanno, you speak with such authority, surely you are aware that you are conflating two separate issues. One, species modification over time, pretty much falls under the category of common sense—DUH! We all know about the finches of the Galapagos Islands. The other, speciation, is what Darwin staked his claim to fame on—species splitting off from each other to become new species, endlessly branching until we reach Darwin’s grand Tree of Life. That’s a bit stickier, slurs of ignorance and straw man attacks notwithstanding.

Working backwards from the varied diversity and complexity of life as we know it, until we find that one ancestor from whence all else flowed, proves to be as much of a myth as the Seven Days In the Garden. There’s no proof for either, they both must be taken on faith, and both approaches take the same illogical path: we need this to be true, so we’ll assume it is true and proceed on that assumption.

I’ll leave the Garden to theologians to explain. But as for the tree of life, fossils don’t make the case; embryology, thought for a while to be the magic bullet until someone actually looked and found the evidence had been faked, fails as well; and molecular biology has just muddied the waters, suggesting relationships that cannot be reconciled with the Tree of Life model, and actually debunking the idea of a single ancestor at all.

But my primary complaint is not with evolution, which is a respectable enough theory—it’s with people who have turned the field from a legitimate scientific endeavor into a cult, complete with dogma spouting ideologues and heretics who need to be destroyed. All to mask the simple truth that serious questions remain.

What do you expect? We’re looking at four billion years, and we’ve only been at it for just under two centuries. Yeah, there are still questions, fundamental questions, that ambiguous results with fruit flies, microbes and trains of elephants don’t even try to address. But you say settled science? Fine. Settle these:

  • the Cambrian explosion. You know the issue—it not only doesn’t fit the model, it would appear to refute it.
  • Complexity, and the inefficiency of natural selection working on random mutations to produce a result with no developmental stages that would, themselves, survive the survival-of-the-fittest test.
  • The statistical impossibility of just one working protein forming through a process of random chance.

I can appreciate that some might take the cheap way out and say “that’s the way God planned it,” but it sucks as a solution. So does, “We don’t have the evidence yet, but we already know the theory is correct, so we know what the evidence will look like when we do find it.”

How about, instead, real science? Acknowledging when a theory fails to explain existing data, going back to the drawing board and asking more questions. That would strike me as the intellectually honest approach. Anything else is just, as you say, willful ignorance.

@Edgework OK, let’s start with the easy one:

The statistical impossibility of just one working protein forming through a process of random chance.

The physicist Gideon Joubert wrote a book where he tried to prove that an external force (god or something like that) had to be involved - The Great Thought.
Really good book and translated in several languages.
He studied organic chemistry and argued the probability of an amino acid (function protein unit) forming randomly is 1E30. That is 1 with 30 zeroes. He argued this amount to winning the lottery thousands of times.
He however did not study chemical reaction kinetics: There are in the order of 1E25 molecules per m3 naturally occurring in sea water of the kind needed to form functional amino acid, CO2,H2O, SO2 etc...
In aquatic environment, each molecule undergo in the order of 1E4 interactions per second. That means in one m3 if seawater, there are 1E33 possible interactions per day. That means statistically there are in the order thousands of amino acids forming in every m3 of seawater and there are billions of m3 of seawater.
It is not just possible, but extremely likely.
All above was proven by Miller-Urie experiments in the 1950’s and now it has also been observed in undersea geothermal vents.

@Edgework Ok Edge, you stated:
NO transitional fossils exist... I showed you several out the top of my head... there are thousands.
NO transitional fossil museum exist... I pointed out three I have been to in just the past decade. The cradle of mankind is solely focused on transitional fossils.
Randomly formed proteins not statistically possible... not only possible but shown in lab and found in nature.

So before I go into the more difficult subject of the Cambrian explosion, I think a bit of quid pro quo is needed. I answered your questions and debunked your statements.
You need to answer at least one of mine... so where did humans come from?

@hanno, you do yourself no favors with your argument. For one thing, if you are trying to make a case for settled science, you need to do better than to cite the Miller-Urey experiment. They assumed a highly reactive atmosphere of methane and ammonia. General consensus these days is that it was primarily a volcanic atmosphere of CO2 and nitrogen, both inert. So there’s that.

But that’s just quibbling. The crippling flaw in your last post isn’t about math (although you should probably go back to Texas Instruments and buy a calculator with more buttons; the one you’re using isn’t up to the task): It’s your contention that organized information can arise from undirected processes.

The next time you’re in a hamburger joint, empty a packet of pepper onto one side of a saucer, and a packet of salt onto the other, and then shake until the granules have achieved a uniform grey texture. Then keep shaking, and as you do, remind yourself that there is nothing in the laws of physics that would prevent that mixture from reorganizing itself back into its initial state. Nothing, that is, except the iron hand of probability, and the second law of thermodynamics. One says that organization will tend towards disorganization, the other says that, barring outside influences, the process cannot be reversed.

