The Creation Conundrum

It's a popular axiom among atheists that the best way to expand our ranks is to encourage more people to read the Bible. The Genesis story alone -- at its core, just as fantastic and absurd as every other creation myth -- has enough specific problems in it to get people on the right track. For example...

PROBLEM: The “heavens” are covered by water! After Earth's creation, darkness was “upon the face of the deep”: “...And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters. And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament, and it was so. And God called the firmament Heaven..."

Thus, the heavens are a “firmament” between the water BELOW (oceans, seas, etc.) and the water ABOVE -- which we now know doesn't actually exist! But Iron Age people didn't understand cloud physics or water condensation, knowing only that water (rain) comes from the sky, probably on the command of some deity.

So which is more plausible -- that Yahweh was wrong about a cloak of water surrounding the heavens, or that the Genesis story was composed by human authors who were ignorant of meteorology?

PROBLEM: Water defies gravity! Next, Yahweh unveiled the land: “...And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear, and it was so...”

Everyone today understands that Earth's gravity compels water to always seek equilibrium (lunar gravity notwithstanding). Move the water away from any location, and it will rush back to fill the void. Dry land appears ONLY when it is above this equilibrium (sea level). Thus, either some of “the waters” were defying gravity before being moved by Yahweh to their current location, or they were previously at equilibrium and are defying gravity now!

So, which is more plausible -- that Yahweh kept (or is currently keeping) some of Earth's seas in a gravity-defying state of non-equilibrium, or that the Genesis authors simply overlooked the natural behavior of water in their myth-making?

PROBLEM: The moon is a “lesser” sun! On the fourth day, Yahweh created “lights” in the heavens: “...And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so. And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night...”

This reveals an almost absolute ignorance of the nature of the sun and moon. First, both are supposedly in “the firmament” (BELOW the layer of water above!) but we now know the MUCH larger sun is 93 million miles away! Second, we also now recognize that the sun gives off light, while the moon merely reflects it.

So which is more plausible -- that Yahweh didn't know the relative sizes, locations and illuminating qualities of the sun and moon he'd just created, or that the creation story was concocted by human authors who didn't?

PROBLEM: The stars are an afterthought! After Yahweh's creation of the sun and moon Genesis adds: “...he made the stars also...”

To the scientifically ignorant eye, the sun and moon appear much larger than the stars -- tiny twinkling specks in the night sky. We now know that trillions upon trillions of stars -- many of them dwarfing our own sun -- make up the vast majority of the mass of a gigantic universe.

So which is more plausible -- that Yahweh, with his enormous ego, downplayed the immense size and astounding grandeur of his creation, or that the Genesis authors, seeing stars as mere tiny dots of light and not knowing any better, barely mentioned them in their heavenly creation myth?

PROBLEM: The creation sequence is botched! When it comes to creating animals, Genesis can't seem to get its sequences straight. In chapter one the fowl are created on day five, other animals on day six, followed by Man and Woman (simultaneously) to “have dominion” over the rest. The sequence:

1. Fowls
2. Animals
3. Man and Woman.

In chapter two, when the creation story is repeated, Man alone is “formed of the dust of the ground,” then Yahweh decides that he needs a “help meet” and animals and fowl are “formed out of the ground,” then Woman is formed from man's rib. The sequence:

1. Man
2. Fowls and animals
3. Woman

There is absolutely no amount of apologetic sleight-of-hand that can reconcile these two divergent creation sequences.

So which is more plausible -- that Yahweh couldn't remember the order of his own creations, or that the Genesis authors, being fallible humans, simply couldn't keep their mythological stories straight?

PROBLEM: God is extremely shortsighted! Yahweh repeatedly observes that the things he's creating are “good,” and at the end of chapter one he “saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good.”

If everything Yahweh created was “very good” (including man and the serpent who suppposedly corrupted him) how did everything go so horribly wrong that a mere 113 verses later, he regretted it and destroyed almost everything in a global flood? No matter where an apologist may direct the blame (anyone but Yahweh, of course!), it's still part of Yahweh's creation that, mere pages before, he thought was “very good.”

