Atheists and Christians on this Forum

Even talented geneticists can offer up useless pseudoscience when they put their Bible Blinders on.
What Sanford is claiming HAS been checked out and investigated for years before Sanford ever offered up his YEC GE nonsense. Sanford is just wrong and the medical community already knows it. Would you get mad if a medical doctor got ignored for pushing homeopathy and claiming water could cure cancer with ZERO scientific evidence for support? That in effect is what Sanford is doing.

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My status on theism is probably best described as ‘It’s complicated’. :wink:

Panentheist agnostic or agnostic panentheist is probably the closest description and should at least give people a sense.

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My position has never been that atheists, as such, are bad. I do find that atheists who contribute to discussions on “origins” sites on the internet tend to be the more verbally aggressive kind of atheist (there some exceptions, of course, including some here) and not infrequently accuse people who disagree with them of being stupid, ignorant, etc. They also fairly frequently accuse people who disagree with them of lying, being dishonest, having political (“theocratic”) motives, etc. And I often find that such posts on origins websites are left to stand, whereas much less aggressive posts coming from Christians and/or ID proponents are flagged as “offensive” or some such thing.

There are lots of atheists in the world with whom I have no problem. Atheists like Thomas Nagel and Bradley Monton, for example, who don’t agree with ID or creationism but who don’t demonize proponents of those positions and who don’t regard criticism of evolutionary as heresy or treason to reason or science. Indeed, I never had any problem with the non-militant atheism of Carl Sagan or Isaac Asimov, who were two of the favorite science writers of my youth. And most of my friends and relatives (on one side of the family, anyway) are de facto atheists, at best agnostics, and they’re fine people.

There always have been plenty of reasons for doubting the existence of God, and even solid religious believers often confess that there are days where they feel the absence of God (reports are that Mother Theresa was one such, though I have not studied the case and make no comment). I don’t think atheists are necessarily evil or immoral or stupid or ignorant or illogical. But I have found many of them to be combative and highly partisan on origins web sites, more interested in conducting a “take no prisoners” warfare than in a dialogue in which they genuinely wish to learn something from the opposite side. Their attitude often seems to be, not, “I’ll listen to your points, because I don’t claim to have all the answers and I might well learn a lot from you, even though we may finally disagree,” but, “I’ll listen to your points, and then tell you why every one of them is wrong.” Where this tone prevails on origins websites, they become non-constructive brawls.

And if you say, well, creationists sometimes behave that way, too, I would say that I totally agree. One way out of this impasse would be if people on both sides could learn, more often, to say things like:

“Yes, but…”

“That’s true, but…”

“A good point that I hadn’t thought of before. However, I would maintain…”

“I didn’t know that, but you seem to have researched this well. Give me a few days to chew on your idea, because I might have to modify my position.”

Let’s take an example, not about evolution or design or climate change, but about something which one might think would generate less passion. Many times I and others here (and on BioLogos) have, against charges that Christianity has been the enemy of science, or that religion or faith are opposed to science, pointed out the important role of Christian civilization as the cradle modern science. We have cited books and articles by top scholars, including scholars who aren’t Christians, who have granted that Christian thought about nature, empiricism, etc. was one (not the only, but one) of the factors in the rise of science. Quite often such statements have been met with scorn and pretty much every argument or example is denied in a black and white fashion, by atheist posters.

It’s as if some atheists are of the view that if you give a Christian (or person of faith) an inch (even a very justified inch), they will take a mile, so one must draw a line in the sand and not budge. I find this attitude counterproductive. And as I’ve already said, atheists are not the only ones who can be dogmatic, so I’m not excusing people of faith who do the same, but it does get wearying to hear the same old arguments about religious people being stupid and religious people as not caring about the truth but only about defending their dogmas and religion as having always opposed science etc., especially when these arguments are accompanied by scorn and belittling remarks. I don’t know how to change this, as these sites are “open membership” sites, and there is no rule that one has to be polite or intellectually fair or academically scrupulous in order to participate, but it does make them less valuable as places of intellectual discussion than they otherwise could be.

