Thursday, July 28, 2011

Why Won't God Heal Amputees - Question #1

Mat (Mature Atheist Turtle): Question #1 – Why Won’t God Heal Amputees?

Ary (Apologist): First, the question is worded poorly. It might read; “Why doesn’t God heal amputees?”  Neither you nor I know that he ‘won’t’, but even so reworded it fails for its premise is wrong.  An amputee is not ill and so, by definition there is nothing to heal.  The questions should really be, "Why doesn’t God restore the limbs of amputees?"

Mat: You’re just being evasive. According to a recent poll 3 out of 4 doctors believe that God is performing medical miracles right now, today.

Ary: You’re making my case for me.  Who would be in a better position to observe and judge medical miracles than doctors?  They know their patients' histories and prognoses, so, if the majority believe in miracles they must be observing something to convince them.

Mat: You’re trying to change the subject.  We all know that amputated legs do not regenerate in response to prayer.  Amputees get no miracles from God.  How do you deal with this discrepancy?  As an intelligent person, you must deal with it because it makes no sense.  And, in order to deal with it you have to create some kind of rationalization.  You must invent an excuse on God’s behalf to explain this strange fact of life.

Ary was silent for a moment.

Ary:  I don’t see any issue at all.  First of all, I don’t know that God doesn’t restore missing limbs.  He may.  Second, and I want to make myself very clear here, I sympathize with the person dealing with any hardship, but hardships are a reality of a fallen world.  That was not the world God gave man, it was the world we chose.  Third, you are assuming that an amputee lacked intervention by God.  That may not be correct.  Perhaps the intervention resulted in the amputation but averted something more severe.

Mat: You’re rationalizing again.

Ary: Not at all.  Let’s look at the reasons for amputation: 1) Accident, 2) Illness, 3) Act of war.  All three of those causes are the direct result of the world humans made. 

But, let’s be honest, your question is really a trap with no acceptable answer.  If I suggested that there were cases where God restored limbs you would demand evidence, and I suspect that the only evidence you would accept is your personal presence when it happened.  In order to meet that demand God would have to perform for you, on your schedule.  For argument’s sake, let’s suppose that God agreed to do that.  You would accuse God of being unfair because He didn’t restore the limbs of all amputees.

Miracles have never been ultimately convincing.  The Bible records that God appeared to the Israelites as a cloud during the day and a pillar of fire at night, he brought plagues on the Egyptians, he fed the Jews with the miracle of manna and many still rejected him.

Finally, God used a disability as a reminder of His power when he crippled Jacob.

Picture: Jacob wrestling with an angel, by
Gustave Doré (1832-1883)
public domain.

Monday, July 25, 2011


Warning: The following post contains strong but typical language used by anti-Christians in the blogosphere.  You may find it jarring but understand that this is tame compared with much which is out there.  Apologists must be prepared to confront the enemy and not become distracted by his language.  The argument is taken from a current website. I have not provided the URL as I do not wish to publicize it.  I have rewritten portions for space considerations and copyright concerns but the gist is the same.

The charts are courtesy of The Atheist Turtle and are derived from data provided by:  
Social Capital Community Benchmark Survey Executive Summary (The Executive Summary was prepared by the Saguaro Seminar: Civic Engagement in America, a project of the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. The Executive Summary summarizes the macro trends and findings of the Social Capital Benchmark Survey. Individual community sponsors with help from local academic partners may have other local interpretations of the data.)

Mat (Mature Atheist Turtle to Ary – Christian Preacher): Hey Fundie Christian.  You think you are so great and wonderful because you preach the gospel to the most remote areas of this globe and build churches, schools, hospitals, and so on. I know what you say: ‘What about atheists? Where are the atheist charitable organizations? Atheists do not do charity in the name of atheism, but Christians do charity in the name of Christianity.’ What is the point of getting rid of religion then since it contributes to the betterment of the world while atheists don’t? How do Christian missionaries alleviate the suffering of the hungry children in poverty stricken and war-torn countries? Or is the gospel preached so that they will learn to lick Jesus’ feet and thank him for not sending them to hell?  Is there a divine purpose in their suffering? The fact that Christians really believe in this makes me want to vomit.

Ary: It’s true.  We do send missionaries out to tell people about Jesus, but we also help people around the world by building schools, hospitals, showing them how to raise more crops, and many other things other than just preaching to them.  But, it’s also true that Christians give more money and spend more time volunteering than non-Christians.
Mat: When you Christians do good deeds solely for your religion, you remain forever on the lowest stages of moral development. You are slaves because of fear of eternal damnation and your wish to suck up to your ‘sky daddy.’ Therefore, you remain infantile, lacking the ability to think for yourself. You claim that your religion makes you incredibly moral, but what you don’t realize is that your moral development has been stunted by blind adherence to Christian doctrine. On the other hand atheist charity results from the desire to better humanity, not to earn oneself points in heaven.