So which is more plausible -- that Yahweh couldn't foresee the mess he was making, or that the Genesis authors crafted a tale to try to explain evil in the world?

Food for thought?

All told, Genesis' first two problematic chapters represent only a tiny fraction of the Bible's many contradictions, fallacies and inconsistencies (hundreds, by some counts). For those who cherish faith over truth, such discrepancies are mere inconvenient details to rationalize away in the contorted language of apologetics. But for honest and thoughtful believers, they should prompt a serious second look at the foundational text of their belief.

More Bible hubs you may find interesting...

More by this Author

  • The Missing Messiah
    33

    "I, even I, am the Lord; and beside me there is no saviour" -- Isaiah 43 In Christianity, the Bible is essentially a two-volume text. The first is the Old Testament, where God establishes the rules in an...

  • The Disconfirmed Deity
    40

    Conventional wisdom has long presumed the impossibility of 'disproving' the existence of God. But the longer I contemplate it, the more I wonder about our common approaches to the question, and the more I suspect that...

  • Gödel's Ontological Failure
    69

    In 2013 a pair of computer researchers reportedly "verified" an ontological theorem* proposed by the late mathematician Kurt Gödel. Predictably, the media irresponsibly hailed this event as science...


Comments 67 comments

Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 6 months ago from Somewhere in the universe

I used to have a passion about pointing out all of the myths and inconsistencies in the bible. And perhaps i did give cause to some to actually think about these things.

But, like some politicians, religious people will never accept that their precious bible could be wrong about things.

It's very frustrating to try to deal with these people who think blind faith is going to reward them with paradise.

It's very sad to see them so afraid of life and things that contradict their comfort zone.

You have presented a good hub with logical points that are true, but the religious will never doubt their indoctrinations from childhood. They will never grow up.

But keep up the good fight. Maybe someone sitting on the fence will actually start to see the fallacy of the bible and other "holy" books!


Paladin_ profile image

Paladin_ 6 months ago from Michigan, USA Author

Thanks for visiting and commenting, Star! I think there are reasonable believers out there who actually care about the truth. They just need to be nudged along now and then, and eventually they'll find their way. Hubs like this are for them.

As for the others so inculcated and ensconced in their belief that no amount of logic or reason can seem to challenge it, one can only hope that some seed of doubt will someday find a crack or hole in which to take root.

Just call me Johnny Appleseed...


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 6 months ago from Somewhere in the universe

Okey dokey Johnny!


Titen-Sxull profile image

Titen-Sxull 6 months ago from back in the lab again

My favorite aspect of this is that God made plants before he made the sun. Creationists often like to say that each animal was specially created for it's environment, but that doesn't fit the Bible because in the Bible the plants were created before the environment they needed to survive was made!

For the time it was written it was likely their best guess but we know better now which is why so many are willing to admit these bits are just allegorical. The question is how much of it was symbolic when it was written. When Genesis says God opened the "windows of Heaven" it's because the belief at the time was that Heaven was literally full of water.

It's easy for Christians today to look back and just say it's a metaphor that it amazes me how many millions want to defend it as more literal.


Paladin_ profile image

Paladin_ 6 months ago from Michigan, USA Author

Thanks for visiting, Titen! I didn't include the discrepancy regarding grass and trees because that one's relatively easy to explain away. Remember that, before Yahweh created the sun, he created light (presumably from him, instead of some heavenly body). So someone could simply rationalize that the light Yahweh created on the first day was sustaining the plants until the sun was created.


Titen-Sxull profile image

Titen-Sxull 6 months ago from back in the lab again

I see, but that only raises the question of what this mysterious LIGHT was before the sun and why God needed a sun at all if he had already created light.

All of these can be rationalized away in one way or another, with enough mental gymnastics the human mind can believe just about anything.


