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Bedford Ramblings
Steve Mills

When will we (American Society) acknowledge that something is wrong in our "village"?

Posted Thursday, June 12, 2014, at 7:20 AM
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  • Are adults playing deadly games in order to make a point?

    A loaded pistol was found in the toy section of a Target store "just days before activists began petitioning the retailer to ban firearms from its stores." http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/06/05/target-guns_n_5453164.html

    Was some sick mind hoping a tragedy would occur by a child picking the gun up and playing with it? Are we adults already too sick to help our children?

    -- Posted by stevemills on Wed, Jun 11, 2014, at 8:24 PM
  • All of the things you listed are factors, but IMO, another one is glaring.

    When we were kids we ran around and played outside all day with other kids from the neighborhood.

    This burned up the youthful energy, and also taught us how to get along with others.

    Today's kids rarely do that, and when that unspent energy causes the kid to act out, they are medicated.

    Every one of those medications has listed side effects of possible violent behavior.

    Almost every one of the mass shooters has been on one of those psychotropic medicines.

    -- Posted by quietmike on Thu, Jun 12, 2014, at 6:11 AM
  • Good point quietmike. That commonality had slipped my notice. "We" screw them up with our societal influences and tolerant atmosphere, then drug them, which can create its' own problem.

    Aren't we doing great? We older adults might be able to withstand the onslaught of violence in our environment because we were taught right from the start, but the young adults and children we have coming up are not faring so well.

    OK, I'll admit it. I am part of it. I sat silently by while this trash was inserted into our life. I allowed our daughter to watch things unfiltered by us (to an extent) but that does not mean I should throw up my hands and say "boy, things sure have changed".

    I allowed them to change and it is way past time that I and many of us start voicing our opinion and reclaiming some of our children's innocence. Do we (and they) really have to be bombarded with how someone tortured and dismembered their victims or sexually abused others?

    Somehow, we knew bad things had happened when we watched cops & robbers years ago, but Hollywood is convinced that they have to keep adding more and more shock value to things. STOP!

    How about disciplining our kids for acting up in a store, restaurant or ...... What about stopping them from cussing people out and showing some respect, even if it is not really due.

    Why would I give someone respect who does not deserve it? Because I respect myself and the values my parents instilled in me. I do not want to devalue myself to some lower standard.

    Maybe because I was taught to respect our Lord and doing otherwise would dishonor him? Wow! What a concept!

    -- Posted by stevemills on Thu, Jun 12, 2014, at 7:19 AM
  • To me,violent video games and movies have a major role in the increase of lethal shootings we have seen in the past 7 or 8 years.And as adults and parents it is as much our fault for allowing the kids to have access to these bad influences as it is the responsibility of the entertainment and video game industries.Combine the brainwashing effect of constantly staring at a computer screen or hdtv with the psychotropic effects of some of the behavior-modifying drugs so freely given to our youngsters, and you have a bomb with a short fuse. Then again, parents are guilty of that part,too. Some parents influence the kids doctors to give them something to make it easier to cope with their children, without direct interaction with them.

    -- Posted by mdstover on Thu, Jun 12, 2014, at 5:03 PM
  • I am in my early 30s. And I can remember going to elementary school (1st - 6th grade) and loving it!! I also remember going to a public school for kindergarten in Baltimore, MD and telling my mother that I hated school and could learn to read on my own "without going back to that stupid place" and I swore (at age 5) that "my teacher is a devil! She is just evil! And she doesn't even like kids MOM!!" My mother moved my two brothers and myself to Pittsburgh where we attended a very small, private school that was housed in the basement of a Presbyterian church, with no religious or church affiliation. It was the BEST SCHOOL EVER!! I finally loved school and for several reasons but mainly because they gave us the freedom to observe, be independent and reinforced this using privileges and responsibility. They knew we would do the right thing and make good decisions- why would any child not!?! They also knew that all any child needs is the freedom to explore and then ask any question they can dream up. The teachers saw their responsibility as not only encouraging their students to ask questions but also to show their students how to obtain an answer to your question.

    I called every one of my teachers by their first name, no Mr. no Mrs. just Jayne, Pam, Bill and Chuck.

    We did not have classrooms in the "upper elementary" (3rd through 8th grade); just two risers with a chalk board and one huge lunch room.

    Gym was every Friday afternoon- the entire school (teachers and students) walked to a not-so-nearby park and ran 1 mile then played kickball or softball. In the winter we would go to the boys and girls club to swim. If it rained then the teachers would ask permission to use the bowling alley located in the church. If we couldn't use the bowling alley then we had callisthenics in the hallway and free play in the gym.

    Every Thursday afternoon was art and we would be provided with several options and many mediums to create any thing we could dream of.

    Math was not a lecture- it was building geometric shapes by drawing perfect regular pentagons and using an Exacto knife to precisely cut them out and then using tons of Scotch tape (on the inside) to build your geometric shape. And we had to do ALOT! Guess what- we all figured out very quickly how to create a pattern so that we did not have to cut out every shape and tape them together. And we competed among our classmates to see who could make the most precise shapes the quickest. We drew using a compass (with a very SHARP point) and by the end of fourth grade every one of my classmates and I had enough questions for our math teacher that we could have developed our own curriculum without a textbook.

    Social studies included field trips every month- to free art festivals and food festivals and live performances.

    Science was not much more than nature walks with test tubes to collect samples and microscopes to look closely at our samples that we had collected. Again, once you get to that point, the kids had enough questions that encyclopedias and our teacher's college text books became the only reading material we needed. The teachers job was just to show us how to find answers to our questions and if we could not quite understand the vocabulary of the texts that we were using as references he would interpret the information (or hand us a dictionary). Also, he would then build on the information that we presented to him and develop new experiments to test our hypothesis and to fuel on burning desire to learn MORE!

    When you were promoted to 3rd grade you were permitted to go "out to lunch." Every child was given an hour to walk to the pizza shop or the diner and eat lunch once a week. No adult supervision, just a note from your parents saying you were permitted to go. There were only 2 rules: 1. be back in an hour, you don't want to miss class 2. you must go with 2 other kids so that in case of an emergency or in the event that a child was hurt one child stayed behind and the other ran back to the school to get help.

    AND NO ONE EVER GOT HURT.

    Also, they had very high expectations of us. The rule was no chewing gum, because gum can get everywhere and the school did not have much money to constantly remodel so NO GUM! The lunch tables had to last, the wall to wall carpeting was expensive and had to last, and anyone who did not understand DID GET CAUGHT and that was 2 weeks lunch detention: eat your lunch then sit on the risers- no going out to lunch or playing in the court yard.

    If you had homework it was important that you did it because it was assigned to you so that you would learn something that would help you in class the next day. If you did not do it, that was lunch detention for 1-2 weeks.

    But no one chewed gum and everyone did their homework. NO ONE FOUGHT- we were there to learn and we were there to learn how to learn. And we LOVED LEARNING- not just me; everyone!!

    AND EVERY ONE OF THE CHILDREN RECEIVED California Achievement Test (CAT) SCORES THAT WERE NEAR THE 99TH PERCENTILE, CONSISTENTLY, YEAR AFTER YEAR.

    And yet, we had the tools in the classroom to poke a classmates eye out or to stab the teacher. However we were so busy falling in love with our ability to learn that thought never crossed our minds! If we didn't treat our classmates right then who would play kickball with us? Who would share their new found pattern to make our geometric shapes closer to perfect? Who would go out to lunch with us? Who would help us on our next art, science, math, social studies, or writing project?

    I played violent video games with my two younger brothers, I watched Married with Children (still do-good show) My grandmother watched the news in front of us ALL THE TIME. My house was robbed 3 times during elementary school (in order to go a good school, my mother sacrificed A LOT)There were shootings in my neighborhood and gang violence nearly every day within 1/2 a mile from our home (It was the 90s) There was a serial killer "on the loose one year" in the neighborhood that the school was located (a body was found in the pizza shop dumpster) and yet we were not violent. And we were still permitted to go out to lunch- we were smart. School was to teach us to be intelligent, inquisitive, responsible, and savvy. They told us not to be afraid because we were smart and this if you are smart you should not be scared! People (big and small) become violent when they are not treated right. Think about that!

    -- Posted by openyoureyes123 on Thu, Jun 12, 2014, at 7:21 PM
  • It sounds as if you had the nurturing needed, both at school and home to cope with the world and enjoy learning. I wish all had that type of support and we would probably not be looking at our world as it is today.

    -- Posted by stevemills on Thu, Jun 12, 2014, at 8:15 PM
  • And now it gets closer to home, East Tennessee!

    Let us all think closely on people's actions to see if there are warning signs. I don't mean just acting strange, since I might be caught in that too, but making threatening comments about groups of people and children especially.

    The East TN near-miss as apparently brought to law enforcement attention by a counselor or psychologists but primarily by the family stepping up and saying our kid needs help.

    KUDOS for making that tough decision!

    -- Posted by stevemills on Fri, Jun 13, 2014, at 8:12 AM
  • We have become desensitized to everything, its rare that anyone in this fast paced world we live in drudging to make a living, to take time and be still.

    When still, one can stop long enough to ponder how to change a life. It's not the guns, some games or environments that kids heads and minds are in these days, they have always been with us and if you ask them if it changes them most might say "no" because they are super wise these days, but can't swing a hammer or dig a ditch. It's the quiet stillness they are missing.

    Even the Bible says to be still and know He is God. When given stillness a mind can think instead of the noise that vastly and fastly feels the head and creates fast and impulsive thought like unreasoning animals wanting to rip, kill and destroy enough to need medication.

    I have found myself quiet in a calm space, like in a silent room, or by an outdoor stream soaking up stillness with my senses. It has allowed me to learn, resolve conflict, love, and believe that I can change or better a person by shedding positive planned examples to those around me.

    A child needs taught self-awareness, integrity, independence, and how to love unconditionally amongst other positive ways of self control, but most of all how to be still to allow oneself thought to help heal the world in anyway they can.

    -- Posted by chefgrape on Fri, Jun 13, 2014, at 1:14 PM
  • What we are seeing is the death of our country as we know it. Our Judeo/Christian roots and free market is being replaced with Communism. I can remember my father, a WWII veteran, telling me when I was a boy that Russia said they would take us over without firing a shot.

    Read the 10 planks of Communism Manefesto here and see if these things haven't already occurred. http://www.libertyzone.com/Communist-Manifesto-Planks.html

    People are in despair because if this. No drug or social program is going to fix this fundamental shift in our culture and society. It will take a grass roots movement, and that seems unlikely.

    -- Posted by Liveforlight on Sat, Jun 14, 2014, at 10:29 PM
  • Interesting post Liveforlight. I see or perhaps should say feel the 10 planks being practiced all around me.

    The quote near the end of your link.....("None are more hopelessly enslaved, as those who falsely believe they are free....") was especially thought provoking on this Sunday morning.

    Reminded me about flying over the cities of this Country at certain elevations and looking down to see what reminded me of an ant colony with all the participants going to and fro from the ant hill hurriedly trying to gather more and more.

    I looked "below" and saw many enslaved to a master with a system of seemingly magical green paper that had them tranquilized into thinking they were free when instead they were in bondage to the green papered master.

