Thanks for you note. I have been working on the evidences part of my Parallel and Opposite Worldview Philosophy Diagram and supporting documentation. I have completed the longest 6 of 10 bullets on evidence for evolution. When I complete that part I will send it to you and not complete the evidences for the truth of the Bible until later. I think the first part will give you plenty to chew on and provide good information for further discussion.
However, before proceeding on that, I would like to make some brief remarks on your recent note.
Criteria for Judging Truth:
I like your way you expressed your criteria for judging issues. You basically said you go by the preponderance of evidence or a comparison of the odds based upon the evidence. I think that is very objective. However, you mentioned that your criteria is different (higher) for some things that are hard to believe like, mind bending of spoons, Castro and Bush playing Frisbee and the truth of the Bible. If there was evidence that people could bend spoons with their minds or there was evidence that people couldn't bend spoons with their minds, why wouldn't the same "level playing field" criteria get you to the correct conclusion? Why is a special, different height criteria bar rational? Could this possibly be a way to rationalize away the truth of the Bible?
Do you also have another lower criteria bar for something like biological evolution. I am anxious to see if your criteria stays balanced while evaluating the truth of evolution Vs the truth of the Bible based upon the evidence and knowing that one is true and the other false. It seems to me that when we need to decide between two opposite worldview beliefs with one true and the other false, anything other than a "level playing field" criteria would be "intellecticide". Also, since the Bible claims that the supernatural is real, we have a basis for not completely judging it based upon a natural criteria. When judged completely by naturalism, it fails by definition. However, biological evolution places its basis strictly on naturalism. Unfortunately, naturalism does not supply any evidence for the truth of evolution. Ironically, evolution, the naturalism proponent, has to turn to presupposition and the supernatural to support its theory.
The ACLU and the Separation of Church and State:
You will have to concede that at the onset of our discussions I was correct when I suggested that I thought I we would be in opposite camps. You confirmed that when you revealed you were a member of the ACLU. Perhaps you are right when you stated that the chances are slim of me winning you over to my side. However, if you don't mind, I would still like to continue to try! I don't like to shrink away from a challenge. Is that ok, or am I being too proselytizing? Or do you think the ACLU would object because I am using the public internet? If they threaten to sue me like they have done to so many others I will be forced to back off and leave you, a victim, of your false beliefs.
We definitely are in 180 degree direct opposition regarding the ACLU. This opposition, as you know, is completely in line my model of humanism being opposite to Theism.
Thanks for your concession that there was a strong connection between church (Theism) and state when our country was young. You use the "separation of church and state" metaphor to explain that the separation between church and state was much less stringent than it is now. That makes it sound like there was once a separation of church and state law or a concept that prevented Christianity from completely intermingling with the state at the time of our founding. That is completely false and is an example of one of many deceptions that we hear in our society. Currently, now we do have that concept and laws that are for the purpose of removing Christianity from the public square. However, you graciously admitted that there is no basis for this in the constitution when you said "I also agree that current practices goes beyond a strict constitutional interpretation that involves only laws by congress."
So what we have is a constitution that was originally designed by Theists to keep the government out of Christian churches and preventing congress from making any laws for that purpose. Thomas Jefferson originally used the metaphor for that exact purpose. Now we have the ACLU and their complicate activist judges using the metaphor for the exact opposite purpose and making laws that the constitution prevented congress from making. The ACLU either never or at most as a token damage control icon, prevents the government from controlling Christianity. While violating the constitution, the ACLU and the activist judges, claim that Christianity in the public square violates the constitution. So the tables have been turned completely upside down. Again, completely supporting my model.
