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Monday, September 21, 2009

Squaring the Circle about Religion


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To quote Creeper:

"Hi Debbie, hi Radar,

I'm looking forward to seeing Radar try to square this circle. I'm familiar with quite a few people who believe in God in some way but have issues with organized religion - but the two of you'd be the first that I've met that proclaim a beef of this kind while both being extremely active in your local church. What then is the exact problem you have with organized religion?

My apologies, Debbie, if I'm including you unfairly in this btw.

Maybe I'm misunderstanding something, but I guess we'll find out when Radar puts up his next post.

-- creeper"


This is the perfect question in the context of our discussion of worldviews on this blog. As we have covered in great detail, your worldview is the set of preconceptions and the values and beliefs that you begin with when you look at the world and consider problems. Those of us who believe in God include Him in the realm of possibilities and atheists do not, which makes an atheist an inferior scientist in my view. We have had this discussion for some time.

Religion is another thing. A religion is an applied belief system and let us first use an online dictionary to consider just what it is from Dictionary.com. I will make notes in between in italics.

noun

1. a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, esp. when considered as the creation of a superhuman agency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs.

This could also be a definition of worldview, but okay this fits in many cases.

2. a specific fundamental set of beliefs and practices generally agreed upon by a number of persons or sects: the Christian religion; the Buddhist religion.

Organized worldview also an aspect of religion although not quite.

3. the body of persons adhering to a particular set of beliefs and practices: a world council of religions.

Now we have committees!

4. the life or state of a monk, nun, etc.: to enter religion.

Hmmm not sure if this belongs here.

5. the practice of religious beliefs; ritual observance of faith.

Now we are getting somewhere again.

6. something one believes in and follows devotedly; a point or matter of ethics or conscience: to make a religion of fighting prejudice.

I think this is more like it.

7. religions, Archaic. religious rites.

Generalities.

8. Archaic. strict faithfulness; devotion: a religion to one's vow.

On point.

I would go to this extent: When I talk about religion, I talk about the idea of what people believe will define their lives or will bring them to an afterlife. To be very specific, I believe that religion as applied is a system of rules and regulations that, if you obey them, take you to heaven or paradise or nirvana or (fill in the blank).

We have seen this definition lived out before our eyes. When the Twin Towers fell, when the plane hit the Pentagon and even the jet that crashed in the wilderness because the passengers rose up to stop the terrorists, these were religious acts. The men involved believed that they were acting on behalf of Allah and that the one way to guarantee access to Paradise is to die in the cause of Muhammad, to die a martyr in the act of killing infidels.

The Nation of Israel is well acquainted with this phenomenon. Little Palestinian children are taught that to die in the process of killing innocent Jews is an act of great patriotism and godliness. Remember the old posts where I linked the Palestinian equivalent of The Mickey Mouse Club in which little kids were taught to chant songs and poems about killing Jews and Americans, in which they were drawing crayon pictures of buses blowing up and showing "cartoons" featuring young people strapping bombs on their bodies to kill people? Religion.

Religion in many churches in this country is a matter of adherence to traditions and codes. Go to the correct services, say the right things, wear your hair or clothes in a certain way, go to Heaven. Early in my Christian life I went to a center of Fundamentalism where I soon saw that people were judged (by others) based upon their clothes and their hair style, the size of their Bible, how loud they said, "Amen" and how often they went forward to repent and rededicate themselves to God. If you went up too often you were just not right with God. If you did not go often enough you were hard of heart.

Now, at first I was just a dedicated new convert just reading my Bible and trying to learn how best to serve God. I was a transformed junkie/drunk/wastrel and I had tunnel vision. I was learning to be a pastor or possibly a school administrator depending on God's calling. I had come from an active church in which the Bible was taught as the basis for a Christian lifestyle and I expected to find the same in seminary. I was wrong. I attended college for two and one half years and began that second half of year three when it all came crashing in on me. I understood that the religion being taught at the school I was attending was a system of works and rules and that appearances were valued above the state of the heart.

Of course my realization happened just as I was offered a nationwide singing ministry. This is ironic, as I had just become the lead singer in a hard rock band when I met Christ. For the second time possible fame as a singer was laid at my feet...or I could do what I thought was right to do. Both times the decision was exceedingly hard. First I had to lay aside the chance to be Robert Plant and then I had to give up the opportunity to be Ray Hart (you may not know that is but he was big in his circle and a regular on the Johnny Carson show). My mother was a professional singer, I was a good songwriter and singer (in my opinion) and yet I had to walk away from this portion of my being.

Now these events and decisions led to a time of personal crisis as I found myself reevaluating my relationship with God and Christianity. I am very glad of this now.

The pastor of the church I attended wound up being involved in a terrible sex scandal and his son lost his wife and his church when his briefcase was stolen and wound up filled with pictures of him and another man's wife with less than adequate clothing and etc. The church I went to right after that? The pastor went to jail for abusing underage girls, including his own daughter! The head Bible teacher at the college and his wife went to jail for keeping a young girl as a slave in the basement of their home. There were kickbacks being paid to people for directing students to jobs and housing. I know way too much about way too many things that were happening behind suits and ties and skirts that ended at or below the knees.

I believe now that this is what Jesus saw when He came to Jerusalem and took at look at the Pharisees. They wore their fancy robes and big phylacteries and kept up the appearance of righteousness while being kept in cushy luxury on the backs of the common man and with the help of the ruling Romans. The common man was unimportant to them and the will of God was unimportant to them. Adherence to a lengthy set of rules and regulations was all that concerned them. Moreover, it was the long treatises written by generations of priests, the Torah and the Talmud, that most concerned these Pharisees and Sadducees. Whether someone was starving to death was of no concern but everyone in the priesthood would be horrified if this man's wife combed her hair on the Sabbath!

Here is the entire chapter of Matthew 23- 1 Then Jesus spoke to the multitudes and to His disciples, 2 saying: “The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. 3 Therefore whatever they tell you to observe, that observe and do, but do not do according to their works; for they say, and do not do. 4 For they bind heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers. 5 But all their works they do to be seen by men. They make their phylacteries broad and enlarge the borders of their garments. 6 They love the best places at feasts, the best seats in the synagogues, 7 greetings in the marketplaces, and to be called by men, ‘Rabbi, Rabbi.’ 8 But you, do not be called ‘Rabbi’; for One is your Teacher, the Christ, and you are all brethren. 9 Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven. 10 And do not be called teachers; for One is your Teacher, the Christ. 11 But he who is greatest among you shall be your servant. 12 And whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted. 13But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut up the kingdom of heaven against men; for you neither go in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in. 14 Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you devour widows’ houses, and for a pretense make long prayers. Therefore you will receive greater condemnation. 15Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel land and sea to win one proselyte, and when he is won, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves. 16 “Woe to you, blind guides, who say, ‘Whoever swears by the temple, it is nothing; but whoever swears by the gold of the temple, he is obliged to perform it.17 Fools and blind! For which is greater, the gold or the temple that sanctifies the gold? 18 And, ‘Whoever swears by the altar, it is nothing; but whoever swears by the gift that is on it, he is obliged to perform it.19 Fools and blind! For which is greater, the gift or the altar that sanctifies the gift? 20 Therefore he who swears by the altar, swears by it and by all things on it. 21 He who swears by the temple, swears by it and by Him who dwells in it. 22 And he who swears by heaven, swears by the throne of God and by Him who sits on it. 23Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone. 24 Blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel! 25Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you cleanse the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of extortion and self-indulgence. 26 Blind Pharisee, first cleanse the inside of the cup and dish, that the outside of them may be clean also. 27Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. 28 Even so you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness. 29Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! Because you build the tombs of the prophets and adorn the monuments of the righteous, 30 and say, ‘If we had lived in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets.’ 31 “Therefore you are witnesses against yourselves that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets. 32 Fill up, then, the measure of your fathers’ guilt. 33 Serpents, brood of vipers! How can you escape the condemnation of hell? 34 Therefore, indeed, I send you prophets, wise men, and scribes: some of them you will kill and crucify, and some of them you will scourge in your synagogues and persecute from city to city, 35 that on you may come all the righteous blood shed on the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah, son of Berechiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar. 36 Assuredly, I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation.

37 “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing! 38 See! Your house is left to you desolate; 39 for I say to you, you shall see Me no more till you say, ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD!’

Now any of the scripture above bolded was done by me. Consider that Jesus, that one guy who never sinned, the Son of God, the Creator of the Universe in human form, is cussing out the Pharisees and Sadducees. Yet what he is saying is not sinful because it is completely true.

I may be calling out many of those who call themselves Christians but I truly believe that following rules and regulations will never get you to Heaven. No one can always do right and no one can escape falling into temptation now and then. No one is able to stand before God and say, "I am perfect, I have never sinned."

Can you? Of course not! Neither can I. You can stamp a label on me but I can never ever live up to the standard of perfection. Jesus Chris was able and He was crucified by the ruling Romans and the ruling Jews. They thought they were ridding themselves of an annoyance who was stirring up the common man and daring to speak the truth. But, in fact, they were performing the Sacrifice that was necessary to bring salvation to mankind. All the generations of bulls and goats and doves sacrificed at the altar in the Jewish tradition according to the Law of Moses were symbolic of the One Sacrifice to come. Throughout the Old Testament scriptures the coming of the Christ was told, but the Jews at the time did not recognize Him. They were looking for a political leader who would kick the Romans out and set up the Jewish Nation on the throne of the temporal world. But Jesus came to kick sin out and provide a remedy for the original sin of Adam and Eve. He came to die for us and shed His blood for us as a sacrifice, His perfect life in exchange for your imperfect life.

I can go through scriptures (and have before) detailing how this is done, but here is the bottom line - I do not adhere to a set of rules and regulations to provide myself with righteousness.

The Bible teaches us that when we accept Christ as our salvation and ask Him to forgive our sins and be our Savior, we are changed. It is not that we do different things, although that is likely to happen. I certainly have made many changes in habits and behaviors and beliefs since becoming a Christian. But the big difference is that I became a child of God.
II Corinthians 5:15-21 - And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.

16So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. 17Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! 18All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God. 21God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

A Christian is a new creature because he has become a son of God. He has been judged to be covered by the sacrifice of Christ and therefore has already been written into the Book of Life. Was the Law wrong? No, the Law was written and given to the Jews with the understanding that they were to keep it to the best of their ability and yet would be required to make sacrifices in order to seek atonement for their sins. It was all temporary atonement, it was done year after year until the Messiah would come to free the people. Sadly for them, most of the Jews quit looking and waiting for Messiah and became used to being people who followed rules and regulations and traditions.

