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Has Occam’s Razor distorted history of science?

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From Philip Ball at Atlantic:

The history of science has been distorted by a longstanding conviction that correct theories about nature are always the most elegant ones.

Occam’s razor was never meant for paring nature down to some beautiful, parsimonious core of truth. Because science is so difficult and messy, the allure of a philosophical tool for clearing a path or pruning the thickets is obvious. In their readiness to find spurious applications of Occam’s razor in the history of science, or to enlist, dismiss, or reshape the razor at will to shore up their preferences, scientists reveal their seduction by this vision.

But they should resist it. The value of keeping assumptions to a minimum is cognitive, not ontological: It helps you to think. A theory is not “better” if it is simpler—but it might well be more useful, and that counts for much more. More.

See also: Occam’s Razor (by contrast with LOI, LNC and LEM as well as W-PSR) is not an absolute principle of correct reasoning (kairosfocus)

and

Now Materialists Are Trying to Turn Occam’s Razor On Its Head (Barry Arrington)

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35 Replies to “Has Occam’s Razor distorted history of science?

  1. 1
    bornagain77 says:

    I agree that simplicity does not determine whether a theory is true or not. For instance, who in their right mind would ever argue that general relativity supplanted Newtonian mechanics because of its simplicity?

    No, the truthfulness of a new theory in science is not established by its simplicity but by its ability to make more accurate predictions than the theory it replaces. Predictions that can be tested and also that withstand repeated attempts at falsification. In other words, the empirical evidence itself has final say as to which theory is to be preferred.

    Of note, in his article, Philip ball mentioned Geocentricism vs. heliocentrism, Darwinian evolution vs. Design, and Many Worlds Interpretation vs. Quantum Wave collapse, as examples that cannot be decided by Occam’s Razor.

    Though Ball may disagree, I find all of his examples to have been adjudicated by empirical evidence in favor of theists.

    And although I agree with Ball that simplicity is certainly not an accurate judge as to whether a theory is correct or not, contrary to Ball’s assertion in another article he wrote, I do have respect for the notion that beauty implies truthfulness:

    Truth not equal to Beauty – Philip Ball – May 2014
    Excerpt: ‘the only physical theories that we are willing to accept are the beautiful ones’
    Albert Einstein
    http://aeon.co/magazine/philos.....-equation/

    As well, In January 1933, the Belgian mathematician and Catholic priest Georges Lemaitre traveled with Albert Einstein to California for a series of seminars. After the Belgian detailed his Big Bang theory, Einstein stood up applauded, and said,

    “This is the most beautiful and satisfactory explanation of creation to which I have ever listened.”

    In regards to General Relativity, mathematical physicist Clifford Will said

    “Fiddling with general relativity, he believes, would be tantamount to changing the Fifth Symphony. “General relativity is so unbelievably beautiful and simple – it’s in some ways the most perfect gravitational theory that you could possibly imagine,” he says. All of the alternatives he’s seen so far are “horrendously ugly by comparison”.”

    Einstein’s Masterpiece – Michael W. Begun – Fall 2015
    Excerpt: General relativity has served as a paragon of a scientific theory, and generations of physicists have hailed its sublimity. Ernest Rutherford, for instance: “the theory of relativity by Einstein … cannot but be regarded as a magnificent work of art.” Wolfgang Pauli: “it will always remain the pattern of a theory of consummate beauty of the mathematical structure.” Sean Carroll: “General relativity is the most beautiful physical theory ever invented.”
    http://www.thenewatlantis.com/.....asterpiece

    Alex Vilenkin, who mathematically proved that all hypothetical inflationary universes must have also had a beginning, commenting on Euler’s Identity, stated,,,

    “It appears that the Creator shares the mathematicians sense of beauty”
    Alex Vilenkin – Many Worlds in One: (page 201)
    http://books.google.com/books?.....8;pg=PA201

    As well, Richard Feynman called Euler’s Identity a ‘jewel’:

    “Richard Feynman was a huge fan and called it a “jewel”.”
    http://www.sciencedump.com/con.....-equations

    ‘Mathematical beauty’ even had a guiding hand in the fairly recent discovery of the Amplituhedron:

    The Amplituhedron (mathematical beauty – 21:12 minute mark) – Nima Arkani-Hamed, Professor of Physics, Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, N.J. – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=By27M9ommJc#t=1272

    Paul Dirac, a big fan of mathematical beauty, when pressed for a definition of mathematical beauty, reacted as such:

    Dirac threw up his hands. Mathematical beauty, he said, ‘cannot be defined any more than beauty in art can be defined’ – though he added that it was something ‘people who study mathematics usually have no difficulty in appreciating’.
    http://aeon.co/magazine/philos.....-equation/

    And indeed, just as Dirac held, it is found when mathematicians are shown equations such as Euler’s identity or the Pythagorean identity the same area of the brain used to appreciate fine art or music lights up:

    Mathematics: Why the brain sees maths as beauty – Feb. 12, 2014
    Excerpt: Mathematicians were shown “ugly” and “beautiful” equations while in a brain scanner at University College London.
    The same emotional brain centres used to appreciate art were being activated by “beautiful” maths.,,,
    One of the researchers, Prof Semir Zeki, told the BBC: “A large number of areas of the brain are involved when viewing equations, but when one looks at a formula rated as beautiful it activates the emotional brain – the medial orbito-frontal cortex – like looking at a great painting or listening to a piece of music.”
    http://www.bbc.com/news/scienc.....t-26151062

    What is astonishing, in this seemingly deep connection between math and beauty, is the fact that the ‘argument from beauty’ is a Theistic argument.

    Aesthetic Arguments for the Existence of God:
    Excerpt: Beauty,,, can be appreciated only by the mind. This would be impossible, if this `idea’ of beauty were not found in the mind in a more perfect form.
    http://www.quodlibet.net/artic.....etic.shtml

  2. 2
    Rationalitys bane says:

    BA77, “I agree that simplicity does not determine whether a theory is true or not.”

    Occam’s Razor has never claimed that the simplest must be true. It is presented in many ways but the one I like the best is that we should conditionally select the theory that best explains the data with the fewest number of assumptions. In some cases, this may be the more complex theory (eg., relativity vs Newtonian mechanics).

  3. 3
    bornagain77 says:

    IMHO, “the empirical evidence itself has final say as to which theory is to be preferred.”

    from Ball’s article

    The Tyranny of Simple Explanations – Philip Ball – AUG 11, 2016
    Excerpt: Occam’s razor is often stated as an injunction not to make more assumptions than you absolutely need.,,,
    In layman’s terms, the simplest explanation is usually the best one.,,,
    But Occam’s razor is often fetishized and misapplied as a guiding beacon for scientific enquiry.,,
    The worst misuses, however, fixate on the idea that the razor can adjudicate between rival theories. I have found no single instance where it has served this purpose to settle a scientific debate. Worse still, the history of science is often distorted in attempts to argue that it has.
    Take the debate between the ancient geocentric view of the universe—in which the sun and planets move around a central Earth—and Nicolaus Copernicus’s heliocentric theory, with the Sun at the center and the Earth and other planets moving around it.,,,
    It is often claimed that, by the 16th century, this Ptolemaic model of the universe had become so laden with these epicycles that it was on the point of falling apart. Then along came the Polish astronomer with his heliocentric universe, and no more epicycles were needed. The two theories explained the same astronomical observations, but Copernicus’s was simpler, and so Occam’s razor tells us to prefer it.
    This is wrong for many reasons. First, Copernicus didn’t do away with epicycles.,,,
    In an introductory tract called the Commentariolus, published around 1514, he said he could explain the motions of the heavens with “just” 34 epicycles. Many later commentators took this to mean that the geocentric model must have needed many more than 34, but there’s no actual evidence for that. And the historian of astronomy Owen Gingerich has dismissed the common assumption that the Ptolemaic model was so epicycle-heavy that it was close to collapse. He argues that a relatively simple design was probably still in use in Copernicus’s time.,,,
     Occam’s razor was never meant for paring nature down to some beautiful, parsimonious core of truth. Because science is so difficult and messy, the allure of a philosophical tool for clearing a path or pruning the thickets is obvious. In their readiness to find spurious applications of Occam’s razor in the history of science, or to enlist, dismiss, or reshape the razor at will to shore up their preferences, scientists reveal their seduction by this vision.
    http://www.theatlantic.com/sci.....or/495332/

    To support my contention that “the empirical evidence itself has final say as to which theory is to be preferred”, geocentricism is now verified by reference to CMBR:

    Why is the solar system cosmically aligned? BY Dragan Huterer – 2007
    The solar system seems to line up with the largest cosmic features. Is this mere coincidence or a signpost to deeper insights?
    Caption under figure on page 43:
    ODD ALIGNMENTS hide within the multipoles of the cosmic microwave background. In this combination of the quadrupole and octopole, a plane bisects the sphere between the largest warm and cool lobes. The ecliptic — the plane of Earth’s orbit projected onto the celestial sphere — is aligned parallel to the plane between the lobes.
    http://www-personal.umich.edu/.....uterer.pdf
    Here is the actual graph of the alignment from the Huterer 2007 paper (worth a thousand words):
    http://i44.servimg.com/u/f44/1.....is_o10.jpg

    Large-scale alignments from WMAP and Planck – 2013
    We revisit the alignments of the largest structures observed in the cosmic microwave background (CMB) using the seven and nine-year WMAP and first-year Planck data releases. The observed alignments — the quadrupole with the octopole and their joint alignment with the direction of our motion with respect to the CMB (the dipole direction) and the geometry of the Solar System (defined by the Ecliptic plane) — are generally in good agreement with results from the previous WMAP data releases.,,, both the WMAP and Planck data confirm the alignments of the largest observable CMB modes in the Universe.
    http://arxiv.org/abs/1311.4562

    Is there a violation of the Copernican principle in radio sky? – Ashok K. Singal – May 17, 2013
    Abstract: Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation (CMBR) observations from the WMAP satellite have shown some unexpected anisotropies (directionally dependent observations), which surprisingly seem to be aligned with the eclipticcite {20,16,15}. The latest data from the Planck satellite have confirmed the presence of these anisotropiescite {17}. Here we report even larger anisotropies in the sky distributions of powerful extended quasars and some other sub-classes of radio galaxies in the 3CRR catalogue, one of the oldest and most intensively studies sample of strong radio sourcescite{21,22,3}. The anisotropies lie about a plane passing through the two equinoxes and the north celestial pole (NCP). We can rule out at a 99.995% confidence level the hypothesis that these asymmetries are merely due to statistical fluctuations. Further, even the distribution of observed radio sizes of quasars and radio galaxies show large systematic differences between these two sky regions. The redshift distribution appear to be very similar in both regions of sky for all sources, which rules out any local effects to be the cause of these anomalies. Two pertinent questions then arise. First, why should there be such large anisotropies present in the sky distribution of some of the most distant discrete sources implying inhomogeneities in the universe at very large scales (covering a fraction of the universe)? What is intriguing even further is why such anisotropies should lie about a great circle decided purely by the orientation of earth’s rotation axis and/or the axis of its revolution around the sun? It looks as if these axes have a preferential placement in the larger scheme of things, implying an apparent breakdown of the Copernican principle or its more generalization, cosmological principle, upon which all modern cosmological theories are based upon.
    http://arxiv.org/abs/1305.4134

    What Is Evil About The Axis Of Evil? – February 17, 2015
    The Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) Radiation contains small temperature fluctuations.
    When these temperature fluctuations are analyzed using image processing techniques (specifically spherical harmonics), they indicate a special direction in space, or, in a sense, an axis through the universe. This axis is correlated back to us, and causes many difficulties for the current big bang and standard cosmology theories. What has been discovered is shocking.
    Two scientists, Kate Land and João Magueijo, in a paper in 2005 describing the axis, dubbed it the “Axis of Evil” because of the damage it does to current theories, and (tongue in cheek) as a response to George Bush’ Axis of Evil speech regarding Iraq, Iran and, North Korea.
    (Youtube clip on site)
    In the above video, Max Tegmark describes in a simplified way how spherical harmonics analysis decomposes the small temperature fluctuations into more averaged and spatially arranged temperature components, known as multipoles.
    The “Axis of Evil” correlates to the earth’s ecliptic and equinoxes, and this represents a very unusual and unexpected special direction in space, a direct challenge to the Copernican Principle.
    http://www.theprinciplemovie.com/evil-axis-evil/

    At the 13:55 minute mark of this following video, Max Tegmark, an atheist, finally admits, post Planck 2013, that the CMBR anomalies do indeed line up with the earth and solar system

    “Thoughtcrime: The Conspiracy to Stop The Principle” – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=0eVUSDy_rO0#t=832

    Also of note, general relativity does not differentiate centrality in the universe:

    “Can we formulate physical laws so that they are valid for all CS [coordinate systems], not only those moving uniformly, but also those moving quite arbitrarily, relative to each other? […] The struggle, so violent in the early days of science, between the views of Ptolemy and Copernicus would then be quite meaningless. Either CS could be used with equal justification. The two sentences: “the sun is at rest and the earth moves” or “the sun moves and the earth is at rest” would simply mean two different conventions concerning two different CS.”
    Einstein, A. and Infeld, L. (1938) The Evolution of Physics, p.212 (p.248 in original 1938 ed.);

    How Einstein Revealed the Universe’s Strange “Nonlocality” – George Musser | Oct 20, 2015
    Excerpt: Under most circumstances, we can ignore this nonlocality. You can designate some available chunk of matter as a reference point and use it to anchor a coordinate grid. You can, to the chagrin of Santa Barbarans, take Los Angeles as the center of the universe and define every other place with respect to it. In this framework, you can go about your business in blissful ignorance of space’s fundamental inability to demarcate locations.,,
    http://www.scientificamerican......nlocality/

    “People need to be aware that there is a range of models that could explain the observations… For instance, I can construct you a spherically symmetrical universe with Earth at its center, and you cannot disprove it based on observations… You can only exclude it on philosophical grounds… What I want to bring into the open is the fact that we are using philosophical criteria in choosing our models. A lot of cosmology tries to hide that.”
    – George Ellis – W. Wayt Gibbs, “Profile: George F. R. Ellis,” Scientific American, October 1995, Vol. 273, No.4, p. 55

  4. 4
    bornagain77 says:

    In further reference to empirical evidence, Quantum Mechanics goes one step further than the geocentric anomalies in the CMBR and gives centrality to each conscious observer.

