I’ve always been amazed by the body’s ability to heal itself. However, this ability really pales in comparison to the regenerative abilities of the salamander.
Salamanders like the Mexican axolotl can regenerate their legs, tail, upper and lower jaw, eyes, lungs, heart, and even parts of their brain and spinal cord! And humans? Well… we can regenerate the tips of our fingers and toes, and a good part of the liver (the salamander is unimpressed).
Does God love salamanders more than us?
Why would God allow salamanders to recover from so many amputations yet not grant us the same dignity? Don’t get me wrong, if one day I’m using a table saw and accidentally sever my liver, I’m sure I’ll be thankful it can regenerate. But human regeneration just doesn’t seem to be very well thought out, at least not when compared to the salamander’s.
Take Mary Dague for example. She had her arms blown off as she bravely tried to dismantle a bomb, and must now spend the rest of her life without arms. Meanwhile, some stupid salamander is walking around on a fresh set of legs that he was able to regrow in just a few weeks.
Heck, even a friggin’ starfish can be cut into four quarters, and each quarter will regenerate into another starfish. But if we lose so much as a finger, we spend the rest of our lives with a stump. Why?!
How does God make these decisions?
Of course, no one of can say for certain why God would leave us in such a predicament, so I’m just going to assume that, at some point, the following conversation occurred…
“Hey Jesus!” hollered God from His workshop, “Which animal do you think I should give regenerative powers to, the salamander or the human?”
“Why wouldn’t you choose humans?” responded Jesus as he approached the workshop door.
“Well, I was thinking that later on I might ask humans to cut off their own body parts, like their hands, feet, eyes and foreskins. And if all that stuff just grew back, what would be the point in having them cut ’em off?” “Well… none, but…” “Exactly!” exclaims God, “Salamanders it is then!”
Are human cells just too complex?
Wired Magazine reports that “Salamander regeneration begins when a clump of cells called a blastema forms at the tip of a lost limb. From the blastema come skin, muscle, bone, blood vessels and neurons, ultimately growing into a limb virtually identical to the old one.” If the salamander can regenerate skin, muscle, bone, blood vessels and neurons, how are we much different?
In fact, the Mexican axolotl is said to share 90% of the same genes as humans. What is it about that other 10% that makes human limb regeneration an impossible proposition for God?
Of course, most Christians wouldn’t be comfortable saying this problem is too complex for God, especially when He’s clearly able to do it with other genetically similar animals. The only other alternatives are that God has removed or denied us this ability… or it is a random result of evolution.
Also a problem for evolution
Evolution isn’t entirely off the hook on this one, either. If salamanders and humans share a distant ancestor, regenerative powers seem like something worth selecting for. Wouldn’t animals with regenerative powers be better suited to survive and reproduce than animals without?
Then again, one need only look at flightless birds to realize that evolution sometimes selects against what was once a valuable adaptation. Nature has no mind to care about the loss of prior adaptations, so long as an organism survives.
Science givith what the Lord taketh away?
Scientists are hopeful that someday we’ll be able to coax human cells into regenerating body parts in much the same way as salamanders do. If we’re successful, we’ve either undone evolution’s oversight, or undone God’s decision to not allow regeneration (an odd proposition).
If God is real and loves us, we might expect that He would grant us some of the most useful gifts that He has granted other lesser animals, such as the gift of regeneration.
And if evolution is true, it still seems like nature should select for regeneration.
I was almost tempted to call this one a draw, but it’s easier to understand how a thoughtless natural process could lose track of a once useful adaptation. In fact, it may even serve as a an example of how mindless and undirected evolution really is, as it doesn’t always accurately gauge the value of a specific trait.
A thoughtful creator, however, should know the value of regeneration, and should care enough to heal all animals the way he does the salamander. He should also know that regenerating a finger or an eye is going to be more practical than regenerating a liver.
We are what He created us to be, and since that does not include “regenerator of limbs”, obviously that particular ability does not play a crucial role in our survival as a species. He would be the one to know that, being omnipotent and all.
if god would gave us power to regenerate limbs and organs the humanity would be much better,and maybe there woulnt be wars if all people could regenerate themselfs,it would be pointles for humans to fight each other
The question is why though would he create us this way. Your answer about him being omnipotent is literally the typical standard Christian answer that no one not only yourself would truly believe. Go lose and arm or a leg and then come back to answer this question.
Now after I recovered from my gluttony that we call christmas I saw your post. It’s just too much for human mind to think problems like this. I study issues just like this quite a bit and I just keep running in to a wall one and over again. It’s like somebody is saying “this is farthest you can go with your current puny human knowledge”. Not that we should not study these issues but there just is no definite answers coming anytime soon. Is there?
Now as a theological answer: God gave us rulership over all animal kingdom. How’s that for a superpower? (How we abuse this power is another discussion entirely)
And there ends discussion. No amount of proving or disapproving will move this issue an inch to any direction 🙂
When I applied my mind to know wisdom and to observe the labor that is done on earth—people getting no sleep day or night. Then I saw all that God has done. No one can comprehend what goes on under the sun. Despite all their efforts to search it out, no one can discover its meaning. Even if the wise claim they know, they cannot really comprehend it.
Welcome back BHS, hope you had a Merry Christmas!
I agree with you there, I don’t think there are any definite answers. Even Richard Dawkins used to say he was 99.9% sure there was no God, and atheist billboards will say things like “There’s probably no God.” They look at the evidence and conclude “There could be a God, it just seems unlikely in light of everything we now know.” So while there may not be any definitive answers, I think some explanations are demonstrably closer to truth than others.