The real problem that enables this tragic deception to exist is the lie that humanism and theism are not religious in nature. If they believe that no religions have truth and that God does not exist, than what separates the religious nature of those religions from the religious nature of atheism and humanism. It can only be based upon who thinks they are right. It's all about whose dogma is right or which dogma we think is right. It's all religious in nature. Now, you and humanists think it is all right to discriminate against Christianity because you think you have a better, truer, religion. At the same time, you claim to be above bigotry and acting on high moral grounds. In addition, at the same time you are using billions of tax dollars and using public schools and all public facilities to promote your religion and don't see your hypocrisy. A perfect example of "taking the log out of your eye before taking the spec out of your brother's eye."
I am saddened that you are completely in agreement with this complete injustice. The evidence (the constitution) is given a pass and your belief and your arguments are based upon what you want to believe, religious dogma, presupposition etc. and it is done under the humanist banner of intellect and reason.
I also need to take issue with your following statement: "I wanted to make the point that the quality that set America apart from our European predecessors were not related to Christianity - in fact our European predecessors probably had stronger Christian foundations than we did." Although, your statement is quite ambiguous because of the meanings of the words "Christianity" and "stronger". I believe that the first part of your statement is completely false and the second part can only justify it using the wrong meaning of those two words. Strong and powerful religions is not what made America unique and great! I agree Europe had strong, powerful religions, especially Catholicism and the Anglican church and they were both Christian. Nobody denies that. However, Christian doesn't mean Theistic. What made America great was not strong powerful religions. That is exactly what drove the Theistic Christians to America. What made America great was the strong Theistic beliefs of those Christians combined with weak churches that could not be empowered by the State. This is what gave us the good moral foundation that allowed our country to flourish. Again, I find that you are making deceptive statements that the true facts don't support. This is what I expect based upon my model and what the Bible, as a theoretical model, predicts.
I do not like to have to keep challenging you on your statements. However, like I stated initially, I am committed to truth. That means challenging falsehoods whenever I encounter them. You keep strengthening my belief by taking positions that I would expect a humanist that is 180 degrees in opposition to Theism to take.
Evolution and Racism:
I stand behind my statements on this subject. The following facts documented by Dr. Henry Morris in "The Long War Against God" support in my statements.
Racism existed long before Darwin, just as did selfish human aggression. Darwinism, however, gave racism scientific respectability and apparent justification, just as social Darwinism was rationalized as a pseudo-scientific extension of a law of nature ("self-preservation is the first law of nature," so they say).
Darwin's book The Origin of Species by Natural Selection had as its subtitle "The Preservation of Favored Races in the Struggle for Life." Modern apologists for Darwin stress that he had reference mainly to animal "races," or subspecies, but there is really no doubt that he meant it to include the human race as well. In his later book, The Descent of Man, Darwin wrote:
At some future period, not very distant as measured by centuries, the civilized races of man will almost certainly exterminate and replace the savage races throughout the world. At the same time the anthropo-morphous apes ... will no doubt be exterminated. The break between man and his nearest allies will then be wider, for it will intervene between man in a more civilized state, as we may hope, even than the caucasian, and some ape as low as a baboon, instead of as now between the negro or Australian and the gorilla.
Darwin's notion that the various races were at different evolutionary distances from the apes, with Negroes at the bottom and Caucasians at the top, was not unique to him, but rather was universal among evolutionary scientists of the nineteenth century.
Thomas Huxley, whose ardent advocacy of Darwinism was the single factor most responsible for its rapid acceptance, said:
No rational man, cognizant of the facts, believes that the average negro is the equal, still less the superior, of the white man. And if this be true, it is simply incredible that, when all his disabilities are removed, and our prognathous relative has a fair field and no favor, as well as no oppressor, he will be able to compete successfully with his bigger-brained and smaller-jawed rival, in a contest which is to be carried on by thoughts and not by bites.
It was not only Darwin and Huxley, the two top evolutionists, who were racists. All of them were! This fact has been documented thoroughly in a key book by John Haller, appropriately entitled Outcasts from Evolution. One reviewer of this book said:
This is an extremely important book, documenting as it does what has long been suspected, the ingrained, firm, and almost universal racism of North American men of science during the nineteenth (and into the twentieth) century ... Ab initio, Afro-Americans were viewed by these intellectuals as being in certain ways unredeemably, unchangeably, irrevocably inferior.
