Let’s celebrate!

From The Sensuous Curmudgeon this post raises an interesting thought for me; He writes in Born 23 October 4004 BC — Happy Birthday, Universe!:

“According to the Ussher chronology, computed in the 1650s from a literal reading of the Bible by James Ussher, an Anglican Archbishop, the first day of creation began on the night preceding Sunday, 23 October 4004 BC. Presumably that takes into account the missing day caused by Joshua’s commanding the sun to stand still. Because there was no year Zero, the universe will be 6,011 years old this Thursday (we’re writing on Tuesday, 21 Oct 2008).”

Now, I have never heard of any celebrations occurring each October 23rd. Nor, 11 years ago, did I hear of any celebrations for the 6000th birthday of the Universe – the big one!

It seems to me that those people who genuinely believed in “Young Earth” creation would have been partying like mad. (Come to think of it, why didn’t I know about this in my wild youth when I was always looking for an excuse to party).

Perhaps these creationists don’t really take their own claims seriously.

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77 responses to “Let’s celebrate!

  1. “Perhaps these creationists don’t really take their own claims seriously.”

    They’re serious. But not terribly consistent.

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  2. My first thought was to post a comedy skit on Young Earth Creationism. However, I decided that a Young Earther giving a “scientific” lecture to an astronomy club was MUCH better.

    Young Earth Creationism. It’s all about the science.
    Enjoy.
    😉

    Young Earth Creationist Speaks at Astronomy Meeting Pt 1/5
    http://kr.youtube.com/watch?v=YKbaHoINReA&feature=related

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  3. You should be consistent with your own policy, Ken, and stop labeling people. You’re just building a strawman. I’ve never met a creationist who believes that the age of the earth can be precisely calculated from the Bible. You’re you using the term “creationist” to refer to someone who thinks that Ussher’s naive, 450 years out-of-date theology is the definitive word on the age of the earth. That seems a lot worse to me than calling you a materialist, where by “materialist” is typically meant “someone who believes only in the existence of the physical, empirically detectable universe”; and not “someone who holds to a certain view of matter”, as you yourself mistakenly seem to believe.

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  4. Oh Ken – you mean you didn’t come to the Cafe Scientifique we ran on the age of the Earth, a couple of years ago??? We had a dinosaur cake & everything 🙂

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  5. @ Alison, October 23, 2008 at 9:49 am

    Yes that Cafe Scientifique celebration would be more to my temperament these days. In my wild youth I would have wanted something a bit more debauched. The date would probably have fitted well with the end of exams too.

    @ Dominic, October 23, 2008 at 9:11 am

    Lighten up – it’s a joke. However are you conceding that if “450 years out-of-date theology” should be rejected that then so should >2000 years-out-of-date theology?? Personally I would use criteria other than age for rejection of such theologies.

    As for the materialist label – you should appreciate that a person’s world view or philosophical outlook is defined by how they think – not by the label someone else imposes on them. It obviously upsets you to find that my beliefs are not as you want to define them – but that is a problem for your epistemological approach, not mine.

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  6. However are you conceding that if “450 years out-of-date theology” should be rejected that then so should >2000 years-out-of-date theology?? Personally I would use criteria other than age for rejection of such theologies.

    Your categories are confused. Firstly, theology is not the Bible. Theology is the study of God. Secondly, I’m not taking the view that old theology must be rejected; I’m taking the view that old theology is typically not as nuanced or developed as newer theology. This is just a fact of any discipline. Sometimes, old theology is bad and should be rejected outright (eg, the Roman Catholic view of justification). Sometimes it is generally good but poor in specifics (eg, Ussher’s view of the age of the earth). And sometimes it is good all around, and should be accepted; though of course this doesn’t imply that it can’t be further developed (eg, the Reformed view of justification).

    As for the materialist label – you should appreciate that a person’s world view or philosophical outlook is defined by how they think – not by the label someone else imposes on them. It obviously upsets you to find that my beliefs are not as you want to define them – but that is a problems for your epistemological approach, not mine.

    I completely agree that a person’s worldview is defined by their own thinking, regardless of the label they are given. But your beliefs are as I define them; you just don’t seem to like the label. (It’s weird that you think I’m “upset”.) You have defined yourself as believing what materialists believe, as I understand the term (and as everyone understands the term). Materialism is “a theory that physical matter is the only or fundamental reality and that all being and processes and phenomena can be explained as manifestations or results of matter”. That is precisely the view that you take, as you yourself have elaborated it. You just seem to think that I’m not familiar with modern scientific theories of matter (which, actually, I passingly am)—as if these theories make a difference to my arguments (which they don’t).

    Frankly, your position on this whole labeling issue is really confused.

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  7. @ Domonic – October 23, 2008 at 11:04 am

    “But your beliefs are as I define them” – Really!!

    Well, next time I want to know what I think I should ask you!!

    Perhaps the fact that I have not yet done so explains why my “position on this whole labeling issue is really confused.”

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  8. Ken, your reading comprehension is as shocking as your understanding of English words. Your beliefs, as they actually are, so far as you yourself have explained them, correspond to the way in which I have assumed them to be in the past. In other words, the way in which you have explained your beliefs in ‘The materialist label’ is the same way that I would explain what a materialist believes, and is the general belief structure that I have in mind when I use, and have used, the label “materialist”.

    You can’t not use labels. “Christian” is a label. “Theist” is a label. “Non-theist” is a label. If you’re going to have categories for defining someone’s beliefs—which of course you are otherwise dialog would be impossible—you are going to have labels for those categories; whether you use them publicly or not.

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  9. You missed the 6000th Birthday Party? Maybe no one sent you an invite. But seriously, the date of 23 Oct, 4004 BC is in serious doubt. The actual date could be anywhere between 4100 and 4000 BC.

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  10. @ Ross Nixon – October 23, 2008 at 11:45 am

    “The actual date could be anywhere between 4100 and 4000 BC.” – but still October 23rd??

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  11. @ Dominc – October 23, 2008 at 11:41 am

    “the way in which you have explained your beliefs in ‘The materialist label’ is the same way that I would explain what a materialist believes”

    OK, here is a practical experiment. Please describe to me (perhaps using quotes from The materialist label) the specific beliefs you say I have. We can then see if they agree with the ones I think (in my confused way) that I have.

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  12. Dominic Bnonn Tennant

    Sure Ken. You believe that physical matter (which exists in spacetime) is the only or fundamental reality and that all being and processes and phenomena can be explained as manifestations or results of physical matter. I said that before, remember, when I linked to the definition of “materialism”.

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  13. Excuse a little midday musing…

    “I’m taking the view that old theology is typically not as nuanced or developed as newer theology.”

    By putting the first part relative to “as newer theology”, you are basing it on a comparison of age, i.e.: if a 450-y.o. theology is “not as nuanced or developed”, then it would follow that a 2,000+ y.o. one would be even less so.

    What you should be saying, and you sort of do, is exactly what Ken said: the decision shouldn’t based on the age of the theology. You are playing a funny game here: trying to have Ken wrong, but actually coming out with pretty much exactly the point he was making!

    Another thing that you’re leaving out is that religious practices have changed for reasons that have little to do with the bible itself. It seems clear to me that frequently (if not almost always) “reinterpretations” of the bible are fitted to suit the changes wanted, not the other way around. It makes the bible a justification for whatever people want, which is potentially very dangerous.

    It could easily be argued that saying the bible is not theology (or theological) is just excusing it from criticism. To others its trivially theological, the theology of its day. In particular, your claim would mean that the bible has no study of G-d in it. Strange, because I could have sworn there was an awful lot of that in it…

    (BTW, while you’re splitting hairs on terms, my own understanding is that theology is NOT “the study of G-d”, but the study of religions from a religious perspective. One difference is that it is not limited to your particular G-d, or your particular religion. In fact, one of the key reasons that I consider theology schools to be something of a sham is, superficially at least, that they are seem to be quite biased in favour of their own religion. But that’s another topic.)

    But of course some Christians, not all, take the bible to be literally G-d’s words. I presume that is your position. Never minding the obvious logical issues with accepting that, the trouble with this is that you should take case not to “speak for” other Christians in a way that they’d object to. In excusing the bible from theology essentially by fait, you are treading that line as best as I can see.

