back to article Royal Society: Schools should show creationism 'respect'

The Royal Society has backed the discussion of creationism in school science classes, kicking off what promises to be a spectacular row amongst the country’s top boffins. The boffinry talking-shop’s director of education told the British Association’s festival of science in Liverpool that creationism should be examined in …

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anti-evolutionist.

Not that I'm Creationist, or pro-creationist, just that most of the evolutionists, pro-evolutionists, fellow-travellers and commentators, including the popular ones with big reputations, are anti-science and pro-religion.

I've lost count of the number of 'scientists' I've met, who, with no training at all in HPS, comparative religion, anthropology, biology or palaeontology are quite ready to tell me that Darwinian Evolution is True and that Science is not a religion.

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OK, if this is sooo benign

Please tell me how in this day and age you can tell someone they are wrong without being told you aren't respecting their beliefs?

Answers on a postcard...

And why is it that science is going to have to get a "philosophy of science" in secondary or even junior school when that's a college level subject? Are kids going to have to study political history too? Will they be taught critical thought as per philosophy degree?

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@Anonymous Coward

"and if evolution is the way it happened - why has it stopped at Humans?"

While there is no reason to believe it has stopped, we don't exactly subscribe to the Darwinian model anymore. One could suggest that civilisation is an evolutionary dead end, as we now have technology and a society that props up genetic defects and suppresses genetic advantages. It allows people to survive and breed, who have genetic traits that would not be able to continue under natural conditions.

In the past, if you had a genetically weak immune system, that meant you would probably catch something and die in your childhood, so that trait would die out. Now we have the medical knowledge to treat the symptoms, so you could live out your life, propagating the genetic defect. Conversely, being naturally resistant to disease is no longer a reason to believe you will live longer than anybody else with access to antibiotics. Given this, and current society, evolution is more likely to be working in reverse. The successful people tend to have 1 or 2 carefully planned children, if and when they are ready, whilst the unsuccessful pop them out non-stop.

Being intelligent certainly doesn't make you more likely to breed anymore, but being naturally attractive or fit does, the current society actually leans towards us evolving into 2 species, one very fit and attractive but a bit dim, and the others intelligent, but unfit/ugly. In this case evolution is observable, but not provable. Attractive people tend to have children with attractive people, producing attractive children. Intelligent* people tend to have children with intelligent people, producing intelligent children.

Not everywhere is like this, some places with high infant mortality rates will still be evolving. Any advantage that makes a child more likely to survive into adulthood is going to be passed along to their children. As I said before, logical, and observable in the short term, but not provable so it is still a theory.

* I do not mean to suggest that attractiveness and intelligence are mutually exclusive, just pointing out general trends and suggesting that, in future, they may be.

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Dark Matter You Can't Test For or a God You Can't Test For!? Pray Tell Me What is the Difference?

Much of so-called "mainstream Science" is no more than a bunch of kids playing with toys in a tunnel in Geneva and getting absolutely nowhere. No right minded individual can believe in Darwinism for the simple fact it doesn't accord with the facts we have uncovered since it was first postulated by Wallace and niftily stolen by Darwin by the simple expedient of producing his "Red Book" and "Secret B" book supposedly drawn up on the voyage of the Beagle. Funny that not one word of evolution was spoken by Darwin until Wallace wrote to him of the ideas, ... funny that eh!? Anyway, punctuated equilibrium as we actually see in nature does not accord with an ongoing evolutionary prgress but it does sort of accord with a creative being getting bored and having another bash. It is a viewpoint and to be honest it makes more sense to me the more I hear Dawkin rail against it. Dawkin is probably the greatest push towards a creationist view because the arguments he uses to defend Darwinism take on EXACTLY the same form and flavour as those used to prove the existence of God. And of course with the latest theories being based concepts interacting rather than real things eg electro-magnetic-spin matter arising out of the flat electro-magnetic-spin vacuum from the planet's stored information as the planet moves forward through the vacuum much like a soliton wave on a canal or a pond can we really be sure in such a conceptual reality that requires no big bang that the top concept doesn't exist and simply chooses not to reveal himself or herself or itself to us? For all we know the world was created last Tuesday with all our memories intact, the point is no-one can disprove it and such thoughts free children's minds rather than constrict them to a wrong headed view of the facts that Dawkin and others want to enslave them to.

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@bothwell

"Are you suggesting that R.E lessons never contain any discussion of Atheism as a viewpoint?"

Whether or not "Atheism" (I know a lot of atheists who would argue that "Atheism" does not exist, one can be an atheist but one cannot believe in atheism as this implies belief in a system of non-belief which would, in itself, be contradictory) is ever discussed in RE lessons is immaterial, I'm sure it is discussed as a huge percentage of the students are from non-religious backgrounds and some of them are intelligent enough to question the whole religion thing, the fact is that "atheism" is not part of the curriculum so there will be no guarantee that it's discussed.

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Anonymous Coward

<no title>

"However, when young people ask questions about creationism in science classes, teachers need to be able to explain to them why evolution and the Big Bang are scientific theories but they should also take the time to explain how science works and why creationism has no scientific basis.

Surely nothing has ever stopped a teacher answering a pupil's question, and explaining right from wrong. Had this been the genuine situation and not a damage limitation exercise then why would this have been reported at all? Seems to me it only takes a short sentence to point out science needs to be testable and not accepted on blind faith.

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@ElFatBob

So what's the difference between the "truth" and "an explanation that will be used to accurately predict an outcome"?

If it is "truth" you can apply that knowledge to accurately predict the outcome: if I let go of this apple, it will fall on Isaac's head.

You can apply "the theory of gravity" to accurately predict the outcome: if I let go of this apple, it will fall on Isaac's head.

We are told the "truth" that the earth is round. But it isn't.

1) it's an oblate spheroid

2) hills and valleys must necessarily deviate from the spherical form

3) water dragged about by tidal forces change the shape

but what's the *difference*?