Did he? Other than our big brains, I don’t know that our ability to outsmart dumb animals is proof of dominion (I can barely get my dog to stay). And certainly sharks, lions and bears don’t care that we rule over them, they’ll eat us and our big brains.
The Bible often points out how ignorant we are, but doesn’t care to enlighten us with how much God knows. It’s a bit like me saying “I’m smarter than Einstein,” without offering any proof of the claim.
– Coser to truth? By what measurements? Wonder where Dawkins gets that 99.9% To me those probabilities and billboards look suspiciously propaganda like :roll:. Or at least when I research the evidence I keep running to a same wall of us not knowing enough. Archeological evidence gives us just a very fragmentary picture of the distant past. Earth and universe creation theories are just that. Theories. There is just not enough info to say that there propably is no God. Might as well say that there is. Unless atheist are privy to some info I’m not. 😛
– When was the last time you or us as spices where threatened by animal life?
– Bible is about religious education, remember? It merely points us that we should be humble enough to admit that we know absolutely nothing. Zip. At least they (Bible writers) where brave enough to admit that they know nothing about God and His ways. If Bible is inspired text then it is God saying to us that we should be humble.
Now I been thinking (imagine that! 8O) How come when us believers try to fill blanks spots in science with God, we are blamed that we are doing God of the gaps, but when atheist do the same thing they are scientific? How is Dawkins guess of the beginning of the universe any more valid than creationist/old earth/anyone else’s guess? As I understand it mr Dawkins is filling a lot of blank spots with theories = guesses. Atheism of the gaps?
Well, a regenarating liver has proven very usefull to many of my compatriots.
I think the human species was last threatened by animal life during the great plague epidemics during the 14th and 15th century. 😉 But yes, today we are more responsible for the animal kingdom as humanity, than we have ever been before in our brief history. As individuals we are not so special in comparrison to many animals, but as societes and communities (relgious and otherwise) we are mighty indeed. Much like the ants and the termites, our power lies in our social skills. Now, is the final hour we take responsibility of our actions as an adult species, and stop waiting for an imagined divine father to set things right.
The 99.9% is an obvious metaphor to Mr. Dawkins not being absolutely sure about anything. Not an actual persentage of anything. If that seems like propaganda, would you BHS, then say that people who say they are 100% certain there is a god are actually making propaganda assertions?
That is just the difference between religious and atheistic thinking in general. Religions are based on absolute “truths”. All of them. Atheism comes from skepticism towards that absolutism. Science is not run by either kind of thinking, but as science is derived from the search for knowledge it is more related to atheism. If one among the many religions were true, we could expect that most scientific research would reveal over and over again the stories asserted in that particular religious tradition to be proven true. This is not the case.
Sometimes religious scriptures or traditions have come up with the correct answers, but mostly not. This is most evident in the creation myths, while it is more likely that a religious truth about morals, or other human nature hits the mark. As we know this is not allways the case with any religions either.
Science is not totally independent. Most scientific work done during few last centuries has been done by people who belong to the western christian cultural sphere and science has taken giant leaps during that time, but it does not support the cultural heritage of the scientists in any significant way. It goes to prove that scientific research has managed to disect itself from the most obvious cultural bias and influence, but it also shows that scientific research does not support even the religious “truths” of the cultural sphere that has spawned science. That is called scientific integrity.
In science there are two major concepts. One is a hypothesis and the other is a theory. Now, to become a validated theory a scientific hypothesis has to go through a process of testing. We may say that something is just a theory, but mythological creation stories have nothing to compare with scientific theories or even hypothesis. We do not claim that fairytales are the equal of artithmetics either, do we?
The scientific explanation to the so called “old earth” is not something made up by atheists to undermine the creation mythos of any particular religion, though it does that in equal measure to just about all of them. The geologists, astronomists and biologists did not simply make a pact that they would forger the results of their research to come up with an idea that contradicts the Bible. They came up with the results that showed the earth to be billions of years old and the universe to be even older. It was other men who even noticed that these scietific results do not exactly support the mythos of the Bible. Creationism and ID are simply propaganda stunts to save the credibility of one particular mythos in the eyes of the ignorant. However, Darwin was not an atheist. He had no agenda to attack the Biblical “truth”. He and so many others were only scientists who were committed to the integrity of the results of their research. It is not some conspiracy against some obvious “truth”, that science shows all mythologies to be exactly that – Mythologies. All the while the gods whose position and backround stories are threatened by the results of science, remain silent. They show no interrest to take part in the conversation. Could that be because they are only the products of imagination? Is there a nother explanation to their silence?
I am an arrogant man, but I find myself very humble when I face nature.
It is interresting how religions offer these stories about the creation, afterlife and gods as absolute truths, but when one closes in on them to ask how should we know if any of these stories are true, we are left on the devices of faith in the unplausible. That we should accept something as true, not because it makes any sense, but because it is just the way it is. But remember, if you do not find these stories plausible, no matter how ridiculous they might seem to you, there awaits the eternal pain as a punishment, for not being able to somehow convince yourself of the absolute nature of this, or that particular superstition! Does that make any sense in any other means than as an attempt to frighten people into believing a particular religious story?
There certainly is no compulsion to believe anything. You are free to believe atheist point of view however much you prefer. God will not force himself on you at all. Bible does not tell us to jump into faith blindly but to measure everything before committing ourselves. Your atheism is as much a fairytale as is religion. Alltough a significantly more sad one. Universe without creator is a lonely idea indeed.
