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I’ll do it, but only if you’ll help


Pledge “church-and-state”

"I will arrange for my MP to receive a copy of Richard Dawkins' book "The God Delusion" but only if 645 other people (one per UK constituency) will do the same for other MPs."

— J Christie

Deadline to sign up by: 31st March 2007
826 people signed up (181 over target)

Country: United Kingdom

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Religious and faith-based organisations have a privileged position in the UK, often being granted special status under the law, and exemption from legislation which other organisations must adhere to.

I do not believe churches should be given special status - indeed they ought to play by the rules like everyone else. Faith should not exempt one from being guilty of (for example) discrimination.

Motivation for this pledge originally came when I heard that head of the UK Catholic Church, and subsequently other churches, had asked the UK parliament to exempt their adoption agencies from being forced to consider applications from homosexual couples equally. This issue has thankfully been put to rest, but many other examples exist.

Richard Dawkins, as Professor for the Public Understanding of Science at Oxford University, is well placed to make this argument, and his book "The God Delusion" (costing 9 pounds on-line) does so convincingly.

By pledging, you agree to purchase a copy of this book, and have it delivered to your MP of choice. An up-to-date list is being maintained at http://www.jamiechristie.com/cands/. Pledge here first, and then browse that list and choose your MP, and email me your choice.

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Comments on this pledge

  • I agree with the sentiment but I think it could have a greater impact if the publisher was involved. Perhaps they could offer a bulk discount to show support? 645 copies of the book is a LOT and involving the publisher would have a greater media impact. Any thoughts?
    Michael, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Where will the duplications list be published?
  • Good idea - but can you please fix the spelling of Richard Dawkins.
    Alan Wardroper, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Wouldn't Sam Harris' Letter to a Christian Nation be more likely to be read - especially by United States politicians?

    Should each copy have a personal letter attached encouraging our representative to read it - or would it be better to have some standard paragraphs prepared setting out a consistent viewpoint (with endorsement from some nationally known supporters)?
    Derrick Byford, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • I Agree with Michael. You really need to get in touch with the publishers on this one because just left in individuals' hands it could fall by the wayside very quickly.
    This could be a big initiative with media coverage in the right hands, especially in light of the current attacks on decency and morality (homosexuality/adoption) by the established churches.
    Craig Barlow, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • I completely agree with the above comments. Get the publisher involved and this will attract major media attention.
    Mark, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Ultimately it'd be great publicity for the publisher as well as the cause. We'd need to find out how to get the greatest level of exposure on this. I guess the key is to find someone with ties to journalists and a PR machine. The publisher is the most likely to have these.

    The first thing to do is get in touch with Bantam Press. Let them know what we're doing and why we're doing it. Reach an agreement. They may well be happy to provide the books at cost price as they'd see a good level of return through the exposure they'd get. We'd start a fund to cover this cost. 200 people at £10 each might be enough. Alternatively they might have a better idea as to what might work in the best interests of everyone. I think it's important to have Richard Dawkins involved too. Even if it's just a signature to say he agrees with the campaign.

    Then we'd put together an article again outlining the idea. This would go with the mailing of the book to the House of Commons and at the same time be sent to friendly media faces such as The Guardian, possibly the BBC. A bit of viral marketing wouldn't be difficult and it'd be simple to cause a stir by placing the article in the right places.

    This way we're making aware both the MPs and the general public of the reasons behind the campaign and what we're trying to achieve.

    In fact, the current debate around adoption is a nice tie-in and could be the foundation upon which to build the campaign. Perhaps it's too late for that but an idea....

    I think that simply sending the book to MPs is unlikely to have much of an effect.

    Is anyone aware of any 'friends' in the House of Commons? Obviously Ruth Kelly is unlikely to help :) but is there anyone who feels as we do?

    If so we'd have a perfect opportunity, if the MP is agreeable, the maybe get him to raise an EDM on the subject. It's unlikely but any internal help would be great.

    Sorry, I've rambled on a little.....
    Michael, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • I'll get one to George Moudie, Leeds East!

    Can we start now or do we have to wait until everybody is covered?
    Chris Jarvis, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • I agree with others that contacting the publishers would be worthwhile and definitely worth trying to get some press attention. If for no other reason than use the presentation of the books as a means to focus attention on the issue itself as well as the fact that Ruth Kelly (a supporter of Opus Dei) is in a position to impose this exemption without needing to bring the act back to Parliament for a vote.
    John Phillips, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Is there any way for you to link this to a pledge on the UK pledge bank (as it ia a UK initiative) so that casual browsers may also come across it?
    Chris Newman, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • I'm in. Put me down for the lovely Tessa Jowell.
    Andrew Clark, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • I like J.Christie's thought of "matched" donation of books, whereby the publisher would donate copies but think they'd be better in school libraries - more likely to find open minds amongst the young rather than within the ranks of brain-hardened 'religious leaders'. Just a further thought. Mike Charlton
    Mike Charlton, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Lots of great ideas here - and I think getting this book into schools would be very worthwhile.

    Would the main thing now be to get some decent media attention in combination with the MPs etc?

    Whats the best way to do this? I've some friends at the BBC (but not journalists)-happy to ask them their opinion.....
    Dr Matthew Howard, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • I too think school libraries would be good recipients. On a recent visit I noticed that my local school library had no books on atheism or humanism - but plenty on different faiths.

    It would be good to start a parallel pledge to secondary schools (there are only around 3360) pointing out that non-religious viewpoints are included in the guidelines on religious education issued by the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (unlike Intelligent Design:-)

    Including a covering letter written by Richard would be even better.

    Chris
    Chris Newell, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Do we have a like-minded MP who would be prepared to front the Dawkins-based argument in the Commons?
    Andy Waddell, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • You can find out who your local mp is by using your postcode at:
    http://www.writetothem.com/
    Alice Davey, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Evan Harris, Liberal Democrat MP for Oxford West & Abingdon was a speaker at a rally in Central London supported by the Humanist Association and several other secular organisations. He might agree to champion our cause.
    muhayman, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Four MPs (Paul Holmes, Evan Harris, Graham Allen and Colin Challen) recently put forward an amendment to the Charities Bill that attempted (and failed) to remove the priviledges position that religious charities have over other charities (see http://theyworkforyou.com/debates/?id=20...).

    They might be interested in being involved in this campaign.
  • It may also be worth contacting the National Secular Society for publicity and/or more substantive support:

    http://www.secularism.org.uk/
    Moose Hunter, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • The publisher may not be interested in this campaign....When BA tried to insist that jewellery be worn under clothing instead of on show, at first they refused to back down to grumbling employees, however, once the catholic church stated that they would not be using BA flights in future unless crosses could be worn overtly BA backed down very quickly....the church may well want a quiet word with the publisher too !!!! scary but true...we would have a battle on our hands but I whole heartedly support the campaign anyway....I think Richard Dawkins needs to be in on it too...
    Karan Meechan, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Sorry Andrew Clark but Tessa is mine already...Good to know there is another atheist in Southwark though.
    Chris Newman, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • I also suspect that the publishers would be nervous about getting involved, they won't want a religious boycott on their hands! We'll probably have to deal with them purely as customers.

    I also agree that we need some standardized presentation like a covering letter that clears up the inevitable misunderstandings. i.e; We're not out to ban religion or persecute the faithful, just to promote secularism & reason.
    sam, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Digg it
    http://digg.com/politics/The_gift_of_rea...
  • As a covering letter to known Christian MP's how about the following which I found not just amusing, but very powerful:

    perhaps you could ask your (priest, pope, bishop ...)he authoritative answers to these questions I received in an email a while ago?
    When someone tries to defend homosexual equality, Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination. End of debate.
    I do need some advice, however, regarding some of the other specific laws in the Bible and how to follow them.
    1). When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odour for the Lord (Leviticus 1:9). The problem is my neighbours. They claim the odour is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them?
    2). I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her?
    3). I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her period of menstrual cleanliness (Leviticus 15:19-24). The problem is, how do I tell? I have tried asking, but most women take offence.
    4). I have a neighbour who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2 clearly states that he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself?
    5). A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is a abomination of Leviticus 11:10, it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality. I don't agree. Can you settle this?
    6). Leviticus 21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear reading glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle room here?
    7). Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Leviticus 19:27. How should they die?
    8). I know from Leviticus 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me unclean, but may I still play football if I wear gloves?
    Derrick Byford, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Sorry, I'm not in your postal code. I'm in the US. I have thought about giving an old United Church of Christ minister friend a copy of the God Delusion. It is the best, as I think Richard Dawkins is the best.
    donna pangrle, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • I think Chris Newell picks up on a very interesting and important point, which certainly shouldn't go unnoticed. I wonder how many schools across the country actually do have any books on their library shelves that deal with the issues of humanism and atheism - I'm willing to bet that it isn't many.

    This is where a matched donation of the book may reap great rewards, especially on the back of some high profile publicity. It will surely have the effect of getting school kids thinking about the issue, and hopefully want to read the book out of curiosity to see what the fuss is all about.

    It would be interesting to hear Richard Dawkins' thoughts on this pledge.
    Craig Barlow, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Providing all MPs with a copy of The God Delusion, in some cases will be preaching to the already converted, and those that are not converted are likely to take it as an attempt to make them doubt their existing beliefs and is therefore most likely to result in them taking actions to re-inforce their belief to counter this 'attack'.

    Also, the publicity angle, whilst sounding good at first glance, will be seen as athiests going on the offensive, which can only put those we are 'attacking' on the defensive, or worse still, they take the stance that "attack is the best form of defence" and we end up in some sort of confrontation.

    I am an athiest and have a copy of The God Delusion and think it is a great book...but I am not convinced sending all MPs a copy will have the effect you are hoping for.

    Is it not better to fight them on specific points of rationality - ie. each individual that has signed up could email their MP with a strong argument (even a standard, crafted email that all send)? A defeat for the church on opting out, without the publicity stunt of TGD being distributed, will carry more weight, with public opinion, about the view of the church in today's society, than a victory after the distribution of TGD, which may be seen as having had some sort of influence, due to it's timing, instead of the victory being a more general, permanent, long term trend away from religious views.
    Richard Hogg, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • On the point of atheism in schools, I teach both general studies and Biology and I am constantly bombarded with demands from the students to prove that what I teach is true as they feel they are religious and I must be wrong. It is an extremely delicate situation in schools where you have to remember that any discussion can be relayed very differently to parents. The discussion entered into with students however must steer clear of persuasion but more present the facts and arguments. It is after all following the argument throughout the God Delusion that people should be making up their own minds, especially children. As for libraries in schools I have asked for the libraruian to buy a copy, even offered mine, but she does seem a little reluctant.
    S Phillips, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • I think it's a good idea.

    Unfortunately, because I live near Gainsborough my MP is Edward Leigh. He's the chairman of the socially conservative "cornerstone" group of MP's, an outspoken catholic and committed opponent of stem cell research, contraception, abortion and equality for gay's and cohabiting couples.

    I don't think he'd bother to read it.

    Perhaps I could hit him over he head with a copy instead.

    P.S How would I know that someone isn't already sending him a copy. There's no register of what MP's people already plan to send the book to.
    stuart brown, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • stuart brown,

    The pledge creator maintains a list at http://www.jamiechristie.com/cands/ (it's linked to in the pledge description at the top of this page). Last time I looked, Edward Leigh was still free :)
    Jan-Kees van Zeeland, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Most children up for adoption are already several years old. I want to know at what age a child can choose who they want to be adopted by? The rights of children are surely paramount. Interested parties, like homosexuals or religious or whatever, should get their fingers out and start listening to individual children.
    Irene Coates, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Amazon have just reduced the price to £9.99!
    Alan Clark, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • I've placed this pledge on my weblog, so you should get a little bit more traffic.
    I see The Richard Dawkins Foundation has made an endorsement too.

    Good Luck!


    Sid
  • I think someone (and or ‘we’ as a collective) should draft a standard letter that we can include with the book.
    The standard letter would be optional.
    However I for one would like a carefully worked letter rather than my first stab blather.

    I have some words I've knocked up.
    Unfortunately this discussion board says its too long (376 words).

    Is there any way we can share a text and thrash out a good one?
    Dan Allen, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • I've added a draft text to the topic on RichardDawkins.net.

    If anyone has better ideas of alterations, please throw them back at me over there.

    A link is attached.
  • The book is £9.99 at Amazon.co.uk - link attached.
    Let's not get bogged down about money.
    Stick yer hand in there. I'm sure Dawkins deserves a few bob and if he doesn't need it he'll probably bung it in to his foundation.
  • Hasn't the argument on adoption and the Catholics' exemption from the discrimination law just been won? If so, perhaps we need a new good reason for making this gesture? I suggest trying to persuade government to remove religion from schools, that is, the labelling of schools, and by extension their pupils, with a religion, or expecting children to participate in religious ceremonies as part of the school day. "Religious education", which I take to mean instructing children about religions, is less unpleasant and divisive, and I don't see any need to ban that, until Dawkins' work is done, of course, when religion will only feature in history lessons.
    Mark Constable, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • The rapid collapse of British society will continue until we recognise that it has been since biblical principles have been returned to our laws. The current concept of politicians in parliament being able to interpret Scripture is scary. As for Dr Dawkin's attacks on religion, he is just a bigot seeking to impose his views on others. Oh, just a thought, that is what religions are accused of doing. But then, Dawkin's beliefs require considerably more faith to believe in than the Bible does.
    Pete Hodge, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Can anyone spare a tenner to send Pete Hodge a copy of The God Delusion? It sounds like he needs it :-)
  • Pete,

    The Dawkins needs more faith argument is only as old as it is feeble.
    Your only hope is to go to the 'I have faith and don't need science' corner of the room.
    We're still going to laugh at you but you get a better ride that way.
    Do you want a copy of the book?
    It can be arranged.
  • Dave and Dan,
    The tenner would be handy Dave, and Dan, I don't need a copy of Prof. Dawkins book 'The God Delusion,' because I view material by bigots not to be worthy of consideration. He has an axe to grind, so his comments will be fatally flawed.

    If evolution was truly scientific, and remember that science is defined as, 'knowledge gained by systematic experimentation and analysis, and the formulation of general principle,' then evolution and Darwinism fails.

    Evolution is founded on presumptions arrived at by a misinterpretation of the evidences based upon a preconceived concept of naturalistic origins devoid of any concept of a Divine creator. In simple terms, evolution does not have any proof and Prof Dawkins is desperately trying to cling on to his neo-Darwinian beliefs in the face of growing opposition to his views.

    I much prefer to read scientists who examine all the evidence and arrive at their conclusions based upon the obvious interpretation, without recourse to what they want to believe.

    Have a nice day
    Pete Hodge, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • I appreciate that this is well in motion but I would strongly recommend sending Sam Harris's book "The End of Faith" instead of TGD for the following reasons:

    1. Sam Harris does not have the stigma associated with him that RD does; RD is often seen as a "fundamentalist athiest" which may stop people reading the book who have not chosen to purchase it.

    2. You can ask the recipient to just humour you by reading from page 11 to page 23 - the first 12 pages of the book. If they read this much and still believe in their religion then their minds will not be changed. The God Delusion does not have this same impact in the early pages. I have just re-read the start of both books and "The End of Faith" has a much more powerful set of arguments early on, and a better style, that is likely to keep the person reading longer.

    3. The End of Faith is only £5.99 on play.com and £6.39 on amazon.co.uk.

    Food for thought....are we trying to change the world or sell more of RD's books?
    Richard Hogg, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • I must say, I don't like the RD book as a tool for changing minds.
    RD is in practice way too arrogant.
    Phrases like 'this make sense until you give it a moments thought' aren't likely to change minds. Just put backs up.
    I'm not saying he's wrong just doesn't care about PR.
    I'v signed up to this gag because it has some momentum - not because it is a great book.
  • Hi Peter

    Could you please name the 'scientists that you prefer to read who examine all the evidence and arrive at their conclusions based upon the obvious interpretation, without recourse to what they WANT to believe'.. ??

    I ask you this in order that I can gain more of an understanding of how you arrived at your point of view.

    Thank you

    And you have a nice day too
    Karan Meechan, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Pete,

    You do realise that it isn't just Dawkins and Darwin who write about evolution don't you? There are thousands of scientists who have researched this area over the last 150 years. There's a huge body of work in this area.

    Evolution has as much evidence behind it as pretty much any other scientific idea. There are no respectable scientists who disagree with it.

    Choosing to disparage evolution simply because it doesn't agree with your favourite fairy story is just not a rational response.

    Dave...
  • Ok. I've pledged. What happens now?
    Max Mullen, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Food for thought, just to clarify..... YES! We ARE trying to change the world and YES we DO want to sell as many RD books as is humanly possible.....if, in some small way, it helps to achieve that end....

    I hope others agree that any and all books by Dawkins, Harris et al should be actively promoted as a matter of course
    Karan Meechan, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Can we put the playground "Well science involves faith" argument to bed please.
    Science clearly does not set out to impose its prejudice on the world and scientific models have changed radically many times in response to many discoveries. A startlingly absent feature of religion.
    Science absolutely and certainly does not exhalt 'blind faith' as a virtue.
    All the whingers are right that bias can not be avoided entirely;
    However science spends a lot of time trying to drive the nonsense of faith and other corrupting bias OUT.
    The fact that we fail to do that entirely does not drag science down to the laughable position of religion where faith is a primary virtue and it is positively fostered, encouraged and admired.
    That fostering of faith is the fundamental evil of religion and the focal point of its all its greatest harms.
    My nine year-old is getting beyond 'well so are you' arguments.
    Why not have a go yourselves.
  • I would like my book to be assigned to Woodford and Chingford, Iain Duncan Smith.

    Thanks,
    Will
    Will Parry, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • As has been noted above, this pledge would be far more effective if we could perhaps enlist the help of a like-minded MP to bring up the matter in the House of Commons. This way, the MPs receiving the books may be more inclined to actually read them rather than discarding them on arrival and replying with a formulaic message.
    Zara, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • The God debate. I suggest that for balance you read the "The Case for a Creator" by Lee Strobel, an atheist who became Christian on trying to prove evolution was scientifically sound. He speaks to multiple well respected scientists who don't believe in evolution.
    As a GP I would say i had a good scientific grounding. I am a Christian and have witnessed many healings and prayers coming true. Open your minds t the truth.
    Dawkins arguments are interesting but on close inspection flawd.
    rebecca Evans, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • If you are going to enter into a God vs Science argument you will loose no matter what side you are on.

    Consider this:

    Do you believe in the Big Bang theory?

    If so:
    Where did the elements come from to cause the big bang?

    And:
    What was there before?

    Or:
    Do you believe in God?

    If so:
    Where did he come from?

    And
    Who is his God?

    It is a very circular and pointless argument.

    Now religion; that is a whole different matter. It was designed to subvert the masses. It has now been mostly superseded in the west by politics, but what goes around comes around and very soon we are to have a new religion called environmentalism.

    If we all lived by one simple rule, which is that, no law should ever be introduced unless it is to prevent persons or groups of persons directly and adversely affecting another's life liberty or property then there would be no problem.

    If you are gay and wish to adopt then you can go to another less bigoted adoption agency but that does not alter the fact that, like many laws, it should not have been introduced in the first place. I see no reason why there cannot be specifically gay adoption agencies to bring some balance and allow the Catholics to live in the dark ages (or in denial) if that is what they wish.
    Jake Long, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • God Vs Science is a distraction.
    Don't get dragged in, it isn't important.
    This is Faith Vs Facts.
    Should we follow facts and drive out faith or follow faith and drive out facts?
    Government of faith is always a disaster on some level.
    In many levels 'uncertainty' clouds the issue. But please don't confuse the higher purpose with the practical progress.

    Choose Facts & F**K Faith.

    I think I might print a t-shirt...
    Choose Facts of the Front.
    F**K Faith on the back.
    with a footnote 'apologies to anyone called Faith'.
    How about WWSIWKTFD?
    'What would someone intelligent who knew the facts do?'.
    Surely we should guide of princples on informed decision making.
    I can't see people being against intelligent informed decision making.
    Can you?
  • Rebecca, I’m at a loss as to whether you are staggeringly naive or merely cynically disingenuous. Whether or not Lee Strobel was once an atheist is utterly irrelevant. He is now a conservative fundamentalist evangelist, and so are the people he ‘interviews’ for his ‘balanced’ books. In The Case for a Creator, his interviewees are the ‘scientists’ of the Discovery Institute, the creationist halfwits discredited in a recent court case of reasonable notoriety in America, and long since in the eyes of scientists and of rational people everywhere. Those holding a priori beliefs are unlikely to bring any balance to your party; I suggest you rethink your guest list.

    That said, there’s little point in looking for objectivity in one who sees fit to regurgitate the dreary old ‘I have witnessed healings’, ‘prayers coming true’ and ‘open your minds to the truth’ pablum. I’m leaning towards ‘disingenuous’.
    Moose Hunter, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Rebecca,

    You say:

    "I am a Christian and have witnessed many healings and prayers coming true"

    Have you ever seen an amputee healed? No? Funny that.

    http://www.whydoesgodhateamputees.com/

    Dave...
  • Rebecca Evans, good point. I have read Lee Strobel's book. It is a good, sensible discussion. He has researched fully, as a former reporter, has listened, asked questions, and he arrived at his decision. But evolutionists will not allow him to do that without insulting him. They consider they have a monopoly on truth and as such anyone who disagrees with them is considered mentally deficient. Another book I have read, which was written by someone who set out to prove the falseness of the resurrection of Jesus, is called, 'Who Moved the Stone.' Unfortunately, I have forgotten the authors name. He says in his foreword, that he set out to write a book that consequently 'refused to be written.' The more he examined the historical records, the evidence etc., the more convinced he became that Jesus actually died and rose from the dead.

    And Jake, I actually agree with you about religion. I said in a lessons I preached this morning (Sunday 11th) that some has said religion is either a curse of a blessing. Religion is responsible for numerous horrors down through history. I would love nothing more than to see religion got rid off. Perhaps in that idea, I am in 'bed' with Prof. Dawkins. But I am a Christian. I believe the Bible is God's word to mankind. Others have different views, that is their right. At the moment we have the freedom in Britain to believe what we like. Soon (when Islam takes over) that right will be taken away from us.

    And the 'Big Bang!' I love that one.' Originally there was 'nothing.' Then one day, nothing exploded. So, an exploding nothing, became a universe of something. A bit like 0 + 0 = 1. When one is desperate to prove a desired belief, that there is no God and that the present universe is the result of mere naturalistic actions, one must grasp at any straw that passes by. Even when that straw is sinking under the weight of its lack of logic and evidence. But hey, why spoil a good theory with the facts?

    Pete
    Pete Hodge, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Re, the item on homosexuality, the Law and the Levitical teaching on homosexuality.

    Homosexuality was a part of the moral law, which has never changed. The aspects of the law regarding sacrifices etc were a part of the religious law and had its fullfilment in the person and life of Jesus Christ. This Law was superseded by the Gospel after Jesus had died on the cross.

    Actually, the Apostle Paul writing under influence of the Holy Spirit made an even stronger condemnation of Homosexuality and Lesbianism in Romans Chapter 1.

    By the way, how do you feel about the notion put about that people are homosexuals due to a genetic change? Surely that flies in the face of survival of the fittest. Homosexuals cannot procreate. Therefore, anyone, according to evolutionary theory, would have died out immediately, as they could not have produced offspring. So, if we have people being homosexuals because of their genes, thus the, 'I can't help it, my genes have made me what I am,' argument, could be used by pedophiles to justify their activities. Let's add those who have sex with animals or close relations. Sorry folks, you can't have your cake and eat it. Homosexuality is unnatural. Homosexuals are largely deceived into thinking they have that tendency.

    The Christian perspective on tis matter is simple, 'Hate the sin, but love the sinner.' The Islamic view? 'Kill the sinner.'
    Pete Hodge, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Just came across the following by someone called Albert Einstein. I seem to recall he is famous for discovering some things. Apparently he wrote it after discovering inerrant problems with his 'steady state' theory for the universe.

    "Reveals an intelligence of such
    superiority that, compared with it, all the systematic thinking and acting of human beings is an utterly insignificant reflection."

    He went on to write, "Everyone who is seriously involved in the pursuit of science becomes convinced that a spirit is manifest in the laws of the Universe--a spirit vastly superior to that of man, and one in the face of which we with our modest powers must feel humble."

    I like honest scientists. They might not like results of their investigations, but at least they are able to admit to the fact that the evidence can have an alternative conclusion. There are quite a few like that.

    More to come.
    Pete Hodge, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Dan
    Your posting on 'Facts v F**K is a sad reflection on the level of debate that evolutionists and Darwinsts have sink to. Why is it that you are all so terrified that just maybe, your pet theory might not actually be true?

    The evidence for evolution is inconclusive. I have heard and read evolutionists say that. One lady on BBC Radio 4 a few months ago stated that most evolutionists would not enter into a debate with creationists because they cannot prove evolution to be true.

    many years ago, the late Carl Sagan challenged any creationist to a debate. At least one did. Sagan then found an excuse to back out of the challenge.

    By resorting to insults and ridicule you do your argument no good. You are saying in effect that you do not have the facts you claim to have and so your only alternative is to ridicule your opponent.

    The reality is, one of is right and one wrong. Some try and sit on the fence, but that is not feasible. maybe, at this time it is impossible to prove the reality one way or the other. But one thing I can guarantee, one day we shall know.
    Pete Hodge, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Pete Hodge. You will find all you need to know about Einstein and his religious beliefs if you can bring yourself to read the God Delusion book. It seems that people who claim that Einstein was religious or used religious metaphors as a consequence of belief, are being economical with the facts. I know economy with facts is a requirement if you are to be religious - so I forgive you. Anyway, I dare you to read the book. You could make into a game. The last one to finish it is a sissy.
    Max Mullen, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Pete Hodge: Mostly off-topic (for which I apologise to anyone not interested in the following), but your points merit answers.

    "At the moment we have the freedom in Britain to believe what we like. Soon (when Islam takes over) that right will be taken away from us." and "The Islamic view? 'Kill the sinner.'"

    Ouch. You are referring to the views of a small minority of Muslims, who are equivalent to similarly-minded minorities among Christians (the Northern Ireland troubles and the violent white-supremacists in the U.S. deep south are but two of the recent examples). I suggest you try speaking to some "moderate" (i.e. normal) Muslims before making such horrendous and unjustified generalisations.


    "Homosexuals cannot procreate. Therefore, anyone, according to evolutionary theory, would have died out immediately, as they could not have produced offspring."

    Only if you assert that it is only gay parents who could produce gay offspring. The mechanisms of genetics are far more complex than this; besides which, the mere fact of having a preference for same-sex partners does not preclude the possibility of also having opposite-sex partners (many modern gay people do so at some point in their lives, as you may have noticed), thereby passing on their genes.

    If you want (and are prepared to consider) evidence that homosexual tendencies can arise independently of "choice" and social influences, then take a look at the prevalence of homosexual behaviour among non-human animals. For example, there's a brief section here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Animal_sexu.... From that site: "Approximately eight percent of [male] rams exhibit sexual preferences [that is, even when given a choice] for male partners...". Or perhaps you want to assert that rams are "largely deceived into thinking they have that tendency" by their friends?

    (contd.)
  • Pete Hodge:

    "And the 'Big Bang!' I love that one.' Originally there was 'nothing.' Then one day, nothing exploded."

    Indeed, there are insufficient data (as I understand it - perhaps someone more knowledgeable could jump in here?) to determine what caused the Big Bang; only that it happened.


    Similarly: "The evidence for evolution is inconclusive... [E]volutionists... cannot prove evolution to be true."

    Well yes, that's why it's called "the theory of evolution". This is how science works; we use unbiased observation and replicable, empirical testing to construct theories about how phenomena operate. Nothing can ever be "proven", because we can never, logically, be absolutely certain that we will never encounter the "one white crow" which disproves the theory. The most which can ever be said of a theory is that it appears to fit the facts, and that nothing has yet been observed to contradict it. On this measure, the theory of evolution has proven so far to be remarkably robust.

    Many creationists have argued (erroneously) that evolution has been disproven by "holes" in the theory (i.e. things which it implies to be true, but which have not yet been observed). For the sake of argument, then, let's assume that this is true. The resulting creationist argument may perhaps be restated as follows: "Evolution is wrong. Therefore, instead, God must be real and must have [list of characteristics]." This is where we get to the crux of the science/religion tension, in my view: the religious response is to use a (perceived) *lack* of evidence to create *positive* assertions. In other words, even if evolution were disproven, creationism would remain precisely as unproven (and unprovable) as it is now.
  • Just a thought. I am wondering whether the simultaneous arrival through the post of bulky packages addressed to all MPs might create a bit of a security alarm.
    Les Rose`, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Nic Shakeshaft

    At last, a supporter of evolution who is willing to admit to the 'theory' of evolution. I have absolutely no problem whatever with the theory of evolution and I am equally willing to talk about the 'theory' of creationism.

    Yes, I believe that God created everything in 6 twenty-four hour periods (Days) of time. Also, I admit to being on the 'radical' wing of the creation view, a 'young universe' view. Now I do believe it to be true, as evolutionist's believe their theory to be true. We both have the same evidences that we examine in order to arrive at our respective theory's. It is merely a question of interpretation.

    I use a creationists model because for me, it works. You use a naturalistic model because for you, it works. At the end of the day, one of us will be proved right and one wrong. The problem is, that no matter how hard some have tried, there is no compromise between the two. I believe that this is the main bone of contention underlying the problem. Either God created the universe or He didn't.

    So, we examine the evidences, and try and arrive at an understanding as to how they could work. I have great respect for honest scientists, who upon giving careful scrutiny of the evidence arrive at their conclusions. I do not respect those who despite the evidences, will say, 'evolution does not work, but we have to believe it because the only other alternative is a special creation, and we can't accpet that.

    We have supposed theologians who say that about some teachings of the Bible.
    Pete
    Pete Hodge, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Max Mullen. I never claimed that Einstein claimed to have any religious belief. I don't know if he did. My comment was about what he was honest enough to admit. That basically there was a viable alternative to naturalistic evolution, which lacks conclusive evidence.

    Someone recently refereed to the US court case, I assume the Kansas school board row.

    Here, it was claimed, the pro-creation school board wanted to ban the teaching of evolution and only teach creationism. This was actually a a falicy. What the school board wanted to see, was an honest debate on the subject and students be advised that their was an alternative to to naturalistic evolution.

    I am curious what the problem is. What are evolutionists afraid off? Are they saying that because their theory is weak nothing else should be taught that i any way might shed some light on the reality? I find that to be a very unscientific method of going about resolving the questions.

    True science will consider all the evidence pertaining to an issue, even if they don't like it. Failure to so so suggests a fear of facing the facts.

    Christian scientists, true, might have a bias in a certain direction. But they will still look at the arguments. They will examine, debate, investigate and come to a conclusion based upon their observations. Just because their conclusions is different the evolutionary scientists does not mean they should be open to ridicule and insult.

    The problem is that evolutionary scientists are far more bigoted than most Christian scientists. Men like Dawkins have an agenda. Darwinistic evolution is merely the vehicle they us to further that agenda.
    Pete Hodge, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Pete Hodge. We are going round in circles. For serious debate there has to be agreement about the subject and set boundaries. Otherwise, all is confusion, non sequiturs, and irrelevance.

    I would like to suggest that everyone, including your goodself, confine remarks to matters raised in the Richard Dawkins book. Debate would be more coherent - and also logical because after all, Richard Dawkins is the reason for the web site. It follows Mr. Hodge, that to make a proper contribution you must read the book. Please study Richard Dawkins because he believes that by good people such as you following religion, legitimacy is given to bad people following religion. (I hope Professor Dawkins will forgive me for this paraphrasing).

    I have never believed in a god, but until comparatively recently did not wish to voice my opinion. Who cares what people believe as long as it’s harmless; and for a couple of hundred years in Northern Europe religion has been harmless. But that has all changed. An alien religion has become a force in Europe. It is militant and it threatens chaos. And, at exactly the wrong moment, America is having a fundamentalist revival. So the argument is not going to be about rationalism and a pre-medieval belief system. It’s going to be about the pre-medieval belief systems themselves. Militant foreign religions will be given the space to propagate their own ideas which are no more irrational than Christian but a whole lot more aggressive. Things could become very nasty indeed and I wouldn’t like to predict the outcome.

    Our cosy, secular - but with a Christian paint job - life-style is over. Religion is serious once again. Unfortunately our dear old and generally harmless northern European Christian faith is likely to be collaterally damaged. But it has to be done. It is very sad.

    If you, or anyone else can tell me I am wrong to fear the effects of religion in the future I would be delighted to believe them. Just don’t ask me to pray.
    Max Mullen, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Pete Hodge.

    With respect, to make a proper contribution to the debate you really must read The God Delusion. Your attitude which seems to be “my mind is made-up, don’t bother me with the facts (or other opinions)” does justice to nobody.

    Similarly, your earlier remarks that you have no need to read the works of bigots (or words to that effect) seem somewhat bigoted – don’t you think?

    Regarding your latest comments on Einstein. I don’t understand them. You say that Einstein believed it possible that the universe was not created by natural means but you don’t know if he was religious or not. So this means that in your mind it is possible that Einstein believed that the universe was created neither by natural or supernatural means. Blimey.

    As mentioned before; read The God Delusion, see pages 14 to 19. It will help you know more about Einstein and religion. There may be other passages devoted to Einstein but I forget where they are. A few quotations. “It was, of course, a lie what you read about my religious convictions, a lie which is systematically repeated”. “I am a deeply religious nonbeliever. This is a somewhat new kind of religion” and “I have never imputed to Nature a purpose or a goal, or anything that could be understood as anthropomorphic” and “The idea of a personal God is quite alien to me and seems even naïve”.

    I believe that earlier someone offered to buy the book for you. I would like to repeat the offer.
    Max Mullen, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Peter,
    Please don't do the Einstein believed in God.
    He didn't a complained widely how he'd been mis-understood in his lifetime.
    It's amazing how this sort of folklore won't die.
  • Do you accept that blind faith in anything (including god or religious conviction) is not a reasonable way to approach the truth about the nature and origins of the universe and any of the things in it?
    It is definitely true that no one knows where the universe came from or why or indeed if those questions make sense let alone have answers for us.
    The best you can say is there may be some creator entity but we can find no evidence of it whatsoever and certainly have no idea if it intended us to worship or respect it in some way or even realised we would be a consequence of its actions if it operates in a way that 'realised' and 'consequence' make sense. We might be cosmic cock-up. Our existence is pretty unlikely…
    The thing that surprises me is the suggestion that this entity (for which we have no evidence) is so obsessed with what people do with their genitals.
    We've got the near infinite expanses of space and time and it spends so much of times worrying about where I might put my willy. It just isn't that big a deal (joke intended).
    It has to be screamingly obvious that the churches obsession with sex is the fabrication of the men it not the God (if any) behind it.
    Faith is no way to proceed to any valid conclusion. We need to start diminishing faith and start building facts.
    On a social level, we can see faith does a lot of damage around the world and very very little good that isn't easily obtained some other way.
    So on purely pragmatic grounds. Bin faith and get on with doing good.
    Faith is like a drug addiction – people with it think they need it but they don’t and they fight and fight and fight and just maybe one day they glimpse the truth and start the long road to recovery. I hope you go on that journey one day. You don’t seem close to it today.
    Dan Allen, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Signup has now stalled and it's currently predicted that the pledge will end at 82% - i.e. the message is not getting out there.

    Since we don't have churches to spread the word in, may I strongly suggest folks use Digg.com?

    Digg is a website where users choose the stories that make it to the front page. Each user can choose to support a story or ignore it. So far this story has a few "diggs" but it needs a lot more. If everyone here registered and dugg it, it would probably make the front page of the politics section and thus be seen by several thousand people. Certainly worth a shot.

    http://digg.com/politics/The_gift_of_rea...
  • Max and Dan, believe it or not I agree with a lot of what you said. I am on record at stating that I don't really have a lot of time for 'religion.' That might sound a little strange for a Christian to say, but then Christianity, the Christianity that is described in the Bible is a 'world' away from the medieval clap-trap, with all its robes and traditions, waving of incense etc., that passes for Christianity today.

    The problem is that this is the Christianity that people see is this false face. They also see the 'bad' Christianity, because that is what is so often is in the media. The Jehovah's Witnesses with their ridiculous non-biblical stance on blood transfusions, which has nothing to do with Bible teaching. The corrupt 'TV evangelists' with their money making scams.

    But you are right, the biggest threat today is the religion of Islam. Yes, the vast majority of its followers are moderate, decent people, who do not believe in violence. But will soon support it once Islam becomes the dominant force in Britain.

    What has this to do with the 'God is a Delusion' debate? Not a lot I suppose. But it could well be a part of the consequences of the denying of the truth of the Bible. -continued
    Pete Hodge, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Pete,

    The problem is that there is no evidence to support creationism in the sense of intent or nature of any God.
    There is the universe itself and that demonstrates something happened and that could be construed as evidence for God but we don't really know enough about its creation to make specific claims about who,how or why. In fact we don't really know if those questions apply to universes. Do they need creating? Are they created by beings? Should those answers be 'yes' do they do it for a reason? Are we part of that reason? We don't know any of those answers.
    .
    For example, what evidence tells you it was 6 twenty-four hour periods?
    Why not two weeks, or as the Pastafarians believe 2 seconds?
    How do you know that extraordinarily specific fact?
    Dan Allen, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Hi Pete Hodge

    On Thursday 1 Feb you wrote

    "I much prefer to read scientists who examine all the evidence and arrive at their conclusions based upon the obvious interpretation, without recourse to what they want to believe."

    I'll ask you AGAIN (as I did on Friday 2 Feb) Can you please name the scientists to whom you refer ? I ask you this in order that I can gain a better understanding of how you arrived at your point of view.

    Meanwhile....I believe that

    'Religions are founded on presumptions arrived at by misrepresentation (intentional or not) of the personal hallucinations of charismatic, meglomanic psycotics preaching their deluded superstitious nonsense of divine creation to the uneducated and/or gullible which is devoid of all practical reason'
    Karan Meechan, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Pete Hodge. I had decided not to contribute any more to this. It’s fun but a bit of a pointless conversation of the deaf. And then you write:

    “But then Christianity, the Christianity that is described in the Bible is a 'world' away from the medieval clap-trap, with all its robes and traditions, waving of incense etc., which passes for Christianity today”. So you consider the bible to be the literal truth and an infallible guide to our lives and morals? Have you read the Bible?

    If not, see the great piece by Derrick Byford. He’s puzzled by the teachings of your bible and seeks advice. A couple of examples (begging Mr Byford’s pardon).

    I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her?

    I have a neighbour who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2 clearly states that he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself?

    Professor Dawkins quotes Job who wishes to divert a mob declaring “Behold now, I have two daughters which have not known man: let me, I pray you, bring them out to you and do ye to them as is good in your eyes”. According to the bible this is praiseworthy. Is it any wonder that even in medieval times it was thought that the bible morality had to be “interpreted”? Consequently, morality is defined by man after all.

    You ask “What has this got to do with the God is a Delusion debate? The answer: religion is a luxury we can no longer afford. We can’t defeat aggressive foreign “faith” irrationality with our own “faith” irrationality. All religion has to be confined to the margins. We may not like it but we should have thought about that before we got ourselves into this mess.
    Max Mullen, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Pete Hodge (and everyone):

    The point I was trying to make earlier is precisely that creationism (and religion in general) *is not a theory*. As Dan Allen wrote, above, the difference is that religions makes specific and detailed assertions, about everything from creation to morality, and have no testable evidence whatsoever to back any of them up.

    Evolution, as I said above, is a theory: 1) it uses observable evidence to make specific claims, 2) it makes no claims about anything for which there is no evidence, and, crucially, 3) it is capable of being disproven should contrary evidence emerge. Creationism (and, again, religion as a whole) fails to satisfy any of these requirements, and so, by definition, is not a theory. This is why it should not be taught as an "alternative theory" to evolution: it isn't a theory at all.

    I, for one, have no objection to having information about religions taught in schools - on the contrary, I think it's very important that children should grow up knowing what kinds of beliefs they're likely to encounter - but it should never be taught as undisputed fact, and it should never be confused with science.
  • Max, Re. the questions. Slavery. it is accepted that at one time slavery existed. But the verse you cited occurs under the Law of Moses. Sometimes, we in our modern climate have a difficulty in understanding why these laws are in effect. I would like to have a 'black and white' answer to the question, but if you look at the context of the verse it is really dealing with giving some rights to slaves. Slavery was a fact in that society. Just as God did not approve divorce, He laid down rules by which what the people were doing could be brought under some form of control. Not a good answer, I accept.

    As for the Sabbath day. The Sabbath Law law was for the Jews only and has, like the rest of the Mosaic Law been superseded by the Law of Christ. Remember also, that the Sabbath was our Saturday, actually 6:00pm Friday to 6:00pm Saturday. So carry on working. The Sabbath law no longer applies.

    Your reference to Job offering his two daughters is in error. It was Lot, the nephew of Abraham. He lived in Sodom and had two 'guests' in his home, possibly angels. A large crowd of men were outside the house demanding that the 'men' were given to them so they could use them for homosexual purposes. Lot was infected by the social norms of the time, just like many Christians today are 'infected' by the evils of modern society. I am not aware that the Bible in any way condones Lot's actions.

    I am on record as stating that if people want to drop all Christian influences from life, then let's do so. If our land is so corrupt today with a small amount of Christian influence, can you imagine what would happen if there was no influence. I reckon in six months there would be a clamour for faith to return.
    Pete Hodge, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Karen
    The list of scientists is far to long to put here, but if you go to the AnswersinGenesis web page. Just type in AiG on your web browser, go to the Q&A link and when you are there type in 'creation scientists.' That will get you there.

    Also, I have a list of several hundred scientists who are not known to be creationists, but who have made interesting remarks about evolution. I will end with a quote from Charles Darwin himself. In a letter to Asa Gray, a Harvard professor of biology, he wrote, "I am quite conscious that my speculations run quite beyond the bounds of true science." I trust you will not object to me holding similar views to Mr Darwin?

    In a list of 4,000 scientists who have stated that evolution is flawed, only 164 were known to be creationists.

    So, holding my anti-evolution views has not put me in the minority, but in with the majority.
    Pete Hodge, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Hi Pete

    Thanks for your reply to my question and I shall do as you suggest re AiG and links to lists of creationist scientist. However, I do feel somewhat cheated in your response....All I asked of you was to qualify a remark you made by giving me specific names of scientists that YOU much prefer to read....You appear reluctant to do this which begs the question... WHY ?
    Karan Meechan, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Pete Hodge. Thanks for the correction. It was indeed Lot. I knew that – after all, I had just read it in The God Delusion!! My apologies to Professor Dawkins for misquoting him. (Late at night, mixed-up one strange three letter name with an ‘O’ in the middle for another).

    Thank you for acknowledging that the “teachings” of the bible have been, and needed to be, interpreted by man for its improvement. And, even better, you don’t claim that the improvements are god given. Well done - you’re progressing. The next stage (soon I hope) will be for you to realize that the bible is basically, excuse my French, codswollop, even if it does contain some good bits.

    Later again, I hope you will realize that the new foreign religions pose a serious threat and we cannot combat their dangerous fantasies by clinging to our own, benign though ours may be.
    Max Mullen, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Max Mullen:

    I'm going to have to disagree that "new foreign religions" (by which I assume you mean Islam) are any more dangerous than "our own" (Christianity?). As I mentioned above, there are plenty of examples of Christianity being used as an excuse for promoting hatred and violence. Such things are not integral to Islam any more than they are to Christianity, so in this sense, it is not religion itself which is the danger. The violence doesn't originate in religion; religion is merely the vehicle used to justify its expression and provide a sense of common identity and purpose between otherwise disparate people. (In my view, the violence itself usually originates in legitimate political grievances, which are then used to justify indefensible tactics).

    The primary danger from religion itself, then, is the fundamental point that it encourages people to adopt unquestioning beliefs. In the wrong political and economic climate, *any* religion can thus be used to justify violence. We saw it in Northern Ireland with Christianity, and we're seeing it again now with Islam. There's no difference.
  • Pete,

    The problem is you're proceeding from the 'truth of the Bible' premise.
    That isn't a sound basis for thinking.
    There is precious little truth in the Bible and we certainly can't find which parts are true or not.
    Islam has a damaging affect on millions of people around the world every day.
    Both moderate and extreme Islam is not good for its followers or those near its followers. But they are in the 'thrall' of their faith and can't see that.
    I can't see Christianity as any better. Catholics, protestants, Witnesses and the rest hurt themselves and others with their silly doctrines, guilt waste millions building churches that could be used for other charitable purposes.
    Propogate hate against other religions, sexualities and to the greatest offence of many people who post here attack scientists who are trying to help the world gain an understanding of its origins based on fact not fiction.
    They scare children with their horrible fairy stories and limit their perspectives and potential.
    Don't distance your nonsense from other peoples nonsense. It's all nonsense.
    You pick holes in evolution and you haven't got a shred of evidence for what you claim.
    Get real. Get out of faith.
    Dan Allen, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • I think what many people (not including Philip Pullman) fail to realise is that children are also allowed to express their views on religion, and Dawkins's comments on children being too young to know what they are talking about are complete rubbish. I don't know what he classifies as a 'child', but I somehow doubt that there is an invisible line that is crossed when a person turns 18. I think he should know that there are 13 year olds reading his book, and should reconsider his views on us 'children'.
    Anonymous, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Hi Karen,
    Sorry of you feel a little 'cheated.' I was trying to save time, as I read a lot of articles written by many different scientists, most of whom would be included in the list. If you get into the AiG web page, may I encourage you to look at one or two of their articles. They are probably the best of the Creation sites I have come across. They are not afraid to say that a particular creationist argument is wrong.

    Dan,
    Just yesterday I read an article that stated that the argument between evolution and creation is not about evidence or lack of evidence, but about 'presumption.' each of us begins our examination from a specific viewpoint. You will interpret the evidence from yours and I will interpret the evidence from mine.

    Max & Nic
    I have no hesitation that Islam is the greatest danger facing the world today. It might not be PC to state it, but its early history is steeped in blood, as it destroyed all those who stood in its way, or would not conform to its ideals. Its founder would today be in prison for child abuse, having married a 6 year old girl, Aisha, though to be fair to the old pervert, he did not have sex with her until she was 9 (or some say 12.

    The central tenet of the Quran is of submission, the meaning of the word Islam. In itself that is no bad thing, Christianity teaches submission to the things of God.

    True, not all Muslims are terrorist. But Islam lends itself to violent extremism. All religion, I agree, is open to interpretation that is far from its message. But Christianity is based on equality, truthfulness and peace. You don't want to be a Christian. Fine! Under Islam, you don't want to be a Muslim, You are a second class person and open to abuse and victimisation.
    Pete Hodge, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Pete - What are you talking about? "Christianity based on equality, truthfulness and peace" - Where on earth do you get that from?
    Just a few examples will show you the Bible says nothing of the sort....Paul: The wife is subservient to the husband etc etc, Jesus: "I come not to bring peace, but a sword to tear up families" "Faith and faith alone"
    Where's the equality, truthfulness and peace there?
    I did not approach evolution from a secular standpoint, I was raised a strong Christian and studied evolution from that point of view, but I learned and questioned and Christianity just doesn't make any sense - however when you look at it from a position of developing society trying to cope with the ever present fear of death and with social control and a sense of identity as a people then it makes perfect sense, and all the "nasty" bits can be attributed to how unpleasant we know humans can be, not to some ultimate "good" being, when his outbursts of wrath and retribution make no sense whatsoever.