Galatians 3:19-26 - 19 What purpose then does the law serve? It was added because of transgressions, till the Seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was appointed through angels by the hand of a mediator. 20 Now a mediator does not mediate for one only, but God is one. 21 Is the law then against the promises of God? Certainly not! For if there had been a law given which could have given life, truly righteousness would have been by the law. 22 But the Scripture has confined all under sin, that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe. 23 But before faith came, we were kept under guard by the law, kept for the faith which would afterward be revealed. 24 Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. 25 But after faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor. 26 For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.

So you see, I am not religious. I do not depend on my works and deeds for my relationship with God. I have SONSHIP. I am a child of God. Not because of me, but because of Him. I was just able to comprehend who God was and accept His gift of Salvation. God came within me and has been working on changing me from the inside out ever since.

Have I tossed aside cursing and illegal drugs and drunk driving? Yes. I am aware of what the Bible teaches and I do try to obey. But my salvation just does not depend on my actions. Be sure you understand this point. I am going to Heaven because I belong to God, not because I go to church or teach teenagers or give money to my church and to missions and all that stuff. I have been in many ministries and given much time and money and talent to the cause of Christ and I do not consider any of it to mean a thing when it comes to my salvation. I have been on the board of directors of a big ministry, made videos that were sent around the world, I have both sung and spoken to large audiences and held pretty much every title you can hold in a church and I tell you that God does not take that into account.

It all comes down to sheep and goats. It all comes down to being a child of God or not. You are born a child of man. God gives you life, in fact He created life and an entire Universe to house you so that you would have a chance to live and come to know God and have the opportunity to live forever with Him. This Universe is winding down, it was a one-time deal and it is eventually going to be gone. But for now men and women are being born and living and dying. For now all that live long enough to be aware of right, wrong and God are being given the choice of God or not-God.

All men are born with the inner sense that God is. One has to drown that sense or follow it. I did my best to drown that sense and did so for years but a very patient God kept after me. I am thankful that the Holy Spirit of God just kept prodding me and that other Christians kept being put in my path. One day the convergence of a man with God's message and my questioning mind and my troubled heart presented to me the clear choice - I understood salvation, I understood that Christ died for my sins and I understood that the choice was on me. I could accept or deny. At the moment I understood Truth I accepted Christ and gladly agreed that I was a sinner who needed salvation and wanted God to live in me.

I do not live a religious life. I do not depend upon my actions to save me. I live a life of relationship in which I do try to please my Father and my internal "wanter" has undergone a change. Because I love my Father and seek to please him I generally appear to be a religious man. I do study my Bible and pray and various things like that.

But my sons, who live at home, they sometimes hug me or tell me that they love me and I do the same to them. They would still be my sons if they never spoke a word to me. But kinship and love causes them to follow my ways, respect my house rules and so on and so forth.

You see, if you are a son you are a son whether you live at home or elsewhere. If you are a son in jail or a son in Congress you are still a son. If my mother would claim not to know me I would nevertheless still be her son (she is actually rather fond of me). If you are a daughter you are a daughter at home, married with children or living in the gutter doing drugs. Kinship trumps actions or clothes or pay grade.

If you depend upon religion, you wind up focusing on external things and miss the inner truths. If you think just doing something over and over saves you, then you become your own salvation and God is no longer involved. If man could save himself, he would not need God. But he cannot and God offers salvation for free. He paid every bit of the price Himself.

Can you understand? I hope this is clear. My Christian lifestyle is a result of my sonship and my love of God and the internal rebirth of Salvation and is not in any way an attempt to justify myself or win my way to Heaven. I am not religious. I am simply a loving son.



Ben Hartnett, most excellent cartoonist!!

70 comments:

WomanHonorThyself said...

wow..amazing post.been busy..tryin to catch up!:)

Anonymous said...

Hi Radar,

despite the length of the post, with all respect I don't think you've clarified all that much. It's clear that you have quibbles with organized religion; welcome to the club, as I suspect pretty much all atheists agree with you on that one. Horror at people blowing each other up in the name of religion? Likewise.

But it still seems clear to me that you're religious at least according to definitions 6 and 8, on which you've commented approvingly, as well as according to definitions 1 and 2. You follow the Christian moral code, do you not? Ten commandments, Sermon on the Mount and all that?

"Those of us who believe in God include Him in the realm of possibilities and atheists do not, which makes an atheist an inferior scientist in my view. We have had this discussion for some time."

Yes, we've discussed this before. Some points on this:

1. People who believe in God - well actually I won't generalize to that extent. Let's say Creationists, since that's more fitting to the discussions that were the context in which we've talked about this before.

Creationists don't just include God in the realm of possibilities; they consider God a foregone conclusion to which everything else must be subservient. Or would you be willing to allow the flipside of the argument, that Creationists (or "people who believe in God", whichever) include the non-existence of God in the realm of possibilities?

If any facts contradict a Creationist's interpretation of the Bible, the reason for the discrepancy is almost never sought in the interpretation of the Bible, but instead in the accuracy of the other data. Quite often, entire scientific disciplines are trashed as vast conspiracies because they disagree with a Creationist's interpretation of the Bible. The game becomes not one of seeking answers, but of finding vague reasons to be able to dismiss contradictory data.

So a Creationist doesn't actually add more possibilities than an atheist does; on the contrary, a Creationist discards vast amounts of scientific knowledge in order to wedge God (with no explanatory power) into the scenario. That is hardly superior science.

-- creeper

Anonymous said...

2. The whole point of science relying on the scientific method (i.e. observable evidence) is to eliminate confusion caused by bringing conflicting worldviews into the picture. Science does not make judgements on different religions; it can't.

Picture this: you, Radar, are convinced that your interpretation of Genesis represents literal truth, and you consider this "evidence". Along come Billy and Jimmy with different religious texts in their hands, both insisting that their texts are literally true and should be counted as "evidence" as well (perhaps Billy is a Mormon and Jimmy a Scientologist).

How would you decide among you, in a scientific way, which (if any) of your various texts are "true"? I suspect you wouldn't get very far by simply proclaiming your respective faith in the material involved.

Such an approach would be utterly unproductive, and that is precisely why the scientific method proceeds by eliminating any influence of "worldview" as much as possible - by relying on the observable. You could have a Christian, a Jew, a Scientologist and an atheist working together performing scientific research, as long as they have the common ground of the observable.

For example:

A Christian proposes a scientific hypothesis. A Scientologist finds the hypothesis fishy and proposes experiments that potentially falsify the hypothesis. A Mormon carries out the experiments, and they happen to confirm the hypothesis. They can all agree that the hypothesis has been confirmed, and can independently verify this on their own. This is a productive outcome. And the respective persons involved did not (and could not) bring their respective worldviews into it, otherwise this process just wouldn't work.

That's a far cry from three people proclaiming their own "evidence" (in the form of religious texts) as true without any means by which they can verify this, isn't it?

Now, which of these do you think is an "inferior scientist" - one who leaves their worldview out of the lab and sticks to the scientific method, or one who insists on bringing unverifiable "evidence" into the picture and proclaims it true?

There is a big difference between applying natural materialism in the scientific method and holding materialism as one's general worldview. You can apply natural materialism in the lab and be any religion you choose outside the lab.

-- creeper

Anonymous said...

3. Just a reminder of those previous discussions you alluded to: you generally abandoned them after proclaiming that scientists who "include God in the realm of possibilities" are superior scientists and we asked you to name even a single scientific discovery in which a supernatural explanation was in any way a contribution. You always came up blank. Even now you can not name one.

Yes, there are scientists (both now and then) who believe in God. But they don't/didn't use that belief in the actual scientific work they do/did.

The proof is in the pudding: where are the great scientific breakthroughs of the Discovery Institute etc.? If the scientists who "include God in the realm of possibilities" are so superior - then where are all their superior results?


4. Again: science draws no conclusion on God's existence or non-existence, simply because that can not be tested for (or against).


-- creeper

radar said...

First, I can falsify the idea that that creation scientists do not do science or have breakthroughs and I promise to my readers that I will do so within the next two posts. (I will give you a hint or two - two ways I can do this have to do with subduction and RATE but this must wait).

But that is for another thread. You, creeper, asked me about religion and asked me to explain my beliefs, so therefore in this thread that is what I will address.

Whereas I may exhibit behavior that might make me appear to be religious, I go into great detail to explain that I am most certainly NOT religious. I do not do one thing to justify myself to God and win approval from Him.

I answered you, creeper, but you do not really seem to be responding. Do you not see the difference between sonship and adherence to rules and traditions?

Anonymous said...

Creeper: Real Christians = sons of god = not religious. Simple! Don't know how you can punch a hole in that logic!


Radar:

I'm having a lot of trouble understanding you here. Maybe that's because we all didn't test to genius level IQ's in high school (I didn't comment on that post yet--- maybe I was too disgusted. That was the most arrogant thing I have EVER read. I really thought it was revealing this was truly a parody blog...but, no, the posts roll on).

(read this in an Appalachian cadence) Us common men think: you believe in Jesus, you help out at church, you read the bible....you religious! (end cadence)

You can redefine a word however you want, but if 100 people read a few posts on your blog....want to guess how many would say you are religious? I bring this up because a word comes to mean what the common meaning of that word becomes. I don't even really want to try defining "religious" and I think there are many different levels of being religious, but, you radar, are religious (in my worldview).



I was thinking today as I read this post and creeper's comments: Wouldn't it be great if creeper and radar were really the same person, but complete split personalities like Jekyll and Hyde? This would be parody blog to the next level. Of course, that would be a lot of work to entertain me and scohen and canucklehead...and to further confuse highboy.


lava


lava

Anonymous said...

Radar,

I thought I was responding. I asked you some specific questions that you may have missed.

You're cobbling together an idiosyncratic definition of religion. I think Lava's even being too generous here in terms of a word acquiring a meaning through common use. Radar, you're religious according to the dictionary definition as it stands, 4 out of the 8 that you listed.

"1. a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, esp. when considered as the creation of a superhuman agency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs."

While it appears you're looking for wiggle room on the "usually involving devotional and ritual observances", the rest of this certainly applies to you. Heck, it's what almost every post on this blog has you championing!

"2. a specific fundamental set of beliefs and practices generally agreed upon by a number of persons or sects: the Christian religion; the Buddhist religion."

You're a member of a group that holds "a specific fundamental set of beliefs and practices", right? You rub elbows with them every Sunday. You believe Jesus was the Son of God, died on the cross then rose from the dead and went to Heaven, etc., you go to church on Sunday and so on.

Right?

"5. the practice of religious beliefs; ritual observance of faith."

Do you go to mass on Sundays?

"6. something one believes in and follows devotedly; a point or matter of ethics or conscience: to make a religion of fighting prejudice."

I think you're on board with this one, right?

"8. Archaic. strict faithfulness; devotion: a religion to one's vow."

I take it you're on board with this one, since you called it "on point".

And can we take it that you are strictly faithful and devoted to Jesus?