And when you're teaching kids, why should you NOT put it down as "truth" in the same way as we do EVERYTHING that is applicable to life for those children in the "lies to children" called "education".

You don't hear your sunday school teacher start it off with "this is all a mythology that only a few people on the planet believe in broad terms to be true, and very few think in detail is right", so they? But that is the TRUTH of *any* religion.

Why? Because you can hear about that when you're old enough to understand and not take it in a way that doesn't help you approach life.

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Alert

sounds like creationists have started Dirty Tricks Propaganda

Isn't the real news, "creationists miss quote scientists in order to give the appearance that scientists support creationism."?

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@paul buxton

" the fact is that "atheism" is not part of the curriculum so there will be no guarantee that it's discussed."

Yes, quite. And nor is Creationism part of the curriculum, nor has it been suggested that it should be. Actually all that's been suggested is "if it does happen to come up in the course of a lesson, teachers should be prepared to discuss it with sensitivity and respect".

Interesting fact: It's possible to have respect for religious beliefs without adhering to any yourself.

@Mark

"Please tell me how in this day and age you can tell someone they are wrong without being told you aren't respecting their beliefs?"

Heh, yes that is a very good point. On the flipside though, if you're in school these days and you'll willingly stand up in front of your largely secular biology class and go "hey i don't believe in dinosaurs!" or similar, then you're a very brave or foolhardy child indeed. I actually don't think it'd be a particularly common occurrence.

But stifling discussion for fear of the religious ultimately isn't going to do kids any favours - it's a controversial topic, and having kids talk about controversial topics (in particular *why* they're controversial topics) is one of the very best ways to teach 'em critical thinking.

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@TheRegister

I've read a handful of comments out of about 150 so far that come from people of differing views to mine, but who I would genuinely like to meet and discuss this with.

Sadly at least 120 comments above are hate filled bile, containing endless repitition.

This is the poison of Dawkins, I fear.

How about some moderation (both kinds!)?

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@bothwell

Well, why should creationism be taught in science? Why not in RE class? Unlike the US, we do have religious education. And, being a religious rather than scientific viewpoint, that should be discussed in the right place: RE.

Not science.

After all, if your English classes discussed nihilism in the current socio-political culture as a reasoned response to disenfranchisement of the common people, would you be wondering why English classes weren't concentrating on spelling, grammar and so on?

Worse, this discussion is happening in first years. 11 yo kids being taught philosophy and political activism.

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Boffin

Standard of proof

I wonder why it is that people who base their lives on what science preaches, demand such a high standard of proof of religion, whilst demanding virtually no proof at all from the priests of science?

"THERE IS NO ABSOLUTE MORALITY!"

Fine, it's okay for me to kill you then. (End of argument.)

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Stop

Hate filled bile

It's not the Creationists we hate. Lots of them are lovely people, cleaving conscientiously to good ole' J.C.'s splendid interpersonal philosophy.

It's their simpleminded inability or refusal to read. The number of basic logical errors and inabilty to comprehend the scientific method that declares that they are willfully ignorant is deeply irritating when repeated over and over and over.

Then there's the conflation of "God kicked it off in the Big Bang" with "God *literally* created Everything As It Is Now in 7 days" schools. Cosmology and Evolution are only distantly related. Arguing against the one doesn't invalidate predictions made by the other. The Creationists can't even get their story straight, so how can they be right?

The sheer intellectual poverty of the Creationist viewpoint saddens me.

Oh, and to the idiot who wanted tests for the theory of Evolution: DNA. Mutations, viral damage (that's a great one, whoever brought that up), age and differences between species. It's all there.

The *Empirical* support for the Theory of Evolution is overwhelming. Just saying that non-specialists don't understand it so it's its own religion is as stupid as saying that because you believe your garage when they tell you there's an oxygen sensor needs replacing that you believe in the Religion of The Main Dealer.

Jumping from Evolution to Cosmology, I will admit the possibility that some whitecoated boffin from the previous Universe tuned a particle accelerator to a given set of parameters and "Poof" there goes another Big Bang, *but* the only evidence for this is a bunch of stories made up to soothe the fretting brows of intellectually-curious early farmers and nomads, transmitted with varying degrees of faithfulness across 3 or 4 thousand years, and much of that "Authority" is arrant nonsense (merciful God)/allegory (Eden)/exaggeration (The Flood)/contradiction (Old and New Testamental attitudes) (bracketted concepts exemplars only and not intended to be exhaustive), so why should any of the other unproven stuff (like how Man and the Animals etc were created) carry any validity whatsoever?

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Asymmetrical Debate

The whole debate is asymmetrical, and therefore not a debate at all. On the one side we have a group of people who allow their faith or religious beliefs to shape their perception of science. If the evidence falls within the bounds of their belief system, they accept it. If not, they dismiss it out-of-hand. On the other side of the debase we have a group of people who are essentially agnostic in their scientific beliefs. Whatever the evidence points to, they are prepared to accept.

The first group of course, are the evolutionists who believe that all events within the space-time continuum must be explained by other events within the space-time continuum. The possibility that an outside agent may have influenced events cannot be admitted because of their belief that no such agent exists. This is an article of faith. It can neither be proven nor disproven.

Creationists on the other hand don't care how such an outside agent (God if you prefer...) did things. Six days or sixty million years, who cares? When you're God you do things as you please. Consequently they are prepared to accept whatever the evidence suggests.

Creationists err however when they bring non-scientific faith arguments into the arena of science. Evolutionists err when they reject sound scientific evidence because of non-scientific faith arguments.

Creationism does not belong in science class. But then, neither does evolution.

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To AC (aka God)

If you believe yourself to be God, you will be locked up as a danger to yourself and others.

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Paris Hilton

@bothwell

"Yes, quite. And nor is Creationism part of the curriculum, nor has it been suggested that it should be. Actually all that's been suggested is "if it does happen to come up in the course of a lesson, teachers should be prepared to discuss it with sensitivity and respect"."