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 6 months ago from Somewhere in the universe

I wish someone would do a hub about the 'Mental Gymnastics' regarding religion!

Could use a table capsule - on one side - 'What is actually said', on the other side - 'What a religionist hears or thinks about what is actually said', and perhaps a third column to show the mental gymnastics needed to turn what is actually said into a religious epiphany.

I think that would be interesting indeed.


Paladin_ profile image

Paladin_ 6 months ago from Michigan, USA Author

That would be quite a hub, Star. Unfortunately, I try to keep my hubs to 1,000 words or less. I believe that if I go beyond that, I'm either trying to cover too much ground or I'm rambling off topic. Therefore, it's doubtful I could ever such a topic adequately, unless I split it up into different hubs (which I'm also loathe to do).

It's a good idea, though!


Wild Bill 6 months ago

Paladin said: "It's a popular axiom among atheists that the best way to expand our ranks is to encourage more people to read the Bible."

I guess we all have our own ways to promote personal agendas, not just the religious! Me? I prefer to breed and indoctrinate.

Since Christians tend to be likely to have more children than atheists, convincing us one at a time is kind of like trying to eradicate feral hogs by hunting. The numbers just don't add up, so I hope you are not expecting religion to be gone before you go.

Have a good one!


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 6 months ago from Somewhere in the universe

No, I don't expect religion to be gone in my lifetime. I am, however, very encouraged by the number of people leaving religion behind these days! It's a path toward logic and science. Just heard on the news today that a new poll shows that Great Britain now has more atheists than "religious" people. Yay!


Wild Bill 6 months ago

I will admit that in certain parts of the world, especially Europe, the numbers are dropping in the last 10 years, but Christianity worldwide over the last 100 years has barely changed. 35% in 1910 versus 32% in 2010. That is insignificant at best.

You are taking a micro view when you should be taking a macro view.


Wild Bill 6 months ago

Just in case you are doing the math, there was 600 million Christians in 1910. Now there is over 2 Billion. That is more than triple. If you were encouraged before, you must be depressed after seeing that number.


Paladin_ profile image

Paladin_ 6 months ago from Michigan, USA Author

Thanks for visiting and commenting, Bill!

According to Gallup polling, the population of atheists in the United States has been steadily rising since the 1950s -- from a low of 1% to a current rate of 17%. Judging from a comparison of the stats, this appears to be mostly at the expense of Protestantism, though the percentages of Catholics has also slowly declined:

http://www.gallup.com/poll/1690/religion.aspx

According to the Pew Forum, the current world population of "unaffiliated" is 16.5% -- the THIRD largest group, behind Christianity and Islam. Unfortunately, it doesn't specify "atheist," so it's impossible to know from this study what that exact percentage is:

http://www.pewforum.org/2012/12/18/global-religiou...

Also according to Pew, the projected percentage of "unaffiliated" is projected to shrink by 2050, but that's only because the percentage of Muslims is expected to grow -- at every other group's expense (thanks to the "breeding" to which you referred earlier). Our actual numbers are still expected to increase. But, again, we seem to be doing much better in the U.S.

In any case, no, I don't expect religions to disappear in my lifetime -- or in anyone else's lifetime, regardless of the numbers or projections. Such insidious and pervasive indoctrination is probably impossible to completely overcome. All I can do is try my best to free as many people as possible from its sinister clutches -- to do my best to leave the world a better place than I found it (which is all any of us can really do).


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 6 months ago from Somewhere in the universe

Paladin - Thank you for these important statistics. It makes me happy to know that at least people are becoming "unaffiliated' at a rapid rate. The era of paying a religion to teach you how to believe in a non-existent "lord and master" is over.

More and more churches are actually closing due to lack of interest. Today's internet and availability of information is rapidly showing up all the lies people have been told since childbirth about "creation" and the "afterlife".

Religion is selling snake oil and fewer and fewer people are buying it.

The numbers of "Christians" and "Muslims" are increasing only because they are breeding out of control. They can't handle the fact that humans are, in reality, a severe threat to this planet.

