Wednesday, October 18, 2006

An absurd miscarriage of what we have come to know as "separation of church and state."

I recalled this brillant gem and thought it worth posting again.
Attention Liberal Shoppers: Tissues can be found on aisle 6, next to the Do-It Yourself - fetus be gone Kits.

Source: Mark A. Rose, Right Minded:

To update the Right Minded column that ran on November 29, 2004, a federal judge has ruled that stickers proclaiming the fallibility of evolution must be removed from science textbooks in Cobb County, Georgia. The stickers were added after more than 2,000 parents complained the textbooks presented evolution as fact, without mentioning competing ideas about our origins, such as intelligent design.

Six parents and the American Civil Liberties Union sued, contending the disclaimers violated separation of church and state and unfairly singled out evolution from thousands of other scientific theories as suspect. The stickers read "This textbook contains material on evolution. Evolution is a theory, not a fact, regarding the origin of living things. This material should be approached with an open mind, studied carefully and critically considered."

So more than 2,000 parents wanted the stickers, six didn't, and guess who won? Indeed, U.S. District Judge Clarence Cooper sided with the small minority, ruling the stickers represented an unconstitutional endorsement of religion.

In another case, atheist Michael Newdow, who successfully lobbied the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to strike the words "under God" from the Pledge of Allegiance in 2002, most recently brought a suit to federal court to have prayer banned from President Bush's inauguration. Displaying the intolerance that has become the trademark of the anti-Christian left, Newdow claimed that hearing religious references in the inauguration would cause "irreparable damage" to him. (Advice to Michael Newdow: buy earplugs.)

Fortunately, U.S. District Court Judge John D. Bates ruled against Newdow. But it's still ironic that liberals often throw out such lines as "with all the starving children and people without healthcare, I can't believe you're worried about (some conservative cause)." Yet liberals will crawl over the American landscape with a magnifying glass and a scrubbing pad looking for references to God. So I guess the proper retort here is "with all the starving children and people without healthcare, I can't believe you're worried about an inauguration prayer."

Or, to re-phrase a quote from Bill Clinton, "removing a prayer never created a job or educated a child, or helped a family make ends meet. Banning God never cleaned up a toxic waste dump or helped an elderly person."

Seriously, what these two cases illustrate -- among a much larger collection of like instances -- is an absurd miscarriage of what we have come to know as "separation of church and state." It's time for a refresher.

The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution begins "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." The first part is known as the Establishment Clause. The second part is known as the Free Exercise Clause. Overall, it's perhaps the most misinterpreted sixteen words in the entire Constitution.

When the Bill of Rights was written in 1789, several states had their own religions. The Establishment Clause was written to prevent Congress from establishing a national church, which would have trumped the various state churches. The words "separation of church and state" do not appear in the Constitution, explicitly or implicitly. That phrase was found in a letter from Thomas Jefferson to the Danbury Baptists dated January 1, 1802.

The phrase "separation of church and state" wasn't introduced into American jurisprudence until 1947 by Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black (Everson v. Board of Education). This was 158 years after Congress passed the Bill of Rights.

There are three elements to the Establishment Clause. They are: (1) Congress must (2) make a law that (3) establishes a religion. So let's apply the two aforementioned cases to the First Amendment under its proper context.

In the first case, regarding science textbooks in Cobb County, Georgia, Judge Cooper effectively threw out any challenges to evolution because they represented an unconstitutional endorsement of religion. Now, the Cobb County school board is not Congress, so right away the First Amendment does not apply.

In the second case, the President had prayer at his inauguration. Again, the President of the United States isn't Congress, so the First Amendment is not applicable. Michael Newdow's suit therefore didn't even deserve a ruling. It should have been thrown out because of its irrelevance to the First Amendment.

That individuals such as Michael Newdow even get attention from the press and the legal system illustrate the serious degree to which the Establishment Clause has been misapplied. That groups such as the American Civil Liberties Union, Americans United for Separation of Church and State, the Southern Poverty Law Center, and especially their accomplices on the bench, have stretched the First Amendment far beyond its original meaning is the result of a judiciary that is far more intent on imposing its own beliefs than correctly interpreting the Constitution. What we have forgotten is that the court system is not the law of the land. The Constitution is.