And as I asked before: you follow the Christian moral code, don't you? Ten Commandments, Sermon on the Mount?

It's one thing to voice disapproval of the church establishment (though as I understand it, both you and Debbie are heavily involved in your local church right now, correct?), it's another thing to take that to the level of finding the label of religion to religious behavior unwanted and unwarranted.

-- creeper

Anonymous said...

Dear Creeper, does your moral code make you religious? I'm sure you don't lie, cheat, steal, murder, commit adultery, dishonor your parents and treat other people as you would like to be treated. And if you did any of those things you would feel bad about it and also disapprove of other people who do those things. Why?

Debbie

highboy said...

I'm not even sure I get why creeper is so interested in whether or not radar is/isn't religious.

Anonymous said...

Dear Creeper, Scientists can observe and experiment and make theories based on these things. When it comes to unrepeatable past events the scientist needs to examine all the evidence with an open mind. Excluding God is not scientific. So far scientifically we know that life did not come from non-life.

Debbie

Anonymous said...

Highboy,

"I'm not even sure I get why creeper is so interested in whether or not radar is/isn't religious."

I'm not sure I'd qualify it as "interested" apropos of nothing, it just seems like such a gobsmacking contradiction for Radar to claim after everything he has posted on this blog that he is not religious.

-- creeper

Anonymous said...

Debbie,

My moral code doesn't make me religious since, unlike Radar (and despite his claims to the contrary), I don't stick to my moral code (such as it is) to appease a deity.

-- creeper

highboy said...

"I'm not sure I'd qualify it as "interested" apropos of nothing, it just seems like such a gobsmacking contradiction for Radar to claim after everything he has posted on this blog that he is not religious."

You claim radar has a moral code to appease a deity, when radar clearly stated its not to appease God, but out of love for Him. That is the difference between what the Pharisees made out of the Law and what Jesus declared was the Law's real intention.

Anonymous said...

Debbie,

"Scientists can observe and experiment and make theories based on these things. When it comes to unrepeatable past events the scientist needs to examine all the evidence with an open mind. Excluding God is not scientific. So far scientifically we know that life did not come from non-life."

You were making sense until the last two sentences.

Actually, a scientist always needs to examine all the evidence with an open mind. I know that Christianists quickly jump to the conclusion that scientists who disagree with them are part of a vast conspiracy, but have you ever considered the rewards that a scientist can receive if he can upset the status quo by presenting a falsifiable hypothesis that counters the scientific status quo? You're talking fame along the lines of Newton, Einstein and, yes, Darwin.

The motivation here is clearly in favor of finding a way to upset the status quo; the excuse that is routinely trotted out by Christianists is that there is some big conspiracy by atheists who supposedly wish to not be accountable to God for their vastly sinful lives. But why bother with such a conspiracy when society clearly shows that it's fine to be Christian and still have a sinful life, as long as you go to confession once a week and make sure you repent on your deathbed?

Christianity has that part licked. There's no need for atheism as far as that goes.

Unless of course, you just plain don't believe in God.

Now let's examine the logic of "excluding God is not scientific". It then follows that excluding any deity is not scientific. If you disagree, see my question above of how (just by way of example) a Christian, a Mormon and a Scientologist would scientifically settle their differences. Should we take it, on anybody's say-so, that God, Allah, Jupiter, Zeus etc. all exist, without a smidgen of evidence for any of them? That's not particularly scientific.

Have a think about your statement: "Excluding God is not scientific." Did you perhaps really mean to say something like "excluding any possible conclusion deriving from the data is not scientific", or did you mean something like "God should be the conclusion"? Or something in between? I'd love to hear if you have a more specific statement that more clearly expresses your thoughts.

Supernatural entities are not excluded from science on a whim; they are not included (which is subtly different from excluded) because they are untestable hypotheses. If we ponder some scientific question, and the answer eludes us from the present set of knowledge, should we automatically opt for "God" as the default answer? (Or perhaps Zeus?)

If so, how would that be scientific? Keep in mind that science proceeds from observation outwards, instead of from foregone conclusions inwards.

"So far scientifically we know that life did not come from non-life."

I refer you back to your earlier statement: "When it comes to unrepeatable past events the scientist needs to examine all the evidence with an open mind."

Scientifically we do not "know" that life came from non-life. (If you think we scientifically know that, please explain your reasoning.)

We know that life exists, yes, and from the evidence before us we know that life as we know it at one point didn't exist. So at some point non-life became life. I think that, at the very least, is something we can agree on: non-life became life.

How this is possible is a question to be investigated further, but I think your claim that "scientifically we know that life did not come from non-life" is a false claim.

You may well believe that "life didn't come from non-life", but if that is the case, then where did life come from?

Life?

Can you see how that doesn't answer the question - it just evades it - and is therefore completely unscientific?

-- creeper

Anonymous said...

"You claim radar has a moral code to appease a deity, when radar clearly stated its not to appease God, but out of love for Him. That is the difference between what the Pharisees made out of the Law and what Jesus declared was the Law's real intention."

Hm, methinks this is really quibbling...

If your motivation for following a moral code is that it is because of love for God (or any other deity), I think that pretty firmly makes you a religious person.

And as an afterthought, I wonder why you're so interested in whether or not Radar is/isn't religious.

Later dude,

-- creeper

Anonymous said...

Correction:

Two posts above, I wrote:

"Scientifically we do not "know" that life came from non-life."

This should have read:

"Scientifically we do not "know" that life did not come from non-life."

Sorry, my bad,

-- creeper

highboy said...

"Hm, methinks this is really quibbling...

If your motivation for following a moral code is that it is because of love for God (or any other deity), I think that pretty firmly makes you a religious person.

And as an afterthought, I wonder why you're so interested in whether or not Radar is/isn't religious.

Later dude,"

Its not quibbling, its a matter of definition. None of the definitions of religion posted have anything to do with adhering to a moral code out of love for any deity, so you're simply wrong. My interest lies in my fascination at the amount of nit-picking over word-salad that goes on in many of radar's posts. Fascinating indeed.

Thanks dude.

Anonymous said...

"None of the definitions of religion posted have anything to do with adhering to a moral code out of love for any deity, so you're simply wrong"

???

Radar clearly falls under all the pertinent definitions above, but somehow because he claims his motivation for doing this is out of love for a deity (which is what I suspect most religious people have as their motivation to begin with), that somehow makes him not religious?!

Bizarre.

-- creeper

Anonymous said...

OK, so I'm not sure about the accuracy of this info - I don't really have time to research it right now - and I'm sure that radar will claim that most prisoners don't qualify as "true" Christians anyway, but I found this article to be quite interesting in terms of Radar's past lies/ignorance relative to the religious beliefs of prison populations.

http://www.skepticfiles.org/american/prison.htm

Radar, you have said on many occasions that you believe the bible to be the word of god. How does this fact alone jive with your claims of being anti-religious? As creeper pointed out, you can't just make up definitions for common words and then expect anyone to know what the crap you are talking about. You are a "youth pastor" for goodness sakes. Seriously man, get over yourself.

Debbie, I really hope you are reading and thinking about what creeper is saying above. What is it that makes your religious claims that are completely unsupported by evidence any different from unsupported claims of a Scientologist or Mormon? Hopefully you are paying attention and will soon stop embarrassing yourself with ignorant post, after ignorant post (and by this I'm mostly referring to the stuff you wrote about homosexuals, that scohen blasted you for, although this is some good stuff too).

Oh and highboy, your comments on the Canadian heath care sysem alone (ignoring all the other ignorant garbage you post) really demonstrates the fact that you are either able to hold ridiculously strong opinions on topics about which you know absolutely nothing, or that you simply "buy" everything told to you by your "conservative" masters (i.e paid lobbyists for the health care industry). Either way, you come across as a complete ignoramus. In fact IMO, you are exactly what is frightening about the fringes of the American right wing. The levels of intellectual laziness and dishonesty on display among you and your cohorts is simply amazing. Want some proof? Well, here you go.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lUPMjC9mq5Y&feature=player_embedded

- Canucklehead

P.S. - @ Lava, RE: Radar and creeper being one in the same, yeah that would be serious amount of work for a very small audience of neo-darwinist commenters such as ourselves. Although personally, I can say that I've never seen them both in the same place at the same time, so we definitely can't really rule out the possibility. ;)

Anonymous said...

creeper asked:

"Now let's examine the logic of "excluding God is not scientific". It then follows that excluding any deity is not scientific."

You can exclude deities on the basis of historical evidence. Scientology and Mormonism are easily examined. Ancient pagan mythologies have long been abandoned.

( creeper: Have a think about your statement: "Excluding God is not scientific." Did you perhaps really mean to say something like "excluding any possible conclusion deriving from the data is not scientific",)

Yes, we can experiment and observe. Where can you go beyond that without a leap of faith? In the beginning ..... what? You have to believe something. I just happen to believe Jesus on the basis of historical evidence and personal experience.

I can observe the undeniable scientific fact, death. Jesus died and rose from the dead and promises me eternal life I believe him.

Creeper, where does your faith lead? Are you really enjoying your life and what the future holds for you?

See what Solomon said, Ecclesiastes 2: 10 I denied myself nothing my eyes desired;
I refused my heart no pleasure.
My heart took delight in all my work,
and this was the reward for all my labor.

11 Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done
and what I had toiled to achieve,
everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind;
nothing was gained under the sun.
Wisdom and Folly Are Meaningless
12 Then I turned my thoughts to consider wisdom,
and also madness and folly.
What more can the king's successor do
than what has already been done?

13 I saw that wisdom is better than folly,
just as light is better than darkness.

14 The wise man has eyes in his head,
while the fool walks in the darkness;
but I came to realize
that the same fate overtakes them both.

15 Then I thought in my heart,
"The fate of the fool will overtake me also.
What then do I gain by being wise?"
I said in my heart,
"This too is meaningless."

16 For the wise man, like the fool, will not be long remembered;
in days to come both will be forgotten.
Like the fool, the wise man too must die!

...Debbie

Anonymous said...

And Debbie's response to creeper's thoughtful queries is... drumroll please...

Bible quotes.

**facepalm**

I also love how "the begnning" is always trotted out by the religious as an answer to absolutely everything (atheism, evolution, you name it). As if their answer of "God did it" is some kind of evidentiary Trump card. Just because science doesn't currently have an answer to a certain question, doesn't automatically mean that your "guess" based on no verifiable evidence whatsoever, actually holds water, Debbie.

- Canucklehead

Anonymous said...

creeper is thoughtful, lava is thoughtful, scohen is thoughtful, and then there is cnucklehead... Every time I read comments on this blog and it is just a childish rant I say "Aaah it's just cnucklehead again." No response required.

Debbie the delusional dimwit.

Anonymous said...