They just go on tithing and paying for the illusion of superiority. Trying to purchase a place in the fairy tale of "heaven".


Wild Bill 6 months ago

Paladin said: "the population of atheists in the United States has been steadily rising since the 1950s -- from a low of 1% to a current rate of 17%."

That is incorrect. From the data you provided, it shows 'none' (aka no religion) as 17%, but you are saying that 'atheists' have risen to 17%. One does not have to be religious to believe in a deity, therefore, the 17% can be mixed with theists, deists, atheists, agnostics, and other 'spiritual' beliefs.

Paladin said: "All I can do is try my best to free as many people as possible from its sinister clutches -- to do my best to leave the world a better place than I found it (which is all any of us can really do)."

That is funny because I hear religionists say the same thing about non-believers. I guess anti-theists are cut from the same cloth as extreme religionists. I, on the other hand, believe that everyone is entitled to their own beliefs. I consider my religion a personal philosophy and don't feel the need to 'add to the flock' so to speak. 'Actions speak louder than words' I always say.

Austinstar said: "The numbers of "Christians" and "Muslims" are increasing only because they are breeding out of control."

That is probably a good thing that atheists don't breed. I find that most of them that I meet are nihilists, so it is probably by design that their pessimism leads to a lack of desire to procreate. Actually, maybe a little kiki would do you guys some good! You wouldn't be grumpy all the time. (just kidding, don't take my tongue in cheek talk too personally!)

By the way, what happened to your friend Link10103? lol


Paladin_ profile image

Paladin_ 6 months ago from Michigan, USA Author

Bill, you are, indeed, correct that "none" in the Gallup poll doesn't necessarily mean "atheist." But let's be honest here -- considering that the poll also offered choices of "other" and "no answer," how many of those "nones" do you really think were "theists" or "deists?" I think that's a bit of a stretch!

In any case, as I previously stated, the numbers have nothing to do with my own efforts to free people from their religious indoctrination and brain washing. I will fight the good fight, as they say, as best I can, regardless of what the odds appear to be.

Then again, unlike the "extreme religionists" you've mentioned, I don't go knocking on doors or preaching in the streets. I engage in public forums where people -- simply by virtue of their presence -- have already indicated their willingness to examine or engage other opinions or ideas.

You can't forcibly convert anyone from their lifelong religious indoctrination. Only THEY can do that. All people like me can do is keep shining a light on it in the hopes that, eventually, it will break through the cracks and they'll find their way out of the darkness.

I can't count the number of stories from former believers I've heard where they recounted something someone once said to them that finally struck home and helped them overcome their indoctrination. Time and again, this persistent effort has proven to be the most effective means of freeing people from religious superstition's grip.

As for most atheists being "nihilists," I don't know where you get that idea. It certainly hasn't been my experience. Perhaps you should get out more? :-)


Wild Bill 6 months ago

Paladin said: "But let's be honest here -- considering that the poll also offered choices of "other" and "no answer," how many of those "nones" do you really think were "theists" or "deists?" I think that's a bit of a stretch!"

I thought atheists lacked a belief in deities because there is no proof? I figured you would apply that logic to all of your decisions, but I guess even an atheist can let their emotions decide for them sometimes. I am glad to know that I am in good company.

Paladin said: "In any case, as I previously stated, the numbers have nothing to do with my own efforts to free people from their religious indoctrination and brain washing."

The numbers don't now, but you must have thought they would make some difference when you introduced your so called 'facts'.

Paladin said: "All people like me can do is keep shining a light on it in the hopes that, eventually, it will break through the cracks and they'll find their way out of the darkness."

Like I said; you are cut from the same cloth as religionists who push their beliefs on others. Maybe you don't knock on doors, but you still have the same burning desire to change people's' minds to your way of thinking. This is not a trait that is synonymous with a certain philosophical belief, but is synonymous with a type of personality. Even if 10 years down the road, you become born again, I would be willing to bet you would try to steer others to your way of thinking.