Another reviewer, convinced by Haller's massive documentation, said: "That generation of scientists believed that no artificial process of education or forced evolution would ever enable the blacks to catch up."
Haller was concerned primarily with racism among American scientists, but these concepts were, if anything, even more strongly indoctrinated in European evolutionists. For example: "In nineteenth-century Europe the concept of race was a preoccupation for the growing human sciences ... These first physical anthropologists helped to develop the concept of Aryan supremacy, which later fueled the institutional racism of Germany in the 1930's, and of South Africa today."
This evolutionary racism was a natural inference from the slow-and-gradual chance evolutionary process envisioned by Darwin and his followers. On that basis, "race" is simply a "subspecies," which, if left to struggle for its existence in competition with other subspecies, may eventually triumph and become a distinct species. Each of the various human "races" had thus developed from some ancient primate stock, and some had progressed more than others.
A very common model for this concept was Ernst Haeckel's famous (or "infamous" and long-since refuted) "biogenetic law," or "recapitulation theory." Let modern evolutionist - and anti-racist - Stephen Jay Gould explain:
In Darwin's day, the theory of recapitulation embodied a biologist's best guide for the organization of life into sequences of higher and lower forms. (Both the theory and "ladder approach" to classification that it encouraged are, or should be, defunct today.) This theory, often expressed by the mouthful "ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny" held that higher animals, in their embryonic development, pass through a series of stages representing, in proper sequence, the adult forms of ancestral, lower creatures. Thus, the human embryo first develops gill slits, like a fish; later a three-chambered heart, like a reptile; still later a mammalian tail. Recapitulation provided a convenient focus to the activities of their own children for comparison with normal, adult behavior in lower races.
Assuming that all the races had gone through a mammalian stage shortly before birth, the various stages of the Caucasian childhood are said to represent the various lower races and their attainments - with the blacks at the bottom, then the yellow races, and the whites at the top:
The Negroid stock is even more ancient than the Caucasian and Mongolian, as may be prove by an examination not only of the brain, of the hair, of the bodily characters, such as the teeth, the genitalia, the sense organs, but of the instincts, the intelligence. The standard of intelligence of the average adult Negro is similar to that of an eleven-year-old youth of the species Homo sapiens.
The author of the above extreme racist opinion, H. F. Osborn, was not a backwoods bigot, but rather the most prominent American anthropologist of the first half of the twentieth century, director of the American Museum of National History, and a leading evolutionist. His opinion was not based on innate prejudice or on some strained biblical interpretation, for he was a highly educated scientist and did not believe the Bible at all. Osborn honestly felt his racism was based on evolutionary science! So did most other anthropologists, before Adolf Hitler gave racism such a bad name.
Russell H. Tuttle, a prominent modern anthropologist at the University of Chicago, in reviewing an article by C. Loring Brace of the University of Michigan, notes this fact:
Brace squarely confronts racist influences on the two chief founders of institutional physical anthropology in the United States - [Ales] Hrdlicka, based at the American Museum of Natural History, and E. A. Horton, with whom most of the second generation of physical anthropologists studied at Harvard.
Osborn, Hooton, Hrdlicka, Huxley,. Darwin, Haeckel - a veritable "Who's Who" of leading evolutionists and anthropologists - all committed to evolutionary racism. Many, many other names could be added. As Hofstadter has pointed out in his incisive and authoritative review of social Darwinism: "Common among men of learning was the conception, taken over from Haeckel's Biogenetic Law, that, since the development of the individual is a recapitulation of the development of the race, primitives must be considered as being in the arrested stages of childhood or adolescence."