    I suspect that this would have you labelling Christians who don’t treat the bible as literally G-d’s word, as “not real Christians” and have you playing the labelling game yourself. Perhaps this might be a nice illustration of the labelling problem you and Ken are tussling over. Two sets of people have different ideas about some thing in common (whose words the bible is/are, what ‘matter’ or ‘material’ means): their different ideas about the underlying notions defines them; your own framing of it (a label) won’t work for everyone as the underlying notions differ. You couldn’t for example, place “not really Christian” (a label) on those Christians that don’t consider the bible to literally be G-d’s word, but perhaps the words of 40-odd authors over 1600-odd years. You could perhaps say that they found their belief on different starting points, though, without labelling them.

    (I realise that done properly terms try avoid this sort of issue, but it seems to me that its too easy for people to use them as labels without first checking if, or accepting that, the others’ underlying notions differ.)

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  14. @9:

    The problem isn’t using labels or not, its using them inappropriately or not. Its essentially impossible you to know for certain another’s underlying beliefs unless they tell you, so placing a label on them without first determining that isn’t just. As a practical matter, and a fairer one, you’re better to let people label themselves in most cases I think. It avoids all the fuss. You can, of course, ask about the underlying things without imposing a label.

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  15. Perhaps that should be ‘appropriately or not’ to avoid the double negative. Same meaning in the end, but clearer…

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  16. Dominic Bnonn Tennant

    What you should be saying, and you sort of do, is exactly what Ken said: the decision shouldn’t based on the age of the theology. You are playing a funny game here: trying to have Ken wrong, but actually coming out with pretty much exactly the point he was making!

    No, you just have poor reading comprehension too. What I was saying is that Ken is being a hypocrite when he labels “creationists” as people who believe exactly as Ussher did, as if the theology has not advanced in the past four centuries, and as if his was the only creationist view to begin with. Remember, that was his exact objection to the “materialist” label: that it is typically used to represent an outdated belief structure which no one holds to any longer, and which is not as homogeneous as people make it out to be.

    He is also, of course, a hypocrite in ‘The materialist label’ when he labels Nancey Murphy as a “Christian theologian” in the middle of saying how he is hardly ever even tempted to use labels, and how labels are just an inhibition to discourse. Of course, they aren’t, because how else is he going to concisely describe Nancey’s views and profession if he doesn’t assign a label to them?

    Another thing that you’re leaving out is that religious practices have changed for reasons that have little to do with the bible itself. It seems clear to me that frequently (if not almost always) “reinterpretations” of the bible are fitted to suit the changes wanted, not the other way around. It makes the bible a justification for whatever people want, which is potentially very dangerous.

    Since we’re discussing orthodoxy, and not orthopraxy, this is totally irrelevant, even if it’s true, and even if the science of exegesis didn’t exist.

    It could easily be argued that saying the bible is not theology (or theological) is just excusing it from criticism.

    Then stop gabbing and argue it.

    To others its trivially theological, the theology of its day. In particular, your claim would mean that the bible has no study of G-d in it. Strange, because I could have sworn there was an awful lot of that in it…

    Of course it’s trivially theological—as long as by “theological” you mean “about God”. That doesn’t mean that it contains theology in the sense of the term which I’ve been using. It doesn’t contain the study of God; it contains the revelation of God. When Christians talk about “theology” they are referring to specific formulations of the teachings of the Bible; not to the Bible itself. What the Bible says is irreformable. How we understand it (theology) is not. Refer to Merriam-Webster, ‘theology’.

    (BTW, while you’re splitting hairs on terms, my own understanding is that theology is NOT “the study of G-d”, but the study of religions from a religious perspective. One difference is that it is not limited to your particular G-d, or your particular religion. In fact, one of the key reasons that I consider theology schools to be something of a sham is, superficially at least, that they are seem to be quite biased in favour of their own religion. But that’s another topic.)

    I’m not “splitting hairs”; I am using the term in the way that it is normally used by Christians. Are you not going to let me define my own terms? I find it laughable that you would call a Christian theological seminary a “sham” because it teaches Christian theology. What a troll. Are Chinese language institutes “shams” because they’re “biased” towards teaching the Chinese language? After all, there are all those other languages they should teach?

    But of course some Christians, not all, take the bible to be literally G-d’s words. I presume that is your position. Never minding the obvious logical issues with accepting that, the trouble with this is that you should take case not to “speak for” other Christians in a way that they’d object to. In excusing the bible from theology essentially by fait, you are treading that line as best as I can see.

    This doesn’t even make sense. When have I ever claimed to speak for other Christians, excepting those whom I know who are creationists, and on the specific issue of the specific age of the earth? What are you even trying to say here?

    I suspect that this would have you labelling Christians who don’t treat the bible as literally G-d’s word, as “not real Christians” and have you playing the labelling game yourself.

    You say this as if my doing this is automatically invalid. Of course, that’s not true. Labels like “Christian” and “materialist” mean things; they describe certain beliefs, and not others. The fact that someone claims a certain label for himself doesn’t mean that the label fits him any more than if someone were to wrongly impose that label on him. Labels only fit when they correspond to the actual beliefs which they represent.

    You couldn’t for example, place “not really Christian” (a label) on those Christians that don’t consider the bible to literally be G-d’s word, but perhaps the words of 40-odd authors over 1600-odd years.

    Yes I could. Someone who doesn’t believe the Bible isn’t a Christian by definition, since Christianity is defined by the Bible.

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  17. @ Dominic – October 23, 2008 at 12:12 pm

    So your claim that I believe “physical matter (which exists in spacetime) is the only or fundamental reality”

    Yet I said in my comment on “physical” matter inThe materialist label:

    “That, to my mind, is an archaic definition. It certainly doesn’t cover the widely different forms of ‘matter’ we recognise today. In fact, I would suggest that it doesn’t cover any ‘matter’ at all if we think of matter as a property (or field) of space/time – a position which modern scientific understanding of the fundamental nature of ‘matter’ seems to be coming to.”

    I don’t think it’s just me. I have been reading stuff by Owen Flanagan (professor of philosophy and neurobiology at Duke University, North Carolina) recently and like this comment of his:

    “At one time it looked like all physical causation was push/pull Newtonianism. Now we have a new understanding of physics. What counts as material has changed. Some respectable philosophers think that we might have to posit sentience as a fundamental force of nature or use quantum gravity to understand consciousness. These stretch beyond the bounds of what we today call ‘material’, and we haven’t discovered everything about nature yet. But what we do discover will be natural, not supernatural.”

    I think I can identify with this overall description and made similar comments in The materialist label. (Of course some will then argue about what is meant by ‘natural’ and ‘supernatural’.)

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  18. “He labels “creationists” as people who believe exactly as Ussher did, as if the theology has not advanced in the past four centuries”

    How far can it really have come considering that you believe that the Earth is 6000 years old?
    Or are you just quibbling about the Earth being a Taurus as opposed to a Capricorn.
    (giggle)

    James has graced us with his deep scientific reading from genesispark.com

    (He doesn’t bother with science textbooks)

    😉

    Clearly, the Flintstones were not just a cartoon. They were a documentary. For proof, just look at your Bible.

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  19. Dominic Bnonn Tennant

    Ken, slow down and read what I’m writing, and then actually think about it. I’m getting really fed up with having to explain myself in words of single syllables. You aren’t a kid. Where did I define matter in any way which contradicts what you said in ‘The materialist label’? Do you actually disagree that matter is the only or fundamental reality? You have given no indication that you do, and every indication that you don’t. You believe that matter is a probably a property of spacetime. So what? Then spacetime by extension is the only or fundamental reality. In what way do you disagree with this view? Or are you just trying to find some hair to split because you don’t want me to call you a materialist and understand what you believe?

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  20. @ Dominic – October 23, 2008 at 1:28 pm

    Where did I define matter in any way which contradicts what you said in ‘The materialist label’?

    I referred to “the physical, mechanistic definition which every materialist I’ve met holds to” in the comment. This does conflict with my understanding of matter. And, yes, my concept of matter is far wider than that given in your Merriam-Webster dictionary definition – you just have to accept that.

    However, you might actually accept this wider, more abstract, definition. If you do you would also accept my comment from The materialist label:

    “the study of consciousness is difficult and in its early days. it could be that sometime down the track we do find evidence for existence of consciousness apart from the brain. If we do it will be fascinating – we will have a new form of ‘matter’ to investigate and bring into our theories. This would certainly be acceptable to my definition of ‘materialism’ – but not that indicated by Dale and some others.”

