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American Atheists v. My Atheism 101 Exercise!

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  • Robert Baty
    https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10151868872152418&set=a.495249962417.276326.71352317417&type=1 (Note my Readers Comment following the article!) From:
    Message 1 of 34 , Sep 29, 2013
      https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10151868872152418&set=a.495249962417.276326.71352317417&type=1

      (Note my Readers' Comment following the article!)

      From: American Atheists, Inc. (Official)
      Date: Sunday, September 29, 2013
      Time: About 1:30 PM MT

      (excerpts)

      A common misunderstanding in discussions of any kind are centered around who has what's called "the burden of proof."

      Put simply, the side or party making the positive claim has the responsibility of providing sufficient evidence for the claim. It then falls to the other party to be skeptical of the claim: to question this evidence, and to question whether the reasoning behind how the evidence establishes the claim is correct. When the "positive claim" party attempts to reverse these roles in order to make their job easier, it's called "attempting to shift the burden of proof."

      To use religion as an example, often when discussing the existence of a god, the religious person will attempt to force atheists to take on the burden of proof. The way they do it is by attempting to redefine the word "atheism."

      There is a surprising amount of disagreement when it comes to the definition of "atheism."

      Even more surprising is that most of this disagreement doesn't come from atheists. Atheists, in our experience, by and large agree that atheism is

      - "the lack of belief in the existence of all gods."

      Some atheists word it as

      - "the lack of faith that any gods exist."

      There is a less-common definition, often asserted by religious people, that atheism is

      - "the belief that no gods exist"

      or even more common

      - "the belief that God doesn't exist,"

      as they tend to ignore the fact that their god is not the only god.

      These are both positive claims that attempt to shift the burden of proof.

      The default position on the existence of anything is that it doesn't exist. This is just basic skepticism. Think of it like "innocent until proven guilty": Only when you have convincing evidence that something exists does it make sense to change your mind from this default position.

      For example, if someone claims that fairies exist (i.e. that those ancient legends about fairies are not legends but true stories), you would be right to be skeptical of this unless they had convincing evidence. If they had, for example, captured a specimen and could show it to you in person, that would be pretty damn convincing. If they had a video or photograph, that would be better than nothing, but these are much easier to fake or simply be mistaken about what you're really seeing. If they had a written account from someone claiming to have seen or interacted with one, this would be even less convincing, and less convincing still would be a written account that was a copy of a copy, heavily edited, and anonymously authored... hmm...

      Since (these days, anyway, most) gods aren't claimed to live here on our planet or in our "realm," but rather are "transcendent" or said to exist in some other type of dimension, it's not reasonable for us to require a living specimen. However, that doesn't mean we should just go ahead and believe. It actually means that we should remain skeptical, since there's therefore no evidence. There is the possibility of evidence if miracles are claimed, that is if a god interacted in some way with our world on occasion. In this case there should be examples of suspensions in how physics works that are not just in practice within the limits of current technology but in actual principle inexplicable through natural science.

      To return to the fallacy, religious apologists sometimes will argue that atheists have the burden of proof, since we answer "No" when asked, "Do you believe in (a) god?",

      - but saying
      -
      -- "I do not believe in God"
      -
      - is not equivalent to
      -
      - "I believe there is no God,"

      which is how apologists want to paint it when committing this fallacy.

      If your claim is that there is no god, then it would seem you have the burden of proof.

      A common variation of this is when apologists say,

      - "You can't prove God doesn't exist."

      Well, that's true; you can't prove a negative.

      We also can't prove fairies don't exist, but that doesn't mean it's reasonable to believe in fairies without having abundant quality evidence that they DO exist.

      The wonderful 20th-century atheist writer, philosopher, and mathematician Bertrand Russell had a famous example known as "Russell's Teapot." He said that, strictly speaking, we all have to be agnostic about the existence of an alleged teapot in orbit around Mars, considering that our current level of technology limits us from conclusively ruling out the possibility that there is one. But it does not follow that, therefore, it's reasonable to believe that there IS a teapot in orbit around Mars.

      To return to definitions, you may sometimes hear the term "hard" or "strong" or "positive" atheism, versus "soft" or "weak" or "negative" atheism.

      Strong atheism would be

      - "I believe there is no god,"

      or put another way,

      - "I am convinced there is no god."

      Contrast this with weak atheism, which would be

      - "I do not believe there is a god"

      or put another way,

      - "I am not convinced there is a god."

      Most religious people erroneously seem to think that atheists are by and large or even exclusively strong atheists, but in reality most atheists aren't.