This concludes the quotation. Your last sentence stated, "I don't think we should teach falsehoods, even though we might think they would prevent some social problems." I believe you are saying that teaching Theism may prevent some social problems, but since it is false, we shouldn't teach it." Right? If that is what you are saying, at least you are admitting that the effects of Theism are good. That is part of my case when we get to effects. Before that, I think we can settle whether the truth lies in the Bible that supports Theism or in evolution.
My concept is that pure humanism is a religious philosophy that is 100% in opposition to Theism. I believe the philosophy is false and has destructive effects. I plan to cover such effects after we finish evidences. So I would like to defer any detailed discussion of those effects. To say that the philosophy results in destructive effects, is not to say that everyone that believes in pure humanism will have any or all these effects. Consequently, to point to someone and say, look, I or he doesn't have that effect doesn't disprove my case. A better way is to get statistical data or interview those who have been ravaged by circumstances or have caused their own problems such as alcoholism, drug addiction, unwanted pregnancies, criminal arrests, child abuse victim or perpetrator, suicidal thoughts, guilt etc. and ask them if they are a Theist, a Humanist or are some other type of religious zealot. I think that you would find that the ones who's own beliefs have contributed most to their problems or that of someone that abused them would be humanists as defined in my chart sent previously. This would include nominal Christians who have included humanism in their belief and false religious zealots.
I just received some statistics and charts today from the Traditional Values Coalition showing undesirable trends starting between 1960 and 1970 that they correlated with the abolition of school prayer and Bible reading that took place in 1962 and 1963. I also know that is the same time frame that the teaching of evolution was greatly expanded in our schools. Humanism was flourishing in our society during that time. The data shows SAT scores down 10%, teen suicide up 450%, Child abuse up 2300%, illegal drugs up 6000%, criminal arrests of teens up 150%, divorce up 350% and births to unmarried girls up 500%. This has a tremendous dollar cost and a huge effect on the "goodness" statistic. Significance is not in question. Are any of the caring humanists you know trying to connect these dots?
Your statement that "the ACLU does not have any anti-religious agenda," would be comical if it weren't so sad. If the ACLU does not have a religious agenda, name some organization that does? Also, do you know where I can get objective statistics on the ACLU threats and lawsuits classified so their agenda would be clear? You and I both know what it would show.
Disregarding the Bible's Main Themes and Concepts:
Regarding belief in Jesus: I think for such a very profound basis of both Humanism and Theism, you don't seem to have dug into the issue. If the best you can do is cite that "some people claim he never existed, since many elements of his life parallel divine figures from earlier religions and discount his well documented identity by agreeing with some who point out that certainly somebody wrote the words that are attributed to him, so that person is effectively who Jesus is." You included no facts, no logic, no rationale, no references and no comprehensive analysis. You stated, "Thomas Jefferson felt he was a brilliant moral philosopher and I think there is some truth to that." Why does what Jefferson felt make sense? Have you read C. S. Lewis's comments in "Mere Christianity?" He concludes that Jesus either had to be who he said he was or else he was a lunatic. How could someone be a good moral philosopher when he lied about being God? How do you explain Jefferson's and your position?
You said, "I do not think he was a God or that he could perform miracles." Why don't you think he was God? Why don't you think that he could perform miracles? If he actually was God and performed miracles, would your humanistic approach be able to identify that fact or would you reject him by definition based upon your completely naturalistic criteria?
One interesting set of prophesies are those relating to Jesus the Messiah includes 108 unique prophecies all of which came true. You mentioned the born in Bethlehem prophecy that is one of them. You seem to be very comfortable dismissing tremendous statistical evidence supporting the truth of Jesus and the Bible by simply stating that a story developed around that assumption or someone inserted changes to make the prophecy appear to be true. Do you have any evidence for any of this stuff?
To be fair you need to apply the same level of skepticism to evolution. No evolutionists ever questioned the many hoaxes. I waiting to see if you apply the same skepticism to evolution. If not, perhaps you at least will use the "level playing field" criteria.