Re-defining words is how the Establishment Clause has been misused to the point that "under God," textbook stickers, Ten Commandments plaques, and nativity scenes have all been declared unconstitutional in various places by various judges. Those who push for separation of church and state often produce quotes by our founders which supposedly conform to the present-day separationists' warped point-of-view. However, like nearly every other aspect of liberalism, separation of church and state is a concept that can be easily refuted by scrutinizing evidence and a careful definition of words.

40 comments:

Kevin said...

I don't see what the big deal is. Evolution is based on science, which is what science class is all about. Science is never exact, so no one who knows anything about evolution or science in general believes that it is "FACT." It changes with every new find. Teach creationism or intelligent design in religion courses since that is what it is based on. These two are so very different. And this is why the judge did what he did. And please, if you teach creationism, make sure the kids learn about all the creation stories out there since there are so many to pick from--the Native American story, the Buddhist story, the Sumerian, and so on. Why just pick one? I would hope stickers on the religion books would say that "There are many religions to pick from and there are many creation stories to pick from." I am happy teaching creation stories to kids and adults.

The 'Under God' section: Ah--that part was not in the original. The original stated: 'I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.'
In 1923 it was changed from '...my flag...' to 'the Flag of the United States of America.'
In 1954, after a campaign by the Knights of Columbus, it was changed yet again to add 'under God.'
So this Mark A. Rose should just stop whining--'under God' was put in during the commie scare to root them out. I personally don't care if it is there or not--I used to say it in school all the time. It just says 'God'--it doesn't say Christian God so it could mean anything to anyone.
And pleeaassee, that 'separation of church and state' argument is getting so old. If the founders of the country wanted a church-state (a theocracy)that England had, then they would have made us one. They didn't, so there is a separation, regardless of what Mark A. Rose has to say. If he wants to say: "The phrase "separation of church and state" wasn't introduced into American jurisprudence until 1947 by Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black (Everson v. Board of Education). This was 158 years after Congress passed the Bill of Rights" then why doesn't he mention the fact that the phrase 'under God' didn't show up until 1954, some 50 years after it was created? A bit selective, isn't he?
Well, I guess he really wants a theocracy and then we might as well have an inquisition soon after, because a theocracy can't survive without one of those...

Mark said...

Evolution is based on science,

you mean theroy kevin, and Godless.
The mere order and the mere movement of our universe makes ID an even more valid teaching than mere "by chance" theroy.

'under God' was put in during the commie scare to root them out.

and you accuse me of being afraid of history? Lets try after WWII and the popular opinion that God devine hand was at work in favor of our nation. I am sure Patriotism is as bad word in your world, but not in mine!

Well, I guess he really wants a theocracy

Kevin, you guessed wrong again. btw, that is really getting old and really does not help your Godless, relative, all opinions are of equal value, world view. Especially in this country.

Josiah said...

Mark, please everyone knows it was to seperate our ideals fromn the communists. I find it very funny that you say liberals have infected the history books, since you do o research yourself.

What you describe, Mark, are the traits of a theocracy. Whether you believe that or not is all secondary.

Jody said...

The mere order and the mere movement of our universe makes ID an even more valid teaching than mere "by chance" theroy.

Except evolution isn't about cosmology, Mark. It's about the change of species over time.

As for ID, well, since it isn't science, it can be about whatever you want it to be. I move for ice cream. ID is about ice cream. I like ice cream. Mmmm... ice cream.

Mark said...

As for ID, well, since it isn't science

Hi jody, nice to see your naked ass again. It seems your defintion of 'science' differs from other scientists.

Except evolution isn't about cosmology, Mark. It's about the change of species over time.

The mere conclusions by Men about such "changes" you speak of, does not make it science (ie fact) jody. It has however produced a theroy (evolution). Theroies deserve equal examination, no? Are you afraid the theroy of Coincidence and Chance will fall short in explaining the extreme yet perfectly complex Order in our universe as we know it?

Josiah said...

Last time I check, Mark, there is more evidence that creatures had slowly adapted and evolved into their current forms then there is evidence suggesting that fully grown elephants just popped out of the ground.