    Can you accept a definition of materialism which includes mind or consciousness within the definition of matter in this way?

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  21. @17:

    Firstly, I was referring to post 7, my post crossed some others. Some of what you have have written seems at odds with what’s been written, but I have no way of knowing if its because you are also considering the posts after 7. With that in mind, let me clarify.

    “No, you just have poor reading comprehension too.” Go back and re-read posts 6 & 7:

    … However are you conceding that if “450 years out-of-date theology” should be rejected that then so should >2000 years-out-of-date theology?? Personally I would use criteria other than age for rejection of such theologies.

    I’m not taking the view that old theology must be rejected; I’m taking the view that old theology is typically not as nuanced or developed as newer theology. … Sometimes, old theology is bad and should be rejected outright … Sometimes it is generally good but poor in specifics … And sometimes it is good all around, and should be accepted

    They’re essentially saying the same thing.

    What I was saying is that Ken is being a hypocrite when he labels “creationists” as people who believe exactly as Ussher did

    You wrote his “categories are confused”: I replied to that. This refers to the terms themselves, not their use. Excuse me for saying this, but unless you’re confusing where I’m coming from, or mixing it with later post, you’re changing your stance in your latest reply (or trying to bait Ken with using ‘hypocrite’!: you weren’t writing that at the time I replied).

    Since we’re discussing orthodoxy, and not orthopraxy, this is totally irrelevant,

    Its quite relevant given that you referred to revising theology. I pointed out that these revisions often originate from outside issues, and that the revision of the theology itself is often secondary and a justification for the change, not the other way around. Orthodoxy v. orthopraxy may mean something to you in another context, but has nothing to do with what I wrote.

    Then stop gabbing and argue it.

    It trivial enough that I don’t have to, i.e. its common knowledge. Besides why would I honestly want to with a response like that?

    It doesn’t contain the study of God; it contains the revelation of God. When Christians talk about “theology” they are referring to specific formulations of the teachings of the Bible; not to the Bible itself. What the Bible says is irreformable.

    You might think that, but others don’t. (And you are twisting what I wrote too. You might want to try FIRST think what I mean, before inserting your chosen meanings.) I’d point out that that the last point seems to me to be at odds with people re-interpreting the bible, including some of the revisions you refer to.

    Returning to my definition of theology, there are other religions, theology isn’t limited to Christianity.

    I’m not “splitting hairs”; I am using the term in the way that it is normally used by Christians. …

    Are you saying that you mean to speak for others? I am under the distinct impression your view is not shared by all Christians, according to what I have seem other Christians write and say for themselves. The trouble with your statement, is that, as far as I can see, that would have these people contradict their own beliefs, which doesn’t make sense. (They might contradict your beliefs, but contradicting their own is nonsensical since these beliefs aren’t taken on faith, not evidence.) Your view may not be the majority view (in fact that’s the anecdotal impression I get).

    find it laughable that you would call a Christian theological seminary a “sham”

    I didn’t write “Christian theological seminary” at all, I wrote more generally: “theology schools”, not exclusively “Christian”. Please exercise a little reading comprehension yourself 😉 You’re effectively attempting to twist my words otherwise. Instead, perhaps, you should try understand my intended meaning, first?

    This doesn’t even make sense.

    You just did in the preceding paragraph as far as I can see. You may just not realise the extent that you are doing it? Not all Christians treat the bible as the literal “word of G-d”, but you made out that they do from my reading of what you wrote.

    Labels only fit when they correspond to the actual beliefs which they represent.

    But that has you asserting what should be right for others. It may be true for you but not for others. Its a fine example of just the thing I was concerned about. (As an aside, I have to admit it was a giggle to read your latest justification for censoring comments in the link you provided!)

    Yes I could. Someone who doesn’t believe the Bible isn’t a Christian by definition, since Christianity is defined by the Bible.

    Misconstruing my words again. I did not write “Someone who doesn’t believe the Bible isn’t a Christian” at all, I wrote regards: “those Christians that don’t consider the bible to literally be G-d’s word (added emphasis), a quite different statement. You even quoted it first! And that’s not me making that claim of them: they are claiming that for themselves.

    With the number of times you have confused/misrepresented what I wrote, its ironic of you to start your reply with “No, you just have poor reading comprehension” 😉 You appear to be fitting your own meaning into what I’ve written, rather than trying to understand my meaning first and then reply to that. Just a thought.

    Addendum, to add a comment regards your post 20 which I’ve just seen after writing the above:

    “slow down and read what I’m writing, and then actually think about it.” I have to say this is very ironic. I’d honestly suggest you take your own advice when reading my posts! 😉 Regards the rest of post 20, my reading of it is that you may need to understand space-time, etc., better to see why Ken is distinguishing the two ways of looking at ‘matter’. They can be considered to be conceptually different. I’m not saying I completely agree with Ken on this, but I believe I understand what he’s basing it on, which is the important point.

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  22. Dominic Bnonn Tennant

    Can you accept a definition of materialism which includes mind or consciousness within the definition of matter in this way?

    Not unless matter is found to have properties like intentionality and truth. That would be a pretty bizarre form of science. And if you’re willing to entertain the notion of intentionality and truth being properties of matter of of spacetime, I’d be fascinated to know how this fits into your strongly empirical view of knowledge acquisition.

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  23. So clearly, Dominic, our concepts of matter differ. That creates a problem with labels doesn’t it as ‘materialism’ will mean different things to you and me.

    That is why I said in The materialist label:

    “The problem, of course, is that people interpret labels like ‘materialist‘ differently. This results in people setting up straw men. It’s best just to discuss the real issues and positions – not the imagined ones.”

    So, enough with labels. Why not discuss the real issues and positions rather than imagined ones. You might, like me find:

    “it liberating not to acknowledge ideological labels. It makes it easier to take reality as it comes, rather than expend all that effort required to force reality into an ideological straight-jacket.”

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  24. So clearly, Dominic, our concepts of matter differ. That creates a problem with labels doesn’t it as ‘materialism’ will mean different things to you and me.

    That is why I said in The materialist label:

    “The problem, of course, is that people interpret labels like ‘materialist‘ differently. This results in people setting up straw men. It’s best just to discuss the real issues and positions – not the imagined ones.”

    So, enough with labels. Why not discuss the real issues and positions rather than imagined ones. You might, like me find:

    “it liberating not to acknowledge ideological labels. It makes it easier to take reality as it comes, rather than expend all that effort required to force reality into an ideological straight-jacket.”

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  25. Dominic Bnonn Tennant

    Heraclides, I’m not going to respond to most of what you wrote since it’s both irrelevant and long-winded, but to give you an idea of where you’re going wrong in understanding me, refer to:

    Misconstruing my words again. I did not write “Someone who doesn’t believe the Bible isn’t a Christian” at all, I wrote regards: “those Christians that don’t consider the bible to literally be G-d’s word(added emphasis), a quite different statement. You even quoted it first! And that’s not me making that claim of them: they are claiming that for themselves.

    No, it isn’t a quite different statement. You are so ignorant of Christianity that you aren’t even able to draw the connection between someone not believing that the Bible is the word of God, and someone not believing the Bible. Let me lay it out for you:

    1. Christians believe the Bible (by definition).
    2. The Bible claims to be the word of God (2 Timothy 3:16 etc).
    3. Jack, a professing Christian, doesn’t believe that the Bible is the word of God.
    4. Therefore, Jack does not believe the Bible when it claims to be the word of God.
    5. Therefore, Jack does not believe the Bible.
    6. Therefore, Jack is not a Christian.

    Now, as regards (3) and (4), Jack may be ignorant of the Bible’s teaching. If that is so, he’s an amazingly ignorant Christian, but a Christian nonetheless. The context of this discussion, however, suggests that the people you’re citing are not so ignorant. So (3) and (4) stand. As regards (5), to disbelieve the Bible on this one point is to dismiss it as being what it claims to be, and therefore is to dismiss it fully. I have already argued this in the link I provided, so there’s no need to do it again here.

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  26. Dominic Bnonn Tennant

    Woah, hang on Ken, you’re saying that you would accept truth and intentionality as properties of matter or spacetime?

    Just…run that by me again?

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  27. A philosophical category like ‘matter’ has to be abstract – very general. It shouldn’t contain definitions of every aspect or property of a particular form of ‘matter.’