I’m not claiming omnipotence here. There could be God or no God. My subjective experience just tells me there is. Yours may differ. I used to be a blatant atheist until I was 30 and then I just suddenly “saw” God. According to brain research I mentioned earlier this is relatively rare. Just as is mr 500:s sudden conversion away from God. Ever wondered how much of your atheism is just imprinted in to your brain at the childhood? My advice is to try to look at the scientific evidence with an open mind. And now tell me has science in any way lessened religions validity? I doubt it has because many scientific theories about origins of the universe and earth are just what they are. Theories (= good guesses). And if evolution is true even that won’t move God’s existence to any direction an inch. We might see in the future.
I don’t believe that there is a conspiracy going in scientific world against religion (at least generally speaking).
And believing in God does not get anyone off the hook when it comes to living stainable and ecologically sensible life
I’d say that’s a definite no-no. If we humans chose to believe every claim with insufficient information, we’d believe in a lot of crazy things. For example, we’d have to believe that there are gods on Mt. Olympus, and sea monsters in Loch Ness, and aliens inside Mars, and invisible fairies in the forest. And judges would have a particularly hard time if they always believed both the defendant and plaintiff.
Mankind has refined several tools to get us to truth. Ideally we use science, but failing that, logic and reason (which help us avoid problems like logical fallacies). These truths may not be absolute, but they do increase the probability of being right.
For example, imagine a friend says to you “God told me He buried bicycles on the moon!” While the burden of evidence is upon him to prove his claim (it’s not fair to insist that YOU go dig up the entire moon to prove him wrong), the problem with this claim is that it’s unfalsifiable (it can never be proven or disproven). However, you still wouldn’t say “There is just not enough info, so we might as well say it’s true.” Instead, you’d apply some logic and reason and conclude the claim was probably false. You might do this by observing your friend is insane, or your experience may tell you that God doesn’t usually bury man-made objects in the ground, or you might argue that there is little motive for God to do such a thing. So while you are not absolutely sure your friend is wrong, he probably is. And at this point, your friend may realize his claim is being threatened by your sound reasoning, and may insist you throw away science, logic and reason and believe him on faith.
Naturalists, too, have the burden of evidence to prove that life can arise by purely natural methods. Since this is still scientifically unproven (and possibly unprovable), we end up pondering questions like the one above, asking whether Godly or Natural motives are more likely at work. In this way, just like we don’t need to dig up the moon to conclude that there are no bicycles, we don’t necessarily need to prove God or Nature created the Universe in order to extrapolate answers based on other observations.
I like what Rautakyy said…
I wholeheartedly agree. As a Christian, it would be wonderful if we discovered that 6000 year-old starlight was just arriving on earth, or if there was solid evidence for a global flood, or that nephilim giants were found buried around Israel, or if the ancient Egyptians had a story that confirmed Exodus, or if prayers to Jesus always proved to be good medicine in study after study. But such is not the case. In this way, I believe Science is indeed lessening religions validity.
Science is unveiling a the truth about us and our history, which just happens to contradict the Bible. We can either maintain our bias and spin the Bible to make it fit this new reality, or accept that the Bible was written by men, just as easily as the Book of Mormon or Dianetics, and is likely just as wrong.
Well your judges seem to get it wrong sometimes 😉
The fact remains that further we go back in history, more inaccurate it becomes. History is written by those who won and so on. I'm not personally committed to any school about the historicity of the bible. One is not better than the other. I just happen to like hard line of thinking. I suppose I like to see peoples puzzlement when I say that the resurrection is true. More fun than mumbling some liberal ideas 🙂
Scientists they always work with the minimalist suppositions. They do not account for miracles in their theories. It is not a conspiracy. That's just the way science works. My line of thinking goes a bit different. something like this:
IF God = "true" THEN Miracles ="true"
Unless you can point out that God = "not true" only then you can point out that Miracles = "not true". What I'd like is that scientific research would show over and over again that ANY theory of ancient history is true. But no. It is just theories upon theories.
No science so far is accurate enough to shake my faith in God. Sorry if you can not see this.
Besides. I got one nephilim giant skeleton here in my closet. I'll exchange it any day to a good series of transient fossils. 😛
Sure, I will grant that if God exists, then miracles could happen. However, I would also stipulate that God Himself be considered the greatest miracle of all, since He is more complex and intelligent than anything else that exists. He is also miraculous in that He is made from nothing, can create matter and energy from nothing, is perfect, and because He and His intelligence can miraculously exist without cause, without design, and without need of education.
I think I just did.
The reason science does not say “God = true” or “Miracles = true” is because the burden of evidence would then be on them to prove it, and there is little evidence for either.
I see it regularly, in every religion. People believe whatever they want on faith, they take refuge in unfalsifiable claims, and then dismiss any and all opposing evidence (which is never good enough to disprove their unfalsifiable claim).
For example, Mormons believe that early America was occupied by Lamanites and Nephites, who built great cities and fought in epic battles… before the earth swallowed up ALL the evidence (thus creating an unfalsifiable claim). Mormons then ignore any archaeological evidence that might say otherwise. You could dig up all of America, and it still wouldn’t shake their faith. But is it true?
Hi 500 questions.
I was intrigued with this post and was reading the comments when I came across the mention of Mormons. Just for the record, we do not believe the earth swallowed up all the evidence. Recently in the news some gold plates were found in Turkey? (not sure where they found them?) but it was an interesting find because it confirmed that gold plates were indeed used in history to document things. I’m definitely not a scriptorian or a scientific genius but there are enough clues to indicate that what took place in the Book of Mormon was indeed, very possible.