Ary: Salvation is not based on a point system; just the opposite, it’s pass/fail based on your answer to a one word question: Jesus? And to make it easy it’s multiple choice; the answers are yes, or no. The charitable works are fruit showing that relationship.

Mat: Christians only want to earn points to get into heaven and to advertise their faith.  That makes their giving purely a selfish act. On the other hand, atheists desire only to improve the lives of other human beings and therefore we are the truly honorable people. Religion is evil.  It causes humans to invest time, energy, money and resources to build and maintain institutions devoted to ignorance and superstition; while diverting resources that could be used to for hospitals, or schools. Think about it: For every church built, how many hungry mouths could be fed? How many hospitals could be built with the money? Religious people ‘toady’ to their invisible sky-daddy instead of actually helping people. Their focus on the Jesus-ass licking is a wasteful disgrace and a landmark of hypocrisy in people who claim that Christianity (or religion) is the cure to the world’s problems. For goodness sake, how could you fundie fools contribute more to the world through religion when you’re so freakishly obsessed with the afterlife, sins and guilt?

Ary: Christians from the earliest days of the church have a tradition of helping each other as well as the less fortunate.  It is part of what being a Christian is all about but it is not a requirement as it is in Islam and it doesn't matter if the cause is religious or not.  Christians give more money and time to secular causes than non-believers do.

Mat: Now you are just rationalizing for trying to score points.

Ary: It's true that most missionaries find a satisfaction in giving of their money and time that provides a reward in and of itself. If that renders the donation invalid then invalid it must be since it is not possible to divorce that benefit from the gift. The fact that it pleases the Lord is lagniappe. 

Mat: You say it is unimportant?  You're deluded.

Ary (smiling):It is not the position of the church to claim that atheists are not capable of charitable acts but the atheist too receives a reward in some form or other.  You just miss the 'little' extra, the sweetener.

Mat: So, you're saying that Jesus has little to do with your motives?

Ary: I'm saying nothing of the sort. I'm merely saying that lagniappe, that little extra fills in the gaps, it expands and encompasses the act, it takes it from the ordinary and makes it extraordinary.  Jesus showed how the small can be important, the strong - weak, the first - last.

Mat: Circles, you Christians are always talking in circles.

Ary.   I suggest that you check out 1 Corinthians 13. Charity is so important that we have a word that means both love and charity, Agape.

Mat: I think it's time to turtle up.

One final note for this post.  It may seem that the arguments of Mat are a bit contradictory and repetitive.  That is also typical and is consistent with the original material.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Money Given Back Because of Objections to Christianity

The following story warms the cockles of an Atheist Turtle's heart.  It is obvious that involvement of the Christian Church sullies the good intentions of the donor and soils her money.  It is better for the wouldbe beneficiaries to lose out on a possible improvement in their lives then to be subjected to a Christian ministry. 
Begin quote:
"Secret Millionaire cash returned after Christian charity row
A Secret Millionaire has had her cash returned by the recipient, after a row erupted over how the Christian charity should spend the £15,000 donation.
Entrepreneur Sue Stone agreed to give charity worker Kervin Julien the cash after appearing on the Channel Four programme, in which millionaires go undercover to decide which people or projects are worthy of their cash.
But while the former drug addict's work with homeless people had impressed Stone during the show, his close links to the local church had caused conflict and he has now decided to return the money.
Julien's charity Anesis was founded by two men from Northpoint Church and much of its funding comes from church projects, but he claims this connection caused conflict.
He says she vetoed all projects he wanted the money to be spent on because they were linked to the church, telling the Coventry Telegraph: 'Her constant comments of "I don't want my money sitting in a church" has really riled me.
'We are faith-led and we've never hid that. Northpoint Church have been behind us and supporting these projects from day one, so for her to say this just beggars belief.'
When questioned regarding the disagreement, she said: 'The plan was never just to pop it into the church, it was for the Second Chance project we spoke about during the show for a rehab centre.
'Kervin said he wanted to put it in to the pot with the church (money) and I said "no, that’s not the agreement".'
Despite this, Stone said she was still happy to fund a project she could 'get involved in'.
Kervin and his wife are now selling their family home to open a rehab centre for recovering drug addicts, explaining: 'This will happen with or without the Secret Millionaire money. We're 100 per cent committed to this project. It's our passion.
'It's our dream because we know the impact it will have on people's lives here.'
End quote 
Apologetics response:
The people who comprise the church are not perfect.  Throughout history there have been abuses of power inflicted on innocent people in the name of the church.  Those abuses are not representative of the overwhelming positive that the church has done; from hospitals, to schools, to great art and even science, the church has often led if not been the only source of benefits for mankind.  Don't buy the lie.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Atheist Jokes

Dumb is just plain Dumb no Matter What you Believe...