I was referring to the curriculum as a whole. Creationism (of various mainstream faiths) is on the curriculum and is discussed in RE classes, Atheist views are not on the curriculum despite the fact that there are more non-religious people in this country than religious people. You were referring to science classes and inferring that I hadn't read the article while in the next sentence you inferred that I had been disrespectful:

"Interesting fact: It's possible to have respect for religious beliefs without adhering to any yourself."

Where did I disrespect anyone's religious beliefs? Unless you count having the audacity to question God's great plan (what an arrogant bastard I must be). But what's more to the point is why should I respect anyone's religious beliefs?

I respect your right to believe anything you choose to, however, why should I be forced to respect a view that is abhorrent to me? Do you really expect to be able to force me to respect your or anybody else's fantasies? Let's get real shall we? Or would you prefer to burn the Heretic at the stake?

It's the same as the free speech argument. You may be a fascist and I respect your right to hold that view because I believe in the right to free speech and freedom of expression. I don't, however, respect fascism or fascists.

I just invoked Godwins Law. Apologies for that but I simply couldn't think of another political movement that I had no respect for whatsoever (that's not to say there isn't one). Besides, there are other old Usenet Laws that have already been broken in this thread and we survived those.

Paris because the more we are exposed to this awful icon the more chance that El Reg will capitulate and give us the real Paris back.

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re: anti-evolutionism

The only "belief" in science is that we can understand the universe as it presents itself to us,

That's all.

There's no religion. And a HUGE FRIGGING DIFFERENCE between science and religion is how "heretics" are dealt with:

Religion: you will live an eternity in hell being punished for your disbelief in BBG (Big Bearded Guy). You must never talk to us or our children in case your lies persuade like satan our children to stray from the path and be punished for eternity.

Science: That bloke with the idea has got it completely wrong? Well, he thinks you're a poopy-head and won't invite you for dinner.

Which one treats "non-believers" better?

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Thumb Up

Hardly any mention of the "I" word?

I find it strange that, in 160-odd comments so far, I found only one passing mention of Islam.

In the USA, the main force behind creationism is fundamentalist Christianity. In Europe (and particularly the UK) it is Islam. A quick surf of Islamist web sites will confirm that they link to creationist sites set up by evangelical Christians.

A Turkish writer who publishes under the pen-name Harun Yahya has written 250 books "proving" that evolution is wrong. (He is an "old Earth" creationist: he goes along with the assertion that the Earth is around four and a half billion years old, but maintains that God (or Allah) created all species as we now observe them.) The volume of his output leads one to suspect that he is probably a front-man for a well-funded organisation, rather than a sole researcher. The funds available (think Saudi oil money) have enabled a copy of one of Yahya's main books to be distributed (as a glossy and lavishly illustrated hardback, but free of charge and unsolicited) to every school in France. Given the secular basis of French education, there was something of an outcry. I don't know if a similar stunt has been tried in the UK.

In January of this year, I was having dinner with my son and a friend of his who is a biology teacher. She told me that Muslim girls in her class thought that fossils were carved by scientists in order to deceive the faithful, and maintained this view even when presented with specimens.

The notion that science is a con-trick to undermine Islam, is a dangerous delusion, and cannot be allowed to persist, but it is supported by alarming amounts of Islamic money. To stave off this attack on reason by the forces of superstitious bigotry, science teachers had better be well prepared to debate with Muslim, rather than Christian, creationists. They also need to be aware that a cornerstone of Muslim belief is that the Qur'an is the unchanged and unchanging Word of Allah, that it is inerrant, and that it is valid for all time and in all places. Although only a small minority of Christians still argue that Genesis is a literal historical account of creation, any Muslim who does not profess the equivalent belief regarding the Qur'an, is not a real Muslim.

(In answer to the earlier comment that "no-one ever really believed the Earth is flat", the Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia issued a fatwa, based on his knowledge of the Qur'an, that it IS flat. This was not a medieval historical event, it occurred in the 1970s!)

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You got that the wrong way about, Peter

Creationists deny that evolution exists because that doesn't prove them right.

Evolutionists deny that creationism is scientific. They are quite willing to admit it is a theological view.

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re: Standard of Proof

You buggers reading the words in your head, not the words on the site???

YOU CREATIONISTS say "prove that evolution exists". We ask back "prove God exists". Where some religious people say "I don't believe in evolution" we don't ask "prove God then".

If you're going to make shit up about the arguments being made, why not say so.

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Boffin

re: Standard of proof

@ Mark: Eh?

Actually all I was pointing out was the typical inconsistency in this debate when it comes to proof. The evolutionist normally will insist that he/she HAS proof of evolution. The creationist may question that proof. I too would question the 'proof', since there appear to be quite a few glaring holes in it, in particular the assumption that extrapolation is wholly dependable over millenia. And this, despite the lack of the 'concrete evidence' that science outwardly prides itself on - e.g. masses of examples of transistional species.

On the other hand, when the evolutionist asks the creationist for proof of God's existence, the creationist may (quite rightly, in my view) deny the possibility of such proof. Instead it is a point of faith. Therefore, while it is legitimate for the creationist to ask for the proof that the evolutionist claims exists, it is not legitimate for the evolutionist to ask for the proof of creationism, when no such claim is being made.

Or to put it another way, at least the creationist is honest enough to admit that some things cannot be proved and simply boil down to faith. The evolutionist is less honest, perhaps.

But that is unfair of me. There do exist some evolutionists who admit that there are some things unknown which are taken "on trust" (i.e. faith). And there are some creationists who insist that they have incontrovertible proof of a divine entity's existence. The truth is we don't truly 'know'; none of us do.

I just wish that more people approached this subject with an open, non-dogmatic mind. In my limited experience, the atheists are every bit as closed and dogmatic as the theists. I rather think this comments thread bears that out.

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@Rob Pomeroy

"I wonder why it is that people who base their lives on what science preaches, demand such a high standard of proof of religion, whilst demanding virtually no proof at all from the priests of science?"