This is what I believe – 1. God is the architect and Jesus was the builder (in lay man’s terms) I didn’t understand this for a long time. I thought GOD, the father, created the earth. It was His son who created our home on earth. (lots of scripture to back this up)
2. He, the Savior, is bound by the laws of science, the same rules he created. Our universe is completely organized. In fact, the word “Create” in Hebrew means organize. It’s reasonable to think that God/Christ organized the universe and the science that would go with it and that we live by the same laws that he created. When scientists come up with interesting finds I don’t feel it goes against my faith, on the contrary, I feel like it proves how organized and how much order there is to our universe. : ) God is bound by His own laws.
3. God’s time is not our time. He lives in eternal time and we live in this wrinkle called mortality. Watch Ben Stein’s, Expelled. Our Earth sits precariously in a spot that allows for life. A few inches in either direction and things get thrown off. God’s understanding is not our understanding, though we always try to put ourselves on His level! haha! I’m a blithering idiot compared to God. Why would I ever assume that I know or understand what he knows?
4. Faith is believing what you can’t see or what can’t be proven or confirmed. I don’t need “proof” to feel God’s existence and handi-work all around me. Check out a grain of sand under a microscope. I had no idea until recently that every grain of sand is different, each with a gorgeous pattern. It’s nothing short of remarkable.
5. Lastly, and this is my short list, It is my understanding that our intelligence always existed. (This makes my brain hurt) But to think that the intelligent matter/ intelligence that makes up Lisa, me, has always existed, is amazing. This speaks to the idea that our
universe was indeed “organized”.
Sorry for writing so much but I felt compelled! : ) You can drop by my goofy blog anytime! It’s not real heady stuff, though. Just FYI.
I often use the Mormon faith as an example, because it’s a great modern analog for how an idea can be made up, fleshed out by its followers, and eventually become a full-on religion. Scientology is another good example. My underlying assertion is that this is what happens with all faiths.
Haven’t you ever thought it odd that 99.7% of the world sees Mormonism as absurd, while you and everyone inside the Mormon “bubble” see it as perfectly reasonable (magic underwear and all)? This is how it is with every religion, and I was in the same situation. Everyone saw us Pentecostals as babbling idiots or demon possessed, but inside the Pentecostal “bubble” it made perfect sense. (See post #11, “Doesn’t the existence of many religions discredit them all?”) It’s not until you’re out of the bubble for awhile that you can start to understand what everyone else was talking about. But while you’re in the bubble, you just think everyone outside is being unreasonable or just hasn’t understood the truth yet (and that’s true for most religions).
“Faith is believing what you can’t see or what can’t be proven or confirmed. I don’t need ‘proof’ to feel God’s existence and handi-work all around me.”
I haven written a post on faith yet, but I really do need to, as it seems to be the go-to defense. But what is faith? Isn’t it just a word most religions use to defend themselves without having to provide any evidence? At some point, you need SOME evidence, or you’d might as well just believe all of it. Positive evidence for something is what keeps us from believing every claim that can be imagined (see “Russell’s teapot”).
I’m familiar with Expelled, I loved that movie back when I was a huge fan if Intelligent Design, before I realized the hypothesis contradicted itself and didn’t really stand to reason (see question 5 & 6).
Thanks for taking the time to post. I’m not trying to change your mind, I don’t think I could, just trying to explain how the other side thinks. Keep thinking! 🙂
I didn’t come on your blog to put anyone down. I just saw that you had stated something incorrectly about my religion and wanted to correct it. But now you’ve said more incorrect things and have done it in a way that I find offensive. My religion is a made up idea? I thought you had an interesting conversation going, I thought you were intelligent, but I guess I was wrong to think I could join in and share my thoughts since they’re so worthless and absurd, according to you.
“99.7% of the world sees Mormonism as absurd.” Also comparing it to scientology? That’s pretty outrageous. Are you making this stuff up? Talk about no evidence!? Magic underwear? You’re just spewing a lot of crap that is uninformed and makes no sense? It makes you sound completely ignorant. Before you embarrass yourself further why don’t you do some more research, and have some facts.
“I didn’t come on your blog to put anyone down.”
Thanks, I appreciate that. Sorry if you took offense, I realize these are controversial claims. To show I’m a good sport, I’ll cite some sources for you.
“Just for the record, we do not believe the earth swallowed up all the evidence.”
According to the Book of Mormon, the earth swallowed up a lot of the evidence for the existence of all these cities. And those golden plates are still nowhere to be found.
“99.7% of the world sees Mormonism as absurd”
There were 14.1 million Mormons in 2010. If the present world population is about 7 billion people, then 99.8% of the world does not see Mormonism as a compelling enough claim to leave their present religion. If you’re right, 998 people out of 1000 are wrong.
“Comparing it to scientology?”
Yes, but only in the sense that both are modern religions based on new books written by self-proclaimed prophets.
“Are you making this stuff up? Talk about no evidence!? Magic underwear?”
I couldn’t make this stuff up. Have you never heard about the magic Mormon undergarments? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bnVOK42o4E0
“Before you embarrass yourself further why don’t you do some more research, and have some facts.”
Hopefully those facts are good enough for you. And embarrass myself? Mormons are the one’s who have to defend swallowed cities, missing golden plates, Jewish Indians, failed prophecies, polygamy, and magic underwear, they’re the ones that should be embarrassed.
Again, it’s nothing personal, it’s only religion.