    Richard Conn Henry, Professor of Physics at John Hopkins University, puts the untenable situation between quantum mechanics and the Copernican principle as such:

    Quantum Enigma:Physics Encounters Consciousness – Richard Conn Henry – Professor of Physics – John Hopkins University
    Excerpt: It is more than 80 years since the discovery of quantum mechanics gave us the most fundamental insight ever into our nature: the overturning of the Copernican Revolution, and the restoration of us human beings to centrality in the Universe.
    And yet, have you ever before read a sentence having meaning similar to that of my preceding sentence? Likely you have not, and the reason you have not is, in my opinion, that physicists are in a state of denial…
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....-designer/

    New Mind-blowing Experiment Confirms That Reality Doesn’t Exist If You Are Not Looking at It – June 3, 2015
    Excerpt: The results of the Australian scientists’ experiment, which were published in the journal Nature Physics, show that this choice is determined by the way the object is measured, which is in accordance with what quantum theory predicts.
    “It proves that measurement is everything. At the quantum level, reality does not exist if you are not looking at it,” said lead researcher Dr. Andrew Truscott in a press release.,,,
    “The atoms did not travel from A to B. It was only when they were measured at the end of the journey that their wave-like or particle-like behavior was brought into existence,” he said.
    Thus, this experiment adds to the validity of the quantum theory and provides new evidence to the idea that reality doesn’t exist without an observer.
    http://themindunleashed.org/20.....at-it.html

    Einstein: An Exchange – 2007
    Excerpt: In fact, a quantum mechanician like Bohr would say that, in the absence of an experiment to determine them, these quantities have no existence at all. This is what Einstein objected to. He once walked back from the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton with the late Abraham Pais. The moon was out and Einstein asked Pais, “Do you really believe the moon is not there when you are not looking at it?”
    http://www.nybooks.com/article.....-exchange/

    “Look, we all have fun ridiculing the creationists who think the world sprang into existence on October 23, 4004 BC at 9AM (presumably Babylonian time), with the fossils already in the ground, light from distant stars heading toward us, etc. But if we accept the usual picture of quantum mechanics, then in a certain sense the situation is far worse: the world (as you experience it) might as well not have existed 10^-43 seconds ago!”
    – Scott Aaronson – MIT associate Professor quantum computation – Lecture 11: Decoherence and Hidden Variables

    Moreover, the resurrection of Jesus Christ from death intersects both General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics:

    Resurrection of Jesus Christ as the Theory of Everything – Centrality Concerns
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8uHST2uFPQY

    Of related note is this very recent experiment in which it was more rigorously established that a beyond space and time cause must be invoked in order to explain quantum correlations:

    Quantum correlations do not imply instant causation August 12, 2016
    Excerpt: A research team led by a Heriot-Watt scientist has shown that the universe is even weirder than had previously been thought.
    In 2015 the universe was officially proven to be weird. After many decades of research, a series of experiments showed that distant, entangled objects can seemingly interact with each other through what Albert Einstein famously dismissed as “Spooky action at a distance”.
    A new experiment by an international team led by Heriot-Watt’s Dr Alessandro Fedrizzi has now found that the universe is even weirder than that: entangled objects do not cause each other to behave the way they do.
    http://phys.org/news/2016-08-q.....ation.html

    Experimental test of nonlocal causality August 10, 2016
    DISCUSSION
    Previous work on causal explanations beyond local hidden-variable models focused on testing Leggett’s crypto-nonlocality (7, 42, 43), a class of models with a very specific choice of hidden variable that is unrelated to Bell’s local causality (44). In contrast, we make no assumptions on the form of the hidden variable and test all models ,,,
    Our results demonstrate that a causal influence from one measurement outcome to the other, which may be subluminal, superluminal, or even instantaneous, cannot explain the observed correlations.,,,
    http://advances.sciencemag.org.....00162.full

  5. 5
    Rationalitys bane says:

    BA77, “IMHO, “the empirical evidence itself has final say as to which theory is to be preferred.”

    But how does Occam’s Razor negatively affect this? Occam’s Razor has never been about selecting the simplest theory unconditionally. It is simply saying that if two theories are equally strong in explaining the data, the one with the fewest assumptions (simpler, if you will, but I think that word is misleading) is more likely to be the best choice.

  6. 6
    bornagain77 says:

    RB, Perhaps you want to take it up with Ball, since he is the one who wrote the article trashing Occam’s Razor, and point out exactly where Occam’s Razor has successfully been utilized in science? Myself, I find all Ball’s examples where Occam’s Razor has been misused, (Geocentricism vs. heliocentrism, Darwinian evolution vs. Design, and Many Worlds Interpretation vs. Quantum Wave collapse) to have been adjudicated by the empirical evidence in favor of theists.

    Of note, I’ve already mentioned the evidence adjudicating geocentricism over heliocentrism, and you know my position on ID vs. Darwinism, so the evidence adjudicating Quantum Wave collapse over Many Worlds Interpretation is as such:

    The many-worlds interpretation is an interpretation of quantum mechanics that asserts the objective reality of the universal wavefunction and denies the actuality of wavefunction collapse.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Many-worlds_interpretation

    Yet, contrary to MWI, the following experiment shows that the collapse of the wave function is a real effect,,

    Quantum experiment verifies Einstein’s ‘spooky action at a distance’ – March 24, 2015
    Excerpt: An experiment,, has for the first time demonstrated Albert Einstein’s original conception of “spooky action at a distance” using a single particle.
    ,,Professor Howard Wiseman and his experimental collaborators,, report their use of homodyne measurements to show what Einstein did not believe to be real, namely the non-local collapse of a (single) particle’s wave function.,,
    According to quantum mechanics, a single particle can be described by a wave function that spreads over arbitrarily large distances,,,
    ,, by splitting a single photon between two laboratories, scientists have used homodyne detectors—which measure wave-like properties—to show the collapse of the wave function is a real effect,,
    This phenomenon is explained in quantum theory,, the instantaneous non-local, (beyond space and time), collapse of the wave function to wherever the particle is detected.,,,
    “Einstein never accepted orthodox quantum mechanics and the original basis of his contention was this single-particle argument. This is why it is important to demonstrate non-local wave function collapse with a single particle,” says Professor Wiseman.
    “Einstein’s view was that the detection of the particle only ever at one point could be much better explained by the hypothesis that the particle is only ever at one point, without invoking the instantaneous collapse of the wave function to nothing at all other points.
    “However, rather than simply detecting the presence or absence of the particle, we used homodyne measurements enabling one party to make different measurements and the other, using quantum tomography, to test the effect of those choices.”
    “Through these different measurements, you see the wave function collapse in different ways, thus proving its existence and showing that Einstein was wrong.”
    http://phys.org/news/2015-03-q.....tance.html

  7. 7
    Rationalitys bane says:

    BA77, “RB, Perhaps you want to take it up with Ball…”

    I would. Do you have his email address or his phone number? For some unexplained reason, he doesn’t comment here.

    But what I have noticed is that you haven’t responded to my comment that Occam’s Razor has never been about accepting the simplest theory. It has always been about the theory that best explains the data with the fewest number of assumptions. Maybe it is the part about best explains the data that has you confused. Has anybody ever said that you have to accept the simplest explanation? Unconditionally?

    If your theory about something, let’s call it ID, is the simplest explanation, it doesn’t pass Occam’s test unless it also is the best explanation of the data. Unfortunately, it does not pass that test. Actually, it is neither the best explanation of the data, nor the simplest.

  8. 8
    bornagain77 says:

    Rationalitys bane, (well chosen handle for a trollish atheist),

    bane
    1.
    a person or thing that ruins or spoils:
    Gambling was the bane of his existence.
    2.
    a deadly poison (often used in combination, as in the names of poisonous plants):
    wolfsbane; henbane.
    3.
    death; destruction; ruin.
    4.
    Obsolete. that which causes death or destroys life:
    entrapped and drowned beneath the watery bane.

    Look his e-mail up if you disagree with him. I’m not your secretary!

    Moreover, If you would have read Ball’s article, instead of just trying to be a bane, you would know he goes over precisely the “best explains the data with the fewest number of assumptions” criteria and finds that specific criteria wanting.

    I agree with his assessment. You disagree. Take it up with him! I could care less.

    I have had atheists try to use Occam’s Razor against me in the past, and I consider it a fairly dishonest philosophical distraction from the evidence at hand. In my book, Empirical evidence ALWAYS trumps rhetoric!

    You say ID does not best explain the data. That claim is patently false on many levels. The Primary evidence is,, there is one, and only one, known cause for meaningful information and that cause is intelligence. You yourself generate more meaningful information than anybody has ever witnessed unguided material processes generate every time you write a single post.

    As such, using Darwin’s own method of scientific reasoning, i.e. ‘presently acting cause known to produce the effect in question, Intelligent Design is, by far, the most causally adequate explanation for answering the primary question of ‘where did the massive amount of information in life come from?’

    Stephen Meyer: Charles Darwin’s Methods, Different Conclusion
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iqq6JP5gE0E

    Information Enigma
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aA-FcnLsF1g

    In fact, if you can demonstrate unguided material processes producing just one single code, you would falsify ID right off the bat and could also potentially net yourself 3 million dollars to boot:

    The Origin of Information: How to Solve It – Perry Marshall
    Where did the information in DNA come from? This is one of the most important and valuable questions in the history of science. Cosmic Fingerprints has issued a challenge to the scientific community:
    “Show an example of Information that doesn’t come from a mind. All you need is one.”
    “Information” is defined as digital communication between an encoder and a decoder, using agreed upon symbols. To date, no one has shown an example of a naturally occurring encoding / decoding system, i.e. one that has demonstrably come into existence without a designer.
    A private equity investment group is offering a technology prize for this discovery (up to 3 million dollars). We will financially reward and publicize the first person who can solve this;,,, To solve this problem is far more than an object of abstract religious or philosophical discussion. It would demonstrate a mechanism for producing coding systems, thus opening up new channels of scientific discovery. Such a find would have sweeping implications for Artificial Intelligence research.
    http://cosmicfingerprints.com/solve/

    Of note, Darwinian evolution has no such rigid falsification criteria as ID does and as such Darwinism does not even qualify as a proper, testable, science in the first place but is more realistically classified as a non-falsifiable pseudo-science along the lines of palm reading:

    “In so far as a scientific statement speaks about reality, it must be falsifiable; and in so far as it is not falsifiable, it does not speak about reality.”
    Karl Popper – The Two Fundamental Problems of the Theory of Knowledge (2014 edition), Routledge

    The primary reason why Darwinian evolution is more properly thought of as a pseudo-science instead of a real science is because Darwinian evolution has no rigid mathematical basis, like other overarching physical theories of science do. A rigid mathematical basis to test against in order to potentially falsify it (in fact, in so far as math can be applied to Darwinian claims, mathematics constantly shows us that Darwinian evolution is astronomically unlikely),,

    Darwinian Evolution is a Unfalsifiable Pseudo-Science – Mathematics – video
    https://www.facebook.com/philip.cunningham.73/videos/vb.100000088262100/1132659110080354/?type=2&theater

    Supplemental note:

    I seriously don’t think Darwinists should EVER talk about mathematics since,,,
    #1 they do not even pay attention to what their own mathematics from population genetics is telling them about the inadequacies of their own theory
    #2 Darwinists have no rigid mathematical basis to test against, as other overarching theories of science have, so as to qualify their theory as a science instead of a pseudo-science
    #3 The applicability of mathematics is itself a ‘miracle’ that is inexplicable to the materialistic presuppositions of Darwinists
    (August 2016)
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-614428

  9. 9
    EDTA says:

    We get enamored with simple theories because they’re the first ones our puny minds can come up with. We pat ourselves on the back and tell ourselves that we’ve finally figured it out. Until some time later we realize that all we discovered was the next approximation… So we go on praising the simplicity of our ideas.

  10. 10
    Rationalitys bane says:

    BA77, “The Primary evidence is,, there is one, and only one, known cause for meaningful information and that cause is intelligence.”

    I agree. With one small correction. There is one, and only one, known cause for meaningful information and that cause is human intelligence. How does that help us?

    Rationalitys bane, (well chosen handle for a trollish atheist)”

    If you are going to accuse me of being a troll, the burden is on you to demonstrate why. I provided you with the correct use of Occam’s Razor, which has never stated that the simplest explanation is always true. I have explained that, given two theories that have equal explanatory power for the evidence, the one that requires the fewest assumptions is the one that should be preferred. None of this is in dispute. Yet you call me a troll because it does not jive with your preconceived notions. Very telling.

  11. 11
    Robert Byers says:

    What theories did Occam ever propose?
    Evolutionism fails as a theory or even a hypothesis because its not based on the subject its making conclusions about.
    Its not based on biology.
    its not simple but must embrace a list of foreign subjects.

  12. 12
    kairosfocus says:

    News, I had forgotten that OP. Oldies but goodies, I suppose. KF

  13. 13
    bornagain77 says:

    RB, you are the one disagreeing with Ball, not me.

    Atheists often claim that there is no evidence of Intelligence prior to the arrival of human intelligence. Yet the world’s leading atheist, prior to Dawkins, converted to Deism precisely because of the evidence of Intelligence prior to humans:

    “I now believe that the universe was brought into existence by an infinite intelligence. I believe that the universe’s intricate laws manifest what scientists have called the Mind of God. I believe that life and reproduction originate in a divine Source. Why do I believe this, given that I expounded and defended atheism for more than a half century? The short answer is this: this is the world picture, as I see it, that has emerged from modern science.”
    Antony Flew – world’s leading atheist philosopher for most of his adult life until a few years shortly before his death
    The Case for a Creator – Lee Strobel – video (26:00 minute mark)
    http://www.saddleback.com/mc/m/ee32d/

    Your refusal to acknowledge even this one obvious point of prior Intelligence operating on and in the universe is what, among other things, reveals you to be a troll who is not interested in the truth but only in being a bane to rationality.

    I smell William Speareshake.

  14. 14
    bornagain77 says:

    Of related note to the uniqueness of human intelligence. Theism claims we were made in the image of God. Atheistic Darwinists claim our separation from animals is one of degree not of kind’ (Charles Darwin).