Mark said...

there is more evidence that creatures had slowly adapted and evolved into their current forms

and what part of God's word do you get that from, Chase?

last I checked Chase aka joshia, there is more 'evidence' God does not exist. True? Excuse my bluntness, but your acts and words are no more a follower of Christ, than the very same ones who you bitch about in your school clubs.

Josiah said...

Where on earth is there proof that points away from the idea that God created earth? And you seem to be in this idea that the idea that God created Earth and evolution are exclusive ideas. I beliee the bible. I also believe in symbolism and the fact that it's translation is argued by more than just liberals. I also actually look to the evidence that the planet has revealed to us from the ground. Considering God made everything down there, it's not like it will lie to us.

Mark said...

Considering God made everything down there, it's not like it will lie to us.

Brillant! So Chase, did God give us a book without error? even human error? Does God want to confuse us? and if human error was evident, would He not direct you in another direction and give you the ability to discern His word from Man's word? and how would God do that?

And you seem to be in this idea that the idea that God created Earth and evolution are exclusive ideas

and you seem to be Biblically unclear, when Christ Himself confirmed the scripture and warned you of doing exactly as you are doing now Chase!

Josiah said...

If I'm correct, Mark, he did direct me in another direction to discern His word from man's word. You've taken a different path, but that's not my path.

The original bible was without human error, other than some questionable Hebrew customs that were later refuted. Translation is a different matter. I could say my nine year od sister is capable of translating Hebrew scripture, and she's saved, but I doubt God is going to lead her to find the correct translation. Translation of the bible can be fallable in countless ways.

lontlont said...

"It seems your defintion of 'science' differs from other scientists."

Nah: that is the definition used by scientists.

"The mere conclusions by Men about such "changes" you speak of, does not make it science (ie fact) jody."

Er, well, yes it does make it science. But science isn't "fact" in an absolute sense. Science is always "this is the best fit for all the evidence we have." We can speak of fact in science, but only if we always remember that what we mean is provisional: its based on what the evidence supports, which is the best we can ever get. In that sense, evolution is a fact.

"It has however produced a theroy (evolution)."

Indeed. But in science, "theory" isn't a measure of certainty. We still call even theories that are 100% wrong theories (i.e. Orgone Energy theory). We still call theories that are 100% deductively provable theories (i.e. number theory) Theories can contain lots of different facts, laws, and other things: the key thing about all scientific theories is that they make specific commitments to what has to be true if they are to work, and that they are larger frameworks of explanation that tie all these elements together.

"Theroies deserve equal examination, no?"

That depends: if they actually ARE _scientific_ theories (which means that they are verifiable and specific rather than all encompassing) and all the evidence overwhelmingly supports them, then yes.

"Are you afraid the theroy of Coincidence and Chance will fall short in explaining the extreme yet perfectly complex Order in our universe as we know it?"

I don't know what "perfectly complex" is supposed to mean. Most of the universe is highly chaotic. How are you deciding that the amount of order or complexity of things is the exact right amount to make it perfect?

DebraJMSmith said...

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And the wise shall be made foolish. ---Evolution

Fact is, there is proof of the Creator in all of creation.

Debra...
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Mark said...

Science is always "this is the best fit for all the evidence we have."

er... that's why ID is the best explanation we have.

Mark said...

Most of the universe is highly chaotic

Nah, it is actually amazingly well Ordered.

Kevin said...

It all comes down to what people believe. If we are going to use scientific theories for things, then how can we prove in 'intelligent design.' Sure, we can see things are just so darned complicated that God had to just create everything because, well, just because. If you believe that God is behing 'intelligent design,' then that immediately falls out of the category of science and into religion.

How can be prove that evolution is where we come from? Well, we can look at fossils, which I know is a testy subject for some because I shared an office with person who thought the earth was created about 7,000 years ago. But fossils are in the realm of science. But if you don't believe in the fossil record, then fine--believe that they don't really exist or that they are only about 7,000 years old. (I wonder if the Sumerians got to see the mean, nasty T Rex before it disappeared?)

Anyway, believe what you want. People believed the earth was flat and the church killed people who thought otherwise. What they believed didn't matter (expect to those who were slaughtered). Evolution is based on science (and Mark, I do know what a theory is--after all, I do have a B.S. in Biological Anthropology--part of that degree is studying human evolution).