      Most atheists are also agnostic, which means we admit the possibility that we could be wrong and don't claim 100% certainty about our belief.

      I myself am a strong atheist when it comes to the god of the Bible.

      This god is logically impossible, self-contradictory in many ways, inconsistent in description, etc, in addition to the fact that the "evidence" is laughably unconvincing.

      In fact I am a strong atheist about every god of Earth's various religions.

      If we are talking about a deistic creator god, strictly speaking I am a weak atheist.

      I am otherwise ignostic, meaning that I don't think the definition of the word "god" is sufficiently settled to even go about debating whether one exists or not.

      Some people say God is an actual person with a body; some say God is a spirit (whatever that is supposed to mean); some say God is energy or love or some other nonsense, and others just admit that God is undefinable or beyond definition.

      If the latter is the case, I think it's pointless to even bother arguing about it.

      I identify by the label "atheist" because it most cleanly summarizes my position.

      Also, it is important to me to contribute to destigmatizing the word and helping to reach that critical mass or threshold where enough people identify as atheists that it's no longer socially acceptable to publicly hate us for simply not buying into a particular cultural delusion.

      By using the label, loudly & proudly, I help atheism overall reach that threshold, and we encourage our members to do the same.

      What do you think is the best definition for "atheism"?
      Do you agree with the definitions here?
      What would you change to improve them?


      ------------------------------------------------------

      READERS' COMMENTS:

      (1)

      From: Robert Baty
      Date: Sunday, September 29, 2013
      TIme: About 3:30 PM MT

      Dave Foda , did you notice how the above article vindicates my Atheism 101 Critical Thinking Exercise?

      (Go to link for other readers' comments unrelated to my own.)

      --------------------------------------
      --------------------------------------




    • Ray Ausban
      I gave the wrong web site on the debate. It was talkorigins.com ________________________________ From: Ray Ausban To:
      Message 34 of 34 , Oct 19, 2013
        I gave the wrong web site on the debate. It was talkorigins.com

        From: Ray Ausban <rayausban@...>
        To: "Maury_and_Baty@yahoogroups.com" <Maury_and_Baty@yahoogroups.com>
        Sent: Friday, October 18, 2013 8:30 PM
        Subject: Re: Re: Re: Re: [M & B] American Atheists v. My Atheism 101 Exercise!
         
        Yahoo format? I usually reply to the post through my e-mail which makes everything just like before. You are posting directly at the group site, maybe?
         
        Rick, thank you for taking the time to discuss this Velikovsky issue.
         
        Perhaps my perception of things is just different along with my experience that just about any power structure (such as big science) is inherently corrupt, to some large degree. I quoted Gould because he strikes me as honest. I used sentences on page 124, to state my case of selectivity. I should have posted the next couple of sentences as well which say,
         
        "Such biases, produced by the under reporting of negative results, are not confined to the arena and abstractions of academic science. Serious, even tragic, practical consequences often ensue. For example, spectacular medical claims for the efficacy of certain treatments(...such as AIDS...) may be promoted for a positive result."
         
        Gould is what I term a 'complex writer'. He is not straight forward like Rick, Pi or myself.  Gould uses metaphors and ties them in with his topic, and seems to swing from regular language for the target audience of his book was intended, to the language of the scientist that he is. You almost have to study and contemplate what he is talking about to understand him.
         
        From the text, 'positive and negative results' are for the substantiating of a hypothesis, in the context of the quote I posted the other day. Gould indicates that "efficacy" is the cause of the bias (not just within his science but in all, even practical sciences). Efficacy means "the power (or efficiency) to obtain the intended result". In other words, Gould is saying many hypothesis' are substantiaed with scant little evidence and the result is often what the scientist wants it to be. Using the medical example, he notes the medicine fails. Gould then goes on to say he is in favor of stastistcal analysis, so that proclaimed claims on experiments are actually correct.
         
        Some months back, when I read an article that some bones of an animal 40 million years old was our ancestor, I'm sorry, I'm going to take that with more than a grain of salt and assume efficacy bias is involved.
         
        Earlier on the same page 124, Gould says:
         
        "I do not speak of fraud, cover up, fanagling, or any other manifestation of pathological science (though such phenomena exits at a frequency that, in all honesty, we just do not know)."
         
        While referring to the medical field, the content of the chapter has all science  lumped together and readily admits there is "fraud, cover up, fanagling" and we don't know how much. This is part of  big science, along with seeing all evidence in the frame work of the hypothesis. And this is nothing new. All this began in the early 1800's and the paradim was set up back then. The entire "uniformity" nonsense has choked real progress from being made and still has a strangle hold over the truth and much of the evidence concerning our origins and recent history.
         