    I was truly saddened when I looked "down" and realized that I too was one of the ants erring in thought of thinking I was free when I was in bondage likewise to a deceptive master.

    I was truly gladdened when I soon looked "up" and saw that..... by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

    May we all look "up" today and realize our true Father on this Fathers' Day.

    -- Posted by Blessed Assurance on Sun, Jun 15, 2014, at 11:34 AM
  • "How about the ACLU trying at every turn to keep religion (at least Christianity) out of our schools and government?"

    Religion has no place in either our schools or our government. But suppose for a moment that you got your wish and religion WAS allowed into both. Which religion? Islam, Judaism, Catholic, Hinduism, Christianity?

    Let's suppose that you say Christianity. Fine, but what about non-Christian students? And in government what about non-religious US citizens? Do you seriously suggest that we convert to a Christian nation completely? Iran has that now, do you like what you see in Iran?

    Something is causing these mass killings, I agree. But what that is exactly has yet to be determined. It's too easy to say that violent movies, TV, and video games is the root of it. I watched plenty of westerns and Dirty Harry type movies growing up and I have yet to go on a killing spree.

    I spent many a summer's day with my friends "killing" one another over and over as we played Cowboys and Indians.

    We don't yet know why these killings are happening, but to assert that lack of religion or Communism or something else is the cause is irresponsible and unhelpful.

    In the case of religion, what if God said tomorrow that killing each other is good. Would that make these mass killings OK in your eyes? No? Then religion is not the answer, is it?

    Gun Control is always brought up as being a solution. While I agree that there are far too many guns in our country, especially those with large capacity clips, I don't "know" that gun control is the answer either. Maybe it is, but the only way to find out is to enact stringent gun control laws, and that's never going to happen. (Even Obama didn't come and take your guns away, as so many of my family and friends feared back in 2008.)

    I believe that the answer to mass killings needs to start with all of us making fewer claims and assertions and with us asking more questions.

    -- Posted by ClarkDV on Sun, Jun 15, 2014, at 11:46 AM
  • I will try to respond using this phone. If I get too frustrated. I will continue later. One good thing is that I will keep it brief..

    I see classes about other religious diversity but do not recall Christianity being taught without huge controversy.

    Why do we have to choose a religion? Most teach respect and strong values.

    Comparing Dirt Harry movies to even just our TV shows is comparing apples to oranges in my opinion. I too played cowboys and Indians but as I remember it my parents insisted that we never point even a toy gun at people. That resulted in a lot of "you missed me " claims. :-)

    It is not one thing that kept us from becoming murderers. It was a combination of family, church and community values that are nowhere universal anymore.

    The God I believe in would not ask me to kill innocent people.

    How is questioning the reason and proposing influences irresponsible and unhelpful? Is that not the same as asking questions but in a different form?

    Is that not getting us to discuss the possible solutions?

    You've criticized and ridiculed my thoughts so.... What are yours ClarkDV? Apparently you do not want to hear mine but I DO want to hear yours. I don't mind being totally wrong if we can stop the madness.

    I look forward to your response.

    -- Posted by stevemills on Sun, Jun 15, 2014, at 1:05 PM
  • So, let's ask a few questions. Are these events more frequent now than before? Why? What has changed?

    Are the 10 planks of Communism in place in this country? Should they be?

    Regarding religion; While there are varying beliefs on religion there is one consistency. They all require faith. Even the lack of religion commonly called Atheist, requires faith. Simply put, these are a defined set of beliefs. The word "Religion" conjures pictures of ceremony and/or ritual and a set of hard fast rules, but it is nothing more than faith in action. The same applies to the Atheist, minus the ritual or ceremony I suppose, but a belief system non-the-less.

    While I agree there should not be a State or national religion/belief system, meaning that everyone is forced to comply with one. I do not agree that there should be no religion in school or government. By banning all religion in these institutions we have installed a De facto religion/belief system (Atheism) to the exclusion of all others.

    The battle we have before us is a battle of hearts and minds. The solution will have to touch both to be effective. Banning guns will work like banning drugs. It won't!!

    -- Posted by Liveforlight on Sun, Jun 15, 2014, at 3:43 PM
  • @ Liveforlight

    Atheism is not a religion, nor is it a "belief system" and it requires no faith.

    Atheism is a position on the Theistic claim that there is a god. Atheism simply says "I do not believe your god claim." That is all that Atheism states.

    Theism = Belief in a god/higher power/supernatural creator.

    Atheism = Lack of belief in a god/higher power/supernatural creator.

    You wrote:"I do not agree that there should be no religion in school or government. By banning all religion in these institutions we have installed a De facto religion/belief system (Atheism) to the exclusion of all others."

    That is incorrect. Having NO religion in schools or government is not installing Atheism. Atheism is simply a lack of belief in a god claim. Atheism has no dogma, no doctrine, no rituals, no leaders.

    Look at it this way, a bible is a book with words written on each page. A book with nothing written on the pages is not an Atheist bible, it is just a book with nothing written on the pages.

    -- Posted by ClarkDV on Sun, Jun 15, 2014, at 10:22 PM
  • Do you seriously suggest that we convert to a Christian nation completely?

    Posted by ClarkDV on Sun, Jun 15, 2014, at 11:46 AM

    Started out as one.

    Might not be a bad idea to convert back.

    -- Posted by Blessed Assurance on Sun, Jun 15, 2014, at 10:28 PM
  • @stevemills

    You wrote:"Why do we have to choose a religion? Most teach respect and strong values."

    I chose a religion in my scenario because you seemed to want one chosen, if that's incorrect then OK. My point was that no religion is necessary. Respect and strong values can be taught without religion, and you avoid the potential quagmire of teaching one religion's beliefs to children of different faiths. Children are required by law to attend school, so religion should not be taught at all. If you wanted a comparative religion class taught that would be awesome. So long as it covered all religions and did so in a unbiased way.

    You wrote:"Comparing Dirt Harry movies to even just our TV shows is comparing apples to oranges in my opinion. I too played cowboys and Indians but as I remember it my parents insisted that we never point even a toy gun at people. That resulted in a lot of "you missed me " claims. :-)"

    My point was that Dirty Harry was seen as the epitome of casual violence in cinema when I was a kid, just as violent TV shows, movies and "games" are today. And while your parents may have forbidden you to never point toy guns at people, mine didn't say a word about it, but then they weren't usually around or too concerned with us kids outside running around playing Cowboys and Indians. In other words, me and my childhood friends were just as homicidal in our play as kids today are with video games.

    You wrote:"It is not one thing that kept us from becoming murderers. It was a combination of family, church and community values that are nowhere universal anymore."

    How do you know that's what kept you from being a murderer? Are you suggesting that other kids who grew up near you but didn't have church did grow up to become murderers? You're confusing correlation with causation and that just doesn't work.

    You wrote:"The God I believe in would not ask me to kill innocent people."

    So you are claiming to know the mind of God? Have you read your bible? Your god asked, even commanded, the murder of thousands of innocents. Even toddlers and the unborn. The OT god was quite the vengeful, murderous, bloodthirsty character!

    You wrote:"How is questioning the reason and proposing influences irresponsible and unhelpful? Is that not the same as asking questions but in a different form?"

    You pose those questions in a very loaded way, and that's what is irresponsible and unhelpful. For example "our permissive society", "politically correct restrictions", "the ACLU trying at every turn to keep religion (at least Christianity").

    You wrote:"You've criticized and ridiculed my thoughts so.... What are yours ClarkDV? Apparently you do not want to hear mine but I DO want to hear yours."

    When did I say that I did not want to hear your thoughts? Do you also know my mind as well as your god's?I said we need to stop making claims and assertions and instead ask more questions.

    -- Posted by ClarkDV on Sun, Jun 15, 2014, at 10:47 PM
  • ClarkDV From Wikipedia; Atheism is, in a broad sense, the rejection of belief in the existence of deities, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atheism

    In other words the "BELIEF" or "FAITH" that there is nor deity.

    Simply put:The atheist believes in nothing. Which is still something. Belief is part of the human condition. It simply cannot be escaped.You can't even walk without believing your leg will support your weight.

    Maybe to some "nothing" is sufficient. Maybe one of the questions we should be asking is; Do these shooters need something greater than themselves to believe in?

    -- Posted by Liveforlight on Mon, Jun 16, 2014, at 5:53 AM
  • More questions;

    Can we agree that a "choice" has to be made before any action (shooting) is carried out?

    Isn't a choice a conclusion reached by a person based on what they believe to be true?

    How do you effect the choices someone makes?

    -- Posted by Liveforlight on Mon, Jun 16, 2014, at 6:09 AM
  • ClarkDV, thank you for answering our points individually. My assumptions are no doubt opinions, but they are a points of reference around which we discuss our thoughts.

    Speaking of which, what are your opinions about why and how we can start reducing these violent acts?

    -- Posted by stevemills on Mon, Jun 16, 2014, at 6:33 AM
  • Belief can be a tricky word, because it depends on which meaning you give it. I believe things when they have been proven to me. My belief is involuntary, I cannot choose what to believe and what not to believe. I am either convinced or I am not. I don't know how many Atheists you actually know, but talk to them and you will find that they mostly agree with my statement.

    An atheist, in the general sense, is a person who does not believe in the existence of any gods. Atheism is the corresponding philosophical position.

    Atheism may or may not be a position of faith, depending on the type of atheism, as atheism may or may not refer to a stance on the theistic question, depending on the individual in question and how the term 'atheism' is meant.

    Arguments over whether or not atheism constitutes a belief are often based on one side assuming that the term always does or always doesn't constitute a positivist statement, and therefore, a belief.

    -- Posted by ClarkDV on Mon, Jun 16, 2014, at 3:53 PM
  • "Simply put:The atheist believes in nothing."

    Not true, I believe in reality, what I can see, hear, touch, measure, etc. I believe this keyboard is real because I feel it and I am typing on it.

    I also believe, if you mean believing to mean "to care about, to value, to put stock in", my family, my friends, most other humans, etc.

    "Maybe one of the questions we should be asking is; Do these shooters need something greater than themselves to believe in?"

    That's a good question. Maybe some people do need to believe in something greater than themselves. I talk to Theists all the time and you'd be surprised how many of them say to me that without the moral laws handed down by their gods, that they would be horrible people. So in their minds, the only thing keeping them from murdering and raping is that their god said not to, and/or their fear of eternal torture.

    To those Theists, I say by all means, keep on believing in a god! If that's all that's keeping you from being a monster, go to church every sunday!

    But I wonder if a case might be made for these shooters and that maybe they do believe in a god, and yet they go on a rampage anyway. I'm reminded of the stories we read about where Christian mothers kill their children to ensure that they go to Heaven, or because their god told them to. These mothers had religion and faith, and yet they committed murders. (You will usually hear, after the fact, that they weren't "true Christians", whatever that means!)

    I keep coming back to the thought, though, that you can live a good, just, and moral life without believing in a higher power. So to suggest that putting God back in schools would solve these mass killings is still unproven.

    -- Posted by ClarkDV on Mon, Jun 16, 2014, at 4:02 PM
  • @stevemills

    How to stop the mass killings? Now that's a good question. I hope someone smarter than me comes up with something soon.

    The majority of violent prisoners in our jails believe in a god, yet they still committed violent acts. So evidently belief in gods isn't the answer.