Mark, you state: "that's why ID is the best explanation we have." So tell me, what is the problem you personally have with the theory of evolution? And why is ID the 'best explanation we have'?

DebraJMSmith said...

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Why does a man who does not even know what his dinger is for, THINK anyone will listen to him talk about science????

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DebraJMSmith said...

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And bla bla bla, he has a B.S. in BS....

I have a daughter in her 3rd year as a 4.0 biochemistry major. And guess what? She is a Christian young lady, who will not compromise her Christianity to get that 4.0. --even on tests! And her professors love her to pieces! We are pretty found of them as well.

Debra...
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Jody said...

Hi jody, nice to see your naked ass again.

Mark, outside of your fantasies, you haven't seen my ass, clothed or otherwise.

The mere conclusions by Men about such "changes" you speak of, does not make it science (ie fact) jody. It has however produced a theroy (evolution). Theroies deserve equal examination, no? Are you afraid the theroy of Coincidence and Chance will fall short in explaining the extreme yet perfectly complex Order in our universe as we know it?

Umm, no.

Your logic is as bad as your spelling.

And grammar.

And history.

And, well, grasp of science.

"Theory" does not mean "wild ass guess." "Evolution" isn't about "coincidence" and "chance," well, that applies to mutations, but I don't think you knew that, so no smart points there either.

Stupid points on the otherhand...

Mark said...

Mark, outside of your fantasies, you haven't seen my ass, clothed or otherwise

wrong. I have seen your ass clothed, and I was wondering if the state of CA has issued it a zip code yet? :)

Evolution" isn't about "coincidence" and "chance," well, that applies to mutations,

Humm, yes it most assuredly is about coincidence and chance. 'mutations'? Oh, you mean the science behind "I don't know how that happened". thanks jody.

DebraJMSmith said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
DebraJMSmith said...

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Actually, evolution does not really even classify as a theory. In order for something to truly classify as a theory, it needs a scientific method by which to find out if it is right or wrong. There is no scientific method for evolution. Evolution really is nothing more than a hypotheses (and a stupid one at that) without an experiment--leaving it at the hypotheses stage. One could say that evolution never evolved into a theory.

:)

Debra...
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DebraJMSmith said...

hehe... its own zip code.... hehe..... good one, Mark... :)

Mark said...

There is no scientific method for evolution. Evolution really is nothing more than a hypotheses (and a stupid one at that) without an experiment--leaving it at the hypotheses stage. One could say that evolution never evolved into a theory.

B I N G O !
Thank you Debra!

lontlont said...

"Actually, evolution does not really even classify as a theory. In order for something to truly classify as a theory, it needs a scientific method by which to find out if it is right or wrong."

This is exactly why ID is neither science nor a scientific theory. There is no finding that would disprove it. No matter what the universe is like, you can always say "ha, EXACTLY as the Creator wanted it!" and invent an ad hoc reason for why if need be.

Evolution, on the other hand, makes a very specific set of claims about a particular process happening in the physical world, and thus requring all sorts of other things about the world to be true as well as leaving lots of evidence of its particular method of operation. There are many many different ways in which evolution could be shown to be wrong. Virtually every new fossil discovered could throw the entire enterprise into disarray. But somehow, every new fossil seems to fit solidly into the very specific pattern of evidence as demanded by evolution.

That's testibility right there.

"There is no scientific method for evolution. Evolution really is nothing more than a hypotheses (and a stupid one at that) without an experiment--leaving it at the hypotheses stage."

Your grasp of the scientific method is as poor as your understanding of evolution. The experiments for things like common descent are done on evidence, given that it is a historical science (like forensics). Experiments on things like fixed mutations rates are performed all the time. Surprise surprise, but these all overwhelmingly support evolution as well.

Mark said...

Evolution, on the other hand, makes a very specific set of claims about a particular process happening in the physical world, and thus requring all sorts of other things about the world to be true as well as leaving lots of evidence of its particular method of operation.

lontlont please make note:
The essentials of ID are:

1. If an apparently designed entity exhibits specified complexity (SC), the inference is warranted that the entity is the result of an intelligent agent.