That video about “magic underwear” is completely false. Unless you get your information about Mormons from lds.org, it probably won’t be correct. Especially if you watch a video made by religious critics, then its most likely not the best source for facts. No Mormon would take a bath/shower with one hand on their garments. That’s just weird. Most don’t exercise with them on either. The reason people don’t talk about them that much is because they are sacred.
Saying that people think Mormonism is “absurd” might be the wrong word choice. Just because people aren’t Mormon doesn’t mean they think that the religion is absurd. I’m not Jewish and I don’t think that Judaism is absurd.
Just thought I would jump into the convo!
For skeptical people who don’t subscribe to any religion, they are all EQUALLY absurd. We don’t think every single person who follows a religion IS absurd (although there are plenty who are) however the beliefs themselves certainly are.
And yes… Thinking there’s something “sacred” about underwear is just a plain weird idea. As is the one about getting your own planet. – “”Then will they become Gods…they will never cease to increase and to multiply, worlds without end. When they receive their crowns, their dominions, they then will be prepared to frame earths like unto ours and to people them in the same manner as we have been brought forth by our parents, by our Father and God” Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses 17:143”
Here’s an interesting site: http://exmormon.org/d6/drupal/Mormons-get-their-own-worlds
Or in Scientology’s case, being infested with alien spirits. Or that there’s an alien overlord named Xenu. How about other religions that believe you might be reincarnated as a frog in your next life?
It’s all nonsense with zero evidence. I’ll stick to reality, thanks!
Hey AGL, if you could find the news you learned about the gold slates in Turkey (or somewhere thereabout I assume), I would be very interrested. I am a bit of an enthusiast when it comes to archaeology, you see, and this was very interresting news indeed.
If you can not find the info anymore, no matter, but if it is not too much trouble I certainly would appreciate it.
My apologies for butting in like this.
When I was a kid my father send me to the religion classes in school, to learn the other possible truth, as he put it. To keep an open mind. I think I have managed to keep an open mind towards religious thinking. I think in general religions are an OK thing, as long as they are not used to lead people to evil deeds. The point of it is that there are so many different religions and they all share one thing in common. They are man made. There may be gods, but to me they seem very unlikely as actual entities. They have much more attributes typical for human imagination, than what one would expect from a perfect creator being. That is why I find them all equally unplausible. It is just as equally unplausible, that Jesus resurrected as it is that Dalai Lama has reborn for centuries.
Supernatural as a concept is a bit of a logical fallacy. What does it incorporate? All things that are not within natural sciences yet, or what? Were lightning, or regeneration of axolotls supernatural things before we learned to understand what causes them by scientific research? They were certainly explained as such.
Of course science undermines religion. If scientific research would support any religion, that would not be the case, but as it challenges all the myths, it also undermines the superstitious world view. If it was indeed god inspired writing that the world was sunken in such a deep flood that a ship carrying several household animals was able to float to mount Ararat, then it only goes to prove that the god that inspired those claims was lying. How can we tell what else such a liar has also told us as “truths”? Especially about things we are unable to verify like the alledged afterlife. We may choose not to believe the various sciences that have proven that to be a mere myth, or to believe that all the sciences have somehow magically erred. After all “errare humanum est”, but logically it is far much likelier that the Bible is just a nother myth among others, than to assume allmost all scientific research is wrong about the age of the universe and about the flood not actually covering all the earth.
One may claim that the resurrection is true and it may shock people to utter it out loud in a society where religious emotions are usually kept as very personal matters, but scientifically it is not a solid argument. It is against any valid methods of historical research to assume that the one man whose execution was -according to sources- aborted, actually died and resurrected. In scientific terms, it is far more likelier that the guy just collapsed to a coma and everybody thought he died. There is a very good reason why historical or any other scientific research does not assume the claims of supernatural events are true.
Before we could accept stories about the supernatural as historically accurate, we would need undisputable presidents that would prove it is not just a remote possibility that miracles do happen, but that that they actually do. But there is none, or is there? I guess it depends what we accept as a miracle. Is it a miracle, if something extraordinary happens, or does it have to defy the laws of nature? Somebody actually dying and resurrecting, or even resurrecting a limb would defy the laws of nature, but there are no reliable information that such a thing has ever happened to a human. People making claims about resurrection in the antiquity when they were not aware of such things as coma for example are hardly anything but fairy tales. Science may take such claims seriously, but as long as there is a valid naturalistic explanation to alledgedly supernatural events, it takes a quite blind leap of faith to choose the supernatural explanation over the naturalistic one. In this respect religious people are almost the same as atheists, since as long as the supernatural explanation is by a nother religion, the naturalistic explanation is favoured.
Have you experienced any miracles? A god would not have to force itself on me, I could propably find some form of faith if I experienced a miracle. But while waiting for it to happen, I exist in the constant shadow of ending up in eternal pain, for not finding faith in myself. Odd, how that threat tells me (regardles if there actually are any gods) religions are just major hoaxes.
I do not think any gods exist, and yet I do not feel alone at all. I have real friends, I do not need imaginary ones.
Whhow! you like to begin with BIG issues 🙂 I’d say that that question is unanswerable (unless you believe in the Bible). There is this site that discusses these questions. You probably been there already. Actually it is a mirror image of your site. You guys are yin/yang. Won’t say which is which 😀
God’s miracles are a hard area to study. God of the Bible gives three kinds of miracles.
1. Graaaand! (Moses on a mountain, resurrection)
2. Somewhat cool (healing of the sick etc..)
3. Everyday (Leading of the Spirit)
First stuff is exceedingly rare and we will see next one when Jesus comes to claim His righteous. The second stuff usually happens when Jesus message is being brought fourth as an evidence for the message. Number three is only available for the inside people and thus does not constitute much of an studiable phenomenon.