    I suggest you reread the Bible and try to look at it in historical contex and it will make an awful lot more sense.
    Abigail Hurley, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Nic Shakeshaft. I can’t tell you how much I want to believe you. Also, your desire to see the plank in your own (our) eye before the mote in others (note the clever reference to the bible) does you credit.

    However, I believe that you are wrong to assert that religion itself is not a danger. History is packed with examples of religion being the absolute cause of the most horrific brutality of every kind. While acknowledging that modern Christianity is pretty harmless, I am not defending it. My point is that we mustn’t be blinded by benign Christianity into believing that all religions are harmless. The doctrine of moral equivalence is self-deluding and dangerous.

    Remember: a cartoon is drawn in Denmark and Muslims start killing each other, 4000 miles away in Pakistan! Random slaughter, advocated. Conversion by force, advocated. Oppression of women, advocated. You can write your own list. When was the last time Christians, (even small minorities of Christians) or other religious people, were out in the streets demanding beheadings and the like.

    Northern Ireland is a complete red herring. The dispute was about politics not religion, between those who wanted a united Ireland and those who didn’t. The tactics were logical and aimed at causing disruption to the state. The killing was evil but a consequence not a purpose. Most importantly of all, both sides accepted that a solution would be found which did require the extinction of a one of them.

    The way to minimise the evils of an underdeveloped and unreformed foreign religion is by undermining the entire religious premise altogether (getting rid of faith schools would be a good first step). Arguing that our fantasies are better than their fantasies won’t work.
    Max Mullen, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Pete Hodge.

    Whoever wrote the article you read about the theory of evolution starting from a ‘presumption’ is just plain, unvarnished, straight up and down, completely and blatantly wrong.

    Why are good religious people wishing only to bring truth and honesty and everything that is good to the world, so often so careless with the facts?

    It is well documented that Darwin and Wallace didn’t presume anything. What they actually did was to ‘notice’.

    First they ‘noticed’ certain phenomena which puzzled them. It was only after ‘noticing’, that they looked for an explanation for what they had ‘noticed’.

    ‘Noticing’ was the cause, ‘noticing’ was the beginning, ‘noticing’ was the start of what followed. 170 or so years after the ‘noticing’ we can be as certain of the truth of the consequent theory explaining what they ‘noticed’ as we can be certain of anything.

    Presumption? Hogwash!
    Max Mullen, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Max Mullen:

    Forgive me, but you misunderstand. I didn't mean to imply that religion itself is not dangerous, but rather that all religion is equally dangerous (or at least has the potential to be, which amounts to the same thing).

    For a brief overview of the ongoing violence spawned by Christianity, I recommend this short article:
    http://atheism.about.com/library/FAQs/ch... - helpfully titled "Christianity and Violence".

    To an extent, it's a "chicken or the egg" question, but my view is that developments in society precede developments in religion. In the inaccurately-named "West", we've had the benefits of a couple of centuries of economic and technological progress (largely at the expense of people in the "East", in fact), and our society has changed a lot in consequence. This is the only reason why mainstream Christianity has tended to become more moderate in recent decades, and not because it is categorically distinct from other religions. As Abigail Hurley writes, above, there are plenty of unequivocal examples in the Bible of a societal model which is anything but modern and moderate.

    I entirely agree with you about faith schools (as I hinted above in a different context), but this isn't because I feel that "foreign" religions pose a different category of danger.
    Nic Shakeshaft, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Nic. We probably agree more than it seems. It’s just difficult being clear in a few words in this forum. I don’t worry about MODERN Christianity AS PRACTICED HERE IN THE UK because with the reformation, the enlightenment and English common sense, it has been tamed.

    I just wonder if your belief that “developments in society precede developments in religion” is correct. The renaissance began in Italy but was stopped later by the Catholic Church. Fortunately, progress continued in northern Europe which was not so fanatical and the religious south was soon eclipsed. There is also the example of China and Japan; nations of extraordinarily gifted people, who were making huge progress (the Chinese seem to have invented pratically everthing) and destined to rule the world until stopped in their tracks by quasi religious social systems. I think that progress comes after religion has been neutralised not before. There is probably a virtuous circle: less religion, more progress which means less religion. You might wonder about the Americans, but they don’t let religion get in the way of business.

    Your comments about our progress at the expense of the east are worrying because I know it is fashionable to blame the British for everything. I think some in the Establishment get obtain gratification from beating their breasts. Don’t believe everything you are told. Beware simple facts. I’ll give you an example in the next piece (which I hope is appropriate in this space). I don't know about about Indian cloth production as a percentage of world trade before and after the Raj (if that’s what’s on your mind) but I do know to be careful about the figures quoted.
    Max Mullen, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Nic Shakeshaft

    I hope the organizers of this forum don’t mind this.

    Earlier I said simple facts aren’t enough. Example: the American Admiral responsible for the safety of allied ships in the waters off the eastern side of the USA in 1941 presided over the destruction of nearly 500 allied ships in just a few months.

    Britain in those days was still a great country and was able to tell the Admiral about the movement of the rather small number of German submarines able to operate so far from their bases in Europe and how best to counter them. He wouldn’t listen; he was incompetent and anti- British. The results were as dire as the British predicted.

    He said later that he could not stop the sinking of his ships because his first priority was the protection of American troops being carried across the Atlantic. To prove the point he said that during the entire war no American troops were lost crossing the Atlantic. Very true but still essentially a lie because nearly all American troops carried across the Atlantic in the war did so in British ships under British protection.

    Beware simple facts.
    Max Mullen, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Evolution: To believe this you need to believe that the clotting mechanism, a complex multi- step, interdependent system all evolved together- the only way it could ever work. Add the bone marrow to make blood, the complexity of the multiple different types of cells involved in the immune system and even if you don't believe in God it is much easier to believe a Human being was created originally as a Human being rather than evolving from clumps of cells. Most of us beleive in evolution because we have it rammed down our throats at school or in sci fi programmes.

    I think in future generations we will be laughed at for being so stupid, just as we laugh at our ancestors who believed disease was spread by smells!
    rebecca Evans, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Dave:

    I haven't witnssed an amputee being healed personally.

    However I believe it is possible.

    "The Heavenly Man , Hatterway), tells of the true story of a christian crippled by repeated torture in a chinese prison who God healed of his broken legs adn also blinded all the guards to his presence while he escaped.

    Even if you don't believe it - brillant book

    God does not hate you Dave. God loves you!

    Rebecca
    rebecca Evans, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • The one thing that is evident from the postings on this pledge, is that most have a completely secular view of what Christianity is all about. They have taken the commonly held view that what is perceived to be Christianity today, the denominations, the cults, the rituals the ridiculous claims the corrupt 'healers,' and the old fashioned language used is 'Christianity. The reality is that this is as much to do with Christianity as is evolution.

    Then there is the question of 'faith.' The thinking is that faith is believing in something that has no proof. But that is not faith. Faith is derived by looking at the evidence and being convinced at the lesson that evidence has revealed.

    He Jesus was alive on earth, He performed miracles. He did not do so as a show, but to give authority for the source of the power He had. This was later passed on to the apostles and others. Once the Bible had been written, that ability ended. It was no longer needed. Today I can believe in God, Jesus and everything surrounding it because of the historical record.

    Evolutionists have 'faith' in the veracity of their belief because of their interpretation of the evidences available. Others have looked at the same evidences and arrived at an alternative conclusion.

    Continued
    Pete Hodge, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Max,
    I did not mean to suggest that the vast majority of scientists have anything but the honest desire to arrive at the truth. But modern science rejects any idea of a divine involvement in the origin of the universe. Therefore, it begins its investigation of the evidences from a presumed position, that evolution is true. Also, that there is no alternative.

    This was written by a French scientist, Bounoure, Le Monde Et La Vie (October 1963) (Director of Research at the National center of Scientific Research in France; 'Evolutionism is a fairy tale for grown-ups. This theory has helped nothing in the progress of science. It is useless." (He was not known to be a believer in creationism.)

    Hundreds to thousands of reputable scientists, even the 'god of evolutionists,' Charles Darwin, have at one time or another admitted the theory has flaws and leaves questions which cannot be answered.

    The problem is simple, either evolution has taken place, leaving a trail of evidences in the fossil record, or everything was created fully formed and functioning. Many leading paleontologists have admitted that the fossil record does not work, and the evidence clearly shows that everything was fully functioning with no intermediate forms.

    But do I expect you to accept that? No! Because you believe what you do and the thought that there just might be an alternative cannot be accepted. Now what was it I have been accused off? Ah yes, having 'blind faith.' At least I have been prepared to look at the alternative to creationism. As a teenager, in the distant past, I had a print out of the 'evolutionary tree' pinned to my bedroom wall. It looked pretty, but it never made any sense. I had more question than answers from it.

    No wonder more and more people are rejecting Darwinism despite being 'brainwashed' on TV and in education.
    Pete Hodge, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • @ Pete You talk to us about brainwashing? My goodness me! How hypocritical can you get? Actually I think you will find that it is perfectly normal for scientists to admit to not fully understanding things, but that just means they need to do more work to come up with the right answers, but I won't bother arguing with you any more, because you clearly wont change your mind either.
    @ Rebecca - deary me! Not that old chestnut again! Have you never heard of the arch building scenario?
    When building a self supporting arch with 19 blocks each of the 19 is necessary to maintain the arch - remove any one and it will fall down - this does not mean that it was spontaneously created all together though, just that the structures used for building it are no longer visible.
    Human beings weren't evolved from clumps of cells, huh? Erm, how do babies grow Rebecca? Oh, yes, they grow from a single cell! Funny that!
    Abigail Hurley, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Rebecca:
    Instead of using that as an example, try looking at the following analogy:

    There are infinite puzzle pieces in a puzzle. You throw all the pieces up into the air, and they land on the floor. Do this until two pieces connect. Once they have done this, the next time you throw them, if they do go together, then they won't break. If they don't, then they will break, and you will be able to see that those two pieces do not match. You can never connect all the pieces, but along the way, the puzzle keeps on getting larger, and stronger, so that they can survive. This is what evolution is about. Nothing is instantaneous.
    Thomas the Tank Engine, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Abigail: A baby grows from a single cell with a pre-designed programme of division to create something so complex that the chance of it all coming together by chance is infinitely impossible. When I was in Medical school the more I learned about the Human body the more silly evolution became- and at the time I was a fully fledged atheist believing in evolution. You are entitled to your opinions, and I respect them. Evolution for me just doesn't make sense.

    Take bacteria as an example. Bacteria are millions of years ahead of us in evolution: dividing every 20 mins. Now we have resistant bacteria, but in spite of thousands upon thousand of cell divisions, often it is the process of a single protein change that creates something like MRSA. MRSA is still fundamentally the same in structure to its original family, just resistant due to a protein change to methicillin.

    I do believe in micro evolution as suggested above, but macro evolution - the change of one species into another is just fundamentally ridiculous especially given that in the however many million years that have passed we should still all be basic life forms as there wouldn't have been enough time to devlop the complexity or the variety that exists on earth today. Even if I didn't believe in God I would not beleive in Darwinian Evolution!
    rebecca Evans, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Rebecca Evans: "Even if I didn't believe in God I would not beleive in Darwinian Evolution!"

    That's precisely the point which is so easy to miss: even if you were right about evolution (I don't think you are, incidentally, but you'd be better off talking to an expert in the subject than to me), this would be no evidence for creationism. It isn't an either/or situation - Darwinian-model evolution is not the only possible model for natural development (just as a "God" with specific characteristics is no more likely than any other type of "creator"), so perceived weaknesses in either evolution or creationism do not automatically provide any extra credence to the other. In other words, the fact of not believing in evolution provides no reason to believe in God instead, whether Christian-type or otherwise.


    Max Mullen:

    As you say, we probably agree on most points, so it seems unnecessary to debate the trivial ones. I agree that the process is probably a "virtuous circle" in many respects, with interacting and incremental changes. As you say, it can be difficult to be precise in a few words. My point was that even "modern" Christianity would be just as capable as any other religion of becoming (more) dangerous again, under suitable social conditions. Thus the primary, underlying threat posed by religion, on my view, is not the imminent one of faux-Islamic terrorism, but rather the fact that religion as a whole lends itself to being exploited when such external conditions arise.

    Similarly, I know my sentence of commentary on the history of the British empire was a simplification (although I don't think this is the place to discuss it, really!). Suffice it to say that I'm one of the most cynical people I know, and tend to believe nothing of "what I'm told" unless there's a very good reason to do so. :)

    Other than that, it's really enough than we agree on necessary action; it doesn't really matter whether we agree on all of the justifications for it!
  • Pete,

    You can represent the differences between creationism and science as differences of presumption, but it is potentially very misleading and possibly disingenous to do so.
    The creationist presumption is the the creationists are right. That is emphatically true of the AiG group you keep mentioning. They explictly state that if the science contradicts the Bible then science is wrong by 'presumption' as one of their guiding principles.
    Summary of the AiG Statement of Faith section D statement 6:

    No apparent, perceived or claimed evidence in any field, including history and chronology, can be valid if it contradicts the Scriptural record.

    www.answersingenesis.org/home/area/about...

    In contrast, the presumption of science is that we should look at the evidence and look for evidence and make up our minds.

    There is definitely a vast difference of presumption there.

    One is rational the other pure crackpot.

    One leads to evolution the other stays were it set out from around 2000 years with creation.

    If you want creationism to have any credibility in educated society, you need to distance yourself from those AiG fruitcakes ASAP.
    Dan Allen, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Dan Allen:

    I think you can take this a step further, and say that the scientific approach rests on two fundamental (and unprovable) assumptions: 1) the universe is logical and capable of being understood; 2) our senses provide us with a reasonably accurate representation of what is actually going on around us. Everything else is essentially built from there, and no other core assumptions are required. That's not to say that no other assumptions are ever made, of course (there are plenty of bad scientists, and some complex areas where assumptions are necessary, to begin with, in order to get anywhere), but this suffices as a decent generalisation.
  • Thought for the day: With all this religious bashing - how dangerous religion is, just consider that fascism and Communism , some of the most perverse influences of the last century resulted in millions of people being killed in the name of twisted doctrine and was done by people who denounced religion. The problem is mankind and love of power!
    Let us remember that Hitler said you cannot be a Christian and a nazi and Communism sought to wipe out religion all together. Nice societies!

    Marxism on paper sounds nice, but it is twisted Human logic that perverts any good ideas into evil.

    Most things done in the name of Christianity- are the exact opposite of what Jesus taught, but were the masses being led by leaders who didn't ever let the masses read the Bible. See reformation history for examples!

    Christianity says do good to those who hate you, pray for those who persecute you, turn the other cheek if hit.Love your enemy and love your neighbour as yourself.It tells us not to judege other people,do good deeds but do them in secret, that greatness is being the biggest servant you can be and most importantly that God loves all of us regardless of what we have done, and that all can be forgiven in God's eyes if you are sorry adn accept Jesus. It says to make people more important than possessions. I'd like to live in that society, wouldn't you?

    What is dangerous about that?
    I do not therefore believe christianity could become dangerous.
    rebecca Evans, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Rebecca Evans:

    "Most things done in the name of Christianity- are the exact opposite of what Jesus taught..."

    Well yes, that is perhaps the primary danger which religion can pose: an unpleasant minority can exploit the sense of common identity and purpose instilled by religion, and thus begin to change its followers into something less benign. Other examples, in my view, include the purported justification of various social injustices (homophobia being perhaps the most obvious illustration) and an intuitive distrust of technologies which can be interpreted as "playing God", regardless of their potential benefits.

    Your comments about the Nazi and Stalinist states being secular are simplifications, but certainly it is true that great evils can be committed without religion being a factor - I'm sure no one has suggested otherwise. However, this isn't really the point. If we believe that religion can pose additional dangers to those caused simply by human nature (and I do), then this is reason enough to take small steps to restrict its influence (such as banning the teaching of religion as undisputed fact, by e.g. faith schools).

    "Christianity says do good to those who hate you... I'd like to live in that society, wouldn't you?"

    Frankly, no. Don't get me wrong, I'd be delighted if people behaved in more understanding and socially-conscious ways than they frequently do - but it shouldn't be just because "Christianity says" that they should do so! It should be because such things are recognised as being right and desirable in themselves. Personally, I regard someone who lives a "good" life, because they think that God wants them to, as doing the right thing but for the wrong reasons. To use the common jurisprudential argument:- which of the following hypothetical people would you have the most respect for: the person who refrains from committing murder because it is against the law, or the person who does so because they believe that murder is wrong?
  • Nick

    In response to someone living the good life because God wants them to you have missed the fundamental truth of genuine Christianity.

    Christians when spirit filled ( filled with Jesus' spirit are taught by the spirit what is right or wrong. -see Acts, Corinthians 1 and 2 ( New Testament). There are also gifts of the spirit like speaking in tongues, prophecy, healing, teaching, wisdom , praying, discernment. All these are very active in the modern church - see ivycottage.org.uk

    People make a choice to follow God, God creates a new person - usually gradually over time once the choice has been made, teaching us right and wrong.

    A christian would believe it is wrong to murder and therfore wouldn't murder. Christianity is not a set of rules but a relationship with God.

    Maybe everyone here would benefit from an alpha course- a place where you can critises christianity and ask any questions you like , but in return get to sample christian beleif s for 10 weeks. My whole family have done it and our family has changed for the better- we all go to church and while we are not without problems, life with God in it is cetainly more exciting and fulfilling than it was before!
    Rebecca Evans, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Nick:
    Curbing religious freedoms is also the surest way to radicalise a religion and ensure explosive growth. You only have to look at the underground church in China to see what persecuting Christians can do.

    Incidentally 2 million Christians have been murdered in Sudan due to religious intolerance.

    Curbing religious freedoms is very dangerous in deed and may in fact result in what you are trying to stop in the first place.


    ( Read the Heavenly man paul hatterway, God smuggler or the Bible or the axe - all title available in Wesley Owen shops
    Rebecca Evans, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • As only the last 50 comments are shown, all of what I'll say may already have been said before. If so please ignore.

    A few points:
    - should we extend the goal to 29 more copies for the bishops in the Lords?
    - At a Darwin Day dinner of the Ulster Humanists it was suggested that the UH association might be prepared to pay for all (±17?) copies of the Ulster MPs. Would you accept bulk donations from non-individuals?
    - March 3 various Humanist organsations covering all of the UK, Isle of Man and republic of Ireland will meet. They may be prepared to cover all remaining open spots. Again: would you be prepared to accept bulk donations?
    - I heard the book will soon come out in paperback, making it a cheaper undertaking. Volume donations from Humanist or other organisations may be able to get a discount on a large purchase too?
    - Are there any arrangements to get press coverage? Many MPs won't read it (here in Ulster for instrance I am sure Ian Paisley will toss the book on the hottest fire his fire place can produce). But we should still get maximum exposure from it I feel, even if many MPs will just cast it aside.
    - Someone in the BH association told me they know a Humanist-friendly MP who may be willing to help things to run smoothest and most effective. Interested in his/her contact info?
  • Rebecca: I doubt we are going to reach agreement on any of this, but am more than happy to continue to debate. Certainly I'm very impressed that you are continuing to argue your case, in the face of what must seem largely a very hostile audience! Please forgive me for being blunt, then, but I think clarity is best.

    "Curbing religious [and other] freedoms" is precisely what I want to avoid by banning faith schools. Children below a certain age lack critical faculties, and tend to accept without question what they are told by their parents, teachers and role models. If they are taught, as undisputed fact, that the beliefs of a certain religion are *true*, rather than the unprovable opinions of a certain proportion of the population, then their thinking will be constrained from the outset. Certainly many people do change religion (or become religious or atheist) in later life, but this proportion is very small. If someone is brought up to believe that something is true, then the odds are extremely high that they will never be able to question these beliefs seriously for as long as they live. How can this be described as "religious freedom"? They are not free.


    "...you have missed the fundamental truth of genuine Christianity"

    I mean no offence, but bluntly, from my perspective, it is you who are misunderstanding the "fundamental truth" of Christianity, because you are reasoning from a starting-point which constrains your thinking. Of course I can't prove this, any more than you can prove your point of view, but there you have it.

    (contd.)
  • Rebecca: (contd.)

    "Maybe everyone here would benefit from an alpha course- a place where you can critises christianity and ask any questions you like..."

    What is the point of asking questions, when there is no one on Earth who knows the answers? If the actual, objective truth of the matter could somehow be ascertained, then there would be less disagreement about religion, and there would be a global trend whereby people increasingly move towards the one true religion. They don't. As time goes on, religion only ever diversifies; large religions split into ever smaller denominations and points of view. Clearly, then, regardless of whether the truth can *ever* be discovered and proven, it clearly is not known yet. Thus there is no one who can be sure they know the right answers.

    Religious teaching, and courses like the one you describe, thus tend to focus instead on such things as the potential benefits of the religion in question. This is one of the things I've never understood. It seems to be a common belief that it is possible to convince others of the truth of one's beliefs by pointing out how much internal consistency the religion has, or how nice the world would be if it were true - but reality doesn't work like that. Things are either objectively true or they are objectively false, and this is completely unaffected by the question of whether we can ever *know* the truth, or by what we would *like* to be true. Put simply, it doesn't matter how nice Christianity (or any other religion) might be: if (I stress "if") it is false, then it is false, whether we like it or not.
  • Pete:

    You say that you're Christianity is based on evidence.
    You've also stated elsewhere that you believe the literal interpetation of Genesis - the universe being created in 6x24 hours.
    There is no evidence of that quite ridiculous belief. Even mainstream religion (Catholic & Anglican) has edited that one back to a metaphor under pressure from reason (science).
    You can't simply claim to be basing your beliefs on evidence. There actually needs to be some widely available untainted evidence. Not the evidence of your own heart and/or mind. That's that faith thing and it doesn't count - as you've pointed out.
    You still haven't addressed the ridiculousness of the AiG principle that if the evidence contradicts Scripture then the evidence is wrong.
    That appears to contradict your claim that your beliefs are evidence based.
    It also contradicts reason in all its forms.
    Do you support the AiG principles?
    Dan Allen, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Nic:
    Thanks. Your axioms are probably sufficient but not necessary.
    Try watering them down:

    To conduct science in our environment we need:
    1) our environment is capable of being understood.
    2) Our senses provide a reflection of our environment that is sufficiently accurate for us to investigate at least some of our environment.

    Capable of being understood probably means that there is some level of continuity.
    Dan Allen, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Rebecca,

    The argument of "doing that will only force it underground" is almost invariably fallacious.
    It means "doing that will only break up something widespread in to isolated pockets".
    So it's really the same as "doing that will only be progress rather than complete success". That's not criticism if you're in favour of the act unless you've got a way to stamp out religion entirely without infringing human rights.
    It's true that legislation is only part of the answer, but it's a start.
    The widespread secular view is that religion should not begat privilege.
    There is an intellectual problem that many religious groups have recieved so much privilege for so long they think a level playing field is stacked against them.
    Faith schools are dreadful because they divide society on religious fault lines.
    We don't need more of that division, we need less.
    "You do miss what you've always had."
    Dan Allen, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Peter Klaver,

    I'm not organising the pledge, but I can't see a problem with a group pledge.
    I'm certain that if there are any Ulster
    MPs not vouched for then the Ulster humanists would be very welcome to fill
    those slots as a group of in the name of individual members.
    I think individuals are best - particularly when they are constituents of the recipient.

    This pledge needs a perk. We're in danger of missing the target!!!
    Dan Allen, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Folks, the pledge is at risk of floundering.
    It hasn't quite crossed the 50% mark and may miss it's fill line by the proposed end date in March.

    The most important thing about Civil Action is Action.
    Actually civil is sometimes an impediment!
    It's only a tenner.
    It's well worth debating how we execute the pledge and what else we might do as well.
    Do those other things as well.
    Let's face it the risk is that people talk about what they might do for ever and never do anything.
    Unless you believe the pledge will actually do harm OR you really can't spare a tenner - why not pledge?
    If you've read the book, send your copy!
    If you really can't spare a tenner, post here and for one genuine hardship case in an untaken constituency I will arrange delivery of TGD to you for forwarding to your MP.
    I'll post an e-mail address and we can arrange conclusion from there. Basically I'll Amazon the book to you and you forward it from there with your letter. You can even recycle the box!
    Financial hardship shouldn't exclude you from the lobbying process!
    Dan Allen, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Hi Dan,

    Don't worry too much yet. Things are in motion with the Humanist groups. I just sent out an email to a fellow Humanist (you may see a Judy appear shortly) who said she would follow up on the idea, and if Jamie allows group pledges than that should take care of a sizeable group of open slots, if not all. Meanwhile, you are right: keep 'em coming people. The fewer the left-over gaps are, the less of a financial burden it will be for the Humanist organisations to fill them up, making it more likely they will do it.
  • Hey folks, here's a little something for all you evolutionists to get your teeth into. It's a little thing I used in a sermon I preached this morning on why Genesis Chapter 1, verse 1 is the most important verse in the Bible.

    I wrote it as the result of all the comments I have heard by evolutionists on this 'pledge' and another message board I used to debate on.

    ‘Once upon a time there was NOTHING! That’s right there was absolutely NOTHING. Now, this NOTHING was floating around in NOTHING. (which we’ll call space for now). Gradually, this NOTHING which was floating around in space became SOMETHING and was then compressed until it went BANG!
    True, it was a very loud bang. In fact so big that today some people call it ‘THE BIG BANG!’ It was, they say, the beginning of everything. Apparently, what then happened was that this NOTHING that had become SOMETHING and had compressed so that it went BANG, shot off out into space.
    As it went it began to join up with other bits of the NOTHING that had become SOMETHING, then these joined with others and they all started to spin. It must have been an amazing sight. All this SOMETHING which had been NOTHING was spinning in space joining up with other bits of SOMETHING and forming galaxies, planets and suns.
    Well, several billion years went by, actually some say FOUR. Mind you, others are saying it would have had to have been more like TWENTY. So, on best advise let us assume that somewhere between FOUR and TWENTY billion years ago, this SOMETHING which had previously been NOTHING became the universe.’

    And you say I believe in fairy stories!
    Pete Hodge, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Peter Klaver
    You don't need to send the book to the Bishops. Most of them don't believe the Bible anyway, so they will probably already have compromised their faith.
    Pete Hodge, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Yes, Pete.
    We do say you believe in fairy stories.
    There's at least some evidence to support the scientific claims in what you said.

    Though you've misunderstood that people claim nothing came before it.
    The proper scientific line is we don't know what if anything came before it.
    We don't even know if there was nothing. We don't even know if there was enough for there to be nothing.

    There is and I'll point it out again, no evidence not of any kind to support your belief that the world was created in 6x24 hours. Not a shred. Not an iota.
    Nothing whatsoever at all.
    An actual (rarely found) perfect zero.
    There is at least very detailed evidence from astronomy to support the ideas put forward in current cosmology.

    I personally think there there's a lot of uncertainty in cosmology and specifics are hard to come by, it certainly points very very very strongly toward the earth being very old (e.g. 4 billion years) and in no way at all supports the idea it was created by some entity in 6x24 hours.

    You believe in fairy stories. I'm surpised you can't see the difference between your beliefs and cosmology.

    I think Genesis chapter 1 verse 1 is important because it objectively some of the most obvious drivel in the whole Bible. People argue about some of the other stuff but that bit is patent "cuckcoo" nonsense for all to see.

    That's why AiG are ridiculed by athesits and Christians alike.

    The mainstream churches realised long ago that to maintain credibility Genesis had to go to the wall.

    The rest will come and yes we are chipping away at your nonsense till the house comes down.

    Your postings here are a great help.
    Please continue.
    Dan Allen, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Nick

    Actually the alpha course succeeds not because it argues the benefits of religion but because most people have a genuine experience of God therefore not proving facts but allowing people to experience them.

    My own experience of God: At uni everything went wrong - aunt in intensive care, Grandma sick , family a disaser - spent all my money failed my mid terms ( for someone who always came top this was hard and many other things. It was 4 in the morning, friends asleep and I was feeling about as bad as as have ever felt. I remember feeling so alone- family couldn't help, fiends couldn't help. I remember thinking that it was a shame there wasn't a loving God like I'd been told as a child. Then it occurred to me that if there was a God I would ask him . So I basically challenged God to show up if he existed. He did... I felt like I was being wrapped in a blanket of love, I felt a warmth surround me and I knew everything would work out. It was the most amazing senastion I have ever experienced. I knew in those hours that passed that God existed and He loved me.

    It took me several more years before I became a Christian. My intellectual side led me to explore every church I could find, the possibility of other faiths and a year of experiencing suffering as a house officer made me fall out with God whoever He was. It was ironically a dying woman in hospital who I couldn't understand how she could be so peaceful faced with an excruciating death that lead me to accept Jesus, but even then nearly 7 years later it was a Holy spirit weekend on alpha where I probably would say I became a Christian. Faith is an experience not an argument of facts.
    Rebecca Evans, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Dan:

    In response to religious priviledge:
    I feel that most faith groups but especially christianity feel under attack. Note the high profile BA lady not being able to wear a cross, this pledge, work places not allowing christians to send christmas cards , councils sugggesting we celebrate winterville instead of christmas to name just a few.

    I went to a faith school and actually it did more to put me off christianity and turn me into an athiet than almost anything else. I had evolution , humanist opinions shoved down my throat to ensure that education was balanced. I will not ever send a child of mine to a faith school as I agree they are divisive!

    State curbs on religion actualy lead a religion to flourish. The church always grows during persecution and usually the most radical elements. See communist Russia, China for examples. There are almost 100 million christians in China despite significant state curbs on religion. There is the puppet patriot church and then there is the thriving underground church.

    Read the Heavenly man for examples.
    Rebecca Evans, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Peter Hodge:( and others)

    It might be helpful to consider this:
    An hour is like a thousand years to God ( as per the Bible) suggesting that the 6 days in Genesis are unlikely to be meant to be 24 hour periods ( as we understand them), rather ages. Also bring in the theory of relativity - GOd being big and a distance away this seems plasible.

    Scientifically Genesis is fairly comparable in sequence to scientific models the exception being the creation of the sun again suggesting it is not a literal 7 days- knowledge that would not have been possible when the point was written.

    The devil is represented as a a serpent, again suggesting that it is not meant completely literally. Jesus confirms this in New testament scripture.
    God of course could have created the Earth in a literal 7 days if he wanted to.
    Regardless the point of Genesis is that God created the universe and mankind was designed in whole...we are not an accident. Genesis was never intended as a scientific text book rather a poetic explanation of the beginning of all things.

    Was everyone aware that they have found via satellite and excavation the exact location of the garden of Eden. Genesis accounts are frighteningly accurate down to every last detail. The garden is also in an area where antropologists beleive that early mankind came from .
    The parting of the red sea has geological evidence to back it up as well suggesting the Bible is a little more than a fairy story!
    Rebecca Evans, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Rebecca:

    "Actually the alpha course succeeds not because it argues the benefits of religion but because most people have a genuine experience of God... Faith is an experience not an argument of facts."

    I'm sorry to hear of the problems you had, but you can't honestly expect subjective, "inner" experience to be convincing. In my view, in fact, it should not even be convincing to the individual experiencing it; certainly I hope (although by no means can be certain of success) that I would be able to resist it and maintain a sense of professional detachment.

    This isn't really the place for a detailed discussion of the scientific explanation for how such feelings arise, and nor am I qualified to be the one to do it. Suffice it to say, then, that everything we experience is mediated by the brain, and thus the mere fact of experiencing something does not necessarily imply that it really happened. I seem to recall you mentioned that you are a GP; probably you will have come across cases of people "hearing voices", for example, and will have some understanding of the neural mechanisms involved in such perceptual distortions.

    In pop-psychology terms, the brain is equipped to allow us to cope with unpleasant situations. When we believe we don't have the strength to cope alone, the brain is quite capable of inventing an external source of support and convincing us that it really exists. A perceived personal experience can be overwhelmingly powerful and seem utterly convincing. Unfortunately, this doesn't necessarily mean it's true.

    As a general overview and discussion of some of the relevant research, I recommend
    http://www.passig.com/pic/Religion&T... - lengthy, but quite accessible. Note, for example, the indication that religious experiences seem to be uniform between cultures, such that the subjective experience of a Christian "experiencing God" is the same, neurologically, as that of a Buddhist in meditation. They can't all be right.
  • Rebecca can you exlain this to me?
    12 years ago in a small steep bay in Lee near Woolacombe in Devon I sat with my family having lunch.The peace was shattered with sceams of Oh my God no
    when a car turned over and caught alight half way down the steep cliff road.The car was upside down and an old lady and her 40 ish son were trapped with their seat belts on.Everyone ran from the scene except one man who ran towards it.As he ran up the hill he was calling to God to help him.I could hear him saying help me father give me strength.The car was against a cliff wall the man jumped onto the jagged wall and with half of his body hanging over the wall(with a 200ft drop) and his chest on the jagged top of the wall he switched the engine off and a great cloud of steam put the fire out.He stayed in that balancing position for twenty minutes until a fireman helped him from the wall.As we gathered round to congratulate this man I could see no marks on his chest from the jagged wall.
    I had to say to this man how brave he was .His answer was trust in God and he will show you the way to help his children for we are all children of God.
    Tears filled my eyes and when I cleared them the man had gone.Did you see the man who climbed on the cliff wall asked the policeman?He was here a second ago.The man had gone.
    When we arrived back from holiday I took my film in for developing.There was the car upside down with the old lady and the son held in with their seat belts but no man on the wall.
    The records are all with the police from
    Barnstable Devon.The old lady stated that she remembers a man balancing on the cliff wall.He switched the engine off and held the chain that was choking my son around his neck.I will never forget his calm soothing voice he kept saying trust in the Lord and he will always be there for you.
    Rajan, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Rebbecca. I am really tired of that old canard about the BA staff member not being allowed to wear a religious symbol. It was nothing to do with wearing a religious symbol, that was simply the daily mail and its ilk stirring, what a surprise! The actual issue was that BA had a rule which was in the staff contract stating that customer fronting staff could not wear jewellery and nothing to do with a ban on religious symbols. Of course, because it was happening when we were having all the brouhaha about the wearing of the veil and the like, the daily mail and its ilk decided that this was a good time to write a story and twist it into how xtians were supposedly being victimised in this oh so xtian country while Johnny foreigner was allowed to get away with whatever they liked. The usual good old xenophobia from that stable which will get 'disgusted of Tunbridge Wells' up in arms and then rather disgustingly taken up by other UK news organisations that should have known better and checked their facts properly beforehand rather than after. The only thing victimised in this story was the truth, but when has that ever prevented the UK media.
    John Phillips, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Well, you folks sure have been busy. I logged on to find and enormous amount of questions and comments worthy of comment.

    So, I will just work my way through them with some brief remarks.

    Peter. What a fascinating comment you make, though not directly concerned with the main thread of this discussion.
    Your comment about your partner possibly falling in love with a young boy is you adopted one was intriguing. This is your comment, 'Well can you imagine as the boy grows up my partner may fall in love with our foster child and leave me.'

    Thank you for your honesty about your situation. And thank you for confirming what many of have said in the past, that there is a danger of homosexuals looking after young children that they may impose their views on them. This takes us back to the entire thrust of the argument that homosexuality is not a genetic problem, but a matter of conditioning in some way or other.

    People who desire to live a homosexual lifestyle have a right to do so. Freedom of choice! But in order to be able to exercise that choice and freedom they must realise that they will have to forgo certain rights that the rest of society has, that of bringing up children.

    Much has been made of Christianity brainwashing children with creationism. And the argument is that children should not be placed in a situation where they can be brainwashed.

    Putting a child into a situation where they are going to be faced with homosexual practices is going to brainwash that child into assuming that such desires are 'normal. Which they are not.
    Pete Hodge, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Rebbecca
    I am well aware of the interpretation of the verse that states a day with the Lord is as a thousand years and a thousand years as a day. (Actually, 2Peter 3:8). What is Peter saying here? Not giving us some time formula that's for sure. Rather, that with God time is meaningless. Keep in mind also that in Scripture, the number 1,000 has the symbolic meaning of 'completeness.

    Now, does that mean that we can suggest that the six days of Genesis are six long periods of time? Well, yes, it could? Just as it could mean six periods of twenty-four hours.

    There is a little thing I read a while back. It was I think humorous, though based upon a real situation.

    In a class a pupil asks the teacher, 'Could God have taken six billion years to create the universe? The teacher replied, 'Yes! Again the pupil, 'Could He have taken six seconds?' Again the answer was, 'Yes!' The third time the pupil asked, 'Could God have created everything in six days?' This time the teacher answered, 'No!'

    I hold to the young earth theory. I am not totally sold on 10,000 years, though I tend towards it. But it may well be that be the time scan is a little longer. What I do not believe is that we are talking immense amounts of time here.

    Do I expect anyone to agree with me? No! Because most of those who contribute to this discussion do not want to accept it. Because it does not fit their philosophy. That's okay. I don't ridicule them. They are happy in their belief.

    But for some reason they do not seem to want to extend to me and others a similar respect.

    Funny that.

    Rebbecca, there were a number of things I would love to discuss with you, but a public forum of this nature would not be the place.

    have a nice day
    Pete
    Pete Hodge, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • 'The mainstream churches realised long ago that to maintain credibility Genesis had to go to the wall.' Says Dan. Somewhere else I read about the Roman Catholic/Church of England groups had abandoned creationism.

    So, with respect, 'what has that got to do with the price of eggs?' As they say. These two groups have little to do with the teachings of the Bible in general, so the fact they want to follow evolutionary principles is no surprise to many of us.

    Do I agree with AiG in everything. No! I do not agree with some of their theological viewpoints. Also, it may well be that as I read some of their research I might find a few things I disagree with in that.

    I am currently reading a lecture given by Dr Hugh Ross BsC, MaSc, Ph.D. It is fascinating. Full of information and I learnt quite a bit about the universe and its make up. Do I agree with everything he says? No! Do I read about scientific discoveries written by non-creationist scientists? Yes? Do I agree with everything they write? No?

    Just like when we study the Bible. Do we accept every verse as is? Well it is true some do, which is why Christianity is so weak. We take the sum of the evidences for a particular subject and arrive at a logical conclusion.

    So, I try and keep up with what science is saying, from both sides, and arrive at a consensus that is logical.

    And that is why I am were I am today.

    So, because I have arrived at a different point to yours, for some reason I am ridiculed. Reminds me a bit about the situation in the USA where science backed bodies what to see science discussed and debated in the classroom, including any divergent thoughts to the mainstream, providing that does not include any form of creationism.

    I.E. freedom of thought and belief provided it is in agreement with those who have an agenda to promote.
    Pete Hodge, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Pete Hodge:

    I think you'll find that "Peter" was either joking, or a troll, or both.

    "homosexuality is not a genetic problem, but a matter of conditioning in some way or other."
    Did you read my reply to this point, above? If not, please do so. (Monday 5th February).

    Before we move on, I note with interest that you have described homosexuality, in passing (quite likely even without thinking about it), as a "problem". I doubt it is possible to alter your prejudices, so won't bother arguing the point. Suffice it to say, then, that this is only your subjective opinion - and rather an offensive one to anyone who doesn't share your biases - so I would ask you, in future, to think before you speak.


    "I hold to the young earth theory... [M]ost of those who contribute to this discussion do not want to accept it. Because it does not fit their philosophy."

    No, that is not the reason why most people do not accept it. The reason, as various people have pointed out but which you have ignored, is that there is no evidence whatsoever to support the opinion. If you disagree with this and think that you do have evidence which successfully contradicts all of the evidence from physics, paleontology, geology and others, then please describe it.

    I have no interest in "ridiculing" your beliefs. I do object to these beliefs being taught *as fact* to children (which they still are at some faith schools), but that's another issue. The problem is that *you* have not been remotely respectful of the views of others. You have stated that evolution "does not have any proof" and that the Big Bang theory entails "spoil[ing] a good theory with the facts", despite offering no evidence to support these assertions. If you object to others criticising the lack of evidence supporting your own views, perhaps you should avoid doing the same to those of others. At the very least, you should first learn how these theories were formed and what they signify.
  • Pete Hodge.

    You and other correspondents of religious persuasion rely too much on simple assertion, which is not argument. When challenged you make further assertions and there is no progress (I agree with Nic here). But I wonder if you are not both missing the point.

    The point is for the first time in a couple of hundred years we have aggressive religion in this country and the potential consequences are appalling.

    I know modern Christianity has been generally, though not completely, a force for good, (I disagree with Nic here). I don’t mind that you Pete, are a Christian but you must know that your superstitions, however benign, are not going to protect us in the future. If you (and Nic) think Christian Fundamentalists are dependent on assertion you should listen to the others.

    A new paradoxical situation exists in this country. The biggest threat to religion is now religion and sensible religious people will understand that. They will want to fight for the victory of reason over religion as hard as the rest of us. I know it is difficult for you Pete; but our best hope of avoiding mayhem is a liberal secular society unfettered by anyone’s religion. This means no special pleadings or consideration for religion; no faith schools; no bishops in the House of Lords, no vicars, priests, rabbis, imams or other divines consulted on any political matter whatsoever. Religion has to be confined to consenting adults only.

    When religion is a life style choice like bee keeping or keeping fit you will be able to practice it to your hearts content. No one will mind. You should be working hard for that, from your pulpit and everywhere you can.

    Continued.
    Max Mullen, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Pete Hodge - Continued

    For reasons that I don’t understand there has been a deliberate policy to destroy of our way of life. We have to accept that. And I can assure you it is as difficult for atheists like me as it is obviously for you.

    In my own view, this has been brought about by a lack of understanding by our leaders (not necessary politicians) of the enormity of the achievements of European civilisation. It is as though we are governed by spoilt children who don’t appreciate the work of their parents who provided for them so well or how easily their life’s work could be ruined.

    The end of our way of life will be difficult for us, but our children won’t care. We should take comfort from that. Future generations won’t know what they are missing nor the manner in which their birthright had so mindlessly been given away. It will take intelligence and effort, and we all have to give up our treasured ideals and ideas. It’s the only chance to keep our children safe.

    Religious orthodoxy is a luxury we can no longer afford. As a first step into a doubtful future we must get all religion out of government, schools and public places as a matter of urgency. Then the difficult part will begin.

    Leading on from The God Delusion - this is what we should be discussing.
    Max Mullen, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Rajan:

    Thanks for telling us that story. I have heard of similar ones like it. Without being close to the story or knowing anyone involved I am reluctant to comment.

    However, if the events did occur as you say and I belieive it is possible they did, I believe the man you witnessed was an angel of God.

    My friend in Israel has seen an angel ( she is not a pathological liar and I have no reason to doubt her story). Angels seldom turn up with halos and wings, but rather in human form.

    You are very blessed in deed to have seen such things! We are everyone of us, regardess of beliefs, children of God!
    Rebecca Evans, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • John Philips.

    Unfortunately it is you who do not have the facts.

    This lady was upholding her right to wear a cross. Many christians wear a cross so that they can not only honour God but so that it allows people to ask questions about faith. Sikhs are allowed turbans, Muslims the Hijab - and I beleive they should be able to wear these things. A Christian however is denied the outward expression of her faith. I have seen many articles in Chritian circles and on TV wiht the lady in qquestion

    True the press jumped on it because of the burka case, but she does have the right to wear areligious symob if everyone else does!
    Rebecca Evans, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Nik:

    I am aware of this scientific neurological imaging of people having religous experiences. The brain is hard wired to have religious experiences - evolutionist would say that it evolved for social order in society. Religious people would say that GOd programmed a means of experiencing him into the Human brain.

    I would agree that it is impossible to share my personal experience and also that people under extreme strss can have psychosomatic reactions. I attend a church of 800 people where such experiences are common are you suggesting we are all mentally ill?

    While there is only one answer to a sum
    2+2= 4 , christianity does not have the corner on truth. There is truth in all religions, some are closer to the answer than others. It does not surprise me that people have similar experiences because we are all reaching out to the same God and we are all wired to tune into God in the same way.

    What is indisputable is that just before Diana died a woman went into a police station and told the police she was in danger, well documented. A week before 9/11 some christians had fore knowledge that there would be a horrendous event thought they did not knw which. Not everything can be explained and there is more in the supernatural realm than most of us would care to know about.

    Thank you though Nic for debate that is stimulating. I very much respect your views
    Rebecca Evans, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Pete,

    The teacher should have said that there is no evidence to support any of these ideas - 6 billion years, 6 seconds, 6 days, 6 months or whatever.

    Children! Anyone who claims to know these sorts of timings is a liar or a fool or as we often find - both.

    There is no evidence to support your belief of 6 x 24 hours. Pete, you previously claimed you believed that. If you don't anymore I will be cock-a-hoop because we will have made genuine progress.
    Maybe there's hope for you yet! I don't like to think you're lost for ever in the thrall of religious faith. Many people recover. You can too.
    In the meantime your posts are excellent lighthouses for people seeking to drive the nonsense of religion out of decision making society.
    Please keep posting.
    Sign up to the pledge people. Read Pete's posts and sign up. Now.
    Thanks, Dan.
    Dan Allen, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Everyone,

    Imagine a world where Pete Hodges beliefs have to be given equal weight to real evidence based beliefs.
    Imagine a world where commonsense is put in second-place to crazy nutiness like Genesis.

    Sign up to this pledge and call immediately for a secular society to keep Pete's nonsense out of your children and your government!!
    Sign Up! Sign Up Now!
    If £10.00 does anything to counter this drivel it i £10.00 well spent.
    Sign Up! Sign Up Now!
    Dan Allen, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Pete,

    "Much has been made of Christianity brainwashing children with creationism. And the argument is that children should not be placed in a situation where they can be brainwashed."

    So you believe that Christians, or indeed, anyone with any beliefs at all, should not be able to adopt children?
    Zara, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • My, I do seem to ave raised the hackles of Dan.
    Let me just make one brief comment about homosexuality.It i a perversion of the normal. It has evolutionary role to play.It is unnatural. It should never be considered as a normal lifestyle. It is being forced onto us by those who have an agenda. At the same time, whilst I am completely and totally opposed to homosexuality and lesbianism, I do believe it is up t individuals to decide for themselves their right to live that life style. I too, like millions of others, deeply offended by the comments of those who support homosexuality.

    Regarding the 'brainwashing our children. Let's see. Evolution is being taught in schools as a fact. Creation is not being taught in most school, but maybe in a few - by comparison - faith schools. Who is doing the brainwashing?

    Oh, and let's imagine a world where all restraints are removed from society.let's just do as we like and when we like.

    I have lived in a European country which for a couple of years was suffering anarchy. There was no rule of law. Well, if that what you want, go ahead and find it. Young girls were being kidnapped and sent overseas as prostitutes, two of my students suffered that fate. No one's property was safe, few people went onto the streets after dark, certainly women never did. Traveling on some roads was unwise as bandits would regularly hold up vehicles and rob or kill them occupants. This had nothing to do with religion. In fact, the opposite. It was when people, yes, like myself- presented the gospel message, that the situations began to change.Today it is not perfect, but it is a lot better.

    Nazism and communism did not have any religious connection,and they are responsible for many of the horrors seen in the past 100 years. It was not Christians who murdered 6,000,000 Jews and others. It was not Christianity that was responsible for the slaughter of millions in the Soviet Union countries or the 'Killing fields' of Cambodia.