2. SC can be reliably detected by an explanatory filter.

3. The irreducible complexity of some biological systems, and the fine-tuning of the universe for the existence of life, are instances of specified complexity.

4. Presupposing methodological naturalism (MN) and relying exclusively on its resources (i.e., chance and necessity) cannot account for SC in the instances listed in (3).

5.ID cannot be excluded from serious consideration simply because it is inconsistent with an a priori commitment to MN.

6.Given points one through five, ID best accounts for the irreducible complexity of some biological systems and the fine-tuning of the universe for life.

Francis J. Beckwith

Now can we get back to the topic, the myth of speration of church and state.

DebraJMSmith said...

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Ionlont,

Oh bull. The only thing Evolution is evidence of is unintelligent life on earth!

Creation, however, is true evidence of a Creator. Duhhh....

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Josiah said...

Debra,you mixed up the very definitions of hypothesis and theories. Hypothesises are used to solve problems, theories don't have too.

Kevin said...

"Actually, evolution does not really even classify as a theory." Yawn. Don't you have anything intelligent to say? So what kind of scientific theory sits being 'intelligent design'???

And why don't you ask your daughter about evolution. She must deal with it in her biochemistry. Then again, she is probably scared to death to bring it up with you. ou would probably threaten to send her off to some island somewhere...

And it seems to me that "ID" is an easy way out. If something looks to hard to figure out, then something must have created it. Case closed. Sorry--some of us like to think about things a bit more deeply than that.

And Mark, could you do a bit of explaining (in your own words) on that quote that Beckwith gave? Maybe just a step-by-step commentary would be helpful...

lontlont said...

"lontlont please make note:
The essentials of ID are:
1. If an apparently designed entity"

Sounds like you're sneaking your conclusion into your premise. "apparently" designed? Isn't that just begging the question?

"exhibits specified complexity (SC), the inference is warranted that the entity is the result of an intelligent agent."

So people like Dembski claim. Except they can't ever seem to define what specified complexity or CSI means mathematically, despite claiming that it is a discovery on par with Newton. And yet, you won't find it in any actual discussion of information theory. When you actually try to think about the words, they turn out to be laughable self-contradictions: i.e. in information theory, something that is specified is highly compressible while something that is complex is not highly compressible. So the concept works out to be "something that contains a lot of information but doesn't contain a lot of information." No wonder Dembski got laughed out the mathematics journals.

Aside from that, all CS ends up being is "wow, that's really complex looking!" or "that seems really really improbable if I demonstrate that I have no clue how probability works" which is just an expression of incredulity, and/or innumeracy.

"2. SC can be reliably detected by an explanatory filter."

Cite? Again, whether or not it is reliable is just begging the question.

"3. The irreducible complexity of some biological systems, and the fine-tuning of the universe for the existence of life, are instances of specified complexity."

Except that no one seems able to point to an example of IC in nature. Nor can anyone demonstrate that anything was fine-tuned, given that we only have one universe to examine, and we have no idea how or why things are determined or what the alternatives are. Of course, evolution doen't purport to explain the universe, so I'm not sure what relevance that has to anything.

'4. Presupposing methodological naturalism (MN) and relying exclusively on its resources (i.e., chance and necessity) cannot account for SC in the instances listed in (3)."

Again, so you claim. Can you prove it? Nope. When Behe tried to do an experiment to prove that evolution couldn't evolve a supposedly IC structure, he did it under the absolute hardest conditions possible... and he still found that it evolved anyway. So deciding exactly what is IC seems to be something of a shell game.

"5.ID cannot be excluded from serious consideration simply because it is inconsistent with an a priori commitment to MN."

Again, ID doesn't do what a scientific theory needs to do: explain how SC comes to be. At best, even if all the criticisms of evolution you list weren't fatally flawed, all they would do is call into question whether evolution alone could explain life on earth.

"6.Given points one through five, ID best accounts for the irreducible complexity of some biological systems and the fine-tuning of the universe for life."

You've failed to demonstrate that anything is IC. Whether or not the universe is fine tuned for life doesn't have anything to do with evolution.