        See Rick, science has short comings and Gould will admit it. But you won't. Your focus is to destroy anything that threatens the origin science paradim. So, if Velikovsky's hypothesis has flaws, then it must be false, but if Lyle has some flaws, you ignore it.
         
        Now, we can go tit for tat on all the points, but that is a useless effort. Neither of us will change our view because we both know too much about our subject. Do I think Velikovsky is correct about everything he said? No. Do I think his concept of planetary close calls is correct? Yes. I think the truth lies somewhere in between those two questions. Do I think the earth shifted its axis in historical times? Yes.
         
        Now, about ten or twelve years ago there was a debate on origins.com about the extinction of the mammoths and other large fauna. The debate was centered on was it a slow die out or did the mammoths get caught in a major disaster and froze with a rapid shift of the poles? There were four main stream guys who ran origins at that time. When the debate was over one of the four said, "Despite the efforts of the crew..." in his view, the pole shift method won the debate. It was the only thing that makes sense of the evidence. Maybe that debate is still on there site, I don't know.
         
        Rather that go through point by point and eat each other alive, let me ask you some simple questions:
         
        1) Have you actually read any of Velikovsky's work? Namely have you read pages 25 to 37 in "Ages in Chaos"?
         
        2) What caused the Ice Age?
         
        3) What caused the mammoth's to be deep frozen?
         
        4) Have you ever see the O-18 chart for the ice cores and studied the temperature swings?
         
        Okay, on second thought, question 1 & 4 is simple.
         
        - Ray
        From: "w_w_c_l@..." <w_w_c_l@...>
        To: Maury_and_Baty@yahoogroups.com
        Sent: Thursday, October 17, 2013 5:53 PM
        Subject: RE: Re: Re: Re: [M & B] American Atheists v. My Atheism 101 Exercise!
         
        >> The earth's axis was tilted to a steeper angle in a very short amount of time, less than a day. Additionally, moving the earth's axis in such a rapid manner would... <<
        We don't need to speculate about what *would* happen if the Earth's axis was suddenly tilted.  There isn't any evidence of this dramatic tilting -- and certainly not at any time within the last 10,000 years.  The archaeology of North America, by itself, discredits this idea completely.
         
        shape="rect" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">http://www.academia.edu/2497054/A_Mount_Taylor_Period_Radiocarbon_Assay_from_the_Bluffton_Burial_Mound_8VO23_
         
        There are hundreds of articles like this.
         
        Now, Ray, what you need to do -- what you MUST do -- if you are going to go forward with your case for a cataclysmic axial shift at anytime since Man has been on Earth, is, in addition to producing positive evidence for the event you are imagining, to empirically demonstrate that all of archaeology, all of paleontology, paleomagnetism, radiometric dating, plate tectonics, and a number of other areas of scientific inquiry are just plain wrong.  You can't just ignore these things. You have to explain them, and you have to do so using the methodology of science.
         
        You may not LIKE science's methodology, but that isn't going to excuse you.

        >>The evidence for this comes from the "records of man" and from the physical evidence found in the North Polar Region of our planet.<<

        But there is *no* physical evidence for this hypothesized pole shift in the polar regions.  There is research that specifically says this.  See the Wikipedia article:
         
        But you say otherwise -- "a steeper angle in a very short amount of time."
         
         Well, *how steep*?  Based on what?
         
        Apparently you are basing it on nothing more than Velikovsky's fantasy:
        "In his controversial 1950 work 'Worlds in Collision,' Immanuel Velikovsky postulated that the planet Venus emerged from Jupiter as a comet. During two proposed near approaches in about 1,450 BCE, he suggested that the direction of the Earth's rotation was changed radically, then reverted to its original direction on the next pass. This disruption supposedly caused earthquakes, tsunamis, and the parting of the Red Sea. Further, he said near misses by Mars between 776 and 687 BCE also caused the Earth's axis to change back and forth by ten degrees. Velikovsky included in his work references to historical records. His reading of the historical records has been disregarded, and his scientific arguments have been disproven."
        (from the Wikipedia article linked above)
         
        It never happened, Ray.
         
        >>Many academics have written about the physical evidence.<<
         
        Point me to ONE academic, to ONE peer-reviewed journal article, that lays out the evidence for the claim that there was a sudden
        tilting of the Earth's axis a few thousand years ago.
         