Paladin said: "I can't count the number of stories from former believers I've heard where they recounted something someone once said to them that finally struck home and helped them overcome their"...

I ended w/ 'their' because this could also be said of 'Born Again' Christians.

Paladin said: "As for most atheists being "nihilists," I don't know where you get that idea. It certainly hasn't been my experience. Perhaps you should get out more? :-)"

Sensitive aren't we? I guess you missed the disclaimer I put after what I said.


Titen-Sxull profile image

Titen-Sxull 6 months ago from back in the lab again

@Wild Bill

Not to answer for Paladin_ but I'll jump in here for a second,

“I thought atheists lacked a belief in deities because there is no proof?”

Some do. However some never grew up in a religious household and so never even believed to begin with. One does not need to be a skeptic to be an atheist but there are some who believe one must be an atheist to be a skeptic. For some its about reason and evidence, for others not so much. There is no dogma or prerequisite beliefs for an atheist. I've even met atheists who believe in GHOSTS, in fact I was just such an atheist at one time!

“but I guess even an atheist can let their emotions decide for them sometimes”

Atheists are not Spock from Star Trek, a human being cannot ever fully remove emotion from any thought process... all we can do is fight the possible bias emotion might create by valuing empiricism over appeals to emotion and logic over how something makes us feel – at least when it comes to determining what's real and what isn't.

Also I should point out that beliefs, or in this case disbelief, is not a simple on off switch style decision. I didn't choose one day to be an atheist, it is the result of looking critically and skeptically at the things I was indoctrinated with as a child along with a myriad of other religious/supernatural claims.

Atheism, for me, is merely a tentative current position, always has been and always will be, because it is impossible to be certain about such things. It is the natural result of my still on-going search for the truth. I doubt, highly, that there is anything out there that fits mankind's nebulous notion of a god, certainly all the gods man has ever worshiped bear all the hallmarks of human fiction.


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 6 months ago from Somewhere in the universe

"What if Christians are right and when atheists die they go to hell?"

"What if Jews, Hindus, Muslims, Spiritualists are right and Christians go to hell?"

This is logic for you.

There is no way to solve the religious indoctrination that most people grew up with. You really do have to figure it out for yourself.

You either think with logic and reason, or you think with blind faith.

Whatever floats your boat!


Wild Bill 6 months ago

All great points! Very well put.

I have also met an atheist that believes in Astrology and found that quite odd. The same person called me delusional for believing in a god that I couldn't see.

I guess my point is that at some time we all have faith in something or things, so one should take that into consideration.


Paladin_ profile image

Paladin_ 6 months ago from Michigan, USA Author

I'm afraid I don't follow your thinking, Bill.

You cited the fact that the "none" category in the poll wasn't specific as to atheism, and speculated that it could also include "theists" and "deists." I simply observed that it was a stretch, and even explained why. If you choose to mischaracterize it as based on "emotion," I suppose there's nothing I can do about that! :-/

And there's nothing in my hub (or in any of my hubs) that suggests that the relative numbers of believers and non-believers have any bearing on the logical arguments I present or the tactics I use. Of course, I'd LOVE to change those numbers, but I'd still do the same thing even if there were only ONE believer left! Sound logical arguments and facts have nothing to do with the numbers who believe them.

And you're absolutely, unequivocally WRONG about me wanting to change others' minds to my way of thinking! I don't want others to think the way I do! I merely want them to help them escape their religious indoctrination. It's very tough to do it alone, and it helps to have someone else breaking little cracks in that wall to let the light in. Once they recognize the lie and their eyes are opened, they'll have to find their own way to whatever truths await them.

As for equivocating the conversions of "born-again" Christians with those of ex-believers, I'd say the odds are heavily against that proposition. I've been engaging in this discussion for two decades now, and I can count the number of former atheists who became Christians on one hand, while there are whole organizations of former believers who are now atheists. There's even a group -- the Clergy Project -- with hundreds of clergy who have become atheists and are making the transition out. It's simply no comparison, my friend...