    Scientifically, I think it is a bad habit to define what things are going to be like beforehand when we actually know very little about these things or even if they exist. I remain open on such things – follow the evidence wherever it leads.

    The detailed discussion of consciousness/mind is quite a different discussion to that of philosophical labels.

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  28. @26:

    For those without much time: Your argument only works for those who take the bible literally to start with 😉 That this is ingrained in your argument, I think, illustrates how deeply you insist that it must be taken literally, despite the fact that other Christians don’t, leaving you asserting your beliefs on others.

    Your response seems a fine example of where YOU are going wrong. In fact, I have to admit I first thought it was a hilarious post, although that may seem unkind as I’m sure you didn’t mean it that way. You seem so convinced that you’re right to the exclusion of others, that you can’t seem to even consider that other people can have different points of view on something you care about, that you can only self-justify your own position.

    In moving from “[s]omeone who doesn’t believe the Bible” to “someone not believing that the Bible is the word of God”, you left out a word I wrote: ‘literally’.

    In a sense your argument illustrated my point: your argument is dependent on you taking the passage quoted, and the bible in general, literally. (This makes it something of a circular argument too, but never mind that.) Someone else, not taking it literally, can take a different position. It certainly is a justification for YOUR position on Christianity, for yourself, but I can’t see how it can speak for others who may take other positions.

    Jack may simply choose not to take it literally in any number of ways. For example, Jack may chose to think that passage refers only to parts of the bible, not all of it. Jack may choose to think that its the words of the author saying that he thinks he is conveying the words of G-d (and Jack may or may not be convinced the author has that entirely right, either). (Note, convey v. be.) Jack may choose to think that all the many authors tried mightily, but wouldn’t know if any of them really got it right and preferred to take none of it literally, but follow the general gist of Christ’s teachings, especially if Jack thinks some of the ideas are rather “of their time”. Possibly, Jack could take the position that G-d may not even exist, but the practices of JC aren’t a bad model to live by (this last one works on basis of Christianity being following JC’s ideas, primarily; Prof. Geering comes to mind). I’m sure others can come up with other examples.

    None of these are a matter of Jack being ignorant (I’d like to see you accuse Prof. Geering of ignorance!). Point 1, 4 and 5 are overstated, you are allowing them only to be all-encompassing or not at all. In particular, point 1 doesn’t allow for different usages or interpretations of the bible, it implies “all of it, literally”, which not everyone will accept.

    Other Christians don’t take things so literally, or with such a narrow focus, as you do, but they still consider themselves to be Christian, and its not really for you to label them as not being Christian.

    One more point: my own posts didn’t rest on an understanding of the bible or not, they rested on what other Christians have said that they believe in, as I tried to point out to you. With that in mind, your response is even wider of the mark.

    I can’t help suspecting the real reason you’re “dismissing” the rest of what I wrote is that you’d rather avoid facing up to the fact it shows you up 😉

    Like

  29. Ken, whatever you say, you have now conceded that you think it’s reasonable, in principle, to say that matter can be about other matter, and that matter can be true or false. That’s a pretty absurd view.

    Like

  30. “I can’t help suspecting the real reason you’re “dismissing” the rest of what I wrote is that you’d rather avoid facing up to the fact it shows you up.”

    Has anybody else noticed that DBT hasn’t given a single jot of evidence to support his wacky belief that the Earth is 6000 years old?
    At least James gave a website link rich in entertainment value and then quietly disappeared.
    Yet DBT?

    (silence)

    🙂

    Like

  31. At least James gave a website link rich in entertainment value and then quietly disappeared.

    Why do you say that Cedric? There are clear depictions of spatosaurus, plesiosaurs, brontosaurus, stegosaurs, etc… Whould not this ancient art show that these animals were contempory with human beings? If not, why not? Especially like with the temple at Ta Prohm, where we have very common animals like monkeys, lizards, parrots, deer, etc… with a stegosaur.

    Has anybody else noticed that DBT hasn’t given a single jot of evidence to support his wacky belief that the Earth is 6000 years old?

    As Iapetus made clear in the other thread – we can never be certain about any of this Cedric, including the claim that the universe is billions of years old… You agree of course…

    Like

  32. “There are clear depictions of spatosaurus, plesiosaurs, brontosaurus, stegosaurs, etc… Whould not this ancient art show that these animals were contempory with human beings? If not, why not? Especially like with the temple at Ta Prohm, where we have very common animals like monkeys, lizards, parrots, deer, etc… with a stegosaur.’

    James, purely for the intellectual exercise, why do you suppose that scientists don’t accept the ancient art as being evidence that stegasaurs hung out with human beings/monkeys/parrots etc.?

    This isn’t a trick question.
    I’d just like to hear what you believe is going on.

    An anthropologist/biologist/art historian/whatever sees these pictures and does not draw the same conclusions as you and the creators of the genesispark website.
    Why don’t they?
    Put yourself in their shoes for five minutes.
    How do you think they justify their opinion?

    I promise to behave.
    Just give us a little to go on here.

    Like

  33. James, purely for the intellectual exercise, why do you suppose that scientists don’t accept the ancient art as being evidence that stegasaurs hung out with human beings/monkeys/parrots etc.?

    Because they are bias? ; ) It is clear that dinosaurs were depicted with other common animals of the time. Why accept those animals and not the dinosaurs? I’m not suggesting that this “proves” a young earth,it may suggest that, but it also may suggest that many dinosaur species lived on a lot longer than we thought. Kind of like the living fossils of today…

    Like

  34. @ Dominic – October 23, 2008 at 5:37 pm

    “That’s a pretty absurd view.”

    That’s a common conclusion people have about the contrary world views of others. Many times, as in this case, it arises from setting up a straw man that was not advanced by the opponent.

    However, I think (perhaps?) you have conceded that the label of ‘materialist’ you have applied to me has been inappropriate because of our different concepts of matter?

    Perhaps, after all, you concede that it is best to avoid labelling and just deal with the real issues and arguments.

    Like

  35. @ James – October 24, 2008 at 1:36 am

    Because they are bias?

    This is just what I referred to in Weaving a web of lies. When you start telling lies and making claims that are clearly our of step with the findings of the experts who have spent years studying this matter (compared to your relatively brief effort browsing creationist web sites) – you have to either stop and acknowledge the lies – or press on with more lies.

    And the real whopper is to then claim bias on the part of the experts!!!!!!!

    Or go even further, claim a conspiracy: As I said:
    “People are sacked from their jobs if they don’t accept the “lie.” They are ‘bullied’ into silence by the scientific establishment. They are prevented from publishing the truth from their research by the “peer review” system. And so on. It’s all familiar to us now because of that nasty little documentary Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed.”

    And, you know what? The experts don’t give a stuff about your ignorance. They press on, continue their investigation of reality, submit their findings and theories to peer review, and help establish a body of reliable knowledge of benefit to humanity.

    The creationist sits on the sidelines and spits.

    Like

  36. This is just what I referred to in Weaving a web of lies. When you start telling lies and making claims that are clearly our of step with the findings of the experts who have spent years studying this matter (compared to your relatively brief effort browsing creationist web sites) – you have to either stop and acknowledge the lies – or press on with more lies.

    You know Ken, you really are an ignorant and intolerant human being. And you wonder why we don’t take all your “human rights” claptrap seriously. Also, show me one place where I lied.

    Like

  37. If dinosaurs did ‘live on a lot longer than we thought’ then I’d expect to see evidence of that in the rocks. After all, we have rich fossil data from the Tertiary sediments – if James’ suggestion is correct then those data should include recognisable dinosaur remains. However, they just aren’t there in rocks less than 65 million years old. Bit of a spoiler, really 🙂

    Like

  38. If dinosaurs did ‘live on a lot longer than we thought’ then I’d expect to see evidence of that in the rocks. After all, we have rich fossil data from the Tertiary sediments – if James’ suggestion is correct then those data should include recognisable dinosaur remains. However, >they just aren’t there in rocks less than 65 million years old. Bit of a spoiler, really

    First Alison, there are creatures that were believed to be ancient, found only in layers thought to be hundreds of millions of years old – today we call them living fossils. The second problem is, these are clearly dinosaurs that these ancient people were depicting. Right along with common animals of the time. The fact is, these tribes generally drew what they knew or saw. It is evidence…

    Like

  39. That’s a common conclusion people have about the contrary world views of others. Many times, as in this case, it arises from setting up a straw man that was not advanced by the opponent.