    -- Posted by ClarkDV on Mon, Jun 16, 2014, at 4:10 PM
  • ClarkDV, I would bet that faith in a deity starts to hit home about the same time the jail cell door clangs behind them. But that is not saying people of religion do not commit murders or other illegal acts.

    I would be interested in learning how you developed your values, self control and moral judgment since you say your parents "weren't usually around". What made you decide what was right or wrong?

    That really is off the topic and certainly very personal so if you would like to take it "off line" you can write to me through the paper.

    I believe these murdering individuals needed a moral compass while growing up and religion, family or a moral society would normally be considered strong influences.

    Amoral influences to me would be most of Hollywood, violent video games and the street. What influences do you think formed such a personality?

    -- Posted by stevemills on Mon, Jun 16, 2014, at 5:00 PM
  • - Posted by ClarkDV on Mon, Jun 16, 2014, at 4:02 PM

    You said: "I am either convinced or I am not." So says the person who is baptized.

    Belief in God does not stop one from being evil. You can be evil and still believe in God. On that, we can agree.

    So, as Steve eluded to earlier there is more than just the belief at work, but also the practice of what is believed.

    Do you think this statement is true? Regardless of what you SAY you believe, you will act on what you TRULY believe.

    -- Posted by Liveforlight on Mon, Jun 16, 2014, at 5:14 PM
  • Steve,

    I said my parents weren't usually around when me and my friends were killing one another while playing Cowboys and Indians. They were both around full time during my childhood.

    I learned about right and wrong the same way most people do. When being around other kids and still in the "I want that toy NOW" phase, I learned that if you grab all the toys, you have the toys, but few friends. So I learned through empathy not to be mean to others because I didn't want them to be mean to me.Humans are social animals, and we learn, or we perish, that in order to live with others we need to treat them the same way we ourselves wish to be treated.

    What do I think formed the murderous personalities? I have no idea. I don't know the killers and I am not qualified to evaluate them if I did know them.

    I don't claim to know the answer to the issue, I simply do not think that religion is the answer. Nor do I think movies, TV, games, and music are the problem.

    To quote a friend's elderly father, "What happened to just saying that somebody went crazy? That's what we used to call it!"

    Mental health is a problem in our country, and I believe that the more advanced we become, meaning the less time we have to hunt and gather food, or even farm for it, or build our homes by hand, the more leisure time we have, and some of us develop mental conditions with all that free time. Of course, that's just one possibility.

    -- Posted by ClarkDV on Mon, Jun 16, 2014, at 5:22 PM
  • My apologies to you and your parents for my misunderstanding. I am glad to be corrected.

    I would hope these people are mentally ill, disturbed, deviant from the norm, but I would have a problem hearing that and feeling sorry for someone who had killed my child.

    WHY are they mentally ill and taking out their illness in such a fashion? And more importantly, how do we identify it and intervene before it comes to this.

    I would suspect that most know and maybe even count on the fact that they will be caught. Some are also counting on "suicide by cop" but have they reached out before and "we" have not seen the signs?

    How do we avoid overreacting and "intervening" with people who are just different?

    -- Posted by stevemills on Mon, Jun 16, 2014, at 7:38 PM
  • I did not grow up with my mother after the age of 5 and my father was absent at best. By the time I was taken to the church to be baptized my small mind saw the hypocrisy presented by the influencing practitioners. They said and did things I believed a God would not say and do. I was abused by a stepmother beyond what I have seen except on TV or in the movies. Still...... I function well, have never had the desire for retribution or revenge, and try to make the world a better place.

    Recently while listening to Fresh Air I came to the conclusion that the musicals of Rogers and Hammerstein gave me my morals and outlook on life. That may be too simplistic ( I did have a " normal " home until the age of 5 ) but I still believe the words of those songs.

    Please don't hit me too hard with your response......... My sensitivity is off the charts.

    -- Posted by Palindrome on Tue, Jun 17, 2014, at 9:02 AM
  • Aah, come on, hitting makes for good activity. :-)

    Rogers and Hammerstein would be a good influence and I have to say it is the first time I heard of them being referenced that way. That makes me think back on how they might have affected me too.

    No doubt our mother influenced us in the arts and of course Rogers and Hammerstein would be part of that. I would say she usually used her 'heart' to make decisions which left our father to be disciplinarian. He was good at it :-), but later in life I learned that it was not something he enjoyed either.

    A hypocritical leader of any sort really irks me and we have a society full of them. I guess because we as a whole do not really make them pay for that hypocrisy.

    I understand changing one's opinion or actions as we grow in life, but to proclaim one thing and be doing the totally opposite at the same time? Grrrr.

    I wonder if musicals like R&H's would provide enough entertainment to our current world to become hits? Boy, could I get off topic with that.

    -- Posted by stevemills on Tue, Jun 17, 2014, at 9:32 AM
  • We all need something to believe in......To find satisfaction in..... The trick is to choose the " right " thing. It doesn't get any better than believing in oneself...... On a very deep, satisfying level. I think if everyone took genuine pride in themselves a lot of the crap would go away.

    -- Posted by Palindrome on Tue, Jun 17, 2014, at 11:06 AM
  • This may open a whole can of worms but...

    Palindrome, you bring what I think are some very good points. Please don't take offense at what I am about to write because no offense is intended and I may not articulate my thoughts well so that they are received as intended.

    One such example is my statement above that reads "The atheist believes in nothing." this statement, which was taken out of context, should read; The atheist believes in nothing(deity), which is still something (belief there is no deity). Belief is part of the human condition. This may have offended ClarkDV which I did not intend at all.

    My point being the same as yours "We all need something to believe in" and we all DO believe in something.

    ClarkDV makes the case that his (could be her) belief is involuntary. He says that he is either convinced or not. It is the same for all of us. We are either convinced(believe/faith) or we are not.

    We all want to be right. Blogs are full of opinions from people who believe they are right. We must ALL understand that we can be thoroughly convinced that we are right, and be wrong.

    Time will make, or has made, hypocrites of us all. Have you ever been asked; What would you do if this (stressful situation) happens? Then, when it does happen and you are faced with the (emotional, physical, mental, financial, etc,) realities then you don't do what you said? I certainly have. Thus, I became a hypocrite.

    We should not be surprised if sin and hypocrisy exists in a Church., or that sickness and injury exist in a hospital. We are all fallible people. We are all quick to SAY what we believe based on what we have become convinced is right. But, our TRUE belief is tested in times of trouble or confrontation and, many times, we are the ones most surprised by the result.

    I firmly believe we all do believe and have faith in something. Somethings we cannot touch, see, observe, measure, or prove. For example; I have debated many Atheist over the years and all have admitted they believe in things that they cannot prove such as the theory of evolution or life on other planets. Most will hold to evolution and use the fossil records as evidence that it is true. However, they will admit fossil records can have more than one logical explanation other than evolution. One prime example of this is the Piltdown man skull that was use as proof of evolution in the Scopes monkey trial and later proved to be a hoax.

    Basically my point concerning faith/belief system is this: We are "convinced" as ClarkDV put it, of the truth by someone else. We consider them as credible resources. Whether that is a preacher, teacher, scientist, entertainer, or parent etc. We see in them something we believe to be right and true and adopt those values as our own. Many times this is because we have examined ourselves and our world and asked; Is there nothing more?

    All of the choices we make are based on the values/belief system/faith that we have adopted.

    Now, that being said, this blog is about the shooters. Obviously their values are compromised as compared to what we call normal. As ClarkDV pointed out there are many question that need to be asked. The problem, as we have already seen, is that there are more questions than answers because the answers conflict based on our belief systems.

    As I wrote above, we all want to be right. Additionally, we all want to see what we consider right carried out in the world particularly in education and government. But, when two opinions are opposed they can't both be right, or can they?

    Case in point; Banning religion from school and government. As a Christian I would be perfectly alright with Christianity being a national religion and all others banned. I am sure the Muslim would feel the same way. The Atheist would like to see them banned due to his belief.

    Now our Constitution says this: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;

    This means that there should be no impressing others belief systems on each other by force of law. By banning religion in schools this is exactly what has been done.

    Why not let teachers and students be free to express their beliefs realizing they will be as varied as the people who hold them. Some may need to believe in a deity, or entertainer, or science, or just themselves. Others will be exposed to what could be the belief system they are looking for.

    "Something" is missing from the belief systems of these shooters that prompts them to make the choices they do.

    I wish everyone the best in whatever foundation you have chosen to believe in. :)

    -- Posted by Liveforlight on Tue, Jun 17, 2014, at 5:38 PM
  • Believe in "The Rock" and build your foundation upon it.

    -- Posted by Blessed Assurance on Tue, Jun 17, 2014, at 5:56 PM
  • Liveforlight, (male or female, not sure)

    Liveforlight, you continue to equate belief with faith. In fact, faith is a subset of belief. Liveforlight, you can believe something for good, sound reasons, such as EVIDENCE, or Liveforlight, you can believe on faith, which is, by definition, believing in something in the absence of evidence.

    Now, you, Liveforlight, may say that fossil records aren't 100% absolute proof because they may have been created by some other means, but their weight as evidence is that given what we know today, and as far as science has gone as of today, they are the best explanation for evolution.

    That's not faith, that's belief based on evidence. Again, belief and faith are not synonymous.

    Liveforlight, you then went on to say that banning religion in our schools IS the government "impressing others belief systems" on our kids. Please explain that statement, because for the life of me I cannot see how NOT teaching something is actually teaching something!

    -- Posted by ClarkDV on Tue, Jun 17, 2014, at 6:47 PM
  • Clarkdv

    definition of faith from this website http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/faith

    please see #1 and #2

    faith [feyth] Show IPA

    noun

    1.

    confidence or trust in a person or thing: faith in another's ability.

    2.

    belief that is not based on proof: He had faith that the hypothesis would be substantiated by fact.

    3.

    belief in God or in the doctrines or teachings of religion: the firm faith of the Pilgrims.

    4.

    belief in anything, as a code of ethics, standards of merit, etc.: to be of the same faith with someone concerning honesty.

    5.

    a system of religious belief: the Christian faith; the Jewish faith.

    #1 above pretty much sums up how I equate faith with belief. "confidence or trust in a person or thing: faith in another's ability." I thought I explained that by saying we are "convinced" by someone else.

    I did not say the fossil remains were created by some other means. I said fossil records have more than one logical explanation. Your assertion that they may have been created by some other means is an example of one. There are possibly hundreds of others. The best anyone can do is form a hypothesis. Then choose to believe it or not. If the believe it they will act in faith to find more evidence to support their belief. A Christian does the same thing.

    ClarkDV ever heard the expression, "Silence speaks volumes?" That is how not teaching equates to teaching.

    We touched upon hypocrisy. The first Amendment; "make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;"

    The suppression of religious freedom is what I am talking about. The one who believes is not allowed to express their belief because of the one who does not.

    Today, we have students and teachers who are prohibited from praying or speaking about their religious beliefs at school. There are several lawsuits going right now over this issue. All students and teachers see and hear this and are thereby taught that they must comply with these regulations.

    -- Posted by Liveforlight on Tue, Jun 17, 2014, at 8:06 PM
  • Lest anyone be concerned that this topic has expanded from the original intent, please don't be. I don't mind the direction it is going.