During the Reign of Terror of the French Revolution, one morning's executions began with three men: a rabbi, a Catholic priest, and a rationalist skeptic. 
The rabbi was marched up onto the platform first. There, facing the guillotine, he was asked if he had any last words. And the rabbi cried out, "I believe in the one and only true God, and He shall save me." The executioner then positioned the rabbi below the blade, set the block above his neck, and pulled the cord to set the terrible instrument in motion. The heavy cleaver plunged downward, searing the air. But then, abruptly, it stopped with a crack just a few inches above the would-be victim's neck. To which the rabbi said, "I told you so." 

"It's a miracle!" gasped the crowd. And the executioner had to agree, letting the rabbi go. 

"It can't be," the skeptic whispered.

Next in line was the priest. Asked for his final words, he declared, "I believe in Jesus Christ, the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost who will rescue me in my hour of need." The executioner then positioned this man beneath the blade. And he pulled the cord. Again the blade flew downward  thump! creak!  ...stopping just short of its mark once more. 

"Another miracle!" sighed the disappointed crowd. And the executioner for the second time had no choice but to let the condemned go free. 

"I don't believe it," the skeptic whispered.

Now it was the skeptic's turn. "What final words have you to say?" he was asked. But the skeptic didn't hear. Staring intently at the ominous engine of death, he seemed lost. Not until the executioner poked him in the ribs and the question was asked again did he reply. 

"Oh, I see your problem," the skeptic said pointing. "You've got a blockage in the gear assembly, right there!"


Why did the atheist cross the road?
He thought there might be a street on the other side, but he wouldn’t believe it until he tested his hypothesis.
How many atheists does it take to change a light bulb?
Two. One to actually change the bulb, and the other to videotape the job so fundamentalists won’t claim that God did it.
Q:  Why did the atheist throw her watch out of the window?
A:   She wanted to see if it was designed intelligently enough to evolve into a bird.
Q:  What do you get when you cross a Jehovah's Witness with an atheist?
A:   Someone who knocks on your door for no apparent reason.
Atheist headstone inscription: "All Dressed Up And Nowhere To Go".
Atheist: What’s this fly doing in my soup?
Waiter: Praying.
Atheist: Very funny. I can’t eat this. Take it back.
Waiter: You see? The fly’s prayers were answered.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Alchemy, Genesis, Gnosticism, and The Great Cackler

Have you heard the term 'Gnostic'?  I had many times but never quite understood what it was until I read the below post from an actual gnostic.  Understand that one person's beliefs are not fully representative of a philosophy and so, it may not be fair to assume all Gnostics are alchemists, but Gnostics all believe that there is secret knowledge that only some people will ever obtain. 

A few points of information. 

The Philosopher's Stone is supposed to be able to generate primordial matter, kind of the stem cells of matter.

Gerald Massey is a self-described expert in Egyptology from the 1800's.  He is generally dismissed by serious scholars as 'undisciplined' in his research methods.  Others are more direct and just call him a kook.

The author published this on a discussion forum about a book written by a present day supporter of Massey's ideas.

I believe that the author of the material has English as a second language.  Only major spelling or grammar errors have been corrected and some material has been edited for space issues.

Strictly speaking, Gnostics are not atheists as they have some religious ideas, but for the purposes of the Turtle, Gnostics are anti-Christian which brings them into view.

The material was copied from an anti-Christian site where it was posted by a user I will identify as Al.  Since such posts are essentially anonymous and uncopyrighted to the best of my knowledge I will provide the preceding acknowledgement as the sole reference to the source, as I do not wish to publicize the source.

This is a bit long but read all of it if you can.  You may find yourself laughing but I promise you that Al is serious as death about this post and he and others like him are militant; they are actively undermining Christianity and they represent a growing threat to the Church.