    No, it’s self-evidently absurd to say matter can be about other matter; or that matter can be true.

    However, I think (perhaps?) you have conceded that the label of ‘materialist’ you have applied to me has been inappropriate because of our different concepts of matter?

    Only if you continue to maintain this bizarre notion of matter having properties like intentionality and truth. There isn’t any label for that, because no sane person holds such a view.

    Perhaps, after all, you concede that it is best to avoid labelling and just deal with the real issues and arguments.

    If only arguments worked on you…

    Like

  40. @ Dominic – October 24, 2008 at 5:04 pm

    It would be nice if you acknowledged that other people may define the philosophical category of matter differently to the way you do – but if you can’t that’s no skin off my nose.

    My philosophical understanding of matter has been with me for over 40 years and has served me well. In particular it has helped me keep an open mind which has been invaluable in my research. It also helps me appreciate new discoveries in areas as diverse as cosmology, particle physics, evolutionary science, brain science and consciousness studies without feeling defensive. Without feeling a need to reject new knowledge.

    But, what the hell. As I said, I try to keep away from labels and this also serves me well. It’s noticeable that only a few people commenting here (basically you, James and Dale) have attempted to foist an inappropriate ‘materialist’ label on me. Other commenters here don’t seem to go in for such judgemental labelling – and I think that helps with their objectivity. Neither have they felt the need to resort to abusive terms in the way that you and James have.

    So, keep away from labels. They can just end up blinkering your view.

    Like

  41. Ken, simply reiterating that your understanding of matter is different to mine does nothing to mitigate the obvious absurdity inherent in that difference.

    With regard to your statement that you “try to keep away from labels”, you are either lying or incompetent; just parsing the front page of your blog reveals the labels “creationists”, “humanists”, “non-theists”, “Christians”, “theologians”, “scientists” and more. And I presume you’re joking about the people who don’t believe in God here (gotta stay away from those labels!) not feeling the need to resort to abuse terms.

    Regards,
    Bnonn

    Like

  42. @39 – well, no, some of them aren’t ‘clearly dinosaurs’ at all – there’s a fair bit of wishful thinking gone into seeing some of those supposed similarities.

    And just how can you be so sure that ‘these tribes drew what they saw or knew’? Artists may take a lot of ‘artistic license’ with what they depict (or are we to believe that the fantastical creatures depicted by Hieronymus Bosch actually exist(ed)?).

    Like

  43. @37 Thats a bit rich considering the volumes of drivel you have spouted in Ken’s blog over the last couple of weeks. As I have pointed out several times before, your entire approach is dishonest.

    Like

  44. @43:

    I recall thinking one of them very distinctly looked like a snake, even to me. I remember thinking it was obvious that the “legs” on this particular example where actually stuff that had leached from the main part of the picture subsequent to it being drawn, and that the resulting outline was rather, erm, “creative” in adding legs that didn’t seem to belong.

    @44:

    Almost exactly what I was going to say (then thought I couldn’t be bothered).

    Like

  45. James said…”Because they are bias?’

    So they’re biased and ….that’s it?

    They look at the pictures and don’t see what you see simply because they’re biased?

    Arn’t you concerned that perhaps your answer is a tad superficial and you are doing an injustice to the anthropologists, biologists and art historians of the world?

    Seriously, put yourself in their shoes for five minutes.
    (No, really!)
    Take a step back and look at those pictures again. Only this time look at them with the trained eye of an expert in the relevant field.

    How do the professionals go about studying these pictures?
    They must, like all scientists, have a step-by-step system of how they go about classifying these kinds of things and drawing conclusions, right?
    Are you aware of how they do their job?
    Can you explain how they draw their conclusions?
    Have you read anything by them where they explain their process of analysis and formation of their conclusions to a lay audience?

    (I’m not asking you if you’ve read anything as a snide way of calling you dumb. I just want to know if you’ve read anything by the professionals and/or seriously thought about why they don’t think those pictures are of dinosaurs.)

    ……………………………………………..

    DBT said…”…you are either lying or incompetent; just parsing the front page of your blog reveals the labels “creationists”, “humanists”, “non-theists”, “Christians”, “theologians”, “scientists” and more. And I presume you’re joking about the people who don’t believe in God here (gotta stay away from those labels!) not feeling the need to resort to abuse terms.”

    Calling someone a liar or an incompetent is not an abusive term if the person really is a liar or an incompetent.

    However, by the same token, calling somebody nuttier than a fruitbat because they reject all the physical sciences in order to indulge in some oddball fantasy that the Earth is 6000 years old is also not an abusive term.
    Twenty-first century society in general does indeed regard you as being, well, freaky.
    Bizzare, slap-happy, loony, pitiful, Officially Out to lunch, dopey, etc.

    Having issues with the foundational theory of modern Biology is one thing.
    But all of Physics? Geology? Chemisty? Cosmology? Glaciology? Dendrochronology? etc.

    WOW! Be prepared to be giggled at.

    Like

  46. @39 – well, no, some of them aren’t ‘clearly dinosaurs’ at all – there’s a fair bit of wishful thinking gone into seeing some of those supposed similarities.

    Oh please, look at the terracotta statue, the Egyptian seal, the painting from the aboriginal tribe of North Queensland, the carving at the Temple of Ta Prohm, etc… Are you going to believe your theory or your eyes?

    And just how can you be so sure that ‘these tribes drew what they saw or knew’? Artists may take a lot of ‘artistic license’ with what they depict (or are we to believe that the fantastical creatures depicted by Hieronymus Bosch actually exist(ed)?).

    No,first, because many of these are just to close to what we now know these dinosaurs to look like. I guess they just got lucky-not. And like with the Temple at Ta Prohm,and the Egyptian drawings, we have very common known animals of their time along side these creatures. So they draw every day creatures and salt them with “fantastical creatures” that just happen to look like ancient dinosaurs – sure.

    And again, my point about living fossils… It is not out of the realm of possibility that some of these creature survived longer that we thought…

    Like

  47. James said…”Because they are bias?’

    So they’re biased and ….that’s it?

    Did I not put a ; )next to it?

    They look at the pictures and don’t see what you see simply because they’re biased?

    But all men have their assumptions.

    do the professionals go about studying these pictures?
    They must, like all scientists, have a step-by-step system of how they go about classifying these kinds of things and drawing conclusions, right?
    Are you aware of how they do their job?
    Can you explain how they draw their conclusions?
    Have you read anything by them where they explain their process of analysis and formation of their conclusions to a lay audience?

    You are just confusing the issue. Here we have clear depictions of known dinosaurs. So we have a couple of options. These people just made them up and got lucky, they just happen to look like known dinosaurs. Or like with the other common animals that surround them, they drew what they knew or saw. Why would any one choose the former over the latter?

    Like

  48. @ Dominic Bnonn Tennant:

    Clearly, you have a very limited definition of ‘materialism’ as indicated by your dictionary concept of ‘matter.’ Mine is more abstract, wider, and really reflects what happens in the modern scientific investigation. You think that’s ‘absurd’ – which I guess reflects the limitations of your concept of ‘materialism’ (and probably your emotional investment in that specific concept). But let’s be real about this. My ‘materialism’ has been intricately and fruitfully entwined with my work in scientific discovery (as in the work and discovery of most scientists). Exactly how has your ‘materialism’ benefited your in your process of discovery??

    I suggest that it has actually inhibited it (so perhaps in my view your ‘materialism’ is the ‘absurd’ one.). The obvious example here is that instead of understanding and appreciating many of the article and comments on this blog you have attempted to force them into your pre-conceived limited concepts (like ‘materialism’). This also prevents you from really understanding the scientific process – and to elevating ‘revelation’ into an unwarranted position.

    These different understanding reflected in the different ‘materialism’ really come down to different approaches – is knowledge sourced from reality (mine) or from ‘revelation’ (yours, I think).

    Now I know, and most people would agree, which of these two approaches has been (and is) the most successful.

    Regarding religion and abuse: Thinking back, my most common experience of religious people has been their judgementalism and criticism. I must say that I have also have found some to be accepting and able to listen. Interestingly, I have also found the same problem with other groups having a religious demeanour – such as Maoists and communists.