    I believe things evolve but when I see nature and all its intricacies and vast variety, I cannot believe that it just "happened" from a few cells in the mud.

    I am sure mankind has messed up its' retelling of the Bible, or there would not be books included and others left out, but I believe our Lord would correct anything needed, so there must be a reason why our science does not match up with the Bible.

    Is our science wrong? We only have to look at the planets to know things are not always as they are thought. Carbon dating could be flawed and probably is, but we have nothing better at the time.

    I believe we are expected to use our brains and that creates questions and conflicts of belief. I guess that is part of the plan of which I am not privy.

    -- Posted by stevemills on Tue, Jun 17, 2014, at 9:38 PM
  • I don't think there is any conflict between the Bible and science, only misunderstanding and conflict in beliefs.

    For example: There would seem to be a conflict between Bible teaching creation of the earth in seven days and science saying the earth is millions of years old. Can both be true? YES

    Here is how; The answer is in OUR definition of a day/time. The Bible defines a day as the morning and the evening. We define a day the same way but we have assigned 24 hrs to that period of time. Then, we assign years based on that same time measurement However, the real measurement is the rotation of the Earth on its axis. SO, how fast was the Earth rotating at that time. Here is where faith is required. Science would say it was the same speed then as now. You can't prove it beyond all doubt so it must be believed. Could it have been turning much slower? So slow that maybe a million of what we call years passed? Are there other instances in the Bible that say the length of the day (in hours) was altered. YES! Joshua 10:13

    So, we can believe whichever we like. I believe there is much more than our puny minds are capable of realizing. I believe we are all flawed and need help to overcome those flaws. I believe Christ gave us that help. All we have to do is accept it as credible.

    -- Posted by Liveforlight on Wed, Jun 18, 2014, at 6:03 AM
  • @Live

    The law is that students and faculty can pray in school all they want, so long as it doesn't disrupt class time. What cannot happen, is that the prayer cannot be lead by the faculty, nor done where students are not free to walk away. If there are school systems that are restricting anyone from praying, who are otherwise following those guidelines, then that's wrong and those schools should stop restricting it.

    More on the science/bible and faith/belief thread later. Work to do now.

    -- Posted by ClarkDV on Wed, Jun 18, 2014, at 11:55 AM
  • Work! How dare that get in the way!

    I need to follow your lead on that. I get distracted all too often.

    -- Posted by stevemills on Wed, Jun 18, 2014, at 12:26 PM
  • @Live

    We're mired in definitions of faith and belief, so let me ask you this. What would you like to see in schools? A curriculum where Christianity is a subject of study? Would that include proselytizing or just a dry presentation of the subject matter?

    Or would you like to see something more akin to a Comparative Religion class?

    -- Posted by ClarkDV on Wed, Jun 18, 2014, at 12:42 PM
  • Comparative Religion class would be interesting with the subject matter reviewed by each religion discussed.

    -- Posted by stevemills on Wed, Jun 18, 2014, at 2:50 PM
  • @Live

    "The best anyone can do is form a hypothesis. Then choose to believe it or not. If the believe it they will act in faith to find more evidence to support their belief. A Christian does the same thing."

    Actually, the scientific process is to form a hypothesis and then go and investigate and test to try to either prove or disprove that hypothesis. To say that they have faith in their hypothesis I think is incorrect. They have confidence in it based upon past experience in their field of study, and other hypotheses that they formed and tested.

    The key words there are "confidence" and "based upon". You may say that faith is confidence, but you don't have the necessary "based upon" to go with it, as faith is based upon the LACK of any supporting evidence, past experience, etc.

    What I don't understand, though, is your insistence in trying to prove that scientists and Atheists are using faith. Why is it so important to you to try to shoehorn the word faith into everyone's lives and insist that they all do have it and do use it?

    In my life, faith means believing something for which there is no evidence or good reason to believe it. And I use faith in NO part of my life. I do not have faith that the sun will rise tomorrow. What I do have is confidence that the sun will rise tomorrow, based upon the fact that it has risen every day of my life and I know how the sun and earth's orbits work.

    -- Posted by ClarkDV on Wed, Jun 18, 2014, at 2:58 PM
  • I finally found an old link I was looking for, to an article that addresses the "Atheism is a Religion" argument. It's a short read and the gist is we Atheists will define what Atheism is, and no one else.

    http://www.atheists.org/activism/resources/what-is-atheism

    -- Posted by ClarkDV on Wed, Jun 18, 2014, at 5:02 PM
  • T he worms are wiggling pretty good now LOL. The mire we are in is basically a difference in belief systems. Happens a lot on blogs. I also work a full time job, have a side business, a farm, and family to take care of, so I don't have a lot of time either.

    ClarkDV I will try to address your questions/issues.

    I admit I am not aware of legal status in schools or government concerning religion. I was posting about that based on your assertion above. "Religion has no place in either our schools or our government."

    I am aware of several lawsuits concerning the issue of religious liberty here is a link to some of them. http://www.alliancedefendingfreedom.org/issues/religious-liberty

    I agree that religion should not be forced on anyone by the school or government administration. They should be able to choose. However, a student speaking as a valedictorian should be able to express their religious beliefs if they so desire.

    What I would like to see in school is freedom of religious expression and the equal teaching of religious theory on unproven theories such as creation and evolution. Or do you assert that believing that life was created out of organic material,(as taught by evolution)requires no faith? or does the big bang theory also require no faith to believe? Can it be proven beyond any doubt? Why not teach the theory of creation as well? Give each equal time and text.

    Concerning "Faith" I am not trying to shoehorn the word faith into everyone's lives. The word has been around a lot longer than any of us. So, it has been in our lives as long as we have. You seem to take offense at this word being used in this conversation, most likely due to its' religious implications. To me, faith, belief, trust, convinced, confidence, are synonymous in this dialogue. Because, All of these words are used to indicate the extension of loyalty to a set of ideas in the absence of absolute proof.

    I have tried to answer your questions, although probably not the answers you are looking for. Thus the mire will likely continue. We have both already adopted our belief systems and are unlikely to change them unless some catastrophic event shows us how glaringly wrong we are.

    This blog started about the school shootings. My opinion was that our social structure and moral values are being systematically changed to that of communism. Karl Marx was also an Atheist and the 10 planks of Communism are his works.

    Obviously the belief systems of the shooters is not right. Since you and I are not killers, (at least I am not) then I would assume that both belief systems are capable of supplying the need without violence.

    Palindrome said;

    "Recently while listening to Fresh Air I came to the conclusion that the musicals of Rogers and Hammerstein gave me my morals and outlook on life."

    This gives some credibility to belief systems being developed by entertainers or video games.

    Do you agree that choices the shooters make is based on what they believe to be true?

    -- Posted by Liveforlight on Wed, Jun 18, 2014, at 5:37 PM
  • "However, a student speaking as a valedictorian should be able to express their religious beliefs if they so desire."

    To an unsuspecting, therefore captive audience, no, she does NOT have that right at a school (government) sponsored event.

    An exception might be if she says something like "I thank God for..." or something else that is very very short. But to recite a full prayer, as the HS student did last year in South Carolina, is not allowed, nor should it be.

    Any easy way to test that statement is to change what the student said to a Muslim prayer, or a Hindu prayer, THEN would the student's supporters have been so supportive? I doubt it.

    -- Posted by ClarkDV on Wed, Jun 18, 2014, at 6:06 PM
  • Believing that life sprang from organic materials is abiogenesis, not evolution. Evolution simply states that living beings change over time via natural selection.

    The theory of Creationism cannot be taught because there IS no theory behind Creationism. You are using the layman's definition of the word theory when you should be using, in this context, the scientific definition, which is different.

    The layman's definition of theory is similar to a hypothesis or "just a guess" as many would put it.

    From Wikipedia: "A scientific theory is a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world that is acquired through the scientific method, and repeatedly confirmed through observation and experimentation."

    So you see, theory explains how something happens, and has testable experimentation, evidence, and research to back it up. A theory is the graduation point of a hypothesis.

    Creationism or Intelligent Design have no theory, other than "God did it!"

    So Science should be taught in schools, and baseless guesses should not be.

    And no, the big bang theory requires no faith to believe that it is the best explanation we have to date, based on the research that has been done so far. You should investigate background radiation as it pertains to the big bang theory.

    But again, and as I said, all science is based on our best knowledge to date, given what we have been able to figure out. It changes when new data arrives. Your demands for "absolute proof" are irrelevant. We may never know with 100% absolute certainty what happened to get the whole universe going on its path. But we can continue to learn and seek the answers, and the scientific method is the best tool we've found so far to consistently discover, test, and explain our natural universe.

    And you or I, if we wanted to spend the time and effort to attain advanced degrees in the sciences, could then do the same experiments and verify, as countless others have, that the theories hold up and DO explain evolution and big bang.

    That right there, the ability to do the experiments for yourself and see that the answer come out the same as what is being taught, puts science at the top of the heap as far as explanatory powers. Religion doesn't even come close, with all "explanations" coming down to faith in the fact that God did it. (which explains nothing, it just stops the conversation for the Theist and provides a comfortable "answer".)

    So, to your desire for "What I would like to see in school is freedom of religious expression and the equal teaching of religious theory on unproven theories such as creation and evolution." Religious expression IS allowed in schools now, just not faculty led and not in a way that a student can't easily opt out of it. And the equal teaching of fact versus fiction, well, school is no place for that. Sunday School is the place for that.

    -- Posted by ClarkDV on Wed, Jun 18, 2014, at 6:27 PM
  • Thank you for a term I had not seen before, abiogenesis or biopoiesis.

    The facts for folks who believe this is probably the same as those of us who believe in divine creation since all definitions of the terms above seem to us the word hypothesis (proposed explanation) and descriptions such as "a process by which living organisms are thought to develop from nonliving matter".

    Even without the Bible I would have to question the hypothesis that the intricate, widely diverse life we see on this planet just happened from electricity or radioactivity affecting chemical molecules.

    Maybe once, maybe 100 times, but to then say that the dinosaur and the jellyfish, the Gila monster and the butterfly evolved from this basic molecule stimulation is harder for me to believe than intelligent design.

    Surely things have evolved since creation and as liveforlight commented, we probably have a lot of conflict because we are applying time as we know it to the Bible's description of creation.

    It would not rock my faith to hear a solid explanation of how this much diversity developed, so if you have some ideas or know some scientific details that explain this, please share it?

    -- Posted by stevemills on Wed, Jun 18, 2014, at 7:40 PM
  • I have no problem with people from another religion praying publicly. I have seen and heard them before doesn't bother me at all. I actually pray for them at the same time.

    ClarkDV said:

    "Believing that life sprang from organic materials is abiogenesis, not evolution. Evolution simply states that living beings change over time via natural selection."

    -- Posted by ClarkDV on Wed, Jun 18, 2014, at 6:27 PM

    So exactly how does life spring from organic material? Have scientific experiments been able to reproduce that? Do you believe it is possible?