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Thanks for answering my questions. My point in asking them was this: I’ve been on this forum for a long time, at least two years, I think. You are a relatively recent reader, and a very recent contributor. Yet you have challenged my characterization of some of the exchanges here. Well, you could be right, and you’re entitled to your opinion, but, by your own admission, your involvement in this forum has been considerably less than mine. You might consider the possibility that I am generalizing based on a much larger sample of posts and discussions than you are. Also, I am not the only one who has perceived the atmosphere here in this way. George Brooks has several times noted the same thing.
But this is a small point, and I don’t want to make a bigger deal of it than it deserves. I hope you will take it under consideration, but we don’t need to dwell on it.

Is chivalry dead?

Thank you, I appreciate that and forgive you. I don’t mind snarkiness if an argument is not well-thought-out. I’ve used it sometimes with others; then sometimes regretted it.

Maybe you should consider why I have that impression as well.

I know @sfmatheson has muted me, but this is the way that I feel and I appreciate him articulating it so well.

What I feel like I can bring of value to this board and why you should care if I say I’ve been bullied:

  1. A female perspective. I appreciate when @Michelle comes on, I can’t remember if there are any other women I’ve seen.
  2. A non-scientist perspective as someone who newly appreciates science. Learning about COVID and seeing how that reverberated politically and socially got me started.
  3. If scientists think that creationism is hurting scientific literacy, then I’m a voice to show you what you need to overcome scientifically to do so, and maybe also theologically. @swamidass gave a mixed scientific, theological argument - it needs to be developed more theologically before I’d accept death before sin.

Ok, so this is where I want to explain why you’re hurting your cause of “scientific literacy” if you make arguments comparing creation science to flat earthism.

  1. You and I both know flat-earth or geo-centrism isn’t going to make it into a scientific journal.
  2. Sanford had a successful career before he was a Christian. Somehow he also got invited to NIH to speak so someone must have thought he had something important to say. Imagine that happening to a flat-earther?
  3. I’ve already show on this forum how mainstream scientists may end up throwing the age of the universe into question on their own and throw out the Big Bang Model on their own.
  4. Many here regularly mock creation scientists who have degrees from the same universities you go to, as if they are liars or dumb. Then I’ve seen many of the same people admit to not having read their books or their papers. If you sincerely believe all of this is wrong-headed or a hoax for YEC only, then provide evidence of that. So far, the only evidence I’ve seen is that the model can’t work because your models are right. Also, the more mocking you do, I will continue to see it as persecution of Christians, which we are taught to expect in the Bible.
  5. Focus on the scientific problems - Origin of Life needs to get somewhere and fast. Fix the holes in the narrative of the fossil record. Show that evolution has power as an origins theory. I was just learning tonight about RNA and amino acids. I see tons of design there. As it gains more power with design, to me it as less power as an origins theory. Figure that out.

What do creation scientists have to do:
1 - Prove the molecular clock - they’ve already pointed to evidence mainstream science agrees on the x chromosome.
2 - Explain radiometric dating.
3 - Explain the age of the universe - (wait, mainstream science may already do that for us)

Who has more work to do?

As far as how to treat people to win them to your side, I was watching a presentation @NLENTS gave and he was immediately engaging even though I didn’t agree with what he said. Act like he does. I think he would probably be nicer to me than many Christians here.

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I hope and think you’re correct. To paraphrase Carl Sagan, even though I don’t have religious beliefs, I cannot think of any reason not to be kind to one another.

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No I don’t know that. It could happen in the same way creationist papers get snuck into scientific journals, by either finding incompetent, or lazy, or creationism-friendly reviewers, by spamming lots of journals until finally a paper slips through somewhere, or by publishing a paper carefully crafted to say mundane-sounding things with vast but indirect and hard-go-gauge-on-a-first-read implications. Or some combination of the above.

Or it could simply happen by properly abiding by standard scientific principles, doing observations and modeling and publishing results. Then over time build up a case through various publications and slowly try to persuade the scientific community through actual properly collected and analyzed data.

Crackpot ideas really do find their way into the peer reviewed literature. Getting a paper published is really just the first hurdle to get through. There are innumerable examples of utter nonsense slipping into the peer reviewed literature, even in journals normally thought to be solid, high-impact journals.

Yeah I can easily imagine that happening to a flat-Earther if that person had something interesting or important to say of relevance to some scientific subject. People with crackpot ideas may also hold perfectly legitimate ideas on topics in which they’re worth listening to.

I would invite Lynn Margulis to give a talk on endosymbiosis, not on HIV and AIDS.

No, you have not shown this at all. In fact you’re so far from having shown this that the physicists on this forum have all had the wise instinct to just stay away and not waste their time even trying to convince you of this.