Debbie,

" You can exclude deities on the basis of historical evidence. Scientology and Mormonism are easily examined."

Glad to hear it. So, um, well... examine them then. On what basis can you say to a Mormon or a Scientologist that their beliefs are wrong?

You are aware that the simple statement "Scientology and Mormonism are easily examined" doesn't answer the question at all, right?

I take it that your statement that we can “exclude deities on the basis of historical evidence” was a slip of the tongue. God is, after all, a deity, and while I and many others have concluded that a personified God can indeed be excluded on the basis of historical evidence, it’s probably safe to assume that you’re not quite there yet.

"Ancient pagan mythologies have long been abandoned."

I'm confused. Are you claiming that the fact that people no longer believe in them proves they are untrue?

So... if people believed in them, they'd be true?

(And I take it that you are aware that believers in pagan mythologies are by no means extinct? And that their numbers are growing?)

"Yes, we can experiment and observe. Where can you go beyond that without a leap of faith?"

What we find beyond experimentation and observation is, I guess, uncertainty. There are things we just don’t know from our current perspective. Uncertainty doesn’t take a leap of faith. And to sweep aside the uncertainty, I could pretend “certainty” by proclaiming faith, which is simply asserting, without any basis, that something that was uncertain ("where does the universe come from?") is certain ("God did it").

"In the beginning ..... what? You have to believe something."

In the beginning... I was born into this world.

I have to believe something. Really? Fine, being a homo sapiens such as I am, I believe various things. But are you really saying that I have to believe in some kind of supernatural cause simply to explain an event that we are simply unable to explain from our current perspective?

Sorry to disappoint you, but I don't have to "believe something" at all. I can just as easily say "this is something we don't know enough about yet".

"I just happen to believe Jesus on the basis of historical evidence and personal experience."

The historical evidence is slim. It allows us to conclude (not absolutely, but with a reasonable degree of certainty) that a person called Jesus existed and that he was a leader of some kind among the Jews of Palestine about 2000 years ago (and that’s just about all we know from the only non-Biblical historical source). Personally I suspect Jesus was a sort of Gandhi of his day, an important leader with an inspiring message.

But the whole thing about the virgin birth, turning water into wine, the raising of the dead, the rising from the dead, etc...

Zero historical evidence.

None whatsoever.

It just ain’t there.

Now...

... let's see you square off against the Mormon and the Scientologist.

-- creeper

Anonymous said...

"I can observe the undeniable scientific fact, death. Jesus died and rose from the dead and promises me eternal life I believe him."

Yes, we observe death. It's all around us and it's inevitable.

Death is abhorrent to us.

No doubt about that.

Enter an inspiring figure making promises of everlasting life, of immortality.

And you believe him... amazing.

Look, I have no doubt that wishful thinking is a powerful force. But wishing alone don’t make it so.

"Creeper, where does your faith lead? Are you really enjoying your life and what the future holds for you?"

Interesting that you should now argue from the outcome. What would I like the outcome to be, and - as a result of that - which facts should I find acceptable?

But we don't have the luxury to start with that. Heck yes, I'd love to be immortal, live in paradise, be rewarded for all eternity...

... and here’s someone telling me that if I believe what’s written in this book, I get to have all that –

- after I die -

- a bit late then to find out I've been hoodwinked, but that's exactly why this myth has been able to prevail for so long. I understand why it's tempting all right.

Maybe it's surprising to you, but I am enjoying my life and I have no qualms about what the future holds for me. Unlike the caricature often conjured up by Radar and other Christianists, I don't take atheism to be an excuse for amorality/immorality, and neither does any other atheist I know. I don't feel a big gap because I don't believe in God. On the contrary, I feel calm and at ease because I don't have to carry the burden of vast cognitive dissonances around with me to sustain a fantasy. When scientific evidence shows, for example, that the Earth is older than 6,000 years, I don't have to scramble to figure out how that relates to the literal interpretation of a religious text, nor do I have to put blinkers on and pretend there are enormous conspiracies at play.

As for “what the future holds for me”... I take it you're aware there's a few Christians out there who expected the Rapture to take place a couple of days ago?

I wonder how they felt about what the future held for them.

I wonder how they're feeling now that that didn't happen.

Your obvious reply to this would of course be that they misinterpreted the Bible.

To which my obvious question would be: how can they misinterpret an absolute religious text?

"See what Solomon said, Ecclesiastes 2: 10 I denied myself nothing my eyes desired;
I refused my heart no pleasure.
My heart took delight in all my work,
and this was the reward for all my labor.

11 Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done
and what I had toiled to achieve,
everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind;
nothing was gained under the sun.
Wisdom and Folly Are Meaningless
12 Then I turned my thoughts to consider wisdom,
and also madness and folly.
What more can the king's successor do
than what has already been done?

13 I saw that wisdom is better than folly,
just as light is better than darkness.

14 The wise man has eyes in his head,
while the fool walks in the darkness;
but I came to realize
that the same fate overtakes them both.

15 Then I thought in my heart,
"The fate of the fool will overtake me also.
What then do I gain by being wise?"
I said in my heart,
"This too is meaningless."

16 For the wise man, like the fool, will not be long remembered;
in days to come both will be forgotten.
Like the fool, the wise man too must die!

...Debbie"


Indeed. I wonder if the Christians who expected the Rapture a few days ago felt like fools the next day, instead of wise men.

It's a nice Bible quote, Debbie, if ultimately not that helpful, since I'm sure you see yourself as being on the side of the wise in this scenario, while I would read the text as being inconveniently ambiguous in that regard...

But the final paragraph nails it. In the end, it doesn't matter: both the wise man and the fool are forgotten.

-- creeper

highboy said...

"Oh and highboy, your comments on the Canadian heath care sysem alone (ignoring all the other ignorant garbage you post) really demonstrates the fact that you are either able to hold ridiculously strong opinions on topics about which you know absolutely nothing, or that you simply "buy" everything told to you by your "conservative" masters (i.e paid lobbyists for the health care industry). Either way, you come across as a complete ignoramus. In fact IMO, you are exactly what is frightening about the fringes of the American right wing. The levels of intellectual laziness and dishonesty on display among you and your cohorts is simply amazing. Want some proof? Well, here you go."

I know for a fact that if I have a scheduled appointment at 10:00 am in canada, that I will wait until roughly 3:00 pm until I'm even seen. I know for a fact that children are dying in waiting rooms every flu season in Canada at an alarming rate. I know that Canada has a doctor shortage in Canada. I know for a fact that surgeries can take up to 3 years to be scheduled. These are facts. If you can refute them please do so. But unless you can somehow brainwash me into thinking that I didn't live in Canada, didn't have a son born in Canada and didn't see/experience these things first hand, you'll have a hard time selling it. You can keep your universal healthcare in that worthless iceberg of a country, we don't need it here.

highboy said...

"The historical evidence is slim. It allows us to conclude (not absolutely, but with a reasonable degree of certainty) that a person called Jesus existed and that he was a leader of some kind among the Jews of Palestine about 2000 years ago (and that’s just about all we know from the only non-Biblical historical source). Personally I suspect Jesus was a sort of Gandhi of his day, an important leader with an inspiring message.

But the whole thing about the virgin birth, turning water into wine, the raising of the dead, the rising from the dead, etc...

Zero historical evidence.

None whatsoever.

It just ain’t there."

There are enough reliable eyewitness accounts to give it consideration.

highboy said...

"- a bit late then to find out I've been hoodwinked, but that's exactly why this myth has been able to prevail for so long. I understand why it's tempting all right."

Or, it could be the fact that human reason from beginning to now has rightly deduced that some supernatural force does indeed exist. Its actually quite interesting how the elite minority of the planet who call themselves skeptics see the rest of the vast majority of the human race as suffering from some "wishful thinking" delusion. It is every bit as logical for one to look at how wonderfully complex the construction of the universe is and conclude that someone intentionally designed it than otherwise. You are simply assuming as most skeptics do that the majority of theists are theists out of a desire for hope beyond this life and its simply that: an assumption.

Anonymous said...

Highboy,

"There are enough reliable eyewitness accounts to give it consideration."

Remind me of any circumstances in which eyewitness accounts not committed to writing until decades after the fact are considered reliable. You're talking exaggeration, hearsay, faulty memory...

And who exactly were the eyewitnesses for the virgin birth and the Nativity? Not the authors of the gospels at any rate.

By the way, how would you convince the Mormon and the Scientologist that their religious texts are false?

-- creeper

Anonymous said...

"Or, it could be the fact that human reason from beginning to now has rightly deduced that some supernatural force does indeed exist."

"has rightly deduced" should read "has deduced". Unless you can now prove the existence of God.

"Its actually quite interesting how the elite minority of the planet who call themselves skeptics see the rest of the vast majority of the human race as suffering from some "wishful thinking" delusion."

Thank you for thinking of the skeptical minority as the elite.

"It is every bit as logical for one to look at how wonderfully complex the construction of the universe is and conclude that someone intentionally designed it than otherwise."

Ah, the old Argument from Design never gets old, does it?

"You are simply assuming as most skeptics do that the majority of theists are theists out of a desire for hope beyond this life and its simply that: an assumption."

I don't know if there is any research into this area, but I don't assume that that is the only factor - though I suspect strongly that it is a motivating factor, if not the only one.

-- creeper

Anonymous said...

Highboy says, "You can keep your universal healthcare in that worthless iceberg of a country, we don't need it here." Stay classy, highboy. Stay classy. Not sure why my comments caused you to insult an entire country but, I guess I'll tell everyone you said hello. Now, while your experience in Canada seems impressive, I was born here and have lived here all my life (30+ years), and practically everyone I know is Canadian, so my experience is actually much broader than yours. Do you really think that I'd be advocating for a system that wasn't actually providing proper care to all of my friends and family? I have two kids and every year they actually get free flu shots to help prevent the flu, as opposed to the ones you "know for a fact... are dying in waiting rooms every flu season in Canada at an alarming rate". How about backing this statement up, with anything resembling a "fact"? Didn't think so. I also wonder where your "alarm" and outrage is over the millions of Americans that receive no health care whatsoever, or the ones that go bankrupt when they actually have to use your system? Oh I forgot, according to you, all poor people are lazy screw-ups that reap what they sew, right. How about their children, why do they not deserve health care? It really amazes me when "christians" such as yourself, get all worked up over "life" before it leaves the womb but once you take that first breath of air, you're on your own kid. Per the title of Radar's post, how, exactly do you "square that circle", hb? Now, if you really do think you "don't need" some form of Universal healthcare down there, then as I said already, you have proved my point and are exactly the kind of idiot on display in the video I posted earlier. And have already been brainwashed. Like the people in the video, you have heard anecdotal and largely untrue stories about health care and believe them to be fact, and then further propagate the story by spreading this disinformation around, despite an "alarming" lack of knowledge on the topic. Like, for example, this ridiculous lie that has been bouncing around the conservative blogosphere the last few months,

http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2009/7/19/755113/-Another-Healthcare-Lie,-and-the-Lying-Liar-Thats-Telling-It

Oh and if you want to really understand the myths being spread around your country by those with a vested interest in keeping your system private, feel free to check out this link for a bit of an education hb.

http://www.pnhp.org/news/2008/february/10_myths_about_canad.php

Sure there are wait times in Canada for non life threatening ailments (although no where near the fabricated numbers you throw around), but that's because the more serious patients are set at a higher priority, which to me makes sense. Not to you though, right? Why do you think it's so much better to prioritize heath care delivery based on, essentially, who makes more money or has a better job?