"The Alchemical explanation of Genesis.
I have studied Alchemy now for 40 years. I have been using Genesis many of those years trying to Perfect matter, the making of the Philosophers Stone. I want to explain what Genesis means to me as an Alchemists. First, Ii want to explain that something happened long ago. The ancients found how to perfect matter with nature. This is where the One True God of nature came from, and all our present religions. But it was always Secret. To speak of it was to die. The alchemists we know, Sir Isaac Newton, persons like that also spoke of but alchemically they 'always discussed in a Secretive manner, and when they said anything it was in metaphor. And so today, there are few if any alchemists that know what Alchemy was about, fewer even our Scholars. Most that I have spoken to believe all that garbage should just be thrown out! But there is an answer and an explanation. All the things I will say here I will back up many ways. It was not easy, and so why the 40 years. But everything is from what we know of as alchemy, but we never knew. I hope that will change. I want all to know up front I am no scholar. I was always tied to engineering. Nuclear, gas, steam, etc. This was just my hobby. But I can't prove myself wrong, and if you all will just try to see with an open mind, as you learn you will know that all i say is the Truth. Alchemy is the base for everything. Astrology, religion, the Secret Societies, many things as you will learn. I found from the Gnostics, that the proper name for alchemy is "The Magic of Egypt.” Jesus was taught that magic. I want to explain what Genesis really means. The explanation has far reaching ramifications if the right people realize what it means. Why I know Genesis? When I started I read in several books that, 'Genesis was the Greatest book ever written about alchemy."

So, I read many times, and compared to the Emerald Tablet  which also is a Creation Epic. All I could do is wonder what and why. So, here is the results of many years of consideration. Genesis is not written by Moses. It is from ancient Egypt.

As explained you will see this is true. Now, even Moses?? They did though find a scribe of a Pharaoh by the name of Mesis or something like that. Anyhow, Genesis is very clear really, if you read it very carefully. First, in ancient Egypt, all came from an egg laid by the Great Cackler! Sounds silly, but all on earth does come from some sort of egg or seed. The first act was the laying of the egg for the sun! Light was Created. In Genesis, the Heaven and the earth was created, first day. That is an egg for the earth. The shell of the egg is heaven, the earth is the contents. From G. Massey’s book, Natural Genesis, "The shell of the egg is to be considered as heaven." The formless earth was something to the ancients like the contents of the egg. Liquid, but by process became dry! Note dry so was wet first. Also on the first day, Light was Created and it was "Good." This has never been explained to you, but it means that a part of God or something of God is in the light of the sun! We can collect that good by process. It is the only thing Perfect that will Perfect the Matter in the below, or the Matter that the Philosophers Stone is made of. The deep means that an amount of water was also created in this epic! Now this thing about the Good (god) in the light is something that is tied to many things of Jesus. The Son of the sun! This is why. The ancients didn't worship the sun; they worshipped this Good in the Light! Somebody just left out that part. Also, and Very important to understand, the Day was Created. Morning and evening. This is because the Light Created was the Sun and Moon! Plus I guess the stars. In Genesis it says, the "Waters Above." Plural! The day is based on one cycle of the moon. Morning is waxing, evening is waning, the between time is the new moon or dark period when there is no moonlight. Now here is part of the proof. The Egyptians saw the earth as Two Earths. We call it the Northern and southern hemisphere. The sun moves north for six days, and created the Northern hemisphere, then it moves south and so does that in the southern hemispheres. Or, Genesis is still going on today, a yearly repeated cycle. It was shown by them in many ways; see Massey, 'The Light of Egypt." This is why Genesis is the greatest book, it is something you can use and I do, you can too. It is also to know this one thing. A day is a month. In many things, three days for example, is actually three months! I will definitely be visiting this again! All of alchemy is based on this fact! Next day. The firmament was created and called Heaven?? We already have heaven? What it means is, Sacred Geometry. Many things have different shapes, heaven, firmament, egg, seed shucks, what is important is they all contain PHI, a math. principle. Idaramled said something about this which explains it, "It is important for you to know why your church has a dome or steeple." It is because if a church, temple, is built correctly, it contains PHI. What that means is God can come there. He does not come to a shape without PHI. He is in your church! The firmament is shaped like a pyramid, heaven is like the shell of an egg. Together they work miracles, so to speak. Now, here also the waters are divided. What is done is done in darkness. The matter is to Rot to a base, even the earth in the creation. Isn't this how all nature works> a seed thrown onto the ground will bring forth much fruit if it dies and rots as it is turning into a plant. This is also exactly how the Philosophers Stone is made! Next day, and also very important. The waters come together, dry land called earth is created. This is androgynous earth as Adam was Created androgynous from it. This is because the sun (male) and the moon (female) was what created the earth. The sun is also where Spirit came from, and Soul from the Moon. So, if you think you have a spirit and a soul, it is because of this process! Also it is important to understand the light. I have already said the above waters, plural is what we have outside. If you really closely read where it says the sun and moon, "And God created Two Lights." It doesn't say he did so on that day! On that day, the light were just set into the firmament. In other words, what we have now outside was established on that day. I think this came about because in the alchemical process, we use and eliminate the lights at different times. The ancients must have believed that what they did that worked to perfect the matter is similar to what God did when he created the earth. Part of the difference is that we are told to accept that God did this or that on our faith! The ancients saw what was here and so worked with what was here, they didn't have to accept some story on faith! Genesis by this process is easily understandable, it is what we have, it is in the books, like the shell and heaven if you look, and like the "Light is Good." you just have to figure out over a lot of time what it is supposed to mean and how it works. It is now easy for me because I have been working the process, I will in time explain all of it, and the more you use it the more it becomes easier to understand. Now, as to the coming discussion with Acharya, all of this is tied to the mythology of Horus, Isis and Osiris. Because of this reason. The Creation process and art, alchemy, is how we make the Philosophers Stone. The ancients had this great medicine, and it proved to them they had proof of A God in nature, evidently because of what it did. As it is a 16 month process for the full perfection, Osiris is a 16 month religion. Life, death resurrection, the Virgin birth, Easter, all is from this Genesis process when you learn what the Great Secret was. There is so very much to it, and it will take a lot of posts to explain all of it. But you will find, that "Myth" will be spoken of many times, the point is this, what was the Myth based on? And the answer is much of what I just discussed, and what we will discuss. Much of what has been said is wrong, we will explain that also. when finished all who wants to will be able to make this medicine! I have done it one time, I’m trying now to perfect the 8 steps. I still have a lot of problems with one step, the rotting! Believe me when I say there is a lot of ways to rot an egg. If it is not done right, it does not work! I know that and all will see for a fact. If it is wrong, even on step 7 of 8, and you mess it up you have to start again and it has to be coordinated with the times of the year. The steps are our religious holidays! Consider that. It has to be worked by the times of the year (astrology) or it doesn't work. Hard to do for sure, you have to babysit for the 16 months! Understanding Genesis as it is tied to the two earths, six days in each hemisphere, has a lot of importance. Darwin if he knew this would have said that evolution is due to Genesis, which it is!! Everything outside is according to conditions over time and it outside is all Genesis through the year when you know and understand. All I said is the truth. Try to see things with an open mind and it becomes easy. I’m not a great typist or speller either! But I Love my work, I find it very interesting and I hope you will also."