    Continued
    Pete Hodge, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Continuation

    Yes,historically there have been some who claimed to be Christian that have been responsible for many horrors. But, remember,these 'claimed' to hold to the Christian faith. But anyone can do that.
    So when I have someone telling me that the world will be a better place without Christianity or religion, I have news for you, I won't be!

    Evolution does not advocate care for others, as you might claim. It is quite simply, the survival of the fittest-actually, survival of the strongest.

    I am amused at the hysteria from the evolutionary camp. That is because you know you are losing the argument, despite your advantages. People are not as gullible as most evolutionists might like them to be. Strangely, my view is, that whilst I would prefer people to believe in creation. But if they do not, I won't criticise them. Just so long as they don't believe it because they have been told it is true and proven. as some posters have commented above, it has not been proven. It is, as Darwin repeatedly stated in his 'Origin of the Species,' 'assumed.'
    Pete Hodge, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • The thought has just come to me. As I review the comments that have been made. I have been criticisd for not accepting what others have said to me in these posting. The suggestion is,that because they have told me evolution is a proven fact -it isn't - then I must believe it. if I were to do that, it would be 'blind faith.' And I have been told that is a stupid reason to believe something.

    So, you folks want your cake and eat it a well.
    Pete Hodge, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Rebbecca: The simple matter was that customer fronting staff had as part of their contract of employment a conditon that forbade jewellery. Whether that is a good rule or not is largely irrelevant. Call it what you will, a cross is still jewellery, whatever it may represent to the wearer.
    John Phillips, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Pete Hodge: I note you say that if we thought the world would be a better place without religion you would not be. If that is not a typo are you implying that the only reason you are a 'better' person is because of the threat of your god. If it is I pity you for it doesn't say much for you as an individual. As I can name any number of atheist who are far more moral now than you would be with no need for some threat of a hell to keep them in line, so to speak. As to the survival of the strongest, I suggest you read the Selfish Gene where the 'selfish' gene, not the selfish individual, has a better chance of survival as part of the group through cooperation. Where survival refers to the survival or continuation of the gene not the individual per se. Much the same as the basis for the golden rule that most atheist live by without need for the threat of some hell in some non existent after life.
    John Phillips, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • @ Rebecca - I work in theatres in a hospital, I have to take my engagement ring off to work as it is in the uniform policy for infection control reasons, I don't like it, but to do the job I have to - If I objected that much I would leave.
    My employers aren't being prejudiced against married people, or engaged people, it is simply a matter of health and safety.

    I don't think anyone was suggesting you and your congregation are mentally ill, simply that the mind is very good at playing tricks on us and we like to believe stuff that makes us happy, simply because you put these experiences down to religious one's does not mean that they make any more sense than people who are adamant they have been abducted by aliens - I don't think they are mentally ill either, just deluded by their very clever brains, and often times by indoctrination from birth.

    About the homosexual discussion - this is some of the biggest bullshit so far - "Trying to force homosexuality on us" I beg your pardon? When has anyone tried to force you to be homosexual??
    I have 2 children - the youngest has been in a "phase" since he was one year old - his favourite colour is pink, he likes dressing up in dresses and pretty shoes, he wants to be a princess when he grows up - we have certainly not "forced" him to do any of this! He makes his own choices, we offer him the chance to choose colours of things and 9 times out of 10 he will choose the pink, the tenth he will go for blue or red.

    I don't know if he will be homosexual when he grows up, but it is not "abnormal" nor is it sinful or wrong, whaever he decides to do with his relatonships when he grows up he will have us here (hopefully!) to teach him about the wrongs of hurting people and the rights of being honest, kind and considerate with partners.
    Continued..
    Abigail Hurley, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • I agree with the earlier comments as well that the homosexual comment seemed very trollish to me, the thought of someone beng concerned their partner would fancy their adopted child is just ridiculous! And the not having sex all over the house anymore when you have kids is something all parents have to deal with! (Although we do still sneak a quick grope in the kitchen at times when they are not looking!)

    Is anyone else here rooting for Rebecca and Pete to get together? Go on, exchange emails - you will make quite a couple!
    Let us know how your date goes!
    Abigail Hurley, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Came here to sign up for the petition but having read the comments on here, thought I'd chip in with a couple of things:

    Rebecca, you said: "Christianity says do good to those who hate you, pray for those who persecute you, turn the other cheek if hit.Love your enemy and love your neighbour as yourself."

    Hmmm, well I know the bible does say "an eye for an eye" (Exodus 21:24). In fact, read all of Exodus 21 - it's packed full of antiquated rubbish, much like the rest of the bible. For example, "Anyone who curses his father or mother must be put to death" (Exodus 21:7)

    This is why your comment about Christianity not being dangerous is itself dangerously misguided.

    As for whether Hitler was a Catholic or not, that is a matter of dispute (and totally irrelevant as an argument for atheism being bad). It doesn't change the fact that the Nazi motto written on their belts was "God With Us". See http://www.michiganatheists.org/quotes.h...

    Right, I'm off to sign up.
    Interesting how people take up Christianity when they're at their lowest ebb. I'm pleased that they can find happiness, but it's ultimately a weakness.
    David N, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Pete Hodge:

    Once again, you reply with nothing but rhetoric to 'justify' your assertion that evolution lacks evidence, and you continue to ignore polite requests to show that your (very specific) beliefs have evidence of their own. You seem to be reading only part of what people say to you, such that you entirely misunderstand or miss the points made, and then you presume to rebut them with anecdotes. Idle speculation about the assumed benefits of religion does not count as evidence.

    Were that all, I'd have no objection to continuing to banter with you, pointless though the exercise increasingly appears to be. However, you are also revealing yourself to be incurably bigoted, and for that reason I, for one, want nothing more to do with you.

    If others here think there is still a point to continuing to talk to you, of course that is up to them. Personally, I would suggest that ignoring you from now on might be the best policy.
    Nic Shakeshaft, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Rebecca, thank you for your reply.

    "The brain is hard wired to have religious experiences - evolutionist would say that it evolved... Religious people would say that GOd programmed [it]"

    Yes, very true (in fact, the article I mentioned said this explicitly). My point is that personal experiences cannot be taken as evidence either way; either that a god (or anything experienced similarly) really exists, or otherwise. The fact that people have such personal experiences provides no evidence in either direction.

    Above, you said "the alpha course succeeds... because most people have a genuine experience of God therefore not proving facts but allowing people to experience them". As we have now discussed, this experience, convincing though it may seem to the individual, cannot actually *prove* anything either way, either to the world at large or (regardless of how strongly they may believe to the contrary) to the individual concerned. So we're left in the same position as before: there is no evidence of any kind to determine whether a god exists. Consequently, any specific beliefs - e.g. about what characteristics God might have or what s/he might want us to do - are entirely groundless.


    "I attend a church of 800 people where such experiences are common are you suggesting we are all mentally ill?"

    Mentally ill, certainly not. I would be very surprised, though, if the majority were not highly schizotypal. (For the uninitiated: schizotypy is a normal personality dimension, nothing to do with mental illness. High scores of so-called "positive" schizotypy tend to correlate highly with paranormal and religious experiences). As indicated in the article I mentioned above, such experiences are also much more common if the individual is receptive and in an appropriate environment. In other words, my guess would be that the incidence of such experiences in your church is increased by the very fact that there are other people around who report them.
    Nic Shakeshaft, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Nic Shakeshaft

    I'm in agreement with you on ignoring comments from Peter Hodge but I'm extending that to Rebecca Evans too, actually. I visit this forum to read comments from Atheists. Opposing views are welcome but now they have HIJACKED this arena and, quite frankly, I'm getting bored reading both of their endless dialogues....which are getting longer everyday. One's a bigoted preacher who I asked to name (even just one) of a number of scientists that he professed to prefer to read and he would not (TWICE), instead he just pointed me in the direction of AiG (to save time he said...but I'm spending a lot of my time reading his comments.I did wonder why Ragan specifically asked Rebecca to explain what she thought of his/her experience in Devon !!! Ragan visited an Atheist forum, details an unexplained happening (No wounds and No Guy in the photos when, supposedly, there should have been !!) and then proceeds to ask a signed up member of the God Squad to answer it...what is that all about !!! this is a predominantly Atheist forum, why didn't Ragan ask someone (anyone) else. Rebecca does answer of course (whilst professing that perhaps she shouldn't) and with a tale about angels of all things???...However, having stated my suspicions (is it possible Ragan is Rebecca !!), I'm still hoping Ragan is a real Atheist with an ace up the sleeve, and that he/she comes back to this forum with a scientific explanation to highlight flaws in Rebbeca's answer and to end the mystery...but I doubt it..) I was suspicious of Peter the Homosexual too..in that this gave good reason for Peter Hodge to spout yet more of his biblical babble again...Peter Hodge has stated that he would like to talk more with Rebecca and I suggest they continue with their discussions somewhere else so that the rest of us can move on with our preferred dialogue....
    Karan Meechan, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • hi Karen

    I am not rajan..sorry to disappoint you!Wish I had seen what she claims to have seen though!

    David N: true people do often take up christianity at a low ebb. Equally many christians throughout the world are dying for their faith - Sudan, China, Indonesia. Not a sign of weakness!
    Alos a lot of the stuff you quoted was from the Old testament. Jesus changes the old laws- works on the sabbath, doesn't agree with capital punishment. Please read the whole Bible before making comments on christianity which are false.

    Abigail: While Peter Hodge is entitled to his views, apart from being Christian we have little in common. I do not like the way he argues so not the best start to a relationship!

    Nik thanks for your educated debate. I will ponder the schizotyi and research it some more.

    Can anyone though please tell me this. Where is the evidence for link species from the fossil record that prove evolution? Produce this and I might reconsider my stance on it

    Thanks everyone for an interesting debate.

    One last thought before I leave for good.I will pray that all of you meet with God in Hope 2008! The biggest gift any of you could receive is life with God, but as Nik has pointed out, this is a truth you cannot give to someone, only a truth you can find yourself. Jesus says that he stands and knocks at the door and will enter if anyone invites him in. He will not force himself on you, you have to invite him.
    Enjoy the journey. God bless all of you.
    Rebecca Evans, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Rajan

    How absolutely awful for you to have have witnessed that crash like you did...and to see everyone fleeing whilst one solitary figure charges forward and saves the day. That must surely have been very moving indeed. So moving, in fact, that I rather suspect it clouded your judgement, sense and reason there for a while ....I do not mean this nastily you understand....just that these types of recollections are full of holes. I live near Barnstaple and visit Woolacombe in the summer months. If you would like to email me karanmeechan@btinternet.com with more information ie date, year, copies of photos etc I will investigate it for you locally and forward you a more reasonable account (other than Rebecca Evans ideas about Angels in human form etc) of what happened that day. Perhaps, after you left, the man came forward etc, etc....
    Karan Meechan, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Rajan

    Rebecca Evans said to you...You are very blessed indeed to have seen such things! We are everyone of us, regardless of beliefs, children of God!

    She reiterates this again in her latest posting and highlights your (apparent) good fortune at witnessing the near death experience of other human beings. She states "I wish to have seen what she claims to have seen though" Thereby, I assume, enabling you to see an Angel !!! What a travesty of human suffering that is ??

    You was never blessed Rajan, you was extremely unfortunate to have witnessed the tragedy and suffering of the people in the car….(The God Squad have a marked tendency to dismiss human suffering, in fact, it appears they rejoice in it in order that Angels will appear !! ). Do remember that if there were such a thing as a benevolent God you would never have witness such a thing because He would not have allowed it to happen in the first place…Would He??? …. I have experienced a car crash, not as severe as that, fortunately, and I can assure you now that it isn’t nice to think that people such as Rebecca Evans are out there getting off on the fact that people involved in near death experiences (and all the pain and suffering that go with that) might just enable the odd passer-by to experience a blessed moment….Angels my backside….Amazing HUMAN ENDEAVOUR is what you witnessed (and I mean HUMAN) ...don’t let the drivel of Hodge and Evans detract you from that or convince you that HUMAN bravery and courage is anything other than that….Amazing HUMAN endeavour….that is what is beautiful about human beings ….WE do the saving NOT GOD or ANGELS
    Karan Meechan, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Rebecca:

    Sorry you feel you have to go. Thank you for an interesting debate.

    Nic
    Nic Shakeshaft, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Please Pledge Folks.

    Remember all pledges are genuinely out of the goodness of your heart.

    Not some imposed of feigned goodness.

    It's great being an Atheist. Only atheists can be genuinely good. Everyone else has it imposed upon them.

    I gave a fiver to some stupid kid who got caught out for the night in the snow.

    Why? Because I wanted to and it made me (Dan Allen) feel good. Not to please some dreadful (and non-existent) God who can't even stop earthquakes from killing babies.
    Dan Allen, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Well, well. I do seem to have a few hackles. It really is a pity that that WE ALL have a tendency to read what we want to read and ignore what we don't want to. Thats a human failing.

    I am also sorry that in standing up to the truth of the Word of God, the Bible, is such a problem. I am not doing anything other than what everyone else on this pledge has done. Stood up for what they believe is the truth. I respect everyone for that, even when I do not agree with you. But, it seems I am not to be allowed that privilege.

    I am critisised for not proving creationism. But the fact is, that as with atheistic evolution, we have to rely on suppositions. I do believe that the evidence strongly shows us that everything was created. True, I may be wrong. I can accept that. I do not believe that I am, but I will concede that there is an alternative view.

    I have not been shown any evidence over the past days that proves to me that evolution has taken place. I have been repeatedly told that it has. Also over and over I have been told that it is proven without a fact.

    Then, why do evolutionists repeatedly say that it has not been proven? Even Darwin did not claim that.

    Rebbecca, sorry if standing up for the truth of God's word is such a problem for you. But I'm not going to get into a theological discussion with on this pledge.

    You all have a wonderful day.
    Pete Hodge, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Awww, Rebecca - you have hurt his feelings now! Go on, share emails, then you can talk about how God has touched your lives so wonderfully together and leave us to get on with our thing.
    On a side note to go with Rebecca's point about knowing God is there because of the cosy feelings you get...
    I get an odd sensation, started when I was a religious teenager, sparkly tingles on the top of my head when I hear religious music or profound religious sayings - John 1 etc, naturally I put this down to the Holy Spirit, as you are taught, however as I got older I noticed I also get these feelings in particularly good pop songs, and in certain intimate moments with my husband, this happened before we were married as well, so I hardly think God was countenancing that sort of behaviour, do you? I now realise that this is just part of the wonder of our senses, and has nothing to do with a supernatural entity, and it certainly isn't angels dancing on my head.
    Abigail Hurley, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Rebecca (even though you may be gone from these parts!),
    "Equally many christians throughout the world are dying for their faith - Sudan, China, Indonesia. Not a sign of weakness!"

    No, at best a sign of brainwashing and delusion. At worst a sign of lunacy.

    Another thing. If there really was an all-powerful all-knowing god, isn't it a bit odd that the best he can do is spread the word from one small part of the world via just one man? What about people living at that time in Fiji or anywhere else, say? How were they supposed to find salvation?!
    David N, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Moving swiftly on with our discussion on Evolution etc

    In the words of Shane Green and his 'Proving Evolution Format: First Draft'

    http://shanegreenup.blogspot.com/2006/08...

    I would be interested to hear what others think of his first draft, which I found impressive but I haven't had time to follow up on his other stuff yet
    Karan Meechan, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • In addition to the article Karan mentions, I would also recommend the wikipedia pages on evolution (which include a good summary of some of the current evidence for it). There's a lot of it, but I would particularly recommend http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evolution#M... for a brief discussion of some common misunderstandings about evolution, and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evolution#E... for a short summary of evidence. For more detail on evidence, there's also a dedicated page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evidence_of...
    Nic Shakeshaft, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Peter Hodge - Please stop posting on this website.

    This space is for those of us who want to donate some of our hard-earned cash to promote a cause we believe in.

    None of us are going to be swayed by your arguments. We have been bombarded with them all our lives, and decided to reject them.

    We rely on rational science and logic and will never accept those books that strewn with error and irrationalities written hundreds, if not thousands of years ago as 'the ultimate truth'.

    And one last thing - Evolution is now a fact. It was a theory when it was first postulated by Darwin 150 years ago. Since then, it has been proven time and time again. Experiments can be performed in a basic lab on guppys, showing how they evolve depending on the number of predators in their environment. Human Anatomy makes no sense unless it is studied as the body of a mammal that evolved from quadrupeds (the nerves to the legs arise higher up in the spine; and much further down, is the origin of the nerves to the bladder, the bowels and the vestigial 'tail'. Clear evidence that this was the shape of the original body from modern humans are evolved - a 4-limbed vertebrate whose colon lay beyond its hind limbs. And look at dog breeding - that's living evolution. It's not a theory - it is reality. Just accept it.

    And please stop wasting your time and ours - just stop using this website.

    Thank you.
    muhayman, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • I don’t understand why we argue with Pete and Rebecca. They are not susceptible to rational argument. In any case, everything they raise in support of their faith is covered extensively in The God Delusion, including the propensity for superstitious belief all over the world. We should just refer Pete, at al, to that particular good book. People, who really, really believe in god, are not susceptible to reason.

    Fortunately, most Christians of western origin are aware that much of the Bible is little more than fancy. And that is the difference between Western Christianity and recent imported religions. Much Christian thought could be categorised as ‘hope’. ‘Hope’ there is a benign god and all the joys that that could bring; and ‘hope’ they might meet lost loved ones again. Who wouldn’t hope for all of that? In the meantime, Christians try to live as though their hopes will be fulfilled but most are careful to carry their philosophy lightly.

    Recent imported religions are different; they do not ‘hope’; they ‘know’; and they ‘know’ their scriptures are the absolute truth. Unfortunately, their scriptures are inimical to much western belief and culture and is very unpleasant indeed.

    The reason that atheism generally and The God Delusion are important now, is that change to our religious population. Unfortunately political correctness requires us to attack all religions equally if we attack any.

    To sum up, debating with strange people can be fun but not useful. We can’t influence what irrational people or primitive societies believe. We can only hope to get the new hateful belief systems out of public life and that means, sadly, getting rid of our generally cosy religion out as well. I assume our pledge to provide every MP with a copy of The God Delusion is part of that drive.
    Max Mullen, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Max:

    While I agree with your ultimate aims (certainly in so far as completing the total separation of religion and state, at all levels), I have to disagree with your assertion that debate with religious people can never be useful. Certainly there are many who become so single-minded that they reject conflicting evidence on principle; but there are also many who, despite genuinely believing in their faith, are still amenable to polite debate and willing to consider alternatives. In fact (naming no names), I think we've seen good examples of both even here in this forum.

    Of course it is a truism that it is impossible to disprove a belief which is held without reference to external evidence. However, an enquiring mind may still be open to challenge, and such beliefs can be weakened over time. (I certainly hope you're not going to assert that anyone who holds any religious views can have an enquiring mind, because this is both untrue and rather patronising!). In my view, such debate can be very useful, and sometimes even effective (although of course I realise that this forum is not really the place for it).

    How can we hope to weaken the power of the more unpleasant aspects of religion in society if we're not prepared to engage constructively with the other side?
    Nic Shakeshaft, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Good news! Jamie contacted me, and she has no problem with group donations. It'll just take a bit of figuring out how to accept those through the pledgebank infrastructure, if the Humanist organisations decide to make volume donations.

    On a related note: some time ago I was notified of a petition on the Downing Street 10 website calling for the abolition of faith schools. People here (ok, not Rebecca and Pete I guess) might want to sign those, if that didn't come up earlier already:

    http://petitions.pm.gov.uk/faithschools/

    greets,
    Peter
  • Hi Peter

    Thanks for highlighting Nicola Holts petition to 'Abolish faith schools'....I have signed it, received an email and completed the process....my name has now been added to the bottom of the petition.
    Karan Meechan, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Pete,

    There's hope for you yet.
    Once you start accepting that creationism could be wrong, and you do, you aren't in the thrall of 'I know I'm Right because I just am' faith.

    That's the hardest step to make.

    It is very important that you don't think that if you dismiss or question creationism you must therefore accept evolution. It isn't an either or - far from it.

    You're allowed to go in to a 'fence sitting' position and consider the evidence.

    You just become someone who hasn't made up their mind (yet or ever). You can throw off your creationism without moving immediately the other camp. You don't ever need to move to the other camp.

    That is don't make the mistake of I must believe this because I can't believe that.

    Actually evolution isn't important.
    It isn't the believing evolution that does society good. It's believing religion that does society harm. Lots of it, much of it, in quiet sinister ways rather than terroist bombs.

    I will point out (again! I know! boring!) that there is no evidence for creationism so if you genuinely consider your view to be fallible you will falsify it because there is nothing to support it.

    That's why accepting fallibility is the key step.

    In answer to your question who is doing the brainwashing. The parents they are doing the brainwashing. Just because they're parents and (probably) love their kids and had it done to them as kids doesn't make it OK. In fact in some ways it makes it worse. It certainly makes it sadder.

    This pledge is NOT about inflicting evolution on people its about not inflicting religion.
    Dan Allen, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Hi Nic

    Thanks for the links to the wikipedia pages on evolution...this is the sort of material I enjoy reading most....I've only had time to scan it this evening but will read it more thoroughly tomorrow....the material puts me in mind of the 'Blind Watchmaker'. I am particularly interested in the morphological evidence of the different species...I clicked the links through whilst scanning and came across the Baleen Whale information....I remember Attenborough talking about it on one of his Planet Earth/Blue Planet programmes and wanting to know more then. I think, eventually, this will be my particular area of interest and I will probably end up researching this side of the subject more intensly with any free time that I have available
    Karan Meechan, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • There is another petition on the Downing Street website some may want to sign:

    http://petitions.pm.gov.uk/nofaithinscho...

    This one is a bit stronger than the previous one I mentioned though. Still, some here may want to sign up for this one too.

    greets,
    Peter
  • Hi Peter

    Thanks for highlighting the Quentin Bridie Cooper 'No faith in schools' petition.... now signed it and my name appears on that list too
    Karan Meechan, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Nic.

    For what it’s worth, I was making the point that the vast majority of Christians will, when pressed; admit that actually, their “faith” is more in the nature of a “hope” than a “faith”. That has been made clear even by senior members of the Christian hierarchy themselves. Obviously, such people are amenable to discussion of every kind and it is possible that Christians might even back the campaign to separate state from religion. It could be their best last hope to secure the life they want.

    The problem is with those who “know” there is a god. They are mostly of foreign religion and not amenable to discussion. They might not actually advocate “killing unbelievers” but are often extreme and think little of the ‘British Way of Life’. For example; dress codes. The dress is unimportant; but the extremism at the heart of the dress code is frightening.

    To be continued.
    Max Mullen, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Nic. Continued.

    As an atheist without ever feeling the need to say so until now, I believe that religion must be taken out of government and subsidised agencies of every kind as a matter of urgency. It is not about arguing with a few deluded individuals about evolution, or having fun at their expense. It is about trying to achieve maximum civic cohesion by giving people the maximum opportunity to mix and reducing the opportunity to keep separate. This can only be done in a liberal secular society with religion kept at the margins.

    We have to remember that in the lifetime of young people the majority population of this country will have their origins outside of Europe with most from the Indian subcontinent. (I understand the population under twelve is already about one third). Maybe Britain will be much better for it, but if we have any sense we will do what we can, while we can, to mitigate the effect of the extreme religiosity which, in about forty years will most likely have become normal here.

    One last thought, remember the people who say everything will be great, rich and vibrant following the change to our population are the same people who predicted that the Soviet Union was the light and the future of the world. Ken Livingstone is just one example. His latest wisdom is to declare that everything will sort itself out for the best automatically. Don’t believe it and don’t be sidetracked by arguing with the likes of Pete Hodge. This is serious.
    Max Mullen, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Max Mullen:

    "[T]he vast majority of Christians will, when pressed; admit that actually, their “faith” is more in the nature of a “hope”... The problem is with those who “know” there is a god. They are mostly of foreign religion and not amenable to discussion."

    Ignoring the issue of whether Christianity should properly be considered more 'native' to the UK just because it's been here longer, I can't agree that the majority of Christians lack real faith. Perhaps we're just talking about different groups of people; personally, I wouldn't count the vast majority of those who write "C of E" on their census forms as really Christian - in more cases than not, it's written out of habit rather than reflecting anything beyond vague agnosticism. I'm talking about what I'd consider to be 'real' Christians, meaning, by definition, the ones who genuinely and strongly believe that it's true. Even among such people, there are many who *are* still amenable to discussion and whose beliefs can be challenged over time. I know - I've met many of them.


    "For example; dress codes. The dress is unimportant; but the extremism at the heart of the dress code is frightening"

    Forgive me if I misunderstand, but it does seem as if you are confusing "extremism" with simply not being from the dominant British culture! I'd go so far as to say that it's not only the dress code which is unimportant (in the sense of not being anything which should concern anyone else), but also the cultural beliefs which accompany it. The potential problem occurs only when you add both intolerance and aggression.

    (contd.)
    Nic Shakeshaft, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Max Mullen (contd.):

    "I believe that religion must be taken out of government and subsidised agencies of every kind..."

    Yes, certainly we agree here. I would also add that all faith education (i.e. education *of* faith, rather than education *about* faith) should be banned, regardless of whether it is state-sponsored or not. (I would include Emmanuel College-type schools in this category). Even private schools which persist in (mainly) one-sided indoctrination, of any faith, should be forced to change or close.


    "[D]on’t be sidetracked by arguing with the likes of Pete Hodge. This is serious."

    I can't do both? Well ok, not Pete Hodge - I've made my feelings plain there - but the point remains. Certainly we should be properly concerned about making the institutional and social adjustments necessary to avoid long-term problems, but you seem to be arguing that it isn't worth trying meanwhile to convince others of the need. I disagree. The more people who can be convinced of the desirability of such changes, the less social adjustment will be necessary, and the easier it will be to achieve.
    Nic Shakeshaft, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Pete,

    You're not criticised for standing up for what you believe.
    You are criticised for believing things without any evidence they are true.

    That's silly.

    You can always take the line on a website that you haven't seen evidence of evolution.

    You're just being evasive.
    I'm not here to defend evolution.

    Could you perhaps even describe the sorts of evidence that make you think the world was created in 6x24hours?
    Even in the broadest terms would do.

    It is well documented that some people with enquiring minds hold religious views but we do (of course) notice that have these strange blind spots for their faith.

    They clearly haven't applied that enquiring mind to their religion. There are many reasons why that might happen.

    Because you said it was possible you were wrong, I thought you might ready to apply that your belief that the world was created in 6x24hrs.
    It really should only take a minute for you realise its nonsense.I always find it amazing that you people can police your reason and avoid ever noticing that your belief is nonsense. I couldn't do that. I could pretend,but I'd know it was rubbish.

    You are veering back to an excellent reason why we should keep religion out of government. You won't listen to reason and believe things without evidence.

    That's faintly charming in creationism.
    Bad news when you propose your opinion should affect other peoples lives.

    How do I know your other opinions aren't just as unfounded?

    Keep religious nonsense out of government. Secularise the state.
    Dan Allen, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Karen meechan.
    Thank you for the offer to research the Lee bay accident.
    It was in the half term holidays,in early June about 12 years ago.
    The car,a sierra, hit the drive of a house at the top of the hill turning onto its roof and crushing the doors against the cliff wall.The car was in flames and smoke poured from the upsidedown engine.This man ran from behind us, faster than any 100 mtr sprinter and lept onto the cliff wall.
    When the fire service arrived their ladders could not reach the man from the rocks.An air ambulance was called and landed in the bay so you should be able to check my story.By the way this man had dark longish brown hair,(maybe black),blue eyes,yes deep blue eyes and
    brown skin,maybe arabic origin.
    Karen I am just telling you so maybe someone can explain this all to me.I want to believe in God but like so many others I need proof.
    Rajan, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Nic.

    I stand by my assertion that most Christians ‘hope’ (I am not referring to people who claim to be C of E out of habit). It is well known that clerics at the highest level often question their faith. My own relatives never miss mass, but do not claim certainty. That is the difference between Christians of western origin and the newly arrived population who ‘know’

    You say you ignore ‘the issue of whether our Christianity should properly be considered more 'native' to the UK just because it's been here longer’. I don’t want to ignore it. The difference is that the ‘our’ religion has been cultivated and developed and reformed in our British image and likeness. It has developed out of our British culture over centuries and bound into our British norms of behaviour. In many ways, it is our form of Christianity that’s makes us British - even atheists like me. It is in fact, if you’ll pardon the expression - native.

    Recently introduced foreign religions have had no British influence (except at the margins such as the abolition of widow burning). Witness - Sikh threats to attack a theatre because they didn’t like a play. We don’t do that. They do, because they are, if you’ll pardon the expression - foreign.

    You are in favour of getting religion out of the state, but you have to say why. It is not enough to say religion is silly. I contend that we must get religion out of the state as a matter of urgency because foreign religions are often evil. They must be neutralised and we cannot neutralise them without neutralising our own religion, which is not evil, as well.

    I notice that you like to advance the politically correct view of moral equivalence. I’m reminded of the saying that the road to hell is paved with good intensions. (I suppose it a good thing that we don’t believe in hell.)

    Continued.
    Max Mullen, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Nic. Continued


    You suggest that my definition of ‘extreme’ is anything not British. I haven’t said anything like that because it would be untrue. Extremism may be in the eye of the beholder but here in Britain the eye is British and by British standards Muslim ‘Dress’ adopted by some women is extreme. I used the example of dress simply because I didn’t want to get into the 72 virgins territory which might be considered extreme even by your standards.

    Think about why we wear any clothes at all. Most people will agree that clothes are necessary for all sorts of reasons including keeping out the cold or simple aesthetics: very few people over the age of about 25 look good naked. There is also the question of hygiene: all that potential for ‘skid marks’ and I expect you are like me, you hate being in a pub with lots of bare chested blokes getting close - and it does seem that you need a shirt to reduce B.O. There is also the question of modesty. Some Muslims claim that any sight of female skin inflames the passions of men. From the point of view of this heterosexual male with as much libido as he can cope with, that is rubbish. The truth is women are dressed the way they do in Arab countries because it is part of the oppression of women. The hajib has no practical purpose. It has come here as a political statement of separateness. It is evidence of extremism.

    I urged you not to waste time attacking Christian fundamentalism, even though it is good fun, because there is the danger of forgetting why we promote atheism and why we need to get moderate religious people to understand the need for a secular society. I actually think it is already too late and my advice to Europeans is to emigrate as soon as possible, (as they are in increasing numbers anyway) but maybe that’s just me.
    Max Mullen, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Rebbeca.I am keeping an open mind about angels of God.Thank you and stay with this pledge.This is the front line.
    RAJAN, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • @Rajan - I have to say I am a little confused by your story, maybe I need a dinky diagram, but how come the ambulance couldn't get there when the car was by a drive to a house? And if the car was wedged against the cliff wall then why was the person needed to support the car?
    It doesn't make a lot of sense to me, sorry.

    @ Everyone else, I have come fairly recently to all the faith versus secular stuff, and I have to say I am agreeing more and more with a comment that was made on venganza.com - to summarise "Like Polonium 210 there is no safe background level of religion"
    Soon the leadership of the EU will change hands to the Germans, and they are planning on proposing a change to the constitution to put Christianity as THE religion for Europe "As it has been very important in forming Europe" Well, so has the Black Death, but I don't feel a need to put that in the constitution.
    We have got to keep on fighting this enfringement of our rights.
    Abigail Hurley, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Hi Abigail

    Thanks for the support....I stated in my first challenge to Rajan's posting (re: the Lee Bay Angel...(Jesus) as it now turns out) that these types of stories are full of holes and now that has been clarified in the second posting...I am still unsure as to whether Rajan could be Rebecca but if it isn't then I think Rajan is being disingenuous, supposedly, wanting answers (posting to me stated) "I want to believe in God but like so many others I need proof" but (posting to rebecca) then stating "Thank you and stay with this pledge.This is the front line" hummm... It would appear I do not need to make enquiries (although I will next time I visit Barnstaple library) as to who the mystery man was. Obviously a delusion

    Incidently, what else do you know re: that German proposition...sort of thing I'd like to know more about...Do you think it is honestly based on a desire to actively promote a stong revival of christianity within Europe or more as means to act as an aid to deterring terrorism ( e.g not letting Islam get anymore of a foothold etc..)
    Regards
    Karan Meechan, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Hi Karan,

    There was a bit on the issue on the BHA website:

    http://www.humanism.org.uk/site/cms/cont...
  • Hi Peter

    Thanks for that link...I followed it through and read both the BHA and EHF submissions...I really am starting to realise, now, just how important it is to keep track of what is going on in Europe and because of those concerns I am now considering joining both organisations...The Humanist approach is by far the most sensible way to conduct the affairs of Europe. The churches must not be allowed to have special status and inflict their will upon those of us who have not signed up to their beliefs
    Karan Meechan, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • A first class example of how beliefs arise; found on todays bbc news site

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/asia-pa...

    And the irony in who made the comment below

    "Those people are holding on to a dream that will never come true"

    Check out the link for the answer
    Karan Meechan, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Karen what an easy way to blow a hole in my story.How many call outs to Lee bay do you think the air ambulance have had.Instead of putting people down why not research first as you said you would.I am a well respected member of the Sri Lankan business world. I am not Rebbeca.
    RAJAN, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Rajan I apologise for upsetting you. As I clearly stated I will be investigating the incident when I next go to Barnstaple library and I will contact the North Devon Journal too. I fully expect the air ambulance to confirm a crash at Lee Bay 12 years ago. However, perhaps I should make myself clearer...It isn't the actual crash I doubt (that should have been obvious from my lengthy reply re: Human Endeavour explanation) but that you may have witnessed what Rebecca implied was an angel.

    In the meantime, perhaps you could clear up the points raised in Abigail Hurley's opening paragraph of her posting of this morning, which does appear to highlight a few flaws.
    Karan Meechan, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • karan.
    You of all people must realise Lee bay is remote.If you were at the ambulance station and an emergency call for a burning car crash in a remote spot like Lee bay came in I hope you would send the air ambulance.The second point of abigails why was the person needed to support the car.The person was not needed to suppoet the car.The person walked along the wall,lay on the wall and switched off the engine.He lay on his chest and stayed balancing for 20 minutes plus.The driver had a chain around his neck and the man removed the chain.Can you imagine you are upsidedown in a burning car would you sceam and panic,I would.They never made a sound.The man was calm and cool and so were the people in the car.The fire went out,I cannot explain how and all was well due to an amazing act of faith.
    I need to know how I too can gain this strength to help my people in Sri Lanka.
    RAJAN, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Rajan - Morning! Thank you for your further explanation, but I am still confused, maybe I don't understand the countryside around there, but I just don't get it - here is part of your original post...

    The car was against a cliff wall the man jumped onto the jagged wall and with half of his body hanging over the wall(with a 200ft drop) and his chest on the jagged top of the wall he switched the engine off and a great cloud of steam put the fire out.He stayed in that balancing position for twenty minutes until a fireman helped him from the wall.

    I just cannot see how the car can be against a cliff wall, and yet the man was over a 200ft drop - those two things are mutually incompatible to me, and why would the man balance on the wall, surely he would have been better to get down to the people's level in the car - as in on the ground to comfort them.
    As to your comment as to how to find this strength - it is either in you or it isn't - many people who believe strongly in helping others find the strength in themselves - have belief in yourself that you can do it, you don't need belief in anything else.
    Think about what you want to achieve in Sri Lanka and how you can go about it - good luck.
    Abigail Hurley, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Hi Peter! Thanks for giving Karan the link - I generally only check this site once a day, so sorry if I am slow getting back to people. Too much else to do!
    Abigail Hurley, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Excellent link Karan - thank you.
    I like Cargo Cults - they make our point very nicely, they are just about as silly as the flying spaghetti monster or invisible pink unicorn, and have every bit as much evidence for them as the main religions, except for the FSM of course who must be true because He has a graph.. :)
    Abigail Hurley, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Folks,

    This pledge is seriously flagging.

    Please go to the list of MPs:

    http://www.jamiechristie.com/cands/

    And look for constituencies where you have friends or relatives.

    If they aren't taken why not call them up or e-mail them and try and get them to pledge for their MP.

    We need over 300 further pledges in the next 6 weeks!
    Dan Allen, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Does anyone know if TGD is available in braille?

    No one has pledged for David Blunkett yet.
    Dan Allen, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Generally sympathetic as I am to the general aims of this exercise, what I know of MPs makes me think that this will make about the same impact as finding a copy of the gideon bible in the hotel bedroom. i.e. rather annoying. Far better to use the £7000 this would generate to send a cogent and concise booklet that would give ammunition for MPs to defend the rights of the millions of non-religious citizens which have been gravely eroded in the past 20 years. Also to get rigorous scientific method & thought firmly on the agenda in schools. Sorry Mr Fundamentalist Lobbyist, I don't "believe in" evolution - just that the constant subjection of the concept to methodical doubt and testing by evidence makes it a better bet than the fantastical tosh promoted by the "bashers" of the holy books.
    Roger Clipsham, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Dan,

    At the current rate it would indeed not reach the target, but things with the Humanist organisations are in motion. Don't despair just yet. Keep gathering votes, this is not a lost cause.

    Roger,

    The Truth in Science action (to send creationist DVDs to schools) recently got tons of media attention, mostly condemning it. If this action is positioned as the counter move to that, it may also get quite a bit of attention. I know it may come to little, but I'm certainly not pessimistic about it. And it has the potential to grow quite big. Not because I think many MPs will read it. Locally here, I'm quite sure Ian Paisly will burn it. But what we would get out of it, is attention for a good cause. You may want to sign up because of that reason, not for expecting MPs to read it.
  • Abigail.Thank you for your last posting.
    We all need to draw strength at the moment in Sri Lanka.This is a grave situation in Sri Lanka.Government jets are bombing School children at their desks killing our young as they learn.
    When I see a stranger put his life on the line for people in danger I need to know more about this person.I can maybe draw strength the way he did to help to solve many problems in This beautiful country Sri Lanka.
    The cliff wall in Lee bay is there to stop cars from driving over the edge and a 200ft drop to the bay below.The fact that the fire men tried to get to the people from the rocks below means the car was crushed and upside down.In the end six firemen lifted the front of the car away from the wall and cut the back door off to get to the people.If there is a God I call on him to help the Tamil people of Sri Lanka in there hour of need.

    Rebbeca pray to your God for the children of Sri Lanka and also pray for Tony Blair to stand between the bombs and the children ,the beautiful children of Sri Lanka.
    Thank you good fair British people.
    RAJAN, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Hi Abigail
    The 'cargo cult' link was a hoot wasn't it..lol...Meanwhile..What did you think of the BHA website ? I'm thinking of joining.

    Hi Rajan
    I hope your not still too upset with me...I just cannot get my head around the 'angels' thing and will always maintain that 'Human Beings' do the saving, however miraculaous the event may appear to be. I wouldn't want God to take the credit

    It seems that the appalling and inhumane acts occurring in your country are driving you to despair and rightly so...I am truly sorry for all the troubles there. Perhaps you can draw some strength from the man below...I think if I knew him I may well think of him as a hero

    Rajan Hoole, a member of UTHR and a crusader for human rights in Sri Lanka,
    He is a son of a Tamil christian clergyman.

    http://www.pbs.org/frontlineworld/storie...

    Publications

    1. The Broken Palmyrah (1989, Co author, Harvey Mudd College California)

    2. Sri Lanka: The Arrogance of power; Myth, Decadence and murder (2000, UTHR, Colombo)
    Karan Meechan, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • I notice a comment to the effect that the Pledge is 'seriously flagging'.

    Would it be in order to pledge two or more copies of the book?

    I am willing to denote £50 in money or books to this good cause.
    Max Mullen, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Hi Max,

    Jamie accepts volume donations. I've been emailing Jamie about volume donations from British humanist organisations, and they are accepted under the terms of the pledge.
  • Hi Peter

    Thank you once again for your introduction to Humanism through the link you provided.

    I have been on the BHA site for the last 6 hours. I have found much on there that I can identify with. I think I have found my niche. It is now just a matter of joining up I think
    Karan Meechan, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Hi Karan,

    Welcome to humanism. A wonderfully rational and tolerant world view. I'm a member of the Humani, the Ulster Humanist Association. I'm a member mostly out out rationalist/atheist considerations. I also share in most of the 'be good to your fellow men' concepts such as tolerance and respect for those who have other opinions. But I must say I find my respect taxed to the limit when I start debating literalist creationists and other such religious wackos. Fortunately, humanism is not rigid, I haven't been expelled yet for not loving and respecting all of my fellow men and women on this planet.
  • Max,

    It is OK to pledge twice.
    I've vouched for my MP and offered (without take up yet) to pay for someone else.
    My offer stands for a genuine hardship case who can't afford to pay for a book for their MP.
    I believe that poverty alone should not exclude people for the political system.
    I hope someone takes up my offer.

    Regards, Dan.
    Dan Allen, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Hi Rajan

    I am really sorry to hear about the situation in Sri lanka. I had no idea. Where do I find out more about this situation?

    I will pray about it and also alert as many people as I know to this situation. Are there specific charities for Sri lanka?
    rebecca evans, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Dan Allen asked about a Braille version of the book.

    According to http://www.revealweb.org.uk, the Braille version is expected in November 2007, while the 10-cassette audio version is due in June 2007.

    The good news is that the CD audiobook is already available from Amazon at £11.89 for immediate dispatch.
    http://www.amazon.co.uk/God-Delusion-Ric...
  • So who ever gets Blunko should send that. Still no one has pledged for him.

    I hope he listens to it.

    Actually some people might like to send the audiobook to other MPs.
    That seems legit to me and they might listen to it in the car.
    Dan Allen, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • "not been shown any evidence over the past days that proves to me that evolution has taken place." - Peter Hodge.

    Dude - "evolution" just means change over time. I've SEEN it happen time and time again in the lab - backmutations in bacteria, mutations in fruit flies and so on. Geological, genetic, fossil etc etc evidence for evolution is actually overwheleming. It seems that you are confusing the FACT of evolution with its proposed mechanisms such as natural selection.

    The distinction is not a very difficult one, which makes me wonder about your ability to think rationally let alone understand science.
    Clive Beale, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • The comments about generating £7000 is specious. It wouldn't. Sending books is one thing, asking for money another. I for one am sending my MP my personal copy, not buying a new one.

    You also miss the point that if it does happen then it will probably generate publicity - cetainly more than spending 7K on a "a cogent and concise booklet" would.
    Clive Beale, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Rebecca.
    The white pigeon is the charity we all donate to at 175 Tooting high street London sw17osz Reg charity no 1107434.
    The charity buys new arms and legs for the lucky children who survived the bombing at their school by government jets.God was not there that day.
    RAJAN, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Rebecca.
    We hold our babies in our arms and thank God they have arrived in this world o k.
    They hold their little hands out to us and we work hard to buy them their little crosses of Jesus and teach them to grow up to be good in the eyes of the Lord.We take them to school to learn about the teachings of Jesus and they paint pictures of the baby Jesus and pin them to the wall.Then BANG FLASH BANG rockets blow our beautiful children to bits.We pick up their arms and legs and put them together to meet Jesus.We wipe the blood from their crosses so Jesus will see they too have suffered.The British Government gave the Sri Lankan Government £4 million pounds a year to bomb CHRISTIAN CHILDREN IN SRILANKA.
    69.000 PEOPLE HAVE DIED SINCE 1983 THE KILLING MUST STOP NOW.
    GOOD AND FAIR BRITISH PEOPLE HELP US NOW .
    WE ARE LOSING OUR FAITH IN GOD.
    RAJAN, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Hello Rajan,

    While I find your account moving, you must realise that the surest way to turn off your audience on this site is to mix in that religious stuff. Most here are rational, sensible people, many among them atheists. The very nature of this pledge should also make it clear to you that most here are tolerant, generous and caring people. If you leave out the religious nonsense, you have a much better chance of getting some of them to help out with the situation in your country. What do you think is more important: getting some help to people in dire need, or more pious posting? You're not troubled by the fact that your religious rants probably serve to achieve the opposite of what needs to get done?

    Respectfully,
    Peter
  • Peter .
    with respect you are missing the point.
    We have followed the Christian faith without question from birth.We are now questioning that faith.This to a Christian is a massive step.I am in touch with maybe 1000 people who also need answers from the christian church.
    I am questioning Rebecca to find out how she is so convinced there is a God.
    RAJAN, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Hello Rajan,

    I see. Sorry I missed it.
    As you may have guessed from my previous posts I am an atheist. One of the things I deplore most about religion is that it discourages inquisitive thinking, let alone critical questioning. I warmly welcome that you say you are now subjecting your faith to questioning. If your faith withstands this questioning it will be strengthened, if it doesn't (as I would expect) than it is good to realise that and admit to yourself that your world view needed changing.

    Good luck,
    Peter
  • Peter (and everyone):

    Just a guess, but I suspect "RAJAN" to be the troll who has posted on various pledgebank pages as "EDMUND", "KAMIL" and others. If you search for a few posts under those names, you'll see that the similarities in writing style (not to mention the spelling and punctuation errors) are striking. If I'm right, then the standard "don't feed the troll" approach might be best...

    If I'm wrong, then of course I apologise for any offence caused - but I'm pretty sure I'm not.
    Nic Shakeshaft, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Karan.
    Thank you for your help.
    RAJAN, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Nick shakeshaft.
    Does troll mean liar.
    Look at Tamil .net and you will see the
    Prime minister is looking into the £4 million pound aid package.You will also see the children and the blood.
    RAJAN, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • If I said I really believed in the Man in the Moon, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, and Father Christmas would that then get me special privileges and exemptions from the law, rather than a spell in the madhouse ?

    No I thought not. So why does believing in an old man with a grey beard, somewhere up in the sky do so ?

    Why should it do so ?

    Believe what you want you people out there.

    But please don't force it upon others, or expect laws to be made, (which I then have to obey) just BECAUSE of your beliefs alone. Don't expect people to "respect" you and your irrational ways either, JUST because of your beliefs alone. You'd have to do a lot more than simply be religious, to earn my sincere respect.

    Consider phrases similar to:
    "I am Muslim/Jew/Hindu/Christian /whatever, and therefore this activity should not be allowed by law."

    These are plainly WRONG and completely unfair. The only fair way, in a tolerant and multi-faith society is complete secularism in government and equality under the law. Nor should religious "offense" alone be any justification for restrictions, such as censorship being imposed on others.
    Shaun Hollingworth, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Hear, hear Shaun. Well spoken.
  • You tell 'em Shaun.

    Secularism is really the only way to have a genuinely free society for all.
    Dan Allen, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Hello, Shaun. Do you equate atheism with freedom? The number of secular laws in modern society are far more numerous than religious prohibitions, eg. crime laws, road laws, taxes and such conventions as political correctness that pop up and drop off. 'Thou shalt not kill' is still with us - murder is a crime. We need to learn to judge old religious prohibitions by modern standards, surely, not throw them all out in the name of atheism. Don't worry, I am not trying to bring god back. I have been a lifelong atheist
    Irene Coates, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Irene,

    Firstly all successful societies have a killing prohibition. Almost by definition. I don't think religion introduced it - just adopted it. So you should see murder as secular and if you wish religious law. Not either or.
    Secondly, we do kill. We enter wars shoot criminals in the commission of crimes and weirdly some of the most conservative Christian states in the US use it as a punishment.
    I seem to remember Jesus was said to have a big thing for forgiveness but people are very selective in how they apply their religious principles and/or intepret them. That is one of the things that makes religion so dangerous.