Oh and Debbie, sorry if I hurt your feelings with that last post. It's just that, as creeper and scohen have pointed out, you tend to regularly contradict yourself, sometimes within a single paragraph or sentence. So, I just feel that you haven't really thought through some of your positions very well. I have no doubt that you are probably a kind and loving person to those close to you, I just think you haven't really thought through how offensive and ignorant some of your closely held beliefs really are. By-the-way, I'm sure creeper is glad to hear that you think he's thoughtful, because Radar calls him a troll. Nice to see that you and I both know he's not one.

Oh and Radar, where's that post on Ice Cores that all of us "regular commenters" have been asking for? Come on man, what are you, some kind of chicken? Don't make me start clucking...

- Canucklehead

highboy said...

"Remind me of any circumstances in which eyewitness accounts not committed to writing until decades after the fact are considered reliable. You're talking exaggeration, hearsay, faulty memory..."

Than you're willing to call into question all ancient literature such as Alexander's earliest biography, written 400 years after his death and with even less archaeological and corroborative evidence than any of the 4 Gospels?

"Ah, the old Argument from Design never gets old, does it?"

Of course not. Its perfectly logical. Simply dismissing a design because you can't see who designed it would be the opposite.

"Thank you for thinking of the skeptical minority as the elite."

Elite meaning minute compared to the vast majority of the human race who's reason deduced there is a supernatural being residing over all. If you somehow want to argue that the human reasoning of the small number of skeptics is somehow superior to the rest of the human species, I'd love to see it.

highboy said...

"Do you really think that I'd be advocating for a system that wasn't actually providing proper care to all of my friends and family?"

Yes, because that is exactly what you're doing.

"I also wonder where your "alarm" and outrage is over the millions of Americans that receive no health care whatsoever,"

Show me one American being denied healthcare. You can't, because there aren't any. We even offer healthcare to people who aren't even legal citizens. There is no one receiving no healthcare treatment whatsoever. Prove otherwise.

"Oh I forgot, according to you, all poor people are lazy screw-ups that reap what they sew, right."

Or, they are poor people who reside in a country where all 50 states have a welfare system, and every single one of them offer healthcare coverage to those who can't afford it. Next.

"How about their children, why do they not deserve health care? It really amazes me when "christians" such as yourself, get all worked up over "life" before it leaves the womb but once you take that first breath of air, you're on your own kid."

Not one single child in any of our 50 states is being denied healthcare anywhere. As a matter of fact, they even covered my own half-Canadian child for free even though he had no social security card at the time. Not one single child anywhere has been denied healthcare, unless their parent/guardian simply didn't fill out the paperwork. For someone who gets pissed about "myths" in their healthcare system, you sure have a lot of your own.

"Why do you think it's so much better to prioritize heath care delivery based on, essentially, who makes more money or has a better job?"

Its not better, you're right, which is why that doesn't happen here in America. Which is why someone working for KFC making minimum wage can get their child the same quality treatment that someone making over $500,000 per year can. Much better than the way Canada prioritizes: Everyone take a number and get in line, and if you die in the meantime, we sincerely apologize.

highboy said...

From a former doctor in Canada: "My health-care prejudices crumbled not in the classroom but on the way to one. On a subzero Winnipeg morning in 1997, I cut across the hospital emergency room to shave a few minutes off my frigid commute. Swinging open the door, I stepped into a nightmare: the ER overflowed with elderly people on stretchers, waiting for admission. Some, it turned out, had waited five days. The air stank with sweat and urine. Right then, I began to reconsider everything that I thought I knew about Canadian health care. I soon discovered that the problems went well beyond overcrowded ERs. Patients had to wait for practically any diagnostic test or procedure, such as the man with persistent pain from a hernia operation whom we referred to a pain clinic—with a three-year wait list; or the woman needing a sleep study to diagnose what seemed like sleep apnea, who faced a two-year delay; or the woman with breast cancer who needed to wait four months for radiation therapy, when the standard of care was four weeks."

"My book’s thesis was simple: to contain rising costs, government-run health-care systems invariably restrict the health-care supply. Thus, at a time when Canada’s population was aging and needed more care, not less, cost-crunching bureaucrats had reduced the size of medical school classes, shuttered hospitals, and capped physician fees, resulting in hundreds of thousands of patients waiting for needed treatment—patients who suffered and, in some cases, died from the delays. The only solution, I concluded, was to move away from government command-and-control structures and toward a more market-oriented system. To capture Canadian health care’s growing crisis, I called my book Code Blue, the term used when a patient’s heart stops and hospital staff must leap into action to save him. Though I had a hard time finding a Canadian publisher, the book eventually came out in 1999 from a small imprint; it struck a nerve, going through five printings."

"Nor were the problems I identified unique to Canada—they characterized all government-run health-care systems. Consider the recent British controversy over a cancer patient who tried to get an appointment with a specialist, only to have it canceled—48 times. More than 1 million Britons must wait for some type of care, with 200,000 in line for longer than six months. A while back, I toured a public hospital in Washington, D.C., with Tim Evans, a senior fellow at the Centre for the New Europe. The hospital was dark and dingy, but Evans observed that it was cleaner than anything in his native England. In France, the supply of doctors is so limited that during an August 2003 heat wave—when many doctors were on vacation and hospitals were stretched beyond capacity—15,000 elderly citizens died. Across Europe, state-of-the-art drugs aren’t available. And so on."

"But single-payer systems—confronting dirty hospitals, long waiting lists, and substandard treatment—are starting to crack. Today my book wouldn’t seem so provocative to Canadians, whose views on public health care are much less rosy than they were even a few years ago. Canadian newspapers are now filled with stories of people frustrated by long delays for care:

vow broken on cancer wait times: most hospitals across canada fail to meet ottawa’s four-week guideline for radiation
patients wait as p.e.t. scans used in animal experiments
back patients waiting years for treatment: study
the doctor is . . . out

As if a taboo had lifted, government statistics on the health-care system’s problems are suddenly available. In fact, government researchers have provided the best data on the doctor shortage, noting, for example, that more than 1.5 million Ontarians (or 12 percent of that province’s population) can’t find family physicians. Health officials in one Nova Scotia community actually resorted to a lottery to determine who’d get a doctor’s appointment."

Here's the link: http://www.city-journal.org/html/17_3_canadian_healthcare.html

highboy said...

Here's the best one:

"A letter from the Moncton Hospital to a New Brunswick heart patient in need of an electrocardiogram said the appointment would be in three months. It added: "If the person named on this computer- generated letter is deceased, please accept our sincere apologies."

The patient wasn't dead, according to the doctor who showed the letter to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity.

While telling the patients to wait, the system also apologizes for their deaths - in the same computer-generated letter. At least the health care bureaucracy is efficient - covering two equally-likely sets of circumstances with one piece of paper.

Probably next to be included in the letter will be congratulations on a person's birth.

Welcome to the world, please wait for medical treatment, we're sorry you're dead. (signed) Canada Health Care System"

Link: http://interested-participant.blogspot.com/2005/03/national-health-care-computerized.html

Anonymous said...

Highboy,

you are aware that a government-run healthcare system is NOT currently being proposed by any major political party in any of the plans under discussion, right?

-- creeper

Chaos Engineer said...

I'm a bit late but I guess I'll take a stab at this...

I think the root of the confusion is that there are two different and incompatible Christian world-views about morality and salvation, and it's not clear which one you hold.

There's the "universalist" tradition, which teaches that what's important is that you reject sin and embrace virtue. Absolute perfection's impossible, but God will be happy as long as you're making a sincere effort. Matthew 25:31-46 is a good summary of this way of thinking.

There's also the "exclusivist" tradition, where what's important is that you believe the right things. If you want to get into Heaven with a minimum of effort, you have to learn and recite the Sinner's Prayer, and then you're safe as long as you make a half-hearted attempt to reject a few sins every once in a while.

I call this "exclusivist" because the offer of salvation doesn't go to everyone. It goes to the people who are smart enough or lucky enough to be able to figure out that the Sinner's Prayer is the only possible way to salvation. (The reason for this is a bit of a mystery. The Calvinist view is that there are some people that God just doesn't like, and so He won't permit them to be saved.)

For most of your essay, you seem to be pushing the universalist view; but there are a couple of places where you seem to be falling into exclusivism. Like this bit:

I am going to Heaven because I belong to God, not because I go to church or teach teenagers or give money to my church and to missions and all that stuff.

Which implies that you wouldn't be going to Heaven if you'd had the misfortune to be born in Asia and had converted to Buddhism instead of Christianity.

I guess I'll finish up by posting a link to my very favorite essay over at Slacktivist, The Rise of the Anti-Huck. It graphically points out the difference between the exclusivist focus on salvation (as shown in the "Left Behind" books) and the universalist focus on morality (as shown in "Huckleberry Finn").

Anonymous said...

Thanks for pointing that out creeper, in fact that's actually the first myth exposed in the second link that I posted, "Myth #1. Canada’s health care system is “socialized medicine.”".
Let me know when you check back in to reality hb. More anecdotal unprovable propaganda brought to you by health insurance industry. Believe that garbage at your peril. No one in America has been denied coverage, and no child goes without health care? Really? What about the bankruptcies caused by denied coverage? None of that happens either, I suppose? The stupidity, it burns. Again, if you think that you know more about the Canadian health care system than a Canadian who actually uses it then you are simply delusional (but I guess that's no surprise to anyone reading this - even Radar doesn't back up your crap). You are so brainwashed by your ridiculous ideologies to do any thinking for yourself. Copy, paste, copy, paste. I say take a look at what the other side is saying hb. In the end, your major beef is likely that abortions are covered under our system and you will say absolutely anything to prevent that from happening in the states.

- Canucklehead

radar said...

http://www.weaselzippers.net/blog/2009/09/michelle-obama-on-health-care-current-situation-is-unacceptable-as-vp-of-university-of-chicago-medic.html

Imagine what it will be like if the Obamas have anything to do with healthcare in this country!!! Some animals will be more equal than others.