Why miracles do not show in studies? Search me. I’m content to have number 3. I hear about and meet people with case number 2 regularly and sometimes even evidence like CT scans of disappeared tumors. Problem is that sometimes tumors just disappear etc. There are just too many factors in cases like this that mess up data. Why should I believe that testimony? Maybe doctor made a mistake? Maybe hospital assistant mixed the scans? There always is an exit for those who want to doubt. How do you for example study someone cured of clinical depression?
And middle east archeology is another mixed bag. There are enough people that say bible could be historical to make a case. For example David Rohl has this book that says there could be something to it after all. And then there’s this guy and some others with possible scenarios. But then again one can claim that for example by saying that the bible is true their books will sell more. When evidence is lost in time it is just that. Lost. Period. Nothing I can do about it.
Evidence and counter evidence flies back and forth. And to make matters worse you need to be astronomist, archaeologist, theologist, mathematician etc to make any sense of the data they are producing. No wonder creationism is popular! That at least is simple.
So you see my problem. Most of the stuff is just hard or impossible to prove without a doubt. But that works in both directions. Good luck in your search.
2 cor 5:7
We live by faith, not by sight.
What happened to “this guy’s” link? Well here it is:
I think this sums up the difference between science and Christianity pretty well:
There is always a cop out if you WANT to find it.
Since I have studied archaeology for years, I can comment on the Rohl case. It seems he is somewhat of a renessance person. Rock musician and TV- persona turn egyptologist. What he basicly suggests about the flood is not such a revolutionary idea, though some of his other ideas are not much appraised among archeologists, since they are hypothesis without any evidence. He is by far not the only guy who has suggested that there has been a great flood in the Mesopotamia during early stages of civilzation. Perhaps even several of them as such floods are not a great miracle in great river valleys. They are indeed what makes those areas so fertile for the farming to begin. Infact we have other sources of that then just the Bible. The Gilgamesh epic wich is far older than the Bible, tells the same story. Yet, the Biblical version where the flood exeeds all the way to Mt. Ararat is an obvious fable. There is none what so ever evidence that such a great flood ever occurred and if it ever did we would have undisputable evidence of it. In fact that would have been a great miracle indeed, since there is not enough water in the entire world to produce such an event, not even if the polar caps melted. This just goes to prove that the Bible is just a nother myth among others. That is how all myths evolve. A major event to a group of people grows into greater dimensions when the story is told over and over again to larger audiences and people further away hear of it.
The leap from the controversial ideas of David Rohl to creationism, wich claims dinosaur fossils are proof of the great flood is a major one. But I do agree that it is easy to see why creationism appeals to people. It is a simplified version of the “truth” just like any other forms of propaganda, it takes a bit of truth and distorts it to produce a plausible idea, at least in the eyes of the target group. As with propaganda allways, it only requires for the people to be a bit ignorant and willing to accept the marketed story. This is how creationism works:
All that this guy says about banana and god creating it as perfect food for humans, requires for the listener not to know that bananas are infact plants developed by humans, and that all the magnificent properties he describes as the proof of god creating the world for humans, are indeed achieved by humans. It is a very good and compelling advertisment for god, if you want to believe and if you are ignorant about the origins and history of bananas. You see. It is not just about equally plausible theories contradicting each other, but the case of science versus propaganda and myths.
Of course when a religion can draw upon very old sources, it seems to give some strange sort of credibility from the fact that there are fewer parallel sources, that would discredit the religious text anyway. When we are talking about the oldest religious materials the Bible is a good example. It is a self disputing source, but with faith people are able to ignore for example that the god in this alledgedly monotheistic religions holy book meets other gods in the early stages. It is a classic mythical description of how a tribal culture evolves from nomadic culture to farming and city economics, and how their one god evolves from the only god of the Hebrews to the only god at all. But it is also an “emic” description of all that, since it is not produced by some outside observers, but by the people themselves.
For some reason the gods have all one thing in common. They are hiding. They propably have a good reason as to why, alltough no one has ever presented a plausible one to me, other than that they actually do not even exist. According to most religions their gods could easily perform not just miracles such as the disappearing tumors that might have other explanations, but also miracles that could not be interpreted as anything else than the manifestation of the god in any particular religion. However, they never perform such. The historical accounts in holy books are so vague, that they present no actual evidence of such. And further more, even though allmost all religions exclude each other, the “evidence” they offer stands on equally weak base.
The ethical question here is that why do the gods not present themselves? If it is indeed true as they say in some religions, faith is the key from being saved from eternal pain, gods that could prevent people from such a fate by appearing have a moral obligation to do so. Instead they have externalized that responsibility to their adherents, who have not equal power to reach out to people and turn them. If you have the ability to save people, you also have the responsibility to do so. With power allways comes responsiblity and absolute power equals absolute responsibility.
How can it be right that a Chinese, Indian, or Indonesian (just to mention the three most numerous nations on earth) person who has never even heard of Jesus ends up in eternal pains as a result? What sins did all those people perform, that eternal pain is a just punishment for them? The obligation for faith is not a logically valid, nor in any ways justified request. If there is a just and allminghty god, it will give me mercy for not believing in it, for it knows the true reasons as to why I can not bring myself to believe in it. If it does not, then to Hell with it.