Rubbish. I demand proof of everything, the difference is that science provides evidence and sometimes even proof whereas religion provides none. All of the arguments I've seen here which try to debunk evolution are, to be honest, childish. I could argue your case for Creationism better than anybody I've seen in this thread with the possible exception of Wayne Morellini who is unusual in that he actually thinks logically about the issue and doesn't just repeat what he's been told. I'd like to talk to Wayne but I'd just want to distance myself from the rest of the religious fanatics that have been posting here because you are, for the most part and in varying degrees, barking mad.

"Fine, it's okay for me to kill you then. (End of argument.)"

The point you're trying to make here is that religious people have more morals than non-religious people and I find that vastly offensive. Is all that's stopping you going on a rampage and killing people a faith in the teachings of The Bible? I don't need the threat of a deity casting me into eternal damnation to stop me killing people so who, out of the two of us, has more morals? The one who would like to kill people but whose deity has forbidden it or the one who has a respect for the law and realises (through rationalising) that without laws anarchy ensues and we are all fair game? One demonstrates rational thought processes, one demonstrates a belief in superstition - which would you employ?

Let's get the opinions of some people who were abused as children by their priests or vicars shall we, then we'll see who can hold the moralistic high ground.

Christians, Muslims and Jews have been killing each other for millennia yet it's written in your scripture "Thou shalt not kill". Does that not seem a tad hypocritical?

By the way, I mentioned millennia but there is no such thing, there was just a Millennium. The Millennium was the 1000 years that Christ would rule the earth (Revelations 20:1-7) and guess what, that Millennium ended 1008 years ago. Get with the times.

And why is it that I have more knowledge about The Bible than people who profess to believe in it? Have any of you people who profess to be religious actually ever read The Bible? From what I read here it would seem not but that doesn't surprise me from a faith that rewards ignorance.

All religious people suffer from delusional psychosis and seriously need to get help before they fulfil their prophecy and destroy the world.

Seriously - Get Help!

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Rob Pomeroy

Why is it OK that you can say "there are some things we can never know and this is one of them" but you can't say "We may be able to understand this phenomenon"?

One is dealing with an absolute (and is the creationist creed) and one is the hope of science.

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Flame

Reiss -A clergyman

Well that explains why he says creationism should be shown respect.

How he can be called a scientist is beyond me.

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Alien

Louis -( Flat Earth belief)

How come people were very nervous about Chis.Columbus falling off the edge of the world back in 1492.

There was an earlier belief that the world was a plate supported by a Tortoise ,which was supported by Elephants , (If my elderly memory still works)

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@elderlybloke

Elephants THEN turtle.

And even the Mayans 2000+BC (?) knew the earth was round. Ancient Greece knew it and the ancient Arabs knew it and had a figure.

The problem was that for orthodox christianity "four corners" meant like a map which is flat. And so the untutored "knew" the world was flat because "the bible said so". The knowledgeable educated class knew this but if they told the peasants they may have a problem with telling them the rest of the bible is still true.

And when Gallileo wrote his heliocentric paper the issue wasn't the paper but that instead of being in latin which only the educated classes knew, it was in italian which the ordinary peasant could understand. Such understanding weakening the peasants faith in the bible.

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Anonymous Coward

@Peter Mellor

"find it strange that, in 160-odd comments so far, I found only one passing mention of Islam."

Probably because it is a very contentious issue, and also it is evident towards which group the most bias is towards.

"In January of this year, I was having dinner with my son and a friend of his who is a biology teacher. She told me that Muslim girls in her class thought that fossils were carved by scientists in order to deceive the faithful, and maintained this view even when presented with specimens."

Easy, if it is legal, take them on a field trip to somewhere with a board area of fossils, ask them to point in a direction and unearth a fossil, ask them a few more times and find more fossils.

"The notion that science is a con-trick to undermine Islam, is a dangerous delusion, and cannot be allowed to persist, but it is supported by alarming amounts of Islamic money. To stave off this attack on reason by the forces of superstitious bigotry, science teachers had better be well prepared to debate with Muslim, rather than Christian, creationists. They also need to be aware that a cornerstone of Muslim belief is that the Qur'an is the unchanged and unchanging Word of Allah, that it is inerrant, and that it is valid for all time and in all places. Although only a small minority of Christians still argue that Genesis is a literal historical account of creation, any Muslim who does not profess the equivalent belief regarding the Qur'an, is not a real Muslim."

I would agree that the levels of proof seem suspicious, and the gaps in proof in science. I have seen too much stuff that is subjective and open to other explanations that are not mentioned. I am more interested in that virus mutation issue, that is something worth looking into because it is not only more clearly defined, but also more cleanly provable. Something creationist go on about, and very justly, is the assumption of the constancy of events that are used for estimating age, and this includes states in environment (even constants). But if these are not so constant, then we have to ask what we are looking at. For a mechanism to be predictable it has to be constant, or at least change in a estimated/ble way, including physics. If we assume a certain rate of change in mutation but there has been some other unknown or historical effect at work, then the estimates can be wildly out.

On the Islamic issue, you may not be aware, but the Quran makes irreconcilable statements and predictions greatly at variance and contradictory with Christianity and the Bible. So, Christianity and the bible are regarded as great threats to it's authenticity, and the standard way of dealing with this is to claim the bible is not authentic and is corrupted compared to the Quran. However, there is little good proof of this, and statement attesting to the authenticity of Christian and Jewish scriptures by Muhammad, and copies of compatible scriptures from before that age. I wonder how much of the very poor quality, and devious, modern theology biased against the bible, is coming from this direction. On the other side, the elite in Islam would probably not want the Quran was examined that way. There are major issues with both evolution and biased theological attempts supporting each other. The whole of the modern attitude to the debate is based on these, so keep an eye out for them.

There are other issues that you should be aware of, Christianity and Islam share different core beliefs not the issue of lying. This would take too long to go into here, as it requires some ground on the Islamic side (as there seems to be contrary views expressed). You might have guessed, I have read the Quran and done a bit of study on it.