    Saying "God did it" cannot be put on an equal par as saying "It happens spontaneously" in the absence of proof? One you consider fact the other fiction? Now that is faith!! Oh wait you didn't say you believed in abiogenesis. But, how can living beings evolve without there first being a living being? Where then did the living being come from? Can you prove it or do you only have hypothesis? God can't be a hypothesis? Only scientist can form hypothesis because everyone else is ignorant and uneducated, is that it?

    What you refer to as "God" is the super natural. Full Definition of SUPERNATURAL

    1

    : of or relating to an order of existence beyond the visible observable universe; especially : of or relating to God or a god, demigod, spirit, or devil

    2

    a : departing from what is usual or normal especially so as to appear to transcend the laws of nature.

    Can you prove there is no God or no super natural? Of course not! How can you prove what transcends the laws of nature that you are confined to?

    You have already expressed that you only believe what you can see, touch, observe, measure, etc. So your mind is closed to anything beyond these inputs.

    If you cannot manipulate it, then it is not real, but instead, is fiction. Does that pretty much some it up?

    What I see is;

    Science is only observing the mechanisms of creation after the fact and saying "Look, I can do that! There is no God!" Yet the mechanism of the creation of life alludes them. Just as the Bible says it will.

    Yet one we should be taught as fact, the other fiction?

    You talk about a "comfortable" answer. The real issue is control. Who made who? Did God make man or did man make God? One option puts man in control, the other puts God in control. It is much more "comfortable" to have man in control than to be subject to an omnipotent super natural being capable of transcending all the laws of nature as we know them.

    Like it or not this country started out with a strong Judeo/Christian belief system in place that has lasted for the better part of two centuries. Now, we have severe moral decay, and the implementation of Communism. One tenant of which is Atheism. Communist have recognized the strength of this country as being strong moral and family values, seek to destroy both, and are succeeding.

    Regarding the shootings. I asked before, Are these events more frequent now than before? Why? What has changed?

    -- Posted by Liveforlight on Wed, Jun 18, 2014, at 8:27 PM
  • Steve

    " Endless Forms Most Beautiful The New Science Of Evo Devo "

    Sean. B. Carroll

    -- Posted by Palindrome on Wed, Jun 18, 2014, at 8:36 PM
  • Liveforlight.....

    I would hardly categorize my belief system as having come from " an entertainer or video game".

    -- Posted by Palindrome on Wed, Jun 18, 2014, at 9:37 PM
  • Palindrome I did not mean to imply that your belef system comes entirely from an entertainer. However, you posted: "Recently while listening to Fresh Air I came to the conclusion that the musicals of Rogers and Hammerstein gave me my morals and outlook on life."

    Perhaps I misunderstood but this says to me that they had an effect on your belief system.

    So, it stand to reason that the shooter at the theater who said he was imitating the character "Joker" when he shot the people at the Batman movie was also influenced by entertainers but in a much different way.

    Consider this;

    Scientist say that the first creatures were in the ocean. The Bible says the first animals were fish.(Gen 1:20) The Bible is only a few thousand years ahead of scientist coming to the same conclusion. But which one is fact? Which do you believe?

    -- Posted by Liveforlight on Wed, Jun 18, 2014, at 10:20 PM
  • I found in the words of Oscar Hammerstein II a higher standard of behavior that I saw in the church or in many of the churchgoers. His words reflected the way he lived his life and the way I strive to live mine. .....With an OPEN mind.

    -- Posted by Palindrome on Wed, Jun 18, 2014, at 10:55 PM
  • Steve,

    I mean you no disrespect but I must say that you do not understand evolution at all. If you honestly want to understand evolution I suggest The Origin of Species by Darwin. It's a well known book for a reason!

    By saying that evolution is harder for you to accept than ID you're committing a logical fallacy called the fallacy of Personal Incredulity.

    Personal Incredulity - Because you find something difficult to understand, or are unaware of how it works, you decide that it's probably not true.

    Complex subjects like biological evolution through natural selection require some amount of understanding before one is able to make an informed judgement about the subject at hand; this fallacy is usually used in place of that understanding.

    Example: Kirk drew a picture of a fish and a human and with effusive disdain asked Richard if he really thought we were stupid enough to believe that a fish somehow turned into a human through just, like, random things happening over time.

    -- Posted by ClarkDV on Thu, Jun 19, 2014, at 1:16 AM
  • @Live

    I cannot continue to discuss this with you any more. It simply hurts my brain to try to unwind the pretzel that you have created to justify your belief in the supernatural. And the disdain that you have for science and observable facts is appalling.

    Please read books other than just your one "good" book. There's a world of knowledge and insight waiting for you when you're ready.

    -- Posted by ClarkDV on Thu, Jun 19, 2014, at 1:24 AM
  • ClarkDV I have read many of those other books which you would deem "good". I have simply come to a different conclusion than you.

    As I stated, what I see is science merely discovering the mechanisms of God. I have no disdain for science. True science is the discovery of the truth. I do have love, and fear, of God and the truth.

    Science is knowledge which is useful. It is not wisdom which is more valuable than knowledge.

    I pointed out that science agrees with the Bible in many instances such as the first creatures being in the water/oceans. I suppose you could say it was just a coincidence. But, according to science, the Bible had the order/sequence of the beginnings of life right over 4000 yrs before science came to the same conclusion.

    Ending the discussion is fine with me. I do hope someone gained at least some insight from our opposing points of view.

    I wish you all the best in this short life.

    -- Posted by Liveforlight on Thu, Jun 19, 2014, at 5:59 AM
  • Well, I enjoyed the discussion! Thanks folks.

    ClarkDV I was kind of hoping for a CliffNotes comment on Darwin, etc. but I realize it is an involved discussion and it "hurts my brain" as well. I know that reading the full book would hurt it even more. It seems I did somewhere in my past but.... alas, I have let it slip out of the brain cells.

    "Personal Incredulity - Because you find something difficult to understand, or are unaware of how it works, you decide that it's probably not true." Could that not also apply to folks who do not believe in our creator?

    "Complex subjects like biological evolution through natural selection require some amount of understanding before one is able to make an informed judgement about the subject at hand". I assume from your comment that you DO understand this, so that is why I was hoping to hear more of your understandings.

    Palindrome,"Endless Forms Most Beautiful The New Science Of Evo Devo" is a new title I will try to explore. I expect it to hurt my brain as well, but I find that invigorating too so....

    Ouch!, so is a little kitten biting my toe! Sorry, slight distraction.

    -- Posted by stevemills on Thu, Jun 19, 2014, at 11:51 AM
  • So, let me get back to the question one more time before we close. I will re-state it, taking away my bias and even taking firearms out of the equation.

    Why does it seem that we are having more and more violence in schools and/or directed at groups of innocent people?

    -- Posted by stevemills on Thu, Jun 19, 2014, at 11:55 AM
  • Unhealthy isolation.................

    -- Posted by Palindrome on Thu, Jun 19, 2014, at 12:23 PM
  • So I understand. you mean that the person withdrew from family, friends and/or society? Voluntary or even involuntarily.

    -- Posted by stevemills on Thu, Jun 19, 2014, at 12:38 PM
  • Yes.......Being left alone with unhealthy thoughts brought on by feeling unloved, under-appreciated, misunderstood and limited in how to respond to the pain.

    -- Posted by Palindrome on Thu, Jun 19, 2014, at 12:52 PM
  • Steve,

    There are thousands of websites that can give you the Cliff's Notes version of Evolution and Abiogenesis, and in a more succinct and accurate way than I can. Google is your friend.

    I do not believe in a creator, and it's not because I don't understand him. From the bible and most believers I have ever met, you all agree that "you cannot know the mind of God", or "God's ways are mysterious and we pathetic humans cannot even comprehend Him." Do you disagree with that? Do you understand your god?

    I've read what are supposedly his words and commandments and they are so contradictory and immoral that I am led to believe that a creator does not exist, that those words were written by Bronze Age sheep herders who didn't know anything about their world, found that scary, were terrified of dying, and so they created a superstitious "explanation" for all the unknown that surrounded them in order to make people be good and to soothe their fears. (and that was the mother of all run-on sentences!)

    Let men ask you this, for the sake of the argument. Suppose for a moment that I agreed that I do not understand your god. Whose fault is that? Mine, using the brain that God gave me? Or His, the omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent Creator of everything who, even with all His power and knowledge, couldn't find a better way to get his message to me other than via written text. Even when he KNEW that that text would be bastardized over and over and would not be sufficient to get His message to me?

    -- Posted by ClarkDV on Thu, Jun 19, 2014, at 1:00 PM
  • I think I need to answer each post separately so Palindrome, I agree that most of the perpetrators seem to be removed from society, even if just emotionally. Parents or friends seem to have no idea of what is bubbling underneath the surface.

    I say "seem" because there are often warning signs, but "we" do not seem to see them or give them serious thought. They might have a friend or two but they are often of the same mind, therefore adding to the storm, not dissipating it.

    So... what can we do? If we think something is brewing with (fill in the name) do we try to talk with them, include them as friendly acquaintances?

    If that does not help what is our next step. If our next step is bringing them to the attention of authorities, could that next step make their life worse? IF we knew what was going to happen, that might not be a tough decision but we usually don't so...where do we go from there?

    I am not expecting anyone to have a definitive answer here. If we did, wouldn't that be great!

    I'm just looking for ideas on how WE can make the difference in someone's life and maybe, inadvertently save many.

    If we report them, to whom?

    -- Posted by stevemills on Thu, Jun 19, 2014, at 2:51 PM
  • Now for ClarkDV. :-) (that is a friendly smile)

    Since our last posting, I went to read some of those websites. Never found the cliffnotes but maybe that is because it can't be cliffnoted. It takes a lot of description and history and facts quoting terms that I could spend a few years trying to define and understand.

    Nope, that ain't gonna work for this old brain so we'll go to my Creator. (By the way, I believe my Creator is yours as well, but.... that is what we are debating)

    Do I understand God? Nope. Don't claim to, but I would also take a guess that you don't claim to understand all there is about abiogenesis or biopoiesis, yet you believe in it. (I think, not sure)

    Since according to our Bible God made us in his image (not reflective image), the closest I come to understanding God is by understanding me, but I can't figure myself out either so I am not too close to understanding Him.

    I believe God has chained just as we do. IN the Old Testament he was pretty angry and harsh. Having a child seemed to change that as it certainly changed me. I have learned to be more tolerant, patient and am not anywhere near as vindictive as I might have been in younger days.

    Maybe, just maybe, I am learning more about God. Whew, it is about time. :-) I am not too condemning of myself so I do not think of us as "pathetic humans" nor do I think He thinks that way.

    There is no need to argue that you do not understand our God, since neither do I.

    "Whose fault is that? Mine, using the brain that God gave me? Or His"? I don't see our brain as a fault but a gift. He gave us free will and wants us to choose to believe in Him. If you choose not not believe, that is your will, not His.

    "even with all His power and knowledge, couldn't find a better way to get his message to me other than via written text. Even when he KNEW that that text would be bastardized over and over and would not be sufficient to get His message to me?" If you want to include Him in your life, I believe you have but to ask (sincerely).