Friday, July 15, 2011

The Origin of Life in Verse

A mysterious sight I did see,
In the horse trough, how could it be?
Where last night there was straw
Now it was worms that I saw
Appearing spontaneously.

Not so said Louis Pasteur,
In your conclusion you surely do err,
Worms will not grow
From straw don’t you know
But it might be Rhodococcus ruber

But Darwin, Dawkins and Sagan
Say we now know how life really began
It turns out the sight
Of worms might be right
Leading ultimately to the fraternity of man.

I’m so frustrated I could just yell,
Who’s right here someone should tell,
The truth should be reliable
So I’ll trust the Bible
And not buy what they’re trying to sell.


Thursday, July 14, 2011

Forrest Mims III – Irony, Creationism and Scientific American

True examples of irony are rare, but the story of Forrest Mims III’s aborted employment by Scientific American (SA) is one.
SA was founded by Rufus Porter in 1845.  In its first issue Porter wrote an article - "Rational Religion" in which he said:
‘First, then, let us, as rational creatures, be ever ready to acknowledge God as our Creator and daily Preserver; and that we are each of us individually dependent on his special care and good will towards us, in supporting the wonderful action of nature which constitutes our existence; and in preserving us from the casualties, to which our complicated and delicate structure is liable.’ R. Porter, Rational Religion, Scientific American 1(1): 1845