Wayne.

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Anonymous Coward

@Paul.b

"..I demand proof of everything, the difference is that science provides evidence and sometimes even proof whereas religion provides none. All of the arguments I've seen here which try to debunk evolution are, to be honest, childish. I could argue your case for Creationism better than anybody I've seen in this thread with the possible exception of Wayne Morellini who is unusual in that he actually thinks logically about the issue and doesn't just repeat what he's been told. I'd like to talk to Wayne but I'd just want to distance myself from the rest of the religious fanatics that have been posting here because you are, for the most part and in varying degrees, barking mad.""

Yes, I would like to as well. I am busy at the moment doing up a followup submission to a government plan, but you can ask the register here to forward me your email address.

I can appreciate what you are saying above. Christianity has had a higher than normal level of intellectualism, with a number of great thinkers, however the normal person might have little knowledge of scientific issues compared to a scientist, as can be said for the ordinary non Christan compared to an evolutionary scientist. However, from anecdotal experience, becoming a Christian often enough results in an increase in intelligence. I have met people from the original Creation Science movement over here, and have a regard for them, but would like to see more. The things is that there are multiple groups, and some are more scientific than others.

However, I believe that science will basically eventually prove what is right, if done right, in regards to evolution and creationism. But the longer they let bias, subjectivity, politics, and the norm, the longer, more expensive and painful it will be to get to the truth. There are a number of areas that don't seem to get very well researched for some reason that would help. One is research into the nature of space and it's properties, curvature, density and rate of change (time) at distance from the sun, which is a basic area of research into the nature of physics. Even NASA preliminary research into new drive systems that could get a probe out far enough to test a suitable range of distance values was cancelled (such as the practical one using the new plasma reactor). Such a probe can be used to research a number of other areas as well. There are a number of other areas out there to research as well. Even though I am too unwell and old to do more studies and get myself to the sort of level needed to research these areas, I have been tinkering around with a new hypothesis for a unified theory of physics. It looks promising, more of a sort of simplified theory, and seems to account for time, gravity, fields, energy, space and the formation of space.

"Christians, Muslims and Jews have been killing each other for millennia yet it's written in your scripture "Thou shalt not kill". Does that not seem a tad hypocritical?"

Yes, but that is matter of personal choice against what is commanded, and people are people. It is also in reference to unjustified killing, not as part of legitimate enforcement of law, legitimate war or execution.

Wayne Morellini.

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Happy

Towards the end.

Well, it looks like God/universe/creationist bashing time is almost over for the illusionists, I mean evolutionists.

It is amazing how certain people here have skirted true evidence for a God and a Creation because it refutes belief. Atheism is dead, there is no avoiding it. We need to be concentrating in proving (trying to find out) what is true instead. There has been a lot of bias here, and antagonism, and the anti-creation mob can hang their heads in shame along with anybody else. You might think you are superior in your science, but I have been there and I have seen, and believe me it is not as clear cut as you think, you are not nearly as good at science as you think you are compared to the people you are criticising, here (not even referring to creationist researchers in general)..

90% of you are guarantee not know how to critically read a science article in New Scientist (which is an easy one to read). 90% of evolutionary/anti-creationists, researchers probably do not do proper research in relation to this area (actually many areas). The situation is that bad. Of the ten percent that do, the ten percent in charge might not want to listen to them. What is called, humanistic dogma is dominating this world, to the detriment of science and politics, and even religion, but in arm with power politics which finds it a useful tool. Before we think we are so good, in humanistic terms, just remember the quote, "we stand on the shoulders of giants". Just remember, that most of the success of the world today is squarely on the shoulders of authentic (versus merely associated) Judea-Christian values of the past, that enhanced rights, privileges, morality and humanistic like ideas before humanism, and modern science with many Christians, knowledge, innovation and productivity, with many scientist Christian. It has done this despite liberal, power politics, fascist and totalitarian alternative ideas and viewpoints of people in general. We think we are so good because those before us have gone forwards and made this society good, and taught us, yet many of the alternative view desire to tear this down and society is getting worse and worse. Ultimately humanism is devoid without basis beyond that morality which religion had already claimed God gave them awareness of, and ultimately is a justification for ignoring that reality to some.

Sorry for the heavies, very tired but feeling much better today, so I can answer things a bit better.

I forgot to add to one posts above, that i think the present thinking with creationists is that there is variability in species and adaption. This is where you start out with a complete set of genes and over the generation (avoiding discussions about expressions of genes) selection and adaption causes various differing genes to be lost in various groups, causing them to become separate breeds/races/linages of the original and the ability to adapt and vary dwindles, to the extent that much less happens today. Sort of like the reverse of evolution, where you don't really develop new genes (outside some purposeful encoding) but looses genes instead. So basically, you have a parent couple of horses, and all the breeds of horses come from them, or maybe a couple, different types of horse to begin with. You have maybe a couple different birds, and all the bird breeds extend from them. I think the example used years ago might apply to this, that as you radiate out from the middle east you get more coloration in bird species (obviously there could be an adaption thing to this in the colder regions). it also reminds me of another example they use, of an interview done with a farmer in America on evolution, the farmers apparently (something along these lines) replied, that he didn't know about the evolution subject, but all he knew is that when he bred a sheep with a sheep, he got a sheep and not a cat or dog, and then I think he made reference to breeding another species of animal and getting the same species of animal but not different ones.

Wayne.

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As an atheist...

I prefer that someone disprove that a flourescent orange cricket with a voracious appetite for gay sex and abortions created this universe before I waste my time dis-proving a god(s) created this universe. At least I feel better in the knowledge that they understand, on some level, how I feel about them. Evolution is much more grounded in reality.

Besides...

If all the atheists suddenly dis-appeared, it would only be a matter of time before they re-appeared. It's just the truth of the matter.

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Flame

re: Towards the End

"It is amazing how certain people here have skirted true evidence for a God and a Creation because it refutes belief."