    You're right to re-evaluate old prohibitions but there is no need (or reasonable way) to do so in consideration of Gods will.
    No one is suggesting we overturn useful laws to spite the religious/God.
    We are saying that we should not give religion any consideration in deciding which laws the state creates. To do is unfair on the many people who don't follow that creed and also nonsense because no one can show genuine knowledge of what God wants.
    Your right that secular laws out number religious. But the secular laws (where good) are designed to improve society, religous law is an arbitrary power trip . We can over turn bad secular law by argument but there is no way to reason in religion.
    Dan Allen, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Secular law certainly out weighs religious.
    If you talk about the 10 commandments only somewhere between 2 and 4 are enshrined in UK law.
    Thou shalt not steal and thou shalt not bear false witness against your neighbour are clearly in there as theft and perjury. Though again I doublt they originate with God but as practicalities of any society.
    Thou shalt not kill is a maybe. OK we have the crime of murder but we start and have wars and arm the police and an increasing number of people condone 'mercy killing'.
    We don't live is a pacifist state and the commandment has not 'get outs' unless you read them in...
    Europe bans the death penalty but as mentioned above the 'more religous' US has it in some (more religous) states.
    Finally we do have a blashpemy law but that is increasingly considered irrelevant and superceded by religious hate (which is a crime against the person/people not the religion).
    Dan Allen, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • The other commandments are certainly not crimes.
    1. Thou shalt have no other God but me. Hinduism Buddhism (etc.) are not a crimes.
    2. Thou shalt not worship idols.
    Hindu statues, Buddhas, Crucifixes etc. are not illegal.
    4. Sunday is not kept holy (much) or nearly as holy as that commandment seems to require. Working on a Sunday is not illegal but trading is limited.
    5. Respect your father and mother.
    Disrespecting them is not a crime.
    7. Adultery is not a crime.
    10. Envy is not a crime.

    It would be very damaging to society make any of these things a crime or more of a crime.
    Dan Allen, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • A bit of good news! After the bulk pledge of 13 by Humani (Humanist Association of Northern Ireland) the Belfast Humanist Group has pledged another 5. Together, Humani and the BHG have covered for all 18 Ulster seats. And various individuals had already pledged for Ulster MPs, so we now have an actual surpluss here that can be used to fill up open seats elsewhere in the UK. Not bad for a place that probably has the worst religious bigots for MPs anywhere in the UK.

    Hopefully other organisations (like humanist organisations that cover a larger number of constituencies than Ulster) will follow the good example of Humani and BHG.
  • Rebecca.
    Is it against the Christian faith if we bought this book and looked at evolution as an addition to Gods work?
    RAJAN, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Peter,

    That is great news.

    Dan
    Dan Allen, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Hi Rajan ( this comment is to rajan and noone else) Why I believe in God!

    1. Creation as a whole. I do not subscribe to 24 literal 7 days creation. I do believe that evolutionary theory does not stand up to scrutiny. Why is it that if time is a foot ball pitch: at the beginning of the football pitch there are little insects basic life forms. You would have to run nearly the whole length of the football pitch to get to a point where the fossils suddently show an explosion of life - fully formed. There are no fossils in the earliest part of the pitch ( rperesenting time) This equates to the cambrian exlosion. No fossils have been found showing the links between supposed species previously that turned into modern day ones. The fossil record as a basic scientific fact does not add up to scrutiny. The complexity of life and mathematical probability point to design.

    2. Answered prayers. I have seen many answered prayers down to my best friend in Israel having a baby expected to be deformed and die , be born normally . 3 different fetal medcine centres ouldn't explain that.
    I've seen money come from no where for people at times in need, a woman diagnosed with terminal cancer by 2 surgeons - and photographic/tissue sample diagnosis - inoperable, healed and many more

    3 I have felt the presence of God, people I know have had prophecies that were accurate ad true and so tested.
    God is a reality to me not an invisible person.
    I do not ahve a schizotypal personality as previously suggested - nor does anyone I know ( except one or two).

    The majority of the suffering on Earth is created by humans: wars, not sharing food, sexual immorality, greed. The people in sri lanka suffer because of the evil of mankind both in perpertrating and also others doing nothing to stop them.
    God bless you Rajan
    Rebecca Evans, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Rajan : continued

    4. The Bible itself is supported by archeological evidence. Prophecies made 700 years before events took place happened. Jesus for example was predicted to be born in bethlehem, die on a cross, be a suffering servant - read Isaiah 53 , 700 years before he was born. Another book Daiel predicted teh exact time frame when he woul waklk the Earth. Statistically it wuld be impossible to fulfill all the prophecies in one man unless it were true.

    5. The Old Testament has not changed bar one or two words in 2000 year. Dead sea scroll prove texts we have today are the same s ones at the explusion of the Jews. This proved New Testament writers didn't change them.

    6 evidence outside the Bible historical facts, historical books also talk of the historial events in the Bible. More than a fairy tale.

    7. The evidenc of a personal transformation of people read run baby run ( Nicky Cruz, Tamin g the Tiger and many more

    I do not think it is a sin to buy the God delusion. I fact I encourage people to discover things for themselves. I am not a mindless none thinking person I have the equivalent of three degrees and 7 A levels.

    Hope this helps. I will do what I can to investigate and then tell others about what is happening in Sri Lanka
    Rebecca Evans, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Thankyou Rebecca for your help.
    The Tamil people are lost and drifting away from the Christian faith.We find it hard to think that fellow Christians around the world can stand by and let fellow Christians die.Many people in Britain do not know of the deaths in Sri Lanka.Thousands have moved away from the fighting and God is not called for much now as we think he is maybe somewhere else.We never thought this way when we were young but this was before the killing.We were taught that God is everywhere all the time.The young in London are also drifting away and thinking maybe there is no God for them.Maybe the church is there for just upper class people to meet and promote their social standing.You dont see many poor people in church on Sundays.
    Rebecca you have a lot of goodness in you I can tell.I am just a shop keeper working very hard 7 days a week.I am up at 3.30am but I would give up everything
    to stop the killing of Tamil people.
    Please look at Tamil . net and see the beautiful Tamil children who ask each day can you ask God to visit us.
    Very much respect to you Rebecca.
    RAJAN, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Rajan: I have now researched the conflict. It looks to me like a typical conflict where originally injustices to a minority group result in resentment, which in turn result in violence that spin out of control

    There are only ever losers in war and rarely is there a just side. It is so complicated now i doubt either side looks good when reviewing atrocities commited by both sides in the name of defence.

    God gives us free will, and that means sitting back to allow human mistakes to unfold otherwise we would just be robots and there would be no point to life.

    When God did intervene - in Exodus in the desert, the people were not grateful and they didn't like to be able to see God as a cloud or pillar of flames.

    There are middle class churches that is true, but there are plenty of working class people in churches- at least in manchester.
    What a nightmare for you though, living knowing that people you care about are living in such fear. I will pray for peace but also for an inner peace for yourself that you clearly crave.

    Unfortunately until we all learn to forgive ourselves , and one another , learn to love rather than hate, there will always be wars and always be suffering- that goes for all of us of all beliefs.

    The site you gave me - too much sri lankan not enough english so I went elsewhere. You are right - we haven't a clue what is going on not only in Sri Lanka but also in Africa - Sudan being the perfect example.


    I will retire again from this debate- I only came back to speak to you Rajan. Hang in there and I hope you are being well treated in this country!
    Rebecca Evans, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Dan, thank you for your response to my thoughts on laws. I agree with what you say. Nevertheless. I think atheists have a job to do to consider world civilisations, post-god. We could find more and more laws and restrictions proliferating as people in power each want to make their mark. We have seen something of this in the twentieth century. I think our brains focus on three levels - gossip, political and legend. The legend level is in a mess and we need to debate it without taboos. We also need to realise that the brain keeps its flexibility through being inaccurate.. Irene
    Irene Coates, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Rebecca, this an open forum so expect responses to your posts irrespective of whom you posted them for. Your comments on evolution simply display your ignorance of the subject rather than any serious flaws in the theory. What about all the prayers that your god ignores, xtians are always very selective about commenting on apparently answered prayers while ignoring the considerable majority that are ignored. The fact that there are so called medical miracles simply shows that we don't know everything about the body yet, not that god/s did it. All the so called prophecies in the bible were either written after the event or are due to selective interpretations of what is written after the event to fit the facts. Additionally, apart from the OT the bible is not 2000 years old as parts of the NT were not even written until quite some time after the death of Jesus and what we call the bible today was not put together in anything like its present form for hundreds of years after the death of Jesus. cont....
    John Phillips, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • to Rebecca cont...

    The first list of the acceptable books of the bible were put together around 382AD by Pope Damasus 1 who commissioned St. Jerome to do the translation from Greek and Hebrew producing the Latin Vulgate bible, but since then has been repeatedly modified by various popes. Not forgetting of course, all the interpretations of meanings of words that occurred during various translations from one language to another. Producing arguments such as whether the original word used for Mary actually meant virgin or simply unmarried woman but was convenient to translate as virgin to accentuate the story of the virgin birth. As to claiming truthfulness for all the bible simply because it contained some actual historical events and people is nonsense as plenty of fiction authors employ this tactic and have always done so, the various ancient Greek writers being very good examples of such. Using your logic many of the Greek mythologies should be taken as truth as their stories were often written around real places and people in which case Zeus and his fellow gods are as much a reality as the xtian god. It always amuses me how little so called xtians actually know about the real history of their religion and their book of mythology and yet have the gall to claim it is infallible.
    John Phillips, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Rebecca

    I'm not going to claim credit for thinking of this question but here it is...

    Why does god hate amputees so much? Given all the miraculous cures of cancers and heart disease your god is so clearly responsible for why have all the amputees been left to suffer? What is it about having lost your arm/leg in a car crash that makes you so unworthy of his miracles? For a divine and benevolent being surely a truly devout prayer would be able to heal even one amputation in the history of medicine... surely he has that ability right? But he never has so clearly amputees have commited some truly heinous sin that makes them forever unworthy of his mercy. Can you please tell me what that is? Is there some special part of hell reserved for those who were crashed into by a drunk driver and whose limbs were destroyed in the process?
    Giles Stokes, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Hi John,

    Excellent points there. Even more fun than debating an irrational xtian with rational reason and knowledge as you do, is to bait them with other, very different beliefs, e. g. Hinduism. Ask them if the holy books of other religions are all nonsense. While indeed usually claiming the infallibility of their own beliefs, non-thinking xtians frequently hesitate to openly take the position of 'They're all wrong, I'm the only one who's right' (although some even do that). It can be great fun to watch them struggle between not being openly arrogant to the whole world but still trying to maintain that their beliefs, and only their beliefs, are right.
    Humanist Association of Northern Ireland, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Woops, my browser still had the settings hanging around from when I made the bulk pledge on behalf of the Humanist Assoc. of NI. That previous post was my own personal opinion, not the view of HUMANI.
  • In reply to Rebecca (I realise you may not answer, but just for the sake of completeness...):-

    In addition to John's comments above, I just wanted to respond personally to: "I do not ahve a schizotypal personality as previously suggested - nor does anyone I know ( except one or two)".

    Firstly, how do you know? We only discussed this quite recently, and the psychometrics involved are not very easy for the public to come by. Have you, and the other people you speak of, actually had your schizotypy scores formally measured? If so, on which scales?

    More importantly, though: it doesn't really make much difference whether you are highly schizotypal or not, so far as my earlier argument was concerned. Neurologically speaking, there are many ways for religious experiences to occur; high positive schizotypy is just one of the factors which tend to make them more likely.
    Nic Shakeshaft, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Peter: Very true, which was my point with the comment about the Greek mythologies and Zeus. That reminds me, talking about Zeus, did you see the recent fuss and the apoplectic response of the leader of the Greek Orthodox church to a group in Greece who have regained the freedom to worship Zeus at the Acropolis IIRC :) His response was something along the lines of, and of course I paraphrase, "it is all nonsense and a sacrilege to allow it". An old saying about pot and kettle comes to mind :)
    John Phillips, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Hi John,

    Nice bit of info I had not read before. Thanks. Things would all be much simpler if religious people read some history. It would be so much easier to make religious people see how silly their beliefs are if they knew at least how many impossibly silly religions there have been that people adhered to as fervently as they do to theirs now.
  • I was not actually not allowed to read this book by my wife as she says I get too "preachy" ironically. But I've read enough of his stuff to get the gist. I imagine every MP got a free copy anyway, I'd prefer every "16 yr old child" as the recipient, those most prevented from access would most seek it.
    Sean, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Hi Peter,

    If you go to the BBC web site and type Zeus into their search box the item I referred to will be the third or fourth down on the results page and is titled 'News - Zeus devotees worship in Athens'. A quote from the Greek Orthodox church in the item; "they are miserable resuscitators of a degenerate dead religion" :) And they are not, well to be fair to the Greek Orthodox, they are not resuscitating a degenerate dead religion, simply keeping one alive :) You couldn't make this stuff up if you wanted to, or at least nobody would believe it if you did :) As they say, truth very is definitely stranger than fiction.
    John Phillips, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Hi John,

    Priceless, one more nice bookmark for me. Thanks.
  • schizotypal personalities
    Actually Nick , being a doctor I looked up the criteria formally in the DSM ( handbook of clinical diagnosis in psychiatry. I also answered questions on an inventory on a schizotypal website. The schizotypal personality is typified by having only close relationships with close family, being an intovert and to sum up long worded criteria, poor communicator. The only thing I have in common with the personality is the bit that refers to people having strange beliefs like telepathy ( I don't beleive in telepahy etc). However as some people find my beliefs as socially unaceptable this is the only commonality.

    I also researched all the other humanist/evolution stuff and read with great interest but it did not answer the fundamental problems with evolution 1. why does the fossil record not add up - sudden explosion of fully formed species, 2, why are no link species found - essential for proving evolution, 3.stuff about fetuses all looking the same has been grotesquely manipulated by an atheist trying to prove his own belief system ( hasselbach?? I can't remeber his name now.

    I am an extrovert, an excellent communicator and not socially withdrawn.
    Using the criteria on friends they don't qualify either.
    Rebecca Evans, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • John Philips: I think it is you who are ignorant. Have you researched the alternative theory re : intelligent design , which doesn't require you to believe in God.

    Are you aware that many of the prehistoric men we are aware of have only a thigh bone adn a jaw or forehead to tell us what their appearance was. This gives huge artistic liscence to prduce an image you think it would be, also many fossil had medical diseases like rickets etc "Hobbit humans"

    Explain to me the cambrian explosion,
    where the link species are, why if you use prehstoric gases at the formation of teh earth instead of producing life ( Miller experiemtn disproved ) you get formaldehyde adn cyanide.

    Research these facts and astronomer and look at Stephen Hawkins and how his mathemtics fals down if you add in numbers - he freely admits. You tell me that I am ignorant of the facts, you prove that you have answers to these solutions before I will discuss it with you further, or are you blindly following the myth of evololution?

    My theology makes it compatible that God could have created the universe through evololution , I used to believe in it and was a christian, it makes no odds to me. But as a scientist it is ludicrous
    Rebecca Evans, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Origins of the New testament:
    actaally the New testament is approx 2000 years old , teh old up to 5000 years old though written over prolonged time.
    New evidence form the dead sea scrolls suggests fragmetns of the Gospel were around sooner than people believe. Pual letters which incidentally agree with teh Gospe s and show that tracts were in circulation before then were written within a few years of Jesus' death. Most of the scriptures were therfore around very quiclkly.
    The Da vinch i code - great book , was very inaccurate and had an agenda in itself , there was no huge debate only 2 bishops disagreed at the nicene meeting rather than presented in teh book. The books like the judas gospel, etc were written later adn could not be dated back to origninal sources , linguisutc ahve looked into this.
    I have intellectually looked at all the argu,ets for and agaisnt before embracing christianity as teh truth. Yes I do believe that it is the only way to God the Fatehr. I do beleive that there are significant truths in all releigions. Muslims of course adn Jews will be of a similar opinion about their own beliefs.
    Rebecca Evans, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Why does God hate amputees?

    He doesn't, he loves all people.
    Jesus ( God in human form),didn't heal everyone when he on Earth. I do not understand nor will I be arrogant enough to say I do. The question of suffering plagues me as you can imagine working as a doctor. I do know that Jesus was no stranger to suffering himself!

    All I can say is that Jesus weeps with us in our suffering, is not happy about it. Our suffering stems from "the fall" our rejection of God and the inevitable consequeces of it. One day there will be a New Heaven and a new Earth where all tears will be wiped away. All who believe in Jesus will live in the perfect world. In essence the people who are there choose God and so choose to be there.

    I do not understand the theology of hell, if it is an actual place, a separation of God, or just missing out on being with God. reality is that I like all of you will have to kneel before God and if i'm wrong I will be in trouble as I do huge amounts of Christian work.(This does not earn me a plce in heaven, I could do nothing good and only accept Jesus on my death bed and still go to heaven. I may well be wrong, but I am sure as I can be that I am right re Christianity being the truth.

    If there is no God, I will die knowing that I have lived a fullfilling life, met people I would never have met, had priorities of family and friends over materialism. But no harm will come to me.

    If you are wrong and there is a God, what will you say to your heavenly Father, who desperately all the time wants to have a relationship with you, weeps for you, loves you. When you get to heaven if you have rejected him , YOU have rejected your right to have the coolest party in history and just being in that presence and being denied it , would be hell enough for me!
    Rebecca Evans, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Out of interest, while I won't sign up to this pledge, I do support it in the sense that I agree people should not be censored adn different views expressed.

    I do not see the book as an affront to my faith. I love Harry Potter and can't wait for the next one to come out. I support evolution being taught in schools ( though it would be nice if tehy looked at why people dispute evoltionary theory as well.

    We all need to have a right to our own beliefs and expression of tehm . I do not support political correctness that just hampers beliefs. Not too long from now this debate will not be possible if theings continue ats they are.

    Humanists feel under threat, whe actually all over the place it is christians who are having their rights revoked. Just food for thought.

    I think you are all great and I really have enjoyed all your comments - even the insults!

    I hope you all ahve a fulfilling life whatever you choose to believe!
    Rebecca Evans, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Ok, we're past the 2/3 point. This Saturday is the meeting of British and Irish humanist organisations. This book pledge is an item of discussion for that meeting. Hopefully some of the humanist organisations will make volume pledges to help us close part of the remaining gap.
  • Rebecca,

    Re schizotypy: forgive me, but you seem to be talking about schizotypal personality disorder, not schizotypy itself. Schizotypy is a normal personality dimension (not a disorder) on which everyone has a score. The DSM won't be much use!

    The traits you describe are associated with *negative* schizotypy, not positive. Confusingly, these are essentially two separate scales, so it is entirely possible to be low on negative schizotypy (and thus not to be at risk of schizotypal personality disorder) but high on *positive* schizotypy. Someone with these scores would have none (or few) of the negative traits - social withdrawal, introvertive anhedonia, and so on - whilst displaying high levels of the traits associated with "positive" schizotypy, which include creativity, "magical thinking" and an increased likelihood of religious experiences. Sorry if I'm babbling unnecessary details - I'm a psychologist, in case that wasn't clear. :)

    So: this is one possible mechanism, in some people, by which religious experiences could be said to occur and seem entirely real, but actually be explainable by other means. As we've discussed before, obviously it's open to interpretation whether the brain invents God or whether God invented the brain. I was simply demonstrating that, purely *because* the truth could logically be in either direction, personal religious experiences - and the fact that a religion feels intuitively "true" - cannot be taken as evidence.

    If you get a chance (and are interested) to assess your schizotypy scores properly, I'd recommend the O-LIFE scale.
    Nic Shakeshaft, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Rebecca: All you are doing is claiming goddidit for the gaps in our knowledge, not actually supplying evidence against evolution. Unfortunately, as with the ID IDiots, as was proven in the Dover case recently in the US, there is no corroborated peer reviewed research to support ID. In fact, their chief proponents in the Dover case actually admitted to ignoring any and all research that disproved any of their claims. Whether it was to do with the flagellum, blood clotting etc. etc. SO far, not only have none of their claims held up, each has actually been proven wrong by modern science when looked at in depth. Then when they move on to another area that we don't yet know fully and make even more claims, it usually doesn't take long for real science to once again show where they are in error, if not actually lying. Which was again shown as a common practise by IDiots in the Dover case. cont...
    John Phillips, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • cont...

    Rebecca: As to missing links or transitional species, well actually, we are all transitional species, in a manner of speaking, between what we were and what we will be as evolution continues. The difference between the proponents of evolution and the proponents of IDiotism, i.e. creationism by another name, is that while evolutionists openly admit that we don't yet know all the answers, and may never know some of the answers fully, the IDiots claim that any gaps in our knowledge is due to the Intelligent Designer (i.e. goddidit) and yet again fail to supply any evidence at all for this claim. Then when we do fill in that gap they move on to the next gap, ad infinitum. In one sense you might say they are actually doing evolution a twisted sort of favour. For by trying to fit in their intelligent designer as the cause, every time there appears a gap in our knowledge, it concentrates the real scientists minds on the gaps and it usually is not long before we have filled in the gaps scientifically, again disproving the IDiots claims. cont...
    John Phillips, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • cont...

    Rebecca: While some of the NT is based on documents that are 2000 years or more old, much of it isn't, such as the gospels. Which were written at least decades after Jesus died. Who might have actually existed, at least according to one Roman writer writing over a hundred years later, which is the only real written evidence for him outside the gospels. Some even later, being written hundreds of years later. though as you say, there may be some evidence that there might have been scribblings from closer to when Jesus is supposed to have lived. Which in itself proves nothing, especially when the conditions of those writings are taken into account and the liberties necessary when simply reading them, let alone translating them. cont...
    John Phillips, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • cont...

    Rebecca: As to the Da Vinci Code, where did I mention that, for I have not even read it. Believing it to be, at least according to friends who have read it, a barely adequately written piece of fiction, exploiting and mixing historical facts willy nilly as a literary device, much like the bible IMO. After all, while I happily and openly admit that sections of the bible are about actual events, supported by archaeology and other writers, much as some of the weavings of the DA Vince Code are, according to those I know who have read it, it was written by men for men. With all that implies for the likely accuracy, or rather inaccuracies, introduced through translations, interpretations, etc. Especially when you consider that those doing so had a major vested interest in putting forward their version, if only for propaganda reasons.
    John Phillips, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • cont...

    Rebecca: Believers of the infallibility of the bible make many claims, little of it based on fact. The many prophecies are one example, where none of the actually claimed to be accurate ones live up to the claims. Such as the one about the Towers falling now being claimed to be about the World Trade Centre. Please!!! every war we have known has consisted of at least one great tower, great at least to those who constructed them, falling or being torn down. Admittedly, I have picked a rather simple example, but it is redolent of the tricks used to claim validity for other so called accurate prophecies. Much as is done to try and validate the works of Nostradamus. I.e. it is always easy after the event to 'interpret' a claim to actually mean whatever you want, especially when you have a vested interest in upholding such a claim. cont...
    John Phillips, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • cont...

    Rebecca: The difference between me and you, or at least it appears so to me, is that if one piece of genuine peer reviewed evidence was produced to support either ID or even god, being a true sceptic I would look at the evidence and decide on the evidence accordingly. You on the other hand, make statements that your belief is true without any genuine supporting evidence, as with your claims for ID, none, and I mean NONE, of which stand up to close genuine examination. Forcing those who support it to either move the goal posts, i.e. look for other gaps to try and validate their claims, or, as is happening with IDiots in the US at the moment, changing their tactics. Often dishonestly, in an attempt to get their viewpoint forced on others. Using subterfuge, politics, propaganda etc. etc., but never any actual genuine evidence to support their case. Hence the need for the books of Dawkins and Harris to raise awareness. Otherwise, it is only a matter of time before we end up in some kind of theocratic world, with all the evils we have seen already through history, past and present, of such governance.
    John Phillips, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Rebecca: Sorry, I just saw your last post about allowing all to be free to have a view, here I totally agree with you. Unfortunately, it is not the humanist or atheist that trying to impose their views and contro on others, it is the religious. Not only trying to impose their views on others, but actually trying to control the lives of others, claiming that their beliefs give them some right to influence how even the non believer lives. If you think it is the xtian who is under attack, look at the US, where a politician could not even expect to be voted into office if he openly admitted to being a non believer. Ironically, considering the mess we are in now with fundamentalist islam, the average US citizen would trust a muslim more than an atheist in public office.

    As to political correctness, there are two aspects here. The first is to do with genuine tolerance for others with different lifestyle and beliefs, whether that is due to their politics, ethnicity, religion or sexuality. However, where I do agree with you is that Political Correctness is often used to bludgeon those with genuine concerns to keep quite. An example is the various fundamentalist islamic hate mongers in the UK who openly admit to using our freedoms to actually undermine our freedoms. To tolerate the intolerable, is I agree, political correctness gone mad and intolerable :). However, we must be careful not to throw the baby out with the bathwater, so to speak.

    Like all humanists and atheists, I wish you also the very best, all we ask is that you open your eyes and look at the real evidence. If you still choose to believe in your god, fine, but don't impose that belief on others or use it to try and control how they live.
    John Phillips, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Rebecca; One last post, well two because of the space limits :) and I must go and do some work :) I have no problem with teaching about creationism or ID in philosophy or religious education. However, there is no place for ID in the science classroom as there is no, and I do mean NO, supporting evidence at all for ID. While there are still gaps in our knowledge about the theory of evolution, nothing so far has come close to supplanting it with an alternative theory that can account for the mountain of existing evidence and research.

    Does that mean it is without fault, of course not, and no good scientist would claim otherwise. However, that is the difference between science and belief, science is largely a self correcting mechanism where any errors are usually quickly weeded out bu others working in the field. Scientist are after all, only human and have the same competitive drive as those in other fields and if there was genuine holes in the theory, and not simply gaps we have not yet answered, a genuine scientist somewhere with no preconceived ideas would have already done so. cont...
    John Phillips, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • cont...

    Rebecca: So far, everyone who may have found holes in the theory have either been proven incorrect or it has been seen as an addition to the basic theory without changing its basic premise. Unlike those in the IDiot movement who are trying to use science to fit a preconceived idea rather than simply going where the knowledge leads them. Hence the reason that none, and I repeat none, of their work stands up to genuine scrutiny by real scientists.

    In a hundred years time, the theory of evolution will probably look quite different to what it does today. That doesn't mean that the present theory is incorrect, only that we haven't finished writing the book yet, so to speak, and new research and observation will fill in more of the gaps and give us greater understanding of the theory. Will it ever fill in all the gaps? Who knows, it is far too early to say, however, look how far we have come in only a 150 years so it is early days yet.
    John Phillips, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Irene,

    I think you are missing my point.
    Driving religion out of all corners of government won't leave some sort of moral vacuum. That's what the religious leaders say. However they persistently stand in the way of liberalism and equality. You shouldn't swallow the lie that we need find anything else other than the pragmatism, utilitarianism and humanism that in practice push liberty, brotherhood and egalitarianism forward in the face not with the aid of religion.
    Most law is secular law and probably therefore most bad law is secular. But all law that can only be justified by religious argument is bad.
    Good law gets justified on its merits.
    Religion can't claim to be right all the time because it was right about something (e.g. killing is bad).
    Religion claims some solitary access to morality and then treats women, children , homosexuals, the poor and the sick with contempt for (and this is the important bit) totally irrational reasons.

    Great going guys! I'm suppose to respect that? I find it very very difficult to tolerate it.
    Dan Allen, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Hi Dan,

    I was having a similar sort of discussion recently, when I said something like this:

    The thing that bugs me about religious people preaching morals is that their own morals can so easily veer way of course. I do the things I do and refrain from other things because I think for myself and conclude/feel that those are the right things to do or not to do. But with believers it sometimes seems to be more a matter of 'duty' or fear for 'the unbeatable CCTV system high up in the heavens'. So once religious people have been convinced that they are doing some terrible deed because it is part of the Lords work (suppress women, discriminate homosexuals, blow themselves up on the tube), their restraints completely disappear and they can become bloody maniacs. Morals based on religion are a mixed bag at best. And they certainly don't warrant the arrogant 'We alone have it right, you evil atheists' attitude of many that live by them.
  • Peter.
    Many people have done good things to please God.Many people help their fellow man because they have goodness taught to them from an early age with the teachings of Jesus.God means goodness and love.Just saying Jesus makes me feel good.So if I feel good and all Christians feel good whats the problem.
    Rebecca.
    Although I feel great to think there is the Kingdom of Heaven to look forward to I still cannot convince my 100 or so Tamil people that God is there looking out for us.
    I am telling them that this site is about proving God did not create evolution but we all came out of the sea .I am buying the book to try and understand more. My people want answers to questions like how can one Christian stand by and do nothing when other Chistians are dying.Will God not ask them why they stood by.
    The man,or Angel of Lee Bay inspired me .This man ,in the name of God, Put his own life at risk.The people he helped could have been atheists,but I dont think he asked.
    Rebecca dont give up this site.Many more people than you think are looking to you for answers.Again I say this is the front line.
    Regards
    RAJAN, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Hello Rajan,

    The problem, as I wrote, is that once people are convinced that it is the lords work to do bad things, they'll do it without much further thinking about it: 'We're doing the lords work, we woudn't dare question Him, would we?'.
    I'm not saying that only religion has this thought-quenching effect btw. Overly strong belief in non-religious 'philosphies' as to what the world should be like, can have equally unpleasant consequences.
  • Rajan: Christians stand by while people die all the time. Christians by nature are not good, no human is good!. The essence of Christianity is that we all fall short in God's eyes. We all have our faults.

    Equally Christians cannot be everything to all people at all times. There is so much suffering everywhere- Sudan , Israel/Palestine/Indonesia/Chna. , Christians are dying in vast numbers simply for being Christian.

    People are starving, an d we don't feed them etc.

    We will all have to stand before God and explain our actions. Jesus says get away from me for I was hungry adn you didn't feed me, in prison and you didn't visit me. When did we not do these things for you - and Jesus replied when you didn't do these things for your brothers.

    There is also the turn the othr cheek philosophy in Christianity thus meaning few are willing to get involved ina war. In the case of Sri Lanka many injustice seere done to your people, but essentially the tamil peple have used terrrorist tactics ( or freedom fighting depending on where you stand ) to further their cause. It could be argued that this is a tit for tat situation although The Tamils are grossly outnumbered and significanly disadvantaged.

    Many Christians do help. I myself give to charities like World vision and action Aid which work with local people to releive suffering in wars.

    Apart from providing aid in these situations what can we do and which conflict do we choose? I sympathise with all Human suffering but in the case of Sri Lanka I also sympathise with the suffering on both sides of the conflict.

    My heart goes out to you, but my heart also aches for the Iraqui people, the Jewish and Palestinian people, and all the lonely people everywhere.
    God bless Rajan
    Rebecca Evans, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Hi Nick

    If you know of somehere I can get hold of the o-life inventory on line I would love to fill it out. I love these personality style things. Searched google no joy
    Rebecca Evans, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Peter.
    Do you think the world would be a better place without God and Jesus?
    Many of our young are drifting away from the church and good Christian ways and we do not have the answers for them anymore.We all feel that You are swaying a lot of people because you do seem to have the answers.What I would like to know is if we evolved from apes why are there still apes?
    anyway
    What makes you think our people would be better off without God? We are meek Christians and we have turned our cheek once to often. But in the silence of the night we do believe what Rebecca has said.

    Regards
    RAJAN, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • John Philips: Thank you for your extensive reply. Can I ask you though, have you ever studied the alternative yourself? At least I can hand on heart say that I have looked at evolution seriously as well as reasons it doesn't work.

    Darwin by his own words said that the fossil record should prove the theory - it hasn't. Not one single link species has been found, in 15 years there is mre than enough time to discover at least one! I believe in micro evolution- adaptng to local environments like bacteria , just not macro evolution .
    The fact that we are all transitional species does not add up. You haven't explained the cambrian explosion, the missing fossils, Hasselbachs fraudulence, the Miller experiment disproved. I have been n the evolution sites posted on this web page. I am open minded enough to accept I might be wrong, but nothing has cnvinced me that evolution works on an intellectual or scientific basis. Remember evolution supposes that we all originated from single organism and that we evolved from basic animals into what we are now.
    Please read the book "The Case for the Creator" Lee Stobel by a american journalist who shared the views of everyone on this site who set out to prove how IDiot the intelligent design people were. His research instead of proving the stupidity of the people he was writing against actually lead him to beeive evoltuion was flawd. Read this and i will debate with you.

    I will repeat again that if I believed in evolution I would still beleive in God so it makes no difference to me!
    Rebecca Evans, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Rebecca,

    As far as I know, the O-LIFE is not available online; and even if it were, in all probability the results would make little sense unless you knew how to score them! Generally speaking, the personality questionnaires publicly available online are not very accurate, compared with the professional ones (and I don't know of any freely available test to measure schizotypy, anyway!). Your best bet would probably be to contact your nearest university's psychology department and see if they could help; for example if they're looking for volunteers for any studies using relevant psychometric data.
    Nic Shakeshaft, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Hi Dan Allen,
    As I've said, I have always been an atheist. I see all religions as concretions on the basic biological organism of human beings. We are not born religious, it is imposed upon us (or not, as in my case). Ok, but we do need to know as much as possible about the sort of biological organism we are, how our brain works etc. And we find, among other things, that gaps are part of the package - synapses, across which the brain messages flash. Our eyes only see a small part of the total picture, the rest we make up. As we make things up, there is room for all sorts of imaginings, including belief and love and beauty and stuff. It is up to us what we do with them. Irene
    Irene Coates, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Rebecca - one final comment for you:

    There is no one so blind as he (she?) who does not want to see.

    The evidence is all there for you, but you refuse to see it because it comprehensively proves that your faith is based on a fallacy.

    I'm afraid there is no hope for you. You will never see the true light of science.
    muhayman, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Muhayman.
    Greater people than we, over the years,have supported their faith and are not bitter towards those who have not discovered God.Why are you so hostile.Maybe you need to look for God with an open mind, as we are looking at
    your points of view.
    I have directed many people to this debate.Please do not let your side down with rude comments.Thank you.
    RAJAN, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Hello Rajan,

    Yes, I think the absence of religion (God or Jesus for you, Visnjoe, Allah or still others for others) would make the world a better place. The practical bad consequences have been mentioned here before. But while important, these are not my strongest reason for wishing religion to disappear. My strongest gripe with religion is that it is intellectually demotivating. It discourages people from inquisitive, critical thinking and promotes non-thinking faith instead. Let me compare it to science.

    science: I don't understand what's happening here. I'll try to find out.
    religion: I don't understand what's happening here. Halleluja, it must be the hand of the Lord! Now switch off your brains everyone. No critical questions, how dare you question the Lord!

    This stance that actually discourages people from using their brains to the full is holding us back. It would be so much better to get rid of it.

    You say I'm swaying people away from the church. Well, I hope you're right! If I knew that I have encouraged some people to think for themselves, I would be a happy man.

    Finally your questions about apes. Sorry, but that is just silly. If in a certain species a sub-group develops a bit different, that doesn't mean the rest of the group has to instantly disappear.

    greets,
    Peter
  • Hello again Rajan,

    I saw your post to Muhayman. I don't speak for him, but as someone who is also a scientist I'd like to respond to the issue of open-mindedness.
    Science is very open-minded. It strives to understand the world around us. New insights are most valuable for that. If a young PhD student manages to ask questions to a distinguished professor about his well-established theories and the professor can't answer them, then the young PhD student is doing very well!
    Personally, I grew up in a Catholic family, went to Catholic schools way beyond the point where I believed any of it, dated a zealously religious girl for the first half of 2006, and have always enjoyed debating religious people. I've tasted a good deal of religion. It was very much the default, expected option to follow in the family I grew up in. It was when I grew a bit older and started to do some critical thinking that I discovered that religion is all unfounded fairy tales. I've considered religous viewpoints extensively, and I dumped religion from my life only after I had realised it has no rational basis. One of the best, if not the single best decision of my life.

    greets,
    Peter
  • Rebecca,

    Your "if I'm right/if you're wrong" argument is just a form of "Pascal's Wager". This tired old Christian favourite is long debunked - it's a false dichotomy amongst other things. What if Islam is right? What if Brahma is the man? What if "the coolest party in history" is actually in FSM heaven, with beer volcanoes and pole dancers?
    Clive, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Hello Clive,

    All hail to His noodly appendages!! May you be touched by the FSMs warm and merciful embrace!
  • Rajan: "[I]f we evolved from apes why are there still apes?"

    This is common question among evolution-detractors (and I vaguely recall that it has been answered previously in this forum, in fact). The answer is expressed well in this quote from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evolution#S...

    """
    One common misconception about evolution is the idea that if humans evolved from monkeys, monkeys should no longer exist. This misunderstands speciation, which frequently involves a subset of a population cladogenetically splitting off before speciating, rather than an entire species simply turning into a new one. Cladogenesis is particularly common when two subsets of a population are isolated from each other. Additionally, biologists have never claimed that humans evolved from monkeys—only that humans and monkeys share a common ancestor, as do all organisms.
    """
    Nic Shakeshaft, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Sorry Peter.
    I am just a humble shop keeper,well 4 shops and an internet cafe,but still not in the same league as you all on this site.
    However I will not fight and kill another Sri Lankan in the civil war that is in the near future.
    I will not kill because I was taught,within my faith, not to harm anyone. This site is important to us all,maybe 300 tamil people visit my cafe,we are looking at the comments.
    Your last comments make us think about other religions.Why are there so many?
    Back to the apes.So evolution is selective?only select apes developed into man.When Will the apes left behind develope into man?Does it follow that anyone killing an ape should be tried for murder? At what stage of evolution do apes have human rights.?
    Regards
    RAJAN, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • @ Rajan - I understand that English isn't your first language, but please try to listen a bit! The "Atheists have no moral code so will go around killing everyone" argument, is so pathetic! I am a nurse, I spend my whole working life helping people get better, I am also a mother raising 2 children, I have never been arrested for a crime, and have no urge to murder anyone, and yet I am an atheist - morals aren't solely received from God - it is possible to decide for yourself what is right and wrong.
    And the ape evolution explanation has been wonderfully explained by the post above yours - please re-read it. Then go and invade another site that is actually interested in talking to you about religion, they are nicely moderated so that no other opinions can interfere with their blinkered world view, I am sure they will give you more of the answers you are looking for.
    You won't get any fluffy answers from us here - people can be cruel and sometimes do nasty things, they are motivated by prejudice, and greed and opinions they are fed from an early age - there is no God, so he can't help you, other men who have kind hearts and love for others can and do help, whether they think they are doing God's work or not.
    It is human nature. Nothing more or less.
    Once you accept that humans do the "smiting" and the "saving" a lot more will be achieved - stop wasting your time praying about it and DO something, or go and find a Xian site where they will pray for you and offer their empty promises if that makes you feel better.
    Either way stop bugging us with it - I expect most people on this site already give to charity and do their bit to make this a better world, you can stop the guilt trips with us, most of us have been there, done that and got the T-shirt - we are doing what we can. Go hassle someone else.
    Abigail Hurley, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Hello Rajan,

    You wrote
    "Your last comments make us think about other religions.Why are there so many?"

    Ages ago religions would have provided the best explanation for questions people had. For instance, the Chinese long thought that solar eclipses indicated impending doom, visited upon them by their gods. But it turned out to be just the moon moving between the earth and the sun. Astonomers can now predict exactly when eclipses will happen, from which hemisphere they can be best observed and how long they will last.
    Science has taken many things away from the portfolio of religion. Think the shape of the earth, or the age of the earth for instance. But scientific progress takes time. Give science the same chance that Christianity has had. That promised Heaven on Earth and two millenia later we're still waiting for it. As the worrying news you report about Sri lanka so clearly demonstrates. DNA ws only discovered a few decades ago. Imagine how completely we will have mastered the science of life in two millenia. My guess is that by then all questions about apes evolving further into humans or other species or other quesrtions will have been answered (if those answers aren't available already today, for those who take the trouble to look into it).
  • Good point, Peter. As I've said before, I would also add (still in response to Edmund's "Your last comments make us think about other religions.Why are there so many?") that the mere fact of this diversity is a significant argument against religion. If there were any evidence whatsoever that any particular religion (or religious fact) is actually *true*, we would expect an increasing number of people to converge towards believing it. Instead, religions mainly only ever diverge. In short, then: in my opinion, the reason why there are so many religions is because there is no rational basis to distinguish between them, or to think that any given religious belief is more likely than any other to be true.
    Nic Shakeshaft, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Hear, hear Nic. Suppose we group them all together into N bunches that are so different from each other, that they are mutually exclusive. N - 1 must definately be wrong, more likely N are wrong. But, NOOOOHHH, every believer thinks he/she and his fellow adherents have it right and all the others are wrong. A depressing mixture of arrogance and ignorance. There are times when I'd like to resign my membership of the human race.
  • Peter.
    Some posters are letting your side down.
    They seem to think that we can just dump a way of life because you have some of the answers.I,and many of my people are looking closer at your points of view and for once in our lives we are giving your group a chance to influence our thinking.There is no need to hammer the points as if we have been aware of these facts a long time ago,we havnt.This evolution does on close inspection leave us unsure of our religion but can we question you or is it a take it or leave it situation?
    Abigail seems to think. WE CANT BE BOVVERED sign up or shut up.Thats one thing ive never heard a christian say.
    RAJAN, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Hello Rajan,

    Question evolution all you like, reject it completely if you will.
  • Peter Klaver:

    Some of the greatest scientists were Christian. In fact most of the inventions that birthed the industrial revolution were invented by people who believe in God. In fact many religious people are fueled by their wanting to understand creation and it may surprise you to know that there are many scientists who also believing in God are Christian.

    Secondly, Einstein arguably one of the greatest physists of all time beleived in God!

    C.S.Lewis sought to disprove Christianity and in researching actually discovered it as the truth. In fact I myself used to be an atheist from 14-19, and admittedly I did find God in a personal way, but intellectually I then went on a proving it mission looking at mulitple faiths.

    I am happy to read Dawkins- though I do not agree with his conclusiosn - the prayer experiment showing how week his arguments actually are! A BMJ article proved the opposite , but ths is hardly somthing amenible to measuring - how do you measure someone sense of peace or pain scores between patients etc.

    The question is are you prepared to read The case against Christ? The case for a creator/Christ/Faith. who moved the stone? If you are truly open minded then I suggest you try at least one if not all of these books.
    Happy reading if you dare to be challenged
    Rebecca Evans, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Rajan: Explanation of multipel religions.

    We were all created in God's image, whether you beleive that process occurred immedaitely or via evolution is irrelevant. The chances of all of us being an accident are incalculable, so even if we came about by evoltuion, it was God who set it in motion!

    We were all designed to be in a perfect realtionship with God, Adam and Eve walked with God!( Genesis), we are all designed with the capacity to want to know about God and with a eternity in our hearts.

    Mankind made up religion to satisfy this yearning - based upon some truth of God. Hinduism the creating of wood and worhiping it being the oldest ad well described in the Bible.

    Judaism was when God chose a people to be a light to the nations. Giving them laws that would ultimately spread to the rest of the world. Some may call this a social experimetn. For the times that the old testament was written 6-7 B.C onwards to 500 BC approx, many of the laws of the time were superior to the surrounding culture such as being good to the widow, the orphan, tlling the land, looing after animals.

    The fulfillment of Judaism was the long promised and prophesised Messiah. Promises made throughout the Old testamet incidentally written in many places and by diferrent authors and a t differnt times are all in agreement. Jesus was the Jewish Messiah.

    Islam came about when Muhammed claimed to be a prophet. Jesus promised that he would go away so that the comforter would come - Jesus' Holy spirit living in Christians. Muhammed and Muslims interpret this as another prophet - the prophet Mohammed.
    Rebecca Evans, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Religions explained continued:

    Muhammed was descended from the line of Ischamel - Abrahams' first but illigitimate son. God promised Ischamel that like Isacc ( The father of Jews ) Ischmael too would become a Great nation, but that he would be a wild donkey of a man forever waring with his brothers.

    Modern Muslims consider themselves sons of Ischmael.

    Muhammed wrote the Qu'ran,allegedly under divine influence though Christians feel Muhammed was a false prophet, just as Jews feel Jesus is not the Messiah. One father 0 Abraham - 3 world religions

    Sikism sought to merge Hinduism adn Islam nad until recent time has been an Indian based religion

    Bah'ais beleive all religions are tur e on of equal value, adn believe that Jesus has already returned.

    We are all free to believe as we choose

    Christianity remains the fastest grwoing religion China and South Korea being amazing examples.
    Rebecca Evans, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • It is good to question an in my case has drawn me closer to my beliefs rather than against though I would say there has been some rocky rides along the way! I study other faiths and the Bible for fun, I have been to Israel many times, best friend lives there - Jewish) adn seen the archeological evidence, even the secret garden tomb in Israel. I have incidentally also been to Thailand, Malaysia, India where a hindu lady looked after me and taught me about hinduism, I have stayed with Muslims from Kuwait, I have a friend in Israel , my next door neighbour is Sikh. I nearly became a Ba'hai once. The only main religion I know very little about is Buddhism. Ultimately I love people of all faiths!After investigating all of these faiths the only ones that stands up to scrutiny are Judaism ( Old Testament) and Christianity ( old and New Testament)

    However belief in the Bible is a matter of faith. If God can create the whole universe he can get one book right. We believe that the Holy spiirt enabled the Bible to be written and put together in its current form.

    It is a matter of faith if you believe it/ For all the arguing about this or that, ultimately it is down to whetere we ahve the faith of a mustard seed.

    This is not just about whether you believe in God. The world undoubtedly would be a worse place without Christianity - half of teh charities in the world were founded by Christians, most aid work is done by christian agencies ( many of whom do not agree with preachig the Gospel), the majority of youth work done. There is strong evidence that criminals are less lieklt to reoffend if they have done an alpa course and commited to Christianity.
    The breakdown of the family unit -is largely resposible for a break down in community and rising lack of respect. I think the world would be undoubteldy better offf if most people followed christian principles.
    Rebecca Evans, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • John Phiips: By the way the Bible makes no claim about the twin towers. I think you are mixing it up with the "Bible Code."

    The Bible code is where someone put the old testament or Torah into hebrew with no spaces ad plugged them into a computer to see if it came up with a code. Skip frequencies of 50 - 100- 10,000 reveal a supposed hidden code. This does not !!! add up scientifically and I agree with you is ridiculous and highly suspicious as few of us can read Hebrew ( ancient Hebrew) and mathematically it is not sound. This Christian like the najority does no buy inot the Bible code!! Many Christians are buying onto this and suggesting it proves the Bible. Moby Dick was used to show if you apply the same methodology you can produce similar results!