As for missing disclaimers, it seems YOU'RE the one who missed. Yes, I got that your comments were tongue in cheek. Did you not see my little smiley at the end of my comment? You even included it when you copied and pasted my quote!!"

:-)

As for having "faith," I always make the very important distinction between "rational" faith -- which is based upon proven methodologies and reliable sources -- and "blind" faith -- which is based upon mere wishful thinking. As for your atheist friend who believes in astrology, I'd say his BS detector is broken! :-D


Wild Bill 6 months ago

Paladin said: "You cited the fact that the "none" category in the poll wasn't specific as to atheism, and speculated that it could also include "theists" and "deists." I simply observed that it was a stretch, and even explained why."

Oh Paladin, I see what you have done. To misconstrue, you conveniently took my statement out of context to suit your argument. I didn't only include theists and deists in my definition of 'None'. Here is exactly what I said:

"One does not have to be religious to believe in a deity, therefore, the 17% can be mixed with theists, deists, atheists, agnostics, and other 'spiritual' beliefs."

I used no emotions, only facts. 'None' does contain all of those things I said. You are the one who 'assumed' one number of those is larger than the rest. I merely stated what is included in that category. Therefore, I used zero emotion. It is a fact that everything I listed was non-religious. Try your smoke and mirrors somewhere else.

Paladin said: "And there's nothing in my hub (or in any of my hubs) that suggests that the relative numbers of believers and non-believers have any bearing on the logical arguments I present or the tactics I use."

I know there is not. I merely brought up the fact that there are 2 billion Christians, so if you think you can extinguish religion, you are going to be disappointed.

Paladin said: "And you're absolutely, unequivocally WRONG about me wanting to change others' minds to my way of thinking! I don't want others to think the way I do! I merely want them to help them escape their religious indoctrination."

But earlier, you said: "Time and again, this persistent effort has proven to be the most effective means of freeing people from religious superstition's grip."

"All people like me can do is keep shining a light on it in the hopes that, eventually, it will break through the cracks and they'll find their way out of the darkness."

"All I can do is try my best to free as many people as possible from its sinister clutches"

and my personal favorite: "They just need to be nudged along now and then, and eventually they'll find their way."

Aren't all of these just fancy ways to say "Change their minds"?

Paladin said: "Did you not see my little smiley at the end of my comment?"

I missed that. My sincerest apologies.


Paladin_ profile image

Paladin_ 6 months ago from Michigan, USA Author

No problemo, Bill.

As for singling out "theists" and "deists" in my remarks, I did so because they were the only items relevant to our point of contention. "Other spiritual beliefs" is essentially repeating your reference to "deists" and "theists." And why -- for Pete's sake -- would I need to mention atheists and agnostics when THEY were the categories I was claiming? I thought that was a given! I'm beginning to think you're simply looking for something to complain about! :-P

As for using "emotions," go back and read my comments. I NEVER claimed you used them in your arguments. YOU are the one who made that accusation of ME. Remember? If there are any "smoke and mirrors" here, it seems you're the one who's lost in them!

And as for "extinguishing" religion, I have no delusions about accomplishing that. The best I can truly hope for is to make the world a little better, as I noted before.

As for changing minds, you seem to have altogether missed my point. OF COURSE I want to change peoples' minds! I never denied that! What I DON'T want is to necessarily change their minds to "my way of thinking." There is a difference between the two, and I honestly don't know how I can explain it any differently. But I'll give it another go.

Yes, I want to change people's minds -- but only in the sense that I want to help them to be able to break free from their religious indoctrination. That's the ONLY change I'm talking about -- removing the blinders from someone's eyes so they can make their OWN choices with more clarity and understanding. Everyone should have that chance and capability, but it is impossible when one is under the spell of religious belief.

Once I've (hopefully) helped open someone's eyes, I don't care if they come to "my way of thinking." Let them make their own choices, and find their own truths!