    If you had the power to MAKE someone love you, would it feel right? Would you enjoy that love or would it be second rate because you knew you forced it? That may be extremely simplified but I don't think it has to be complicated. (Science sure is)

    I do not believe I am called to the Ministry so that is probably as deep as I can go. Sorry I can not help you find an answer that convinces you about Him and I sure can't explain all there is about science (as you know). :-) (another friendly smile)

    -- Posted by stevemills on Thu, Jun 19, 2014, at 4:03 PM
  • We have now a set of behavioral circumstances we have never lived through before. I believe the internet as valuable as it is in many ways has a place at the heart of the issue. Rather than relate some thoughts before I have had time to refine them and choose words carefully I will take some time to do just that.

    -- Posted by Palindrome on Thu, Jun 19, 2014, at 5:18 PM
  • Steve,

    You asset that we're given free will and that I must choose to believe. I do not choose what I believe, I am either convinced via proof or I am not. It is not a voluntary action with me. God and his believers have not made their case for existence to me, to use a courtroom term, so the verdict is Not Guilty of Existing.

    I understand both Evolution and Abiogenesis enough to see that it is a viable theory of how speciation occurs and how life may have begun in the first place. I also see the proof and evidence backing up both theories, so I do not need faith in them nor do I need a Doctoral level of understanding.

    Where is that same level of proof for the supernatural? Hell, where is one tenth of that same level of proof for the supernatural? You have a collection of stories and your feelings. Now, that may be enough proof for you, but it's not enough to convince someone else. (Me.)

    You say if I want to include him in my life I have but to ask sincerely. I was baptized in 1999, and prayed studied my bible for several years. Nothing, zilch, zip, nada. So I guess I didn't do something right? Maybe the pastor didn't dip me in the water correctly? I was as sincere as I know how to be and nothing came of it. Well, that's not true, after years of feeling nothing, the more I read the bible, the entire bible, the more I came to question it!

    You say that to try and force someone to love you wouldn't feel right. Isn't that exactly what god is doing to you and everyone else? Is not the threat of eternal torture a "love me or else" proposition?

    Heck, even the very first 3 of the 10 commandments are all about commanding, not asking, but COMMANDING that we love and worship god. That's not a choice, that's a demand.

    I do enjoy talking with you, Steve. But I gotta say, your book and beliefs are so easy to pick apart that it's like shooting fish in a barrel. So I don't know if you really want to continue or not.

    If my jumping into this post has done anything I hope at the very least it has cleared up a few major pieces of misinformation about what is a theory, what Evolution says, and what an Atheist is and is not. I don't engage in conversations with any hopes of swaying those I talk with, but others may read these comments and someone needs to battle the ignorance. (Please don;t be offended by the word ignorance, it, too, has been misused so often that it's always taken as an insult, when it isn't.)

    -- Posted by ClarkDV on Thu, Jun 19, 2014, at 5:40 PM
  • My bad, the first 3 commandments are about god being the one and only, no graven images, etc.

    It's actually Matthew 22:37-39 that commands us to love him.

    Jesus replied: "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' 38 This is the first and greatest commandment."

    -- Posted by ClarkDV on Thu, Jun 19, 2014, at 5:46 PM
  • ClarkDV, it would hard for me to continue the faith side of this conversation without getting personal and possibly emotional. At no time did I feel like you were threatening my faith so no worries. I'm not insulted either.

    When I was younger, I played devil's advocate many times with people I believed were strong in their faith. My purpose was not to rock their world but to learn about their beliefs. Those who I thought were shaky, I left alone.

    So, when I thought I was picking apart their beliefs I was in fact strengthening mine. Strange results, huh?

    Rather than pursue religion, can we discuss how you understand life beginning? I know, I am asking for the Cliffnotes again but I cannot seem to glean enough from the scientific journals to make it through this old head.

    I can take it from evolution, survival of the fittest, and stronger gene pools winning out, but as I mentioned early on, I just cannot seem to understand the start.

    -- Posted by stevemills on Thu, Jun 19, 2014, at 6:15 PM
  • PS: I am not asking so I can try to pick your reasoning apart. I want to learn what evidence there is out there so I can make my own conclusion on how that fits into my word of beliefs.

    -- Posted by stevemills on Thu, Jun 19, 2014, at 6:17 PM
  • ClarkDv it seems to me that you do understand the mind of God. he loves us, his creation and He wants us to love him above everything else and to love each other as much as we do ourselves.

    In order to love him you have to believe he exists. In order to love others as much as ourselves we have to place an equal value on them and consider their points of view to be as valid as our own.

    I believe you have the understanding. It is the will and desire that is missing. If you acknowledge God, then you must also acknowledge Satan whose job is to kill, steal, and destroy which he does through deception/falsehood.

    I have had so many interventions with God in my life, through events that have happened precisely on time and in a way that convinced me of divine intervention. I have seen and heard credible people testify to lives saved and similar events as I have experienced which gives credibility to their stories. This all outside of the creation issues. However, I have also had long times of anguish when there seemed to be absolutely nothing. Times that tested my faith and desire.

    Perhaps it is simply a function of the human will that is able to access God in the supernatural. WE simply can not fool God we either love him or we do not. The commands he has written are for our benefit, not his.

    I don't pretend to have all the answers. Science has provided a lot of credible answers, and as time progresses are sure to uncover many more.

    Check out these links; one has a Christian bend. the other an Atheistic one. One is from ABC. IMO all the major networks are propaganda machines which keep the people ignorant of what is going on.

    Anyway, two good links here:

    http://www.godandscience.org/apologetics/einstein.html

    http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/computer-scientists-prove-god-exists/story?id=2...

    -- Posted by Liveforlight on Thu, Jun 19, 2014, at 8:54 PM
  • 67 comments? Wow!!!! I was beginning to think that these blogs were dead. I am happy to see the activity. It provides a distraction. There are a lot of good points and a few that bother me--like the 10 planks and the assertion that atheism is not a faith based declaration.

    What I really want to interject, though, is an objection to the conventional wisdom that school violence/killings are at an unprecedented level. When looking at per capita incidents at schools, what we see today is not unheard of. It is indeed more prevalent in the past 25 years than through most of the post-war era, but there has always been a range of violence. We may be towards the high end right now, but that does not even take into account the quality of incident reporting today, in comparison to the early 20th century.

    I am not discounting any lives lost. Each one is a tragedy, but to understand school violence, you do not need to focus upon changes to society or anything else. It is not change that is the root of school violence, but the consistency of humanity.

    -- Posted by memyselfi on Fri, Jun 20, 2014, at 3:25 AM
  • I tend to agree with you memyselfi. The reporting of the shooting incidents now are probably at 100%. Possibly even higher where reports are generated when there is no shooting but merely the threat or possibility. It is no wonder, if there is an agenda to unarm the citizenry.

    Humans have always been capable of doing terrible things to each other. I do think that there has been a definite moral decline in the last few decades. I would lay the blame for most of that at the feet of Christians being complicit and not living what they say they believe.

    For example; if you loved your neighbor, why would you vote yourself money from the public treasury knowing the money will be taken from your neighbor by force of law? Then on the other hand, if you loved your neighbor and saw him in need why would you not help him?

    Christ gave the answer "You can not serve both God and money".

    -- Posted by Liveforlight on Fri, Jun 20, 2014, at 6:02 AM
  • "Christians being complicit and not living what they say they believe" AGREED! and I am not throwing rocks, because I have some glass as well.

    Also agree that our "instant" reporting makes everything overwhelming. One reason I do not seek out the news programs. It will find me and what I hear is often REAL disappointing. So much so that it ruins my day and I don't need to hear too much of it.

    -- Posted by stevemills on Fri, Jun 20, 2014, at 9:34 AM
  • memyselfi, this many responses IS great and it really has been a pleasure reading most of it. We did not have nasty name calling, and hate, just opposing viewpoints. Wow!

    -- Posted by stevemills on Fri, Jun 20, 2014, at 9:36 AM
  • No offense, but come on, Steve, I assume someone associated with a newspaper can use Google and find what you're looking for. If I need to do the legwork for you, I have to question your sincerity in learning about it.

    The easy answer to how all this began is to say a god did it. To find the truth, however, takes some hard work, so roll up your intellectual sleeves and start sweating!

    -- Posted by ClarkDV on Fri, Jun 20, 2014, at 11:51 AM
  • Your first assumption is wrong, My only association with the newspaper is that I write a blog on it, so I can be mentally slower than you might think. :-)

    BUT I was wanting to hear your opinion, not Darwin's but for some reason you do not want to discuss it in your words so I will let it go.

    I am comfortable with my Truths, but always ready to listen.

    -- Posted by stevemills on Fri, Jun 20, 2014, at 5:22 PM
  • In the parking lots of rural high schools 30 to 40 years ago, nearly every pick up truck on that lot had a gun rack in it with one and sometimes 2 loaded rifles or shotguns. Nobody got shot. So this is obviously not a "gun" problem. It wasn't created by guns and it has not been exacerbated by the existence of guns. In fact, if you banned all of them tomorrow, those who intend on doing evil with a gun will have no problem obtaining one and not one single existing or future law in this country will prevent them from using it.

    -- Posted by Tim Lokey on Sun, Jun 22, 2014, at 5:46 AM
  • I just heard the most convincing discussion about the topic of violence on the program " On Being " with Krista Tippett interviewing Stuart Brown regarding his lifelong study of play........ With examples from both the animal and human communities. The program is available to stream. The discussion made absolute perfect sense in the context of the above conversation.

    I still feel the combination plate we are living right now ( with the internet etc. being the providers that they are of immediate information both real and imagined ) strongly determines the direction the violence takes..........But the direction is just a reflection of our time and our place..............The issue of internal pain has not changed..... Just the way some of us deal with it.

    So, Steve, my initial reaction to your question....." What do we do " was.... What can we do........It is too late.......Hasn't changed. But I feel more than ever the importance of catching these children early and making sure they all know how important their childhood really is.

    -- Posted by Palindrome on Sun, Jun 22, 2014, at 4:39 PM
  • Tim, I agree.

    Palindrome, too late for any intervention with teenagers?

    Unwinder if anyone has gone back in the history of those killing people to see what their school life was at an early stage.

    What should be looked at? Class size , socioeconomics of the community, parents education level, their personal socioeconomic situation, divorced, single, remarried, etc.??

    -- Posted by stevemills on Sun, Jun 22, 2014, at 9:00 PM
  • Listen to and or read Stuart Brown.... He said that EVERY murderer he studied did not PLAY as a child/adolescent...... Everything he said made such perfect sense in light of what I have experienced or read in all of my years on this Earth. It is never too late to play.....To try and reach children who carry burdens. Lifting the weight from a troubled teen may be as good as it can get Steve.He was talking about cross-cultural playgrounds and some of the many ways we can all benefit from nurturing the silly sides of ourselves.

    I am going to find his books............

    -- Posted by Palindrome on Sun, Jun 22, 2014, at 11:43 PM
  • I like the sound if that approach and can see common sense in the concept. This post is too long to be able to explore this so I will start a new one on the value of bringing fun into people's lives.

    -- Posted by stevemills on Mon, Jun 23, 2014, at 6:01 AM
  • Steve,

    Darwin is all about speciation via evolution, that's not the same as how life began, that's abiogenesis. I thought we'd covered that already!

    If you honestly want to know about those things, do the work. If you don't want to do the work, stop pretending that you want to know, because you do not.