Porter was a man of many talents and interests from painting to inventing. He had an insatiable interest in science and technology which led him to start Scientific American.  The magazine found a ready audience and gained in stature and popularity.
Over time SA added features including The Amateur Scientist which showed non-technical people how to perform experiments and explained scientific concepts.  It was this feature which, in the late 1980’s needed an author.
Enter, Forrest Mims III, whose interests in science and technology were as intense and diverse as Porter's.  By this time Forrest had established himself as a best selling author of science and electronics books, had collaborated on the first production home computer two years before Apple, had invented devices to aid the blind in mobility, had contributed articles to peer review journals, numerous popular magazines, and much more. So, it seemed a perfect fit when SA approached him about taking over 'The Amateur Scientist' feature.  
At SA’s request Forrest flew to New York to meet with Jonathan Piel, the magazine’s editor. The interview seemed a formality, given their prior discussions, until Mims mentioned writing for some Christian magazines.  That admission concerned Piel who followed up by asking if Forrest believed in evolution.  When he replied that he did not Piel’s mood changed and the interview ended.  Shortly after returning home Forrest was told that his views on evolution made it impossible for SA to hire him.  It was not a question of talent, knowledge or ability; it was merely his opposition to evolution.
Over the next few months the SA action was roundly condemned by national organizations and publications including The American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the Wall Street Journal 
In the following decades Forrest has sold more than seven million books and continues to do research and publish articles.  But the SA affair continues to raise disturbing questions about objectivity and scientific orthodoxy.  Does a scientist’s position on evolution inform on the legitimacy of his entire body of work?  Perhaps not, but it is clear that it shuts and locks doors.  Who benefits from that?  Piel feared the revelation that one of SA’s feature writers was a creationist.  Was that legitimate? The AAAS did not think so. 
Forrest’s success ( has proven just how wrong headed SA’s decision not to hire him was since he has demonstrated that a backyard scientist can be successful and earn a living being just that, creationist or not.
For several years I have participated in*, a discussion forum dominated by anti-Christians.  They call themselves atheists or agnostics but it is really Jesus they oppose.  Ostensibly their god is science with a heavy helping of rational thought and logic.  Given their alleged devotion to science, about the worst thing one can admit to is being a creationist; and so my confession resulted in histrionic attacks on my character and intelligence.  But since God is over everything including science, there should not be a conflict between the two. Certainly Rufus Porter saw none, but the members of did not agree and availed themselves of every opportunity to berate, belittle, and disparage God, The Bible, Jesus, prayer, faith, etc.  In June of 2011 user-id Jonsen1010 posted about the SA/Forrest Mims affair and to justify the magazine’s actions, he wrote as a Forrest surrogate:

“I write an article for a science journal about using a potato as a battery. It checks out and is exemplary on that experiment.
“Then I write another article in a different magazine where I assert … that the lights in the sky which we have all been calling planets are … in fact … fairies which hover … waiting to hear wishes.
“Regardless of my aptitude with potatoes, if I sincerely believe the fables of a fairy tale I have very poor scientific integrity. It is obvious that in this area I am willing to disregard everything there is to know about a subject in order to continue lying to myself. “

Let’s assume that the above contrived story happened; does the hypothetical scientist’s belief in fairies negate his expertise in potato power?  Of course not.  In fact some of the most brilliant minds throughout history have also been some of the most eccentric.

Jonsen1010 continues with an imaginary lecture to his ‘Forrest’

“This is not a matter of censorship, but peer review. You are flat out wrong. That’s why you can’t work at this science magazine. Because what you [report] is delusional, and not at all reflective of the actual truth. It is well known that your position is wrong. You have the right to your opinion, but you do NOT have the right to espouse garbage.”

I call this the see-saw approach. It seems reasonable to balance one argument against the other but they are not equal.  By Jonsen1010’s own construction the practical science experiment is significantly more representative of his scientist than the fairies, and the potato experiment is exemplary.

The real Forrest Mims III weighs in: 

“Prior to the SA’s revocation of my assignment no one there or elsewhere ever questioned my expertise. That's why I was surprised when disparaging remarks about my qualifications began to appear in the press.
“Someone wrote that as a believer in creationism I lacked the credibility to write about science. Another suggested that I was attempting to "penetrate" mainline scientific organizations, and another questioned my competency.
“To the best of my knowledge, none of these scientists read any of my works before making their judgments. They were totally unaware that for 20 years I had earned a living from science by writing more than 50 books, hundreds of articles and papers for 75 different magazines, journals, and newspapers.
“Even after learning this some still insisted I should be prohibited from writing SA, since belief that God created the universe, meant I would selectively apply the scientific method. This sword cuts both ways, and it is those who make that claim who fail their own test. On what evidence is my objectivity questioned? None. The claim is based solely on a religious stereotype unsupported by any evidence from my writings which clearly follow traditional scientific methods.
“My lifelong ambition to write "The Amateur Scientist" was thwarted by scientific orthodoxy, not science. Besides ruining careers and closing opportunities, its adherents slow progress by stifling academic freedom and chilling the free and open exchange of ideas. Because dissenters threaten this orthodoxy, they are labeled as heretics, are publicly castigated, and are sometimes fired, much as I was.”(talk about ironic)
Adapted from The Scientist 5[4]:0, Feb. 18, 1991. 
That was Forrest’s defense back in the 1990’s and despite protestations that we live in a more diverse and inclusive society the grants of leniency toward Christians and creationists have diminished over the years.