    Our ability to understand and create information is what most dramatically separates us from the animals:

    Evolution of the Genus Homo – Annual Review of Earth and Planetary Sciences – Ian Tattersall, Jeffrey H. Schwartz, May 2009
    Excerpt: “Unusual though Homo sapiens may be morphologically, it is undoubtedly our remarkable cognitive qualities that most strikingly demarcate us from all other extant species. They are certainly what give us our strong subjective sense of being qualitatively different. And they are all ultimately traceable to our symbolic capacity. Human beings alone, it seems, mentally dissect the world into a multitude of discrete symbols, and combine and recombine those symbols in their minds to produce hypotheses of alternative possibilities. When exactly Homo sapiens acquired this unusual ability is the subject of debate.”
    http://www.annualreviews.org/d.....208.100202

    Leading Evolutionary Scientists Admit We Have No Evolutionary Explanation of Human Language – December 19, 2014
    Excerpt: Understanding the evolution of language requires evidence regarding origins and processes that led to change. In the last 40 years, there has been an explosion of research on this problem as well as a sense that considerable progress has been made. We argue instead that the richness of ideas is accompanied by a poverty of evidence, with essentially no explanation of how and why our linguistic computations and representations evolved.,,,
    (Marc Hauser, Charles Yang, Robert Berwick, Ian Tattersall, Michael J. Ryan, Jeffrey Watumull, Noam Chomsky and Richard C. Lewontin, “The mystery of language evolution,” Frontiers in Psychology, Vol 5:401 (May 7, 2014).)
    Casey Luskin added: “It’s difficult to imagine much stronger words from a more prestigious collection of experts.”
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....92141.html

    Do Animals Have Language? – Michael Egnor – July 12, 2016
    Excerpt: Shallit mischaracterizes de Waal’s work. De Waal is a pioneer in the study of animal emotion and moral behavior. De Waal’s views on the link between thought and language are nuanced and are not views I share, but his view on animal language is worth noting.
    De Waal:
    “You won’t often hear me say something like this, but I consider humans the only linguistic species. We honestly have no evidence for symbolic communication, equally rich and multifunctional as ours, outside our species.”
    Perhaps, in addition to recommending de Waal’s books, Shallit should read them.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....02990.html

    And yet even though it is our ability to understand and create information that most dramatically separates us from the animals, it is found that the universe and life itself are both ‘information theoretic’ in their foundational basis.

    “it from bit” Every “it”— every particle, every field of force, even the space-time continuum itself derives its function, its meaning, its very existence entirely—even if in some contexts indirectly—from the apparatus-elicited answers to yes-or-no questions, binary choices, bits. “It from bit” symbolizes the idea that every item of the physical world has a bottom—a very deep bottom, in most instances, an immaterial source and explanation, that which we call reality arises in the last analysis from the posing of yes-no questions and the registering of equipment—evoked responses, in short all matter and all things physical are information-theoretic in origin and this is a participatory universe.”
    – Princeton University physicist John Wheeler (1911–2008) (Wheeler, John A. (1990), “Information, physics, quantum: The search for links”, in W. Zurek, Complexity, Entropy, and the Physics of Information (Redwood City, California: Addison-Wesley))

    Why the Quantum? It from Bit? A Participatory Universe?
    Excerpt: In conclusion, it may very well be said that information is the irreducible kernel from which everything else flows. Thence the question why nature appears quantized is simply a consequence of the fact that information itself is quantized by necessity. It might even be fair to observe that the concept that information is fundamental is very old knowledge of humanity, witness for example the beginning of gospel according to John: “In the beginning was the Word.”
    Anton Zeilinger – a leading expert in quantum mechanics:
    http://www.metanexus.net/archi.....linger.pdf

    48:24 mark: “It is operationally impossible to separate Reality and Information”
    49:45 mark: “In the Beginning was the Word” John 1:1
    Prof Anton Zeilinger speaks on quantum physics. at UCT – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s3ZPWW5NOrw

    “The most fundamental definition of reality is not matter or energy, but information–and it is the processing of information that lies at the root of all physical, biological, economic, and social phenomena.”
    Vlatko Vedral – Professor of Physics at the University of Oxford, and CQT (Centre for Quantum Technologies) at the National University of Singapore, and a Fellow of Wolfson College – a recognized leader in the field of quantum mechanics.

    Complex grammar of the genomic language – November 9, 2015
    Excerpt: The ‘grammar’ of the human genetic code is more complex than that of even the most intricately constructed spoken languages in the world. The findings explain why the human genome is so difficult to decipher –,,,
    ,,, in their recent study in Nature, the Taipale team examines the binding preferences of pairs of transcription factors, and systematically maps the compound DNA words they bind to.
    Their analysis reveals that the grammar of the genetic code is much more complex than that of even the most complex human languages. Instead of simply joining two words together by deleting a space, the individual words that are joined together in compound DNA words are altered, leading to a large number of completely new words.
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....140252.htm

    Information Enigma (Where did the information in life come from?) – – Stephen Meyer – Doug Axe – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aA-FcnLsF1g

    It is hard to imagine a more convincing proof that we are made ‘in the image of God’, than finding that both the universe and life itself are ‘information theoretic’ in their foundational basis, and that we, of all the creatures on earth, uniquely possess an ability to understand and create information.

    I guess a more convincing evidence could be if God Himself became a man, defeated death on a cross, and then rose from the dead to prove that He was God.
    But who has ever heard of such overwhelming evidence as that?

    Shroud of Turin: From discovery of Photographic Negative, to 3D Information, to Quantum Hologram – video
    https://www.facebook.com/philip.cunningham.73/videos/1119619634717635/?pnref=story

    Verses and Music:

    Genesis 1:26
    And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.

    John 1:1-4
    In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by Him, and without Him was not anything made that was made. In Him was life, and that life was the Light of men.

    Casting Crowns – The Word Is Alive
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X9itgOBAxSc

  15. 15
    kairosfocus says:

    RB, the “correction” fails. For, we are contingent beings and cannot exhaust the list of possible intelligences — even fantasy and Sci Fi tell us this. Nor can we rule out non corporeal intelligences, as our own responsible, rational freedom (a necessity of even being able to genuinely debate) cannot be successfully accounted for on mere computational substrates. KF

  16. 16

    Jesus has a peculiar response, when told that his disciples were in violation of a rule.

    “Man was not made for the Sabbath, but the Sabbath for man”

    So the question about Occam’s razor, is “was man the product of the laws of the universe, or are the laws of the universe a product of man?”

    If Occam’s razor fails because causes have to be more complex then their consequences, then we have adopted the first.

    If Occam’s razor works because men make the laws and need them simple, then we are adopting the 2nd position.

    Or is it that the reality is (1) but our fallible science is (2)? Is this what Ball is saying?

  17. 17
    Rationalitys bane says:

    BA77, “RB, you are the one disagreeing with Ball, not me.”

    I am not disagreeing with Ball. I am just pointing out that he is overstating his case. I have seen Occam’s Razor wielded as a weapon by both sides in the ID debate here at UD. It was never intended to be used in that way. At best, it ranks right up there with a “rule of thumb”. Of value in focusing thought, but not to the exclusion of evidence.

    If theory A and theory B appear to explain the available data equally well, but theory A requires more assumptions to be met, theory B will tend to be favoured. As is only rational. However if as more data accumulates, additional assumptions must be applied to theory A, the pendulum could swing towards theory A. Or both may be discarded in favour of theory C.

    For example. Newtonian mechanics passes the Occam’s Razor “test” as compared to relativity for the bulk of our day-to-day observations. We are able to move space ships around the solar system using it. Yet, when you start looking at particles under high velocity and other things well beyond my limited knowledge of the subject, relativity wins the Occam’s Razor “test”.

  18. 18
    bornagain77 says:

    “I am not disagreeing with Ball. I am just pointing out that he is overstating his case.”

    Well by golly go tell him where he is overstating his case.

    To me personally, your response sounds a lot like something a politician would say.

    As an additional point, I would like to point out that although Newtonian mechanics turned out to be only an approximation, until General Relativity came along, it was at least good enough to get us to the moon. There is nothing comparable to that stunning success for man in the pseudo-science that is called Darwinian evolution.

    “Truth be told, evolution hasn’t yielded many practical or commercial benefits. Yes, bacteria evolve drug resistance, and yes, we must take countermeasures, but beyond that there is not much to say. Evolution cannot help us predict what new vaccines to manufacture because microbes evolve unpredictably. But hasn’t evolution helped guide animal and plant breeding? Not very much. Most improvement in crop plants and animals occurred long before we knew anything about evolution, and came about by people following the genetic principle of ‘like begets like’. Even now, as its practitioners admit, the field of quantitative genetics has been of little value in helping improve varieties. Future advances will almost certainly come from transgenics, which is not based on evolution at all.”
    (Jerry Coyne, “Selling Darwin: Does it matter whether evolution has any commercial applications?,” reviewing The Evolving World: Evolution in Everyday Life by David P. Mindell, in Nature, 442:983-984 (August 31, 2006).)

    “In fact, over the last 100 years, almost all of biology has proceeded independent of evolution, except evolutionary biology itself. Molecular biology, biochemistry, and physiology, have not taken evolution into account at all.”
    Marc Kirschner, Boston Globe, Oct. 23, 2005

    “While the great majority of biologists would probably agree with Theodosius Dobzhansky’s dictum that “Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution”, most can conduct their work quite happily without particular reference to evolutionary ideas. Evolution would appear to be the indispensable unifying idea and, at the same time, a highly superflous one.”
    A.S. Wilkins, editor of the journal BioEssays, Introduction to “Evolutionary Processes” – (2000).

    NASA website
    Excerpt: The motion of a rocket from the surface of the Earth to a landing on the Moon can be explained and described by physical principals discovered over 300 years ago by Sir Isaac Newton. Newton worked in many areas of mathematics and physics. He developed the theories of gravitation in 1666, when he was only 23 years old. Some twenty years later, in 1686, he presented his three laws of motion in the “Principia Mathematica Philosophiae Naturalis.” The laws are shown above, and the application of these laws to rockets is given on separate slides.
    https://spaceflightsystems.grc.nasa.gov/education/rocket/newton.html

    This most beautiful system of the sun, planets, and comets, could only proceed from the counsel and dominion of an intelligent and powerful Being.,,,
    This Being governs all things, not as the soul of the world, but as Lord over all; and on account of his dominion he is wont to be called Lord God pantokrator, or Universal Ruler;,,, The Supreme God is a Being eternal, infinite, absolutely perfect;,,, from his true dominion it follows that the true God is a living, intelligent, and powerful Being; and, from his other perfections, that he is supreme, or most perfect. He is eternal and infinite, omnipotent and omniscient; that is, his duration reaches from eternity to eternity; his presence from infinity to infinity; he governs all things, and knows all things that are or can be done. He is not eternity or infinity, but eternal and infinite; he is not duration or space, but he endures and is present. He endures for ever, and is every where present:
    Sir Isaac Newton – Quoted from what many consider the greatest science masterpiece of all time, his book “Principia”

    NEWTON’S REJECTION OF THE “NEWTONIAN WORLD VIEW”: THE ROLE OF DIVINE WILL IN NEWTON’S NATURAL PHILOSOPHY
    Abstract: The significance of Isaac Newton for the history of Christianity and science is undeniable: his professional work culminated the Scientific Revolution that saw the birth of modern science, while his private writings evidence a lifelong interest in the relationship between God and the world. Yet the typical picture of Newton as a paragon of Enlightenment deism, endorsing the idea of a remote divine clockmaker and the separation of science from religion, is badly mistaken. In fact Newton rejected both the clockwork metaphor itself and the cold mechanical universe upon which it is based. His conception of the world reflects rather a deep commitment to the constant activity of the divine will, unencumbered by the “rational” restrictions that Descartes and Leibniz placed on God, the very sorts of restrictions that later appealed to the deists of the 18th century.
    http://home.messiah.edu/~tdavis/newton.htm

    supplemental note: on the other hand, Intelligent Design, specifically the top down infusion of information into a material substrate, lies at the very basis of many, if not all, of man’s most stunning technological advances:

    Describing Nature With Math By Peter Tyson – Nov. 2011
    Excerpt: Mathematics underlies virtually all of our technology today. James Maxwell’s four equations summarizing electromagnetism led directly to radio and all other forms of telecommunication. E = mc2 led directly to nuclear power and nuclear weapons. The equations of quantum mechanics made possible everything from transistors and semiconductors to electron microscopy and magnetic resonance imaging.
    Indeed, many of the technologies you and I enjoy every day simply would not work without mathematics. When you do a Google search, you’re relying on 19th-century algebra, on which the search engine’s algorithms are based. When you watch a movie, you may well be seeing mountains and other natural features that, while appearing as real as rock, arise entirely from mathematical models. When you play your iPod, you’re hearing a mathematical recreation of music that is stored digitally; your cell phone does the same in real time.
    “When you listen to a mobile phone, you’re not actually hearing the voice of the person speaking,” Devlin told me. “You’re hearing a mathematical recreation of that voice. That voice is reduced to mathematics.”
    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/p.....-math.html

    Recognising Top-Down Causation – George Ellis
    Excerpt: page 5: A:
    Causal Efficacy of Non Physical entities:
    Both the program and the data are non-physical entities, indeed so is all software. A program is not a physical thing you can point to, but by Definition 2 it certainly exists. You can point to a CD or flashdrive where it is stored, but that is not the thing in itself: it is a medium in which it is stored.
    The program itself is an abstract entity, shaped by abstract logic. Is the software “nothing but” its realisation through a specific set of stored electronic states in the computer memory banks? No it is not because it is the precise pattern in those states that matters: a higher level relation that is not apparent at the scale of the electrons themselves. It’s a relational thing (and if you get the relations between the symbols wrong, so you have a syntax error, it will all come to a grinding halt). This abstract nature of software is realised in the concept of virtual machines, which occur at every level in the computer hierarchy except the bottom one [17]. But this tower of virtual machines causes physical effects in the real world, for example when a computer controls a robot in an assembly line to create physical artefacts.
    Excerpt page 7: The assumption that causation is bottom up only is wrong in biology, in computers, and even in many cases in physics, for example state vector preparation, where top-down constraints allow non-unitary behaviour at the lower levels. It may well play a key role in the quantum measurement problem (the dual of state vector preparation) [5]. One can bear in mind here that wherever equivalence classes of entities play a key role, such as in Crutchfield’s computational mechanics [29], this is an indication that top-down causation is at play.,,,
    Life and the brain: living systems are highly structured modular hierarchical systems, and there are many similarities to the digital computer case, even though they are not digital computers. The lower level interactions are constrained by network connections, thereby creating possibilities of truly complex behaviour. Top-down causation is prevalent at all levels in the brain: for example it is crucial to vision [24,25] as well as the relation of the individual brain to society [2]. The hardware (the brain) can do nothing without the excitations that animate it: indeed this is the difference between life and death. The mind is not a physical entity, but it certainly is causally effective: proof is the existence of the computer on which you are reading this text. It could not exist if it had not been designed and manufactured according to someone’s plans, thereby proving the causal efficacy of thoughts, which like computer programs and data are not physical entities.
    http://fqxi.org/data/essay-con.....s_2012.pdf

  19. 19
    Rationalitys bane says:

    BA77, “As an additional point, I would like to point out that although Newtonian mechanics turned out to be only an approximation, until General Relativity came along, it was at least good enough to get us to the moon. “

    Thank you for pointing out what I already pointed out above. 🙂

  20. 20
    bornagain77 says:

    supplemental note:

    Here is what Wernher von Braun, who harnessed fire in such a intelligently designed way so as to land man on the moon, thought in regards to the Theistic implications of it all:

    “Although I know of no reference to Christ ever commenting on scientific work, I do know that He said, “Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” Thus I am certain that, were He among us today, Christ would encourage scientific research as modern man’s most noble striving to comprehend and admire His Father’s handiwork. The universe as revealed through scientific inquiry is the living witness that God has indeed been at work.”
    Wernher von Braun, rocket pioneer, leader of Apollo program. – 1976.

    it was von Braun who, in the morning hours of that fateful 16 July 1969, had to give the final answer to the question: “Are we ready to launch?”,,,,
    A week later, when the astronauts were safely back on Earth, a reporter wanted to know: “Dr. von Braun, what did you think after you had given your final ‘yes’ a week ago?”–“I quietly said the Lord’s prayer,” was his answer.
    http://www.adherents.com/peopl.....Braun.html

  21. 21
    Rationalitys bane says:

    BA77, “Here is what Wernher von Braun, who harnessed fire in such a intelligently designed way so as to land man on the moon, thought in regards to the Theistic implications of it all:

    And I always thought that Nazi’s were atheists. I stand corrected. I learn something new every time I come here.