        >>But last November I composed a 40 page document for you concerning ancient maps. I attached it on a reply in one of our conversations. It requires Microsoft Word 2003 or later to open it.
        Half of those pages in my document were pictures of old maps so you could visually see what I was talking about. Half of the document came from the research done by Hapgood and the other half by myself. I know that my composition skills should have been much better, but I was in a hurry to get it done. Despite being in a hurry it took two months before I could post it.<<
         
        Yeah, and it was 6 megabytes.  It took me another two months to successfully download it using a 28kbps dial-up connection, and then when I FINALLY managed to see what it was I was so disappointed that I only wrote one thing in reply to it:
         
        > Criminy. > > Five point nine six megabytes. > > It took me longer to download it than to see > what's wrong with it.
         
        I mean, I know it took you a lot of work, Ray, to produce that, but it was all for nothing, because your *reasoning* is not valid.  You rely on Hapgood, but Hapgood's ideas are invalidated by plate tectonics, which is now firmly established, and which Hapgood did not accept.  Hapgood's work was published in the popular press; never submitted to peer-review, and what little attention it got from actual scientists it was dismissed.  Furthermore, since Hapgood's day, carbon-14 dating and paleomagnetism both indisputably show that his ideas were wrong -- or, if it *is* somehow disputable, no one has come forward and done so.
         
        You simply interpreted a bunch of maps as being evidence for something that is utterly disproved by the very physical world those maps are supposed to represent.
         
        >>The Velikovskian academics have done a great deal of work on the events described by Velikovsky. These people are few in number and are getting up in years, but there remains an interest in their work because it is difficult for the main stream to explain away every thing in any credible manner. This is not to say that these fellows have made a few errors in their work. They have. After all, this field of study is huge and they don’t have funding other than their own.
        Anyway, you never replied back on the document I submitted.<<
         
        That's because Velikovsky is fantasy, not science.  There's no such thing as a "Velikovskian academic".  The reason mainstream science can't explain anything to them in a credible manner is because they flatly refuse to be persuaded by evidence. Everything you wrote in that long paper was falsified before you wrote it, and I had already spent several weeks explaining dating methods -- which you just waved away. But the fact of the matter is that Antarctica has been iced over for millions of years, in spite of your speculations about the "records of man" being based on (non-existent) source maps from thousands of years ago when (according to you) Antarctica was ice-free.
         
        What was there to say?
         
        Regardless of funding, if the Velikovskians had a legitimate scientific argument they could have presented it by now.  This isn't a matter of doing more fieldwork.  The fieldwork has been done.  Nor is it a matter of laboratory experiments -- they too have been done.  This is a "back to the drawing board" problem.  The Velikovskians need to sit down and come up with an explanation for why *none* of the observations of conventional science line up with their planetary billiards hoodoo.  A few sheets of paper and a pocket calculator are not that expensive.
         
        We are back to where we were months ago -- if the dating methods are all wrong, *somebody* has to come up with an explanation of why they are all wrong by the same amount and in the same direction; in other words, why is the error uniform across the range of both radiometric and non-radiometric methods?  There is no form of cataclysm that can explain this -- accelerated nuclear decay, *even if it could* be initiated, would destroy the very life forms and processes that provide the materials for the *non*-radiometric methods, such as varves, corals, teeth, tree rings, and human artifacts.
         
        As far as I can conceive, your problem is insurmountable.
         
        >>Velikovsky wrote about it in his 1952 book, “Ages in Chaos”. Your local library might still have a copy available to read. (My library removed Velikovsky’s books about 10 years ago, so I resorted to buying them).<<
         
        Well, you've thrown away your money if you're taking that stuff seriously:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Worlds_in_Collisionhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ages_in_Chaos
         
        We're talking *decades* here, Ray.  Do you really believe astrophysicists are so inept that they wouldn't know it if Venus had gone streaking by the Earth a few thousand years ago?
         
        "The book's claims have been completely rejected by the scientific community as they are not supported by any evidence."
        (from the Worlds in Collision link, above)
         
        >>The Bible writes of several items that can’t really be considered anything but a global event. 1) Noah’s Flood 2) Peleg’ division of the earth 3) Moses’ Exodus event... <<
         
        Oh, I assure you: there is another way to consider #1. And Bible scholars -- and here I mean *scholars* and not young-earth creationists -- seem to think #2, the division of the land in Peleg's time, was demographic, not geological. As for #3, the exodus out of Egypt was certainly not global.  There is no reason from the text to think that the rivers turned to blood all over the world -- nor is there anything in North American archaeology that would suggest it.
         