Writing in Bob Holland* shares the following;

“I can really imagine the nightmare that SA would have faced if they hired [Mims] for the Amateur Scientist column. This crank would have started off with good material to build his position, but then would have subtly injected creationism. It was all a political stunt, aimed at embarrassing science. Mims deceptively concealed his crackpot views from SA in his initial pitch to them but the due diligence process flushed out his unacceptability for such a wide-ranging and influential position. Submitting articles is one thing, but a position as an in-house columnist requires that a journalist should accept the broad policies of the magazine.
“I find it astounding that supposedly reputable outlets like the Wall Street Journal apparently defended him after his seemingly fraudulent behavior in concealing his unscientific views in his job application.  If Mims had not deceived SA in the first place, he never would have got his foot in the door for the job interview that he secured on false pretenses.”

For the record there is NO basis for the above claims of fraud and deception.  Nor did Forrest have a hidden agenda to be a stealth creationist or obtain an interview on false pretenses.  That final assertion shows how irrational secular humanists have become.  Forrest attracted the interest of SA based on his body of work over decades. Is that body of work rendered toxic because the author reads the Bible, believes in the sanctity of life, and doubts evolution?  If so, may God truly help us.

The hysteria in Bob’s rant is difficult to understand even when one factors in a hatred of Christianity.  It just doesn’t make sense until one compares their websites.  Bob Holland’s is a brief dreamscape of sailing icebergs and algae farms.  There are no articles or publications cited.  On the other hand Forrest’s website is a mind numbing list of articles and publications, of completed and ongoing experiments, of  inventions and the voluminous output of a scientifically oriented and trained creative mind.

I had not heard of Forrest Mims prior to the posting.  After I checked him out I was convinced that the members of BiblioTalk had made a major error ridiculing him and I told them so.  Shortly afterwards I received the following email:

“You've been banned from because you bring far more negative than positive to the community.
In the nearly two years I was a member of I was constantly belittled, called stupid, retarded, ignorant, cursed at and more.  I expected that, so I am not complaining but what is odd is that for a group of people who hold science in such high esteem that it borders on worship, I don’t recall anyone ever talking about any science they actually did.  So, here is a situation where people who are anti-Christian in favor of science never actually do any, while a Christian man practically does nothing but science.  Holland called Forrest a crank scientist and he is, in the sense that he CRANKS science out!
[*Names have been altered and some quotes edited for space but the context has been preserved.]   

Forrest Mims studies smoke at Brazil's Cristalino River. Photo by Brad White.

TOPS measures the ozone layer to within 1% of NASA satellite and ground-based Dobson and Brewer measurements.
Yankee Shadowband LED Radiometer

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Christianity in 55 Words

Mat – Mature Atheist Turtle
Nat – New or neophyte Atheist Turtle
Ary – A large male lion

Scene, a church.

Mat: Don’t let the fact that he’s a lion scare you.  Just go ahead and say it just like we practiced.

Nat: But Mat, we’re in a church.  Isn’t there some rule we’re breaking being here?

Mat (angry): Absolutely not!  In fact, he has to let us have our say in church, don’t you Mr. Lion? (Sarcastically)

Ary (with a smile): Unless I ask Him to bind your tongues.

Nat looked scared and so did Mat, at least a bit, but he said,

Mat: He can’t do that, now, stop wasting time and get started Nat.

Nat nodded, stood up, cleared his throat and began:

Nat: “Christianity in 105 Words*
The belief that a walking dead Jewish deity who was his own father although he always existed, commits suicide by cop, although he didn't really die, in order to give himself permission not to send you to an eternal place of torture that he created for you, but instead to make you live forever if you symbolically eat his flesh, drink his blood, and telepathically promise him you accept him as your master, so he can cleanse you of an evil force that is present in mankind because a rib-woman and a mud-man were convinced by a talking snake to eat from a magical tree.” -- Anon.

[*this mocking definition of Christianity is found on many atheist websites.]

Mat to Nat (sounding satisfied): Well done.
Mat to Ary (smugly): How about that?

Ary: Where did you get that?

Mat: From an Atheist Camel, why?

Ary: Figures, camels, disgusting animals.

Mat: What’s wrong with it?

Ary: It’s pathetic; poorly worded, full of contradictions and errors.

Mat: Like what?