  22. 22
    bornagain77 says:

    “And I always thought that Nazi’s were atheists.”

    Because of the evil that von Braun witnessed first hand, within himself and others, that made him that much stronger of a Christian, when he finally repented and received the Lord Jesus Christ:

    In 1962, an engineer led Dr. von Braun to Christ using a Gideon Bible. Upon praying to repent of sin and receive Christ, the eminent rocket scientist confessed that he felt like a great burden had been lifted off him. He became a fervent Christian,
    https://www.icr.org/article/3770/

    In other words, although von Braun was brought up as a ‘cultural Lutheran’, after WWII von Braun got serious with God, repented of his racism/Nazism, along with all his other sins that he had committed, and became a unashamed bornagain Christian after WWII.

    On the other hand, the horror of the Nazi holocaust, and all the atrocities therein, can be laid directly at the feet of Darwinian ideology. Moreover, many Darwinists are in denial of this horrific sin that was done in the name of their pseudo-scientific religion, i.e. Darwinism

    From Darwin to Hitler
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Anq6SAo1ue4

    Can Darwinists Condemn Hitler and Remain Consistent with Their Darwinism? – Richard Weikart -October 27, 2011
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....52331.html

    How Evolutionary Ethics Influenced Hitler and Why It Matters – Richard Weikart: – January 2012
    http://www.credomag.com/2012/0.....t-matters/

    Richard Weikart and Ben Stein – EXPELLED – useless eaters – video (5:00 minute mark)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=_mo3VRBHAzo#t=291

    The Role Of Darwinism In Nazi Racial Thought – Richard Weikart – October 2013
    Excerpt: The historical evidence is overwhelming that human evolution was an integral part of Nazi racial ideology.
    http://www.csustan.edu/history.....hought.pdf

    Verse:

    Luke 13:2-3
    To this He replied, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered this fate? No, I tell you. But unless you repent, you too will all perish.

  23. 23
    jdk says:

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....of-science

    Robert, at 16, asks,

    So the question about Occam’s razor, is “was man the product of the laws of the universe, or are the laws of the universe a product of man?”

    This question is one of many at the core of the materialism/theism issue (although labeling it as such oversimplifies by leaving out some other options).

    A standard argument in favor of theism is that if there are laws there must be a lawgiver, and since we live in a universe where the constituent parts (which I’ll generalize and call “particles”), follow laws, then there must exist somehow/someplace a source of those laws . I’d like to present a different point of view, in part to paint a contrast to balance the lawgiver metaphor.

    First a story and an analogy.

    Many years ago I hung out with a bunch of philosophy grad students. One guy explained the following: imagine watching a couple of goats carefully threading their way up a path on the mountain. We say, “Look at the goats following the path.” But, the question is how did the path get there? Well, the goats made it: there was no pathmaker for the goats. They created the path by using their natural-born skills to find a safe and efficient route up the mountain, and now follow the path that the goats who came before them. They follow the path because it is a manifestation of their nature, not because someone made the path for them.

    Analogies are not proofs of anything – they are not even evidence. They are meant to illustrate some ideas to help us think about similar ideas in other situations.

    With that said, I’ll offer the following: the particles that make up the universe do not “follow laws”. They manifest their nature by doing what they do, and being what they are, but there is no template for their behaviour that has preceded them either causally or temporally: no outside “something” to which they are beholden. Even if they were created to be such, they were created with a nature which they manifest as they exist: they were not created secondary to a set of rules which would then apply to them.

    To refer to the analogy, the paths they were to follow were not made for them, separate from their nature: they were given the nature to make paths.

    We then perceive their behavior and observe the regularities in how they exist and interact, and we generalize and abstract those regularities in symbol systems of language and, more primarily, math. We describe their behavior in what we call laws, somewhat as we might map the paths after the goats have made them.

    For example, Newton formalized one of the greatest laws of all of science, the law of universal gravitation that F = (G•m1•m2)/r^2. Although relativity has complicated this law, it still encapsulates a tremendously powerful generalization about the behavior of bodies that attract each other throughout the universe.

    But does gravitational force “follow” this law, or does the law follow our observance of the force. Saying that the force follows the law gets the situation backwards, and anthropomorphizes our understanding as it it were a metaphysically prior entity rather than a posteriori generalization.

    Things are what they are: that’s the starting point. They manifest their being in ways that at the bottom are probably unknowable by us. The mathematical descriptions we make of their behavior are marvelous inventions, couched in language and math of our making.

    It is one thing to say the universe is such that its particles behave in orderly and regular ways, from our point of view, and one can even say that it, and they, were created that way. But to say they “follow laws” rather than “this is the behavior they exhibit” is to think the path was there before the goats even got there.

    I’ll note that it is very hard to discuss all this without falling into the “follow laws” framework. We are so used to anthropomorphizing the natural world – using language which models the universe as if it were a living thing (especially in the Western world)- that it takes a conscious effort to not so.

    Just some speculative thoughts…. I know many of you will feel that this is all wrong, which is fine with me. But others might find some part of it interesting enough to think about a bit.

  24. 24
    Rationalitys bane says:

    BA77, “Because of the evil that von Braun witnessed first hand, within himself and others, that made him that much stronger of a Christian, when he finally repented and received the Lord Jesus Christ:”

    Another correction: “Because of the evil that von Braun witnessed participated in first hand, within himself and others, that made him that much stronger of a Christian, when he finally repented and received the Lord Jesus Christ:”

    He willingly and actively used slave labour. He was a member of the Nazi party (lying about the year he joined when he emigrated to the US), and of the SS (that cuddly little Nazi social club).

    In other words, although von Braun was brought up as a ‘cultural Lutheran’, after WWII von Braun got serious with God,…”

    So, Lutherans are not serious Christians? It is true that Luther was an anti Semite that Hitler would have been proud of, but he is also acknowledged as the founder of Protestantism, which includes evangelicals and Born Agains.

    All I am saying is that it is not the best of ideas to blame atheism for Naziism, and then use a prominent Nazi to support theism.

  25. 25
    bornagain77 says:

    Rationalitys bane,

    I myself did not take my own ‘cultural Christianity’ all that seriously until my own sin wrought devastating consequences in my life and I then repented and turned fully to Christ and, totally unexpected, had a life changing ‘bornagain’ experience in which Christ let me know, in no uncertain terms, that He is very much alive and well!

    Luther was certainly off his Christian mark with his anti-semitism, and I make no excuses for it. Yet despite the fact that anti-semitism was always in the cultural background of Germany, only when Darwinism burst onto the scene, and loosened Christianity’s overall moral restraint on that inherent racism in Germany, was the holocaust even possible in that supposedly most civilized nation of Europe at that time.

    Moreover, I did not blame atheism for Nazism as you claimed I did. I clearly referenced Weikart’s work in which it is clearly shown “The historical evidence is overwhelming that human evolution was an integral part of Nazi racial ideology.” In other words, I rightly laid the blame for the holocaust at the feet of Darwinian ideology. For you to say I blamed atheism instead of Darwinism is to show how disingenuous you really are to what I actually wrote. i.e. IMHO, you are trolling with no genuine intent of being honest! (which I have no time for and will soon take steps to correct if you persist)

    Moreover, whenever you get away from the mixed bag of Christian-Darwinian beliefs, that was the norm in Germany at that time, into the much more supposedly atheistic utopias of the Soviet Union and China, in which Christianity was systematically searched out and eradicated from society, almost to extinction, then the horror visited upon mankind was much worse than it ever was in Germany during WWII

    The unmitigated horror visited upon man, by state sponsored atheism, would be hard to exaggerate,,, Here’s what happens when Atheists/evolutionists/non-Christians take control of Government:

    “169,202,000 Murdered: Summary and Conclusions [20th Century Democide]
    I BACKGROUND
    2. The New Concept of Democide [Definition of Democide]
    3. Over 133,147,000 Murdered: Pre-Twentieth Century Democide
    II 128,168,000 VICTIMS: THE DEKA-MEGAMURDERERS
    4. 61,911,000 Murdered: The Soviet Gulag State
    5. 35,236,000 Murdered: The Communist Chinese Ant Hill
    6. 20,946,000 Murdered: The Nazi Genocide State
    7. 10,214,000 Murdered: The Depraved Nationalist Regime
    III 19,178,000 VICTIMS: THE LESSER MEGA-MURDERERS
    8. 5,964,000 Murdered: Japan’s Savage Military
    9. 2,035,000 Murdered: The Khmer Rouge Hell State
    10. 1,883,000 Murdered: Turkey’s Genocidal Purges
    11. 1,670,000 Murdered: The Vietnamese War State
    12. 1,585,000 Murdered: Poland’s Ethnic Cleansing
    13. 1,503,000 Murdered: The Pakistani Cutthroat State
    14. 1,072,000 Murdered: Tito’s Slaughterhouse
    IV 4,145,000 VICTIMS: SUSPECTED MEGAMURDERERS
    15. 1,663,000 Murdered? Orwellian North Korea
    16. 1,417,000 Murdered? Barbarous Mexico
    17. 1,066,000 Murdered? Feudal Russia”

    This is, in reality, probably just a drop in the bucket. Who knows how many undocumented murders there were. It also doesn’t count all the millions of abortions from around the world.
    http://www.hawaii.edu/powerkills/NOTE1.HTM

    Chairman MAO: Genocide Master (Black Book of Communism)
    “…Many scholars and commentators have referenced my total of 174,000,000 for the democide (genocide and mass murder) of the last century. I’m now trying to get word out that I’ve had to make a major revision in my total due to two books. I’m now convinced that that Stalin exceeded Hitler in monstrous evil, and Mao beat out Stalin….”
    http://wadias.in/site/arzan/bl.....de-master/

    One bright note, despite the concerted effort of atheists to try to totally eradicate Christianity from China with brutal repression, China is soon to become the nation with the most Christians in it

    Christianity is growing among Chinese youth Chinese Millennials look to the church for answers to life’s big questions. 62% of China’s believers are between the ages of 19 and 39. – August 5, 2016
    Excerpt: Although China is officially an “atheist country”, many experts believe that, on current trends, there will be 250 million Christians by around 2030, making China’s Christian population the largest in the world. Besides, China is also the biggest producer of Bibles worldwide. The expansion of Christianity concerns Chinese politicians, who continue to pressure on Christians, demolishing church buildings, taking down crosses, and harassing lawyers who defend non-official churches. More than 1,200 places of worship have been attacked since 2013, and some weeks ago, Chinese authorities ordered the closure of churches during the two-day G20 summit in September, “to create a safe environment.” Despite all this, the first Mission China 2030 Conference has been held in Hong Kong last year, with the of sending out 20,000 native missionaries by the year 2030.Next year, the Conference will take place in Beijing.
    http://evangelicalfocus.com/wo.....nese_youth

    Here is a video that gives a short history of Christianity in China:

    “..it is difficult to investigate the phenomenon of Christianity in China today without hearing stories of miraculous healings.”
    -David Aikman (‘Jesus in Beijing’) (40:00 minute mark)
    Jesus in Beijing: How Christianity is Transforming China and Changing the Global Balance of Power – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fvgveawp4oY
    Veteran TIME magazine senior correspondent and Beijing bureau chief, Dr. David Aikman, details the story of China’s enormously rapid conversion to Christianity and what this change means to the global balance of power.

  26. 26
    Rationalitys bane says:

    BA77, thank you for the much posted list of atrocities laid at the doorstep of atheists. Very informative. Let me provide you with a list of Christian atrocities. It is short, but still eye opening.

    Listed are only events that solely occurred on command of church authorities or were committed in the name of Christianity. (List incomplete)

    Ancient Pagans

    As soon as Christianity was legal (315), more and more pagan temples were destroyed by Christian mob. Pagan priests were killed.
    Between 315 and 6th century thousands of pagan believers were slain.
    Examples of destroyed Temples: the Sanctuary of Aesculap in Aegaea, the Temple of Aphrodite in Golgatha, Aphaka in Lebanon, the Heliopolis.
    Christian priests such as Mark of Arethusa or Cyrill of Heliopolis were famous as “temple destroyer.” [DA468]
    Pagan services became punishable by death in 356. [DA468]
    Christian Emperor Theodosius (408-450) even had children executed, because they had been playing with remains of pagan statues. [DA469]
    According to Christian chroniclers he “followed meticulously all Christian teachings…”
    In 6th century pagans were declared void of all rights.
    In the early fourth century the philosopher Sopatros was executed on demand of Christian authorities. [DA466]
    The world famous female philosopher Hypatia of Alexandria was torn to pieces with glass fragments by a hysterical Christian mob led by a Christian minister named Peter, in a church, in 415.
    [DO19-25]
    Mission

    Emperor Karl (Charlemagne) in 782 had 4500 Saxons, unwilling to convert to Christianity, beheaded. [DO30]
    Peasants of Steding (Germany) unwilling to pay suffocating church taxes: between 5,000 and 11,000 men, women and children slain 5/27/1234 near Altenesch/Germany. [WW223]
    Battle of Belgrad 1456: 80,000 Turks slaughtered. [DO235]
    15th century Poland: 1019 churches and 17987 villages plundered by Knights of the Order. Victims unknown. [DO30]
    16th and 17th century Ireland. English troops “pacified and civilized” Ireland, where only Gaelic “wild Irish”, “unreasonable beasts lived without any knowledge of God or good manners, in common of their goods, cattle, women, children and every other thing.” One of the more successful soldiers, a certain Humphrey Gilbert, half-brother of Sir Walter Raleigh, ordered that “the heddes of all those (of what sort soever thei were) which were killed in the daie, should be cutte off from their bodies… and should bee laied on the ground by eche side of the waie”, which effort to civilize the Irish indeed caused “greate terrour to the people when thei sawe the heddes of their dedde fathers, brothers, children, kinsfolke, and freinds on the grounde”.
    Tens of thousands of Gaelic Irish fell victim to the carnage. [SH99, 225]
    Crusades (1095-1291)