Mr Rohl and other theorists (no matter how colorful) that are pondering Biblical matters have a case. To actually demand accurate evidence from times distant past is too much to ask for. But at least bible has a fighting chance among religious books for having archeological evidence to back it up. Now unless some new info comes along this is a shut case. You can’t prove your myth theory I can’t prove my history theory. But very interesting tough. And they are digging like crazy in middle-east so who knows what might pop up?
And what comes to believing majority of the science world. Since when was truth decided by majority vote? And even tough scientific data does not (often) lie it’s interpretators are subject to very human laws. If most of the scientific establishment has no faith in God then that is bound to affect their judgement of the data. Same accusation is thrown at the christians all the time here. We look at the world trough our own lenses. But surely that does not affect scientific world! Because no faith is the only “neutral” worldview available. ?!?
Propaganda allegations can too be thrown about so easily. I might say that atheist have a propaganda campaign against religion. So I think that propaganda accusation applies to you just as well as to me. We both propagate our own causes. So don’t try to get away with it like you are not to blame and religion is the cause for all the evil.
What comes to flooding department. I’m quite bored with that subject already. Local flood is the most likely explanation if you don’t like outright miracles. Pro God version of this site has a rather nice study of the food based upon hebrew language. They have a go at the Gilgamesh as well. They are quite interesting. Especially that first one.
And I just talked at length how miracles happen. It is just that no amount of evidence will satisfy guys anyways. You see if you don’t want to see something then you don’t see it. That’s how human mind works. There is always that cop out if you want it. And you want.
Now how about those who never heard about Jesus? Since it’s highly theological and too long to go into here I refer you to official answer site of this site.
And where on earth did we start this discussion? Oh yeah .. salamanders! 🙂
Science seems to be the only way we can have a verifiable knowledge about the truth, so the consensus of scientists is a far better way to determine what might be true than some fairytales written in the antiquity. In that sense the aspect of truth we can understand is a voting matter 😉 .
It is scientifically measurable that a man can not regenerate, nor resurrect. Is it not? Therefore stories where a man acts thus are most likely fables and fabrications of human mind. The leap of faith to believe otherwise is a blind one at best. Hence, they are infact myths. They are not historical accounts as such. There, proven 🙂 .
We agree on the local nature of the flood. It is obvious that is how it is described in the Bible and of local flooding we have archaeological data. However, if it was local it could not have been the demise of dinosaurs. In any case it could not have been the demise of trilobites as they are sea animals. Therefore creationism and especially the young earth crap is mere propaganda.
The nature of god is very much an issue, if we discuss why this alledged creator did not give humans the ability to regenerate. That question still remains unaswered, if one does not count the obvious, that there actually are no gods as described by the ancient myths.
The idea of evangelism is immoral, even if some people would be allowed to heaven, if they have never even heard of Jesus. If they are let in because of good behaviour, but denied entering, if they regardles of their good behaviour shall not accept Jesus as their saviour. It sets people in very unequal starting positions. Those who have had indoctrination from childhood are much more likelier to accept Jesus than those who have not.
There is an obvious logical fallacy here, and I would be very interrested to read what our host might write about it in the future, but I will comment it here shortly. If newborn babies go straight to heaven, then the most noble thing any person could perform would be killing babies. After all that person would represent ultimate altruism, by giving up his/her chance to be admittet to heaven by saving so many souls for their eternal salvation.
It is unethical to even accept the idea that any human being could do anything so wrong it deserved an eternal(!) punishment of pain. Besides, disbelief is not something people choose. Either they find something plausible, or not. But it is very interresting to discuss why we find so different things plausible.
It is also unethical that an alledgedly allmighty god has such a feeble connection to mankind. There must be something wrong when the only connection seems to be a book that the most devoted adherents of this god can not agree upon what it is supposed to mean. It seems to require people to become regular pharisees and translators of ancient scripture to undestand the book correctly, and to find it plausible in the least bit.
A kid born in the slums of New Delhi seems to have a lot less chances to be admittet to Heaven in comparisson to a kid in the suburbs of Boston or Helsinki. We are not wittnessing the work of a fair deity, but that of a jelous and immoral one. Or more likely we are witnessing human behaviour and nature without any gods.
Of course it is not possible to determine science by popular vote. It has been shown in the history many times that majority establishment can be wrong. That is a lesson you should know. For years science was suppressed by religious authority and it still happens today. So are you willing to make the same mistake but this time other way around?
Science has not proven that a man can’t resurrect. Miracles by their very nature are unstudiable phonemenon by scientific method. Wikipedia has a rather nice article on how miracles where viewed over the years. I rather like the part where article quotes some Jewish experts. They where the ones to write the old testament so they should know.
“However, some Jewish commentators (e.g. Saadiah Gaon and Maimonides) hold that stories such as these were never meant to be taken literally in the first place. Rather, these stories should be understood as accounts of a prophetic experience, which are dreams or visions. (Of course, such dreams and visions could themselves be considered miracles.)”
If i recall correctly Jesus was never claimed to have healed an amputee or such (I need to look this up) Thus God is working mainly with and within natural laws of the nature. I’m quite kosher with that. Blind and demon possessed healed are still miracles. But then again only theories, theories..
There is Steven Dutch’s excellent article about science and miracles. Mainly I don’t agree with the man but his “No Overlap” Theory is good:
“Religion has no right to expect science to accept a religious doctrine unless it can be subjected to scientific testing, and unless religion is willing to accept that the doctrine can be refuted. Religion is perfectly free to believe that an event is a miracle, but it has no right to impose its assumptions on science.”
