Friday, April 20, 2007

Poor Morality of the Bible vs. Tim and mobie

Comments on one of vjack's latest posts, Christian Bible is Poor Basis of Morality, got pretty interesting. (The post itself is excellent as well!) The post is about 12 hours old, has 68 comments, and is still growing. One theist, Tim, started much of the theistic side of the debate, but others have chimed in, mobie in particular. I wanted to break down some of their comments in this post.
[Tim:] why then did/do science books teach so long that we had evidence of man evolving from apes with all of the models were proven false?

Tim and the evolutionists go back and forth on this one, with the evolutionists eventually deciding that he must be talking about the common misconception that humans evolved from apes, rather than humans and apes evolving from a common ancestor. Tim counters with a vague recollection of a complete ape-man skeleton that was proven false.

This sounds like a Piltdown Man reference to me. It wasn't a complete skeleton -- but it was a hoax. Its exposure did not invalidate any other evolutionary evidence, much like a magician's levitation trick would not invalidate Newton's theory of gravity.
[mobie:] From my standpoint the Bible is not at all contradictory, but even if it were, and even if it were void of real spiritual breath, you have to admit that it is an extraordinary book. Written in several languages over hundreds of years by multiple people, it manages to tell one cohesive story. I'm trying to think about a book in which Jane Austen, Voltaire, Assia Djebar, and vjack each wrote a chapter--would there be one story?

If they were all writing about the same topic (for instance, the history of a specific culture), and were all translated and edited by the same person or group of people, then yes. It would appear to be one story. The bible might be an extraordinary book, but it absolutely was not written as a single book, as was edited together from a larger collection of works by the Council of Nicaea. Also, I couldn't imagine anyone that's read it all calling it 'cohesive.'
[Tim:] If there were no God, there would be no person to question it.

So.... you're saying that God exists, because if he existed, then he created Man just like the bible says, therefore God exists. Despite being circuitous logic, it also falls victim to the "Many Gods" problem. The same statement could be made for Zeus, Odin, etc. So even if it was sound logic, it wouldn't necessarily apply to the God of Abraham. Tim doesn't even try to see possibilities without God. As he says later, "Faith does not allow me to think as such." But to continue....
[Tim:] If heaven and earth passed away and you were standing face to face with God, the Creator, would you repent and ask for forgiveness for not believing or curse Him to His face to spend an eternity in torment?

Tim is confusing the concepts of not believing in God with not liking God. I don't mean to say that there aren't atheists that also just don't like God, but they're not the same thing.
[mobie:] For every scientist who backs evolution, there is another who disproves it.

Ugh. What a misconception. The Intelligent Design movement proudly hawks a list of 700 scientists that don't believe in evolution. Does mobie really think there are only 1,400 scientists in the world? To prove mobie wrong, the NCSE has Project Steve, a list of scientists that affirm evolution. The catch is that only people named Steve (or a derivative) can be on the list -- therefore representing only about 1% of scientists. The list is about 800 members strong now. More scientists than ID has -- and they're all Steves!

I'm going to have to pay more attention to vjack's comments, I hadn't noticed all of this fodder before.


Anonymous said...

To expand on Piltdown man, it was hotly contested within the scientific community because it didn't really fit the evolutionary models that we had. So, when scientists disproved it (not Creationists) it was seen as a validation of evolution, which is the exact opposite of what the Creationists will have you believe. It's also a validation of the scientific method and how science will keep working a problem until an answer is found, despite the Creationist cry that science follows dogma that leaves their pet theories out. So, yes, it was a hoax, but as far as hoaxes go it was a wild success for science in the long run.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, forgot to sign the above.

(One of the arguers with Tim and Mobie.)

David W. said...

Hi GCT, welcome -- I did notice your posts on the original AtheistRevolution thread. I like your expansion on the Piltdown man. Apparently the Piltdown Man has been ressurected by Ann Coulter's book Godless. I wish somebody had made your point to her.

Anonymous said...

It never ceases to amaze me that people who know jack all about evolution can be so sure that it is wrong. Tim is up to his same tricks on other threads there and it's the same old stuff. They refuse to learn anything about evolution, but continue to act as if they know everything about what it is and what it says and how wrong it is. It would be comedic if it weren't so sad.