Yes, you and your ilk HAVE skirted any true evidence for God and a Creation because you don't want it and you don't need it. You have FAITH.

And with that faith, you ignore the real truths in front of you.

Have you ever considered that the Bible is not the truth, yet there may still be a God?

I do not believe in any god and I do not require belief in such a god because if I am right, then this life here is all I have. It is all anyone has. And therefore infinitely precious.

If any God requires belief in them despite the evidence of natural explanation and hurts you for your disbelief, I will show my contempt for that god through all eternity even though I suffer infinite pains in hell. A god like that deserves nothing but contempt and will receive an eternity of it.

Your god is a sham. Your faith a block to your own enlightenment. Without your faith getting in your way, instead of trying to get a good seat in the next life you may consider making this life worthwhile.

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Silver badge

Re: Are you there, God?

I find it extremely telling that none of the creationists have taken up my challenge of actually reading the book that they profess to believe as "the truth".

Again, I invite them to compare & contrast Genesis 1 and Genesis 2 ... But they won't.

Or even better, that ol' favorite that got me kicked out of "sunday school" when I was about 8 years old ... All I wanted to know was why Genesis 32:30 and John 1:18 were at odds with each other. It seemed to me that I had found a fault with the bible ... The "teacher" was shocked at the question, and went and got the paster, who tried to explain to me that I couldn't understand such deep matters, and shouldn't put such evil thoughts into the rest of my class's heads. I insisted on an explanation, and was frog-marched out of the church grounds, banished to a life of free sundays (this is punishment? OK ... ). And this was a LUTHEREN congregation, supposedly one of the more liberal US churches ...

Fundie sheeple. Blinded by faith. Intentionally, willfully, and stubbornly ignorant.

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Anonymous Coward

Eric and Mark, "Towards the End".

"I waste my time dis-proving a god(s) created this universe. At least I feel better in the knowledge that they understand, on some level, how I feel about them. Evolution is much more grounded in reality."

Eric, are you admitting that it has to be disproved?

Mark

'"It is amazing how certain people here have skirted true evidence for a God and a Creation because it refutes belief."

Yes, you and your ilk HAVE skirted any true evidence for God and a Creation because you don't want it and you don't need it. You have FAITH.'

I haven't, I have offered complete logical proof, that is what is the reality, that you need to address. Rather than concentrate on issues that need years of research to cut it, I have presented you both with a simple argument that is falsifiable, but logically concludes that it is not. Fact, and reality.

"Have you ever considered that the Bible is not the truth, yet there may still be a God?"

Yes, still do today. You may notice my argument is what form that God might be, as wherever an Entity exists is logical. Just because I might believe something doesn't mean that I don't believe I might not be wrong. But I don't need to believe that there is a god, that is already logically proven. Wouldn't i be foolish to defy the reality of the logical evidence.

'I do not believe in any god and I do not require belief in such a god because if I am right, then this life here is all I have. It is all anyone has. And therefore infinitely precious.'

But you are discarding the evidence, equivalent to the regard of evolutionists around here that creationists are holding to an ill conceived notion of bias.

"If any God requires belief in them despite the evidence of natural explanation and hurts you for your disbelief.." rhetoric deleted.

As I said, often that evidence you think is right is misconceived towards bias, you are pinning a faith of falsities. That is why I say I am more interested in real evidence, in real science to prove what the truth is either way. The people here are criticising others for the same errors they repeat. It is more sense then to state what can be proven, and allude to the rest (reference), and accept what is questionable, towards debate.

The truth has been there staring you in the face, yet you do not want to believe, even though you profess that you are right, and true.

"Your god is a sham. Your faith a block to your own enlightenment. Without your faith getting in your way, instead of trying to get a good seat in the next life you may consider making this life worthwhile."

Enlightenment is in the truth, and you have just shown that you are not interested in the truth as much as you think, but getting your way to your faith. Funny thing that you should mention that, the people that are not obsessively evolutionary oriented are probably the only people that I know of that (personally and generally across the world) that make this life truly worthwhile.. They are probably the only people you know of that make life worthwhile. Consider that.

The people on this forum have shown themselves not to be as innocent as they believe. I am already aware of this in my own life and am interested in seeking out the truth.

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Alert

Faith?

"Yes, you and your ilk HAVE skirted any true evidence for God and a Creation because you don't want it and you don't need it. You have FAITH."

Faith: Is the substance of things hoped for. It is the EVIDENCE of things unseen... Everyone has faith whether we admit it or not. Even the agnostic or atheist as one cannot answer all the questions in the world readily without resorting to something much more then science alone can explain. Mankind is imperfect and has a very finite mind in comparison to the 'INFINITE' (to me GOD or Jesus Christ) and therefore will encounter error occasionally (perhaps frequently). One only needs to see the 'advances' in science or 'evolving' of it from one definition to another over time to see as we people progress academically theories and 'answers' change or are altered. We want to answer all the questions but are unable to because of our own finite encapsulations. We imagine that in time we will be able to so, but realistically time has shown us otherwise. Sure we are more knowledgeable today thankfully in part to the revolutionary technology of the internet yet no one can claim omniscience. I can only tell you ONE who does and if you read what I stated earlier you'll know who I'm talking about.

Questioner

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Unhappy

ID v Creationism

The Vatican maintains that Creationism can be understood through applied philosophy ie it aint a science. It also declares that ID is trying to put scientific theory behing biblical ideas and as such should be shunned .

If the Vatican doesnt thing creationism is a science why should anyone else.

The references to America usually refers to ID which is way way more dangerous territory.

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Faith is not "evidence of the unseen"

It is merely the hope. You got that bit right, why the fuck did you screw it up and call it "evidence"???

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re: ac

it needs to be dis-proved as much as 1+1=3 needs to be dis-proved (although given the weird math stuff people on my dorm floor did with math, this probably would have been something they'd have seen).