    First Crusade: 1095 on command of pope Urban II. [WW11-41]
    Semlin/Hungary 6/24/96 thousands slain. Wieselburg/Hungary 6/12/96 thousands. [WW23]
    9/9/96-9/26/96 Nikaia, Xerigordon (then turkish), thousands respectively. [WW25-27]
    Until Jan 1098 a total of 40 capital cities and 200 castles conquered (number of slain unknown) [WW30]
    after 6/3/98 Antiochia (then turkish) conquered, between 10,000 and 60,000 slain. 6/28/98 100,000 Turks (incl. women & children) killed. [WW32-35]
    Here the Christians “did no other harm to the women found in [the enemy’s] tents—save that they ran their lances through their bellies,” according to Christian chronicler Fulcher of Chartres. [EC60]
    Marra (Maraat an-numan) 12/11/98 thousands killed. Because of the subsequent famine “the already stinking corpses of the enemies were eaten by the Christians” said chronicler Albert Aquensis. [WW36]
    Jerusalem conquered 7/15/1099 more than 60,000 victims (jewish, muslim, men, women, children). [WW37-40]
    (In the words of one witness: “there [in front of Solomon’s temple] was such a carnage that our people were wading ankle-deep in the blood of our foes”, and after that “happily and crying for joy our people marched to our Saviour’s tomb, to honour it and to pay off our debt of gratitude”)
    The Archbishop of Tyre, eye-witness, wrote: “It was impossible to look upon the vast numbers of the slain without horror; everywhere lay fragments of human bodies, and the very ground was covered with the blood of the slain. It was not alone the spectacle of headless bodies and mutilated limbs strewn in all directions that roused the horror of all who looked upon them. Still more dreadful was it to gaze upon the victors themselves, dripping with blood from head to foot, an ominous sight which brought terror to all who met them. It is reported that within the Temple enclosure alone about ten thousand infidels perished.” [TG79]
    Christian chronicler Eckehard of Aura noted that “even the following summer in all of palestine the air was polluted by the stench of decomposition”. One million victims of the first crusade alone. [WW41]
    Battle of Askalon, 8/12/1099. 200,000 heathens slaughtered “in the name of Our Lord Jesus Christ”. [WW45]
    Fourth crusade: 4/12/1204 Constantinople sacked, number of victims unknown, numerous thousands, many of them Christian. [WW141-148]
    Rest of Crusades in less detail: until the fall of Akkon 1291 probably 20 million victims (in the Holy land and Arab/Turkish areas alone). [WW224]
    Note: All figures according to contemporary (Christian) chroniclers.

    Heretics

    Already in 385 C.E. the first Christians, the Spanish Priscillianus and six followers, were beheaded for heresy in Trier/Germany [DO26]
    Manichaean heresy: a crypto-Christian sect decent enough to practice birth control (and thus not as irresponsible as faithful Catholics) was exterminated in huge campaigns all over the Roman empire between 372 C.E. and 444 C.E. Numerous thousands of victims. [NC]
    Albigensians: the first Crusade intended to slay other Christians. [DO29]
    The Albigensians…viewed themselves as good Christians, but would not accept roman Catholic rule, and taxes, and prohibition of birth control. [NC]
    Begin of violence: on command of pope Innocent III (greatest single pre-nazi mass murderer) in 1209. Bezirs (today France) 7/22/1209 destroyed, all the inhabitants were slaughtered. Victims (including Catholics refusing to turn over their heretic neighbours and friends) 20,000-70,000. [WW179-181]
    Carcassonne 8/15/1209, thousands slain. Other cities followed. [WW181]
    subsequent 20 years of war until nearly all Cathars (probably half the population of the Languedoc, today southern France) were exterminated. [WW183]
    After the war ended (1229) the Inquisition was founded 1232 to search and destroy surviving/hiding heretics. Last Cathars burned at the stake 1324. [WW183]
    Estimated one million victims (cathar heresy alone), [WW183]
    Other heresies: Waldensians, Paulikians, Runcarians, Josephites, and many others. Most of these sects exterminated, (I believe some Waldensians live today, yet they had to endure 600 years of persecution) I estimate at least hundred thousand victims (including the Spanish inquisition but excluding victims in the New World).
    Spanish Inquisitor Torquemada alone allegedly responsible for 10,220 burnings. [DO28]
    John Huss, a critic of papal infallibility and indulgences, was burned at the stake in 1415. [LI475-522]
    University professor B.Hubmaier burned at the stake 1538 in Vienna. [DO59]
    Giordano Bruno, Dominican monk, after having been incarcerated for seven years, was burned at the stake for heresy on the Campo dei Fiori (Rome) on 2/17/1600.
    Witches

    from the beginning of Christianity to 1484 probably more than several thousand.
    in the era of witch hunting (1484-1750) according to modern scholars several hundred thousand (about 80% female) burned at the stake or hanged. [WV]
    incomplete list of documented cases:
    The Burning of Witches – A Chronicle of the Burning Times
    Religious Wars

    15th century: Crusades against Hussites, thousands slain. [DO30]
    1538 pope Paul III declared Crusade against apostate England and all English as slaves of Church (fortunately had not power to go into action). [DO31]
    1568 Spanish Inquisition Tribunal ordered extermination of 3 million rebels in (then Spanish) Netherlands. Thousands were actually slain. [DO31]
    1572 In France about 20,000 Huguenots were killed on command of pope Pius V. Until 17th century 200,000 flee. [DO31]
    17th century: Catholics slay Gaspard de Coligny, a Protestant leader. After murdering him, the Catholic mob mutilated his body, “cutting off his head, his hands, and his genitals… and then dumped him into the river […but] then, deciding that it was not worthy of being food for the fish, they hauled it out again [… and] dragged what was left … to the gallows of Montfaulcon, ‘to be meat and carrion for maggots and crows’.” [SH191]
    17th century: Catholics sack the city of Magdeburg/Germany: roughly 30,000 Protestants were slain. “In a single church fifty women were found beheaded,” reported poet Friedrich Schiller, “and infants still sucking the breasts of their lifeless mothers.” [SH191]
    17th century 30 years’ war (Catholic vs. Protestant): at least 40% of population decimated, mostly in Germany. [DO31-32]
    Jews

    Already in the 4th and 5th centuries synagogues were burned by Christians. Number of Jews slain unknown.
    In the middle of the fourth century the first synagogue was destroyed on command of bishop Innocentius of Dertona in Northern Italy. The first synagogue known to have been burned down was near the river Euphrat, on command of the bishop of Kallinikon in the year 388. [DA450]
    17. Council of Toledo 694: Jews were enslaved, their property confiscated, and their children forcibly baptized. [DA454]
    The Bishop of Limoges (France) in 1010 had the cities’ Jews, who would not convert to Christianity, expelled or killed. [DA453]
    First Crusade: Thousands of Jews slaughtered 1096, maybe 12.000 total. Places: Worms 5/18/1096, Mainz 5/27/1096 (1100 persons), Cologne, Neuss, Altenahr, Wevelinghoven, Xanten, Moers, Dortmund, Kerpen, Trier, Metz, Regensburg, Prag and others (All locations Germany except Metz/France, Prag/Czech) [EJ]
    Second Crusade: 1147. Several hundred Jews were slain in Ham, Sully, Carentan, and Rameru (all locations in France). [WW57]
    Third Crusade: English Jewish communities sacked 1189/90. [DO40]
    Fulda/Germany 1235: 34 Jewish men and women slain. [DO41]
    1257, 1267: Jewish communities of London, Canterbury, Northampton, Lincoln, Cambridge, and others exterminated. [DO41]
    1290 in Bohemian (Poland) allegedly 10,000 Jews killed. [DO41]
    1337 Starting in Deggendorf/Germany a Jew-killing craze reaches 51 towns in Bavaria, Austria, Poland. [DO41]
    1348 All Jews of Basel/Switzerland and Strasbourg/France (two thousand) burned. [DO41]
    1349 In more than 350 towns in Germany all Jews murdered, mostly burned alive (in this one year more Jews were killed than Christians in 200 years of ancient Roman persecution of Christians). [DO42]
    1389 In Prag 3,000 Jews were slaughtered. [DO42]
    1391 Seville’s Jews killed (Archbishop Martinez leading). 4,000 were slain, 25,000 sold as slaves. [DA454] Their identification was made easy by the brightly colored “badges of shame” that all jews above the age of ten had been forced to wear.
    1492: In the year Columbus set sail to conquer a New World, more than 150,000 Jews were expelled from Spain, many died on their way: 6/30/1492. [MM470-476]
    1648 Chmielnitzki massacres: In Poland about 200,000 Jews were slain. [DO43]
    (I feel sick …) this goes on and on, century after century, right into the kilns of Auschwitz.

    Native Peoples

    Beginning with Columbus (a former slave trader and would-be Holy Crusader) the conquest of the New World began, as usual understood as a means to propagate Christianity.
    Within hours of landfall on the first inhabited island he encountered in the Caribbean, Columbus seized and carried off six native people who, he said, “ought to be good servants … [and] would easily be made Christians, because it seemed to me that they belonged to no religion.” [SH200]
    While Columbus described the Indians as “idolators” and “slaves, as many as [the Crown] shall order,” his pal Michele de Cuneo, Italian nobleman, referred to the natives as “beasts” because “they eat when they are hungry,” and made love “openly whenever they feel like it.” [SH204-205]
    On every island he set foot on, Columbus planted a cross, “making the declarations that are required” – the requerimiento – to claim the ownership for his Catholic patrons in Spain. And “nobody objected.” If the Indians refused or delayed their acceptance (or understanding), the requerimiento continued:
    I certify to you that, with the help of God, we shall powerfully enter in your country and shall make war against you … and shall subject you to the yoke and obedience of the Church … and shall do you all mischief that we can, as to vassals who do not obey and refuse to receive their lord and resist and contradict him.” [SH66]

    Likewise in the words of John Winthrop, first governor of Massachusetts Bay Colony: “justifieinge the undertakeres of the intended Plantation in New England … to carry the Gospell into those parts of the world, … and to raise a Bulworke against the kingdome of the Ante-Christ.” [SH235]
    In average two thirds of the native population were killed by colonist-imported smallpox before violence began. This was a great sign of “the marvelous goodness and providence of God” to the Christians of course, e.g. the Governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony wrote in 1634, as “for the natives, they are near all dead of the smallpox, so as the Lord hath cleared our title to what we possess.” [SH109,238]
    On Hispaniola alone, on Columbus visits, the native population (Arawak), a rather harmless and happy people living on an island of abundant natural resources, a literal paradise, soon mourned 50,000 dead. [SH204]
    The surviving Indians fell victim to rape, murder, enslavement and spanish raids.
    As one of the culprits wrote: “So many Indians died that they could not be counted, all through the land the Indians lay dead everywhere. The stench was very great and pestiferous.” [SH69]
    The indian chief Hatuey fled with his people but was captured and burned alive. As “they were tying him to the stake a Franciscan friar urged him to take Jesus to his heart so that his soul might go to heaven, rather than descend into hell. Hatuey replied that if heaven was where the Christians went, he would rather go to hell.” [SH70]
    What happened to his people was described by an eyewitness:
    “The Spaniards found pleasure in inventing all kinds of odd cruelties … They built a long gibbet, long enough for the toes to touch the ground to prevent strangling, and hanged thirteen [natives] at a time in honor of Christ Our Saviour and the twelve Apostles… then, straw was wrapped around their torn bodies and they were burned alive.” [SH72]
    Or, on another occasion:
    “The Spaniards cut off the arm of one, the leg or hip of another, and from some their heads at one stroke, like butchers cutting up beef and mutton for market. Six hundred, including the cacique, were thus slain like brute beasts…Vasco [de Balboa] ordered forty of them to be torn to pieces by dogs.” [SH83]
    The “island’s population of about eight million people at the time of Columbus’s arrival in 1492 already had declined by a third to a half before the year 1496 was out.” Eventually all the island’s natives were exterminated, so the Spaniards were “forced” to import slaves from other caribbean islands, who soon suffered the same fate. Thus “the Caribbean’s millions of native people [were] thereby effectively liquidated in barely a quarter of a century”. [SH72-73] “In less than the normal lifetime of a single human being, an entire culture of millions of people, thousands of years resident in their homeland, had been exterminated.” [SH75]
    “And then the Spanish turned their attention to the mainland of Mexico and Central America. The slaughter had barely begun. The exquisite city of Tenochtitln [Mexico city] was next.” [SH75]
    Cortez, Pizarro, De Soto and hundreds of other spanish conquistadors likewise sacked southern and mesoamerican civilizations in the name of Christ (De Soto also sacked Florida).
    “When the 16th century ended, some 200,000 Spaniards had moved to the Americas. By that time probably more than 60,000,000 natives were dead.” [SH95]
    Of course no different were the founders of what today is the US of Amerikkka.