        >>4)The shadow of the sun dial of Ahaz moving back ten degrees in the days of Isaiah.
        The event I often refer then is the last one, in the days of Isaiah around 700 BC. This can be found in Isaiah 38:8. The way the chapter is written the shadow going back is nothing short of a miracle. Daniel later tell us that the ‘Lord, changed the times and seasons’ (Dan. Chapter 2) as he extols the power of God. And of course, if the earth is moved in a rapid axial tilt, the time and seasons would change.<<
         
        But, first, there are a lot of ways to change the shadow on the sundial without having to tilt the Earth on its axis, and, second, there is no mention in Isaiah or anywhere else of this event causing any global cataclysm.  All that happened is Hezekiah had some years restored to his life, and the king of Assyria didn't ransack Jerusalem.  No need to upset the entire planet for that, and no physical, nor textual, evidence that it happened, either.  Hezekiah had 15 years restored and life in the Middle East went on as usual.
         
        (Boy do I hate this new Yahoo format.  I can't see where I am or where I've been or what my lines look like and my cursor doesn't move around like it ought to.  I'll conclude this later, in another post.)
         
         
        Rick Hartzog
        Worldwide Church of Latitudinarianism
        ---In Maury_and_Baty@yahoogroups.com, <maury_and_baty@yahoogroups.com> wrote:
        Rick asks concerning my view of global catastrophes:
         
        >>>  
        1. (a) What happened?
        (b) What is the evidence for it?
         
        2. (a) When did it happen?
        (b) What is the evidence for it?
         
        3. (a) What was the cause of it?
        (b) What is the evidence for it?
         
        4. Why is your interpretation of the evidence more robust than other interpretations? In other words, why does this global cataclysm better explain *all* of the observations, better than standard science's explanation for whatever evidence you wish to use?
         
        Ray thinks:
        These are involved questions but I will brief it up as much as possible.
         
        1. (a) What happened?
        (b) What is the evidence for it?
         
        The earth's axis was tilted to a steeper angle in a very short amount of time, less than a day. Additionally, moving the earth's axis in such a rapid manner would cause major stress on the earth's crust and the implications of that (volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, tidal waves and so on). The evidence for this comes from the "records of man" and from the physical evidence found in the North Polar Region of our planet. Many academics have written about the physical evidence.
        The first and foremost record of man is the Bible since it was extant through the centuries. But last November I composed a 40 page document for you concerning ancient maps. I attached it on a reply in one of our conversations. It requires Microsoft Word 2003 or later to open it.
        Half of those pages in my document were pictures of old maps so you could visually see what I was talking about. Half of the document came from the research done by Hapgood and the other half by myself. I know that my composition skills should have been much better, but I was in a hurry to get it done. Despite being in a hurry it took two months before I could post it. The Velikovskian academics have done a great deal of work on the events described by Velikovsky. These people are few in number and are getting up in years, but there remains an interest in their work because it is difficult for the main stream to explain away every thing in any credible manner. This is not to say that these fellows have made a few errors in their work. They have. After all, this field of study is huge and they don’t have funding other than their own.
        Anyway, you never replied back on the document I submitted.
         
        >>>2. (a) When did it happen?
        (b) What is the evidence for it?
         
        To answer this question, you have to understand my view of the Bible. Within the pages of the Bible, the distant past (the time before Adam) and the time concerning the Second Coming are shrouded in symbolism. That's pretty obvious when reading the Book of Revelations, but not so obvious reading the Creation account which is why the YEC have difficulty with the issue. However, most of the Old and New Testament is recorded history. Yes, there is some symbolism in there but mainly, it is history. And a chronology has been laid forth.
         
        Very often this chronology does not line up very well with conventional chronology, which is why ‘science’ mostly considers the fantastic Bible stories a fairy tale. There is, however, plenty of evidence to validate some Biblical stories, if you choose to see it for what it is. For instance, the Ipuwer papyrus tells a very similar story as the Exodus, from the Egyptian point of view. Both texts speak of the river being blood, the destruction of the land and even the jewels of the Egyptians being worn on the necks of the slaves. Velikovsky wrote about it in his 1952 book, “Ages in Chaos”. Your local library might still have a copy available to read. (My library removed Velikovsky’s books about 10 years ago, so I resorted to buying them).
         
         
        The Bible writes of several items that can’t really be considered anything but a global event. 1) Noah’s Flood 2) Peleg’ division of the earth 3) Moses’ Exodus event and 4) The shadow of the sun dial of Ahaz moving back ten degrees in the days of Isaiah.
         