Unless you have an Obama involved, in this country you get health care whether you are insured or not. Afterwards you may have problems with the bills and may even find yourself declaring bankruptcy, but you will be alive and well to do it. Heck, you could have a half a million in bills, declare bankruptcy, and start over again.

I no longer have insurance but rather my company pays me a small stipend every month towards my health expenses. I go into the hospital without insurance and nobody blinks (this happened last year when I had that MRSA infection). The doctors treated me with no insurance and made apppointments for me. I got top quality care. I paid my bills after service with cash, but they got nothing in advance and had no guarantee they would get anything. In this country that is how it is done.

You can decry Highboy but his sources are correct and his observations are also correct. One of my co-workers is from Canada and has always made jokes (wryly) about the health care system there. He moved to the US and became a citizen so he could have his children and wife cared for by US doctors. Smart man!

radar said...

Yes, I am going to address this stuff in detail tonight!

Chaos Engineer said...

Heck, you could have a half a million in bills, declare bankruptcy, and start over again.

Um, excuse me! There's no such thing as a free lunch!

You can declare bankruptcy, but the hospital still has to pay their employees. If they can't get the money from you, then they'll have to raise their rates to cover their losses. That means that they'll bill my insurance company more, and that means my insurance company is going to raise my premiums.

Now, I'm not a complete jerk, so I don't mind paying a little bit more to help people who are less fortunate and really can't afford insurance.

But I draw the line at supporting people who make perfectly good money and refuse to buy health insurance, especially when they're smiling and saying, "If doctors do a half-million dollars worth of work to save my life, I'll just declare bankruptcy and get some other poor sucker to pay for it."

Grrr! This is just one of the many reasons that we need health insurance reform right now.

radar said...

Bad form, Chaos! I do not have insurance because I pay cash for my treatment and my hospital and doctor bills got paid a lot faster than if they had to wait for insurance payments. In fact most of them gave me a small cash discount! So take your indignation and stifle it. Like I plan on getting a terrible disease that costs hundreds of thousands of dollars and plan to gleefully add to your health care costs? Get real.

I get a company health stipend in lieu of a regular insurance and it comes down to pretty much the same thing. My doctor happens to prefer me paying them cash and his clinic charges me less because I reduce their paperwork and they get their money right away.

I am referring to the fact that someone can be without insurance and still get care. There is no way a poor person gets thrown away from a non-Obama run hospital because they have no insurance. Hospitals are required to treat all patients for serious injuries and illnesses. We are not talking about cosmetic surgery and so on.

If you think your hospital bills are higher because of deadbeat patients, think again. The bigger rise in costs involves insurance against medical malpractice suits, which has burdened all doctors terribly. The John Edwards Tort Lawyer Brigade has been the biggest healthcare cost booster, not indigent patients. Go ahead and ask your doctor which factor has raised HIS costs, I dare you.

If you think that it will be cheaper to involves layers of bureaucracy run by politicians who suck billions of dollars out of the taxpayers just to manage ANYTHING in the cause of universal health care then you are at the very least greatly mistaken. You have got to be kidding me!

Look at the disaster that is the Social Security System. Money for retirement is being doled out for fifty thousand other things, the system is more like a Ponzi scheme rather than an investment, all of us nearing retirement age would have been much better off having individual retirement accounts with half the pay-in.

Your so-called umbrage at people scamming the system and declaring bankruptcy is a false alarm. I gave that as a worst case scenario and guess what? Most families would prefer dealing with bankruptcy and a living relative than dealing with a government-run system and a dead relative. Anyone who care about the quality of life will reject government run healthcare out of hand because triage will begin at the emergency room door and you will NOT like it.

radar said...

Oh, and I actually said that ice cores are one of the issues I would LEAST wish to address because of the incredibly speculative and subjective nature of the analysis thereof. You can pretty much make ice cores tell you whatever you are looking for but there are no reliable historic markers going back far enough to use them for dating purposes. That is why you guys love ice cores, because it is easy to cobble together an hypothesis that yields a long age result.

Anonymous said...

"Oh, and I actually said that ice cores are one of the issues I would LEAST wish to address because of the incredibly speculative and subjective nature of the analysis thereof."

Did you say that before or after you said you would completely rebut ice core evidence? Or was it after you tried and failed to rebut it?

There may be (relatively) small areas of speculation once you get to extremely deep/old layers (we're talking hundreds of thousands of layers), but there is nothing speculative or subjective about them indicating an Earth far older than 10,000 years.

"You can pretty much make ice cores tell you whatever you are looking for but there are no reliable historic markers going back far enough to use them for dating purposes."

The historic markers confirm that ice cores are accurate reflections of annual variation as far back as they go, which serves as confirmation of the accuracy of ice cores beyond those markers. On occasion there may be a questionable layer, but on the whole there is no plausible explanation that would indicate that the ice core record is off on the order of magnitude that you require for a young Earth. A young Earth would require approx. 130 annual layers being laid down every year, i.e. approx. one layer every three days.

What you're claiming is that ice cores are completely unreliable the moment there are no longer any concurrent markers that we can verify (perfectly reliable until then, utterly unreliable immediately afterwards), which is a pretty transparent attempt to dismiss the evidence without cause.

"That is why you guys love ice cores, because it is easy to cobble together an hypothesis that yields a long age result."

It is not only easy to "cobble together" a hypothesis that yields a long age result, since that is where the evidence leads (also supported by other dating techniques, of course)...

... it's impossible to explain the evidence of ice core layers in a way that arrives at a short age result.

Perhaps you've already forgotten that quite recently you completely failed to refute the evidence of ice cores, despite your boast that you would do so.

Your attempt at rebuttal ("study of ice cores shows that many, perhaps hundreds of layers can be formed in one year") turned out to be a dead end based on you having misread an article.

But here we are, not much later, and you're already making vague claims dismissing ice cores that you can't back up.

If you want to be completely unscientific and reason from the conclusion backwards (i.e. you want the world to be no more than 6,000 years old), then you would have to come up with a plausible hypothesis that would explain by what mechanism that many layers could have formed, and then look for verification of that mechanism.

As before, I invite you to apply your considerable intellect to Radiometric Dating from a Christian Perspective. It contains some interesting information about dating techniques and addresses a number of misconceptions. And it's not written by a raving atheist.

-- creeper

Anonymous said...

"Like I plan on getting a terrible disease that costs hundreds of thousands of dollars and plan to gleefully add to your health care costs?"

Nobody plans major health disasters, obviously.

Why on Earth don't you have health insurance?! You're a medical bankruptcy case waiting to happen ("small stipend every month towards my health expenses"), which makes you a poor ambassador for arguing for the status quo of the healthcare system.

-- creeper

Anonymous said...

Creeper, going back to the historical evidence for the bible and the life of Jesus Christ Highboy expressed it well. There is no other book that has stood up to as much critical scrutiny then the bible. I don't believe that the apostles waited decades after the events to write about them the Apostle Paul made a point to refer to all the witnesses to Christ's resurrection who were still around when he wrote his first letter to the Corinthians. But you are content just to dismiss their testimony. OK. But we can examine other books that claim to be the word of God and see if they can stand up to criticism as well as the bible.

Joseph Smith the founder of the Mormon religion was an interesting character. He claimed to see visions of angles and God. You can read his writings he uses the bible to give himself authority. In fact portions of the book of Mormon are copied word for word out of the King James Bible. The Book of Mormon claims to be a history of ancient people of America who left no archaeological evidence. His concept of God changes from the Book of Mormon and his other writings. He bought some Egyptian papyri and claimed it was written by Abraham. Later when the papyri was translated by historians who knew how to read hieroglyphics it was a common funeral rite.

L. Ron Hubbard the founder of Scientology was a science fiction writer with a good imagination who has taken some of his ideas from Hinduism. He has his own system of working off bad karma from forgotten past lives.

Here is an interesting comparison between Smith and Hubbard. They both claim that if you follow their religions you get to be a God and create your own universe!
Debbie

Anonymous said...

Debbie,

"Creeper, going back to the historical evidence for the bible and the life of Jesus Christ Highboy expressed it well. There is no other book that has stood up to as much critical scrutiny then the bible."

You say that as if the Bible has been scrutinized and consistently confirmed. A literal interpretation of Genesis is already at odds with scientific discoveries made since it was written, and that's in addition to the Bible's numerous internal contradictions.

"I don't believe that the apostles waited decades after the events to write about them"

For starters: when was Jesus born? Who were the eyewitnesses? When was his birth written about?

"the Apostle Paul made a point to refer to all the witnesses to Christ's resurrection who were still around when he wrote his first letter to the Corinthians."

They were witnesses who encountered Jesus alive after the crucifixion. What about the witnesses who saw Jesus "die" on the cross? The only witnesses mentioned in the bible watched his "death" from a distance, if at all.

"But you are content just to dismiss their testimony. OK."

I'm not content to dismiss their testimony at the drop of a hat, but I do think it must be subjected to the same scrutiny as any other religious text.

And that is the point I'm making after all: you have no qualms about picking holes in the credibility of other religions, but gloss over your own.

"But we can examine other books that claim to be the word of God and see if they can stand up to criticism as well as the bible."

Yes we can, and that was my question. How would you settle your differences with those who believe in other religious texts? You just say that yours has been "subjected to close scrutiny", avoid discussion of the results of that scrutiny (e.g. massive conflicts with present-day scientific knowledge)? Well that wouldn't get you very far, since the other believers would simply reply with similar arguments, and you'd all be at an impasse.

"Joseph Smith the founder of the Mormon religion was an interesting character. He claimed to see visions of angles and God."

And what do you make of that? Do you believe he really saw angels and God?

If not, why don't you believe him?

"You can read his writings he uses the bible to give himself authority. In fact portions of the book of Mormon are copied word for word out of the King James Bible."

Does that make them more or less credible? After all, it wouldn't be the only religious text that borrowed from another religious text. Parts of the Bible itself have similarities with other myths and beliefs that preceded Jesus.

"The Book of Mormon claims to be a history of ancient people of America who left no archaeological evidence. His concept of God changes from the Book of Mormon and his other writings. He bought some Egyptian papyri and claimed it was written by Abraham. Later when the papyri was translated by historians who knew how to read hieroglyphics it was a common funeral rite."

And yet people believed him, right? A religion sprang up as a result.

Do you believe that Smith having a different concept of God detracts from his credibility?

"L. Ron Hubbard the founder of Scientology was a science fiction writer with a good imagination who has taken some of his ideas from Hinduism. He has his own system of working off bad karma from forgotten past lives."

And do you believe his system works? If not, how would you have a discussion with him to determine whether it worked or not?

"Here is an interesting comparison between Smith and Hubbard. They both claim that if you follow their religions you get to be a God and create your own universe!"

Interesting, but it doesn't really tell us more than that religion can appeal to wishful thinking.