    Although none of the settlers would have survived winter without native help, they soon set out to expel and exterminate the Indians. Warfare among (north American) Indians was rather harmless, in comparison to European standards, and was meant to avenge insults rather than conquer land. In the words of some of the pilgrim fathers: “Their Warres are farre less bloudy…”, so that there usually was “no great slawter of nether side”. Indeed, “they might fight seven yeares and not kill seven men.” What is more, the Indians usually spared women and children. [SH111]
    In the spring of 1612 some English colonists found life among the (generally friendly and generous) natives attractive enough to leave Jamestown – “being idell … did runne away unto the Indyans,” – to live among them (that probably solved a sex problem).
    “Governor Thomas Dale had them hunted down and executed: ‘Some he apointed (sic) to be hanged Some burned Some to be broken upon wheles, others to be staked and some shott to deathe’.” [SH105] Of course these elegant measures were restricted for fellow englishmen: “This was the treatment for those who wished to act like Indians. For those who had no choice in the matter, because they were the native people of Virginia” methods were different: “when an Indian was accused by an Englishman of stealing a cup and failing to return it, the English response was to attack the natives in force, burning the entire community” down. [SH105]
    On the territory that is now Massachusetts the founding fathers of the colonies were committing genocide, in what has become known as the “Peqout War”. The killers were New England Puritan Christians, refugees from persecution in their own home country England.
    When however, a dead colonist was found, apparently killed by Narragansett Indians, the Puritan colonists wanted revenge. Despite the Indian chief’s pledge they attacked.
    Somehow they seem to have lost the idea of what they were after, because when they were greeted by Pequot Indians (long-time foes of the Narragansetts) the troops nevertheless made war on the Pequots and burned their villages.
    The puritan commander-in-charge John Mason after one massacre wrote: “And indeed such a dreadful Terror did the Almighty let fall upon their Spirits, that they would fly from us and run into the very Flames, where many of them perished … God was above them, who laughed his Enemies and the Enemies of his People to Scorn, making them as a fiery Oven … Thus did the Lord judge among the Heathen, filling the Place with dead Bodies”: men, women, children. [SH113-114]
    So “the Lord was pleased to smite our Enemies in the hinder Parts, and to give us their land for an inheritance”. [SH111].
    Because of his readers’ assumed knowledge of Deuteronomy, there was no need for Mason to quote the words that immediately follow:
    “Thou shalt save alive nothing that breatheth. But thou shalt utterly destroy them…” (Deut 20)
    Mason’s comrade Underhill recalled how “great and doleful was the bloody sight to the view of the young soldiers” yet reassured his readers that “sometimes the Scripture declareth women and children must perish with their parents”. [SH114]
    Other Indians were killed in successful plots of poisoning. The colonists even had dogs especially trained to kill Indians and to devour children from their mothers breasts, in the colonists’ own words: “blood Hounds to draw after them, and Mastives to seaze them.” (This was inspired by spanish methods of the time)
    In this way they continued until the extermination of the Pequots was near. [SH107-119]
    The surviving handful of Indians “were parceled out to live in servitude. John Endicott and his pastor wrote to the governor asking for ‘a share’ of the captives, specifically ‘a young woman or girle and a boy if you thinke good’.” [SH115]
    Other tribes were to follow the same path.
    Comment the Christian exterminators: “God’s Will, which will at last give us cause to say: How Great is His Goodness! and How Great is his Beauty!”
    “Thus doth the Lord Jesus make them to bow before him, and to lick the Dust!” [TA]
    Like today, lying was OK to Christians then. “Peace treaties were signed with every intention to violate them: when the Indians ‘grow secure uppon (sic) the treatie’, advised the Council of State in Virginia, ‘we shall have the better Advantage both to surprise them, & cutt downe theire Corne’.” [SH106]
    In 1624 sixty heavily armed Englishmen cut down 800 defenseless Indian men, women and children. [SH107]
    In a single massacre in “King Philip’s War” of 1675 and 1676 some “600 Indians were destroyed. A delighted Cotton Mather, revered pastor of the Second Church in Boston, later referred to the slaughter as a ‘barbeque’.” [SH115]
    To summarize: Before the arrival of the English, the western Abenaki people in New Hampshire and Vermont had numbered 12,000. Less than half a century later about 250 remained alive – a destruction rate of 98%. The Pocumtuck people had numbered more than 18,000, fifty years later they were down to 920 – 95% destroyed. The Quiripi-Unquachog people had numbered about 30,000, fifty years later they were down to 1500 – 95% destroyed. The Massachusetts people had numbered at least 44,000, fifty years later barely 6000 were alive – 81% destroyed. [SH118] These are only a few examples of the multitude of tribes living before Christian colonists set their foot on the New World. All this was before the smallpox epidemics of 1677 and 1678 had occurred. And the carnage was not over then.
    All the above was only the beginning of the European colonization, it was before the frontier age actually had begun.
    A total of maybe more than 150 million Indians (of both Americas) were destroyed in the period of 1500 to 1900, as an average two thirds by smallpox and other epidemics, that leaves some 50 million killed directly by violence, bad treatment and slavery.
    In many countries, such as Brazil, and Guatemala, this continues even today.
    More Glorious events in US history

    Reverend Solomon Stoddard, one of New England’s most esteemed religious leaders, in “1703 formally proposed to the Massachusetts Governor that the colonists be given the financial wherewithal to purchase and train large packs of dogs ‘to hunt Indians as they do bears’.” [SH241]
    Massacre of Sand Creek, Colorado 11/29/1864. Colonel John Chivington, a former Methodist minister and still elder in the church (“I long to be wading in gore”) had a Cheyenne village of about 600, mostly women and children, gunned down despite the chiefs’ waving with a white flag: 400-500 killed.
    From an eye-witness account: “There were some thirty or forty squaws collected in a hole for protection; they sent out a little girl about six years old with a white flag on a stick; she had not proceeded but a few steps when she was shot and killed. All the squaws in that hole were afterwards killed …” [SH131]
    More gory details.
    By the 1860s, “in Hawai’i the Reverend Rufus Anderson surveyed the carnage that by then had reduced those islands’ native population by 90 percent or more, and he declined to see it as tragedy; the expected total die-off of the Hawaiian population was only natural, this missionary said, somewhat equivalent to ‘the amputation of diseased members of the body’.” [SH244]
    20th Century Church Atrocities

    Catholic extermination camps
    Surpisingly few know that Nazi extermination camps in World War II were by no means the only ones in Europe at the time. In the years 1942-1943 also in Croatia existed numerous extermination camps, run by Catholic Ustasha under their dictator Ante Paveli, a practising Catholic and regular visitor to the then pope. There were even concentration camps exclusively for children!

    In these camps – the most notorious was Jasenovac, headed by a Franciscan friar – orthodox-Christian serbians (and a substantial number of Jews) were murdered. Like the Nazis the Catholic Ustasha burned their victims in kilns, alive (the Nazis were decent enough to have their victims gassed first). But most of the victims were simply stabbed, slain or shot to death, the number of them being estimated between 300,000 and 600,000, in a rather tiny country. Many of the killers were Franciscan friars. The atrocities were appalling enough to induce bystanders of the Nazi “Sicherheitsdient der SS”, watching, to complain about them to Hitler (who did not listen). The pope knew about these events and did nothing to prevent them. [MV]
    Catholic terror in Vietnam
    In 1954 Vietnamese freedom fighters – the Viet Minh – had finally defeated the French colonial government in North Vietnam, which by then had been supported by U.S. funds amounting to more than $2 billion. Although the victorious assured religious freedom to all (most non-buddhist Vietnamese were Catholics), due to huge anticommunist propaganda campaigns many Catholics fled to the South. With the help of Catholic lobbies in Washington and Cardinal Spellman, the Vatican’s spokesman in U.S. politics, who later on would call the U.S. forces in Vietnam “Soldiers of Christ”, a scheme was concocted to prevent democratic elections which could have brought the communist Viet Minh to power in the South as well, and the fanatic Catholic Ngo Dinh Diem was made president of South Vietnam. [MW16ff]

    Diem saw to it that U.S. aid, food, technical and general assistance was given to Catholics alone, Buddhist individuals and villages were ignored or had to pay for the food aids which were given to Catholics for free. The only religious denomination to be supported was Roman Catholicism.

    The Vietnamese McCarthyism turned even more vicious than its American counterpart. By 1956 Diem promulgated a presidential order which read:
    “Individuals considered dangerous to the national defense and common security may be confined by executive order, to a concentration camp.”
    Supposedly to fight communism, thousands of buddhist protesters and monks were imprisoned in “detention camps.” Out of protest dozens of buddhist teachers – male and female – and monks poured gasoline over themselves and burned themselves. (Note that Buddhists burned themselves: in comparison Christians tend to burn others). Meanwhile some of the prison camps, which in the meantime were filled with Protestant and even Catholic protesters as well, had turned into no-nonsense death camps. It is estimated that during this period of terror (1955-1960) at least 24,000 were wounded – mostly in street riots – 80,000 people were executed, 275,000 had been detained or tortured, and about 500,000 were sent to concentration or detention camps. [MW76-89].

    To support this kind of government in the next decade thousands of American GI’s lost their life….

    Rwanda Massacres
    In 1994 in the small african country of Rwanda in just a few months several hundred thousand civilians were butchered, apparently a conflict of the Hutu and Tutsi ethnic groups.
    For quite some time I heard only rumours about Catholic clergy actively involved in the 1994 Rwanda massacres. Odd denials of involvement were printed in Catholic church journals, before even anybody had openly accused members of the church.

    Then, 10/10/96, in the newscast of S2 Aktuell, Germany – a station not at all critical to Christianity – the following was stated:

    “Anglican as well as Catholic priests and nuns are suspect of having actively participated in murders. Especially the conduct of a certain Catholic priest has been occupying the public mind in Rwanda’s capital Kigali for months. He was minister of the church of the Holy Family and allegedly murdered Tutsis in the most brutal manner. He is reported to have accompanied marauding Hutu militia with a gun in his cowl. In fact there has been a bloody slaughter of Tutsis seeking shelter in his parish. Even two years after the massacres many Catholics refuse to set foot on the threshold of their church, because to them the participation of a certain part of the clergy in the slaughter is well established. There is almost no church in Rwanda that has not seen refugees – women, children, old – being brutally butchered facing the crucifix.

    According to eyewitnesses clergymen gave away hiding Tutsis and turned them over to the machetes of the Hutu militia.

    In connection with these events again and again two Benedictine nuns are mentioned, both of whom have fled into a Belgian monastery in the meantime to avoid prosecution. According to survivors one of them called the Hutu killers and led them to several thousand people who had sought shelter in her monastery. By force the doomed were driven out of the churchyard and were murdered in the presence of the nun right in front of the gate. The other one is also reported to have directly cooperated with the murderers of the Hutu militia. In her case again witnesses report that she watched the slaughtering of people in cold blood and without showing response. She is even accused of having procured some petrol used by the killers to set on fire and burn their victims alive…” [S2]

    As can be seen from these events, to Christianity the Dark Ages never come to an end….

  27. 27
    bornagain77 says:

    Hmm, when Christians murder they are clearly going against the teachings of Christ, but when Darwinists murder, the fittest are merely surviving,

    The Real Murderers: Atheism or Christianity?

    Is it legitimate to condemn religion for historical atrocities? First we had better examine the facts.

    I got a call from a gentleman from San Francisco who was exorcised about Christian missionaries going into foreign lands. Then he started talking about not only the destruction of indigenous beliefs, but also the destruction of missionaries. That’s what he wanted to see happen. He also said that Christians and religious groups are responsible for the greatest massacres of history. It turns out he was quite supportive of Wicca and indigenous religions which worship the Mother Earth force, Gaia. This is essentially the basic foundation for witchcraft and I made a comment then that this was basically what he was talking about.

    But a couple of the things that he said were a challenge to me. Not only did he assert that historically missionaries have destroyed cultures and indigenous religions at the point of a gun, but also Christian and religion were responsible for most of the bloodshed in the world, or the great majority of it. I’ve heard this claim before. I wanted to respond with more detail because I’m sure you’ve heard these things as well.

    I have a tactic that I employ in situations like this that is called “Just the Facts, Ma’am.” In other words, there are times when you’re faced with objections to Christianity or your point of view that really fail with an accurate assessment of the facts. There are people who make accusations and assertions that are empirically false. This is one of them.

    The assertion is that religion has caused most of the killing and bloodshed in the world. The greatest atrocities committed against man were done in the name of God.

    Before I get to the particular facts, there is more than just a factual problem here. There is a theoretical problem as well and I tried to make the point that we must distinguish between what an individual or group of people do and what the code that they allegedly follow actually asserts. The fact is that there are people who do things consistently that are inconsistent with the code that they allegedly follow. But often times when that happens, especially where religion is concerned, the finger is pointed not at the individual who is choosing to do something barbaric, but at the code he claims to represent. The only time it’s legitimate to point to the code as the source of barbarism is if the code is, in fact, the source of barbarism. People object to a religion that used barbaric means to spread the faith. But one can only use that as an objection against the religion if it’s the religion itself that asserts that one must do it this way, as opposed to people who try to promote the spread of the religion in a forceful fashion in contradiction to what the religion actually teaches.

    It’s my understanding that much of Islam has been spread by the edge of the sword. That isn’t because Muslim advocates were particularly violent. It’s because their religion actually advocates this kind of thing. The difference between that and Christianity is that when Christianity was spread by the edge of the sword it was done so in contradistinction to the actually teachings of Christianity. This is when individual people who claim to be Christians actually did things that were inconsistent with their faith.

    I’ve had some people that have told me when I’ve brought this up, “That’s not a fair defense. You can’t simply say that those people who committed the Crusades or the Inquisition or the witch burnings weren’t real Christians. That’s illegitimate.” My response is, why? We know what a real Christian is. A real Christian is someone who believes particular things and lives a particular kind of lifestyle. John makes it clear that those who consistently live unrighteously are ipso facto by definition not part of the faith. So why is it illegitimate for me to look at people who claim to be Christians, yet live unrighteous lives, and promote genocide to say that these people aren’t living consistently with the text, therefore you can’t really call them Christians. I think that’s legitimate.

    For example, no one would fault the Hippocratic Oath, which is a very rigid standard of conduct for physicians, just because there are doctors who don’t keep it. We wouldn’t say there’s something wrong with the oath, the code that they allegedly follow. We’d say there was something wrong with the individuals who don’t live up to the ideals of that code. That is the case frequently where people waving the Bible in one hand are also waving a bloody sword in the other. The two are inconsistent. So it’s not fair or reasonable to fault the Bible when the person who’s waving the sword is doing things that are contradictory to what the Bible teaches ought to be done.

    So that’s the first important thing to remember when you face an objection like this. Distinguish between what a person does and what the code they claim to follow actually asserts. Christianity is one thing, and if we’re going to fault Christianity we must fault its teachings and not fault it because there are people who say they are Christians but then live a life that is totally morally divergent from what Christianity actually teaches.

    As I said earlier, this kind of objection falls when you employ a tactic I call “Just the Facts, Ma’am,” and I’d like to give you some of those facts. My assertion as I responded to the gentleman who called last week was simply this, it is true that there are Christians who do evil things. Even take people’s lives. This is an indication that these people aren’t truly Christians, but it may be true also that people with the right heart, but the wrong head do things that are inappropriate, like I think might have been the case in the Salem Witch Trials.

    My basic case is that religion doesn’t promote this kind of thing; it’s the exception to the rule. The rule actually is that when we remove God from the equation, when we act and live as if we have no one to answer to but ourselves, and if there is not God, then the rule of law is social Darwinism–the strong rule the weak. We’ll find that, quite to the contrary, it is not Christianity and the belief in the God of the Bible that results in carnage and genocide. But it’s when people reject the God of the Bible that we are most vulnerable to those kinds of things that we see in history that are the radical and gross destruction of human lives.

    Now for the facts.

    Let’s take the Salem Witchcraft Trials. Apparently, between June and September of 1692 five men and fourteen women were eventually convicted and hanged because English law called for the death penalty for witchcraft (which, incidentally, was the same as the Old Testament). During this time there were over 150 others that were imprisoned. Things finally ended in September 1692 when Governor William Phipps dissolved the court because his wife had been accused. He said enough of this insanity. It was the colony’s leading minister, by the way, who finally ended the witch hunt in 1693 and those that remained in prison were released. The judge that was presiding over the trials publicly confessed his guilt in 1697. By the way , it’s interesting to note that this particular judge was very concerned about the plight of the American Indian and was opposed to slavery. These are views that don’t sit well with the common caricature of the radical Puritans in the witch hunt. In 1711 the colonies legislatures made reparation to the heirs of the victims. They annulled the convictions.