    Perhaps that’s part of being human. As a social animal it’s understandable that we would have evolved with an inherent nature to judge, condemn and feel guilty. But, of course, we have also evolved to be an intelligent social species. This enables us to get beyond these feelings and intuitive responses which in today’s society are often unhelpful – even dangerous. We can be accepting and use the facility to listen, to take evidence from reality, rather than blindly judge, condemn and attempt to impose an ideological straight-jacket.

    I try to go for the latter approach. But I think you and James generally adopt the former. Inevitably that leads to frustration and resorting to abusive terms.

    Like

  49. Previously Cedric said…”They look at the pictures and don’t see what you see simply because they’re biased?

    James repiled…”But all men have their assumptions.”

    First of all, there are plenty of archeologists, biologists and art historians who happen to be women.
    Secondly, your comment amounts to little more that just saying that they’re biased and therefore…that’s that!

    Curious.

    “You are just confusing the issue. Here we have clear depictions of known dinosaurs. ”

    No. Relax for a second.
    Assume for the sake of an interesting discussion that I’m NOT trying to “confuse the issue”, ok?

    (Though to be honest, I have no idea how asking someone to look at how the professionals investigate these things can be “confusing” the issue. Quite the opposite, in fact.)

    How can you not be interested if these depictions are the real deal?
    How can you be sure that the depictions really and truely are dinosaurs that were roaming around in the back yard of the artist who drew them?

    This isn’t some vague existentialist “deep and meaningful” question designed to derail the conversation and tie you up in knots.
    I’m just trying to figure out why you seem to be so convinced with the genesispark site.

    What fact checking have you actually done?
    Or have you just blindly accepted it all in one fell swoop because they’ve give you the sucker line ” Trust us. We’re Christians too”.

    What background checking have you done?
    Are you aware of how the archeologists, biologists and the art historians do their job?
    Can you explain how they draw their conclusions?
    Have you read anything by them where they explain their process of analysis and formation of their conclusions to a lay audience?

    I’ll give you a hint.
    Ica Stones.

    Plus there’s a few pictures that you might want to look at.
    http://www.daniken.com/e/index.html

    (scroll down and see the shocking truth of our hidden history that the scientific establishment doesn’t dare tell you!)

    “You cannot depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus”–Mark Twain

    Like

  50. My daughter draws (rather well) a lot of ‘known’ animals – cats, dogs, dolphins. She also draws dinosaurs & dragons. I don’t think we have either of these running around in our back yard – yet she draws them quite often. She imagines things 😉

    But more to the point, James – you’re the one who’s claiming (on what most of us here would view as extremely tenuous grounds) that dinosaurs & humans coexisted. So it’s up to you to demonstrate that, with rather more evidence than some supposed rock art depictions. Heraclides & I have both pointed this out before: the people making the claims need to pony up with the evidence. Believe it or not, scientists are always open to the possibility that their hypotheses are wrong, but their decisions (one way or the other) are evidence-based.

    I do agree (shock, horror! don’t spill your popcorn, Cedric! [Do you eat that ready-buttered stuff? My kids adore it but the smell does hang around…]) that there are species out there that we have yet to identify. But I’ll make a prediction for you – some of them will be small organisms, & most of them will be tiny. In fact, most of them will be bacteria & protozoa. And that prediction’s based on data on the rate at which new species have been & are being discovered, & on the physical size of those organisms, & on the range of potential habitats into which we have yet to poke our noses. (And the only dinosaurs among them will be the small feathered kind that go “cheep” 🙂 )

    Like

  51. “I do agree (shock, horror! don’t spill your popcorn, Cedric! [Do you eat that ready-buttered stuff? My kids adore it but the smell does hang around…]) that there are species out there that we have yet to identify.”

    Ob mbuff oi abwoo aho…

    (swallows popcorn)

    Oh but I agree also.
    Marine biology, for example, has barely scratched the surface of what’s probably out there. Especially the deep sea beds.
    Hydrothermal vents are a simply stunning example of what else might be out there and how we define the limits of possible habitats suitable for life.
    Hydrothermal Vents – David Attenborough
    http://kr.youtube.com/watch?v=4LoiInUoRMQ

    Cave systems and sealed underwater caverns are also rich in potential.
    NASA takes a special interest in this kind of thing.
    ………………………………………………..

    Yes, I eat pre-fabricated pop-corn. I am lazy.
    Don’t make me feel more guilty than I already am.
    I now require some comfort food to salve my bruised morale.
    Fortunately, I came prepared.
    (munch, munch, munch)

    Like

  52. Alison,

    On the subject of new species, this is summary of an expedition to an area I wanted to go to (many!) years ago, but never managed it for a host of regions (some political): http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/scientists-hail-discovery-of-hundreds-of-new-species-in-remote-new-guinea-465841.html

    They wrote that the place that they visited

    is a place with no roads or trails and never, so far as we know, visited by man

    Can’t be many places on the surface of the earth left like that.

    Like all the mammals found in the area, it was completely unafraid of humans and could be easily picked up, suggesting its previous contact with man was negligible.

    I would still love to go to Irian Jaya. Small parts of it now a little touristy, but hopefully only in a limited way (esp. the Baliem valleys where the Dani people live, who were first discovered in the late 1930s and a small part of the nor-western coast for scuba diving). I wish I could justify being on these expeditions, but really I’d just be an enthusiastic amateur to them. (Sodded missionaries have been in the back areas for ages, but they were also the only way to some of the remote areas when I last looked into going there.)

    I have to also say I sometimes hate the word ‘discovered’. Some “new” species are actually well-known to locals…, so “discovered” can feel Euro-centric. I prefer ‘recorded’, or ‘recorded for science’. Clumsy, but at least its accurate. Horribly PC of me, eh?

    I’ll also be wildly pedantic and say that ‘species’ of bacteria or protozoa is an awkward thing, as the species concept is an awkward fit for them in some ways (at least to my feeble understanding). New ‘organisms’ is a neat way to dodge the issue 😉

    Cedric, I love the deep sea vents. When I first learnt of them (quite a few years ago now), it got me thinking about the origin of life from a new angle as it did for many people.

    If its any consolation, I eat too much chocolate… wayyyyy too much chocolate. I’m working on a little Whittakers ‘Dark Caramel’ as I write… I can only afford chocolate on “special”, but Whittakers and Canterbury are so busy trying to bump eachother off, that there is almost always a special going… sigh Lack of discipline, eh? Mind you, I do manage to not scoff the lot! 🙂

    Like

  53. My daughter draws (rather well) a lot of ‘known’ animals – cats, dogs, dolphins. She also draws dinosaurs & dragons. I don’t think we have either of these running around in our back yard – yet she draws them quite often. She imagines things

    Yes, but she knows what dinosaus look like. And do her imagined animals look like known animals?

    But more to the point, James – you’re the one who’s claiming (on what most of us here would view as extremely tenuous grounds) that dinosaurs & humans coexisted. So it’s up to you to demonstrate that, with rather more evidence than some supposed rock art depictions. Heraclides & I have both pointed this out before: the people making the claims need to pony up with the evidence. Believe it or not, scientists are always open to the possibility that their hypotheses are wrong, but their decisions (one way or the other) are evidence-based.

    I only said it was possible that some dinosaus lasted longer than we thought. Like living fossils. Will you accept that the depictions of monkies, lizards, deer etc… by these ancient peoples, is evidence for the contempory nature of these animals? Why accept one and not another?

    Like

  54. James said…”Will you accept that the depictions of monkies, lizards, deer etc… by these ancient peoples, is evidence for the contempory nature of these animals? Why accept one and not another?”

    Why indeed James?, Why indeed?
    It’s a real head scratcher!

    Why don’t those who study this sort of thing for a living take dinosaurs living with people seriously?
    Even in the face of such depictions?
    I mean, goodness me, it’s right there on the Internet for EVERYBODY to see!

    Why do they accept that monkeys, lizards, and deer lived at the same time as people?

    (thoughtful pause)

    Can you think of no good, logical reasons at all?
    Not even a couple?

    Shrugging your shoulders and saying “They’re all biased” doesn’t mean anything.

    Ica Stones, James.
    Ica Stones.

    Live a little.
    Type those two little words into a search engine.