        The event I often refer then is the last one, in the days of Isaiah around 700 BC. This can be found in Isaiah 38:8. The way the chapter is written the shadow going back is nothing short of a miracle. Daniel later tell us that the ‘Lord, changed the times and seasons’ (Dan. Chapter 2) as he extols the power of God. And of course, if the earth is moved in a rapid axial tilt, the time and seasons would change.
         
        Again, I think the Bible’s time line is more correct than other cultures because it was extant, while the other ancient civilizations time line has been pieced together by archeologists in the 19th and 20th centuries. This does not mean there isn’t evidence of an axial tilt within recorded history among other civilization other than the Jews. There is. But most scholars by and large dismiss the evidence when they see and read it, claiming it was metaphors or they didn’t understand astronomy before the current era.
         
        Correcting the time lines of other ancient civilizations would likely confirm the timing of the sun dial event. Velikovsky, Rose and others have presented solid evidence that a historical reconstruction is in order.
         
        >>>3. (a) What was the cause of it?
        (b) What is the evidence for it?
         
        The Bible always indicates earth moving events as the hand of God. And I believe they are correct. I think God controls these types of things primarily through the laws of nature.
        Velikovsky and others have analyzed myths, to indicate that near collision events with errant planets was the cause of such earth shaking events. Hence, I don’t think it so unusual that in all ancient cultures that their primaries “Gods” were the planets.
         
         
        It only takes one rogue planet entering the solar system to set things in motion. Ancient cultures did record things which indicate some of the planets were the cause. Velikovsky and others have looked into this area of study in great detail. While it is not proof, it is a form of evidence.
         
         
        >>>  
        4. Why is your interpretation of the evidence more robust than other interpretations? In other words, why does this global cataclysm better explain *all* of the observations, better than standard science's explanation for whatever evidence you wish to use?
         
         
        This is a very good question. I don’t have an agenda other than to understand the past. I don’t sell books and I don’t run a church in dire need of the Bible to be exactly correct in every sentence. It is not my occupation to look into this stuff. I am interested in the truth on the subject and I think it leads down this road.
         
        As far as science’s explanation of past events is greatly based on belief of a world view that may never have existed at all. The position has been taken that the Bible, a historical document is a fairy tale. And that people across the world a few thousand years ago were too ignorant to understand even simple things. The theory of man’s evolution for more than a century portrayed man as always getting smarter despite the fact we today know civilizations in 500 BC were much smarter and more capable than those in 1000 AD. This slow growth of man capabilities through the millennia, which is a false one, is deep seated in main stream researchers.
         
        Subsequently, not all the evidence is considered. Men of thousands of years ago were not stupid. They sailed the globe and mapped it. They understood basic astronomy and mathematics. They built huge structures, ships and other things which required a great deal of engineering and ingenuity to achieve. And we are to believe they did know how many days are in a year? Something as simple as that?
         
        This all means that things which were recorded by past cultures, which sound fantastic to us today, are completely over looked and ignored by science. In other words, science has chosen to select and discuss only the evidence which fits its paradigm and create ad hoc interpretations of hard evidence which suggest something completely different.
         
        You don’t think science is selective?
         
        Gould is a main stream scientist and this is what he says about his community.
         
        Stephen Jay Gould (Dinosaur in a Haystack p. 124):
         
        “The great bulk of scientific work never sees the light of a published day…Truly false starts are deposited in the circular file – fair enough. But experiments carried forth and leading to negative results, all too often, unpublished in manila folders within steel drawer files, known only to those who did the work and quickly forgotten even by them. We all know that thousands of novels, considered substandard by their authors, lie in drawers through out the world. Do we understand that experiments with negative results fill even more scientific cabinets?
        Positive results, on the other hand, tell interesting stories, and are usually written up for publication. Consequently, the available literature may present a strongly biased impression of efficacy and achieved understanding.”
         
         
        >>> Why does this global cataclysm better explain *all* of the observations?
         
        This comes down to a great deal of physical evidence and how ice ages supposedly come about. The physical evidence ties in with the records of man, so now it is the testimony of not one but two witnesses, the science and the historical records.
        The most comprehensive book on the subject is Charles Ginenthal’s 1997 “The Extinction of the Mammoth”.
        This is 300 pages of small type covering every aspect of the physical evidence. It builds on the work of Velikovsky, Hapgood, Allan and Delair and others for the most total and complete view on the subject which I have read to date.
        The main difference between him and me on timing is he thinks the mammoths went down in 1500 BC while I think it was 700 BC. And he may be right. I have a math calculation to do some time which will firm up my view on this.
         