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Anonymous Coward

re: Faith .. "evidence of the unseen"

That is actually based on a quote, from the Bible, Hebrews 11. "Hope" and "faith" have different meaning in the original languages than what we associate with it. From memory hope here is the firm hope of things that you can depend on, not wishful thinking as we use it today. Such as, the faith is substantial (real in the context of this thread) and produces firm hope in it. In that way it carries some meaning of our word faith. But I think faith here has even deeper meaning.

I know the definition of belief gets strong. Various words have different levels of denominative meaning by their construct, where we often might interpret it in a contextual basis in English. For example, belief in (Jesus Christ) rather than just belief about, carries a meaning of trusting in, clinging to, and relying on, so you see that this goes a long way past what we think. This is a common problem in interpreting what is written in English, there is certainly a lot more depth to meaning in the original language. Translation does not bring this out enough, but certainly colors the depth, spiritual intent and underlying current of the Bible an awful lot, and also explains a lot of things missed from the english meaning.

I don't' know the depth of the original meaning here, but it is likely (knowing the context of the subject area) that it is meaning there is something actual behind the faith that makes it firm, not merely wishful thinking or intense feeling, or even state of mind, but actual real things happening and expressing themselves in behind the scenes here, from context of this area, from the unseen, the spiritual world. It could be even be referring to the practical out working of faith. Meaning the unseen produces real effect in the physical world and people lives, that gives them valid firm hope they therefore can have firm hope on the eventual promise, of reward.

This above, is not an actual interpretation of the quote the poster was eluding too, but includes background to the understanding and culture of the area it comes from.

Therefore what the poster said was right and valid.

Googled the original passage:

http://kingjbible.com/hebrews/11.htm

Sorry, it is actually 6 hours past my bed time, and it is hard to write concisely.

Wayne.

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Wayne, you're speaking ENGLISH

Not Ancient Hebrew.

And how does that gibbering get "evidence" from "faith", never mind "hope"?

It doesn't and it can't. You didn't do it.

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Anonymous Coward

Mark. No, not English, it's ancient Greek/Aramaic.

Mark, it was explained simply and at length, that should be enough. It is a translation from a very different language, with different ways to do depth of meaning, and much more rigour that does not translate to english. I explained this difference. I also explained the context of what they were getting at, and how they were getting at it. The link between faith and evidence is in the context and the structure of the language, not English.

You can try rereading it a few times. Hard to explain briefly, as there is so many aspects to consider when translating in between such vastly different languages. That is why translation is done by experts.

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Boffin

Re: Hardly any mention of the "I" word?

Hello, Wayne. (If you want to post as "Anonymous Coward", why sign off with your real name at the foot of your messages? :-)

@Anonymous Coward Posted Tuesday 16th September 2008 12:32 GMT

<quote>

"In January of this year, I was having dinner with my son and a friend of his who is a biology teacher. She told me that Muslim girls in her class thought that fossils were carved by scientists in order to deceive the faithful, and maintained this view even when presented with specimens."

Easy, if it is legal, take them on a field trip to somewhere with a board area of fossils, ask them to point in a direction and unearth a fossil, ask them a few more times and find more fossils.

<unquote>

An excellent suggestion. I will pass it on. However, fossils are not *quite* that easy to find in most areas, although I collected quite a few myself over the years. I like the "if it is legal" qualifier, though. When I was a kid back in the 1950's, Miss Tilson simply marched us down the road in a crocodile to go on a nature walk. The "Health & Safety" fascist was then a rare species! :-)

<quote>

Something creationist go on about, and very justly, is the assumption of the constancy of events that are used for estimating age, and this includes states in environment (even constants). But if these are not so constant, then we have to ask what we are looking at. For a mechanism to be predictable it has to be constant, or at least change in a estimated/ble way, including physics. If we assume a certain rate of change in mutation but there has been some other unknown or historical effect at work, then the estimates can be wildly out.

<unquote>

I agree that assumptions need to be stated and subjected to confirmation/refutation, but you will find that scientists (including evolutionists) are well aware of this need and are well ahead of you and of creationists in general. For example, one piece of evidence by which we know that the Earth is around 4.5 billion years old, is that this is the age of the oldest known rocks in the Earth's crust, as determined by potassium-argon dating. The half-lives of most radioactive isotopes have been measured precisely in the laboratory, and the fact that nothing (but NOTHING) affects these, has been very well confirmed. Rates of radioactive decay have been shown to be constant under all environmental conditions, including variations of temperature, pressure, chemical combinations of the isotope, electrical and magnetic fields, etc., etc.

The constancy of radioactive decay, which is one basis for estimating the ages of rocks, fossils, artefacts, etc., is not an "assumption"; it is overwhelmingly supported by all of the evidence we have.

However, this is only *one* basis for age estimation. Many other bases can be adduced, and they are in mutual agreement. This agreement is, of course, "within the limits of experimental error", to quote the well-worn scientific phrase, but the error bound on the estimate of 4.5 billion years for the age of the Earth does not take you ANYWHERE NEAR the 6000 years which "young Earth" creationists would have us believe.

<quote>

On the Islamic issue, you may not be aware, but the Quran makes irreconcilable statements and predictions greatly at variance and contradictory with Christianity and the Bible. So, Christianity and the bible are regarded as great threats to it's authenticity, and the standard way of dealing with this is to claim the bible is not authentic and is corrupted compared to the Quran. However, there is little good proof of this, and statement attesting to the authenticity of Christian and Jewish scriptures by Muhammad, and copies of compatible scriptures from before that age. I wonder how much of the very poor quality, and devious, modern theology biased against the bible, is coming from this direction. On the other side, the elite in Islam would probably not want the Quran was examined that way. There are major issues with both evolution and biased theological attempts supporting each other. The whole of the modern attitude to the debate is based on these, so keep an eye out for them.

There are other issues that you should be aware of, Christianity and Islam share different core beliefs not the issue of lying. This would take too long to go into here, as it requires some ground on the Islamic side (as there seems to be contrary views expressed). You might have guessed, I have read the Quran and done a bit of study on it.