“Science has no authority to decree categorically that those phenomena accessible to scientific testing are the only ones that exist. Science cannot legitimately deal with religious claims unless it is prepared to admit the potential existence of autonomous and non-replicable phenomena.”
Baby killer wold deliver many babies to Heaven, but at the peril of his own soul. And God does not want to loose anyone. Thus this line of reasoning does not work. Besides who desides whats moral and ethical? you? That has a lot of inherent problems in on itself. God is the ultimate judge and He is just. So let’s leave it to Him to make the necessary decisions shall we.
Speaking of salamanders…
I realize it’s easy to get off topic when it comes to such big questions. Which is fine with me, but it can get a bit overwhelming. I appreciate you both sticking around and taking the time to post, I enjoy reading what you’ve written.
I’ve still got a few hundred other questions to get to, so I wanted to hit on a few of your most interesting points before I bow out and get back to work on these.
http://www.godandscience.org is a great resource. I think I’ve linked to them before, but I’ll definitely be referring to them in future posts. As a bit of a side, one of my pet peeves is that many of these sites (godandscience.org, answersingenesis,org, christiananswers.net, discovery.org, Christian videos on YouTube, etc.) don’t allow for comments, which really sucks. Come on people, if you’re so sure of what you’re saying, open it up for discussion!
Miracles: I do plan on dwelling on both Biblical and modern miracles in later questions. Miracles are one of the pillars of Christianity, so it’s definitely something I’d like to explore.
Noah’s Flood: I have a number of questions about the global flood. Of the 150+ miracles in the Bible, the global flood is one of the few that WOULD leave observable evidence that a miracle has occurred. It’s also critical because Jesus vouches for the story. So if it didn’t happen, it casts doubt on the new and old testament.
And it may very well be that the Bible allows for a localized flood, but this certainly isn’t the story I grew up with (or what other Christians are teaching). I’d have to research this further to see if this is genuinely what the Bible claims, or if this is a spin intended to protect the Bible.
Rautakyy says: “However, if it was local it could not have been the demise of dinosaurs.”
Wow, great point. And all the other prehistoric creatures as well.
BHS says: “It is just that no amount of evidence will satisfy guys anyways. You see if you don’t want to see something then you don’t see it.”
I agree with you that people see what they want to see. However, as a Christian, I really feel I sought to confirm that God was real and the Bible is true. I didn’t WANT to become a non-believer. Christianity WAS my bias and what I wanted to see come out on top. But I will believe what is most reasonable, whatever I find that to be.
Rautakyy says: “It is scientifically measurable that a man can not regenerate, nor resurrect. Is it not?”
Rautakyy says: “Those who have had indoctrination from childhood are much more likelier to accept Jesus than those who have not… I would be very interrested to read what our host might write about it in the future.”
Funny you should mention it, I was just writing about that exact same thing today (It’s a miracle!). If ONLY Christianity gets you into heaven, it seems quite unfair for God to place a child in a Muslim home and expect them to convert. He KNOWS 99% will NOT convert, so it’s pretty much an automatic eternal death sentence. Point being, for the most part, one’s religion is culturally ASSIGNED, and is not a matter of choice.
Rautakyy says: “If newborn babies go straight to heaven, then the most noble thing any person could perform would be killing babies.”
It seems logical, but I’m sure most Christians would argue that it’s just not the will of God’s for us to kill our children. God would much rather they live… so that the majority could freely reject him… and then… He could send them to hell. Wait… never mind, that doesn’t make sense either. 🙂
BHS says: “And God does not want to loose [sic] anyone. Thus this line of reasoning does not work.”
Doesn’t it? If God doesn’t want to lose anyone, fewer would be lost if we killed them as babies. Makes sense to me. In fact, I’m gonna go kill mine right now… be right back…
All kidding aside, if there is a God, we can only hope that He is a more reasonable guy than how He is portrayed in the Bible. Rautakyy is right, it’s unethical to sentence anyone to eternal pain for simply disbelieving something that could genuinely be deemed irrational. In fact, it’s unethical to sentence ANYONE to eternal punishment for a temporal crime. That would be like me sending my son to his room forever for doing one thing wrong, and justifying it by saying “my judgement is perfect!” My kids are human, I expect them to make errors in judgement. And how strange it is that God insists we forgive everyone, but He doesn’t hold himself to that same standard?
Peace out! 🙂
If you consider that our universe was created by the MASTER SCIENTIST – then religion and science go perfectly together. Why do people think it’s either or? That would be missing a big piece of the puzzle! By the way, if you’re “Thinking” and “reasoning” you have God to thank for that ability! He organized your body which would include your brain.
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“Why doesn’t God allow humans to regenerate limbs?”
Because, if the jews could regenerate lost limbs and body parts that would make circumcision pointless. Think about it! A bunch of fanatics in a chapel desperately trying to remove a portion of skin that keeps growing back.
It also takes away most of the punishments they have on offer 🙂 like plucking out eyeballs, chopping off offending hands, etc.
We call ourselves intelligent not to believe in existence, of our Creator? Then prove that the creatures are far more intelligent than the Creator!
Atleast can you humans, create one single living cell? Then feel proud that we have traveling to different planets/satellites but not finding God’s presence.
We aren’t descended from modern salamanders. Perhaps they evolved the regenerative ability after they diverged from our most recent common ancestor.
I agree, that is probably the case.
This is more a question of, “If God HAD created us, would he not have endowed us with this same wonderful ability? Why only bless the salamander?”
God has a definite plan, we cannot break his commands. Every action of His cannot be overruled, we need to obey His commands, then you will understand,..He is our Creator!