    The most startling claim of the Bible code is that it predicted the assasination of Yikzac Rabi 18 months before it happened. If an atheist mathemetician were to say there was some truth to it I might believe but for now it seems to be those who have a vested interest in the truth. However according to similar streams we should half of us be dead by now in a nuclear holocaust - so not very accurate!
    Rebecca Evans, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Rebecca: I was using the tower example rather loosely to make a point and without research I can't honestly remember if it mentions great tower or great towers. But I know it didn't mention two as such. However the claim was made by some believers claiming accuracy for the prophecies of the bible on another blog that this equated to the two towers. I was just using this as an example of how people will interpret something after the fact to bolster their beliefs. I could give you plenty more, none of which stand up to real scrutiny. Either the interpretation being done after the event or the prophecy being written after the event, though at first it might appear to be written prior to the event.
    John Phillips, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Rebecca: Please don't quote Lee Stobel at me as he is among the worst kinds of charlatans I have ever come across. As to looking at the arguments put forward by the IDiots, yes I have and in depth, as have many others. None hold up to genuine analysis for each time they have produced a so called irreducibly complex item or mechanism as an example, such as the flagellum, to quote only one, they have been proved wrong each time. As to whether we are all derived from a common organism, DNA analysis has already shown that all living things share common genes, for instance IIRC, we share something like 60% of our genes with bananas, to give a relatively facile example. But what is more amazing and supports our common ancestry is that what those same genes do in each organism, while not being identical is analogous.

    cont....
    John Phillips, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • ...cont

    Rebecca: As to your arguments about transitional fossils, all you are doing is looking for gaps in our knowledge and saying that that proves all of evolution is wrong. Considering that evolution as a theory is only some 150 years old and yet is constantly being supported by even more and more observation and research and that has not been superseded by anything better, only the grasping at straws by those opposed to it around the present gaps in our knowledge, I will go with evolution. As to transitional species, admittedly, my comment about all of us being transitional species was partly facetious, but only partly so as all species now existing are transitional species to whatever they evolve to, unless they become extinct first of course :).
    John Phillips, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • ...cont

    Rebecca: However, the fact that as yet we have not found a wealth of what are accepted as transitional species by those opposed to the theory of evolution, assuming they would ever agree what they should look like in the first place, means nothing in itself. For to use believers own arguments about proving or disproving the existence of god, absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. For the simple reason that the fossils we do have are only a fraction of the species that have ever existed. There are many reasons for this, and the biggest is that for fossils to survive in the first place generally requires relatively special circumstances, and even more so for survival of soft tissue. Saying that, there have been a number of fossils such as Archaeopteryx that are true transitionals.

    If you truly believe that the IDiots have a genuine case all I ask is that you produce one piece of peer reviewed research they have done that stands up to scrutiny outside the very closed circle of the Discovery Institute. Unfortunately there is none such for all the money they have spent on looking in the gaps.

    P.S. you made a comment in one of your replies that ID is not about believing that god did it but that some unnamed designer did it. Unfortunately, the IDiots don't agree with you as was proven in the Dover trial where the judge concluded that IDiotism was simply a mechanism to introduce creationism into the science classroom, usually by subterfuge, i.e. lying. I suggest you look up his decision and read it for yourself to see the type of people you are putting your faith in.
    John Phillips, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Rebecca: One final point and then I shall leave it as is for I am only won't wasting our time.

    If you look at the Discovery Institute's (the strongest proponents of ID and those responsible for pushing it world wide, or at least in the Western world) Wedge document, it explicitly states that "their goal is to make science "consonant with Christian and theistic convictions" and to "affirm the reality of God."" Which begs the question, why do so many ID supporters, such as yourself in this forum even, constantly try to deny that ID is simply another name for creationism. Additionally, in the Dover trial, Prof Behne, one of the strongest supporters of ID, actually admitted on oath that there was no scientific evidence for ID.
    John Phillips, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Rebecca, please forgive me for butting in to threads aimed at other people - I just want to illustrate a general point about clarity, both of language and thought. You have a scientific background, so - personal feelings aside - I'm sure you can understand the need.

    "...admittedly I did find God in a personal way"

    As we've discussed before, it is scientifically inappropriate to conclude that personal experiences are any kind of evidence for anything. When you say you 'found God', then, you mean that you had a spontaneous emotional and intuitive feeling that God exists. To say that this experience involved 'finding God' (thus implying that the feeling was correct) is to introduce a personal interpretation of the facts and confuse it with the objective evidence.

    "..., but intellectually I then went on a proving it mission looking at mulitple faiths."

    'Proving it'? How? Despite our limitations, humans are generally capable of drawing logical inferences from what we perceive. If it were actually possible to "prove" the existence of God, therefore (as I said above), people would gradually converge towards this truth. This never happens. Thus when you say "the only [faiths] that stands up to scrutiny are Judaism... and Christianity", you are making an unprovable and unfounded assertion, based entirely on your own opinion. I say again: if mere knowledge of different religions were enough for enquiring minds to establish which one is "true", then a steady stream of people would do just that; and very few intelligent people, when faced with the same information, would disagree and become (for example) Muslim or Sikh instead. This is simply not the case.

    Similarly, I must protest at your response to "Rajan", which is littered with unprovable assertions (e.g. "We were all designed to be in a perfect realtionship with God") given as uncontroversial fact. Bluntly, this is not helpful!
    Nic Shakeshaft, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Hello Rebecca.
    I am sorry to put you in the line of fire but to me you are the light on the hill with the Christian banner standing firm by your side.We can only stand by and admire your defence for we
    have had no respose from our prayers.True Christians seem to stand firm against all odds and that is the thin thread that we are now hanging onto.I am out of the country for a few days so please understand if I do not comment for a short time.
    Maybe when I am away you could research a few points for us?
    Do all humans have the same size brains?if so how much of the brain do we use?
    If we are using our brains to full capacity does it it follow that people who use their brains more will evolve larger brains?
    If we do not use all of our brains did we evolve larger brains for a just in case situation.
    Last question did any scientists swear the world was flat and you could sail off the edge.
    Stay with it your a gutsy Christian.
    Regards.
    `RAJAN, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Rebecca said:

    "Some of the greatest scientists were Christian. In fact most of the inventions that birthed the industrial revolution were invented by people who believe in God."

    Well, of course they were. For the majority of recorded history, most humans have been religious. And the industrial revolution took place in christian countries. So it's no surprise that so many great scientists were christian. As Richard Dawkins explained in an interview last week, it was only with the emergence of Darwin's ideas that it became intellectually acceptable to be an atheist.

    "Secondly, Einstein arguably one of the greatest physists of all time beleived in God!"

    That is nonsense. Einstein sometimes used the term "god" as a poetic way to describe the laws of the Universe. Einstein himself was very angry at this constant misinterpretation of what he wrote. He wrote this in a letter in 1954:

    "It was, of course, a lie what you read about my religious convictions, a lie which is being systematically repeated. I do not believe in a personal God and I have never denied this but have expressed it clearly. If something is in me which can be called religious then it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it."

    That sounds pretty clear to me.
  • Thanks Dave. I was about to answer Rebeccas post, but you beat me to it. For completeness, let me add a url with some more detailed info (notably the sources of information for the claims made, something that posts from religious people usually lack, unless they're throwing around bible quotes again):

    http://www.positiveatheism.org/writ/ebto...

    And Rebecca, I grew up in a Catholic family, went to Catholic schools for longer than I wished and have always enjoyed debating religious people (including the zealously religious girl I dated during the first half of 2006). So no, I don't think I shy away from being challenged, or that I state the things I say from a lack of knowledge of the matter.
  • Some sense...
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9CitfTtMIx8
    David N, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • How are we recording who is giving a copy of the book to which county?
    Thomas the Tank Engine, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Hi Thomas,

    If you sign up for a copy, you see a link to a list of constituencies, MP names, and whether that constituency is taken or not. You pick one of the available constituencies and send an email with your choice to the pledge organiser. He then puts your name on your chosen constituency so that others know not to choose that one anymore.


    greets,
    Peter
  • @ RAJAN It's great that you're seriously looking at evolutionary theory! i wish you a lot of joy exploring this exciting subject.

    "Back to the apes.So evolution is selective?only select apes developed into man."

    Apes and humans share a common ancestor species. At a certain point, some of the members of that ancestor species became (probably geographically) isolated from the rest of the group.

    They no longer mated with the rest of the group. So you had two groups that didn't breed with each other. Over a long time, selection pressures caused evolutionary changes in those two groups.

    Because evolution depends on random genetic accidents between generations (and on how those accidents help, or hinder the animal in it's environment, at least up until the animal can reproduce), the two groups 'evolved' in different directions. In fact the 'random' element in evolution made it astronomically unlikely that both groups would have evolved into a species that could both be called 'human'.
    bitbutter, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • @ RAJAN contd

    Here's an important point: evolution doesn't 'end' or 'lead up to' humanity although this is a common misconception. In fact, if things had been even slightly different at a critical point in history: for example if an animal that was our ancestor had died before having children, humankind wouldn't have existed at all.

    A surprising thought is that if you could go back in time beyond a certain point in history, then at any point before that you would find one (and only one) single animal on the earth that was the most recent ancestor of all humankind. First it would be some kind of mammal, go back further and it would be a creature that lived in the water. If any of those individual animals hadn't survived long enough to have offspring, there would be no humans!

    Anyway, back with the most recent ancestors of humans: At a certain point the emerging physical differences between the two groups made it no longer possible for them to interbreed (when and if they happened to come into contact with each other again).

    I hope this clumsy introduction was useful. For a much better account of how this kind of thing works i strongly recommend Richard Dawkins' books: The Selfish Gene and An Ancestors Tale.
    bitbutter, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • John Philips:

    Hijacking of ideas. It is true that many creationist American Christians have hijacked the Intelligent design debate.

    Almost all atheists and a significant amount of christian I might add hold to evoltutionary theory.

    American Bible belt christians hold to intelligent design theory

    Intelligent design incorporates a number of scientists who while not religious do not acept the findings of Darwinsim and have problems with evolution.

    I myself do not know much about the court proceedings in America as it is outside my area of interest. The political adn religious beliefs of anyone on the issue of the science are irrelevant to me.


    I myself believe in natural selection in thh sense that for example lots of Black people have sickle cell trait, naturally selected to provide resistance to the killer disease malaria.

    In England 1/22 people carry the genr for cystic fibriosis because having one copy of this gene allows you to survive cholera. Bacteria change proteins to become resistant.

    After years in medical school it actually would require more faith for me to believe in evolution than it does for me to believe that we were fully created in Human form
    Rebecca Evans, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • One huge idea in evolution is that embryos all look hte same in utero. Hasselbach fraudulently drew embryos that did look alike at differnt stages of development in a way that made them look the same. In this case it was an atheist trying to prove evolution by default.

    2. The miller experiment suggested that if you shoot lightening through gases present in the atmosphere believe to be there at the creation of the Earth you get amino acids produced. More recent evidence suggested that do the same experiement with the actual gases and you get formaldehyde ( casing for dead biodies) or cyanide apoison - hardly conducive for life.

    3. How John domyou suddely explain hte explosion of life n the Cambrain period fully formed with next to know evidecn of any antecdents. Even more interesting is the explosion of sea life, plant life, animals etc all at set periods. Actually Genesis as a story is not that inaccurate from a scientific point of view of the order of occurence of the species

    4.The chances of there just happening to be a jupiter planet to protect us from asteroids, a sun not to distant or not too far away to sizzle us, gravity just enough to allow us to exist. Everything so finely tuned that it would be incredble for any life to exist at all.

    Evolution supposes that this is all an accident. MAthematically the probability of just a few varaibe comingto gether for this Earth are so incredible given choosing the science of chance over the science of a designer logic dictates a designer is more likely
    Rebecca Evans, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Genetic similarities: Either we all share similar genes because we evolved - one theory, in fact aren't we supposed to have 99 percent in common with the genes of a pig hence making human pig organ transplant possible?

    Or the buiding blocks of life were created and used by the same creator?
    Bacteria dividing every 20mins are millions upon million of years ahead of human technologies ability to keep up with atibiotic resusatnce and yet they retain hteit actaul basic format and just singel gene changes - yu don't get a change in life form adn surely we should be seeing that no adn should be able to simulate evlution in a lab at this basic level. If bacteria in 3 times 24(geernations in once day) times 365 (year) times 50(since intro antibiotics approx) years =1314000 reproductive cycles using natural selection as a basis cannot bring about a significant difference, with a rapidly cahnging environement ( new medications/poluutantsI 'd say it were unlikely for macro evoltuion to work really.
    Rebecca Evans, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Truth about modern man:

    Fossils are based on wide ranging assumptions about this. Drawing produced are based on a jaw adn a thigh, they don't have the whole skeleton etc. If you have a presupposed hypothesis then you will fraw a model of what teh bones are based on with a lot oartistic liscence

    Acromegaly ( produces Giant Humans literally if untreated and probably explains goliath) is a tumour in teh pituitary gland it results in high foreheads and teeth with lots of gaps, wide jaws etc.

    "Hobbit Humans " were found and clained to be another subspecies of humasn - modern boes disese rickets and achondroplasia ( dwarfsm can explain ) or syphillis).

    I simply see the facts adn teh facts definitely support microevolution - via natural selection , but not interspecies evoltuion.

    If modern day evoltuionary theory fails that does not necessarily mean thee is a God, but equally if evlolution is true it does not stop soeon marvelling at the person who put it in motion
    As I said before it makes no odds to me either way!
    Rebecca Evans, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Prophesis of course can become self fulfilling

    However prophecies made about Jesus prophesied where he would be born ( can't very well change that), where he would be brought up, when and how he would die, the exact time that he would walk on the Earth ( Daniel). Every event in the Old Testament points to the new

    1. Abraham willing to sacrifice Isacc,his first born son
    2. Eygpt 1st bormn sons of Eygpt die diue to refusal let Israelis go
    3.Jesus ist bor n of God dies on a cross

    1. Jewish people flee Eygpt, Jesus as a child has to flee Herodand go into Eygpt for safety just as Israe had fisrt sought refuge there.
    2.Jewish people have to go across the desert for 40 years, Jesus goe into the desert to be tempted by the devil.

    The Jewish passover was when jews escaped from Eygpt and their sons were spared the death of every 1st born in eygpt. Jesus died so that anyone who belives in Him - judgement will passover them at the ressurection of everyone before God and therefore spared the second death.


    Considering the number of eye witnesses to the life of Jesus if any of these fact were in dispute they eould have been hotly disputed by historical records of the time. No historian has found such evidence!
    Rebecca Evans, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • The case for the death of jesus

    Human crusifiction was cruel: death by blood loss, shock and pain and lets not forget he had already been tortured before he was on the cross, a spear through his chest. The theory of mistaken identity is not likley due to the controvery of the case, people who had put him on the cross , tried , conspired to put him there and his Mother recognised him as .

    2.The tomb ws like a cave, the stone ws put in arounded dug out are in the ground- it wa not simply a matter of moving a stone , but of lifting it out of the groundthen moving it.

    3 Anyone associated with Jesus was ,afraid and th disciples were found coweing in rooms and women had to tell them Jesus was alive.

    4 Suddenly these men were emboldedned - instead of hiding they started preachig the gopsel all over Jerusalme - Jesu had risen. All of them died for saying Jesus was risen. People will die for the teuth but not on mass for a lie.

    Eitehr Jesus was a liar, mad or telling the truth. You make your choice!
    Rebecca Evans, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • A little wisdom for all you none believers out there. The best advice I have ever had.

    Love your neighbour as yourself

    Bless those who curse you

    Do good to those who hate you, pray for those who persecute you.

    Turn the other cheek ( no wars if everyone had this philospophy)

    The love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. ( no debts, crime, poverty)

    Use your money hwile you still are alive rather than storing it up on Earth ( on your death bed you cannot take money or possessions with you, only people and memories).

    Above all love one another as the greatest gift of all is love.

    If we all lived like this even if we don't beleive - life would be much much better for all of us- no crime, no loneliness, no poverty!

    God bless everyone.
    Rebecca Evans, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • dave cross

    Why did Einstein say then that God does not throw dice? I.e there is no chance occcurance?

    Sounds like someone who beleves in God and design to me !
    Rebecca Evans, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • @rebecca "4.The chances of there just happening to be a jupiter planet to protect us from asteroids, a sun not to distant [...]

    the probability of just a few varaibe comingto gether for this Earth are so incredible given choosing the science of chance over the science of a designer logic dictates a designer is more likely"

    The extreme improbability of a situation doesn't necessitate the invocation of a supernatural agent steward as its explanation.

    A worldwide lottery is held. One winner is chosen - mr x. The odds against him winning were staggering, almost 6 billion to one. Are we obliged to credit his victory to a supernatural power? of course not.

    "To illustrate the vain conceit that the universe must be somehow pre-ordained for us, because we are so well-suited to live in it, he [Douglas Adams] mimed a wonderfully funny imitation of a puddle of water, fitting itself snugly into a depression in the ground, the depression uncannily being exactly the same shape as the puddle."
    bitbutter, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Oh dear Rebecca, you are a great believer in quantity over quality, aren't you? So many words you use, yet so little meaningful you say.
    Dave already answered your question from 23.38 h today, and I added a link for more detailed info. See earlier posts. Had you read either, you would know that Einstein was speaking metaphorically, referring to the ordering of the universe as it could be observed (and captured in elegant laws of physics).

    You can't blame people for not being very knowledgeable I guess. But I think it is justified to say they are quite annoying when they are willfully ignorant.
  • Rebecca:

    "dave cross

    Why did Einstein say then that God does not throw dice? I.e there is no chance occcurance?

    Sounds like someone who beleves in God and design to me !"

    Actually he said "God does not play dice". And, again, this is not evidence for a belief in a personal god. He is using the term "god" as a metaphor for the laws of the Universe.

    If he had known how many people would wilfully misunderstand this simple phrase then I'm sure he would have said it differently.
  • Rebecca:

    Your points would be easier to understand if you took a bit of time to check your spelling.

    "3. How John domyou suddely explain hte explosion of life n the Cambrain period fully formed with next to know evidecn of any antecdents. Even more interesting is the explosion of sea life, plant life, animals etc all at set periods. Actually Genesis as a story is not that inaccurate from a scientific point of view of the order of occurence of the species"

    As far as I know, science doesn't yet have an explanation for the Cambrian explosion. But it's ok to say "we don't know yet" or "we're working on that". Just because we can't currently explain something that doesn't mean that we have to look for irrational, supernatural explanations.

    "4.The chances of there just happening to be a jupiter planet to protect us from asteroids, a sun not to distant or not too far away to sizzle us, gravity just enough to allow us to exist. Everything so finely tuned that it would be incredble for any life to exist at all."

    That's explained by the Anthropic Principle (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anthropic_p...).

    Yes, the chances of everything being in place to support life on a particular planet are very small. But there are a very large number of planets (in the universe I mean, not the eight or so in the solar system) so the chances of it happening on some of them is quite big. And of course we'd be discussing the issue on one of the planets where things were right to create and support life. If our planet wasn't one of the ones with the right conditions then we couldn't be here to have the conversation.
  • @rebbeca "4 Suddenly these men were emboldedned - instead of hiding they started preachig the gopsel all over Jerusalme - Jesu had risen. All of them died for saying Jesus was risen. People will die for the teuth but not on mass for a lie."

    We can demonstrate very simply that the beliefs which people give their lives for are often false.

    Right now shia and sunni muslims are killing each other in iraq because of their mutually incompatible interpretations of Islam. Both groups are certain they are right. Logic tells us that, at the very least, one group has it wrong. So huge numbers of people are dying over a mistaken belief.

    Your assertion that the early christians wouldn't have given their lives for their belief if it wasn't true is baseless.
    bitbutter, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • What would therefore make a group of men believe in a risen saviour if it didn't happen . Are you suggesting they all saw mass hallucinations? They had nothing to gain if what they were preaching what was false. Would a man knowing it was false, having not seen something, leave family and friends and face death for nothing. Few people when offered torture will die for a lie- and so many people give into torture otherwise no one would bother with torture. There are many instances today of Christians and Muslims alike who truly beleiving their faith will not recant under torure. I have never heard of anyone in recent times die for what they believe was a lie.

    You cannot compare someone actually being there at the beginning of a faith with people who believe in a faith hundreds of years later having seen none of the founding events. Sunnis and Shi' actually have little diffence. In the grand scheme of things catholics and protestants have a lot more in common than what separates them, but as with intelligent design debates political concerns hijack issues.

    Politics and religion are a dangerous combination, both are power and the Human love of power is such that power corrupts. I would never support a theocracy. Equally though all religions have the right to be expressed.

    You are right just because things aren't explained doesn't mean the supernatural is involved. My main point is that few people never discuss the fact that evolution is only a theory and does have weakness', atheists as a whole follow blindly without questioning as many people do in religious organisations

    I agree with many of your points on this site, the main one being that everyone should consider both sides carefully and make a decision and never follow anyone without questioning things for themselves. Religion or none religion should always be a choice, that choice is paramount and should never be by compulsion or lack of opportunity to look at the options.
    Rebecca Evans, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • @ rebecca "I have never heard of anyone in recent times die for what they believe was a lie."

    No one has suggesting that disciples would die for something they didn't genuinely believe in (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Straw_man).

    As to the reliability of the bible as a historical account of miracles:

    Everything that what we know about the alleged resurrection is through the testimony of a handful of biased, uncritical, unscholarly, unknown, second-hand witnesses. We owe it to ourselves to be extremely skeptical about this extrordinary claim for which we have no evidence at all.

    David hume said it best "why do such things not happen now?[2] Is it a coincidence that the very time when these things no longer happen is the same time that we have the means and methods to check them in the light of science and careful investigation?"
    bitbutter, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • "[rebecca] Religion or none religion should always be a choice, that choice is paramount and should never be by compulsion or lack of opportunity to look at the options."

    I holeheartedly agree, maybe this is common ground. I'm interested in what you make of this next, related point:

    In the vast majority of cases religious people don't choose religion, it's chosen for them by their parents.

    I find it deeply troubling when children are told by their parents that religious ideas aren't simply ideas that they strongly believe in, but truths. Once imbued with these ideas as a child it can be very difficult for many people to escape this mode of thinking (even after they renounce belief in a god). In these cases a people's ability to freely choose what to believe has been crippled by her parents.
    bitbutter, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • "[rebecca] evolution is only a theory"

    You are right. But your use of 'only' betrays a common misunderstanding of the term 'theory':

    "A coherent group of general propositions used as principles of explanation for a class of phenomena" [Random House American College Dictionary].

    Even when a theory is supported by so much evidence that it comes to be understood as an uncontroversial 'common fact' (as is the case with evolution) it will also always remain a theory.
    bitbutter, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • bitbutter: "I find it deeply troubling when children are told by their parents that religious ideas aren't simply ideas that they strongly believe in, but truths. Once imbued with these ideas as a child it can be very difficult for many people to escape this mode of thinking (even after they renounce belief in a god). In these cases a people's ability to freely choose what to believe has been crippled by her parents."

    Very good point. The primary and most long-lasting role of early education is not to teach specific facts, but rather to shape the way we think. Parents and schools go a long way toward determining how the child - and thus the adult - will understand the world; including such fundamental things as the types of characteristics the child should use when categorising things (and people), how they should go about finding answers to questions, what types and strength of evidence are required in order to consider something "proven", and so on. It is certainly possible for people to re-evaluate such things later, to an extent, but in practice few people ever really do so to any significant degree. It becomes integrated into personality and highly resistant to change.

    Thus if children are taught, from an early age, "this fact is true", it's highly unlikely for them ever to be able to challenge it later. Even if they do become disillusioned with the specific fact itself (e.g. they find something which contradicts it and can't resolve the conflict), they will often still retain the mode of thinking on which the fact relied; e.g. that a belief can be regarded 'proven' if it is long-lived and commonly-held.

    The most crucial thing to teach a child is to question everything and determine the truth for themselves. If this lesson is not learned early, it will rarely be learned at all.
    Nic Shakeshaft, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Rebecca: Again, all you are doing is taking an item that we might not yet have the full answer for and saying it must be goddidit or inflating one possibly bad scientists work into a problem with the whole theory. Yet when the same criteria is used to question the very validity of IDiotism you say we can't do that, double standards methinks. Remember, the Discovery Institute I have mentioned a number of times is the only organisation supposedly doing research into ID and yet has constantly failed to find any evidence f design. The professors I mentioned, such as Behne, are all supporters of the theory of ID, and again, can claim no scientific evidence to support it, only people like yourselves saying that evolution is too hard to believe in thus goddidit or some other designer did it. cont...
    John Phillips, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • ...cont

    Rebecca: As to the if the Earth wasn't in the right place, if Jupiter wasn't etc. etc. as both Sagan and Dawkins have commented on the 'it is so hard to believe it must be goddidit' comment, actually it is not so hard to believe. For the simple reason if it hadn't been like that we wouldn't be here and there is no chance about it. And no, evolution doesn't say that it is down to chance or accident. Which statement, among others, leaves me to suppose that you actually know very little about the theory. For someone who claims to have done a medical training or degree I find you guilty of extremely lazy thinking and not a scientist but a closed minded believer. For over the years I have looked in detail at most of the issues you have raised and found them at best wanting and at worst misrepresented to make a creationist point. Obviously, every time I will post an answer to a point you raise you will raise another point ad infinitum, even though each point you raise will be refuted systematically. Much the exact same tactics the IDiots and creationist do. Come back and argue when you have real peer reviewed evidence for your beliefs, until then I have no more time to waste on you so keep posting about your god of the gaps, as you obviously need it to give your life some value, most here don't and I am finished wasting time on you so I leave you the opportunity for the empty last word.
    John Phillips, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • John Philips: first and foremost in another post - had you read it, I said that just because there are flaws in evolution does not necessarily mean that God is responsible ( though I believe it does)- the difference between an objective ad subjective observation.

    If you have looked at the issues raised then please refute the arguments I have offered. i am genuinley interested. The fact that you don't leads me to presume that you can't. Specifically human anthropology, gaps in fossils etc. Intelligent design science can hardly be called science when it has been hijacked by a group who are trying to further a belief in God, hence why i have no time for reading their article! Evolution likewise has been hijacked by atheists tring to further there own. Doubtless the truth is somewhere in between.

    My life has loads of meaning thank you, I spend my time on this site out of interest and in an attempt to learn from other points of view.

    Insult me if you choose, I have no ill feelings towards any of you on this site and hope you genuinley are enjoying life to the full.
    Rebecca Evans, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • bitbutter

    If you new the truth, or thought you did, and it was the most amazing thing you had ever found, would it not be unethical from your point of view to deny your child the teaching that it ws true? I am sure most people on this site would not allow christianity a reasonable hearing in their homes?

    I agree though that a child should be exposed to as many different ideas as possible. I myself grew up with a Muslim and Jewish neighbours and my Mum encouraged me to learn more about those faiths. I believe this has led to my appreciation of differing religious beliefs and my adult desire to know more about other faiths,

    Children are told about Father Christmas. I myself worked out that it wasn't true without being told and have no persisting belief in it.

    Someon also said that if something is true then more and more people should go towards that faith. Christianity in Britain is not the norm. It is still the fastest growing religion worldwide ( by conversion adn not birth rate)and as a proportion of the world poulation is increasing exponentially.

    Some believe we are on the verge of a huge christian revival in this country. Watch in the next two years and see
    Rebecca Evans, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Resurrections and miracles are rare but do happen actually.

    An Australian man who tours the world telling his story was pronounced clinically dead and in a morgue for a long time- after being stung by poisonous jelly fish. God brought him back to life much to the amazement of medical staff and he tours the world.


    Anothr man was also clinically dead " 40 mins in heaven " and after a pastor prayed was raised to life.

    Benny Hinn ( Christian healer has quite a good record with proven healings- you can watch him on GOD TV most nights though not during this excessively boring missions week.

    Obviously if you are not a Christian you are unlikely to hear about these things as they are not in mainstream media. There is no doubt though that in the circles i mix in these things happen ( haven't personally seen a ressurection though, and if I did I think I'd be sceptical.

    I have personally seen someone healed of back pain and my pastor is sure that she had an ulcer on her eye that after prayer was healed - photographic evidence to prove. But hey unless you have faith in the supernaturual , you will not believe a word I say

    There is a whole science sprung up upon investigating healings and the data, looks like it works through changing electromagnetic fields. Produced by the spiritualist society which I opppose, so cannot say how reliable.
    Rebecca Evans, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • I am confused, Rebecca - how come you believe that this guy from Australa was raised from the dead, and you believe in healing, and you believe your God is omnipotent, and yet if you saw a resurrection you would be skeptical?
    Think about that.....
    Your medical training tells you there would be another explanation that is NOT supernatural, that is the case with the other supposed miracles too - you know as well as I that medical science doesn't know everything about our amazing bodies yet, but that doesn't mean it has to be God - in my last job we had loads of cases of non-diagnosed abdo pain - haven't got a clue what caused them - oh, must be God, by your reasoning, yes?
    Somehow I don't think you will agree.
    Abigail Hurley, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • "[rebecca] Religion or none religion should always be a choice, that choice is paramount and should never be by compulsion"

    "[rebecca] If you new the truth, or thought you did, and it was the most amazing thing you had ever found, would it not be unethical from your point of view to deny your child the teaching that it ws true?"

    I'm sure you already know that these two positions are incompatible. I'm glad i will never find myself in this dilemma as a parent.

    I think you're right: genuine faith in any of the major religions obliges a parent to brainwash her child into that same belief (running the chance of permanently damaging the child's ability to think critically). To leave any chance that the child decides against adopting your religion would be unethical. Telling a child to 'question everything' isn't an option for the devout parent.

    As hinted at earlier in this thread the single most damaging blow to critical thinking dealt by the bible seems to be the 'lesson' that faith is a virtue. The more incredible the claim that you believe in (no evidence? so much the better!), the more virtuous you are - as long as it's sanctioned by the correct holy book.
    bitbutter, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Rebecca:
    A quick ten minute search on Google has come up with the following evidence about the Cambrian Explosion and Gaps in the Fossil Record.....
    (A search for "Human Anthropology" found 360 million links!! So unless you can be more specific I can't help you with that - just a little hint though, if you are looking for any information try googling - there is a shed load out there!)
    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/12286206/
    WASHINGTON - The latest fossil unearthed from a human ancestral hot spot in Africa allows scientists to link together the most complete chain of human evolution so far.
    The 4.2 million-year-old fossil discovered in northeastern Ethiopia helps scientists fill in the gaps of how human ancestors made the giant leap from one species to another. That’s because the newest fossil, the species Australopithecus anamensis, was found in the region of the Middle Awash — where seven other human-like species spanning nearly 6 million years and three major phases of human development were previously discovered.
    “We just found the chain of evolution, the continuity through time,” study co-author and Ethiopian anthropologist Berhane Asfaw said in a phone interview from Addis Ababa. “One form evolved to another. This is evidence of evolution in one place through time.”
    Abigail Hurley, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Continued:
    http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evosite/mi...
    Misconception: “Gaps in the fossil record disprove evolution.”

    Response: The fact that some transitional fossils are not preserved does not disprove evolution. Evolutionary biologists do not expect that all transitional forms will be found and realize that many species leave no fossils at all. Lots of organisms don't fossilize well and the environmental conditions for forming good fossils are not that common. So, science actually predicts that for many evolutionary changes there will be gaps in the record.
    Also, scientists have found many transitional fossils. For example, there are fossils of transitional organisms between modern birds and their theropod dinosaur ancestors, and between whales and their terrestrial mammal ancestors.

    http://www.fossilmuseum.net/Paleobiology...

    It is important to remember that geological history contains numerous periods of slow evolution punctuated by periods of rapid evolution, which Steven J. Gould called Punctuated Equilibrium. The rates of evolution generally depend on rates of selection, which in turn depend on rates of environmental change. It also depends upon the existing genomic diversity on which selection acts. Mutation rates tend to be slow and steady, and in the absence of environmental change, slowly accumulate in a population. It is selective pressure that weeds out the mutations that are detrimental or neutral to survival, and retains and multiplies the mutations that are beneficial within a population. For a population isolated in a new environment, rapid selection can lead to speciation, and in the Lower Cambrian, to radically new forms that we now group in the Phyla of modern times
    Abigail Hurley, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Continued:

    http://www.peripatus.gen.nz/paleontology...
    Cambrian explosion:
    (Bromham et al. 1998, p. 12386). Whereas a literal interpretation of the Cambrian fossil record requires the near-simultaneous, ‘late arrival’ of nearly all metazoan phyla, recent genetic evidence reveals a different pattern, sometimes known as the ‘slow burn’ or ‘early arrival’ hypothesis. Age estimates derived from calibrated gene divergence studies tend to vary considerably today – the science is new – but a consistent pattern emerges, nevertheless. These studies all conclude that the major animal groups became separated from one another hundreds of millions of years before the Cambrian. Some studies (e.g. th
    http://www.peripatus.gen.nz/paleontology...
    e classic Wray et al. 1996) place the age of the primary division of animals into protostomes and deuterostomes at around 1,200 Ma – much more than twice the age of the Cambrian Explosion.

    Now I am just waiting for you to say "Not enough evidence, it doesn't convince me"
    I don't expect to convince you, I think you are beyond listening, but it was useful for me to remind myself just how much evidence is out there, for those of us who will listen.
    Abigail Hurley, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • "[rebecca] Children are told about Father Christmas. I myself worked out that it wasn't true without being told and have no persisting belief in it."

    Well: there are some stark differences when you compare the experience of losing your belief in santa claus with losing your belief in god. One is facilitated and encouraged by the very people who were playing along with the fantasy, the other (in general) is stigmatised and discouraged by a persons peers.

    Children aren't taught that if they don't believe in santa claus then they will forfeit paradise after they die.

    Children aren't taught that if they start to doubt the existence of santa claus then they should telepathically ask for his help to make them believe in him again.

    Children aren't taught that if they believe in santa claus despite what the evidence points to, that they are better people.

    If children figure out that sanata claus doesn't exist they are congratulated and rewarded by initiation into the 'grown up club'.

    A religious man who begins to doubt the existence of gods should expect no such encouragement from his congregation on his path towards atheism.

    I could go on, but i think the point is clear.

    --

    "[rebecca] Someon also said that if something is true then more and more people should go towards that faith."

    It feels odd to have to point this out but the person who said that is deeply mistaken! At a certain time more and more people began to believe that witches are responsible for ruining harvests. Does he take that as proof of the truth of witchcraft?
    bitbutter, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • bitbutter:
    """
    "[rebecca] Someon also said that if something is true then more and more people should go towards that faith."

    It feels odd to have to point this out but the person who said that is deeply mistaken! At a certain time more and more people began to believe that witches are responsible for ruining harvests. Does he take that as proof of the truth of witchcraft?
    """

    Rebecca didn't paraphrase me very accurately. :) My point was not that belief implies evidence, but that evidence should lead to belief. Of course there are also social, viral factors which can lead to an increasing number of people believing in something, regardless of a complete lack of evidence for it - withcraft being a good example of this.

    I was simply making the (fairly obvious!) point that, if one religion had hard evidence to support it, and the others did not, then we might expect a gradual convergence towards the one which is evidentially provable. In thousands of years, there has been no such trend.

    (Short-term variations such as the one Rebecca describes are not evidence of such a trend - Christianity has had a couple of thousand years to work work, and has waxed and waned often during that time, along with every other religion).
    Nic Shakeshaft, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Nic: ah yes i see, and agree. Rebecca used it in a context that seemed to me to imply the old 'wisdom in numbers' fallacy.
    bitbutter, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • here's a new 'sub' pledge supporting this one:
    http://www.pledgebank.com/cas-support

    "I will register again for the 'church-and-state' pledge if it hasn't reached its target by saturday 24th march but only if 10 other people (or more!) will do the same."
    bitbutter, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Hello bitbutter,

    Don't be pessimistic just yet. It took a little time to get things sorted out with the humanist organisations in Northern Ireland. The same goes for the follow-up with other organisations. These are more than a simple matter of me addressing the committee members about it over a drink. These organistions are often fully volunteer-staffed, no daily full-time exectutives etc. But no reason to be defeatist just yet. Even though pledges are coming in slowly, every one will make the remaining gap easier to burden for those considering volume pledges. So keep 'em coming people. Individual pledges made at this stage are arguably more important than during the past few weeks!

    greets,
    Peter
  • Thank you abigail Hurley.

    I will look at the links and info that you have given, though it wil take some time and get back to you about what I think. It is refreshing to see someone actually come up with some info.

    In terms of why I would be sceptical about a resurrection, is a question of how unusual this would be and an honest expression that believers are not as gullible s this site presumes.


    I will particularly look at the the evidence you suggest for transitional species as the absence of these in particualar seems to negate the theory of evolution completely.

    If scientists say they are not expecting to find a certain thing - is it that they are being scientific or are they using science to justify their preconceived belief?

    Just as you might say that I could change my theology to accomodate my preconceived beleifs?

    In answer to Nik Shakeshaft
    On the contrary though using the father christams analogy - there is loads adn loads of textual , archeological and geological evidence to support the religion of christianity. Christianity has never gone down in adherents and aproxiamtely 1/3 people in teh world are Christian now compared to 1/10 200 years ago.

    Major antagnosim to christian growth is religious persecution under Muslim and Communist regimes - otherwise the figures might even be higher.
    Rebecca Evans, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Hello Rebecca,

    "I will particularly look at the the evidence you suggest for transitional species as the absence of these in particualar seems to negate the theory of evolution completely."

    I saw your reply to Abigails post. She points to several sources I haven't looked at. They may be fine, but the best proof of the pudding in science is what is published in peer-reviewed articles that are included in scientific databases. For half-evolved animals for instance, look at JOURNAL OF EXPERIMENTAL ZOOLOGY B, year 2003, issue 298b, pages 42-56, first author CHENG-MING CHUONG. The website of that journal is at
    http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/c...h...
    The article contains amongst others the following text in the abstract: "We first review a series of fossil discoveries representing intermediate forms of feathers or feather-like appendages from dinosaurs and Mesozoic birds from the Jehol Biota of China." and pictures of them and all. Interesting, no? Maybe you should read more papers like that before making your unfounded, sweeping statements? In that paper are various references to other work in this field, like that of Sawyer and Knapp. That is published in the same journal, so you can download and read that paper too:
    Sawyer RH, Knapp LW. 2003. Avian skin development and the evolutionary origin of feathers. J Exp Zool (Mol Dev Evol) 298B:57–72. In the first paper alone there are 14 references to other papers in the Journal of experimental zoology alone. You can download all of them, and read them. The whole issue 298b was dedicated especially to intermediate fossils. And it's all freely availbale for anyone to download and read, and that's one issue of one journal. Look further and there are thousands of articles covering intermediate fossils.
    Now reread your own quote on 'the absence of fossils' and see how rediculous that was.

    Peter
  • Hello Rebecca,

    Regarding some of the other subjects in your post:

    "If scientists say they are not expecting to find a certain thing - is it that they are being scientific or are they using science to justify their preconceived belief?"

    Established scientific theories sometimes crumble. If you can disprove a major theory your scientific career is doing well. A scientist would have more interest in disclosing the faults in some theory by showing unexpected results than reporting 'as expected'.

    "On the contrary though using the father christams analogy - there is loads adn loads of textual , archeological and geological evidence to support the religion of christianity."

    Ok, let's subject that to the same standards of questioning as evolution. Could you show me your list of peer-reviewed journal arctiles you pulled from a scientific database supporting Christianity?

    "Christianity has never gone down in adherents and aproxiamtely 1/3 people in teh world are Christian now compared to 1/10 200 years ago."

    As if that shows that Christianity is any better. Whahaha! You're not just ignorant about science, but also about history. Did it ever occur to you that Christianity spread so far because Europe was technologically more advanced when Spanish ships with soldiers and priests onboard set sail for South America etc? The same way that Islam spread from the middle east to Northern Africa. Those are matters of military/technical superiority, not indications in any way that the beliefs that wars are fought for, are correct.

    "Major antagnosim to christian growth is religious persecution under Muslim and Communist regimes - otherwise the figures might even be higher."

    And Christianity that was spread worldwide by brutal means is something to cheer, right? The words 'standards' and 'double' spring to mind.
    Your posts are a waste of perfectly good keystrokes, aren't they?

    Peter
  • Thanks Bitbutter for the information.
    Can you go one step further.
    Children of shopkeepers,dentists,farmers
    from the four corners of the globe go to my daughters university.They are all on the same level.Their brains,I am sure, are the same size.How can this be evolution?
    RAJAN, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Rebecca: Guess what, as scientists we are quite Happy to admit that we don't know everything, unlike many of the religious, after all looking for the answers is what appeals to most scientists. The only criteria is that when you claim something you better have evidence to support it and not a load of hearsay. The Cambrian explosion, fine, we don't fully understand it yet. Gaps in the fossil records? Wow, what a surprise, as I answered in a long ago post, it generally takes quite special circumstances for even the bones to survive let alone soft tissue and that is without considering all the geological processes they will have to survive. Yet even with these problems the more we look the more evidence we find, complete with transitional fossils, such as Archaeopteryxas the dinosaur/bird one I mentioned previously, and there are others, look it up in the literature. So after only 150 years or so of real science, even with the mistakes and yes, even the odd fraud, we still have a theory, and not as you use the word, which is one reason why I find it hard to believe your claims to have a medical background, that is probably better supported than most other scientific theories by a wide range of research, observation and experiments across a whole range of scientific disciplines with even the ability to make accurate predictions based on that knowledge.
    John Phillips, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • ....cont

    Rebecca: Yet in 2000+ years, all we have for evidence in god is a load of hearsay, wishful thinking, large scale brain washing, especially of the young, and arguments based on authority and longevity. Sorry, not good enough, I say again, when you have actual evidence, rather than looking for goddidit in the areas science has yet to answer, for his existence, then any true scientist will look at the evidence and make a conclusion based on that and nothing else. You keep going round and round in circles looking constantly at the gaps in our knowledge, yet when someone either points out that the gap you suppose is not as you say it is or openly admits we don't know YET, you repeat the argument or claim that we haven't given you answers. Look up a fraction of the links given you in this thread and except for those areas we all here admit there is more work to do, most of your questions are well answered and can be backed up with peer reviewed research. If you don't want to look at that evidence, fine, but please, don't come back and say that there is no evidence. As to those areas where we don't yet know, guess what, not so long ago, they were saying the same thing about areas we do now know about and surprise, surprise, it wasn't goddidit, any more than it will be when we fill in more of the gaps. I suggest you go back and do some more research before you post further, as it is obvious that both your undertsanding of the thory of evolution and the evidence surrounding it and even the concept of what a scientific theory actually represents, rather than the every day use of the word theory, is fatally flawed.
    John Phillips, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • I'm enjoying reading this page. It's heartening to see so many rational thinkers in one place. Of course our efforts to enlighten the likes of Rebecca, whose worldview is faith based, are doomed. As Swift pointed out, "You cannot reason a person out of a position he did not reason himself into in the first place."

    So, instead of banging my head against a brick wall, I'll just quote someone far brainier than myself:

    "It is undesirable to believe a proposition when there is no reason whatsoever for supposing it to be true" - Bertrand Russell.

    Which sums it up nicely really...
    Clive, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Well spoken, John Philips and Clive. A few posts back I inserted references to specific articles, a special journal issue dedicated entirely to transitional fossils and pointed out tons of references to other literature on transitional fossils. I wonder how much of it Rebecca will read (not to mention understand) before making the next overly lengthy, content-free posts. If anyone other than Rebecca wants to wager that she'll actually read any of it, I'll take pretty steep odds against that bet.

    Nice quote Clive. I know another one from Russell, and it applies to Rebecca very well, given her persistent refusal to absorb or ponder any information presented to her. "Most people would rather die than think. In fact, most people do."

    greets,
    Peter
  • Hi rajan:

    "Thanks Bitbutter for the information.
    Can you go one step further.
    Children of shopkeepers,dentists,farmers
    from the four corners of the globe go to my daughters university.They are all on the same level.Their brains,I am sure, are the same size.How can this be evolution?"

    I'm not sure i understand the question correctly so i apologise if i got the wrong idea. Why did you expect that the theory of evolution would predict that the brain of the son of a doctor would be bigger than the brain of the son of a farmer? Perhaps if you can answer that i can help with the misunderstanding.
    bitbutter, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • When politics and business use science for their own purposes, we do get a 'bandwagon' of belief based on insufficient evidence, as Nigel Calder et al. showed in "The Great Global Warning Swindle" Channel 4 (Thurs. 8 March 07). The polar bears are doing very well, thank you, as they did last time the Earth warmed up - due to a period of increased solar activity, not anything to do with human beings. So we can enjoy the summer especially when we have pledged to send The God Delusion to an MP. We need to live with theories, not beliefs.
    Irene Coates, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Irene Coates: Wildly off-topic, of course (my apologies to everyone, but I think this warranted a reply!), but before accepting the views of Calder et al, I suggest you have a look at some of the refutations available (e.g. a brief one specifically about the documentary you mentioned, here: http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/arc... ). Frankly, with the hundreds of expert contributors to the recent IPCC report on one side, and only a few detractors like Calder on the other, I know which view I would tend to believe.

    For a thought-provoking consideration of why the media is presenting the minority view of detractors at a volume equal to that of the vast majority, see for example: http://cosmicvariance.com/2007/02/06/why...

    The argument in this latter article, while specifically targeted at global warming, is equally applicable to Intelligent Design, in my view.
    Nic Shakeshaft, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Hi Bitbutter.
    Dont waste your £7000 sending books to M.P.s
    Most M.P.s are elected by God fearing people.M.P.s say what needs to be said to win votes.You should buy a van.Stock it with information about evolution and educate the masses.I am reading Darwin at the moment.Its great.Im still not convinced there isnt a God in charge of the whole thing but my eyes are opening daily to the wonders of evolution.
    On the other point of children from the four corners of the world.
    My father was a fisherman/farmer as were all the generations before him.
    We were a splinter group evolving in our own world.My daughter has met children from other splinter groups from all over the world.Apart from the skin colour they all seem to be the same.Same size brains same smiles two of everything all just young normal teenagers.How has evolution changed them? regards
    RAJAN, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Rajan

    "We were a splinter group evolving in our own world.My daughter has met children from other splinter groups from all over the world. [...] How has evolution changed them?"

    The most modern examples of divergent evolution between human groups are 'racial' physical differences which you'll probably be able to see among your daughters friends.

    Different skin colours are an obvious example ( http://www.wonderquest.com/evolution-ski... ).

    Another one that i found interesting: Descendants of certain tribes that depended on dairy animals in ancient times (such as the dutch) have evolved a tolerance for lactose (found in milk) that most adult humans don't have. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/200...
    bitbutter, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Peter Klaver : please give em the link to interscience again - the page wcould not be found when I clicked on it. Thank you.

    In terms of textual science, archeology for christianity there are loads I will research them soon. I have already indcated the dead sea scrolls and textual science in previous posts and historical records outside fo christianity which suggest the existence of Jesus and the validity of the Bible.

    In terms of statistics an put christianity I was not suggesting any significance about them at all , I was merely replying to comments about figures of christianities decline previously from other people's posts/


    I will get back to you in a few days when i have read the sites you have given me.
    Rebecca Evans, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • archaeopteryxas si much disputed among even evolutionists. Some think i was in a tree, some believe it had more in common with dinosaurs. Secondaly there are many instances of dinasours being found to be with feathers and not a bird.

    However I will look at this in more detail as google did not produce many hits.

    I find it amusing that you don't think I am a doctor John Philips. Perhaps it is easier to believe that an intelligent person cannot believe the way I do?

    Admittedly I will take a second look at evolution as it will takes moneths to revisit it in sufficient detail to have a balanced argument. I cannot do it justice in a few hours, nor will I lie and say I have read thngs I haven't. I attempt to always tell the truth! My schedule is too tight to do it justice at the moment. I can tehn say in a few months that I have thought extensively about the issue.

    I hope yu do one day take a second look at Christianity. Since my whole family did alpha a few years ago, life as definitely changed for the better, and I am happier than I have ever been. I only want that for everyone else. Everyone I know who has become christian, would say the same thing- an inner peace that cannot be easily explained.