    For added fun…here’s a video.
    Creation In The 21st Century – The Ica Stones
    http://kr.youtube.com/watch?v=dG61a3KhTD4

    All science, all the time.
    🙂

    Like

  55. Its a pointless argument unless you can demonstrate some of the particular dinosaurs concerned did live longer. Put up evidence of that and people might consider it. Make vague arguments based on “creative” evidence, and people aren’t. As Alison was saying, where’s the evidence?

    Like

  56. James said…”Will you accept that the depictions of monkies, lizards, deer etc… by these ancient peoples, is evidence for the contempory nature of these animals? Why accept one and not another?”

    Why indeed James?, Why indeed?
    It’s a real head scratcher!

    Why don’t those who study this sort of thing for a living take dinosaurs living with people seriously?
    Even in the face of such depictions?
    I mean, goodness me, it’s right there on the Internet for EVERYBODY to see!

    Why do they accept that monkeys, lizards, and deer lived at the same time as people?

    (thoughtful pause)

    Can you think of no good, logical reasons at all?
    Not even a couple?

    Cedric, I can think of no good reason why this sould not count as evidence. That it is at least possible that they are contempory. I mean, how did they know what these creatures looked like? I mean who thought that ammonites or coelacanths were contempory with man? But obviously they are.

    Like

  57. All science, all the time.

    If that is the case Cedric then we are screwed. Like I said, science can not tell us if murder is wrong, what is just or unjust, moral or immoral. If you should be faithful to your wife, or not. If you should feed a starving child, or not, etc… On these, the most important considerations of human existence, science is silent.

    Besides scientism just doesn’t work

    http://carbon.cudenver.edu/~mryder/scientism_este.html

    Like

  58. James said…”I mean, how did they know what these creatures looked like?”

    James, this sentence is loaded with assumptions.

    I can be sarcastic. I admit it.
    I don’t blame you at all if you resent me and want to take me down a peg or two.

    Yet right now, I’m not going for a cheap shot.
    Put any hostility between us to one side for the sake of this discussion.
    Let’s call a temporary truce for one thread.

    I really and for truely am trying to appeal to the quiet voice of logic that I’m willing to bet must still be inside you somewhere.

    Imagine for a moment, that the creators of genesispark are NOT actually telling you the truth.

    Imagine for a moment, that they are…used car salesmen.

    Pretend that the pictures they are trying to convince you with are pictures of a used car that’s being offered for a suspiciously low price.

    It’s your money.
    You can buy the used car from these people.
    You’re an adult.

    Yet does not the wise man kick the tyres?
    Check under the hood?
    Ask to see the maintainence records of the car BEFORE he buys?

    Surely the wise man shops around for the best deal?
    I’m sure you know very well that one must always insist on a test drive, correct?

    Well that’s what I’m asking you to do now.
    Go for a test drive, James.

    Do at least a modest amount of research.

    Please.

    Start off with the Ica Stones.
    Run a check on them.
    Let us know what you find and tell us your thoughts.

    This is not me being sarcastic. I give you my word.
    This is an genuine attempt to get you to look into this whole thing with a more critical eye.

    You are making a mistake to trust genesispark.com
    Please dig a little deeper.

    Ica Stones.

    Like

  59. “All science, all the time.”

    (sigh)

    James, this was in reference to the link just above it.
    It was an ironic statement.
    Tounge-in-cheek humour and all that.

    Like

  60. Do at least a modest amount of research.

    I have found no evidence that they were lying or doctored the photos. They did mention that Dr. Cabrera was trying to validate his findings.

    You are making a mistake to trust genesispark.com Please dig a little deeper.

    Not once did I mention the Ica stones, I personally do not find them compelling. But the rest were quite compelling, and I have no evidence that they are not accurate.

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  61. James said…”I have found no evidence that they were lying or doctored the photos.”

    Who do you mean “they”?
    Are you telling me that the sole extent of your research was to ensure that the creators of the web-site didn’t fake the photos presented?
    Did you look into any OTHER possible problems with using the depictions as evidence that dinosaurs roamed around people’s back yards?

    James said…”Not once did I mention the Ica stones…”

    Well, yes. Case in point. That’s a serious problem.
    I’m the one that mentioned it on your behalf.

    James said…”I personally do not find them compelling.”

    (People wait politely for him to finish his thoughts)

    (Time passes. The audience shuffle in their seats.)

    James?
    You were saying that you didn’t find them compelling?
    ….because what?
    What did you find out?

    (A little information from your side would be helpful.)

    Like

  62. Are you telling me that the sole extent of your research was to ensure that the creators of the web-site didn’t fake the photos presented? Did you look into any OTHER possible problems with using the depictions as evidence that dinosaurs roamed around people’s back yards?

    Cedric, I did a couple of searches and came up with nothing. If you have something please link it, I will take a look. So far have have not found any good reason to not use those depictions as evidence.

    You were saying that you didn’t find them compelling? ….because what? What did you find out?

    There was always a problem with dating the Ica stones. Which I don’t think is the case with the other reference/drawings on the link.

    And why are you being nice?

    Like

  63. Maybe because it’s easier to have a decent discussion that way? And as Damian said, it makes for a more comfortable shared space for everyone else.

    And harking back a few comments (@ 54) – my daughter’s imaginary beasts often look like nothing on Earth, & certainly nothing like the creatures she’s familiar with (either encountered face-to-face, or in books). They are carefully rendered, & beautifully coloured, & quite, quite unreal. It’s quite likely that some of the petroglyphs, carvings, mosaics, were simply imaginary as well. I mean, if – a thousand or more years in the future – you were to view the paintings of Bosch, or some of the wilder imaginings of Dali, would you really simply accept that those creatures had once existed?

    Like

  64. James said…”If you have something please link it, I will take a look.”

    No.
    I can’t.
    I’d like to. Perhaps with somebody else I would, but in your case I must not.
    Anything I recommend to you has the potential to be dismissed out of hand by you because “the enemy” recommended it.

    I don’t want to taint your opinion of a perfectly sound web-site or article that does an excellent job of exposing the Ica Stones for what they really are.
    Besides, as near as I can tell, you have never followed up on any of the links I have posted devoted to critical thinking.
    (If you have, you have been deathly quiet about it)

    😦

    You must find them out by yourself.
    If this dialogue is going to work properly, then you must clearly and unambiguously demonstrate that you really have investigated this.
    So far, I have no reason to believe you.

    You have shared essentially nothing about how you investigated that site.
    You have (after many and multiple pleadings) vaguely mentioned the Ica Stones twice, yet your actual opinion of them could be easily written on the back of a postage stamp.

    James said…”So far have have not found any good reason to not use those depictions as evidence.”

    Have other people (archeologists, biologists, paleontologists, art historians, etc) found any good reason not use those depictions as evidence?
    Have you honestly looked at their conclusions or have you pre-judged them and casually dismissed them as being “biased”?

    I can’t MAKE you look at them. This is the Internet.
    As the old saying goes “You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink”.

    All I can do is to strongly urge you to investigate and to SHARE your PROCESS of investigation and results with the rest of us.

    No sarcasm. No put-downs. No low blows.
    Just a plea for you to honestly look at this one.

    James asked…”And why are you being nice?”

    Here, on this one solitary thread, your behavior has been positive rather than negative.
    It makes for a nice change of pace and deserves to be responded to in a civil manner.

    You have so far yet to ask one of your topic-derailing ponderous questions such as “What is reality?” or “What do you mean by evidence?” or some such question that immediately leads nowhere.
    This counts strongly in your favour.

    Secondly, you have failed to ask an “innocent” question about Hitler or make some indirect criticism about somebody’s morals.

    Thirdly, this time around you’re dealing with something that is connected by a live wire to the real world.
    A specific topic.
    The veracity of genesispark.com and it’s pictures.
    Not philosophy or theology or “materialism” or vague hand-waving in general.
    This time it’s a single concrete example that one can look at and research.

    Fourthly, you are somebody that has been flim-flammed by this web-site.
    You didn’t make it but you got conned by it. You’re the victim here, not the perpetrator.

    That is something, as a human being that values reason and critical thinking, I am obliged to try and do something about.
    Nobody deserves to be conned by a site like genesispark.com.

    Let me make one thing clear.
    I find you pig-headed, ignorant, and anti-intellectual. You don’t listen to other people’s arguments and you troll this science blog just to cause trouble and for your own amusement.
    It’s very wrong of you. I really wish you would quit it.