<unquote>

So have I. In fact, my "bit of study" over the past two years has included reading the Qur'an (in several English translations), sizeable chunks of ahadith, several modern biographies of the Prophet (and I am currently ploughing through the Sira by ibn Ishaq), and loads of other stuff. I entirely agree with you about the contradictions between the Qur'an, and the Jewish and Christian scriptures. My immediate reaction to the Qur'an was that it is a second-hand, second-rate, garbled version of the earlier writings; just what you would expect from an illiterate camel train manager who had heard a few tales on his travels and only half-remembered them. Nothing I have read since has led me seriously to revise my opinion.

If you want to see how the Qur'an and ahadith can be quoted in support of terrorist atrocities, and in support of lying in the furtherance of such nefarious activities, read the "Al-Qaeda Training Manual". (As a reader of El Reg, you will know where to find a copy!)

Anyway, back to creationism. It is obvious from the Qur'an that Muhammad was clueless about astronomy and really did believe that the Earth is flat. I can't be bothered to cite sura and ayat, but if you Google "flat Earth Qur'an" you will be inundated with Quranic quotations to substantiate this. He also believed (literally) in a simplified and garbled version of Genesis and Revelations.

The problem lies precisely in taking the ancient myths literally.

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You didn't explain where "explanation" comes from "faith"

Again.

Oh, and a little snippet for those who read religious texts and find "astounding proofs of their validity":

The Brahma Year is about 4.5 billion years. An astounding correspondence with the age of the earth.

So those Indians must have the right scripture, not you whiney little western christians.

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Anonymous Coward

Now, now ;)

You're misreading things, put down any bias you have and realise what the context behind what is being said does not reflect your culture, but the culture of the writers and hearers. That the meaning comes from what they understand, the context the words are describing. I find when people do this on lien they are either doing this deliberately or it is pointless trying to explain it. I am not interested in wasting my time, if you are serious OK, but otherwise I do have a life.

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re: Now, now ;)

Which AC are you? Who are you talking to? Your points are so ephemeral and undefined, 100% of life as we know it could think you are attacking THEM.

You apparently do not have a life, since if you had something in that area, you would have at least used your few minutes you spent typing on this site to produce something that could be read and your meaning gleaned from the words used.

However, your inability to say anything and use so many words to do so indicate that no, you don't have anything better to do with your minutes spent here.

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Unhappy

One last time ;)

Great the page reloaded as I was typing.

Peter Mellor, sorry, it is obvious, I am not using my screen identity I use here.

It appears that I missed your post previously, probably came in as I was spending time on Mark's.

About the fossil thing, sorry again, context, assuming you do have such places near by (near by being a lot further to some of us).

On constancy, dating etc, the research and scientists being ahead, it is not as clear as you might believe, and all areas of research are not exhausted. One reason I would like to see distance studies on the effect on space, is to see how it effects various fundamentals. This will not even cover changes over time. I am also mindful of the effect of energy on the structure of space (which I don't want to go into the hypothesis here, but these require observations and experiments on a larger scale than what can be attempted on earth). I am actually avoiding going into this because I don't want to waste time on it, I gave a simple valid argument on one topic, and that is enough to get people thinking. I have a basic belief, however wrong science is (or isn't), eventually the process of science, if followed, should find truths. So, debating it is pointless, takes too much time and effort, unless we are going to do research (worth doing). I however have seen many faulty arguments, that are whatever serving, in science, and scientist that are so logical that they disagree with each other. But unified fronts presented to the public, and the naive here, would present such science as uncontroversial truth (even in cases that eventually are overturned and regarded eventually as recalcitrant). It goes way past undeclared assumptions (which would probably make matters worse for them). The standard of proof is often a LOT LOWER, than what I deem as concrete, and the way assumptions are used you could make arguments for lots of things. As an logical illustrative example of something simple: Say that the present evidence is represented by the sum of 2, and the assumptions lead to the conclusion that 1+1 happens to equal 2 and therefore must have resulted by that calculation (a common mistake in logic I see skeptics use). Like skeptics, they insist that this is the "way" it happened, they do this until a better hypothesis (well avoid calling it a theory for obvious reasons ;) ) comes along and in the case of science there is a political power struggle before over whelming evidence of the inferiority of the past hypothesis/theory is accepted, and the new hypothesis/theory seems more likely. There was a lot of this going on for decades before I stopped reading because of health problems. To illustrate this differently, 1+1=2, is the assumption, but who said that it was 1+1 that got there is the first place, it is unreliable, and can lead to many unreliable arguments seeming to be true because they seem to replicate the results (backed up by assumptions). The truth is that there are many valid ways to get to the present sum of 2, which is 11-9=2 for this case, but often only a limited amount that are historically true.

Mark, they are all valid and clearly explained (why they are so long), spent hours not minutes on them, and not many people are having trouble with it, apart from yourself. I am sorry if you either lack the basic intelligence to process them, are plainly deceived, or are trolling and wasting your time and ours. About who the posts are directed too, you might like to view my posts as general, or actually towards the people named in the posts, or that posted the posts quoted in my posts (but you obviously knew that). Insulting me is about as logical as ugly calling beautiful ugly.

The previouse post. To make it clear, it's english speaking about something written in a different language and context than what you know. The likely interpretation from experience with the area, is that the unseen (supernatural) produces the practical working out (evidence) of faith (because of guidance, divine presence, miracles and the like) that is the substance behind the hope in eventual reward (validation). Unlike skeptics, it is not about how we read it, or how we want it read, but about the people it was written to and how they read it, and how the author meant it to be read. It's simple, it's not all about you and what you think Mark. Put it another way, if you are scientific, unbiased and logical you should have little trouble appreciating that.

Now back to bed, so I can restart work on the 60 plus page submission to a government plan in the morning. I trust, apart from discussing things here, you also have more worth while things to do.

Wayne.

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