And more importantly, note that you've completely failed to explain ID in positive terms at all. You've listed a bunch of criticisms of evolution without explaining what ID is, how we would test for it, how we would distinguish it from non-ID. How is "I don't imagine that evolution can explain X" a scientific explanation FOR something? Scientific explanations need to commit to specific accounts of HOW something happened: otherwise they don't tell us anything about anything.

Take the origin of life, and lets say we have no idea how it happened. You propose that an ID did it. Ok. So, what does that mean? Does that tell us anything more about the origin of life? Can we, from that statement, learn anything more about the origin of life? Nope. Worse, no evidence we would ever turn up about the origin life would have any bearing on your explanation, because it's consistent with anything. Such non-explanations are useless in science. They don't mean anything.

Jody said...

I was wondering if the state of CA has issued it a zip code yet? :)

No, there's still a holdup with the paperwork. Given how fascinated you, a straight man, are by my gay ass, once the paperwork clears, I'll let you know.

Humm, yes it most assuredly is about coincidence and chance. 'mutations'?

I think you need to go back and read what I said. I noted mutations in response to your gobbledygook. As for coincidence, that's an argument Creationsists…umm… ID Theorists use to explain away documented examples of change.

Oh, you mean the science behind "I don't know how that happened". thanks jody.

Wait, wait! I know the answer to this one: Thor did it!

No.

Umm… Allah did it!

No, that ain't it.

Santa Clause did it!

Hmm… this is tough. There are so many magical beings to choose from it's hard to figure out which one was responsible.

Jody said...

hehe... its own zip code.... hehe..... good one, Mark... :)

Yes, yes, Deborah. Take your pill, dear. You know how you get when you fall behind. We all worry, after all.

Kevin said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Mark said...

kevin,
behave boy.

lont,
thanks! really thanks!

jody,
no offense you big fat homo lard ass :) stay strong brother, you'll get that zip code in due time! Seriously jody, if I really hurt your feelings you let me know, ok? your like the big brother I never had.

If it has nothing to do with the post, it will not be approved. we have taken a left turn, and that is never good.

Kevin said...

My last comment was deleted? Hmph. So Debra gets to discuss my dinger, and I can't respond? I just wanted to point out her problems with understanding biology...
Aw Mark, you are no fun. I even talked about evolution and creation...

DebraJMSmith said...

WordNet -
scientific method

n : a method of investigation involving observation and theory to test scientific hypotheses

Jody said...

..your like the big brother I never had.

Mark, you only wish you'd seen that part of me, too.

Once again it's "you're." Keep studying, little brother.

Ubersehen said...

I find it curious that someone claims to be an authority on what the significance of scientific theory represents in the mountains of research done as of today (Mark), and yet has spelled "theory" as "theroy" every single time he's used it on this page. By my count, that specific error was made no less than five times in unique situations that could not have been the result of copying and pasting. Unless he needed to copy and paste the word on its own. "Theroy" sounds more like the name of Mark's imaginary friend. He probably has Super Powers, and his only weakness is science. That might explain some of this.

Why is someone who has no interest in what scientific research actually says so keen on telling us what it implies? Why debate what you perceive to be the finer points of evolutionary theory when you don't actually care what they say? Why not just come out and say "It doesn't matter what scientists discover. If it disagrees with what is in my bible, then I don't believe it." The shallow, shallow depths to which you've attempted to understand what evolutionary theory is and what evolutionary theory says, let alone what a "theroy" is, certainly display this philosophy. And for the record, simply citing summaries of ID beliefs does not demonstrate an understanding of what is going on in evolution research.

Mark said...

uber,
theory. :) and TheRoy is not imaginary. you just can't see him!
and for the record, I have not claimed to be an authority, unless you would like to provide evidence where I have made such a claim?

Why not just come out and say "It doesn't matter what scientists discover. If it disagrees with what is in my bible, then I don't believe it."

Consider it done! with one exception; the scientist's discovery produces a theory that agrees with or is compatible with what the Bible says. There are such theories uber.

Josiah said...

It's an odd world where people ask reality to become compatable with a book.

DebraJMSmith said...

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Question: Does anything prove that creation did not happen?

Answer: No

Reason: Because we are all here.

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