    Yet even though I intensely dislike your kind of behavior, I am obliged to put all that aside and try and reach you on this one specific topic.
    Like I said, nobody deserves to be conned by a site like genesispark.com.

    That’s why I’ve called a unilateral truce.
    For this one thread only and for this one topic only!
    It’s probably going to end up being a fruitless gesture on my part, but to hell with it, I’m giving it a shot.

    I am inviting you to explore the genesispark website with a critical eye.
    I am asking you to share with us your process of critical evaluation and how you draw your conclusions on the genesispark pictures.

    As a specific example, I have mentioned the Ica stones.
    There’s information on them out there.
    What have you read?
    What were the arguments presented (pro AND con) and what did you think of them?
    (NB: This is NOT an invitation for you to just give a host of links and cut and pastes.)

    As a final suggestion, do a little bit of hunting on the nature of cryptozoology.
    Please.

    Like

  65. As a final suggestion, do a little bit of hunting on the nature of cryptozoology.

    Now that is more concrete, thanks, and…

    The coelacanth, a “living fossil” which represents an order of fish believed to have been extinct for 65 million years, was identified from a specimen found in a fishing net in 1938 off the coast of South Africa. According to Dash,[5] the Coelacanth is a good case for paying close attention to natives’ knowledge of animals: though the fish’s survival was a complete surprise to outsiders, it was so well known to locals that natives commonly used the fish’s rough scales as a sort of sandpaper. .

    And obviously some scienitists take this seriously:

    Invention of the term “cryptozoology” is often attributed to zoologist Bernard Heuvelmans, although Heuvelmans attributes coinage of the term to the late Scottish explorer and adventurer Ivan T. Sanderson.[7] Heuvelmans’ 1955 book, On the Track of Unknown Animals, traces the scholarly origins of the discipline to Anthonie Cornelis Oudemans[8] and his 1892 study, The Great Sea Serpent. Heuvelmans argued that cryptozoology should be undertaken with scientific rigor, but with an open-minded, interdisciplinary approach. He also stressed that attention should be given to local, urban and folkloric sources regarding such creatures, arguing that while often layered in unlikely and fantastic elements, folktales can have small grains of truth and important information regarding these organisms. Loren Coleman, a modern popularizer of cryptozoology, has chronicled the history and personalities of cryptozoology in his books.[9]

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cryptozoology

    Like

  66. As a final suggestion, do a little bit of hunting on the nature of cryptozoology.

    Now that is more concrete, thanks, and…

    The coelacanth, a “living fossil” which represents an order of fish believed to have been extinct for 65 million years, was identified from a specimen found in a fishing net in 1938 off the coast of South Africa. According to Dash,[5] the Coelacanth is a good case for paying close attention to natives’ knowledge of animals: though the fish’s survival was a complete surprise to outsiders, it was so well known to locals that natives commonly used the fish’s rough scales as a sort of sandpaper. .

    And obviously some scienitists take this seriously:

    Invention of the term “cryptozoology” is often attributed to zoologist Bernard Heuvelmans, although Heuvelmans attributes coinage of the term to the late Scottish explorer and adventurer Ivan T. Sanderson.[7] Heuvelmans’ 1955 book, On the Track of Unknown Animals, traces the scholarly origins of the discipline to Anthonie Cornelis Oudemans[8] and his 1892 study, The Great Sea Serpent. Heuvelmans argued that cryptozoology should be undertaken with scientific rigor, but with an open-minded, interdisciplinary approach. He also stressed that attention should be given to local, urban and folkloric sources regarding such creatures, arguing that while often layered in unlikely and fantastic elements, folktales can have small grains of truth and important information regarding these organisms. Loren Coleman, a modern popularizer of cryptozoology, has chronicled the history and personalities of cryptozoology in his books.[9]

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cryptozoology

    Like

  67. Cedric said…”What have you read?”

    I still have no idea.

    Cedric said…”I am asking you to share with us your process of critical evaluation and how you draw your conclusions on the genesispark pictures.”

    Evidently a forlorn hope.

    Cedric said…”What were the arguments presented (pro AND con) and what did you think of them?”

    (insert sound of crickets chirping)

    Cedric said…”This is NOT an invitation for you to just give a host of links and cut and pastes.”

    So James takes it as an invitation to just cut and paste.
    How foolish of me to make such a request. What was I thinking?
    (blushes)

    James said previously…”Cedric, I did a couple of searches and came up with nothing. If you have something please link it, I will take a look.”

    I doubt it. Try harder.
    If this doesn’t get through to you then I’ll just post some references for the benefit of the lurkers in my next post.

    Hint: I’ve referred to the site before.

    Like

  68. Cedric, you suggested bit of hunting on the nature of cryptozoology. So I do, and relate what I found and you come back with this?

    Like

  69. James, what did you really do apart from just cut and paste?

    Why aren’t you interested in actually engaging in a real discussion?
    Give a little.

    If I’m wasting my time here, then have the courtesy to tell me so and I’ll just post up some links for the benefit of the lurkers and abandon the thread.
    Disappointed.

    Like

  70. Why aren’t you interested in actually engaging in a real discussion?

    Sure, And we can begin with Mike Dash’s and Heuvelmans’ point that we should take some of these native stories (in our case, carvings and depictions) more seriously. The locals knew that the Coelacanth was contempory. Even though science did not and would have probaly rejected the local claims. I see no good reason to dismiss these depictions – why do you? I’m still waiting for a good reason from you as to why we should dismiss them.

    Like

  71. Even though science did not and would have probaly rejected the local claims.

    Well, in fact science didn’t, because corroborating evidence came up (literally, in the form of a coelacanth in a fishing net). This is the whole point, James. Science seeks corroboration of claims. In the case of the supposed dinosaur images there isn’t any. No bones, no recent images – & if a self-sustaining population of large dinosaurs had survived into historical times, you’d expect something.

    Like

  72. Well, in fact science didn’t, because corroborating evidence came up (literally, in the form of a coelacanth in a fishing net). This is the whole point, James. Science seeks corroboration of claims. In the case of the supposed dinosaur images there isn’t any. No bones, no recent images – & if a self-sustaining population of large dinosaurs had survived into historical times, you’d expect something.

    But you do see something from ancient peoples. Why do we need “recent” images? On what basis do you dismiss their depictions? Do you dismiss the ancient depictions of monkies, lizards, birds, etc..?

    Like

  73. Because for monkeys, birds etc we have independent lines of corroboration. Come on James. Engage with the discussion & think about what’s been said, on this thread & others. Otherwise, as Damian says, you’re simply trolling & I truly can’t be bothered with that.

    Like

  74. Because for monkeys, birds etc we have independent lines of corroboration. Come on James. Engage with the discussion & think about what’s been said, on this thread & others. Otherwise, as Damian says, you’re simply trolling & I truly can’t be bothered with that.

    No you can not corroborate the monkies, lizards, birds in those depictions. They are long dead and gone. You have no good reason, as far as I can tell, for saying one set of pictures/carvings accurately depicted the animals of their day, but another set was just made up. Especially when the other set look so much like known dinosurs…

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  75. a) we do have other lines of corroboration – fossils, subfossils, & ‘the real thing’ (just like the coelacanth, James!).
    b) very few of ‘the other set’ look much like known dinosaurs, & again, we do have other lines of corroboration open to us that tell us very strongly that whatever they were drawing were NOT dinosaurs.
    For goodness sake, James, do a bit more than relying on the nonsense promoted by genesispark – read the scientific literature! When I see some evidence that you’ve actually done that I might be interested in discussing this further. Cut-n-paste & wikipedia don’t count.

    Like

  76. Alison said…”When I see some evidence that you’ve actually done that I might be interested in discussing this further. Cut-n-paste & wikipedia don’t count.”

    Same here.
    Do some research.

    DON’T CUT AND PASTE.
    IT’S A WASTE OF YOUR TIME AND OURS!!!!

    We asking you for a reasoned argument.
    Nobody’s charging you by the word here so enough already with the one-liners.
    ENOUGH.

    Make an argument.
    (Preferably before we all die of old age.)

    Demonsrate that you’ve bothered to read some of the literature available.
    Show us that you’ve looked into the criticisms of the depictions.

    You’ve got at least three scientists (probably more) online who would be more than happy to have a serious disscussion with you about genesispark.com
    Don’t just wait around with your mouth open waiting for somebody to spoon feed you information.

    Give us something to work with here.

    Like

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