    -- Posted by ClarkDV on Tue, Jun 24, 2014, at 12:17 PM
  • ClarkDV, for the record, I have read, heard and seen volumes of opinions and while fascinating, no one ever really convince me that their "hypotheses" on the creation of life was fact. Likewise, there are many who do not believe that God is the answer.

    I pretended to know a little less than I do in an effort to learn YOUR opinion, to learn YOUR views on how life started. In reality, even if I know the hypotheses, what do I know if they cannot be proven? Since it boils down to belief, I believe in a Supreme Creator, God.

    I find that when someone starts insinuating or implying negative things, it usually means that they have run out of logical things to say. It can only go downhill from there. I do not believe I attacked your knowledge or lack of knowledge about Christianity, nor accused you of not learning enough?

    I for one cannot seem to learn enough and am always search for understanding. A scientific origin of life is a tough subject to discuss or defend. I understand that and can leave it at that since you do not want to share your thoughts on the subject.

    -- Posted by stevemills on Tue, Jun 24, 2014, at 2:21 PM
  • Mr. Mills, I appreciate your propriety, but sometimes it is easier to be understood through a more direct--even confrontational--exchange. This is especially true when dealing with a fundamentalist. Your patience throughout some of the interactions has been commendable, but you have ultimately precluded yourself from pointing out what I am guessing you really want to. ;)

    Of course, the idea of spontaneity of life represents a serious problem for atheists. It does not matter how much you research it. At the end, there is an uncaused cause--which contradicts everything the scientific method embraces. It cannot be observed or measured, much less manipulated through experimentation. It is hypocrisy to fault religion's claims on the same grounds that one will completely overlook in order to support their own beliefs.

    I am all for book learnin' but when someone suggests that that you will find anything resembling absolute truth in a Darwin book (or the Bible for that matter) they are guilty of wishful thinking. What you will find in either is exactly what you are looking for. It simply does not matter how deeply we delve into the indoctrination, or how much we try to explain away the inconsistencies, we end up with unsubstantiated faith.

    Darwin was very reserved about the origins of life. He was truly a man devoted to science. He knew where to stop. Some things are just outside of the realm of science. What we know is often of less import than how we choose to interpret the knowledge.

    -- Posted by memyselfi on Wed, Jun 25, 2014, at 3:29 AM
  • Steve,

    Nova has an eleven minute video called " Revealing the Origins of Life " posted 2011 that may interest you on this subject. An English scientist reveals his work with RNA. In fact Nova has several postings and programs that may take you away from other things you should be doing.

    -- Posted by Palindrome on Wed, Jun 25, 2014, at 9:39 AM
  • I enjoy the Nova programs and agree it could divert me for a loong time, I will wait for evening hours. Thanks.

    By the way, ate my first "blush" from the garden today. Really nice!

    -- Posted by stevemills on Wed, Jun 25, 2014, at 1:07 PM
  • Pretty too......... I have had 8 types ripen so far. Just ate the first BIG tomato " Black Prince " stuffed with tuna salad. Had a marinated tomato medley Sunday with 6 different colors.......So beautiful.

    That's what it's all about. It's good the tomatoes don't need cooking.......My stove died....All I have right now is a microwave.

    -- Posted by Palindrome on Wed, Jun 25, 2014, at 2:01 PM
  • Steve,

    Maybe you shouldn't pretend then, it's dishonest. You come across as wanting others to do your research for you. You say that's not what you meant, but your pretending muddies those waters, so maybe don't use that tact again in the future?

    You said "In reality, even if I know the hypotheses, what do I know if they cannot be proven? Since it boils down to belief, I believe in a Supreme Creator, God."

    Abiogenesis HAS been proven. Look up the Miller-Urey experiment for the oldest such "proof", but others have recreated the basic building blocks of life in a lab since then.

    You speak of reality, and then deny what others can recreate in that reality and instead, opt for the supernatural fantasy world and say "God did it!"

    Why do you spend any time at all learning of science and what it has to say, and has proven, about origins of life, cosmology, and evolution, if you are going to stubbornly cling to your beliefs that your imaginary friend did it all?

    The bottom line is this, believe what you want, for whatever irrational, unreasonable "reasons", but keep it the heck out of our schools. They should be places of learning facts, reality, and critical thinking. Religion, other than maybe a comprehensive, UNbiased comparative religion course, has no place in our schools.

    -- Posted by ClarkDV on Fri, Jun 27, 2014, at 1:35 PM
  • CLarkDV. Abiogenesis has not been proven unless you consider the successful combination of chemicals in a test environment the same as the creation of life. The experiments have only shown the mechanism for the creation of Amino Acids, not nucleic acid or life.

    Amino acids are not life. These experiments are the application of the mechanisms of creation which science has been able to observe and re-create. It is sometimes called reverse engineering, which requires an initial engineer.

    These experiments are ordered and controlled. But we are to "believe" they happened by chance? Again you want to insert your beliefs based on the evidence which you consider supports them while disregarding opposing views as "ignorant".

    Here is the link to Wikipedia about this;

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abiogenesis

    Wiki is not a good source of info in my opinion because, if you notice the "edit" tab at the top of the page, they will allow the insertion of beliefs in the wording. Notice how this article begins by presenting these things as factual but as you read further you see the words "may" and "believed" etc.

    And this zinger; "There is still no "standard model" of the origin of life."

    Which still leaves us in the realm of faith.

    Your narrow minded insistence that there is nothing beyond what your senses and logic can discern does not negate their existence and, as such, should be made available for young minds in schools to discern for themselves.

    -- Posted by Liveforlight on Fri, Jun 27, 2014, at 5:00 PM
  • you're correct and I over simplified the facts. The fact that the building blocks can be recreated via abiogenesis is where we are right now. It has been proven and is continually being researched further.

    Your loaded assertion that reverse engineering requires an initial engineer is silly. When science looks into what is now in search for how it happened, it's ALL reverse engineering to use your term.

    Many believers' problem is this. They believe in a supernatural sky daddy. They don't care about anything factual if it's going to jeopardize the existence of that sky daddy. So no matter how much science proves to them, they're still going to insist that sky daddy started the ball rolling in the first place.

    I have a question for you guys, if you insist that the universe and life MUST have been created, then who or what created the creator?

    Don't you get that saying "God did it" answers absolutely nothing? You're "explaining" a mystery with an even bigger mystery.

    What's wrong with stopping short of saying "God did it" and saying, "we don't know how it all began yet, but our best and brightest are working on it. Maybe we'll know someday, maybe we will never know. But that's OK. Because honestly saying "I don't know" is better than wishing/hoping that a supernatural being did it." Especially when there is zero proof of that being's existence. (Why the biblical characters got so much darn proof and yet we get nothing is a question for another day.)

    School should teach what can be shown to exist, that which manifests in reality. Sunday School is where anything else should be taught. I'm comforted by my "faith" that people who think like you are always going to lose this argument. ID will never be taught, legally, in our schools.

    -- Posted by ClarkDV on Fri, Jun 27, 2014, at 7:13 PM
  • I have not dropped out of this, just not near a computer (thankfully) and cannot do my thoughts justice with just thumbs.

    Have a peaceful evening.

    -- Posted by stevemills on Fri, Jun 27, 2014, at 8:53 PM
  • Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.

    Be Blessed.

    -- Posted by Blessed Assurance on Fri, Jun 27, 2014, at 9:23 PM
  • I have a question for you guys, if you insist that the universe and life MUST have been created, then who or what created the creator?

    - Posted by ClarkDV on Fri, Jun 27, 2014, at 7:13 PM

    14 And God said unto Moses, I Am That I Am: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I Am hath sent me unto you.

    -- Posted by Blessed Assurance on Fri, Jun 27, 2014, at 9:41 PM
  • I have a question for you guys, if you insist that the universe and life MUST have been created, then who or what created the creator?

    - Posted by ClarkDV on Fri, Jun 27, 2014, at 7:13 PM

    Scientific evidence exists that our universe is expanding. That also means that IT had a starting point from which to expand. This does not conflict with the Bible at all. So, if the universe started, something had to start it. We being part of that universe, are bound by the same limits.

    If something started it, then it existed prior to the universe and therefore, stands to reason, it will exist after the universe.

    The Bible says that God has always existed and always will. Again, no conflict.

    The conflict arises when WE try to define what God is. We try to put him in a box, label him, and study him scientifically. In other words we try to control him.

    I agree that school should teach what can be shown to exist. I have no problem with saying "we don't know" especially when there is no clear evidence. However, the teachings of Atheist goes beyond what can be shown to exist into the realm of faith, without opening other possibilities which have existed, and persisted throughout human history. The fact that this type of limited teaching fits within the narrative of known politically constructed control mechanisms should be reason enough for anyone to be skeptical.

    Limiting the teachings in school limits the students in life.

    -- Posted by Liveforlight on Fri, Jun 27, 2014, at 10:36 PM
  • Oh Liv, we've been over this before. "the teachings of Atheist" DO NOT EXIST. Atheism has no tenants, no dogma, no rituals. Atheism is simply a position on the claim that a god exists. You cannot make Atheism become a religion no matter how hard you try.

    And "goes beyond what can be shown to exist into the realm of faith, without opening other possibilities which have existed, and persisted throughout human history." is simply a nonsensical sentence. I can't even begin to parse what you MEANT to say when you typed it.

    In your whole reply you said one thing that is true. You said that scientific evidence shows that the universe is expanding. That is correct. And if it is expanding then it was, at one time, all collected into a single, tiny point, and then something happened (big bang) that set it into its current expansion.

    You then go on to say that if something started it expanding then that something had to have existed prior to the universe, as we know it. However, you left out the possibility that what existed prior to the expansion was a contraction, that perhaps the universe collapsed into a single, tiny point, exploded, and began expanding again. And it's entirely possible that this has been happening over and over again, for an eternity.

    Now, that's just one possibility, but it IS a possibility, no matter how likely (or preferable) you or I imagine it is.

    Whether it has been contracting and expanding forever or whether it all started off from "nothing" STILL does not justify us just sticking a supernatural creator man in there and just saying "he did it!"

    (I used quotes around the word "nothing" just then because Lawrence Krauss suggests that what we laymen call nothing is, in fact, not nothing. Look it up.

    The bible saying "God did it!" is not any sort of authority, unless you are predisposed to believe it, then your logic becomes completely circular. And you know that's a big ol' logical fallacy.

    "The fact that this type of limited teaching fits within the narrative of known politically constructed control mechanisms should be reason enough for anyone to be skeptical."

    You're going into conspiracy theory territory there, sir. And I refuse to follow you down that rabbit hole. Crazy lives there.

    "Limiting the teachings in school limits the students in life." Perhaps teaching supernatural folklore/fantasy that has zero evidence of actually having existed is harmful to students.

    We don't currently teach of the existence of unicorns, fairies, Yetis, the tooth fairy, Santa (well beyond the third grade or so!) or a slew of other fiction either. Should we start teaching all that? Or should we stick to teaching things that actually manifest in reality? I think we should stick to reality.

    If, on Sunday in all the tens of thousands of churches, synagogues, temples, mosques and various other religious gathering places in this land religious folks want to teach their beliefs, rock right on. But never never never in our schools. And you won't be "limiting" our students one bit. You will, in fact, be freeing their young, impressionable minds from thousands of years of hogwash and, I hope, teaching good, sounds knowledge and, more importantly, the ability to think for themselves critically.