    If I were to believe ine evolution - and who knows I may change my mind, I would still undoubtedly believe in God. The two are most certainly not mutually exclusive.

    Any way, God bless to all of you, good luck on your quests for knowledge,
    Rebecca Evans, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Hello Rebecca,

    "Peter Klaver : please give em the link to interscience again - the page wcould not be found when I clicked on it. Thank you."

    Ah, I see. The link was a bit long and the forum software cut out the middle bit to make it fit. Try pasting the next two line behind each other in the url box in your browser and it would hopefully work:

    http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/
    cgi-bin/jhome/102521318

    "In terms of textual science, archeology for christianity there are loads I will research them soon. I have already indcated the dead sea scrolls and textual science in previous posts and historical records outside fo christianity which suggest the existence of Jesus and the validity of the Bible."

    But mere mentionings of scrolls in an online forum post is not the same as a list of peer-reviewed articles from a journal that is indexed in the major scientific databases. You can say one thing in this forum, I could say another, and a third poster something else still. Proof of the pudding in science is generally results published in peer-reviewed articles in journals that are indexed in major scientific data bases. Do you have a list of references please?

    greets,
    Peter
  • Hello again,

    "I hope yu do one day take a second look at Christianity. Since my whole family did alpha a few years ago, life as definitely changed for the better, and I am happier than I have ever been. I only want that for everyone else. Everyone I know who has become christian, would say the same thing- an inner peace that cannot be easily explained."

    For me it was the exact opposite. I grew up in a Catholic family. The best decision I ever made as a teenager was to dump faith. It felt like a great relief. You can think for yourself, not have your every judgement clouded, etc. It was truly enlightening for me to lose faith and become a rationalist.

    "If I were to believe ine evolution - and who knows I may change my mind, I would still undoubtedly believe in God. The two are most certainly not mutually exclusive."

    Oh boy, here comes the 'interpretation' excuse. First believers proclaim the bible to be literally true for a millenium and a half. Then science blows that story out of the water. But will that make believers see sense? Of course not. Not being able to maintain their unfounded views, they bring up 'interpretation'. So six days for god is now all of a sudden billions of years for us humans etc. It would be so much more intelligent if you would just realise the bible is a load of fairy tale nonsense and drop it, instead of clinging to the nonsense (at great cost to your credibility).

    greets,
    Peter
  • Rebecca: "archaeopteryxas si much disputed among even evolutionists. Some think i was in a tree, some believe it had more in common with dinosaurs. Secondaly there are many instances of dinasours being found to be with feathers and not a bird."

    Neither of these points challenges the idea that Archaeopteryx is an example of a 'transitional form' - having a mixture of physical characteristics from both dinosaur and bird.

    Of course the die-hard creationist can simply maintain that Archaeopteryx isn't a transitional form but a 'fully formed' animal. If this move is made it raises the question: what would constitute a transitional form?
    bitbutter, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Nic Shakeshaft: My comments on earth warming are relevant because science is being used as a basis for political and economic action, therefore we need to know whether the science is soundly based, just as we do when we use it to question the existence of god. Surely the number of experts contributing to the IPCC report, compared to the few who disagree, has nothing to do with it? I see an orthodoxy developing around global warming which can be compared in many respects to a new religion, and I would rather we stayed with science. I want to know whether the sun's activity is really largely responsible for making the planet hotter, or not. If it is, we can none of us do anything about it so we may as well enjoy improved weather in Britain, while at the same time cutting pollution on other grounds.
    Irene Coates, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Peter, thank sI will look at that webpage, but I will do it justice over time. I will seriously consoder your evidence.

    Dead sea scrolls:http://chronicle.uchigaco.edu/041104/scr...

    http://.wikipedia.org/wiki/dead_sea_scro...

    Textual accuracy: www.tktonics.org/lp/nttextcrit.html

    Google it and there is a waelth of articles - you can sift through re bias/unbiased as you please. Fact is more evidence for the accuracy of scriptures than any other text

    Josephus a Jewish -Roman Historian and other non christian historians do talk about Jesus as a hsitorical figure

    Capernaum has been excavated, there isa place of a skull ( Golgotha), grave of King David found, geologica evidence of stone in desert splitting to produce water and evidence of chariot shped coral reefs red sea. You can easily find this info by visiting Israel itself or on the net
    Rebecca Evans, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Modern day miracle testimony!

    Today in church a girl who I know vaguely stood up at the front and told us how she crashed into a rock skiing. She was in hospital and was found to have fractured three vertebrae in places ( no spinal cord damage). She was in agony. She was prayed for when she got back and since the prayer, she is now dancing ( involved in a theatre production)and has no back pain. As a doctor only 3 weeks later she should be in agony in pain.

    In addition, someone leading the wrship today, had a word of knowledge that there was a testimony to be given without knowing this person.

    In additon I had heard on the great vine that a skiing trip had gone wrong and someone was in hospital the whole trip adn they were worried she wouldn't be a ble to come home. I.e separate witness. None of these people are given over to lying. Many people in the church know the individuals and would be able to dispute them.

    Just a proof that modern day healings do take place.If it were to be scicentifcally investigatd there are X rays of teh back and medical examination.

    Open your mind at least to the possibility.

    My church is ivycottage.org.uk

    We have also had 9 couples who had been told b infertility expert that they couldn't have children who naturally became pregnant after prayer. One couple both parties were effected.
    Rebecca Evans, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Rebecca: I don't need to look again at xtianity as fortunately I escaped the brain washing while still a teenager. Ironically, in a Church of Wales college and largely due to RE classes run mainly by priests which actually encouraged us to look at and analyse the various world religions and philosophies. It soon became apparent that not all of them could be true as most where contradictory, as were even the different flavours or sects of the very same base religions. These differences among sects of the same religions invariably due to the personal interpretations of leading figures of the religion in question. Additionally, ordinary believers where not allowed to truly question these interpretations without pain of excommunication or worse. Once it was apparent that not all of them could be true it was only a small step to questioning that if not all of them could be true could any of them true. I then looked at xtianity and islam in detail and soon found the wealth of contradictions in both their holy books and between the various sects, such that it soon became apparent that the different religions were simply man's attempt to find answers in an often hostile and seemingly strange world with different interpretations down the ages as our real knowledge of the real world increased. Since then we have discovered the scientific method, and unfortunately for the various religions, it does produce real answers to many of the questions that humankind has always asked. Unfortunately again for religions, these answers have not only often contradicted the various religions but have usually shown that the religion's interpretations of the real world are a load of rubbish and religion's answer, invariably has been to label those who prove its teachings wrong as heretics or worse.

    cont...
    John Phillips, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • ...cont

    Rebecca: As to the Alpha course, actually, out of curiosity, a long time ago, I did attend one with a friend. What I did find was a fairly crude form of brain washing such that whenever anyone had the courage to truly question any aspect of xtianity or what they were being told they were bombarded, literally, with an avalanche of arguments based either on misrepresentations of or very selective quotes from the bible or using the longevity and authority argument mixed with techniques commonly used in group therapy. I walked away, not with any new found knowledge but a simple feeling of disgust that any organisation that claims to be about truth would stoop to such tactics, knowingly or innocently. Of course, I had the advantage that being ex service I was versed in brain washing techniques and so could see the Alpha course for what it really was. A form of affirmation of their beliefs for those with strong beliefs in the first place and brain washing for those not so strong. Personally I'll stick to the scientific method and critical thinking for finding out about the world, but then I take great pleasure in thinking about the real world rather than have someone else do the thinking it for me. Sadly, much of the human race appears to prefer the apparent certainty that religion offers instead of living in the real world.
    John Phillips, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • "[rebecca] Just a proof that modern day healings do take place."

    The methodologically sound studies that took place so far have shown no correlation between prayer and recovery of the person being prayed for.

    To the faithful it might appear that god sometimes chooses to answer prayers and heal people, but most of the time he doesn't (he works in mysterious ways after all).

    So: some people that are prayed for get better unexpectedly, but most don't. This is exactly consistent with what you would expect to happen in a godless universe.
    bitbutter, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Hello Rebecca,

    Thanks for the links, but unfortunately: nowhere near good enough. For two reasons. First is that none of the links work (the first one is too long, so the forum server software cut out part of it, same happened to me. The other two are just wrong urls).
    Second, the wiki article on the dead sea scrolls (which I could ook up myself without a link) doesn't have any references to scientific journals. Just links to external websites, books, newspaper articles, etc. None of those are scientifically acceptable sources.
    So you have fallen way short (completely, in fact) of producing any scientifically acceptable source. So I'll repeat my request: could you give me a list of references from peer-reviewed scientific journals that are indexed in the major scientific databases?

    But if you had anything scientifically acceptable, you would have given it to me by now, right? So it does seem to confirm that you have nothing substantial to back up your claims with.
    Come on, tell us, how much scientific work have you read on the matter? It is none, isn't it?

    greets,
    Peter
  • Irene Coates: Certainly I agree that, before planning socioeconomic changes based on scientific research, we need to be fairly sure that its findings are justified. However:

    "Surely the number of experts contributing to the IPCC report, compared to the few who disagree, has nothing to do with it?"
    I must disagree with this. As has been discussed elsewhere on this forum, it is of course entirely possible for the majority of people to be deceived into believing that something is true when there is insufficient evidence to conclude that it really is. However, those applying scientific methods (whether or not they are actually scientists by profession) are not really like other people in this regard - a good scientist will believe very little unless it is justified by the evidence available. Assuming that the majority of the world's experts in this field *are* good scientists, therefore (which seems a reasonable assumption!), we can conclude fairly that the majority view will be the one most closely supported by the evidence.

    "I see an orthodoxy developing around global warming which can be compared in many respects to a new religion"
    Only in the media, not in the scientific discourse. The media is notoriously dreadful at reporting science accurately and meaningfully to the general public. There is a common (but entirely understandable) misconception among the general public that the way science is portrayed in the media really reflects the reality. Therefore, when orthodoxies (such as the one you describe) appear in the media, it tends to cause a public backlash against *the science itself*, which is rarely justified. This sentiment is easily and frequently exploited by those who have agendas not supported by the view of the scientific majority. We've seen this with Intelligent Design, and we're seeing it again with global warming.
    Nic Shakeshaft, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Nic: Many thanks for that reply. The media have a responsibility when they are discussing science - more scientists need to become media savvy? Do you know if the sun's activities have been taken into account in the programming of the super-computer that has been number crunching the global warming figures? If this aspect has been omitted, then no advanced technology will get the correct answers about what causes it.
    Irene Coates, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Irene Coates: I'm not a climatologist, so am not qualified to answer that! A brief google search found this ( http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/... ): "...most climate models—including ones used by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change—already incorporate the effects of the sun's waxing and waning power on Earth's weather", but obviously I can't vouch for whether it is correct or current.

    As for the general point: yes, better media skills among scientists would be highly desirable, as would a general improvement in school science education. At the moment, scientists tend to lack the ability to write for non-specialists; and newspaper 'science correspondents' are rarely actually scientists, so they often misunderstand and misrepresent the research they report. The result is that the general public is given the impression that science is piecemeal, arbitrary and sensationalist, so often come to view the importance and validity of scientific findings with an unjustified degree of scepticism. This permits those with biased or minority opinions to make it appear to the public that 'the experts' are far more divided on a given issue than they really are, thus making it seem as if dominant theories (such as evolution or anthropomorphic global warming) are merely unjustified assumptions by people with hidden agendas. The experts themselves know that this isn't true, of course, but the public doesn't.

    Political elections are then won or lost based on the public's attitudes towards science-based policies of which they have little understanding. The present U.S. government's opposition to climate protection, and its sympathy towards funding and promoting Intelligent Design as a 'scientific theory' in schools, are excellent examples of the dangers which this lack of public understanding can cause.

    So yes, decent communication of science is absolutely vital.
    Nic Shakeshaft, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Hi Nic,

    I agree with the perils of science being easily twisted and misrepresented. I think another factor that is eroding the credibility of science is the sources of funding. When research is funded by groups that want to see a particular outcome, eventually that outcome will surface, as it's always possible to find some corruptable scientists who will sign off on a ton of rubbish for their own gain. This then leads to a situation that different groups of men in white lab coates claim different things. How is Joe public to distinguish between those?
  • Peter, yes I agree this is a significant problem. In addition, it isn't always really necessary for the scientists to be corrupt (I posted a link to a brief article about this, somewhere above) - there are so many scientists around that it's always possible to find a few who genuinely *do* believe what you want them to believe, and then provide them with the cash to broadcast their views more loudly and widely than is really deserved, thus distorting the public debate.

    Also... make that "anthropogenic global warming", above. I really need more coffee... :)
    Nic Shakeshaft, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Nic, Anthropogenic global warming obviously has a good headstart with the public, as we can then feel that we are responsible, and that we can change the situation. Politicians, too, prefer this alternative to the idea that 'sun-spots are to blame'. In addition, this is a new area of public interest and it takes time for a theory to become a fact (if it ever does). Let us agree that in climate change we are working in theories, not facts, this means that there is a flexibility in approarch that is not appropriate in, say, the fact of evolution. At this stage, it is necessary to know exactly what went in to the super-computer if we are to assess the value of what came out. My area of concern is that the change in the sun's activity may not have been factored in, or not adequately so. This would account for the disagreement among scientists. Does anyone know the answer to this? We need to be clear about the difference between science and religion if we are to ask people to change to a science-based life-style.
    Irene Coates, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • please ignore this one, the site admin contacted me about the problem with broken links. So let me retry the one I posted earlier, having checked this time that the links is ok:

    http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/cgi-b...
  • Peter Klaver:I haven't received any replies to my post of Tuesday 14 March, due perhaps to the 'broken links' that you mention. I come from a scientific family, so I do understand the downside of misrepresentation and misunderstanding of scientific knowledge, but these discussions on the web are useful as a form of brainsharing between people of widely different assumptions and backgrounds. We the public should not really take the findings of science uncritically, nor should we reject what we are told without thinking what we are doing. This is why Dawkins's books are so valuable as they provide a thought-landscape that we can all discuss. I sent him a copy of my "Mind the Gap" Ed.2 a philosophy from ancient Grete to the present day, which is only available in academic libraries.
    Irene Coates, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Hi Irene,

    This isn't really the proper place to discuss climate change in detail (much as I'd like to!), so suffice it to say that anthropogenic global warming is indeed a theory, but (so I understand) a well supported one. Not as well supported as evolution, certainly, but there seems no reason to disagree with the findings in the IPCC report - i.e. it is (at least) 90% certain that human activities are contributing to global warming, with a corresponding 10% margin for error. It appears, as I suggested above, that the apparent extent of disagreement among scientists is largely illusory, as the majority of actual experts would state. Obviously I've not actually spoken to most of them(!), but I am fortunate enough to be friends with one. It would be inappropriate to rely on her judgment alone, of course, but she is able to tell me accurately about the level of disagreement in the field as a whole - and it's pretty low.

    The (up to) 10% margin of error is obviously significant - far higher than for evolution, certainly - but nonetheless, the existing data are extremely suggestive.
    Nic Shakeshaft, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Hi Nic, as you say, this isn't reallly the place to discuss global warming or its causes in detail. That is, except that it is now a hot scientific topic, and if we are to say: choose science rather than religion, people need to show what a science-based world looks like. We need to know if we are simply going to have to believe what a different set of experts say, or can we take an active part in understanding and influencing the world we live in? In this sense global warming is relevant. I shall not take at face value the findings of the IPCC report until I have checked for myself the solar-changes element, this needs to be readily available. There is a good saying about using complex computers: Garbage in, garbage out. Everything depends on what was fed into it, and since this info. appears not to be generally available, it might as well be written in coptic. People won't leave the illusory security of religion if scientists aren't ready to treat them like reasonable beings and share their secrets. There is also the ongoing problem of vivisection. The more we accept that people are animals, the more outrageous the abuse and destruction of our fellow animals to help keep us alive appears.
    Irene Coates, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Hi Rebecca
    hope you are well.
    These guys are pros.
    They insult you and you turn the other cheek,so many times we think you must be upset,but no.
    They do not understand the more they insult you the stronger your faith shines through.
    Rebecca your strength has held us to the Christian faith by the skin of our fingertips.
    The more I read about evolution the more I sway.Is there any other way to convince us there is truly a God?
    What about that Man was made in Gods image story?
    Rebecca it is great to see you stand your ground many people are looking at you for answers.Regards.
    RAJAN, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Hello Rajan,

    I would give a slightly different assesment of the situation in this blog: the more we talk to Rebecca, the more THE WILLFUL BLINDNESS of her faith shines through in her answers.
    You mention insults several times. I may have been a bit strong in some posts, as may have been the case for some others. But do you think asking someone to provide some scientifically acceptable literature to back up her claims is insulting? I think it would be no more than fair that if someone continually makes the wildest statements against science, that they provide something to back it up. Something that meets the same standard as the science they are criticising. Sofar Rebecca has failed completely to do so. I think the sources she held out to back up her stories do show that she doesn't know very well what science is.
  • Peter.
    Millions no Billions of people have given their lives for God in the past and will in the future.
    These people will jump into save their fellow man in the name of God.The courts of this country and many other countrys make you swear on the good book
    as your fear of God will make you tell the truth.
    How can you expect to say such things about someones faith and hope to change their point of view.Christianity is a way of life.A good life that many people love and enjoy.My problem is your crowd have some good points that I cannot dispute.However I am reading about the Brain and evolution and there are a lot of grey areas to look into(excuse the joke).regards
    RAJAN, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Rajan: "Is there any other way to convince us there is truly a God? What about that Man was made in Gods image story?"

    An anthropormorphic (human like) god is exactly the kind you would expect to be created by humans.

    There are lots of interesting ideas about how belief in gods originated. One proposal is that the idea of an 'invisible man' developed when early humans first began to mourn for loved ones who had died. Habits of mind made it seem like the loved one was 'still around'. This developed into the idea of wise spirit ancestors who you could ask for advice. Spirit ancestors gradually develop the characteristics that we associate with gods.

    Daniel Dennet has an excellent book that looks in depth at this idea and many others: 'Breaking the spell - Religion as a natural phenomenon'
    bitbutter, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Hello Rajan,

    I fully agree that there are open questions that science cannot address yet. But I have no problem with that at all. At some point, when we were living in caves etc, people knew about nothing and ascribed lots of things to the supernatural. Many of these things now have scientific explanations (think solar eclipses, once thought of as impending doom, brought about by god(s). A long time ago people would not have believed the things that man are presently able to understand and able to do. Like putting a man on the moon. So just give science time to progress further. It's worked very well in the past and new knowledge is being published literally every day. The open questions are getting fewer and fewer.

    greets,
    Peter
  • @RAJAN: When is asking for evidence an insult, the insult is to our intelligence when that person affirms things as true based purely on their subjective feelings or experiences but with no actual evidence for it and to compound it further not by our lack of knowledge about the subject, i.e. evolution, but on their lack of knowledge on the subject. We have all produced a wealth of evidence for Rebecca, and you as well, to peruse at leisure. If she does look at the evidence in all honesty and compare it to the genuine total lack of real peer reviewed evidence for ID then all credit to her. But all she has done so far is quote evidence that was actually discredited by the strongest supporters of ID in the Dover court case in the US under oath, where they were found to be lying, or to look for goddidit in the gaps or supposed gaps in our existing knowledge. True, there are some genuine gaps in our knowledge, but then there used to be a lot more gaps claimed for goddidit, but we now know the answers to and it wasn't goddidit. Similarly, many of the so called gaps claimed for goddidit are not gaps in our knowledge but gaps in her knowledge. Such as her claims about no transitional fossils, while there is a lack of such fossils we have found sufficient to more than support the theory. Though supporters of ID always change the goalposts of what they mean by transitional when these are pointed out. Similarly, her claims about the Cambrian explosion, while we don't have the full answer, we have enough to go beyond the goddidit stage of thinking. Mind, none of the evidence for evolution actually disproves that your god exists, but it does show that there wasn't an ID god and that is the point of this pledge. I.e. those claiming an ID god are trying to undermine science teaching in the West by knowingly lying about their claims so as to get ID introduced as science when at best it is a discredited philosophy.
    John Phillips, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • From
    http://www.pledgebank.com/church-and-sta...
    Number of signers 506 / 645 (78.4% of target)
    Estimated signers by deadline 582 (90.2% of target)
    if signup rate continues as in last week

    I've emailed all the UK Humanist groups in the last week and 8 Berkshire Humanists, 1 South Hampshire Humanist and 6 Dorset Humanists have pledged.

    Anyone got any ideas how we can get an EXTRA 63 to pledge before 31st March?
  • Hello Chris,

    Would those 8 from the Berkshire humanists be on top of the 8 I persuaded them to pledge (the ones appearing after Daniel curtis)? Can we expect another 8 from them?
    I've found that making phone calls is tons more effective than email. Happy to have you take on part of that effort if you'd like to help out. Send me an email with your phone number if you like to t.p.c.klaver@qub.ac.uk

    greets,
    Peter
  • Hi Peter Klaver,

    I was mistaken. My email went out to Humanist Groups and within a very short period the Berkshire Humanists appeared on the list. I was amazed - I incorrectly assumed this was as a result of my email! I congratulate you - Well done for getting the 8 pledges from Berkshire Humanists.

    I'm a member of Dorset Humanist Association. I gave a 5 minute talk to the group (about 50) two weeks ago and got 7 to pledge (only 10 of them had read TGD).

    I agree emailing is not that good a way of contacting people. I sent another email out late on Friday to 107 local Humanist groups (email addresses on BHA website). So far 30 have 'opened' the email but only a handful have clicked to this page.

    I'll ring some of the more local humanist Associations and gauge the response. If you've already rung local Humanist groups please email a list and I'll contact some other groups instead.

    email:chris@street56.fsbusiness.co.uk
    phone: 0870 770 0840

    I rang BHA HQ on Friday - spoke to Jemma Hooper - who claims 'they've not had time' to mailshot members. Maybe they see a conflict of interest? NB. Richard Dawkins is a Vice President of BHA.

    Chris Street
  • Here are ten 'safety' pledges which will be made if necessary : http://www.pledgebank.com/cas-support

    J Christie: if you think it's appropriate you could mail the current people who have registered for the main pledge to alert them to the existence of the sub pledge, or just to the fact that it's possible to pledge more than once. There may be more people who'd be willing to pledge a second time.
    bitbutter, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Hello Bitbutter,

    Maybe the sub pledge will be a bit morale undermining (I do appreaciate your involvement btw). The current pledge will be a close thing if it succeeds, but there's various activities going on behind the scenes that you may not be aware of. Lobbying of organisations etc, which, incidentally, you can help out with if you like. Let's not lose all hope just yet, this pledge certainly isn't dead yet.
  • Peter: i understand that there are initiatives underway to get more support for the pledge, if the pledge succeeds without needing the extra registrations from the sub pledge so much the better.

    I haven't lost hope. i'm sorry that you think the sub pledge might be bad for morale; i don't see it that way - i think it can happily coexist with the direct efforts and lobbying to make the cas pledge a success, and in a small way, helps its chances.
    bitbutter, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Hi bitbutter,
    That's fine, I don't *mind* the subpledge:)
    Care to help us out making a few phone calls etc while the original pledge still runs?
  • Time to pledge, folks, if we haven't done so already.
    Irene
    Irene Coates, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Here's a thought:
    Currently we have 517 people signed up
    We need only 128 more copies (which will hopefully go down)
    Each copy costs only £9 (according to the pledge)

    That works out at just £2.23 each (obviously slightly more for the very dedicated Vic Mallit)

    Could we mailshot every pledge and ask if they'd be willing to contribute the additional funds...

    If so how can we go about actually getting it collected to purchase the books???

    This may not be the answer - just looking for possible ways we can get this through - given our now rather tight timeframe

    Alternatively - is there any way we could get Dawkins to cover the rest - he may have a few spare copies :o)
    Giles Stokes, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Hi Giles,

    J. Christie reads these comments occasionally, so he may take up your suggestion. I don't know if something like that is allowed under the rules of these pledges though. I certainly wouldn't mind a few extra pounds. And there hopefully/probably will be a mass delivery of books to Westminster of the volume plegdes as well as from those individuals who choose to add their copy to the big pile (as that makes for a good photo oppurtunity). So the extra books could possibly be added to that.

    The number of pledges will indeed go down by a few dozen because various (mostly humanist) organisations have discussion between committee members this week to see if they would donate a bunch. This won't fill the entire gap though. If you want to help lobby these organisations, please send me an email. That is way to make the project succeed without resorting to things that might bend the rules further than is allowed.
  • Wow, did someone make a joke, or are we in extremely distinguished company?! The end of the list of sign-ups currently reads

    # Gordon R K Hillier
    # Kevin Anderson
    # Jonathan Polson
    # Richard Dawkins <------
    # 45 people who did not want to give their names

    Nice if it were true! Btw prof. Dawkins, we are great fans of rational thinking (except Rebecca who trolls this forum). You are amongst good friends here. Please hang around to see the finish of it.
  • If signups continue at the rate in the last week, there will be a 10% shortfall (70 pledges) by the 31st March deadline.

    http://www.pledgebank.com/church-and-sta...

    I am contacting the British Humanist Association, National Secular Society and similar groups by phone and email requesting they make a bulk pledge. I am also contacting local Humanist Groups.

    I have sent the email below to these groups.

    I suggest readers send a modified email to "Potential Pledgers" (those who may already know about "The God Delusion" and who might be sympathetic to the pledge).

    I will send a last email to Humanist Groups on Sunday 25th.

    If you want ME to send this last email to "Potential Pledgers", send me their email address. They will be emailed only once.

    Email me: TGDpledge@megapixels.com

    See my email in the next post...
    Chris Street, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • further to my previous post:

    +++++ START OF EMAIL++++++++

    Richard Dawkins - "The God Delusion" book - Pledge to send a copy to your MP.

    "Dear Humanist or similar thinker,

    Jamie Christie has organised an online Pledge: "I will arrange for my MP to receive a copy of Richard Dawkins' book "The God Delusion" but only if 645 other people (one per UK constituency) will do the same for other MPs."

    http://www.pledgebank.com/church-and-state

    So far 524 people have pledged, but 121 more pledges are needed by the 31st March deadline.

    We have multiple pledges from:-

    Humanist Association of Northern Ireland - 13 pledges

    Belfast Humanist Group - 5 pledges

    Dorset Humanist Association - 7 pledges

    Berkshire Humanists - 8 pledges.

    The God Delusion book is £20 or less from bookshops or £9.99 from www.Amazon.co.uk: http://tinyurl.com/2sftht

    Please make your pledge(s) BEFORE 31st March http://www.pledgebank.com/church-and-state

    Regards, Chris Street

    Dorset Humanist Association member: www.dorsethumanists.co.uk

    More pledge info: http://www.jamiechristie.com/cands/

    pledge stats: http://www.pledgebank.com/church-and-sta...

    FAQ: http://www.jamiechristie.com/cands/faq.h...,

    J Christie email (pledge originator): church-and-state@jamiechristie.com

    +++++++++++END OF EMAIL+++++++++++
    Chris Street, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • I can confirm that the signature by Richard Dawkins that Peter Klaver comments on above has come from an ox.ac.uk address that is publicly associated with Prof. Dawkins.

    Tim
    PledgeBank.com volunteer
  • I will pray for you to reach your target.Just in case there is a God.
    Oh by the way has God opened the door for us to grow limbs back on mice?
    It may answer some questions put to Rebecca.
    Good luck you all deserve the result.
    If there is a God I am sure he will forgive you all.
    Regards
    RAJAN, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Thanks rajan: if it turns out there is a god, he has a lot to answer for.. i'll consider forgiving him ;)
    bitbutter, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Hello Rajan,

    I'm not 100% what you meant with "Oh by the way has God opened the door for us to grow limbs back on mice?". Did you mean did god open the door for us to grow a human ear on the back of a mouse? Something that scientist are now able to do, to produce donor ears for people. If so, then that is a very good question to ask. It shows that mankind has understood to complexities of life to a high degree. To such a high degree that a divine explanation for it is no longer necessary.
  • Hello all,
    I'm still around. But been very busy doing some research.

    Very brief comment. may I suggest that those of you who are so enamored by Prof Richard Dawkins obtain a copy of 'Dawkin's God Genes, Memes , and the meaning of life,' by Alistair McGrath.This book is a critique of Dawkins earlier books, but there another book dealing with 'The God Delusion.'

    McGrath is Profesor of Historical Theology at Oxford University and also has a PhD in molecular biophysics.

    Maybe the pledge should be amended to send 'The God Delusion' and 'Dawkin's God' to all MP's.

    have a nice day
    Pete
    Pete Hodge, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Hello Pete,

    Your idea is an interesting one, although it would seem to be the possible start of a chain reaction. Google 'McGrath delusion' and you get tons of hits of articles highly critical of McGrath. McGrath is criticised for his critique of Dawkins as strongly as Dawkins is criticised by McGrath. So do we then also pay attention to the critics of the critics of the critics of the....etc?

    The organiser of this pledge set it up in response to the churches position that they should have special status. Dawkins book formulates a counter view to that (and other things). Are those two views not enough debating material for now?
  • Peter
    you hit on an important point. The whole debate is founded on ones personal beliefs. Some want to believe on a godless naturalistic process fr origins, others, including me, prefer to consider that God was involved.

    We all have the same evidences to examine and test. The problem is that on both sides, the arguments are so entrenched that neither will give any ground.
    Pete
    Pete Hodge, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Pete: there is ground being taken and lost on both sides. Public discussions of this sort, and books like The God Delusion (and for example Mere Christianity) do make a difference, people change their minds.
    bitbutter, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Hello Pete Hodge,

    I'm afraid I strongly disagree with you. Most peolpe who don't believe in god(s) don't do so because they want to not believe, but because there is no rational reason for doing it. Atheism is more of a conclusion that comes after absorbing knowledge and critical thinking about that knowledge than a 'choice of world view'.

    You mention evidence to examine. Well, science isn't dogmatic, theories crumble from time to time to be replaced by better ones. If some god(s) ever showed themselves, I'd have no problem accepting them. Neither would most atheists I think. But as with scientific theories or observations, there has to be something to support it. The 'I feel it is so' is just not good enough for most intelligent people. And as for 'the evidence' that can be interpreted in support of religions? Sorry, there's lots of religious zealots throwing scientific jargon about, but without even one exception, I've always found it to be the most ludicrous rubbish that doesn't come near meeting standards of science. As it is definately one of my favourite online debating subjects, you're welcome to show me the scientific evidence in support of your (I assume Christian?) religion.

    You say both sides are entrenched and neither will give way. I think that unless organised religion manages to ban science altogether (think teaching of creationism in science classes, etc) religion will see more and more of its territory annexed and taken away by scientific progress.
  • Hello again Pete,

    Let me give an example of the last thing I mentioned in my previous post: not too long a ago a Korean professor claimed to have cloned a human. While that proved a false claim, understanding of DNA etc was already sufficiently far for the scientific community to believe him for a while. So how long do you think it will take before scientists can understand and control life itself to rival or exceed things that are now only found in nature? By the time people are able to synthesise organisms (even if they are only simple, primitive ones) from dead matter, it will become pretty hard for clergy men to explain to people why they should thank the Lord for his great gift of life to us.
  • Can I suggest that people stop using this comment space to debate the existence of God, evolution etc (there are other places where those debates can happen) - and instead allow people who have pledged to discuss practical ideas for how to put the plan into action? For example discussing covering letters and so on.

    Another place where such things are being discussed is here:
    http://richarddawkins.net/article,565,Se...

    This includes at least two suggested covering letters.
    Peter Steele, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Peter Steele.
    Lets get this straight.
    You want to buy a book to send to an M.P. to convince them there is no God?
    Now these M.P.s are representing the public and their interests.You however do not want comments from the public on the subject.I am glad you do not run this country,or pledgebank.
    RAJAN, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Rajan

    I'm simply respectively suggesting that a group of people here are trying to get together to organise a campaign. If you had a meeting in your house, trying to organise something, and a bunch of other people stood outside shouting through your window, you'd find that a bit inconvenient, wouldn't you? I'm just suggesting that it would be polite, if you're not part of the campaign, to not use this comment facility.
    Peter Steele, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Hello Peter Steele,

    If the pledge is successful (if tonights sign-up rate is anything to go by, it will be) then it's not a bad idea to point us back to how to get the best result out of it. Point taken.
  • In the FAQ it says "It will be hard to coordinate the arrival of all the books on the same day, but we will try"

    Wouldn't it be better to co-ordinate this properly. You could set up a PayPal account for payments, then if we're going to buy 646 copies, we should be able to negotiate a wholesale dealer price, surely? Then this dealer, Amazon or whoever, could also get in on the publicity when the vanload turns up at Westminster. It could be more of an event then, and surely get better press attention?
    George Shilling, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Hello George,

    This is pretty much what the organiser and a couple who are helping out have been considering. We're hoping that someone from the BHA or similar organisation would present the hand-over of a mass delivery of books, creating a good photo oppurtunity.
  • Peter Klaver

    You say, and I understand what you are saying, that there is no logical reason to believe in a divine being. But there is a logical reason to believe in evolution.

    One of the points McGrath makes, is that Darwinism could never lead one to be genuinely an atheist. The most would be, agnostic. That is, not convinced one way or the other.

    I was not surprised when your original reply to my comments on McGrath's book were to claim that there were those on the web who attack McGrath and his views. Of coure they do. After all, he has shown in his book that Dawkins has aproached his position from a biased perspective. Now, why is it that we have to believe everything Dawkins says, but must question anyone who dares to challenge his conclusions?

    How many on this pledge, who have praised up Dawkins beliefs have actually studied the subject for themselves? Or, as maany do, ay Ibelieve it because dawkins says it is so! Ah. Blind faith!
    Pete Hodge, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Pete Hodge: Darwin's principle shows that god is no longer the best explanation for anything we observe in our universe. He's been made redundant.

    If there is any material online which outlines McGrath's point about this please link to it.
    bitbutter, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • WOOOHOOO!! It's a success! Worth waiting up for to see when it would happen. It's 00:52 very early on Sunday morning. And the pledge has just been completed. Jummie.
  • Pledge Success! at 25th March 2007, 00:52

    Thanks Jamie Christie, Peter Klaver and everyone else who supported and worked to achieve the 645 pledge target.
  • Congratulations on reacing the target - and a week early!
  • Nice one! Well done to all involved. P.S. May I suggest that everyone just ignore the troll Hodge? He has shown that he has no grasp of critical thinking (that's not ad hominem, just fact) yet people are still trying to *reason* with him. He's like your aunt's annoying little lapdog frotting against your leg when you're trying to eat your tea. Ignore him and he'll go and rub his little eTodger against someone else's Webleg.
    Clive, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Excellent news! :D :D
    bitbutter, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • J Christie:

    Congratulations on meeting your target! In fact, I note that you're significantly over target - just for interest, may I ask what you want the 'extra' people to do? Obviously there are only so many MPs in the country! As someone suggested here a while ago, perhaps donations to school libraries might be worthwhile, if everyone agrees?

    Nic
    Nic Shakeshaft, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • "school libraries", good idea.
    bitbutter, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Less serious remark: in the libraries of most faith schools these copies would be enormously educational.
  • Nic Shakeshaft said
    >what you want the 'extra' people to do? >Obviously there are only so many MPs in >the country!

    i suggest any extra copies are also sent to MPs - a second copy. The pledge specifies MPs - its not possible to change the pledge.

    Now who wants to create a new pledge?:-

    "I will arrange for my secondary school library to receive a copy of Richard Dawkins' book "The God Delusion" but only if XX other people will do the same for other secondary schools."
  • I think we should co-ordinate buying the copies to give it a boost in the best seller chart that week! All publicity is good publicity and these are without doubt 'geniune' sales.
    Except possibly Prof. Dawkins copy which will I assume come from his complimentaries...

    There's also a Rohan Williams. Please don't take offence Rohan but are you perhaps really an illiterate vandal?

    If not (i.e. that is you real name) it's a nice angle for a journo - please tell me you're a medical doctor...
    Dan Allen, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Regarding extra copies... strictly Lords are also Members of Parliament, so strictly within the remit of the pledge. I'm down as wildcards, and would be happy to send to a couple of Lords, if that would be helpful.
    Peter Steele, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Peter,

    Start with the bishops and work your way down!
    Dan Allen, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Peter (Klaver),

    Hi matey. I can see the value of a photo opportunity, but I still think it is important to drive home that this is a demonstration by people right across the country. I want to make sure Laura Moffatt (my MP) knows that the book came from a constituent - not 'just' a PR stunt. I think secularism is overlooked as a nationwide movement with as much (more actually) mandate
    as any religious or faith based view.
    We need to steer people around to the evident fact that we are secular country with some (vociferous and unduly influencial) religious lobbies.
    This campaign needs to help that view or it isn't doing anything.
    I already know you don't expect the MPs to read and think about the book.
    I'd love it if they did but I aint holding my breath!
    Dan Allen, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Chris Street/Peter Steele,

    Strictly speaking, the way the pledge is worded, everyone can only send a copy to their own MP - precluding wildcards and multiple pledges. Donating excess copies to school libraries seems to me to agree with the spirit, if not the letter, of the pledge. And at least they'd get read.

    If everyone insists on MPs only, let's send all excess copies to the Rt Hon. Ian Paisley.
    Jan-Kees van Zeeland, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Hello Jan-Kees (that sounds awfully Dutch, like me),

    I live in Northern Ireland since a few years. If you send them all to Paisly (must be the worst bigot in Westminster), I can take pictures of the column of smoke rising from his back garden when he ritually burns them all. Maybe we'll get news footage of Pailey foaming at the mouth about it to some journalist. A waste of good books, but definately fun.
  • I consider an official letter should accompany any book forwarded to recipients' incorporating campaign aims, objectives and a synopsis of Humanist beliefs.

    Copies should be sent to those in charge of television and radio broadcasting at national and local level.

    The composite letter should be released to the media to coincide with the date of delivery of books to all recipients.

    The written word, combined with photographic opportunities, will afford a stronger and more effective campaign.
    Ronnie Kerrigan, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • If sending to Lords and you're not sure which Lord to choose, have a look at http://www.writetothem.com/lords -- you can choose a Lord who's interested in a particular topic, who's associated with your area, or who shares your birthday. (!)
  • Today is Richard's birthday.

    http://richarddawkins.net/happybirthdayRD
    Alan Clark, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • To J Christie for having the idea and for all the others who have supported it, a big well done.
    John Phillips, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Maybe the publisher and / or the author might be persuaded to donate the profits and royalties from these extra copies sold to the BHA? That would be helpful, and not expensive.

    James E Siddelley
    James E Siddelley, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Re Pete Hodge's 0+0=1 comment on Big Bang Theory (5th Feb 3.32pm):

    The Big Bang theory is based on reason applied to observation. Astronomers make observations upon which theories are worked out in order to explain how whatever has been observed came to be so. Someone figured out that the universe appears to be expanding and so reason indicates that it ultimately expanded from an infinitely small point. Other observations have been made going right back close to that time, and these indicate that at the very start the rate of expansion was extremely fast - hence the name "Big Bang" (bangs being fast explosions). For more info try Hawking's "A Brief History of Time".

    Religions are emphatically not based on reason applied to observation. On the contrary, they are based on a mish-mash of such things as good intentions, spontaneous ideas, rumours, outright lies and hallucinations, and have little relevance to the nature of reality. Unfortunately however, religions do have a great deal of relevance to our existence within reality, because the multitude of religious differences are the cause of a massive amount of conflict and many other impediments to the development of our species.

    So long as humankind remains in thrall to superstition and religion it will not be possible for the species to discover, yet alone achieve, anything like its full potential. The most important thing facing our species now, as regards intellectual and spiritual development, is to transcend the need for religious indoctrination and consequential false belief systems. It has to be faced up to that god is a myth, and that we have only ourselves upon which to rely.
    Nick E Godwin, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • I would like to see all Richard dawkins
    books force fed to every single person in the UK, and eventually the whole world, in an attempt to lift the dark cloud of religion from under which many people have been unfairly condemned to live their lives. Perhaps another way of counteracting the sneaky religious contamination of children, is to make these books simplified for youngsters.
    Catherine D. Souter, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Is it possible to send this book to the queen as well? I dont think that she has been told that god was just a fairy tale either!
    Catherine D. Souter, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Hi J Christie.

    Please confirm: Is it now definite - has the pledge succeeded, or not?
    Nick E Godwin, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Hi Nick E,

    Although I'm not the organiser, I can reassure you: it has succeeded.
  • Does anyone know of an online store that allows you to include a decent sized note with a package? (amazon.co.uk allows only 120ish characters if you select the 'gift' option, which isn't enough to explain the delivery).


    Also, are there any example letters online already?
    bitbutter, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • I don't know of any such store, you could send your main letter by email, see http://www.writetothem.com/
    and just send a brief note by Amazon.

    Messages 38 and 60 here could be used as a basis for a covering letter (which I have done):

    http://richarddawkins.net/article,565,Se...
    Alan Clark, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • thanks alan, i think i will do as you suggested and use writetothem to send my letter.

    I posted my first draft here in case it's useful for others:
    http://richarddawkins.net/articleComment...
    bitbutter, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • My MP was "taken" so I opted to be a wildcard. Can someone point me in the right direction as to where I can find the name of the MP I'm to send the copy to? Thanks. Personally I would rather they were all delivered together with a single, short, authoritative covering letter (and perhaps some publicity and a spokesperson). . . but it is still a worthwhile initiative.
    Jonathan Polson, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Well done for those that drafted letters. However the ones I have seen do not appear to refer to the fact that this is a national initiative! It will look as if the book comes from one eccentric person who may not even be one of their constituents; instead of a an initiative representing a significant body of opinion. Also I urge brevity - MPs do not need to be told how to read a book.
    Jonathan Polson, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Just search the list for your name (press <ctrl> F)

    "Brady, Mr Graham Con Altrincham & Sale West Taken by Jonathan Polson"
    Alan Clark, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Thank you Alan! I see that my MP has, as the front story on his website, "Defended the right of Catholic adoption agencies to freedom of religious conscience". A copy of 'The God Delusion' on his shelves might not go amiss.
    Jonathan Polson, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Richard is Author of the Year!!!

    http://richarddawkins.net/home
    Alan Clark, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • can I suggest that for those who want to use a service such as Amazon's gift service with its limited character allowance that they include the address for this site in their gift note along with their e-mail address for any possible follow on comments or contacts from the relevant MP. I am probably fortunate in that I am dealing with an MP that I have had a prior positive contact with over the the IDiots attempt to smuggle its propaganda into science classes, so is probably one of those that doesn't really require the book apart from maybe finding it an interesting read. However, it will be interesting to see what response book senders get from MPs that are less than sympathetic to our viewpoint.
    John Phillips, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Hi Rajan

    I have been on a much needed holiday adn I am also working very hard on 24/7 prayer in greater manchester see www.bigdeal.org.uk

    Whatever evidence the scientist of this site come up with I could easily pull holes in. Whatever arguments tehy come up with, they can do the same. At the end of teh day we all see evidence through teh lenses that we already have on. I am happy to admit this flaw in my reasoning, but in an effort to be scientfic teh "scientists on this site really only look at one side their owm.
    A true scientists examines both arguments. I will not reply to any more of the science as I genuinely will be rexamining some of the information they have given me on my site.

    Faith is not open to scientific scrutiny. I can tell you that peopel in my church are healed, that prophecies come true, that a group of 300 intercessors in Kenya have been praying for the UK and have prophesied that 2007 would be a year of prayer and preparation ready for a harvest in 2008. They did not realise that Hope 08 was planned.
    My life is filled with examples of how God has shown up and literally transformed peple's lives around me - my family ahve all becoem christians - and we very rarely fight and have a very fullfilling life now
    Rebecca Evans, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Rajan continued.

    One of my pastors had an ulcer in her eye that was proven medically that disappered with prayer. 9 couples in our church have had miracle babies after being told they were infertile ofetn both parties. My friend had a baby with hydrops fetalis who proven on scan and the Israeli doctor told her to abort - she didn't and the baby was born normally . The Israeli doctors said that only God could have done this. I have seen a woman with cancer healed , a girl who was about to die of leukaemia miraculously make it.

    I cannot prove God to you,to anyone, but I can tell you God is very real to me. He isn't an invisbible friend I made up , He is very much involved in my life. I feel the Holy spirit ( rarely ) but I do. I also recommend that you come to carriers of fire in Mnachester on the 8th and 9th June. Tickets are available at www.citylinks.org.uk
    womens conference. I do pray that you will come and then we can meet face to face, I will reimbuse costs for you if you do come. Speak to the leader of the conference Debra Green and she will send you in my direction.

    God bless Rajan and all your people. Hope to see you at carriers of fire.
    Rebecca Evans, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Prayer and healing studies
    I think if you go to bmj.com you will search in archives and find the exact opposite study. These studies are flawd mostly because they cannot accurately measure pain , prognosis, degree of diability, perception of well being and are in deed very unscientific - all of them includinfg the ones that prove my case. This is the same garbage that come from psychneuroimmunology and cancer personalities etc. Too many variables. In addition you cannot measure if someone really prays, what they beleive, what they say, so quoting science of prayer is of doubtful value. If you want to play this game thogh I can produce studies however flawd to the contrary . You can argue these psycosocial studoes whatever way you please and neither will be the truth!

    In addition to go to the absolute science of textual accuracy - are you able to produce step by step ( consisely, every single scientific discipline in step wise progression that lead to the discovery of a gene or even DNA. This is as ridiculous as asking me to prove the discovery of the dead sea scrolls, prove the science as a discipline of textual critisism and then to compare methodologies used.

    I hvae noticed whenever i challenge anyones beliefs on this site that rather than reseaching the point discussed you just attack. At least I accept when challenged with new info the need to carefully weigh it up.

    As for alpha being brain washing- my sister ranted and raved at the course and a Muslim guy on the course questioned everything. Don't know what brain washing course you were on , but it wasn't my alpha experience!

    I will be praying for all of you over the next year or two that you have the innerpeace that I and many others enjoy.

    What I can say is that the complexity of life is so great that it could not have been an accident. What started evolution in the first place and how come we are still not all blobs of amino acids- seems too mathematical and designed to me?
    Rebecca Evans, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • @Rebecca.

    Genesis:
    Complexity of the life we see around us now has been adequately explained by evolution. But 'Genesis' likely took place in a comparatively very simple chemical system.