But here you are, seemingly totally oblivious to the possibility that some people just can’t even be bothered engaging you because they think it would be a colossal waste of time.
So now I have to play the role of the bad guy who is not afraid of saying this to your face, even if that should somehow undermine your trust in me going forward.

Sorry, I just don’t care about your opinion of me. I’m not here to be nice and courteous to you so you can get to wallow around in your own little creationist bubble where people just stick to themselves and ignore you and think “Oh there she goes again, that lost cause, better just ignore her”. I’m here to tell you where you are making basic errors in reasoning and are jumping to unwarranted conclusions. I don’t know how to do that in a nice way. And in fact I prefer to just be direct and blunt. I’m like that. It’s not going to change.

Yeah it becomes difficult to resist those interpretations when misleading or false statements are pointed out to these people over and over again and they never show any sign of correcting them. You have to be cognizant of the fact that this “debate” goes back decades, and most of us here have seen innumerable people exactly like you, appearing to having been misled by the same endlessly debunked ideas over and over again.

At least here we come to an agreement. I too think it is a problem when some people offhandedly dismiss certain ideas without having ever actually engaged them properly. I’d say this problem goes both ways. There’s a fair amount of appeal to authority going on. But I also think that often times, as a lay person without the necessary qualifications, that is really the only choice you have. To put your trust in certain authorities. But I’ll also say that I too dislike the sideline cheerleading by some people.

No, that’s just not the only evidence you’ve seen Valerie. Statements like that are why some (most) other people here can’t even be bothered to even talk to you and are happy to just let you play around in your little creationist sandbox.

Then I invite you to consider that on every controversial topic there is, you will find there are people on both sides who mock each other, so you’re basically just engaging in confirmation bias if you think the fact that other people mock you as a christian confirms the truth of your position.

There are christians who mock muslims, muslims who mock jews, and everything in between. Sports fans mock each other when the other side’s team loses too. This isn’t confirmation of the truth of anything. It is just a regrettable fact of human nature.

No it doesn’t actually need to get somewhere fast at all. There is no rule of science that says some problem can’t be very hard to solve and take a very long time. That’s a totally nonsensical point.

And the acceptability, or reality of evolution, is not contingent science having solved the problem of how life originated. Nobody is under any obligation to show or solve how anything and everything works, for us to be able to say that some ideas still are well supported.

I get the distinct impression from reading you make a statement like that, that you take modern science to be a sort of “worldview” that is supposed to replace or compete with your religion. It just isn’t. In fact science only exists because there are things we don’t know, as a tool for trying to get answers to those things. No one says it has solved all answers, and no one knows if it is even capable of doing so. And if you can find someone who says they know it can, I’ll be happy to argue with them over that too.

Yeah I have no idea what you mean by that, and I can only repeat myself that if you think everything has to be solved to some obscure level of detail within some scientific field before you can accept it, then you’re going to remain permanently dissatisfied and then we might aswell stop arguing, because no scientific theory is even trying to be what you want to be.

I’m not here to sell you a replacement for your “worldview” that will give you nice comfy answers to all the things you apparently can’t live without being able to convince yourself having been answered to an absolute certainty.

Good for you, but I don’t.

I think I already have, honestly. You see those things because you want to, and it’s too important to you to let go of.

Yeah they have to build better and simpler models that explains as much or more data better, with fewer assumptions. They’re not doing this at all. And you don’t even know what any of that means and you think I’m basically just bullshitting you because somehow I already know God exists and it’s all false. But hey, you were able to write a post using an excessive amount of words to basically describe how sorry you feel for yourself and your fellow creationists that your ideas aren’t being taken so exceptionally seriously as you think they should.

Yeah @NLENTS is a really nice person. But of course, you’ve not really debated any of these topics with him at length, have you? So perhaps one of the reasons he seems so nice to you is that he’s yet to totally waste his time personally pushing back to you on the large volumes of false and misleading statements you’ve made over these last few months.

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Yes, ever since the invention of effective firearms.

Not yet. But that’s the value of the analogy. You need to understand that scientists view creationism as equally nonsensical. Contemplating your response (one hopes) to flat-earthism should help you understand our perspective.

Of course it could, especially before he became a flat-earther, or even after if he were invited to speak within his specialty, not flat-earthism.

I don’t believe you have.

Some of them do appear to be liars, or at least it’s hard to understand how people with their education could be unaware of, for example, the simple idea of neutral coalescence.