-- creeper

Anonymous said...

highboy said:

Its actually quite interesting how the elite minority of the planet who call themselves skeptics see the rest of the vast majority of the human race as suffering from some "wishful thinking" delusion.

Now, you see, that just isn't true. The fact is that EVERYONE sees anyone else who follows a religion differently than his as being delusional.
Example: you, as a Christian, will no doubt agree with me as an atheist when I see the Mormons as suffering from "wishful thinking" delusion because they believe Joseph Smith translated texts on golden plates using see-er stones given to him by the angel Moroni.

The only thing different about atheists is that they are consistent in their skepticism.

Or, to say it with a quote by Stephen Roberts:

“When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours.”

Anonymous said...

Amen to that, Anonymous.

-- creeper

Anonymous said...

And FWIW:

Faith may not move mountains, but you should see what it does to skyscrapers.

-- creeper

highboy said...

"you are aware that a government-run healthcare system is NOT currently being proposed by any major political party in any of the plans under discussion, right?"

Yes, creeper, but a public option would result in the same thing. Or are those of us who are happy with their current coverage also suppose to be happy with paying for healthcare coverage twice?

"No one in America has been denied coverage, and no child goes without health care? Really? What about the bankruptcies caused by denied coverage? None of that happens either, I suppose? The stupidity, it burns. Again, if you think that you know more about the Canadian health care system than a Canadian who actually uses it then you are simply delusional (but I guess that's no surprise to anyone reading this - even Radar doesn't back up your crap)"

Just a few points to respond to your ridiculousness:

1. Your stupid sarcasm in that drawn out little rant still dodged the fact that no child in America is being denied healthcare. I asked you for proof and you provided none. You are a dishonest little troll who makes false accusations and ignores them when proven false.
2. Its not a matter of opinion as to whether or not Canada's healthcare is socialized or not. Its a matter of looking up the word "socialized" in the dictionary.
3. Yes, I know more about your healthcare system then you do. Either that, or you know the facts as they are and are dishonest. A liar or incompetent. I'll let you decide which best describes you. I don't care where you live. Facts are facts, and your healthcare system is a joke. If the thought of an American educating you on your own healthcare system pisses you off, its no different than a Canadian accusing America of not covering children without a shred of evidence, other than the same partyhack sources that they condemn from the other side.
4. None of the links I posted are from insurance companies, so keep wearing your tin foil hat. If you're now accusing the associated press of making up stories about Canada's healthcare system at the behest of healthcare insurance companies, I'd love to see the evidence.
5. Yes, its true that the fact Canada's government pays for stabbing babies in the head with scissors, it wouldn't change my opinion of their healthcare in the slightest if it stopped.

At the end of the day canuck, I like it here in America where I have cheap but dependable healthcare coverage where a doctor is always available to save my life or give me necessary treatment, as opposed to taking a number, getting in line, in hopes that the one underpaid doctor working in the ER will have time or the incentive to stop the bleeding.

highboy said...

"Faith may not move mountains, but you should see what it does to skyscrapers."

I also saw what non faith did to 18,000,000 people under the Stalin regime. 18,000,000 and counting. Not sure what point you're trying to make.

Anonymous said...

I also saw what non faith did to 18,000,000 people under the Stalin regime.

Pray tell, which doctrine of 'non-faith' advocates or in any way instructs people to kill other people?

On a side note: considering the Ben Hartnett comic that Radar included in his article; Hartnett may be a good illustrator, but he's only willing to make the analogy as long as it suits him. If he was really consistent with the analogy, the text in the last frame would have said:
'I love my cat, but I'll torture him if he doesn't acknowledge the fact that I paid for him. Like God loves me, but He will torture me eternally if I don't acknowledge the sacrifice He made for me.'
Yet Hartnett doesn't go there. Surprise, surprise.

I still keep thinking though: Hartnett, Hartnett...why does that name sound familiar?

highboy said...

"Pray tell, which doctrine of 'non-faith' advocates or in any way instructs people to kill other people?"

The doctrine that clearly states that religion is a danger to the lives of humans, so any human guilty of practicing religion has to die. Or are we just going to ignore all the slaughter done in the name of atheism?

PoLiTiCaL AnImAl said...

today's AP Bio class alone confirmed that there is a Creator...Ill talk to you later

Anonymous said...

Atheism, coming from the Greek a meaning 'without' + theos meaning 'god'

Please try again: where exactly does atheism state the doctrine that religious people should die?

Anonymous said...

**Response to highboy Part #1**

ZOMG! I hope you took your heart pills today Tim. Yikes, man. For a guy that thinks I'm a troll, you sure choose to react in a weird way. And man, what's with the crazy personal attacks, first my country is "worthless" and now I'm the primary target of your bitchiness. Calm down man. Not that I care what you call me or my country, (my grandmother always told me to consider the source with that kind off thing) but seriously Tim, WWJD, WWJD?

I mean, the idea that you apparently hold some kind of "Degree in Pastoral Ministry" and might be some kind of "pastor" to anyone is simply frightening. That said, considering your online demeanor, I highly doubt you've had much luck having anyone follow your particular lead, at least I reeeally hope you haven't. And, "Theology Industry"? I wonder what that means, anyway. I'm definitely with Dawkins on theologians.

Oh and please stop saying that you know more about the Canadian Heath Care system than a Canadian that actually uses it and pays for it, you just look sillier and sillier (especially when you post the kind of garbage you have in this thread, see below for details). I mean just look at this hysterical post you made on the topic a few weeks ago,
“If you had ever actually experienced the type of healthcare public options being proposed, you wouldn't even bring it up. If you think children dying in waiting rooms every flu season, waiting literal years to have necessary operations, and 20k per year doctors with porn star mustaches to cut you open with whatever dull spoon they have on hand is good health care reform just because poor can afford it, than please quit voting.”
Absolutely laughable unsupported statements on a topic about which you obviously know nothing. And then you have the stones to call me a troll, talk about ridiculous. You have managed to find some very old articles, in this thread, why don’t you try to back up your statement above? Where are your “facts” regarding the children dying in waiting rooms, or anything about years long waiting lists for “necessary operations” (and what qualifies as a “necessary operation” anyway), or about doctors making $20K per year? Oh right, like your stupid “porn stache” comment, you likely just made it up and have absolutely nothing to base your assumptions on. Not a scrap of proof when it comes to your rather specific assertions. And then you try to lecture me on “proof”. The only people that are saying that the Canadian system is a “joke”, are your fellow puppets on the extreme right. No body else. And the thought of an American “educating” me on my own system , doesn’t piss me off at all, the fact that you, Tim, actually seem to believe that you know more about it than me is what’s so aggravating. Dude, you have been fooled by those with a vested interest in keeping the system in the US fully private but your psychological hang-ups prevent you from seeing the real story. Wake up Timmy, we’re at grandma’s house, it’s time to put your shoes on.

**End of Response to highboy Part #1**

- Canucklehead

Anonymous said...

**Response to highboy Part #2**

Just so you understand, here is the only section of your "links" that's actually from the Associated Press
"A letter from the Moncton Hospital to a New Brunswick heart patient in need of an electrocardiogram said the appointment would be in three months. It added: "If the person named on this computer- generated letter is deceased, please accept our sincere apologies.
The patient wasn't dead, according to the doctor who showed the letter to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity."

Everything else was just more Conservative Kool-Aid. This time served up by some random right wing nut with a blog (and not the AP by-the-way). A blogger who, in this case, and for some reason, seems to be very unusually preoccupied with women sexually abusing young males (seriously check it out - http://interested-participant.blogspot.com/ - I think there are like 10 woman-on-boy molestation stories on the front page alone). What's with your blog choices Tim? I'm also having trouble understanding what the above story has to do with the health care debate in the first place. I mean, it just seems like Canadians being Canadians, in that someone receiving an ECG might not be in the best health and in case the person had passed away prior to receiving the letter, they built in an apology into the computer generated message. A preemptive apology from a Canadian, how scandalous! That you think that this somehow proves your "point" that healthcare in Canada is the real "joke" here, and is what makes this whole “debate” so laughable.

And you really seem stuck on what I said about children being potentially denied health care. Perhaps I misspoke, I apologize for indicating those children got no care at all. I was talking about children being denied private care and was really concerned about the cover provided through American government programs because of stuff like this,
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/7026454.stm
Now, it is really interesting to me that you are so concerned about loosing your own level of private health care, when you also seem to be such an advocate of the "socialized" care that the children of the poor are currently getting in your own country. It's good enough for those kids but in no way would be good enough for you? Bit of a weird, not to mention selfish argument don’t you think, Pastor Tim? It’s also interesting that you post about wanting to keep the status quo relative to healthcare on a blog where the author is a self admitted medical bankruptcy waiting to happen. Don’t you care about the predicament of your fellow Christian? Don’t you think that you might just be a bit lucky in terms of your health and/or employment, and that Radar is effectively being discriminated against by the health care industry because he was born with some unfortunate health issues? Or do you feel that god is perhaps punishing him or “has a plan for him” that requires him (and his family) to endure these serious health issues and the eventual consequences. Or maybe you feel that Radar is responsible for his current health situation due to some bad choices he made in his youth? Either way, and I'm just thinking out loud here, you seem to be acting like total judgmental and elitist jerk here.

**End of Response to highboy Part #2**

- Canucklehead

Anonymous said...

**Response to highboy Part #3**

I also wanted to mention your first "link" from "a former doctor in Canada", because it's really awesome, especially when you take into account that particular "doctor" happens to have gotten into quite a bit of trouble over that very article. Remember those made up health statistics that got Guiliani in all kinds of trouble during the Republican primaries? You know the ones that were fabricated to make public systems look bad? Well, I do and those completely made up figures actually came from your “doctor” and, as I indicated above, from the very article that you cite as your “proof”. Here's the wikipedia entry on the subject,
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Gratzer#Giuliani_advisor_and_false_cancer_statistics
And here's the Times article referenced on the wikki page
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/31/us/politics/31prostate.html?_r=1
That you have no clue that the article you post contains created statistics that have been proven to have been falsified by the author, to me further proves that you are either really really dumb or that you really enjoy talking out of your ass. You can decide this one Tim. Regardless, you clearly don’t “know” as much as you think you do concerning Canadian health care. I wonder how many other topics you tell people you are an expert on only to find that you are completely clueless. I’m guessing that Evolution and Atheism are two of your fave’s though.