    I guess the point is that there was a witch hunt. It was based on theological reasons, but it wasn’t to the extent that is usually claimed. I think last week the caller said it was millions and millions that were burned at the stake as witches. It certainly wasn’t the case in this country. It seemed that the witch hunt was a result of theological misapplication and the people who were involved were penitent. The whole witch hunt lasted only a year. Sixteen people were hanged in New England for witchcraft prior to 1692. In the 1692 witch hunt nineteen were executed. So you’ve got thirty-five people. One hundred fifty imprisoned. This is not at all to diminish or minimize the impact of the American witch hunts which resulted in thirty-five deaths. But thirty-five is not millions. It is not hundreds of thousands. It’s not even hundreds. It’s thirty-five. This was not genocide.

    Now in Europe it was a little different. Joan of Arc was burned at the stake for practicing witchcraft in 1431. Over a period of 300 years, from 1484 to 1782, the Christian church put to death 300,000 women accused of witchcraft, about 1000 per year. Again, I don’t want to minimize the impact of 1000 lives lost a year, but here we’re talking about a much, much smaller number over a long period of time than what has been claimed in the past.

    In America we’re talking thirty-five people. In Europe over 300 years, we’re talking about 300,000. Not millions. The sources here are World Book Encyclopedia and Encyclopedia Americana. You can also read in Newsweek, August 31, 1992. I was accused of being a liar last week. I’m trying to give you the facts from reputable sources that show that the accusations from last week aren’t accurate.

    There were two Inquisitions. One of them began right around the end of the first millennium in 1017. It began as an attempt to root out heretics and occurred chiefly in France, Germany, Italy and Spain. The Spanish Inquisition followed in the fourteenth century and was much bloodier. It began as a feudal aristocracy which forced religious values on society. Jews were caught in the middle of this and many of them were killed. About 2000 executions took place. The Inquisition that took place at the turn of the millennium, less than that. So we’re talking about thousands of people, not millions.

    There were actually seven different Crusades and tens of thousands died in them. Most of them were a misdirected attempt to free the Holy Land. Some weren’t quite like that. There were some positive aspects to them, but they were basically an atrocity over a couple hundred years. The worst was the Children’s Crusade. All of the children who went to fight died along the way. Some were shipwrecked and the rest were taken into slavery in Egypt.

    A blight on Christianity? Certainty. Something wrong? Dismally wrong. A tragedy? Of course. Millions and millions of people killed? No. The numbers are tragic, but pale in comparison to the statistics of what non-religion criminals have committed.

    My point is not that Christians or religions people aren’t to vulnerable to terrible crimes. Certainly they are. But it is not religion that produces these things; it is the denial of Biblical religion that generally leads to this kind of things. The statistics that are the result of irreligious genocide stagger the imagination.

    My source is The Guinness Book of World Records. Look up the category “Judicial” and under the subject of “Crimes: Mass Killings,” the greatest massacre ever imputed by the government of one sovereign against the government of another is 26.3 million Chinese during the regime of Mao Tse Tung between the years of 1949 and May 1965. The Walker Report published by the U.S. Senate Committee of the Judiciary in July 1971 placed the parameters of the total death toll in China since 1949 between 32 and 61.7 million people. An estimate of 63.7 million was published by Figaro magazine on November 5, 1978.

    In the U.S.S.R. the Nobel Prize winner, Alexander Solzhenitsyn estimates the loss of life from state repression and terrorism from October 1917 to December 1959 under Lenin and Stalin and Khrushchev at 66.7 million.

    Finally, in Cambodia (and this was close to me because I lived in Thailand in 1982 working with the broken pieces of the Cambodian holocaust from 1975 to 1979) “as a percentage of a nation’s total population, the worst genocide appears to be that in Cambodia, formerly Kampuchea. According to the Khmer Rouge foreign minister, more than one third of the eight million Khmer were killed between April 17, 1975 and January 1979. One third of the entire country was put to death under the rule of Pol Pott, the founder of the Communist Part of Kampuchea. During that time towns, money and property were abolished. Economic execution by bayonet and club introduced for such offenses as falling asleep during the day, asking to too many questions, playing non-communist music, being old and feeble, being the offspring of an undesirable, or being too well educated. In fact, deaths in the Tuol Sleng interrogation center in Pnom Penh, which is the capitol of Kampuchea, reached 582 in a day.”

    Then in Chinese history of the thirteenth to seventeenth centuries there were three periods of wholesale massacre. The numbers of victims attributed to these events are assertions rather than reliable estimates. The figures put on the Mongolian invasion of northern China form 1210 to 1219 and from 1311 to 1340 are both on the order of 35 million people. While the number of victims of bandit leader Chang Hsien-chung, known as the Yellow Tiger, from 1643 to 1647 in the Sichuan province has been put at over one million people.

    China under Mao Tse Tung, 26.3 million Chinese. According the Walker Report, 63.7 million over the whole period of time of the Communist revolution in China. Solzhenitsyn says the Soviet Union put to death 66.7 million people. Kampuchea destroyed one third of their entire population of eight million Cambodians. The Chinese in medieval history, somewhere in the vicinity of 35 million and 40 million people. Ladies and gentlemen, make note that these deaths were the result of organizations or points of view or ideologies that had left God out of the equation. None of these involve religion. And all but the very last actually assert atheism.

    It seems to me that my colleague Dennis Prager’s illustration cannot be improved upon to show the self-evident capability of Biblical religion to restrain evil. He asks this in this illustration. If you were walking down a dark street at night in the center of Los Angeles and you saw ten young men walking towards you, would you feel more comfortable if you knew that they had just come from a Bible class? Of course, the answer is certainly you would. That demonstrates that religion, and Biblical religion in particular, is a mitigator of evil in the world.

    It is true that it’s possible that religion can produce evil, and generally when we look closer at the detail it produces evil because the individual people are actually living in a rejection of the tenants of Christianity and a rejection of the God that they are supposed to be following. So it can produce it, but the historical fact is that outright rejection of God and institutionalizing of atheism actually does produce evil on incredible levels. We’re talking about tens of millions of people a result of the rejection of God.

    Moreover, as an atheist, you have no objective morality in which to declare murder evil. You have to steal morality from Christianity in order to try to say Christianity is immoral for murders wrongly done in its name.

    Epic fail!

  28. 28
    Rationalitys bane says:

    BA77, “Hmm, when Christians murder they are clearly going against the teachings of Christ,…”

    So? They are still Christians and acting in what they think is the name of God.

    …but when Darwinists murder, the fittest are merely surviving,”

    So? Are murders by Christians better (more moral) than murders by atheists? Seems to me the end result is the same. And, based on the numbers, neither side has clean hands. Maybe the root cause has nothing to do with theism or atheism. Just a thought.

    Moreover, as an atheist, you have no objective morality in which to declare murder evil.”

    And as a theist, neither do you. You only think you do. It seems to me that morality is a moving target, between cultures, within cultures and over time. If it is objective, it sure does an excellent impression of being subjective.

    You have to steal morality from Christianity in order to try to say Christianity is immoral for murders wrongly done in its name”

    No, I adopt my morality from many sources. My parents, my teachings, my acquaintances, my experience, Christianity, Hinduism, Bhuddism, Islam, native culture, society, my cat, etc. I also use the brain that I was born with to reason what the best strategy for a long and happy life within society is. It is amazing that when you use that few pounds of grey goo that resides in your skull, you can easily figure out why stealing, killing, hitting, lying, cheating, discriminating, etc. are not good strategies. But if you need a mythical outside authority to tell you how you should act, I am fine with that as well. As long as it doesn’t have a negative impact on me and my family. But if this mythical outside authority is telling you to force others to accept your beliefs or die, or strap on a dynamite vest, or crash a plane, we might have words.

    It has been nice talking, but I really have to get to bed. I am objectively tired.

  29. 29
    bornagain77 says:

    Rationalitys bane, you claim,

    They are still Christians and acting in what they think is the name of God.

    Yet, as pointed out and you completely ignored, Christ himself does not consider such people Christians

    Matthew 7:21-23
    Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
    Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
    And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

    The little fact that Christ himself does not consider such people as Christians is a major fail on your part for your atheistic druthers to try to label Christianity itself as evil.

    I’m sure, being the atheistic troll that you are who could care less for the actual truth, that you will, once again, completely ignore that major fail on your part and move on to the next erroneous thing that you imagine will help your case,,, (if there were even a real ‘you’ with the free will to decide to do or not do anything within atheism in the first place).

    Further down your post I noticed that you did not mention atheism in your list of possible sources for your personal subjective morality.

    I adopt my morality from many sources. My parents, my teachings, my acquaintances, my experience, Christianity, Hinduism, Bhuddism, Islam, native culture, society, my cat, etc.

    Is this an honest omission on your part? An honest admission on your part that morality cannot possibly be based within atheism?

    I’ll take honest omission since I’m fairly sure, if you would have noticed this glaring omission on your part, you would have surely somehow tried to dishonestly include atheism in your list of possible sources for morality.

    Moreover, you claim to base your personal subjective morality on your own ‘reasoning’.

    I also use the brain that I was born with to reason what the best strategy for a long and happy life within society is.

    Unfortunately for your atheistic druthers, the best strategy for a long and happy life within society is shown to be based on ‘religious belief and spirituality’, not on atheism:

    “, I maintain that whatever else faith may be, it cannot be a delusion.
    The advantageous effect of religious belief and spirituality on mental and physical health is one of the best-kept secrets in psychiatry and medicine generally. If the findings of the huge volume of research on this topic had gone in the opposite direction and it had been found that religion damages your mental health, it would have been front-page news in every newspaper in the land.”
    – Professor Andrew Sims former President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists – Is Faith Delusion?: Why religion is good for your health – preface

    “In the majority of studies, religious involvement is correlated with well-being, happiness and life satisfaction; hope and optimism; purpose and meaning in life; higher self-esteem; better adaptation to bereavement; greater social support and less loneliness; lower rates of depression and faster recovery from depression; lower rates of suicide and fewer positive attitudes towards suicide; less anxiety; less psychosis and fewer psychotic tendencies; lower rates of alcohol and drug use and abuse; less delinquency and criminal activity; greater marital stability and satisfaction… We concluded that for the vast majority of people the apparent benefits of devout belief and practice probably outweigh the risks.”
    – Professor Andrew Sims former President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists – Is Faith Delusion?: Why religion is good for your health – page 100
    https://books.google.com/books?id=PREdCgAAQBAJ&pg=PA100#v=onepage&q&f=false

    Moreover, exactly what makes you think that your subjective morality, that you have supposedly reasoned yourself to, (even though there is no ‘you’ with free will in your atheistic worldview), is binding to a person who has reasoned himself to a different subjective morality than yours? A subjective morality that tells him its OK to kill you and your family because it is morally good for him to do so for the sake of his personal interests?

    Regardless of your obviously insane denial of objective morality, we don’t have to argue over whether morality is objective or subjective. Thanks to modern science, we can look directly at the empirical evidence itself and see whether morality is objective of subjective. For instance, even though Darwinists have no hope whatsoever of ever explaining where a single gene/protein came from,,,

    Stephen Meyer Critiques Richard Dawkins’s “Mount Improbable” Illustration – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7rgainpMXa8

    ,,, even though Darwinists have no hope whatsoever of ever explaining where a single gene/protein came from, (much less can Darwinists explain whole networks of genes working in concert), we find that the genetic responses of humans are designed in such a sophisticated way so as to differentiate between hedonic and ‘noble’ moral happiness:

    Human Cells Respond in Healthy, Unhealthy Ways to Different Kinds of Happiness – July 29, 2013
    Excerpt: Human bodies recognize at the molecular level that not all happiness is created equal, responding in ways that can help or hinder physical health,,,
    The sense of well-being derived from “a noble purpose” may provide cellular health benefits, whereas “simple self-gratification” may have negative effects, despite an overall perceived sense of happiness, researchers found.,,,
    But if all happiness is created equal, and equally opposite to ill-being, then patterns of gene expression should be the same regardless of hedonic or eudaimonic well-being. Not so, found the researchers.
    Eudaimonic well-being was, indeed, associated with a significant decrease in the stress-related CTRA gene expression profile. In contrast, hedonic well-being was associated with a significant increase in the CTRA profile. Their genomics-based analyses, the authors reported, reveal the hidden costs of purely hedonic well-being.,,
    “We can make ourselves happy through simple pleasures, but those ‘empty calories’ don’t help us broaden our awareness or build our capacity in ways that benefit us physically,” she said. “At the cellular level, our bodies appear to respond better to a different kind of well-being, one based on a sense of connectedness and purpose.”
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....161952.htm

    And although the nuanced genetic response between noble vs. hedonic happiness, is pretty good for establishing that “there are moral laws of the universe just as abiding as the physical laws” (Martin Luther King), the following studies go one step further and show that our moral intuition transcends space and time:

    Quantum Consciousness – Time Flies Backwards? – Stuart Hameroff MD
    Excerpt: Dean Radin and Dick Bierman have performed a number of experiments of emotional response in human subjects. The subjects view a computer screen on which appear (at randomly varying intervals) a series of images, some of which are emotionally neutral, and some of which are highly emotional (violent, sexual….). In Radin and Bierman’s early studies, skin conductance of a finger was used to measure physiological response They found that subjects responded strongly to emotional images compared to neutral images, and that the emotional response occurred between a fraction of a second to several seconds BEFORE the image appeared! Recently Professor Bierman (University of Amsterdam) repeated these experiments with subjects in an fMRI brain imager and found emotional responses in brain activity up to 4 seconds before the stimuli. Moreover he looked at raw data from other laboratories and found similar emotional responses before stimuli appeared.
    http://www.quantumconsciousnes.....Flies.html

    Can Your Body Sense Future Events Without Any External Clue? (meta-analysis of 26 reports published between 1978 and 2010) – (Oct. 22, 2012)
    Excerpt: “But our analysis suggests that if you were tuned into your body, you might be able to detect these anticipatory changes between two and 10 seconds beforehand,,,
    This phenomenon is sometimes called “presentiment,” as in “sensing the future,” but Mossbridge said she and other researchers are not sure whether people are really sensing the future.
    “I like to call the phenomenon ‘anomalous anticipatory activity,'” she said. “The phenomenon is anomalous, some scientists argue, because we can’t explain it using present-day understanding about how biology works; though explanations related to recent quantum biological findings could potentially make sense. It’s anticipatory because it seems to predict future physiological changes in response to an important event without any known clues, and it’s an activity because it consists of changes in the cardiopulmonary, skin and nervous systems.”
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....145342.htm

    There is simply no coherent explanation that a materialist/atheist can give as to why morally troubling situations are detected prior to our becoming fully aware of them or before they even happen.
    The materialist/atheist simply has no beyond space and time cause to appeal to to explain why the phenomena should happen! Whereas for a Theist, it would be fully expected that ‘objective’ morality would have such a ‘spooky’, beyond space and time, effect.