Why? It’s an extremely difficult problem, there being so little evidence available. Why is it necessary to resolve it soon?

What holes? Why are they important?

Well of course it does. It explains a great wealth of data. Creationism, on the other hand, explains nothing. It’s a substitute for explanation.

The list is much, much longer than you suppose here. “Creation scientists” have never managed to explain anything. In my field, they can’t decide what a “kind” is, or why, for example. They just know that humans are a separate kind, but they can’t say why the evidence shows otherwise, and they can’t even reliably sort fossils into “human” and “not human”.

The key problem I can see is that neither being mean nor being nice has any effect on you. If you immediately reject what he says, even though he was nice, there is no purpose to discussion other than polite small talk.

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No, it seems that everyone is putting in a lot of effort to try to rescue you…interventions can feel like bullying to the one targeted. You seem to do very well holding your own anyway…

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Sometimes I wonder why smart people fall for crappy ideas.

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And so?

Virologists mock Peter Duesberg, a PhD-credentialed virologist for his crackpot claim that HIV doesn’t cause AIDS despite mountains of evidence saying otherwise.

Kary Mullis, the biochemist who developed PCR is mocked by other scientists for his many outlandish views, including AIDS denial.

Deepak Chopra is mocked by the medical community and physicists for his misuse of quantum physics to make ridiculous health claims. Ever heard of quantum consciousness? That’s classic choprawoo.

So if Andrew Smelling, John Sanford, Jeffrey Tompkins and others who have legitimate credentials support alternative ideas which are plain fantastical and not supported by good evidence, then they will be mocked. AIG mocks flat-earthers, we mock AIG too.

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I’d particularly like to mock the multiverse. :rofl:

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A: They’re smarter.

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You should see what they write to each other on facebook.

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Well physicists say its a prediction from a model I can’t recall now, so its not ridiculous at all.

Authoritativeness - trusting someone’s position based on their knowledge, for which qualifications and positions are proxies - only gets you so far in science.

In the end it is, and necessarily has to be, about the evidence.

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To clarify one thing: on this forum, regardless of what certain forum users have expressed on this thread, we want to promote a focus on intellectual substance and arguments, rather than sarcasm, mockery, or personal attacks. Even if one believes that a certain figure “deserves” to be mocked or ridiculed, that is not the kind of rhetoric that we want to focus on in here. In particular, wild speculations or insinuations about one’s internal personal motivations are not allowed. If you encounter posts that are of that nature, of any intellectual stance, please feel free to flag them to bring them to moderators’ attention. True to its name, we want to encourage peaceful discourse on this website, in contrast to many other places on the internet where these topics are hotly debated. Do not post something here that you would be reluctant to say in a face-to-face conversation with that person.

I would encourage newer forums users to read this list of general guidelines of discourse on this forum:

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It’s part of a useful mathematical model. Personally, I take it as no more than part of a model.

What puzzles me, is that some religious folk take the multiverse idea as an atheistic attack on their religion. As far as I know, it was never intended that way and most physicists don’t take it that way.

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So you can convince all the creationists like me to stop with their shenanigans.

That’s why you’re stuck with a lot of creationists - science is hard. It’ll take us some time to figure it out too.

I have to read the Contested Bones book, but seems like they’ve quoted mainstream scientists while trying to make their argument.

So regarding negative energy dark matter, Matt O’Dowd, a cosmologist on PBS Spacetime was saying that it would require AdS, which he thinks is ridiculous. Well physicists decided AdS explains black holes and they think wormholes are really (possibly indicating negative energy pervading the universe). Black Hole Information Paradox Nears Its End + A Second Flavor of Hydrogen - Peaceful Science

Negative energy dark matter would probably make the real age of the universe practically unknowable or very young.

I can also point out the ways in which that article matches up with some of my earlier guesses. Mine weren’t right of course, but they are sniffing down the same trail without knowing any of the math.

With some of the newer discoveries close to the cosmic dawn Ultra-Rare Black Hole Deals a Big Blow to Big Bang? - Peaceful Science practically this looks like near-spontaneous galaxy formation.

I don’t think there’s anything that would do that. You don’t respond to evidence.

It’s called “quote mining”.

Yeah, I don’t believe you understand half the words you’re using here or the concepts behind them. Your confidence extends very far beyond your understanding, and I don’t find that admirable.

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