Not only will the salt and pepper not separate back out, ever, a billion monkeys—wait... what was that ever so impressive number you you tossed out... 1e30...? Wow. Sounds formidable, although if you want to move from those thousands of amino acids to the level of organization an actual protein would require, you’ll need around 70 or 80 zeros to calculate the odds against you—but let’s go with 1e30 monkeys, pounding away on 1e30 keyboards for 1e30 years, which exceeds the available 15 billion years or so dramatically, but let’s do everything we can to stack the deck in the chimps’ favor. They’ll still never produce a play by Shakespeare. They won’t even produce a shopping list.

In a page of prose, the character appearing most often is the space.
Xdefvjudeagv juderghijgdtyf shvhhdf
will never attain even that minimal level of organization. But it gets worse for our simian friends. What if one managed to blunder onto a SPACE-T-H sequence? Will his random, unguided processes next chose an R, or a vowel? Or will it follow the laws of probability and chance and give equal weight to X, Z, B, P or all the other gibberish outcomes available?

Your argument is, in short, no less gibberish than a monkey’s output, and it is so because your willful ignorance, driven by your agenda, blinds you.

I was going to get into the process of moving from those “thousands of amino acids” of which you speak, to the 20 that need to be arranged in a precise sequence to create even one foldable protein, but I think the monkeys make the case just as well.

As for your fossils, you say Tom-ahh-toe, I say Tom-aaa-toe. The fossil record is nothing more than a set of data that requires interpretation. That’s not me, that’s a bona fide evolutionary biologist, Henry Gee. I see your line of elephants and I see a species changing over time. I’m not an evolutionary biologist and so the question of what constitutes a species is not of profound interest to me. It’s enough to know that among the current crop of recognized evolutionary biologists, the issue still isn’t settled beyond the level of general consensus. It’s an argument on par with the question of which afternoon soap opera is the best? Who cares? They’re all still soaps.

Look, I think you’re smart, you have a lot of information in your head, and we’d probably get along were we to meet. I dismissed you at the outset when you said I was ignorant for not seeing the world as you do, and attributing my motives to mere religion, and I suppose I still do. It was an ignorant thing to say.

Trust me, dude, I know religion. My mother is a born-again evangelical; I’ll let you figure out the odds of successfully convincing her that Jesus probably didn’t walk on water, he almost definitely did not rise from the dead, and his mother most likely wasn’t a virgin. Never mind the question of whether he existed at all.

Likewise any attempts to convince my daughter that Hillary Clinton is anything other than a paragon of virtue who would be president save for the unscrupulously devious machinations of the deplorable now currently sits in the Oval Office.

That’s why I consider Darwinists equally religious. It’s not whether they are right or wrong; it’s that they are closed off from curiosity, and locked into a world view that permits no dissent.

There are many things I don’t understand and which trigger my curiosity. An infinite universe, for one. What happened just before the Big Bang, is another. I don’t understand the double-slit experiment, but neither did Feynman, so that’s ok. Nor do I understand the process by which life formed, and how it has evolved. But it certainly makes me curious, and if I perceive something more than random, unguided chance behind it and want to know more, good for me.

I don’t know about you, but I’m done here. I wish you well.


funny how there have been NO - ZERO - Zilch - Nada atheists pushing back on public displayed Muslim call to prayer. Also our atheists seem to leap to the defense of all displays of Islamic dogma. I saw nor heard any objections to the use of a Qran in the swearing in of various elected officials and the use of the same book in the swearing an oath in legal proceedings.
It seems that "atheism" in its contemporary iteration is really nothing more nor less than an outright rejection of Christianity.

iThink Level 8 Nov 13, 2019

All the great atheist minds of our time (Dawkins, Hitchens etc) spoke out against Islam as much or even more so than against Christianity.

You have a very narrow view of atheists.
It simply because Christianity dominates the US that you see the anti Christian rhetoric more than against any other religion.


I have faith in my feet to walk away even when my mind wants to stay and spar. Got a problem with my faith have at it. lol

the beauty of our 1st amendment is that you get to believe in any damn thing you choose without fear of persecution for your chosen belief. So, keep on walking - walk to your hearts content and without fear. No one will try to stop you.


If any law were made to ban religion in public we would have a serious fight to establish a solid definition of religion to determine what would be banned. Personally I see where "scienthiests", folks who put all their faith in man made science, have the same elements of those are Christian, and feel it could be argued science would have to be banned along with people saying grace in cafes before meals. The older I get the more I realize how insightful the founding fathers were in their creation of our Constitution.

For something/anything to be science based it must be founded upon observable, objective data arrived at using scientific method. If after using scientifically applied experimentation no consistently demonstrable result or true fact can be established then the subject remains theory. I believe the test to determine if some set of ideas are scientific or if they are religious in nature is that the first relies solely upon objective demonstrable repeatable evidence and the second relies solely upon the capacity for any persons to accept as true any ideas that merely require the need or want to believe.
Science itself is antithetical to Faith. There can be no such thing as "Faith" in science. When arguing in favor of science over religion there is an intrinsic requirement that the "science" be established objectively as either true or false. Otherwise it is NOT science at all - it is merely wishful thinking which some would say is tantamount to religious thinking - ie "climate change" LOL!

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