        -Ray
         
         
         

        From: "w_w_c_l@..." <w_w_c_l@...>
        To: Maury_and_Baty@yahoogroups.com
        Sent: Friday, October 11, 2013 2:29 PM
        Subject: RE: Re: Re: [M & B] American Atheists v. My Atheism 101 Exercise!
         
        Ray Ausban wrote, in part:
         
        >>My conviction there was a major global catastrophy a few thousand years ago is based on evidence. A lot of evidence.<<
         
        OK, Ray, let's try it like this:
         
        1.  (a) What happened?
        (b) What is the evidence for it?
         
        2. (a) When did it happen?
        (b) What is the evidence for it?
         
        3. (a) What was the cause of it?
        (b) What is the evidence for it?
         
        4. Why is your interpretation of the evidence more robust than other interpretations? In other words, why does this global cataclysm better explain *all* of the observations, better than standard science's explanation for whatever evidence you wish to use?
         
        (As far as atheists and YECs both being on the same side, we've been saying that for years.)
         
         
        Rick
          
        ---In Maury_and_Baty@yahoogroups.com, <maury_and_baty@yahoogroups.com> wrote:
        Thank you Rick for your thoughtful answers.
         
        The way I read 1 John 4 is the 'spirit is tried' if the "prophet" (religious leader) accepts Christ. Those who do not accept Christ are not of God. Yet, there are those in the Christian community which claim to accept Christ but deny he rose from the dead (a major tenant of Christ's mission). The YEC don't deny Christ's purpose or his ministry. This comes to an important point. Every religious group tends to start deviating away from truth or have trouble defining what it is. The YEC have chosen to accept the Creation story as completely literal, while others accept it completely figuratively. I suspect the truth lies some where in between.
         
        So, while the bulk of Christians accept the story of Jesus, the core of the gospel, the peripheral areas have grown in large dispute since the Middle Ages. For me then, what all these people do determines their 'spirit'. If what they do is good and encourages good, then it is of a Godly spirit and if what they cause to do is evil or encourages evil behavior, then it is not of God's spirit. My beef with the YEC is not their Christian belief, but the hostile, arrogant manner in which they behave (and therefore think) and encourage their followers to behave concerning our origins. This is, of course, the same spirit I see and feel with most atheists. To me, this is not good.
         
        My conviction there was a major global catastrophy a few thousand years ago is based on evidence. A lot of evidence. However, this has nothing to do with the gospel or how I will treat other people.  It is my search for truth in an area that is largely ignored. For me, "truth or fact by consensus" is not truth, whether that be origin science or religion. It is merely the best understanding currently available based on what evidence is being considered. A truth or fact can not be altered with additional new discoveries.
         
         
         
         
         
        From: "w_w_c_l@..." <w_w_c_l@...>
        To: Maury_and_Baty@yahoogroups.com
        Sent: Wednesday, October 9, 2013 6:50 AM
        Subject: RE: Re: [M & B] American Atheists v. My Atheism 101 Exercise!
         
        Well, Ray, I don't see where atheists have any particular strength.  The argument against faith is not grounded on concrete, real-world observations.  People *do* have faith.  Yes, there are a lot of different versions of "Christianity" and a lot of variations of theistic belief.  But that doesn't imply that God does not exist.  At best it implies that if God does exist, people are not unanimous in their understanding.  But we knew that.  It shouldn't be any surprise.  People aren't unanimous about things that we *can* see, things that are here and now -- for example, evolution and the age of the Earth.
         
        The thing about 1 John 4, where we are told to try the spirits, is that John is writing to Christians who presumably do share in God's holy spirit.  Anybody who shares in that spirit should be after *truth*.  And we can see in much of modern "Christianity" that the pursuit of truth is not important.  These people presume they already know the truth, and anything that conflicts with what they want to believe is seen as a threat to their truth -- for example, evolution and the age of the Earth.  Or, for example, the idea that there was some great cataclysm a few thousand years ago.  And people will resort to all sorts of intellectual somersaults and fabricated evidences and deliberate ignorance of fact in order to hold on to their "truth".  If they can get other people to believe it, too, then that just reinforces their conviction that what they're doing is OK.  But it isn't.  They may not realize it themselves, but a lot of other people -- observing their line of evidence and reasoning, but who have no reason of their own to ignore all the evidence they know is being ignored and recognizing the fallacious nature of the reasoning being used -- certainly do see these weaknesses.
         