    I find the literature on this topic quite heavy going but here's a starting point if you'd like to know more about the mineral origins of life:
    http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/abioprob...
    bitbutter, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Oh dear, oh dear Rebecca,

    In a previous exchange we talked a bit about the reliability of sources of information. And how it is a good thing to base scientific statements on something solid, i. e. peer-reviewed literature. You have lots of claims again, including several of a scientific nature. But again you offer nothing solid to base it on. So if I may repeat my request: do you have some peer-reviewed literature from journals that are indexed in scientific database to support your wild stories? I guess not, right?
  • Rebecca: the difference is that the science you have been given a mountain of links to is all peer reviewed science that has withstood the scrutiny of the scientific process. To take ID as a contrary example, not one piece of their so called evidence has stood up to scrutiny, in fact, all their so called scientific findings as to an intelligent designer have been shown to be wrong. Such as their claims about the irreducible complexity of the flagellum, i.e. that the flagellum can only have come into being through design, as to take any part of it in isolation mrans that you end up with nothing that works. This was shown to be false in the Dover trial where the base of the flagellum, i.e. one of the parts that do nothing on their own according to ID, is actually another protein that is a cell injector mechanism in its own right and perfectly workable. The same rubbishing with peer reveiwed facts happened to their claims about the blood clotting mechanism, etc. etc. You should read what a right wing republican judge had to say about the honesty of the greatest champions of ID, not pleasant, for the ID champions that is. All along, the religious make claims that have evidenciary basis and then claim, as do you, that we are looking through things with bias. Asking for evidence is not bias, for without evidence of efficacy, the methods you use everyday as the medical practitioner you claim to be would not be there for you to use. Similarly, everything you use on a day to day basis and take for granted, such as the PC you are using to write your posts, work as they do as a result of the evidenciary so called bias of science. I have no problem with your faith, what I do have a problem is with you apparently dismissing the only method that has actually given us real answers to any of life's questions in favour of faith. That and the religious trying to impose their values on those of us who don't share this blind faith.

    cont...
    John Phillips, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • ...cont

    @Rebecca
    However, your last couple of posts make it clear that those of us trying to open your eyes to the falseness of ID and the like are wasting our time. And no, it is not because we have closed minds, it is because we have truly looked at the little evidence presented by those who eschew science for faith and found it more than wanting. In fact, often finding it little more than playing games with the actual truth or claiming because we don't know something yet, goddidit, or even lying to try and make their point. Unfortunately for the IDiots, for they deserve no other rubric, they have been shown up time and time again for what they really are. So much so that rather than openly have ID taught as science in schools in the states anymore, they are trying another tactic of 'Teach the Controversy'. Unfortunately for them, the only real controversy is in their apparent understanding, or rather lack of, of the science and not in the peer reviewed findings of science. I bid you adieu as I have wasted enough time to little or no avail here.
    John Phillips, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Correction,

    two posts back I used the phrase "All along, the religious make claims that have evidenciary basis and then claim, as do you, that we are looking through things with bias." and before any IDiot jumps on it I should have said "All along, the religious make claims that have NO evidenciary basis and then claim, as do you, that we are looking through things with bias"
    John Phillips, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Actually John philips I pointed out that we all read all literature and papers through our own biases'. I will over a period of several months review all of the links in detail and research all of your claims. I do not claim to know everything and continually seek knowledge on all manner of topics.

    You are all intelligent enough to google it and there are thousands of entries.I do not have the time to sift through journals -and go to the origin of an entire discipline to then trace how this is used in proving the validity of the Bible. Few people here have given hard scientific papers as evidence merely rehashing of points of views/articles.

    You cannot separate belief from information bias. I will naturally be drawn to information that supports my views as will you. At least I am aware of this to see this weakness and will in light of your discussion look at these issues again. I do not see you making the same attempt to re-evaluate Christianity which is backed up by every day real live encounters with God.

    Unfortunately you cannot put this under a microscope, mathematically come up with a solution, it is a matter of faith

    I do not attempt to force my views on anyone and very much respect other peoples rights to their own beliefs.

    However as I have discovered something brilliant, amazing and real I cannot help but get excited about it and want to share this with ohter people. This is especially when you see hardened criminals change completely, drug addicts instantaneously cured ( read chasing the dragon by jackie pullinger), and brokenhearted people find love and community.

    I do not agree with many things the intelligent design lobby say, but neither do I think the current view of evolution is correct either. Things are rarely black or white especially in science, can you not conceive of there being some truth on both sides?
    Rebecca Evans, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • "Things are rarely black or white especially in science, can you not conceive of there being some truth on both sides?"

    simply put, no.

    "The sun orbits the earth"
    "The earth orbits the sun"

    Would you have been tempted to find a middle way between these positions? One has masses of evidence supporting it, the other has none. This is one of those cases where compromise is really not an option.

    The unavoidable conclusion that we have to make based on what we can honestly say to know about the universe is that the theistic view is flat wrong.

    If there scientifically credible evidence that proves otherwise i would be very interested to read it. Are there any peer reviewed scientific papers supporting the truth claims of christianity, or even of the existence of any kind of god? I couldn't find any such material. Perhaps you know of some. If you can, please link to it (one single paper would be useful to begin with).
    bitbutter, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Hello Rebecca,

    Near the beginning of your latest post you wrote

    "I will over a period of several months review all of the links in detail and research all of your claims. I do not claim to know everything and continually seek knowledge on all manner of topics."

    But then near the end you wrote

    "I do not agree with many things the intelligent design lobby say, but neither do I think the current view of evolution is correct either."

    Well, that very clearly demonstrates your utterly unscientific way of going about it, doesn't it? You indicate that you are yet to familiarise yourself with scientific literature on evolution etc. yet you already have made and continue to make sweeping statements re alledged inadequacies in evolution. Rebecca, you should first immerse yourself in knowlegde and then draw your conclusions from it instead of going by blind faith, trying to back it up later and trying to rubbish science when it shows your initial faith assumptions to be nonsense.
  • to Rebecca, c'd, you wrote

    "Few people here have given hard scientific papers as evidence merely rehashing of points of views/articles."

    Even if there were only few who referenced peer-reviewed literature (why should we have to point this out in the first place, most of it is publicly accessible, you could have looked it up yourself before posting here), it already puts us ahead of you. This is a nice analogy to the bigger picture: Science presents its case. Religious people can do nothing better than to try to cast doubt on it by pointing out the still open questions (I will admit there are plenty left). But you are so deluded that you don't even realise that even if you managed to wipe out science that that still doesn't offer a reason to assume a god.
    To accept the presence of some god(s), you'd need to offer a better alternative than science. But the best you can do is to claim your personal experiences and say 'take my word on that most unbelieveable story'. That certainly is utterly unacceptable from a scientific point of view and not too bright from a personal, rational point of view either.
  • A correction for my message a couple of posts back:

    "If there scientifically credible evidence that proves otherwise i would be very interested to read it."

    'proves' was the wrong choice of word, 'indicates' is closer to what i meant.
    bitbutter, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Rebecca. The difference is that any 'bias' I might have by viewing life through the scientific method has one real advantage over viewing life through the bias of faith, and that is that the scientific method has given us and continues to give us real answers while faith has given us literally none. All I ask is for one peer reviewed piece of research that supports a belief in god or ID, I repeat, only one. Yet I can give thousands and more, for a support for the Theory of Evolution. Does that mean that the Theory is perfected yet, of course not, because science is about continuously pushing the boundaries and refining our knowledge. Yet for any claimed imperfections in the Theory of Evolution neither ID or faith has yet managed to actually prove any aspect of the theory wrong. At least not if the proponents of ID and faith are being honest.

    Finally, you claim that all many have given you is rehashed views that support their stand, sorry, but that is patently wrong, for if you look at what has been given you it contains many, many links to peer reviewed research, something you have failed to give us in return. BTW, I have actually looked in depth at the research that IDiots have done and also looked at the various research claiming to support the efficacy of prayer. Sorry, but none of it, and I mean none of it, approaches the level of methodology required of good research. There is no belief as such in science or the scientific method, there is only evidence based peer reviewed research. If the evidence doesn't stand up to scrutiny, it is dismissed. Faith on the other hand, demands belief without evidence. I have no problem with this as such, as long as those making claims based on faith understand that it has yet to produce any real answers for anything in our universe.
    John Phillips, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • peter klaver ion the contrary I am familiar with evolutionary papers and ID as well. I was merely presenting that some of the evidedence presented here on link species is somethign I will reconsider.

    Some things are black and white. However the thoeryof relativity is not black and white, evolution is not black and white, whether genetically modified foods is good or bad is not balck or white. Where science meets philosophy or ethics or belief - this is never black or white

    whether a fetus is a baby from birth is not black or white, how people inherit cancer genes is not balck and white. Some things are but as I said before for either side ID or evolution to suggest they have the monolpoly on faith is a grave mistake.#

    Watch this space adn I will traw literature for your peer reviewed ethodology of tectual cristism seeing as I am on holiday now.
    Rebecca Evans, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Hi John,

    I would like to join in your request for some peer-reviewed literature on ID (I've asked Rebecca several times too, but of course she never produced anything). Although not every 'one paper' will do. E. g. if the review process consists of Behe signing off on the work of Dembski (both are IDiots at the Discovery Institute, not exactly an independent, critical review if one pats the other on the back for his paper) that is not enough. Also, the one IDiot paper that slipped by because an ID-sympathetic editor published it without having it reviewed, doesn't count:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sternberg_p...
  • Science of textual critism - this review cites all the major methodologies though I doubt anyone will be bothered to read it. It is a science applied to none religious texts as well.
    http://cs.anu.edu.au
    ( next section of address)
    /people/bdm/dilugim/opinions/cohenart/
    John Philips as I mentioned before, many objections to evolution are based on the cambrian explosion, and also anthropological poor evidence . How can you decide we evolved from ape like creatures when most fossils only give you a forehead, a jaw and a thigh bone- and you say I don't know the facts.

    I have never been convinced that there is any evidnce of link species - but I wll reinvestigate the new links provided and won't comment otherwise

    What I will say is that Bernard Crick who is not theistic strongly contest the traditional view of evolution due to the complexity of cellular life, something darwin himslef said would invalidate his conclusions.


    Instead of attacking- please look at the science f texual crisitism independent of theology - then when applied to texts it does suggest the validity of the text to within a 100 years of the events taking place.

    I might also add that you also say I look at things through the eyes of faith- atheism is a religion itself. You beleive just as strongly as I do.

    I don't bother reading intelligent papers and are simply seekign to prove what they beleive - I can't be bothered to consider anything they say

    Of the two belief systems assuming I beleive in God for both - I find evolution harder to believe!

    Most of my objections to evolutionare actually the lack of evidence. Should I feel the link species are valid The dird dinosaur is even rejected by a minority of evolutionists now these days as well then I will reconsider.

    If you are wise you would at least do your own research into textual critisism before you dismiss the Bible as a book of fairy tales
    Rebecca Evans, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • @rebecca

    "I might also add that you also say I look at things through the eyes of faith- atheism is a religion itself. You beleive just as strongly as I do."

    Would you agree with someone who said to you 'you actually have at least two religions, Christianity and a-flatearth-ism'?

    of course not.

    Atheism is no more a religion than the lack of belief that the world is flat is a religion (or 'atheism is a religion like not playing chess is a hobby').
    bitbutter, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • What a cynical way to increase sales of a tawdry and meretricious tome by yet another conceited academic. It was such a pleasure to see his face when he DIDN'T win top prize at the British book awards. I still don't understand how intelligent human beings can be taken in by the materialist myth. How people in future ages will laugh at our gullibility!
    N. Wurdle, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Rebecca said:

    "whether a fetus is a baby from birth is not black or white"

    Surely this _is_ black or white. Does anyone not agree that the moment of birth is when a foetus becomes a baby?
  • Rebecca: "Faith is not open to scientific scrutiny." Hallelujah! She has seen the light! :D

    As for healing prayers, here's one I made earlier. Feel free to use it, it has given me comfort on many occasions:

    Ibuprofen, which art in caplet,
    Analgesic be thy name.
    God's smallpox come,
    God's will be done...
    ...if it wasn't for immunisation.
    Give us this day our penicillin,
    And forgo us our bypasses,
    As we recieve stents that expand inside us.
    And lead us not to the faith healer;
    But deliver us to hospital.
    For science gives us medicine, the power, and the glory,
    For ever and ever. Ahem.
    Clive, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Great Idea this, really hope it will work. However 1.8 million people signed the petition against road taxing....how many people think that will stop road taxing????!!

    As an Atheist, I feel like I am swimming against an ever increasing tide at present.
    Philip Whitehead, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • N.Wurdle reminds me that sweet reason is only part of the functioning of the brain. May this part expand with use, say I.
    Irene Coates, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • N. Wurdle reminds me of Alex in "Everything is Illuminated" by Jonathan Safran Foer. As Hemingway might have said: "Poor Wurdle. Does he really think big emotions come from big words?".
    Clive, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Rebecca. Sorry, but atheism is not a belief, at the best it is a lack of belief based on a lack of evidence, no faith necessary. As the atheists I know, are thus, having looked at the evidence for a god or gods and found the evidence wanting, to put it mildly. There is as much real evidence for the xtian god as there is for Zeus, Thor and a myriad other gods that xtians have no problem dismissing with nary a thought.

    At the end of the day, the only difference between a xtian and an atheist is that an atheist as well as dismissing all the other gods that xtians dismiss as having no validity, also dismiss that one final xtian god for the very same lack of evidence. I.e. a xtian is an atheist when it comes to all the other gods that men have worshipped over the eons, claiming theirs as the only one that is real.

    Don't you find it strange that generally the child believes in the same god as the parents, doesn't that tell you anything. I.e. children of Buddhists believe in Buddha, children of Muslims believe in Allah etc. etc. And yes I know there are exceptions, but they are such a very small minority in the scheme of things that they can be essentially ignored.
    John Phillips, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Thank you Rebecca for your blessing.
    The world is not a good place for the Tamil people, we are killed everyday.
    I say we are killed because a part of me will die with every Tamil killed in their homes or schools, just for being in our homeland.
    Please pray for the Tamil people at your meeting.I think you are close to God.Oh and remember these people you stand up to are only atheists until they discover the warmth of the love of God.
    regards
    RAJAN, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Here's my draft letter if anyone wants to see, I think individual letters are nice as the MP's can see that they have not just received the same letter as each other.

    Dear [Name of MP],

    Please find enclosed a copy of 'The God Delusion' by Richard Dawkins. I have bought this book for you as part of a national pledge to raise awareness of the need for religious groups to be subject to the same laws as the rest of the population.

    When the pledge was started earlier this year, the UK Catholic Church, and subsequently other churches, asked the UK parliament to exempt their adoption agencies from being forced to consider applications from homosexual couples equally. Their request was not successful, but as a reaction to it along with other related issues, (many of which are ongoing), a pledge was started for individuals to buy a copy of 'The God Delusion' and give it to an MP of their choice.

    The idea is two-fold, a concerted gesture with the aim of raising awareness in a general way and also the opportunity to stimulate reflective thinking on the subject of religion by gifting the book.

    I hope you will take a little time out of your busy schedule to dip into the book, I enjoyed most of it and intend to read it again soon, it certainly gave me food for thought! You may find, as I did, that Dawkins' style can be a little aggressive in places, but I hope that if you do, you will still find the content interesting.

    I have chosen to send the book to you as you are my local MP, I do not know your personal beliefs or opinions, but I think anyone could gain something to reflect on in 'The God Delusion'.

    Please accept this book as a sincere and friendly gift, I am not seeking to 'convert' or harrass anyone, merely raise awareness and promote rational thinking where religion and law interact.

    My best wishes,
    Alice, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Great idea, i hope this plan works..
    Des Headley, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Hi everyone,

    Here's the covering letter I am sending with TGD today. I think it's best to be concise and polite and we should let the book do the talking, as it does this very well. If you like it please feel free to use it yourself too.

    Dear [MP],

    I have recently been taking part in a successful pledge whereby people from around the country have agreed to send a copy of Oxford Professor Richard Dawkins’ book The God Delusion to every MP in the House of Commons.

    We feel this is important because these are dangerous times, in which people are prepared to kill and die for beliefs which are not supported by evidence, and this is a work of compassion and reason which invites us to consider a better future - full of wonder, but completely free from myth, superstition, dogma and irrationality.

    I hope you will accept this gift and enjoy reading it.

    Yours sincerely,


    [Sender]
    Gavin, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Alice makes a good point about writing individual letters.

    I'm lucky: on my MP's website, he has an article arguing against faith schools. I might just work that in.

    That said, I agree with Gavin Orland that the letter should be as concise as possible.
    Jan-Kees van Zeeland, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • I have just ordered the book from Amazon. It should be delivered to the House of Commons between 5-7 April.
    I've included a 10 line message with the book saying:

    As one of your constituents, I signed a pledge to send you this book. Full details of the pledge can be found at www.pledgebank.com/church-and-state . from (my name and address)

    That's all there was room for, so I also sent him a separate letter through the 'Write to them' website (link in the FAQs)
    muhayman, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • This is what I wrote in the letter I e-mailed to my MP:

    Dear (MP),

    I am one of your constituents, and I signed a pledge along with 644 others. Each of us is going to send a copy of ‘The God Delusion’ by Richard Dawkins to their MP, hoping that they will enjoy reading it, and find its contents useful and informative. You should be receiving the book in the post within the next few days. It is due to be delivered to your offices at the House of Commons.

    We believe firmly in the importance of a secular government and are very concerned by the insidious encroachment of Faith and Religion into our schools and government institutions and into our daily lives in general. We would like to see this trend reversed through legislation that is introduced by our elected representatives.

    I hope this book will provide you with valuable scientific information and you will find its contents stimulating and inspiring.

    Full details of the pledge can be found at

    www.pledgebank.com/church-and-state

    Yours sincerely,

    (My name & address)

    I'd be interested to read what other people have said in their letters.
    muhayman, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • I got reply back from my MP !!! And he answered my e-mail just a few hours after I wrote to him ! This was his response:

    Dear Dr Jamil

    Thank you for your email. I look forward to receiving and reading this book in due course.

    Yours sincerely

    John Randall MP

    (Amazon have also e-mailed me to say he's due to receive the book on Thursday.)
    muhayman, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Book sent! With covering letter similar to everyone else's letter here.
  • Also sent a book and an email letter.
    bitbutter, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Send my book off to my MP yesterday with a brief message in the Amazon gift message text box and another, longer, message via Write To Them which was cobbled together from various messages people had posted here.

    I wonder if there's any danger of Amazon running out of stock :-)

    Dave...
  • Hi Dave,

    I'm sure Amazon will manage. But yesterday I went to a local book store to pick up copies for three of the local humanist groups, totalling 26, plus the copy for my own private pledge. The man behind the counter said that I had come close to depleting their stock.
  • The God Delusion is #5 in the Amazon.co.uk best sellers list.

    It was 9 yesterday.

    I wonder if that's this pledge...
    Dan Allen, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • I'm writing my covering letter at the moment.

    Is anyone collecting the letters?

    Where should we put them so that anyone can read them?
    Dan Allen, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Sent mine today.
    Abigail Hurley, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Ok, sent out my personal copy today and another 26 for the three humanist groups I had offered to do the logistics for.
  • I borrowed from a previous poster, I hope you don't mind, but you wrote perfectly most of what I wanted to say!

    Please find enclosed a copy of 'The God Delusion' by Richard Dawkins. I have bought this book for you as part of a national pledge to raise awareness of the need for religious groups to be subject to the same laws as the rest of the population.

    When the pledge was started earlier this year, the UK Catholic Church, and subsequently other churches, asked the UK parliament to exempt their adoption agencies from being forced to consider applications from homosexual couples equally. Their request was not successful, but as a reaction to it along with other related issues, (many of which are ongoing), a pledge was started for individuals to buy a copy of 'The God Delusion' and give it to an MP of their choice.

    The idea is two-fold, a concerted gesture with the aim of raising awareness in a general way and also the opportunity to stimulate reflective thinking on the subject of religion by gifting the book.

    I hope you will take a little time out of your busy schedule to dip into the book, I enjoyed most of it and intend to read it again soon, it certainly gave me food for thought! You may find, as I did, that Dawkins' style can be a little aggressive in places, but I hope that if you do, you will still find the content interesting.

    Whilst not a constituent of yours, I chose to send the book to you, as I read an article you wrote on religion once (in the Telegraph 30/11/06), which I found interesting. I fear that some MPs may well put the book down unread, but having seen your previous food for thought, I would hope that this book would not be wasted on you, and that you may also enjoy it!

    I am not seeking to 'convert' or harrass anyone, merely raise awareness and promote rational thinking where religion and law interact.
    David Wood, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • The Guardian article is currently being discussed at

    http://reddit.com/info/1hl4v/comments
    Greg Plumbly, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • To David Wood:

    Glad you liked my letter and that you personalised it too. I think it's important that we don't send a 'standard' letter as such... :)

    And if anyone needs a copywriter, I'm looking for a job at the moment (yes, I am serious!),
    Alice Davey, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • This is my letter (part 1):
    Laura Moffatt MP

    Dear Mrs Moffatt,

    I believe in a fair and equal society where no one is discriminated against or gains unfair advantage simply because of their religious beliefs (or lack thereof).

    Equality can only be achieved by creating a truly secular society.

    Religion, blind faith and unelected religious leaders continue to have far too much damaging influence in our society.

    All faiths continue in some form or another to promote hatred, discrimination, unnecessary suffering, oppression and waste in all forms. They needlessly meddle with people’s lives and cause cruelty from the mildest mental torture to the vilest acts ever carried out by people. All the time, somehow appearing to convince the general population (and in many cases believing themselves) that they are a force for good in society.

    Because all religions are based on false premises (the existence of one or more often intercessory gods who demand certain behaviours and may meet out certain consequences), the only good they achieve is through generating goodwill between people. However such goodwill can almost always be more effectively and directly promoted through interaction, fraternity, trade, cultural exchange and understanding with the accompanying negative outcomes (above) far reduced or at least recognised as contrary to the purpose when they arise!

    Human beings for whatever reason (probably but unimportantly evolutionary) have innate tendencies to altruism, fraternity and goodwill that we and society can and do successfully foster without the malign influence of religion. I believe that people who exhibit these virtues in great measure can only be the stronger for realising (if they do not already) that it is their own will that drives them forwards not some fictitious invisible mind or hand. They do not need to rely on someone else for their goodness, it abounds naturally within them and it is their own.

    Continued...
    Dan Allen, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Part 2:

    The abolition of slavery, the on-going emancipation of women and the advancement of almost every scientific avenue including on-going medical research have all been held back and continue to be slowed down by religion. Religion in turn provides either poor moral guidance (e.g. sexism, racism, xenophobia and homophobia) or trivial/worthless moral guidance (‘thou shalt not kill’ could only advance the moral philosophy of a psychopath and would fail anyway).

    These are the reasons why I quickly signed up to a pledge to send you a copy of “The God Delusion” by Prof. Richard Dawkins one of our most famous living scientists and possibly the worlds pre-eminent atheist.
    The pledge exceeded the required 646 signatories to send this book to every MP. Many of the copies (like this one) are being sent to MPs by their own constituents.

    In the book Prof. Dawkins (who also signed the pledge) tries to help people realise that blind faith in the existence of god (or gods) and the idea we know and must follow his will, isn’t just nonsense but harmful and damaging nonsense that mankind and the world could well do without.

    I want this pledge to raise the profile of the majority who also believe that religion is a negative influence in society .

    I am a member of the National Secular Society which works directly to reduce the preferential treatment religion receives in Government and work towards a more equal secular society.

    Continued...
    Dan Allen, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Part #3:

    The formal general principles of the National Secular Society are:
    • Secularism affirms that this life is the only one of which we have any knowledge and human effort should be directed wholly towards its improvement.
    • Affirming that morality is social in origin and application, Secularism aims at promoting the happiness and well-being of mankind. Secularism demands the complete separation of Church and State and the abolition of all privileges granted to religious organisations.
    • Secularism affirms that progress is possible only on the basis of equal freedom of speech and publication; that the free criticism of institutions and ideas is essential to a civilised state.
    • It asserts that supernaturalism is based upon ignorance and assails it as the historic enemy of progress.
    • It seeks to spread education, to promote the fraternity of all peoples as a means of advancing universal peace to further common cultural interests and to develop the freedom and dignity of mankind.
    • To remove an impediment to these objectives, we demand the complete separation of Church and State and the abolition of all privileges granted to religious organisations.
    I strongly agree with all of these principles.

    I can’t find any record of your personal religious views but I can see from your voting record and the various early day motions you’ve signed relating to homosexuality and contraception that you may have liberal views.

    I hope, particularly given the multi-ethnic profile of Crawley, that you agree like me in a secular society and if you don’t reading this book could help to change your mind.

    Regards,

    Dan Allen
    Dan Allen, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • PRESS RELEASE issued 14th April 2007

    HUMANIST ASSOCIATION OF NORTHERN IRELAND

    Humani

    http://nireland.humanists.net/

    Stormont Parties to get a copy of The God Delusion

    As well as participating in the UK pledge, The Humanist Association of Northern Ireland plan to present a copy of Dawkins’s book to every party in the local Assembly when it opens on 8th May.
    Director Alan Watson said......’We are extending this national campaign to remind our MLAs of the large secular constituency here, partly demonstrated by the huge sales of this book in the province.’

    Directors,
    Iain Deboys • Brian McClinton • Alan Watson
  • Hi everyone,

    Please don't take this the wrong way (we're all "singing from the same hymnsheet"! ;) but personally I would urge for these letters to be as concise as possible. We're hoping for MPs to read the whole book - they might not want to read lengthy letters too, and I suspect many of the points are already made by other resources to which we could point them instead (if not in the "good book" itself!).

    Best regards,

    Gavin Orland
    Gavin, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • ...mind you, all books should be sent by now! ;) Great to see it has been such a success.
    Gavin, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • It occurs to me that not all atheists think alike. To take two varieties, there is the scientific atheist, who sees life in evolutionary terms (of which I am one), and the moral and/or political atheist who believes in human equality. At face value, there is a conflict between these two. Evolution, where certain characristics are beneficial, can lead to the take-over of some types of individual at the cost of others.
    There is evidence to show that a child or children growing up with two parents, one of either sex, is likely to do better than a child or children growing up with only one parent, or with two carers of the same sex. There is thus an argumentI for heterosexual carers to be given priority over homosexual ones in order to benefit the child, without resort to religion. In general 'equality' does not seem to be a particularly useful evolutionary tool. Irene Coates
    Irene Coates, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Hay, this is the letter i sent with my copy of TGD to my MP, couldent think of much to say (was a bity late getting it away). hope itsd ok and dosent sound hostile:-

    Welcome to the new world,

    Welcome to the enlightened world,

    Welcome to the world which will no longer be silenced or hide in the shadows,

    Welcome to the world of freedom where all are accepted, all are equal,

    Welcome to the liberal world,

    Welcome my friend,

    Welcome to ATHEISM

    My name is James Burgon, I am 17. I hope you read this book and that it opens your eyes and mind as much as it did mine. I hope you read it and understand more about our beliefs, our values and why our opinions are as valid as those of theists. I hope that you realise that we now have a voice and that well will now use it, our numbers are growing and we will be heard. You are welcome to join us.
    James Burgon, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Rebecca.
    Please give us your e.mail or your church details.You have stood firm against these people, you even pray for them when they insult you, we are all impressed with you.True christians have this glow of self satisfaction as if to say God is there if only you want to find him.We want to find God.The Tamil people need God more than ever now.
    Regards.
    RAJAN, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Rebecca.
    Please let us know if we can bring the children.Maybe 100 of us.Regards
    RAJAN, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Rebecca.
    We will start a new pledge soon.
    It will be. I will support Rebecca at her Christian meeting if 100 other people will too.
    This will get us off this site.Many people want to contact you Rebecca but not on this site.
    Regards.
    RAJAN, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Nice approach James, I'm pleased to see young(er) people taking an active role in this pledge. It's good to have many varied and different letters being sent as the MPs can get a sense of the people behind it.

    RAJAN, yes, please do start a seperate pledge, this is indeed not the place for your communications.
    Alice Davey, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Thanks Alice. Glad to hear its ok.

    RAJAN please bare in mind that insulting things have been said by both sides not just the atheists. I remember one Christian comparing atheists to Hitler (obviously forgetting that he and the catholic church worked very closely together) which was offensive to the core. Also bare in mind that this is an atheist pledge there for if theists are insulted it was their choice. However, this should be a place of free discussion where every ones opinions are respected. I would also ask how many of the theists who have commented have actually read the book because if not then it would be wise to start your own pledge as you do not belong here if you are so misinformed.
    James Burgon, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • I have just read the comment by Irene Coates and I would ask her to not use this site to spread her homophobic beliefs. I am an atheist who (like I think a majority do) fits both of your categories. As you may not know humans no longer fit the evolutionary pattern as we determine our own evolution now (to an extent). There is even evidence that we are now backwards evolving due to our compassion to the sick and disabled, what may I ask is the evolutionary benefit of diabetes or haemophilia, there is none but still the genes are passed on as medical science keeps them alive. Do not get me wrong, I do not think we should let them die, do you? I view this as an amazing achievement, I merely want you to see that when it comes to some scientific theories, especially evolution the line for humans is not so clear cut as we tamper with it. Have you also considered the fact that the reason same sex couples are ‘not as good’ is due to the stigma still attached to them that makes it more difficult (which is just one more thing humans do to complicate matters). Before you ask no I’m not gay but as long as people are happy its fine by me how they chose to live.
    James Burgon, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • RAJAN - this is not a dating agency for lonely bible bashers. It's bad enough you lot turning up uninvited on my doorstep on a Saturday morning to pester me: now I have to listen to your dogmatic pap here too.

    There are many Christian chatrooms and bulletin boards around. Ker-ay-zee as it sounds, you could even use email! In any event, please go away.
    Clive, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Rajan! God is not real! God is not real!
    God is not real! God is not real!
    Try to be responsible for your own life!
    Sorry if your life is crap, but there is
    no guarantee of a good life for anyone,
    and we all have to make the best of what we have. Unfortunately for many millions of people, life is not good, but pretending that there is a caring god up above can only lead to more disappointment for you. Atheists are good, caring people who give what they can to charities that help humanity. This is what humanists are about. Taking care of our fellow human beings is better than hoping for an imaginary helping hand from an imaginary god.
    Our caring for this world, and this one life we have, is real caring, and we seek to protect the vulnerable minds of children and people like you!
    Catherine D. Souter, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • James - Re: Irene's comment

    I don't see anything homophobic in Irene's comments. She indicated that there is evidence for a particular phenomenon and followed that to it's arguably scientific conclusion. It happened that the evidence supported a conclusion that appears to be homophobic - but if (and I realise that's an important if) the evidence supports her assertion then that conclusion is a valid point to express.

    I agree with you completely that homophobia is unacceptable - that's why I participated in this pledge. However I think that your reaction to Irene's comment is a bit knee-jerk - reaching a conclusion about her that is not necessarily valid.
    Giles Stokes, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • I'd agree, if we pride ourselves in taking the scientific view, we must consider all evidence, however unpalatable. If it withstands scrutiny we must then add it to our views and theories of the world.

    There are, by definition, differences between gay people and straight people, and if there is evidence (I can't comment on whether there is or not, I don't know) to suggest that a child gowing up in a 'gay household' is detrimental to the child, then we must consider the evidence, however much we feel it to be wrong.

    My personal feeling is that there are so many variables that go into bringing up children that it's impossible to say that gay couples would make worse parents than straight couples. So many people in the world never have to prove to anyone that they would make good parents, (they just go ahead and have children anyway) that it really makes a mockery of the whole argument. Anyone who can provide love and a fair standard of living will probably make a good parent one way or another.
    Alice Davey, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Alice Davey and Giles Stokes: I agree, and would add also that the mere appearance of such a trend (if it exists at all; I've read a little about it, but have no idea how robust the findings are) provides no evidence about the *causes* of the trend. To take an obvious and simple example, there's no way to know whether any detriment observed derives from problems with the parenting itself, or from society's homophobia producing social withdrawal in the child. Personally (and quite unscientifically!) I suspect the latter.
    Nic Shakeshaft, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • To the Right Honorable J. Christie*

    Have we had any feedback on how this pledge was received. I realise that yesterday turned out to be a very heavy news day, but I was curious as to whether or not we managed to produce any buzz at Westminster about this or if you've had any other contact (since the guardian's blog that is).

    As a point I have received formal acknowledgment of receipt from my MP. Nothing of any substance, just a 'thank you for your letter, Mr. Selous is considering it'



    *Title awarded in respect for your commendable actions in undertaking and supporting this fine pledge
    Giles Stokes, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Giles, I am glad you clarified what I said. I am not homophobic. I am interested in situations where human behaviour differs from scientific evidence, and how we react to this. A valid topic, surely, in this discussion area? It seems to me that religion relies on people's willingness to behave unscientifically and to believe that they are right despite scientific evidence to the contrary. (And no, I am not religious, either.)
    As an atheist, I ask what is my relationship with scientific facts and developing theories. For instance, am I free to decide which I agree with and which I don't?
    Irene Coates, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • has anyone organised an equivalent pledge for the US, maybe sending a copy to each senator? I'd be happy to do it if no one else has - anyone interested in pledging? I thought we could use Sam Harris' book The End of Faith instead, equally as good as Dawkins but more americans will have heard of him.
    curiousyellow, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Hi curiousyellow,

    James Christie is going to summarise what he has learned from the UK project. I intend to add a few US-specific bits of info and post it on the Internet Infidels forum, inviting people in the US to take up a similar thing.
    Peter Klaver, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Hello Giles Stokes,

    Some way back someone posted that he had received a positive reply from his MP. Most of them are too busy to write a personal reply, positive or negative.

    Although the chances are slim and getting smaller as time passes, there may still be some small book handover media event at Westminster.
    Peter Klaver, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • curiousyellow: I recommend just going ahead and starting a pledge like the one you described and publicise it on the forums of some free thinking sites (http://richarddawkins.net/forum/ http://www.the-brights.net/community/ etc ). That way people can show interest by immedaite action; directly signing up to the pledge. I think that's part of the beauty of pledgebank, you can gauge interest at the same time as securing 'promises' to participate if it reaches the target.
    bitbutter, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • curiousyellow: also, i'd take part. Out of interest is it a deliberate choice to send the end of faith rather than letter to a christian nation? (the latter seems built for the task).
    bitbutter, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Irene Coats. If you have examined the evidence for a theory then it is not a case of deciding whether you agree with a theory or not but whether the evidence withstands scrutiny. After all, a scientific theory is not something that is decided by plebiscite but by peer reviewed evidence.

    Unfortunately, many believers use the word theory derogatorily when it comes to scientific theories using the word to simply mean a hypothesis. However, the scientific use of the word, as applied to gravity of evolution for example, refers to a vast body of work and evidence that takes it way, way beyond the public understanding of the word and as much a fact as any scientific theory can ever be.

    Thus again, it is not a case of deciding whether you accept a theory or not but whether the evidence supports it or not. If it does, then the theory stands, if it doesn't, then the theory falls. The theory of Evolution is supported by a vast array of evidence, does that mean it is perfect or complete, of course not, as there is still a lot lot more to know. However, no evidence has been found so far to question the basic theory. Of course there are areas always under discussion and investigation but nothing that threatens the theory in any way, for all the hot air coming from the IDiots and creationists.
    John Phillips, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Well, put John!

    On the US pledge topic, though it would be great to get involved, I feel it's a task for the American population, there must certainly be enough like-minded US citizens to achieve this goal. It will mean more too if the gesture (and pressure) comes from their own people.

    Is there anyone who is well integrated (though that is not wholly necessary) into an American atheist forum or similar who can rally some support for a pledge? If not, we could still publicise it through various like-minded channels across the pond.
    Alice Davey, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • bitbutter - no reason for 'The End of Faith' rather than 'Letter...' other than I have read the first and the second is sitting in a pile of books waiting for me to get around to them... I'm happy to go with Letter instead - I just felt that 'The God Delusion' would prove to be too inflammatory for many americans, after all we're just asking for recognition of our view point, not that others renounce their faith (or at least I am =)
    curiousyellow, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Irene Coates and others who replied to my comment. I was not trying to offend and as atheists I would hope that you have a more liberal open minded perspective on life. Whether or not you are homophobic is not the issue what is the issue is that to (me at least) the comment was. If it is true then fair enough. Science is my life and in it evidence is everything. However, how long have gays been able to adopt? I don’t know exactly however it has not been that long and the variables are huge. It just appeared unusual that a scientific atheist would chose such a fledgling unsubstantiated theory. To be honest that was one of my real problems. As scientists we must look at the evidence yes but we must also check variables, set controls, evaluate and discuses before stating something as scientific fact, especially on a subject which can cause such extreme offence. The referral to evolution and the lack of adventitious features also (for me anyway as a biologist at heart and soon profession) has connotations of inferiority and weakness. Anyway as I had little judge on your character I had to take it as I saw it. I am glad to hear I was wrong and of course would of preferred to be talking directly to gain whether or not you were taking this theory with caution, what the researchers said and of course seen the evidence my self (if you could direct me to you sources of info that would be helpful) but I still think it was to early in the day to raise that issue, religion already gives them a hard time lets not give them a reason to abandon science too without proper evidence. I guess I see them as allies.

    To clarify- yes if the evidence proves it, however distasteful, then yes we must accept it but lets wait for proper confirmation, and use our social conscience to remember that however innocent our words were meant they can still be hurtful.

    This is almost as long as my report of soil microfauna :).
    James Burgon, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • About the pledge. I get emails from www.theyworkforyou.com when ever my MP (Danny Alexander) speaks in the house of commons or writes a written response to a question and he has not said anything. The last time Richard Dawkins was mentioned was 20th Nov last year when the The Bishop of Chelmsford brought it up in the house of lords saying:

    ‘My second point is on Iraq. I have recently read Richard Dawkins' book, The God Delusion, because it is very good to know what the opposition thinks. He starts by listing the wars which he thinks are caused by religion. That is far too…’

    Opposition eh. Sounds like were in for sum fun.
    James Burgon, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Here's my version sent to John Hutton:

    Dear Mr Hutton

    As one of your constituents, I am sending you a copy of Richard Dawkins' book, The God Delusion, in response to an internet pledge to send a copy of the book to every MP in the UK.

    Dawkins' principal point is that religion should not be taught or supported because it almost certainly misdescribes reality. He must surely be right. I feel religion is extremely dangerous, as the events of 9/11 and the "Christian" Western response demonstrate all too clearly. It is all too easy for someone to think that they have some deeper claim to truth and wisdom if they are convinced that God is on their side. As did Osama bin Laden and also, it seems, George Bush.

    It is commonly considered a great thing to have an identity by which to describe oneself, and while I agree that ties to region, football teams etc. might well be harmless, religiosity is fed by much deeper and more fundamental emotional drives. It would be wise to keep this in mind, particularly in respect of the issue of faith schools.

    I don't know what your position is on these issues but I hope you will accept the book in a spirit of friendship, and I do hope you will be able to find the time read the book and that you find it entertaining and enlightening.

    With very best regards,
    Peter Fisher, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • I got a nice fancy 'House of Commons' branded envelope on heavy cream coloured paper today (doesn't take much to impress me!).

    As follows:

    Dear Ms Davey,

    Thank you very much for your letter enclosing a copy of Richards Dawkin's book. It was kind of you to think of me and I look forward to reading it. I should be happy to meet and discuss it with you if you would like to do so.

    With best wishes,

    Yours sincerely,


    I may take him up on the offer once I have given him time to read the book (and me time to re-read it!). I'd also like to find out some more about current church/state based policy beforehand.

    I'm assuming he means he think he will be in broad agreement (although he could be anti-atheist and spoiling for an argument! Probably somewhere in between...).
    Alice Davey, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Two points here. There is a book by an American, Daniel C. Dennett "Breaking the Spell" (Allen Lane imp.Penguin 2006) which is I think intended to help Americans reconsider their religious convictions. It is less forthright than Dawkins but should be taken into account when starting an American Pledge.
    The second point is the issue I have raised and which has been well responded to. The point of focus is surely that of the childrens' welfare. There is more willingness in society to select the suitability of adoptive parents than biological ones. The Chinese are now taking great care about the adoptive process, as I have noticed with a couple of my acquaintence who have adopted a Chinese girl and are being closely monitored. My doubts about the suitability of homosexual couples were roused merely by a couple of articles in newspapers which I haven't kept and they certainly don't amount to sufficient evidence against this experiment. But I think there is a commonsense view that one parent of either sex is preferable to two of the same sex, and I tend to get impatient with political correctness when it goes against commonsense, unless there are good scientific reasons for change. Irene
    Irene Coates, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Hello Alice,

    That's a very interesting development. If you do take him up on the offer, could I ask you to post back about it here? There is still a small chance of a media event at Westminster re the pledge. And the journalist I got involved (the one who wrote the Guardian article) might want to cover that too. For the first article he asked me about reactions from MPs. If he writes another article he might want to learn about your experiences.
    Peter Klaver, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Irene Coates: "I tend to get impatient with political correctness when it goes against commonsense, unless there are good scientific reasons for change"

    While I'm no fan of political correctness (as distinct from fairness and common courtesy), my approach is probably the inverse of this! "Common sense" answers to questions cannot be innate; they are merely socially acquired and transmitted, so of very limited value. 'Common sense' can too often be wrong, and can provide a barrier to properly researching issues and thereby reaching valid conclusions which contradict it. Personally, I'd tend to put the burden of proof on the side of those seeking to rely on 'common sense', and not on those opposing it.
    Nic Shakeshaft, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • I sent my copy of The God Delusion to my allocated MP anonymously and with no covering letter. I thought that it would be interesting (from his point of view) to receive a book gratis - someone, somewhere, thought that it was worth spending around 15 quid to do so. Having looked at his website, I see that the bugger has already read it and judged it as I would judge him: deluded. Oh well, I hope that our campaign has enlightened at least one of our democratically (rather than religiously) elected representatives - one day, many years from now (god willing), we'll look back on this god delusion and laaaaugh!
    Gary Stewart, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Irene Coates: As another poster commented, common sense is not always a good guide as science, often counter intuitively, proves the opposite to common sense.

    It is far too ealry to say whether there is any disadvantage to gay adoption as little research has yet been done. Of course, during the recent debate about outlawing discrimination of gays by Catholic adoption agencies, there was much hot air in the right wing press about how the xtian family meant a man and a woman and not two partners, hence gay adoption was wrong. But this was driven by the catholic position on gays and not on any actual research.

    However, what did come out during this often heated debate, was that it was often gay couples who were most prepared to take the most difficult children to adopt, children who had been waiting on the register for years, whether because they where older, had real health problems, physical or mental or were just regarded as difficult children. Personally, I would have thought that the only real criteria that should matter is whether the adopters were offering a loving home, especially to those with little chance of adoption by 'straight' couples, as witnessed by the time many had been waiting to be adopted.

    Of course, if any genuine peer reviewed research surfaces that proves gay adoption is bad for the child, then I would be the first to veto it. For, considering myself a scientist, I don't get to pick and choose the evidence because I may not like it. However, until then, I would prefer that they have a chance of a loving home rather than be stuck in a children's home or similar. For not only do we have plenty of research to show how badly disadvantaged many in such circumstances are in later life, I can personally attest to this from direct experience of working in the voluntary sector dealing with victims of drug dependency and mental health problems and seeing proportionally higher numbers from such backgrounds than would be otherwise expected.
    John Phillips, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • By veto in my last post, I of course didn't mean veto the research, as that would be the antithesis of what real science stands for.
    John Phillips, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • From today's Independent:

    The Archbishop of York, the Most Rev John Sentamu, has been criticised by a Labour peer for blaming non-churchgoers for the decline in religious belief. Lard Harrison launched a Lords debate yesterday on "those who profess no religion". He urged non-believers, "the silent majority to speak up" and criticised "those... who describes us as illiberal atheists, aggressive secularists".

    More on Lord Harrison here:
    http://www.theyworkforyou.com/peer/lord_...

    Peter K - might be a good contact in regards to trying to get some attention on this pledge at Westminster. Makes me wish we'd had enough to cover the Lords as well (not complaining, just dreaming)
    Giles Stokes, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Peter - I will report back with any further developments :)
    Alice Davey, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • There will definately be a media event at Stormont on 8th May when the local Assembly meets for the first time for years - there's been direct rule from London till now. Up to now only one party has taken up the offer - but we are hopefull!
    see
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/ni/2007/04/al...

    Alliance Party welcomes Dawkins

    17 Apr 07, 10:21 PM No, they haven't enrolled Richard Dawkins as a new member. Alan Watson from the Northern Ireland Humanists tells me that Stephen Farry, the North Down Alliance MLA, will accept a copy of The God Delusion on behalf of the Alliance Party, at 11am on 8 May at Stormont, just before the new Assembly meets for the first time. Will the other parties also nominate a representative to accept their copies of the book? Will there be a Humanist photoshoot?
  • Nic and John, Our exchanges are an early canter through the large topic of how, if at all, science replaces belief in our society. It would be tempting to throw out everything other than science, but I think society will disintegrate unless we trust common sense up to a point. (I stress up to a point). In the gap left by belief in a deity, I think some surprising 'bright ideas' will flicker for a short time, to be replaced by others, with politicians picking up those which suit their agenda. I don't disagree with either of you, since I am uncommitted. I am 82 years old, my brain is in good working order, and I have the detachment of knowing I will not be around to fight other campaigns such as those I once fought, for consciousness-raising among women and for the environment in the '70s. I've written about eight books including a researched philosophy from a female point of view. Now I paint and look at the sea. Irene
    Irene Coates, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Gavin,

    I almost completely disagree with you suggestion to keep the covering letter brief.

    I think my MP is far more likely to read the letter - possibly feel a bit obliged - but it will be a miracle if she reads the whole book.

    So I wanted to get the full message in the covering letter in the hope that it might just get across...
    Dan Allen, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • I will pray for each person who signed the Richard Dawkins book pledge.I will ask God to forgive them and understand that they will, in time, discover the way to the Lord but only if 8,000 other Christians will do the same.Deadline 25th December 2007.
    RAJAN, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Well said John Phillips thats what i have been trying to say, your just better at it.

    Giles Stokes with 731 lords (including 26 Lords spiritual) it is a long shot but who knows. maby MSP's or the Welsh equivalent would be simpeler though.
    James Burgon, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Catherine. My life is far from crap.
    This morning I planted another 5 trees
    for us all on my farm.I also donated 100 plants to the local school and after a hard days work weeding I found the £20,000 I invested in Partygaming in December is now worth £38,000.I am a happy man.Still I am Sad about the killing in Sri Lanka,Oh sorry its not on your doorstep.I am also sad for you all.Not knowing God must be an empty feeling.I hope you do not mind that I pray for your good health and safety.God bless you all.
    RAJAN, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Hello all,
    I have kept off the pledge for a while as it was impossible to have a serioousu discussion, because of the rubbish being spouted on both sides.

    But let me just make one observation.
    What happens when you take the moral absolutes away in society. The answer has been before us in recent weeks. What is it, six teenagers slaughtered in shootings or stabbings, and 32 killed in America this week. Also, a 23 year old university student in Columbia University in New York, was raped, almost beaten to death and her apartment set alight by her attacker.

    This is the kind of society that athiestic, neo-darwinsim can lead to.
    Well if the Richard Dawkins' and his disciples wnat this kind of world, I am glad I will soon be out of it.

    My friends, let me end with this thought. Ther is nothing outrside of faith in Christ. God is real. The Bible is His word. It is true. You may not want to believe it, but your unbelie=f will not change the reality one little bit.
    Pete Hodge
    Pete Hodge, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Peter Hodge: Your God and Good Book has had a free reign for a long time. Where was He when the unsavoury events happened this week?

    Probably punishing gays and unbelievers.....

    Your comment just highlights the pitiful attitude that needs to be changed.
    Steve Brown, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Before anyone attempt any further RAJAN-baiting, please let me reiterate that s/he is a prolific pledgebank troll, often going by the name of EDMUND. If s/he is actually from Sri Lanka (or is actually a Christian, for that matter), I'll eat my own spleen.

    Best not to feed trolls, in my view...
    Nic Shakeshaft, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Pete Hodge:

    Welcome back. Much more could be said in reply to your comment, I'm sure, but I'll settle for just this: most of the appalling incidents to which you refer have occurred in the U.S., which is one of the most fervently Christian countries in the world. Widespread 'Christian values' in the society don't seem to be helping much, do they?