Ary: Well, (Ary writes the definition on a whiteboard like this)
(a)The belief that a walking dead Jewish deity who was his own father although he always existed, commits suicide by cop, although he didn't really die, (b) in order to give himself permission not to send you (c)to an eternal place of torture that he created for you, but instead to make you live forever if you symbolically eat his flesh, drink his blood, (d) and telepathically promise him you accept him as your master, (e)so he can cleanse you of an evil force that is present in mankind because a rib-woman and a mud-man were convinced by a talking snake to eat from a magical tree. -- Anon.

Ary: (a)The red text contradicts itself.  It states that Jesus really didn’t die therefore it is inaccurate to refer to him as ‘a walking dead’ anything, and he might have attempted suicide but if he didn’t die he didn’t actually commit it.  

(b)The final judgment of mankind is by the Father, not Jesus, so that is wrong and needs to be struck out.

(c) Makes no sense at all as written - ‘if you don’t symbolically eat his flesh, drink his blood’ you aren’t going to live forever so who cares where you are.  The way it is worded it seems like the safest course of action is to not engage in the symbolic acts so when you die you’re not only merely dead but you’re really, most sincerely dead.

(d) The telepathic communication comment is totally incorrect.  Christians state that God hears their prayers, not that He telepathically receives them.

(e) This portion is an attempt to mock Christian belief but individuals do not need to pay for Adam and Eve’s sins; each person is responsible for themselves.

I prefer the following definition of Christianity and it only takes 55 words:

"A personal relationship with Jesus the Christ – God incarnate as the Son – who provides all people with the chance to acquire His perfect righteousness in order to restore  communion, broken by sin, with God The Father so that we can receive a comforter, God The Holy Spirit, and have eternal life of joy in Heaven."

Mat opens his mouth but before he can say anything Ary lets out a deep, loud roar.

Mat (urgently): Nat, quick ‘Turtle up’ (and both he and Nat roll onto their backs with head and legs withdrawn.)

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Betting Against God - The Atheist Bus Part II

‘Hey Nat, this is Mat,’ the voice on the other end of the phone sounded excited, ‘can you be ready in ten minutes, got an exciting event happening?’
‘Ten minutes, why always such short notice?’
‘Oh stop whining, you need to be there so hang up and get moving,’ Mat snapped.
I hung up and sighed.  ‘Mat’s more into this than I am.  Still, he sounded excited so maybe it will be something impressive.’
Five minutes later Mat was outside laying on the horn.
‘You’re early,’ I said closing the door behind me.
‘Well, you look ready, so move your shell; we don’t want to be late for this.’
Before I could reply Mat’s acceleration pushed me back into the seat and I closed  my eyes to avoid the fear induced by his reckless driving.  We stopped abruptly and Mat shouted, ‘We’re here.’
I opened my eyes, ‘The Bus again,’ I said seeing the red double decker atheist bus parked half a block away.
‘Not exactly,’ Mat chirped and ran ahead.
I caught up with him by the bus and noticed it had a new sign which read, “There’s Probably No God, Now Stop Worrying and Enjoy Your Life.”
‘Hey Ary, What do you think about our new sign?’ Mat yelled across the street.  ‘He’s one of those Christians,’ Mat whispered to me as Ary crossed to us.
Ary read the sign twice, once in a whisper and then a bit louder.  ‘I don’t get it,’ Ary said.
Mat’s smile faded and he stamped his foot impatiently. ‘You Christians are so dense but your time is finished!  Atheists are taking over and this is our opening attack.’
‘But  – There Probably is no God –seems pretty weak as a declaration of war -  ‘not much conviction,’ Ary said.
‘Some wanted it to say,  There Almost Certainly Is No God,’  Mat replied.
‘That isn’t much more definite.  It seems to me you are just rolling the dice that there is no God.  Almost Certainly, or Probably, what’s the difference?  What probability are you talking about anyway? 99/01 or 51/49?  The latter one doesn’t seem to allow much of a margin for error.  Not what I would call betting odds you know?
Mat was red-faced.  ‘We can’t lie. Even though we’re atheists we can’t say for certain that there is no God, and besides, if we said there was No God we might get complaints to the Advertising Standards Authority here in Britain.’
‘So, you’re declaring war on Christianity by encouraging people to consider atheism, but you’re worried about complaints and admitting that you really aren’t sure that there is no God?’ Ary asked.
Ary and Mat faced off for a moment before Ary smiled, ‘Well, good luck to you.’  He started to turn away then stopped, ‘My ministry might be interested in sponsoring some buses.  Seems like it would get people thinking.’
Mat and Nat watched Ary cross the street back to his church. 
‘Are we going to ride the bus around town now,’ Nat asked.
‘Shut up and get back in the car. I’m taking you home,’ Mat snapped.