        And this is totally unnecessary.  Pursue the truth.  Insist upon it.  We are told that the Spirit will guide us to all truth.  If we are concluding things that are not true, then we are not being guided by the Spirit.  People who reject carbon-14 dating are not doing so on any scientific grounds, regardless of their pretenses.  They reject it because it conflicts with their "truth" -- with what they want to believe.  But if the truth is something other than what they want to believe, and they reject it, then they are not really following after truth at all.
         
        Only people who have the Spirit can try the spirits -- atheists don't believe in it and creationists have no need of it.  John wasn't writing to them.
         
         
        Rick Hartzog
        Worldwide Church of Latitudinarianism 
        ---In Maury_and_Baty@yahoogroups.com, <maury_and_baty@yahoogroups.com> wrote:
        Pehaps Rick thinks I was asking the two questions because I was mocking him?
         
        This is not the case. I was just wondering his (your) opinion on the two questions I asked.
         
        Ray

        From: Ray Ausban <rayausban@...>
        To: "Maury_and_Baty@yahoogroups.com" <Maury_and_Baty@yahoogroups.com>
        Sent: Wednesday, October 2, 2013 12:45 PM
        Subject: Re: [M & B] American Atheists v. My Atheism 101 Exercise!
         
        I still want to talk to on the other topics from atwo months ago, but not today.
         
        Today, Rick says:
         
        >>>One thing we can be pretty sure of, though, is that if Joseph Smith claims God said one thing, and Rick claims God said something just the opposite, at least one of them is not speaking truth.
         
        And this is where atheists get their strength.  If God tells one person this and another that and both are sincere, then "God's speaking" must be something they made up in their head. They see the division among believers and that is more evidence for their atheistic convictions. Me personality, I am never going to claim God "told" me somthing unless he actually did. Bearing false witness is not my thing.
         
        The real God is not going to be contradictory about certain things. He may tell Bill O. to write a book about Jesus, doesn't mean he's going to tell me that. But he's not going to tell one person they must be baptised to be saved and tell another baptism is not necessary to be saved. It depends on the topic.
         
        Also Rick:
         
        >>>And that is why we are to "try the spirits," and why we are not to accept "any other gospel" than that which we have received.
         I have two questions:
         
        How to you "try" a spirit? 
         
        Which variation of "any other gospel" are we talking about? 
         
        Ray
        From: rock zog <w_w_c_l@...>
        To: "Maury_and_Baty@yahoogroups.com" <Maury_and_Baty@yahoogroups.com>
        Sent: Wednesday, October 2, 2013 5:40 AM
        Subject: Re: [M & B] American Atheists v. My Atheism 101 Exercise!
         
        Ray wrote:
         
        > And that is okay Robert! At least you think God does
        > sometimes communicate to people.
        >  
        > Joseph Smith thought that.
        > Bill O. thinks that as do I.
        >  
        > The trouble is atheists don't accept anything they can't explain.
        > It is easy to claim Joseph a fraud or that Bill O. and I are lying.
         
        Well, I believe that God communicates with people, too.  But in contrast to "claiming" Joseph Smith was a fraud, I think that is proved beyond any reasonable doubt and the information is there for anyone who really cares to look into it.
         
        On the other hand, the claims of Bill and Ray and Rick about God communicating with them are not so susceptible to disproof.  One thing we can be pretty sure of, though, is that if Joseph Smith claims God said one thing, and Rick claims God said something just the opposite, at least one of them is not speaking truth.
         
        And that is why we are to "try the spirits," and why we are not to accept "any other gospel" than that which we have received.
         
         
        Rick Hartzog
        Worldwide Church of Latitudinarianism
         

        From: Ray Ausban <rayausban@...>
        To: "Maury_and_Baty@yahoogroups.com" <Maury_and_Baty@yahoogroups.com>
        Sent: Tuesday, October 1, 2013 5:56 PM
        Subject: Re: [M & B] American Atheists v. My Atheism 101 Exercise!
         
        And that is okay Robert! At least you think God does sometimes communicate to people.
         
        Joseph Smith thought that.
        Bill O. thinks that as do I.
         
        The trouble is atheists don't accept anything they can't explain. It is easy to claim Joseph a fraud or that Bill O. and I are lying. I think most atheists are "against" God because they chose to explain away spiritual experiences claimed by others rather than find out about them.
         
        It is the atheists "belief" that no one has spiritual experiences because they haven't had one. Since their belief is practically a religious system which affects how they live their life, I am not opposed to the atheists having their own "non religious church" complete with tax deductions for contributions, especially if their 'church' encourages them to be better citizens at large.
         
        We all live in the same society. I think it better we get along despite our differences like we do in your forum! We can disagree, doesn't mean I dislike you.
         
        Ray
         

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