    (And yes, I do realise some will think I'm ignoring my own advice here about feeding trolls...).
    Nic Shakeshaft, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • God bless you nick Shakeshaft and deliver you from your evil ways.For even a low life deserves the blessing of the Lord.God gave you your spleen so respect your body,even if nobody else does.
    RAJAN, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Bwahahahahahaha!
    Ahhhh, excellent response Rajan - I am now totally convinced you are a troll - don't worry yourself, Nic will be just fine without their spleen, as long as they take plenty of antibiotics.
    Ah - that has made my day! Many thanks!
    Abigail Hurley, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • @ peter hodge

    "But let me just make one observation.
    What happens when you take the moral absolutes away in society. The answer has been before us in recent weeks. What is it, six teenagers slaughtered in shootings or stabbings,[...]"

    Do you really want us to reply with lists of horrifically violent acts perpetrated by people who were acting in accordance with their misguided notions of the 'moral absolutes'?

    "This is the kind of society that athiestic, neo-darwinsim can lead to.
    Well if the Richard Dawkins' and his disciples wnat this kind of world, I am glad I will soon be out of it."

    You have no evidence to support your conclusion that atheism leads to violence. In fact the evidence we do have suggests that atheists are less likely to commit violent crime than believers.

    Also: Despite the images we see on tv it's demonstrable that the broader picture shows that the world is becoming a less and less violent place. You might find this article interesting http://www.edge.org/3rd_culture/pinker07...
    bitbutter, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Peter Hodge: Your last post contains, at the very least, the "slippery slope", "non sequitur", "correlation=causation" and "begging the question" fallacies. That's some going for four paragraphs! If this is what you mean by "spouting rubbish" then yes, I agree - it is impossible to have a serious discussion.

    Such logical fallacies really do highlight your inability to reason and it comes as no surprise at all that you love an ineffable, invisible being and unquestioningly do the bidding of his earthly representatives.
    Clive, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • @Nic,
    Sorry that I'm about to ignore your advice on not feeding trolls. But it's rather fun. Reminds me of when we visited the zoo when I was a child and you could feed bananas to the monkeys. If you threw a banana slightly high you could make them jump up and try to reach for it in mid-flight. And you could bait them into performing other acts too. Come on, admit it, you're tempeted to do the same with Rajan too, no? I'm just going to give in to the temptation, see if I can make Rajan jump a bit.

    @Rajan
    How are you Rajan? You're not turning bitter are you? I could imagine you have some reason to be slightly bitter, seeing how succesful the pledge has been. The pledge was met way over target, it got positive coverage in the national press, it has been extended to Northern Ireland where it is attracting a good deal of publicity for humanists (see e. g. the various threads dedicated to it on the BBC blog), there will be a media event for it in Northern Ireland, it almost certainly will be extended to the US, individual MPs are responding, indicating that they are actually paying attention, and there may still be a media event at Westminster that would attract more coverage for this secular cause. Still, it's probably best if you don't feel too bitter about our succes.
  • @Rajan, continued,

    If you are frustrated about our succes then maybe you could take solace from your own counter pledge. How is that going? While the target of 8000 you set yourself is much higher than ours, yours doesn't actually require pledgers to do anything much, does it? Praying is something that believers would waste part (or most) of their time on anyway, it's hardly an extra commitment for them.
    Also, believers often like to make claims about how overwhelmingly Christian a country the UK is. With such high numbers of believers and such a modest commitment in your pledge, is the number of 8000 not a bit low? Or is it an implicit admission of doubt on your part, maybe you know deep inside that fewer and fewer people are interested in religious rubbish?
  • While I'm feeding trolls I might as well throw a coconut or two at our other favourite monkey-brained poster.

    Rebecca Evans, how are you? How's the reading on peer-reviewed literature on evolution going? Some time has passed since I pointed out some literature on fossils of half-evolved feathers. How many articles have you read in the meantime? Is it still zero?
    Also, I'm still eagerly awaiting references to peer-reviewed literature on evidence supporting creationism/ID. You are following the pattern of the arch-typical mindless troll sofar: showing an astounding ignorance of knowledge on the matter, making fantastic claims and NEVER, EVER showing anything substantial in support of it that is open to inspection by others.
  • So hostile, you poor lost souls.
    RAJAN, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Does god have a telescopic nob to impregnate virgins with? Is god always naked, or does he sometimes wear ladies knickers? Does he have shape or form?
    I wonder how he looks to those who imagine him, is he perhaps gas? liquid? or solid? Is he covered in skin? Probably has to sustain his energy levels with some magic food, if he has a mouth of some sort, unless of course there is a super-market for gods up in the heavens above. Wonder if god can repair his own bits and bobs, like a new heart and kidneys, liver, lungs, bowels,etc.[does he excrete?] However he manages to exist, is a mystery to be sure, but lets not question his existence because those people that believe in him couldnt live without him, even though he makes no sense. Are they aliens, as they have not evolved naturally from this earth along with all other progressively developed planetary life. Does god have anything definite about him, like an image that everyone agrees on? Like a hairstyle, or a special suit for sundays? Does god have a voice or a smell? Is it too much to ask for someone to explain god? Do the believers know that they were told to believe in god, and that they are just following orders. Poor sheep.
    Cadoso, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Irene Coates: To use a rather old cliché, that is a good innings you have had :), I hope it has been a largely happy one and that you enjoy the sea and your art. I agree that many need the solace and the sense of belonging that belief, or at least the organised side of religion can give them, and will often avoid the tricky rational questions associated with belief because it may threaten this. Further, there is that oft repeated adage used by believers about them being special because their god made them and the atheistic and evolutionary message appears cold and without meaning to them. However, the real answer is better education, especially in critical thinking skills and a real science education so that all can see the true wonder of our universe unblinkered by goddidit and an understanding that we only have our one lifetime so it behoves us to make the most of it. Both for our personal benefit and the benefit of society in general. Done correctly, that there should be more than enough meaning for most. Of course this won't be easy, so entrenched is religious thinking in society, but if done properly we could bring up future generations to really value both their own lives and the lives of others. After all, none of the atheist I know, and neither do you by the sound of it, have 'empty meaningless' lives as the Peter Hodges and the Rajans of the world would have believe. If anything, this only reflects on the emptiness of their lives that they need some fairy godfather in the sky to give their lives meaning.

    cont....
    John Phillips, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Irene Coates:

    ...cont

    They, the 'true' believers, actually frighten me, much like the fundies who claim that the only reason they are good and don't rape, murder etc. is because of fear of hellfire, for they are not truly good, simply acting in a mercenary fashion to save the souls they believe they have. Additionally, their so called morality is a very fluid affair, one that can be changed at will according to the diktat of their religion's leaders and has no basis in logic, simply whatever interpretation they choose from their holy books at any one time, picking and choosing from their mythology, whatever supports their latest viewpoint. Atheists on the other hand, when good, and most if not all I know, deserve that label, do so because it is logical and right to do so, i.e. do unto others etc. or the golden rule. On that basis, the atheist is the truly good person with real meaning to their life, not the god botherers.

    Anyway, I have enjoyed our conversation and I hope you will enjoy your sea and art for many years to come. P.S. I envy you living on the coast.
    John Phillips, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • I was a teacher for four years and when I had a year 7 tutor group we had a Gideons visit for one assembly.
    I suspect I was the only tutor to take the time to put the assembly in context before they went in. I told them that some people believe in God and that they were going to see a persuasive presentation to ask them to believe too. I said that they had to remember that it was their choice what they wanted to believe in and that they could say 'no thanks' to the bible which they would be offered. I told them they should not feel pressurised into accepting it.

    I would have liked to suggested to the school that we had a 'don't believe in God' assembly as well, but I have a feeling that it would have caused an uproar (I wish I had now!). That realisation really makes me sad.

    As Richard Dawkins says, it's child abuse.
    Alice Davey, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Hello everyone,

    You may be interested to learn that a second political party has agreed to participate in the handover event at Stormont. This is part of the 'local' Northern Ireland extension of the book pledge project by the Humanist Association of Northern Ireland. All parties in the NI assembly will receive a free copy. After the Alliance Party first came on board to publicly receive theirs, Sinn fein has now decided to join in. Daithí McKay, MLA, North Antrim, will accept the copy on behalf of Sinn Fein.

    I second Giles Stokes' call for a title for James Christie :). Not only for the pledge itself, but also for the wave of publicity is has brought to non-believers and the follow-up projects it has inspired (US pedge almost certain still to come).
  • Boy, things are moving at a rapid pace. The pledge has just crossed the border to the Irish republic:

    http://www.atheist.ie/common/TDs.htm
    http://www.atheist.ie/phpBB2/viewtopic.p...

    Atheism/humanism/rationalism are on the move! This is another wonderful, positive development.
  • re. Irish Atheists -- tell 'em about PledgeBank. Works in Ireland too!
    Tim Morley, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Hi Tim,

    I did. At present their pledge is being run from their forum server, which requires registration for people who want to pledge. I pointed out to them that the pledgebank site allows people to pledge with a minimum of hassle, lowering the threshold to participate.
  • Here is the reply I received from Robert Key MP (a member of the Church of England Synod).

    "Thank you for your letter of 10th April and for your kind presentation of Richard Dawkins' book "The God Delusion".

    "I have listened to Professor Dawkins views over many months now and I find them completely unconvincing. He may know lots about science - but he appears to know very little about belief.

    "I fear we will have to agree to disagree about the establishment of the Church of England. As the Venerable Bede reported in the 7th Century, the Church in England has always been closely intertwined with the State. The Reformation Settlement reaffirmed this relationship. I see no need to break that relationship.

    "Similarly, I am convinced that Faith Schools are of very great benefit to our country. Their popularity not only in Salisbury but across the country suggests that most people agree with that view."
    Les Rose, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Here's our opposition. The following MPs (including my own I'm afraid to say) signed the Faith Based Adoption Agencies early Day Motion which states:

    That this House recognises the unique contribution made by faith based adoption agencies in placing children in caring families and that many such agencies provide support for life for the child and family; believes that the Equality Act 2006, if applied to them, would jeopardise their funding and therefore their work; and calls on the Government to exclude them from this Act.

    1. Younger-Ross,Richard
    2. Dobbin, Jim
    3. Breed, Colin
    4. Streeter, Gary
    5. Smith, Geraldine
    6. Newmark, Brooks
    7. Davies, Philip
    8. Bottomley, Peter
    9. Drew, David
    10. Taylor, David
    11. Soames, Nicholas
    12. Brazier, Julian
    13. Jackson, Stewart
    14. MacNeil, Angus
    15. McGovern, Jim
    16. Simpson, David
    17. Meale, Alan
    18. Campbell, Ronnie
    19. Wilshire, David
    20. Rosindell, Andrew
    21. Hepburn, Stephen
    22. Cable, Vincent
    23. Ancram, Michael
    24. Fraser, Christopher
    25. Winterton, Ann
    26. McDonnell, Alasdair
    27. Campbell, Gregory
    28. Selous, Andrew
    29. Amess, David
    30. Binley, Brian
    31. Howarth, Gerald
    32. Leigh, Edward
    33. McGrady, Eddie
    34. Walter, Robert
    35. Walker, Charles
    36. Burrowes, David
    37. Goodman, Paul
    38. Tredinnick, David
    39. Crabb, Stephen
    40. Davies, David TC
    Giles Stokes, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Oh dear, my MP, Alasdair McDonnell from the SDLP, South Belfast, is also on the list. I didn't know that, I had hoped that an SDLP man would have been wiser. No surprise to see DUP characters like Gregory Campbell on it of course.
  • My reply from John Gummer (Suffolk Coastal):

    "Thank you very much for sending me a copy of "The God Delusion."

    "Richard Dawkins [sic] views have been comprehensively answered by several much more profound assessments of the evidence. I am of course sad that he should spend so much time in a vain attempt to undermine revelaed truth. Happily Pope John Paul II will be remembered with affection and reverence after Richard Dawkins is entirely forgotten."

    How reassuring that I am represented in Parliament by such an open minded chap. I particularly like his false dichotomy about the Pope and Dawkins :D.
    Clive, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Hi Clive,

    What always makes me laugh is when religious people try to play the 'evidence' card. John Gummer even speaks of 'profound assessments' of it. I wonder why none of those has ever made it into scientific literature? I would love to have a scientific debate with him.

    greets,
    Peter
  • Here is my reply to Gummer:

    Thank you for your letter 19th April regarding “The God Delusion”.

    I am greatly disappointed to find that I am represented in Parliament by such a closed mind. I could ask for details of these “profound assessments of the evidence”. I could ask for scientific peer reviewed studies of this “revealed truth”. But that would be pointless. As Swift said, “You cannot reason a person out of a position that he did not reason himself into in the first place”, and I know that there is no hope of changing a worldview based on “revealed truth” and religious faith.

    You may have guessed by now that I am an atheist and that I value scientific evidence and rational thinking above faith. In the circumstances there seems little point in continuing our correspondence. I can only hope that my next MP is more enlightened.

    On a lighter note, I did enjoy your comment about the Pope and Dawkins. As this was a both a non-sequitur and a false dichotomy, I’m sure that it was not intended to further your argument against Dawkins. I can only assume, therefore, that it was meant in a “Happily, Tommy Cooper is remembered with more affection and reverence than Ernst Mayr” sense. Either way, I enjoyed the imagery.

    Regards,
  • Good of you to send a follow-up letter Clive. Indeed, you won't change his mind, but our MPs are elected. If atheists come out and become more vocal, they'll have to take our views into account to some extent, even if they don't agree with them. So it's good that you're active beyond the extent required by the pledge.

    I like the atheist-scientist-rationalist message of your letter.
  • Great letter Clive! Very well put, I find it interesting that his argument for the church and state remaining connected is simply that this has been going on for a long time. Which is almost no argument at all. Of course, the church benefits far more by keeping this 'special relationship', so of course he would like to keep the status quo.

    It's views like this which give us the incentive to keep promoting rationalism.
    Alice Davey, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Sorry, that comment came from Robert Key, but the idea remains the same :S!
    Alice Davey, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • So Clive - do you reckon he'll be canvassing for your vote?

    Great letter - as you say it is sad that any MP can be so close minded but I guess the nature of MPs is that they think they know what's best for everyone else, so are inherently somewhat close-minded already. Either way hope you're not voting for him :)
    Giles Stokes, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Clive

    Maybe you should have pointed out to Mr Gummer that another famous Catholic - Hitler - will also be remembered long after Richard Dawkins is entirely forgotten.
    Craig Barlow, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Shame on you Craig - Hitler was an atheist, didn't you know? :)

    Giles: a Catholic Conservative has as much chance of getting my vote as Maggie Thatcher has of becoming the next Pope.
  • Of cores Hitler was an atheist. Anyone who dropped out of education or was fortunate enough to stumble into a church knows that. that’s why the catholic church refused to work with him :)

    Seriously well done Clive, you ridiculed him without being offensive. I would have been tempted to be honest, after all he is meant to be representing YOU in parliament.
    James Burgon, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Follow up to Robert Key MP. First my email in reply to his letter:

    "Thanks for your letter of 19th April. I don't intend to make this a prolonged exchange, but some things weren't clear to me.

    "Firstly, will you read the book? You don't say.

    "Could you explain to me what Professor Dawkins doesn't know about belief? Having read the book, I now have a clear understanding of how faith arises in society, and why it persists.

    "Regarding the Church, I am not asking about ancient history. There is no particular reason why a concept that's say 1400 years old has to be correct. I am asking why an organisation which claims supernatural support needs secular support.

    "Popularity is no guarantee of value. Would you support the endowment of a school by the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster? I am not making this up - it really exists, and has 10 million members - see http://www.venganza.org/. Or The Cargo Cult of Polynesia? Or Wicca?"

    ....and here is his erudite reply to that:

    "I think you're missing something. I have a job to do. I did not ask for the Dawkins book. I do not read books because someone tells me to. Dawkins doesn't know much about faith because he does not have it.

    "You can find out about the established church if you go to my website and click on church.

    "FSM is a very good spoof - didn't you get that?"

    Ah, such an intellect. I see now why I can't aspire to lead the nation.
    Les Rose, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Oh dear! What a lot of sad comments!
    I got a good one.....
    Dear Abigail,
    Fab book, many thanks.
    I'm sorry I'm not your MP, but that shouldn't stop you visiting for a
    cuppa next time you are in London,
    Good Wishes, Graham
    PS As a member of the All Party Humanist Group I am trying to organise
    a reception for all the book donors.
    So, will I see all of you there?
    Abigail Hurley, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Hi Abigail,

    Great news indeed! The book handover media event at Westminster has hit a problem that it's virtually impossible to get a bunch of MPs and a bunch of prominent humanists/secularists together for a handover photo shoot. A reception there would be a great alternative. See you there maybe?

    Btw, the extension of the pledge to the Northern Irish Assembly at Stormont does already have a firm date and MLAs signed up for a handover event on 8 May.
  • I want Graham Allen as my MP!

    Reception (party!) would be a great idea - I'd be up for it. I'll send Gummy an invite.
  • Wow - Abigail - nice response. Please keep us all informed if anythings happening.
    Giles Stokes, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Odd - Robert Key MP apparently (i.e. according to TheyWorkForYou.com) voted "moderately for equal gay rights". But obviously not when it comes to his religion...
    Giles Stokes, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Thanks! Will definitely keep you all informed if I hear anything - he also sent me a transcript of a discussion has had in Parliament arguing against Faith Schools, and his book "The Last Prime Minister" being honest about the UK Presidency"
    Which I will read when I get a second!
    I hope I would be able to go, it's not every day you get invited to something like that, but it will obviously depend on childcare!
    And I might need to buy some new clothes, I am not sure my Wench Outfit will be suitable ;)
    Abigail Hurley, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Of the All-Party Parliamentary Humanist Group MPs, Graham Allen MP, Crispin Blunt MP and Martin Horwood MP have expressed an interest in attending a meeting to celebrate the successful pledge. All at differant times.

    Graham Allen said" Sorry, local elections, but happy to show up with more notice, I loved the book-G"

    here is the email sent to All-Party Parliamentary Humanist Group MPs

    http://waspofscience.blogspot.com/2007/0...
  • Hi Chris,

    Sorry that I've been quiet for a while. From a previous communication, I understood that the A-P Hum. group had taken an interest and was having some internal communication about it. Are the three you mention ones that you signed up through your communication with individual MPs or is that the group that was interested after the A-P Hum. group discussed it internally?
  • Hi Peter, All 3 MPs were as a result of our communication with individual MPs. Andrew Copson of (Lord Macdonald PA and BHA) is working on it getting the Group interested but i'm not hopeful.

    After today local elections maybe we will get a better response from the MPs. I will send one last email out to the 40 Humanist MPs over the weekend.

    Chris Street
  • Well, I've acquird a studio and washed enough of the paint off to open my computer. John Philips, I too enjoyed our discussion. I have read the latest postings. Andrew Tyrie, MP for Chichester, to whom I sent Dawkins's book, thanked me for it and said he would read it.
    It seems to me that newspapers sometimes use apparently scientific snippets, such that having an abortion carries an increased risk of brain damage, as a political lever against women who want to have an abortion, and that collectively these may be driving women back into a passive, inferior position. Such stuff is difficult to combat. To my knowledge no-one checks to see that there is a balance of money for different research projects. A book revealing what money is available for which research projects, and who is providing it, could be helpful. - Irene Coates
    Irene Coates, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Irene Coates: Unfortunately, the research dollar often goes to those who can make the best case for receiving it, at least for government funded research. While private or corporate research funding is mainly down to the needs of the market or the whim of the organisation funding it, though there are exceptions.

    As to our press/media and science reporting, unfortunately, that is largely an oxymoron. Nearly always driven purely by a combination of the political persuasion of the paper and the need for sensational headlines over truth. Sadly, facts rarely enter into it unless they support the particular media outlet's stance. If they don't, then they will often be quote mined so as to appear that they do. Then again, and sadly I include even the once relatively honourable BBC in this, the media is only interested in readers or viewing figures and the actual facts can't be allowed to get in the way of that.
    John Phillips, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Hello curiousyellow, other US readers,

    The UK book pledge project has wound down now. There's been a small local copy of the project in Northern Ireland and a similar project is now running in Ireland. I plan to put up the idea for a similar project in the US on some message boards soon. Is anyone aware if something is already in progress, I'd like to cut out any replication of effort.

    greets,
    Peter
  • Peter Klaver: As I mentioned in a previous post, Professor Daniel C. Dennett has written a book in the USA which relates to Dawkins's book. Dennett has a Home Page which can be reached through google, using his name. His book is "Breaking the Spell", sub-titled "Religion as a natural phenomenon" (Allen Lane 2006) Richard Dawkins calls it 'surpassingly brilliant'. Whether anyone in USA is trying to get Dennett's book read by legislators, I don't know, but it might be good to get in touch with his friends to find out. I do congratulate you on the success of the pledge.
    John Philips: I know I have taken a somewhat soft line over several aspects of atheism. I was a 'hard' campaigner for the envionment through the 1970's, but I think here we need to go carefully. There is a tremendous amount of work to do to integrate atheism as a tenable attitude in society and I wish I was younger, to help it along. My own researched philosophy book "Mind the Gap" puts my thoughts into words. I should like to send you a copy (it isn't in bookshops) if you give me an address by email.
    - Irene Coates
    Irene Coates, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Troll alert everyone.
    No one and I mean no one takes Daniel C. Dennett seriously.
    This has to be a troll.
    Thanks Irene, you're busted.
    Dan Allen, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • "No one and I mean no one takes Daniel C. Dennett seriously"

    A simple search on Google would seem indicate that this is at best hyperbole and at worst complete misinformation.

    You are, of course, free to think whatever you like about Daniel Dennett and his work, but to claim that everyone else shares those views to is extremely arrogant of you.
  • Dan Allen: as Dave points out, I'm afraid you've just busted yourself.
    bitbutter, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Dan Allen: I remain unbusted, since I expressed no opinions on the value of Dennett's work, I was merely giving informaton that his book exists and this fact should not be ignored. Irene
    Irene Coates, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Dave Cross: "You are, of course, free to think whatever you like about Daniel Dennett and his work, but to claim that everyone else shares those views to is extremely arrogant of you."

    Yes; besides which, the comment was expressed in a manner which was quite unnecessarily aggressive and rude, towards a most undeserving target. I have reported it as such to the moderators.
    Nic Shakeshaft, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Guys I do realise that at the very least
    Daniel C. Dennett takes himself seriously.
    But come on guys, is that the best you can do?
    Dan Allen, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Just repeating my previous post here, so that it's more visible again (you all be good now).

    Hello curiousyellow, other US readers,

    The UK book pledge project has wound down now. There's been a small local copy of the project in Northern Ireland and a similar project is now running in Ireland. I plan to put up the idea for a similar project in the US on some message boards soon. Is anyone aware if something is already in progress, I'd like to cut out any replication of effort.

    greets,
    Peter
  • I'm pleased to report that Gerry Adams MP replied "Thank you for your letter and the copy of 'The God Delusion'. I look forward to reading it and am sure it will provide much food for thought. Is mise le meas," Gerry Adams, Sinn Fein President
    Mike Charlton, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Hi Mike,

    Good, a bit of sanity left among Belfast MPs then. You drew a longer straw than me. I didn't get any response from A. McDonnel (SDLP, South Belfast). Instead his name turned up on a list of MPs who had signed a petition in support of the churchs' discrimination.
  • I would like to give a heads up to RtHon Danny Alexander the MP for Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch & Strathspey. He took ages to get in touch after I sent the book but he was busy with election stuff. He was polite and understands and respects the reasons behind the pledge and is hoping to read it during their summer recess.
    James Burgon, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Hello people,

    Many here will want to sign an online petition for removing the bishops from the House of Lords (only UK residents and expats can sign):

    http://petitions.pm.gov.uk/Episcopal/

    And for those who have arrived here only recently I'll repeat some other petitions:

    http://petitions.pm.gov.uk/faithschools/
    http://petitions.pm.gov.uk/NoCreSciEd/
    http://petitions.pm.gov.uk/endfaithschoo...

    Unlike the book pledge, these won't cost you anything. And signing is quick.

    greets,
    Peter
  • Ah, I saw some familiar names appearing on the petitions. Thanks people.
  • There is news today that The God Delusion is the most popular reading choice for Labour MPs this summer! and comes in second place over all for the House of Commons!

    http://www.brightsonline.net/newsfeed/in...

    Congratulations to everyone involved in this pledge!
  • Sorry, it was this link I meant to include:
    http://www.brightsonline.net/newsfeed/in...
  • Excellent news. Some clear thinking for MP's - next thing we know John Prescott will be able to form a coherent sentence.
    David Newman, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Atheists will need to do more than deny the existence of god - and the devil, they are linked - but also to ask why, functionally, human beings have invented them and what we need to do to replace them. They have offered an opportunity for us to experience a wider range of positive and negative emotions, which would go wild if we simply try to abolish religion. I see belief as the real problem. If we don't believe, but treat religion as a fantasy that has helped in the past, but is old, clumsy and often damaging technology, maybe we shall grow as people and not allow ourselves to be dumbed down. Irene.
    Irene Coates, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Try reading the book before posting comments Irene, it might help you avoid asking stupid questions.
    James Burgon, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • James Burgon: Your reply to Irene Coates, above, was unjustifiably rude and quite uncalled for. Ironically, it also appears that you didn't read her comment very carefully.

    Irene Coates: You make a good point about understanding the underlying needs which promote religious beliefs. As I'm sure you know, there are many influential theories (neurological as well as evolutionary, social and cognitive), and many psychologists and others are researching precisely this question!
    Nic Shakeshaft, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Irene says interesting things, including "Atheists will need to do more than deny the existence of god".

    Why is that something atheists _need_ to do? Given that religion is based on belief, not proof, and since atheists don't believe, there is no onus on them to even deny anything, because (a) it's of no consequence to them and (b) nobody's proven the existence of any deity so denial would be purely hypothetical.

    The point of this pledge (for me) was to highlight to MP's that the lobbying power of the religious unions is unrepresentative and undemocratic. Prof. Dawkins book provides a good basis for beginning to question all faiths and their effects on society as we move from governing through fear, towards global equality of all people.
    Rich Boakes, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • I apologise to Irene Coates for any offence I caused. It was a stressful day, to much to do not enough time you know the drill, perhaps ‘ask‘ and ‘question‘ were also inappropriate. I was merely pointing out that ‘The God Delusion’ covers most of her comment. It doesn’t just say ‘I don’t believe’ it goes into great detail about how and why the many religions have developed. The last part of her comment was valid and interesting, however, for the most part it was covered in the book.
    James Burgon, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Thanks, Nic Shakeshaft. There is a wonderful word: amplitude. I am looking at the quality of the discussions generated by Dawkins's book, and I prefer to see comments with amplitude, to the sharp and ultimately empty cut and thrust of riposte, since we are dealing with major questions here and are at an early stage.
    Irene Coates, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • I like Rich Boakes's last paragraph, where he takes the political view that the pledge was to highlight to MPs 'that the lobbying power of the religious unions is unrepresentative and undemocratic' - yes, indeed. He then moves on to the wider question: 'Prof. Dawkins's book provides a good basis for beginning to question all faiths and their effects on society..'. I was addressing this wider question when I said that atheists 'will need to do more than deny the existence of god.' It seems to me both a question of personal responsibility and a precaution against breakdown in society. Surely we do have some responsibility for this?

    Apology accepted, James Burgon. I see Dawkins's book as a catalyst for thought, it will go on spreading meanings, but is not 'sacred text'.
    Irene Coates, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Irene Coates -- As 'sacred text' is usually of a religious nature, then of course Richards book should never be thought of as 'sacred'. However, it is a book that has given me personally a sense of belonging just as 'sacred text' must do for religious people, by giving a growing group of people the security of a very real common belief.
    If there is such a thing as a non- religious 'sacred text', then this book is it for me. I treasure its content!
    catherine souter, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • catherine souter - yes, fair enough, so do I treasure the text of The God Delusion, as I have Dawkins's The Selfish Gene, they are both very useful books. However, they are both 'crossing' books, we are changed by them and must continue our journeys, taking something of them with us, as we do for other books and people we meet. Life is active, not static. So I hope you do your own writing, as I have done, and meanwhile wave a friendly hand. Irene
    Irene Coates, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • "The God Delusion is the most popular reading choice for Labour MPs."

    Or are they just a bunch of cheapskates?

    Only kidding! Way to go folks! - MPs and pledgers alike.
    Daniel Allen, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Folks, I have had an idea (yes, actually) for Stage Two in this campaign to bring science in focus in preference to religion. I think my brain has not got the god-spot, but I should like to know for sure, how can I do this? Many people would like to know if they are free of it, and for those that are without it there is no point fooling about with religion, It may be that half? or three quarters? of the population are free of it - right, have children with those that haven't got it, and we have science and evolution on our side - how about it? Irene
    Irene Coates, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Love thy neighbour as thyself.
    Daniel, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • -----------as the terrorist said, just before he blew himself up and killed hundreds of innocent people around him!!
  • Nice one, catherine souter. I am looking forward to the time when forms that at present ask: "What is your religion (if any)?" ask instead: "Have you got a god-spot?' My reply is No, though I would like to take some sort of scientific test to find out. I am not sure what Peter Hodge would answer.
    Irene Coates, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Dear Peter Hodge, Please give us a detailed explanation of the "DIVINE CREATION" that has an element of evolution occurring later. How is this possible using logic?
  • Sounds like a bit of a 'hodge-podge' theory if you ask me.
  • My dear Irene
    I am so surprised that you are having so much trouble understanding there being an original creation and then a system of gradual evolution. It really is quite simple when you think about it.

    In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. This was a fully functioning universe. Gradually, over time variations on the original creation occured. We can see these around us every day. The pets in our home, the animals in the field, the plants in the garden. These have all shown slight differences.

    In these days these are caused deliberately in order to develope an improved more productive strain. This is evolution in progress. Observable, repeatable, scientific, for which there is a great body of evidence. No problem.

    What we do not have is any proof whatever of a change from one kind to another. Dog's have always been dogs. Fish have always been fish.
    Cows have always been cows etc. etc. Quite simply the fossil record does not support gradual change from kind to kind. As Dr. Mark Ridley, a Palaentologist at Oxford wrote in the New Scientist in June 1981, "No real evolutionist, whether gradualist or punctuationist, uses the fossil record as evidence in favour of the theory of evolution as opposed to Special Creation."

    I hope that clarifies the matter. But I won't hold my breath, as, 'none are so blind as those who do not want to see!'

    Pete
    Pete Hodge, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Catherine
    Excuse I am laughing so much at your little word play on my name. But I have used it before, so it is already an old joke.

    So, isn't it fun. Creationists are asked for an explanation as to why they believe what they do, and when we do, it is rejected out of hand. To avoid repetition I refer you to my reply to Irene Coates above.

    Pete
    Pete Hodge, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Catherine
    My oh my, I do seem to have upset you.
    So, evolution is not about one kind changing by gradual changes into another. Well, that's a new one. So, evolution has changed has it?

    So, let's see, accepting that premise, that evolution does not mean that, could you explain, in words of one syllabal, just how we are supposed to have moved from the single cell in some 'primeval soup' into present day man?

    Years ago, in the distant past, I had a coloured chart hanging on my bedroom wall. It was the Evolutionary Tree. IT really was qquite attractive, wth the gradual branching out of the various phyla branching out. There was the progress of the fish through to amphibian, to land animal, to the various types of vertabrates and even, through a number of branches to man. I used to look at it, and believe it. And then I began to apply some logic. It can't work!
    Let's take logic. If all life came from a single spark of amnio acid or whatever. Then from that first reference point, came all the flaura and fauna seen in the world today. But now you are telling me that evolution is not about changing from one thing into another. And I'm the fool?

    Sorry, I actually can't take you seriously anyway,as your language - I haven't been called a 'twit' in years - shows that you do not have a firm belief in what you say. If one has to reduce their arguments down to the level of insult and ridicule, then you lose your argument.
    I might not be an intellectual heavyweight, but I do think things through without a bias or bigotted position to uphold. It is for this same reason that so many of Richard Dawkins peers reject his remarks.

    One thing is for sure, I have no doubts whatever that about 10,000 or so years ago, God created the entire universe in six periods of twenty-four hours. the evidence we both look at can support that contention. Just as it can support evolution, if we ignore certain parts of it.

    Pete
    Pete Hodge, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • @peter hodge:

    "What we do not have is any proof whatever of a change from one kind to another.[..] Quite simply the fossil record does not support gradual change from kind to kind."

    You'll need to define precisely what you mean by 'kind'. In any case, the fossil record very strongly does support change from ancient fish to land going creatures (including cows). Google Tiktaalik for instance. Further, every fossil found and every organism that lived was a 'transitional form'. This fact is self evident to anyone with a basic understanding of evolution.
  • But 'bitbutter,' Catherine says "And by the way, you have completely misunderstood the meaning of evolution!
    Even young children know that one type of animal CANNOT change into another!
    Where did you get that idea from? I think you have now shown everybody what
    a fool you are, and also given us an insight into how religious minds think!
    Completely illogically!" And you tell me, "In any case, the fossil record very strongly does support change from ancient fish to land going creatures (including cows)."

    Which one of you is right? Is either of you right? Maybe neither of you is right?

    Re, 'kinds,' okay, use species. Not the best, but is perhaps more understandable to the non-religious mind.

    More to follow...
    Pete
    Pete Hodge, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • ...continued.
    Okay we have, evolution does not/does mean transition from one species to another. Let's ask some evolution scientists their view.

    ""Whatever ideas authorities may have on the subject, the lungfishes, like every other major group of fishes that I know, have their origins firmly based in nothing." (Quoted in W. R. Bird, _The Origin of Species Revisited_ [Nashville: Regency, 1991; originally published by Philosophical Library, 1987], 1:62-63)"

    "firmly based in nothing." Sounds interesting!

    Next,
    "The fossil record had caused Darwin more grief than joy. Nothing distressed him more than the Cambrian explosion, the coincident appearance of almost all complex organic designs..." (Gould, Stephen J., The Panda's Thumb, 1980, p. 238-239)."

    "The fossil record had caused Darwin more grief than joy."

    I have many dozens more quotes of evolution scientists before me. All say the same, 'The evidence isn't there.'

    And I'm the 'fool?' Better the fool than to be the 'fooled.'
    Pete
    Pete Hodge, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Quote mining and feeble arguments from authority aren't up to the task of opposing the masses of mutually supporting evidence, and _the total lack of any contradictory evidence_ for the theory of evolution. You're really wasting your time, as I suspect I might be in answering you.
  • This is an argument that will not be solved here, or perhaps anywhere at any time.

    As long as faith remains a position reached not by logic but by instruction, our logical arguments will continue to be hackneyed and passed back to us.

    The fossil record is not the only evidence to support the theory of evolution, but that is not the point.

    If you choose faith, you choose to make assumptions NOT based on evidence. Religious people ought to at least have the courage of their convictions and not try to spin science to support their illogical beliefs.

    All scientific evidence can be 'spun' to support religion, but the more important point is that these twisted fragments do not join up to give a cohesive picture. If you follow 'god supporting' evidence to it's conclusion, you can always find the inconsistency in there somewhere.

    This isn't really the forum for this discussion. Peter is not here to debate, just to 'troll', so I suggest we stop feeding! (Though I know I have just done so...)
    Alice Davey, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Mr P. Hodge just wrote, About ten thousand years ago, god created the entire universe in six periods of twenty four hours!!!!!!
    This is hilarious!
    Pete, so sorry to confuse you, but gradual evolution of different species began many MILLIONS of years ago, and there were many BILLIONS of mutations very early on which led to the animal species of today.
    Animals once had a common ancestor, but this was not yet as any kind of recognisable 'animal' species.
  • continued...
    All life originated as you know from simple organisms, and because of this simplicity, mutations were much easier.
    Simple life became more and more complex, until species started to become divided into specified groups. These differences in species made the definite divisions that determined which types can compatibly breed with each other. Splitting the groups of species in this way ensured that no further change of that species was possible. Humans are not compatible with any other species for mating purposes, and that ensures we remain totally human, this goes for all other animals of a specific type.
    It is at a very early stage of all lifes evolution that changes occur, and once all possible mutations have occurred it is up to each type of life to strive for its own survival. Only superficial adaptations and learned skills are possible once the species has been determined and developed fully. Breeding also alters species somewhat, and hybrids often occur within a single species.
    When a species is successful at survival, it remains. When it is not successful it becomes extinct.
  • continued.. [final say on the matter]
    Billions of early mutations may have failed to survive, but billions have been successful, and humans are of course among the most succesful. No animal can change into another once it has become a distinctly seperate species. Only slight modifications can occur through random mutations which are mostly accidental and may not be beneficial.Humans are no different from other animals in the way they evolved, and there was never a 'couple' placed manually 'ten thousand years ago' in a garden in old Iraq, whom then went on to populate the world.
    Sorry for the twit remark, but you are so annoying! And you still haven't said what god actually is? Do you always avoid answering this question?
  • In the opening paragraph of Stephen J. Gould's "Evolution as Fact and Theory", he refers to the evolution as "one of the best documented, most compelling and exciting concepts in all of science".

    Yeah, that's only a selective quote too, just like the one above proffered by Pete Hodge. The difference is that I'm not stripping away its context to twist the sense of what's being said.

    The quote comes from the first paragraph of the essay, which you can read in full here:

    http://www.stephenjaygould.org/library/g...
    anonymous contributor, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Now now, people:
    Debate = good.
    Full and frank exchange of views = good.
    Name calling = bad.

    I've pulled a few comments containing personal insults from this thread, and will do so to any others judged to be abusive.

    As has been said several times, a comment thread on PledgeBank isn't the ideal forum for a long debate. If someone would like to suggest a suitable forum, everyone can head over there and continue where you left off.

    Thanks for using PledgeBank. Come back soon!


    Tim
    PledgeBank.com volunteer
    Tim Morley, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Why do atheists assume that christians are incapable of regarding the bible as an ironic document?
    John, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Ah!! - a rationalist Chritian! - a contradiction in terms?
    check out
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/ni/2007/10/th...
  • "Why do atheists assume that christians are incapable of regarding the bible as an ironic document?"

    Um... how does that sentence make sense?

    If your faith is based on a holy book, you kind of have to believe in what it says...
    Alice Davey, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • One believes in the message not the facts....or are you the sort of person that sees no value in the greek myths and legends? Icarus flying too close to the sun....provides a valuable message, even to-day, but surely nobody takes that story literally......Alice,If you think that the bible must be taken literally then i suggest that you provide strong evidence for your lack of evolution!
    john, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • You know John I think your right when you said that no-one takes the Greek myths and legends literally, but a few people used to, the Ancient Greeks for example. You see it was only after another religion replaced this one that they were just considered stories and (unless we can prevent it) the same thing will happen to Christianity when its replaced with the next ‘enlightening’ story (maybe a holy CD-ROM or flash drive this time instead of a book to kept up with times).

    Plus your not really a Christian if you only like the morals of a story and don’t actually believe it happened. On that logic why not worship ‘Lord of the Rings’ or ‘Harry Potter’, their both books and teach good over evil. Sesame street is good to, you learn good morals and the alphabet.
    James Burgon, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Sorry, a little side note on the pledge. Has anyone seen the new paperback edition of ‘The God Delusion’ with a free Christmas card saying ‘O come all ye faithless’. Really brightened up my day, maybe we should all send Dawkins one this year to show our support.
    James Burgon, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Hello.

    It saddens me that so many of you don't beleive in your Heavenly Father who ( however we were created) loves every one of you.

    I will tell you to watch this space, for revival is coming to these lands. At the end of 2008 you will see what I mean.

    I am pleased that you have sent the God delusion to MPs. This book has not challenged my faith as I have a real life frienship and relationship with God and I know He is real.

    My only prayer would be that you could enjoy the same freedom and peace that I have.

    God bless all of you and I pray that all of you will come to know Jesus ( God in Human form) and come to understand the free gift all of us are offered!
    God bless
    Rebecca
    Rebecca Evans, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Hello again Rebecca,

    "I will tell you to watch this space, for revival is coming to these lands. At the end of 2008 you will see what I mean."

    Care to elaborate? I'm intrigued. What exactly do you expect to happen by the end of 2008?

    Nic
    Nic Shakeshaft, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Someone said above:

    No-one takes the Greek myths and legends literally, but a few people used to

    Can you refer me to some materials?

    It must have been completely obvious that there was no palace of the Gods at the top of Mount Olympus - or was it?
    The ability of religious people to blind themselves to the truth is astounding. I'd love to know more about it.
    Religion isn't stupidity - it is the deliberate half conscious suppression of your own reason.
    Dan Allen, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Dan Allen, I said that

    ‘No-one takes the Greek myths and legends literally, but a few people used to’

    And as I also said, they were the Ancient Greeks. There is no need to refer you to any materials, go online, to a library or bookshop and look for Ancient Greek Religions and you bound to find something (well if the last two are any good you will), there is also a revival in these beliefs. However, you might have to go online to read about those (www.hellenion.org, as a start before you ask) and even they might have to admit that there is not a palace of the Gods at the top of Mount Olympus.

    From you post it sounds like I disagree with you, however I don’t. I am in full agreement (however I do view it as stupidity as well). I thought I made that clear but I must have been wrong. Sorry.
    James Burgon, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • what you "science" guys fail to realise is that back in the day YOU would have towed the party line, and been the flat-earthers...you sound like the spanish inquisition!....People did take greek myths & legends seriously...THEY STILL SHOULD as they contain manifest truths which you ignore at your peril.....these science posters think that religious people are stupid and ignorant and can't distinguish between moral truth, metaphor and actuality. You sound like an-uneducated bunch of arrogant bullies.
    john, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • You don't quite get this "science" thing, do you John? I'll try to make it easy for you and just quote Sagan:

    "In science it often happens that scientists say, ‘You know that’s a really good argument; my position is mistaken,’ and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn’t happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time someting like that happened in politics or religion."
    clive, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Joh T think you're making a mistakes there.
    You're probably a very liberal Christian who doesn't realise that there really are people daft enough to take the Bible as a literal documentary statement of fact.
    We have Pete Hodge here who believes the world was *really* created in seven twenty four hour periods. Not an allegory, not a metaphor but a little statement of fact about the real world.
    Incredible I know. But these people are real. I also think you'll find they are the uneducated ones.
    Dan Allen, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Interesting you'll also find that there is no time in recorded history where the informed believed the earth was flat.
    The Greeks even measured its circumference.
    OK, so the people who wrote the Bible thought it was flat (Daniel 4:11) but you have to forgive them. It isn't as though they had access to some higher authority for information while writing it!
    Even the Christians (always backward when it comes to science as you know) knew this by the Middle ages.
    I've click the link above for an article on this.
  • Sorry, the link is below in my name.
  • John: when science bashing I really wouldn't bring the flat-earth thing into it if I were you. It's a fairly recent concept and the founder and President of the International Flat Earth Society, Samuel Shenton, was a devout Christian.

    When science delivered the killer blow to their theories in the form of photos of a spherical Earth taken from space, he claimed that they were a hoax. And that's the difference between us "science" guys and you "blind faith" guys.
    clive, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Clive with two degrees in the physical sciences I do get the science thing, but unlike you I have an open mind. science IS an inherently biased system ( I should hesitate to quote that nutcase Sagan if I were you). science is often not only blind faith BUT deliberate , although well-meaning deception (Sound familiar?). here's a little thought experiment for you......oh no I'd be wasting my time YOU HAVE ALREADY DECIDED......your arrogance astounds me.................Oh and by the way th biological sciences and medicines are little more than witchcraft! ..the so-called scientific method threw out a whole raft of knowledge because they couldn't prove it scientifically......the only real progress in medicine has been by engineers.....oh and if it had been been left to that great scientist Fleming, we still wouldn't have re-discovered(sic) penicillin....each week I have a good laugh at the utter bilge published by geneticists et al....keep up the good work chaps, and your pretence at objectivity...hope the publishing bias works out for you
    John, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • TWO degrees? Well why didn't you just say that to start with? Can't stop now people - got to buy me an ad hominem awayday special for the big ole Elipsis Bus on the road to Damascus. Beep beep!
    clive, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Science does have bias and deceit. It is human endeavour after all.
    However religion is pure bias and deceit. I has no objectivity or truth in it whatsoever.
    Science overall has delivered massive benefits to the whole of humanity and continues to do so.
    Almost no aspect of your life isn't enhanced by science.

    Religion is an intellectual and emotional prision that in the end only serves itself.
    Religion intereferes with and harms almost every aspect of society. Including holding back science.
    If you're insisting on an either/or then there is only one side to be on.
    Dan Allen, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • John, quick question. If doctors are blasphemous witches dose that mean if you or someone you loved got cancer or was hit by a car you would pray instead of going to the hospital, or would you just visit an engineer.

    Seriously dose anyone take this person for real, he must just be making this up for a laugh because he doesn’t make any sense. He says that science is closed minded and biased and religion is not, he regards the bible as an ironic document but believes in witchcraft, he has two science degrees yet seems to hate science and scientists guts. I mean come on, he contradicts himself every time.
    James Burgon, 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Please keep the comments civil, folks -- this is a place for discourse, not personal attacks.
    Heather (PledgeBank admin team), 12 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • The religious nutters are just that - nutters. We need to ridicule them every moment of our lives.

    We atheists need to wake up and recognise that what these people represent and preach is intellectual dumbing down of the masses. Humanity can never come close to reaching its potential (which ought to be limitless)if it boters to give air-time/debate-time/credence to people who believe in the sacredness of humancrafted texts.

    Im going to recommend a simple pledge. Pledge to ridicule religion every time it appears anywhere in your life. Of course I would not advocate intolerance of any kind - people are free to believe what they like - but they are not deserving of my respect. What do you think? Do you really trust a man to run your country if he believes a dead guy got up and walked after three days? Or walked on water?

    Peraps take a look at a fledgling atheist community at http://www.care2.com/c2c/group/Atheist

    and perhaps listen and laugh with Pat Condell's Podcasts
  • There is a petition on the Number 10 site - disestablish the Church. Here is the link:
    http://petitions.pm.gov.uk/churchofengla...

    OK, the petitions site is a bit of a sham, and they'll never do it, but every little helps.
  • "The petitions site is a bit of a sham" -- depends what you think it's supposed to be. It's not direct democracy, where signing a petition actually gets laws directly onto the statute books, but I do think it's useful to get some dialogue going between people and government that isn't filtered through the media, and that's exactly what happens with the bigger petitions. *And* the dialogue is public too.

    If you take the case of the biggest petition to date -- the anti road tax petition with 1.8 million signers -- I think we can safely say that the petition and the publicity it drew was instrumental in the shelving of a 5 billion pound government project.

    Now, whether the project should have been shelved or not is an entirely different debate, but I think it's a good indication of what can be achieved with a good petition and lots of support.
    Tim Morley, 11 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • I didn't mean it's 100% a sham, just a bit! I have been reading some of the govnt responses to petitions and they mostly ignore the key question and skate around the issues. Typical politicians' tactics. Here is an example:
    http://www.pm.gov.uk/output/Page14536.asp
  • Ah, fair enough then. That's probably much closer to the truth!
    Tim Morley, 11 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • But I would still like you to sign my petition!
This pledge is closed for new comments.

Current signatories (Green text = they've done it)

J Christie, the Pledge Creator, joined by:

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