Finally, your last statement is classic conservatard. Full of lies and ridiculous assumption, after ridiculous assumption. You say,
“At the end of the day canuck, I like it here in America where I have cheap but dependable healthcare coverage where a doctor is always available to save my life or give me necessary treatment, as opposed to taking a number, getting in line, in hopes that the one underpaid doctor working in the ER will have time or the incentive to stop the bleeding.”
Talk about garbage. Well, at the end of the day Tim, You can like it there in America all you want but in Canada, where I live, I have free and dependable heathcare coverage where a doctor is always available to save my life and give me necessary treatment. Full stop. If I need treatment of any kind, I get it, and I don't have a giant bill to deal with when it's all said and done. That’s the truth Tim. And Radar, and a whole bunch of other people in the US, would be much better off if they just understood that simple FACT. Don't believe the hype you guys. Affordable, universal health care is very doable, even in America (and by that I essentially mean that it’s doable despite the misinformation being spread around by Tim and his compatriots in the anti-healthcare movement down there).

- Canucklehead

Anonymous said...

Creeper, you asked me questions that would take up far to much room to answer on a comment thread off the top of my head. I can answer but it will take some research. I have asked Radar to help me set up a blog. So when I'm up and running I'll take a stab at answering you.
Debbie

highboy said...

"Please try again: where exactly does atheism state the doctrine that religious people should die?"

No, you please try again. The murder under Pol Pot and the Stalin regime were done on the notion that religion is wrong and practicing religion was punishable by death. Answer the point or move on, instead of trying to play word salad.

highboy said...

Response to canucklehead part 1:

Wow, 3 posts to tell me absolutely nothing other than to mock my ability to train in ministry. Gee, you'd almost think you took this personal. Hope you took your heart meds. But here goes:

1. If you're going to try and debunk what an actual Canadian doctor wrote about your worthless healthcare system, try posting evidence from something other than the NY Times. And yes, wikipedia is so reliable. Its not like random people can edit or anything....
2. You're a flat liar when you state that there is always a doctor available and until you can change my own personal experience my opinion stands. I was there, and now I'm here, and the difference is that I have no worries now. You are trying to change the facts and your only argument is to say "I live here, trust me". Um, no.
3. I'm not against a government run option as it pertains to the states. See how that works. Its called our Constitution. The state takes tax money and uses it for people who are qualified, not everyone who simply doesn't want to pay for health insurance. Get the difference? Its not just arbitrarily given to any/all who sign up, they have to be legitimately incapable of buying their own insurance, and I'm not taxed twice to pay for healthcare.
4. I keep asking for you to back up any of your insane accusations and in 3 convoluted posts, you've given none, while the links I posted you've dismissed without any compelling reason other than a treason committing news organization with obvious political interests said so. From a guy whose all about not using party hack sources, you've pretty much chosen the least objective column. Good for you.
5. I don't have to be an expert on healthcare to run circles around some Canadian whose too emotionally attached to getting "cheap" healthcare. I'm a man who can take care of his family without pushing that responsibility off on the government and my fellow man. If radar needs help, he knows all he needs to do is ask me and the rest of the faithful who don't need government mandates to take care of one another. I'm sorry you do.

highboy said...

"You say that as if the Bible has been scrutinized and consistently confirmed. A literal interpretation of Genesis is already at odds with scientific discoveries made since it was written, and that's in addition to the Bible's numerous internal contradictions."

No creeper, that's total b.s. Science doesn't conflict with the creation account at all, even if its literally interpreted. We've been over this in regards to "yom", which is shown in the creation account alone to be used to describe 3 different spans of time, none of which were created before God created them. Since the Bible itself gives no indication one way or the other, it comes down to the science. As for the "internal contradictions", I know there is a nice online list of supposed contradictions that atheists usually conjure up but in the end the "contradictions" are not contradictions at all, when one takes the Bible as a whole. The fact is, the Gospels are as reliable if not more so than almost every other ancient document, including Alexander's first biography, written 400 years after his death, and with less archaeological and corroborative evidence, yet it is still considered fact, a point I made earlier and you've never addressed. The Gospels have been scrutinized with the same formula's every other ancient work has and has come up stellar. Despite your claims that other religious texts can say the same, they can't. No other religious document has withstood what the Bible has.

Anonymous said...

No, you please try again. The murder under Pol Pot and the Stalin regime were done on the notion that religion is wrong and practicing religion was punishable by death. Answer the point or move on, instead of trying to play word salad.

I'm not playing word salad and you know it. Atheism, by definition, is the non-belief in any god(s). Nothing more, nothing less.
You were the one that stated that non-belief somehow necessitates the killing of believers. I'm asking you to back up that claim. Either you do so or you move on, proving that you can't.

Please try again: which 'dogma', 'law', or 'rule' of atheism advocates or somehow instructs the killing of religious persons?

highboy said...

"You were the one that stated that non-belief somehow necessitates the killing of believers."

Wrong, I didn't say that, so the dishonest word play has yet to work for you. What I stated was an example of an atheist killing lots of people, as opposed to muslims killing lots of people, the example used to somehow implicate the idea of faith as a source for mass murder. Clearly someone's non-faith can be used the same way, no matter how many philosophical twists you want to put in it.

Anonymous said...

"No creeper, that's total b.s. Science doesn't conflict with the creation account at all, even if its literally interpreted. We've been over this in regards to "yom", which is shown in the creation account alone to be used to describe 3 different spans of time, none of which were created before God created them."

You and Radar disagree on this one, since he seems to believe that the Bible shows that the world is less than 6,000 years old (that's what most of this blog is about, after all), which is at odds with what has become known since those texts were written.

I can see how one could see a compatibility between the Bible and an old Earth as indicated by all known dating methods and archaeological evidence (basically the Day/Age view) if one sees parts of Genesis as more poetic language and/or allegory etc. rather than a history/science textbook.

Now I think we've run into this issue before of you having an unusual definition of "literal" in mind, but I wouldn't say that an interpretation of "day" as "age" is a literal interpretation, but rather a figurative one.

"Day" = "Day" --> literal
"Day" = "Age" --> figurative

"Since the Bible itself gives no indication one way or the other, it comes down to the science."

Which indicates an old Earth, and if one chooses to believe in God and the Bible, then one would opt for the Day/Age view.

But the "literal" view that Radar espouses is in conflict with what science has shown.

"As for the "internal contradictions", I know there is a nice online list of supposed contradictions that atheists usually conjure up but in the end the "contradictions" are not contradictions at all, when one takes the Bible as a whole."

There are numerous contradictions, yes. How are they supposedly solved by taking "the Bible as a whole"?

It simply indicates that the Bible was written by various humans subject to faulty memories, stories told by hearsay etc.

"The fact is, the Gospels are as reliable if not more so than almost every other ancient document, including Alexander's first biography, written 400 years after his death, and with less archaeological and corroborative evidence, yet it is still considered fact, a point I made earlier and you've never addressed."

I'm sorry, what was I supposed to address here?

"The Gospels have been scrutinized with the same formula's every other ancient work has and has come up stellar."

What formula? Stellar how?

"Despite your claims that other religious texts can say the same, they can't. No other religious document has withstood what the Bible has."

Where was I supposed to have said that other religious texts can say the same?

My point was how would those who espouse different religious texts (Mormon, Scientologist, ancient Norse mythologies, what have you) settle their differences? They can't all say "well I believe this and that's all there is to it".

And that in turn speaks massively against Radar's ill-supported claim that those who allow religious/supernatural explanations into the scientific process are allegedly superior scientists.

-- creeper

Anonymous said...

highboy said:

Wrong, I didn't say that, so the dishonest word play has yet to work for you. What I stated was an example of an atheist killing lots of people, as opposed to muslims killing lots of people, the example used to somehow implicate the idea of faith as a source for mass murder.

Highboy, that was exactly what you said. Here's what you said:

The doctrine that clearly states that religion is a danger to the lives of humans, so any human guilty of practicing religion has to die. Or are we just going to ignore all the slaughter done in the name of atheism?

You aren't just giving an example of an atheist killing lots of people. If you had done only that, I would have had no problem whatsoever agreeing with you. Atheists do kill people, that's absolutely true. But what you were in fact saying that his atheism is responsible for his actions; that he is following a doctrine that's part of atheism.
Now, that's where it gets problematic for you. You see, religions like Islam (and Christianity, for that matter) come with Holy books, doctrines, laws, moral guidelines etc... And somewhere in these books some religious fanatic can always find justification for some horrible act. History has proven that in abundance.
Atheism, on the other hand, has no holy books. Atheism gives no moral guidelines. Atheism has no laws or doctrines to follow. Atheism, like I have already explained twice, is simply the non-belief in any god(s). Nothing less, but more importantly: nothing more.
Yet you state literally that atheism includes some doctrine that states that 'religion is a danger to the lives of humans'.

Back up that claim. Point out to me how exactly this doctrine is part of atheism. But you can't, can you; and that's why you now try to get out of it by saying you said something different than you initially said. Funny that you call me dishonest.

highboy said...

"There are numerous contradictions, yes. How are they supposedly solved by taking "the Bible as a whole"?

It simply indicates that the Bible was written by various humans subject to faulty memories, stories told by hearsay etc."

What contradictions are we talking about? Lets see them. And then we can get to your assumption that because the Bible was penned by man that there has to be errors in it.

"I'm sorry, what was I supposed to address here?"

"What formula? Stellar how?"

The formula of examining the length between when the event took place and when the account was written, combined with any corroborative evidence and archaelogical evidence, and as my example of Alexander shows, the Gospels withstand the scrutiny better than most.

"My point was how would those who espouse different religious texts (Mormon, Scientologist, ancient Norse mythologies, what have you) settle their differences? They can't all say "well I believe this and that's all there is to it".

And that in turn speaks massively against Radar's ill-supported claim that those who allow religious/supernatural explanations into the scientific process are allegedly superior scientists."

I misunderstood one of your earlier remarks than. Forget it.

highboy said...

"But what you were in fact saying that his atheism is responsible for his actions; that he is following a doctrine that's part of atheism."

My apologies, you're not a liar. I didn't mean to imply by the word "doctrine" that there was an actual "doctrine" of atheism. I was trying to describe one atheists personal doctrine to point out that with or without religion, people still get killed. I needed to word that entirely differently, and I didn't get where you were drawing that out. But I suppose after my harsh words to you after pointing out my error, I totally deserve any verbal assault you wish to bestow on me. Have at it. Again, apologies.

radar said...

Highboy has been fighting the good fight here...

Actual archaeological finds througout the Middle East keep finding names, peoples and places mentioned in the Bible. Archaeologists who admit to it carry a Bible with them in this area to help them look for likely digs.

In my years here at radaractive I have not yet been presented with an actual problem with the Bible accounts or the people and places named therein. Contradictions in the Bible is one of those pet ignorant phrases used by people who do not actually know of any but are sure they are everywhere.

Anonymous said...

"The formula of examining the length between when the event took place and when the account was written, combined with any corroborative evidence and archaelogical evidence, and as my example of Alexander shows, the Gospels withstand the scrutiny better than most."

Could you please point us to this formula? Or did you just make it up, like that "atheist doctrine"?

-- creeper