    -- Posted by ClarkDV on Sat, Jun 28, 2014, at 2:01 AM
  • ClarkDV Yes we have covered this ground before. i also mentioned before that "nothing" is still something.

    You posted the big bang "theory" ans said;

    "Now, that's just one possibility, but it IS a possibility, no matter how likely (or preferable) you or I imagine it is."

    This IS one possibility, however that is all it is, You have ruled out the POSSIBILITY of God. You can no more prove than he does not exist, than that he does. In fact just in our observance there is support for this belief. Scientist even believe http://www.godandscience.org/apologetics/sciencefaith.html

    Fairy tales have known origins that can be taught in school and should be. God has no known origin. Teaching "I don't know" BUT "there is no God" places a restraint on young minds and limits the free exercise of religion.

    It is also a documented fact of the existence of conspiracies. Read "Behold a Pale Horse" which was written around 1975 and contains many prophetic conspiracy events that have since came to pass. The writer William Cooper was killed just as he predicted, he even named who his killers were.

    Again, whether you believe or not is your choice. Many can not or will not accept the truth even when it is staring them in the face. That is why deceit is so effective.

    We have exhausted all arguments and become redundant so I will leave you with the last word if you so choose. I am completely happy with my choice to believe and will be into eternity, as I hope you are with you choice not to.

    -- Posted by Liveforlight on Sat, Jun 28, 2014, at 5:35 AM
  • ClarkDV, regarding my approach to trying to get more ideas and thoughts, I have found that knowing everything does not stimulate two way conversation. Even with re-reading the Miller-Urey experiments and several others, it does not convince me of anything except that they can produce some amino acids from atmospheres they "believe" existed millions of years ago.

    I am not denying that they conducted and succeeded in accomplishing some interesting results. To me, that is a FAR distance from putting it all together into the wondrous diversity of life we see or that has existed on this planet. Interesting results, but extremely distant from any proof about the origins of life. You choose to think it is proof while I choose to believe in our Creator.

    I do not deny that things evolve, but I have not seen it really put together in what I would call a complete, cohesive package. "The fact that the building blocks can be recreated via abiogenesis is where we are right now. It has been proven and is continually being researched further." To me, this seems to acknowledge that there are still many things to understand before you can discount Intelligent Design.

    Calling our Lord an "imaginary friend" or "Sky buddy" does nothing to open people's minds to your thoughts, but I believe you said you were not interested in that anyway, so I guess it works for you.

    If your main concern is the teaching of Christianity as it would be taught in Sunday School, I agree. (Imagine that) But celebrating Christmas is not teaching the religion. Acknowledging yes, as it seems to be OK to acknowledge other religions, but the pendulum was out of balance for a long time and Christians got tired of seeing it.

    I do not know how it all began, I have Faith how it all began. "(Why the biblical characters got so much darn proof and yet we get nothing is a question for another day.)" I am sorry that you have not experienced events that solidify a belief in our Lord. I have, more than just a few, so that will be hard to shake with a few experiments. "if you search for him with all your heart and soul, you will find him" Deuteronomy 4:29.

    I am all for teaching science 'as we know it" but when they talk about the creation of the solar system, the big bang, life coming from gasses and electrical sparks, they do not teach most of it as theoretical (or at least didn't when I was going to school. They teach it as fact. If I had answered that the planets were hypothetical planets, I would have failed.

    They were fact, until there weren't. Pluto was, until it wasn't because it is based on what scientists THINK they know about it. We have a long, long way to go before we can MAYBE talk intelligently about the "Big Bang".

    But it is all fascinating to consider. Our Lord gave us a brain to use and I intend to use it until I am gone.

    -- Posted by stevemills on Sat, Jun 28, 2014, at 4:59 PM
  • In my simple mind I can still see a "Big Bang" needing a trigger man. Perhaps ClarkDV's Skydaddy pulled the trigger.

    -- Posted by Blessed Assurance on Sun, Jun 29, 2014, at 9:46 AM
  • Liv, you are confusing Atheism and Agnosticism. Atheism addresses belief, Agnosticism deals with knowledge, or what you "know" to be true or false.

    There are 4 basic categories:

    Agnostic Atheist - A person who does not believe in god(s) but does not claim to "know" that there are no god(s).

    Gnostic Atheist - A person who does not believe in god(s) AND claims to "know" that there are no god(s).

    Agnostic Theist - A person who does believe in god(s) but does not claim to "know" that there are god(s).

    Gnostic Theist - A person who does believe in god(s) AND claims to "know" that there are god(s).

    So your statement "Teaching "I don't know" BUT "there is no God" places a restraint on young minds and limits the free exercise of religion." is not what Atheism means, and is not something I want taught in our schools.

    The bottom line, though, is that not teaching any religion in schools is not the same as teaching Atheism. Same as a blank sheet of paper is not an Atheist sheet of paper.

    Thanks for the discussion.

    -- Posted by ClarkDV on Sun, Jun 29, 2014, at 1:34 PM
  • Steve,

    We have already demonstrated in labs, many many times, that the basic building blocks for life CAN come from non-living materials. And as long as that is possible, then the rest is possible. We've been at it for 50 years. The actual beginnings of life on this planet had upwards of 4 BILLION years to come together and evolve. Again, we've been at it in the lab for 50 years. Maybe have a little patience?

    Just because science doesn't have all the answers mapped out, explained and tied up in a nice, neat bow for you right this minute doesn't mean it's justified to say a supernatural being did it. That kind of thinking would have us still living in caves if it were adopted by everyone!

    "I am all for teaching science 'as we know it" but when they talk about the creation of the solar system, the big bang, life coming from gasses and electrical sparks, they do not teach most of it as theoretical (or at least didn't when I was going to school. They teach it as fact. If I had answered that the planets were hypothetical planets, I would have failed."

    Again, you're confusing theory and hypothesis.

    A theory explains a fact. Read that sentence again. The theory of gravity explains the fact of gravity. You do believe in gravity, don't you? The theory of evolution explains the fact of evolution. The big bang theory explains the fact of the big bang.

    Belief in a supernatural creator, Intelligent Design, HAS no theory. Because saying that something that has not been proven (a god) created our universe doesn't explain anything.

    Now, you might want to challenge the big bang theory, and I can see why you might. What it explains is what we have observed as of today, and using background radiation we can "see" back that far. Far enough to say, OK, here is what we would expect to see if big bang is correct, and that is what is seen via background radiation. Will the theory change? Surely it will, but most likely not enough to render it a completely new, different theory. It will likely be refined, as more information is gathered. Much as a puzzle of a beautiful garden is refined as more pieces of the puzzle fall into place.

    Where you might want to challenge big bang is in the microseconds (actually smaller than that, but I simplify to keep this as brief as possible, Planck time comes into play here, though, if you want to look that up) right before the explosion. That, what happened there, we do not know yet.

    Yet is a very powerful word. It reminds us that we should not jump to unfounded conclusions, that we should be patient, because all the information isn't in yet. Clarification is coming all the time, maybe not as quickly as we would like, but it comes daily.

    Jumping to conclusions because we want answers and we want them NOW often leads to faulty reasoning and beliefs. From the Iron Chariots page comes a statement I rather like. "When there is not sufficient evidence to support a claim, the default position should be rational skepticism if the goal is to minimize the number of false beliefs and maximize the number of true beliefs one holds."

    "If I had answered that the planets were hypothetical planets, I would have failed. They were fact, until there weren't. Pluto was, until it wasn't because it is based on what scientists THINK they know about it. We have a long, long way to go before we can MAYBE talk intelligently about the "Big Bang"."

    Steve, you're incorrect here. Planets are not hypothetical, walk outside tonight and look up, some of what you see are planets. That's not a hypothesis, that's fact. But then I think you know that.

    Pluto was simply declassified from a planet to a dwarf planet. We humans, and more specifically our astronomers, all members of the International Astronomical Union, are the body who decides what we call a planet in our solar system and what we don't. They have criteria that a body must meet in order to be classified as a planet in our solar system.

    It needs to be in orbit around the Sun

    It needs to have enough gravity to pull itself into a spherical shape

    It needs to have "cleared the neighborhood" of its orbit

    Earlier on it was determined that Pluto met the criteria but as we developed better tools of measurement, it was found that the third criterion Pluto did not meet, so it was demoted from planet to dwarf planet.

    The fact that science changes based on new information coming to light is not a negative. Quite the opposite, it's what keeps science honest and makes it the single best method we have for learning about our universe!

    Your final statement in that paragraph, "We have a long, long way to go before we can MAYBE talk intelligently about the "Big Bang"." sounds to me like you think that until we have ALL the information about a subject that we (our scientists) should keep their mouths shut and not release ANY information about a subject. Surely that's not what you're suggesting.

    By your own words, though, isn't it equally true that we have a long, long way to go before we can MAYBE talk intelligently about a invisible, incorporeal, supernatural omnipresent, omnipotent, omniscient being? Especially one that is not seen nor heard except in some people's minds?

    BTW, I searched with all my heart, I was baptized and searched some more, nothing came. But I know, it's my fault, I didn't do it right, I wasn't sincere enough, blah blah blah. Whatever. (My lack of sincerity now is not indicative of my sincerity back then. Realizing it was all false is what accounts for my lack of sincerity now.)

    "But celebrating Christmas is not teaching the religion. Acknowledging yes, as it seems to be OK to acknowledge other religions, but the pendulum was out of balance for a long time and Christians got tired of seeing it."

    Who has a problem with celebrating Christmas? Who's trying to stop it? Having a Christmas tree and singing about Santa Claus and exchanging gifts in schools is permitted and acceptable. Bringing the religious aspect into it is not acceptable in schools. Nor should it be. Unless you want to celebrate Hanukkah and the rest of the winter solstice festivals also.

    You have to remember that in this country, Christmas has become a secular holiday as well as a religious one. Ever heard the term "cultural Christians"?

    Now, as for the pendulum being out of balance for a long time and Christians getting tired of seeing it, I'm not sure what you mean. What is out of balance and you're tired of seeing?

    -- Posted by ClarkDV on Sun, Jun 29, 2014, at 2:48 PM
  • Thank you for your well thought out response ClarkDV. This is the dialogue for which I had hoped. I am using my thumbs again so hang in there, I'll be back.

    -- Posted by stevemills on Sun, Jun 29, 2014, at 3:05 PM
  • I just found this article citing that most Tennessee public schools can teach ID and "alternatives" to evolution if they choose to. Does anyone know if our schools are actually doing it?

    http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/science/2014/01/creationism_in_...

    -- Posted by ClarkDV on Thu, Jul 3, 2014, at 4:55 PM
  • I am not aware of it. I grabbed this quote from the article specifically commenting about Tennessee.

    "Tennessee: A 2012 state law, like Louisiana's, permits public school teachers to teach the "scientific strengths and scientific weaknesses" of theories that can "cause controversy," specifically citing evolution, global warming, and cloning, thereby providing legal cover for teachers who want to forward creationist pseudoscience."

    Can anyone confirm if it is being taught here? Our child has long since left the system.

    -- Posted by stevemills on Thu, Jul 3, 2014, at 8:06 PM
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