    Moreover, whereas there is no ultimate accountability for evil within atheism, there is in Christianity. For proof that Christianity is true in its claim, I reference complete life reviews in Near Death Experiences.

    At the 17:45 minute mark of the following Near Death Experience documentary, the Life Review portion of the Near Death Experience is highlighted, with several testimonies relating how every word, deed, and action, of a person’s life (all the ‘information’ of a person’s life) is gone over in the presence of God:

    Near Death Experience Documentary – commonalities of the experience – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e2958DDp4WM

    Matthew 12:36-37
    “But I tell you that every careless word that people speak, they shall give an accounting for it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”

    In fact, two of our best theories in science, Special and General Relativity respectively, reveal two very different eternities. A Heavenly and Hellish eternity respectively:

    Special and General Relativity compared to Heavenly and Hellish Near Death Experiences
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TbKELVHcvSI&list=PLtAP1KN7ahia8hmDlCYEKifQ8n65oNpQ5

    Verse and Music:

    Matthew 22:36-40
    “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
    Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

    The Allman brothers Band – Soulshine – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4L3BYTS8uxM

  30. 30
    bornagain77 says:

    Of related note to the ‘argument from evil’ that atheists constantly try to employ:

    “He did not conquer in spite of the dark mystery of evil. He conquered through it.”
    ~James Stewart~
    ———————————
    “It is a glorious phrase of the New Testament, that ‘he led captivity captive.’
    The very triumphs of His foes, it means, he used for their defeat. He compelled their dark achievements to sub-serve his end, not theirs.
    They nailed him to the tree, not knowing that by that very act they were bringing the world to his feet.
    They gave him a cross, not guessing that he would make it a throne.
    They flung him outside the gates to die, not knowing that in that very moment they were lifting up all the gates of the universe, to let the King of Glory come in.
    They thought to root out his doctrines, not understanding that they were implanting imperishably in the hearts of men the very name they intended to destroy.
    They thought they had defeated God with His back (to) the wall, pinned and helpless and defeated: they did not know that it was God Himself who had tracked them down.
    He did not conquer in spite of the dark mystery of evil. He conquered through it.”
    James Stewart (1896–1990) was a minister of the Church of Scotland
    —————-
    https://christcenteredteaching.wordpress.com/category/james-stewart/

  31. 31
    Rationalitys bane says:

    BA77, “Yet, as pointed out and you completely ignored, Christ himself does not consider such people Christians.”

    How convenient. When people commit atrocities based on a misinterpretation of Scriptures, they are not Christians. But when people commit atrocities based on a misinterpretation of evolution, they are Darwinists. Do you have your cake and eat it too, much?

    Is this an honest omission on your part? An honest admission on your part that morality cannot possibly be based within atheism.”

    Atheism does not claim to be the source (or conduit) of morality. We leave that delusion to theists and their religions.

  32. 32
    bornagain77 says:

    “When people commit atrocities based on a misinterpretation of Scriptures, they are not Christians.”

    So says Christ Himself. i.e. “I knew ye not”

    “But when people commit atrocities based on a misinterpretation of evolution, they are Darwinists.”

    And exactly where in evolution does it say, “Thou shall not eat thy neighbour for supper even if ye are starving?”

    If eating your neighbour for supper gives you a survival advantage, then natural selection would select you as being more fit than those moral Christians who died because they refused to eat their neighbour for supper when they were starving because they thought it was wrong.

    Moreover, since natural selection selects only for fitness and not for truth, then Darwinism undercuts itself for any truth claims it may make on reality, That includes any truth claims for morality that Darwinists may make and even for claims for Darwin’s theory itself:

    Why Evolutionary Theory Cannot Survive Itself – Nancy Pearcey – March 8, 2015
    Excerpt: Steven Pinker writes, “Our brains were shaped for fitness, not for truth. Sometimes the truth is adaptive, but sometimes it is not.” The upshot is that survival is no guarantee of truth. If survival is the only standard, we can never know which ideas are true and which are adaptive but false.
    To make the dilemma even more puzzling, evolutionists tell us that natural selection has produced all sorts of false concepts in the human mind. Many evolutionary materialists maintain that free will is an illusion, consciousness is an illusion, even our sense of self is an illusion — and that all these false ideas were selected for their survival value.
    So how can we know whether the theory of evolution itself is one of those false ideas? The theory undercuts itself.,,,
    Of course, the atheist pursuing his research has no choice but to rely on rationality, just as everyone else does. The point is that he has no philosophical basis for doing so. Only those who affirm a rational Creator have a basis for trusting human rationality.
    The reason so few atheists and materialists seem to recognize the problem is that, like Darwin, they apply their skepticism selectively. They apply it to undercut only ideas they reject, especially ideas about God. They make a tacit exception for their own worldview commitments.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....94171.html

    “An example of self-referential absurdity is a theory called evolutionary epistemology, a naturalistic approach that applies evolution to the process of knowing. The theory proposes that the human mind is a product of natural selection. The implication is that the ideas in our minds were selected for their survival value, not for their truth-value.
    But what if we apply that theory to itself? Then it, too, was selected for survival, not truth — which discredits its own claim to truth. Evolutionary epistemology commits suicide.
    Astonishingly, many prominent thinkers have embraced the theory without detecting the logical contradiction. Philosopher John Gray writes, “If Darwin’s theory of natural selection is true,… the human mind serves evolutionary success, not truth.” What is the contradiction in that statement?
    Gray has essentially said, if Darwin’s theory is true, then it “serves evolutionary success, not truth.” In other words, if Darwin’s theory is true, then it is not true.”
    – Nancy Pearcey – Why Evolutionary Theory Cannot Survive Itself – March 2015

    Even Dawkins admits as much in his book ‘The God Delusion’:

    Why Atheism is Nonsense Pt.5 – “Naturalism is a Self-defeating Idea”video
    Excerpt: “Since we are creatures of natural selection, we cannot totally trust our senses. Evolution only passes on traits that help a species survive, and not concerned with preserving traits that tell a species what is actually true about life.”
    Richard Dawkins – quoted from “The God Delusion”
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ff-5rsrDRGM

    Yet, contrary to what Dawkins thought of having at least some reliability to our cognitive faculties, the fact of the matter is that we cannot trust ANY of our senses if Darwin’s theory is true. According to rigorous analysis of population genetics, if Darwinism is true then we NEVER see reality as it really is, thus all of our beliefs about reality would be delusions if Darwin’s theory were actually true. i.e. Darwin’s theory undercuts itself for any truth claims it makes on reality!:

    Donald Hoffman: Do we see reality as it is? – Video – 9:59 minute mark
    Quote: “fitness does depend on reality as it is, yes.,,, Fitness is not the same thing as reality as it is, and it is fitness, and not reality as it is, that figures centrally in the equations of evolution. So, in my lab, we have run hundreds of thousands of evolutionary game simulations with lots of different randomly chosen worlds and organisms that compete for resources in those worlds. Some of the organisms see all of the reality. Others see just part of the reality. And some see none of the reality. Only fitness. Who wins? Well I hate to break it to you but perception of reality goes extinct. In almost every simulation, organisms that see none of reality, but are just tuned to fitness, drive to extinction that perceive reality as it is. So the bottom line is, evolution does not favor veridical, or accurate perceptions. Those (accurate) perceptions of reality go extinct. Now this is a bit stunning. How can it be that not seeing the world accurately gives us a survival advantage?”
    https://youtu.be/oYp5XuGYqqY?t=601

    The Evolutionary Argument Against Reality – April 2016
    The cognitive scientist Donald Hoffman uses evolutionary game theory to show that our perceptions of an independent reality must be illusions.
    Excerpt: “The classic argument is that those of our ancestors who saw more accurately had a competitive advantage over those who saw less accurately and thus were more likely to pass on their genes that coded for those more accurate perceptions, so after thousands of generations we can be quite confident that we’re the offspring of those who saw accurately, and so we see accurately. That sounds very plausible. But I think it is utterly false. It misunderstands the fundamental fact about evolution, which is that it’s about fitness functions — mathematical functions that describe how well a given strategy achieves the goals of survival and reproduction. The mathematical physicist Chetan Prakash proved a theorem that I devised that says: According to evolution by natural selection, an organism that sees reality as it is will never be more fit than an organism of equal complexity that sees none of reality but is just tuned to fitness. Never.”
    https://www.quantamagazine.org/20160421-the-evolutionary-argument-against-reality/

    Atheistic Materialism – Where All of Reality Becomes an Illusion – video
    https://www.facebook.com/philip.cunningham.73/videos/1213432255336372/

  33. 33
    Rationalitys bane says:

    BA77, “And exactly where in evolution does it say, “Thou shall not eat thy neighbor for supper even if ye are starving?”

    Why do you ask? Have you had a craving to eat your neighbour that has only been halted by your Christian belief? You are beginning to worry me. Please tell me that you don’t live in Ottawa.

  34. 34
    jdk says:

    RB says,

    Atheism does not claim to be the source (or conduit) of morality.

    This is an important point. Being an atheist means that one doesn’t claim to ground any of one’s beliefs, including morals, in the supernatural.

    Atheists will differ, I am sure, on the nature and relative importance of the source of their beliefs. RB listed a few earlier, and I’ve listed such things as genetically based human nature (people innately care for at least some others), one’s upbringing in both the immediate family and various levels of culture, adult reasoning, experience in person and through reading of what other humans believe (including great works of literature including the famous religious texts), and so on. These are some of the positive sources of belief for those who don’t believe in the supernatural, but “atheism” itself is not a source of belief.

    By the way, atheism is not identical with materialism: there are a number of non-theistic but non-materialistic metaphysics. This point should be kept in mind in discussions here.

  35. 35
    bornagain77 says:

    I was wondering if you atheistic geniuses could give me a hand with a puzzle I have been fiddling with.

    You see, under atheism, personhood, i.e. sense of self, is a merely a fiction and/or illusion generated by the material brain.

    “that “You”, your joys and your sorrows, your memories and your ambitions, your sense of personal identity and free will, are in fact no more than the behaviour of a vast assembly of nerve cells and their associated molecules. As Lewis Carroll’s Alice might have phrased: “You’re nothing but a pack of neurons.” This hypothesis is so alien to the ideas of most people today that it can truly be called astonishing.”
    Francis Crick – “The Astonishing Hypothesis” 1994

    Dawkins, Harris, Dennet, and Coyne make basically the very same claim as Crick, co-discoverer of DNA, and claim that we are not really persons, as everybody believes we are real persons, but that we are instead merely neuronal illusions of the brain. i.e. our brain, in a feat that puts Hollywood special effects to complete shame, is merely tricking us into thinking we are having a real subjective conscious experience of personhood.

    OK, this is all fine and well as far as it goes, but my problem that I’ve been fiddling around with is this. Besides our conscious experience, Atheists also claim that our free will is an illusion.

    Sam Harris’s Free Will: The Medial Pre-Frontal Cortex Did It – Martin Cothran – November 9, 2012
    Excerpt: There is something ironic about the position of thinkers like Harris on issues like this: they claim that their position is the result of the irresistible necessity of logic (in fact, they pride themselves on their logic). Their belief is the consequent, in a ground/consequent relation between their evidence and their conclusion. But their very stated position is that any mental state — including their position on this issue — is the effect of a physical, not logical cause.
    By their own logic, it isn’t logic that demands their assent to the claim that free will is an illusion, but the prior chemical state of their brains. The only condition under which we could possibly find their argument convincing is if they are not true. The claim that free will is an illusion requires the possibility that minds have the freedom to assent to a logical argument, a freedom denied by the claim itself. It is an assent that must, in order to remain logical and not physiological, presume a perspective outside the physical order.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....66221.html

    Now here is my problem. If subjective conscious experience of personhood is an illusion generated by the brain, and free will is also an illusion generated by the brain, then how in blue blazes are my illusions of free will always miraculously coinciding with the illusory intentions of my illusory self.

    Do You Like SETI? Fine, Then Let’s Dump Methodological Naturalism – Paul Nelson – September 24, 2014
    Excerpt: “Epistemology — how we know — and ontology — what exists — are both affected by methodological naturalism (MN). If we say, “We cannot know that a mind caused x,” laying down an epistemological boundary defined by MN, then our ontology comprising real causes for x won’t include minds.
    MN entails an ontology in which minds are the consequence of physics, and thus, can only be placeholders for a more detailed causal account in which physics is the only (ultimate) actor. You didn’t write your email to me. Physics did, and informed (the illusion of) you of that event after the fact.
    “That’s crazy,” you reply, “I certainly did write my email.” Okay, then — to what does the pronoun “I” in that sentence refer?
    Your personal agency; your mind. Are you supernatural?,,,
    You are certainly an intelligent cause, however, and your intelligence does not collapse into physics. (If it does collapse — i.e., can be reduced without explanatory loss — we haven’t the faintest idea how, which amounts to the same thing.) To explain the effects you bring about in the world — such as your email, a real pattern — we must refer to you as a unique agent.,,,
    some feature of “intelligence” must be irreducible to physics, because otherwise we’re back to physics versus physics, and there’s nothing for SETI to look for.”,,,
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....90071.html

    And although Dr. Nelson alluded to writing an e-mail, (i.e. creating information), to tie his ‘personal agent’ argument into intelligent design, Dr. Nelson’s ‘personal agent’ argument can easily be amended to any action that ‘you’, as a personal agent, choose to take:

    “You didn’t write your email to me. Physics did, and informed the illusion of you of that event after the fact.”
    “You didn’t open the door. Physics did, and informed the illusion of you of that event after the fact.”
    “You didn’t raise your hand. Physics did, and informed the illusion you of that event after the fact.”
    “You didn’t etc.. etc.. etc… Physics did, and informed the illusion of you of that event after the fact.”

    Do you atheistic geniuses know of any experimental work that can show us how such a bizarre state of coinciding illusions can even be remotely feasible in reality? Much less how these coinciding illusions of free will and personhood came to be in my brain at the same time and persists, completely in sync, throughout my entire life?

    Take this kiss upon the brow!
    And, in parting from you now,
    Thus much let me avow-
    You are not wrong, who deem
    That my days have been a dream;
    Yet if hope has flown away
    In a night, or in a day,
    In a vision, or in none,
    Is it therefore the less gone?
    All that we see or seem
    Is but a dream within a dream.

    I stand amid the roar
    Of a surf-tormented shore,
    And I hold within my hand
    Grains of the golden sand-
    How few! yet how they creep
    Through my fingers to the deep,
    While I weep- while I weep!
    O God! can I not grasp
    Them with a tighter clasp?
    O God! can I not save
    One from the pitiless wave?
    Is all that we see or seem
    But a dream within a dream?
    Edgar Allan Poe

    Verse and Music:

    2 Corinthians 10:5
    Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

    Hillsong United – Taya Smith – Touch The Sky – Acoustic Cover – Live – HD
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pyl34fHQi3U

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