Wild Bill 6 months ago

Paladin said: "As for singling out "theists" and "deists" in my remarks, I did so because they were the only items relevant to our point of contention."

No, OUR contention was with 'None' including all other non-religious categories. You are the one that singled out those two by trying to make it look like I had only mentioned those, therefore making me seem as though I was making an emotional assumption.

You said: "And why -- for Pete's sake -- would I need to mention atheists and agnostics when THEY were the categories I was claiming?"

Right, but you were claiming the entire "None" as atheists. Your own word were that atheist increased to 17%, but that is not the case. 'Nones' increased to 17%. Therefore I said you assumed that the entire 17% was atheist based on your own personal desires, not by the definition it was intended to be. I am beginning to think talking to you is like running around in circles...but so it goes.

You said: "As for changing minds, you seem to have altogether missed my point. OF COURSE I want to change peoples' minds!"

No, I think you missed the point. I know what you are saying, but I don't believe it and neither should you. You can say that you aren't trying to make people think like you, but that is just not believable, so if anyone needs to find their own truth, it is you. You can put lipstick on a pig...and so it goes.


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 6 months ago from Somewhere in the universe

"and so it goes" You just run around in your little circle, don't you, WB? You will never escape your circular reasoning.

Why does god exist? Because the bible says so.

Why does Santa Claus exist? Because you were raised to believe in that myth.

Why does Superman exist? Because the comic book says so.

Why does Christianity exist? Because people like Paladin, Titen-Sxull, myself and thousands of atheists/agnostics don't/can't make sense to you.

Maybe someday you will grasp a little bit of it, most likely you won't. Why do you care?

and so it goes....


Wild Bill 6 months ago

And just to end any of your jargin double talk, you said:

"According to Gallup polling, the population of atheists in the United States has been steadily rising since the 1950s -- from a low of 1% to a current rate of 17%."

But in this article by Pew, they say that Atheists are 3.1%.

http://www.pewforum.org/2015/05/12/americas-changi...

I also wonder what kind of bubble that you live in to possibly think that atheists have risen from 1% to 17%. You either made a false claim or you don't know what you are talking about. I doubt that you are the kind of person who will admit any wrongdoing. All you had to do was admit that you were wrong about 17% of the US is atheists, but instead you danced around and moved the goal post.


Paladin_ profile image

Paladin_ 6 months ago from Michigan, USA Author

I'm sorry, Bill, but you're wrong. I never tried to make it appear as if you had only mentioned two categories from that original poll, and I NEVER CLAIMED that you only included those two. I only mentioned them because they were the only two relevant to our disagreement over whether "nones" were "atheists."

I DIDN'T DISAGREE with the inclusion of "atheists" and "agnostics" in that category, so WHY on Earth would I need to make reference to them in challenging your assumptions? I can't believe we're STILL f**king debating this!! Christ on a bike!

And, you may recall, I DID immediately acknowledge (right after you corrected me) that "none" didn't necessarily mean atheist. So go on believing that I'll never "admit that (I) was wrong" if you wish, but you're obviously mistaken.

In all your vociferous arguing about the minutae of these polls, you appear to have missed the fundamental point -- that the numbers of non-believers is growing, while the numbers of Christians are declining. This is even reflected in the Pew poll you just cited, where the percentage of Christians has dropped 7.8% in the last seven years, while the number of atheists and agnostics has grown a combined 3.1 %.

This is what gives us some bit of encouragement. But again, as I already stated, I would continue my efforts whether there were millions of believers or only one -- and THAT is the most relevant point!

So, now you're literally calling me a liar. I tried to explain to you the distinction between my actual intentions (helping to free people from their religious indoctrination) and what you've CLAIMED to be my intentions (changing people's minds to "my way of thinking"). You say you don't believe it.

Well, f**k you.


Wild Bill 6 months ago

Paladin said: "In all your vociferous arguing about the minutae of these polls, you appear to have missed the fundamental point -- that the numbers of non-believers is growing, while the numbers of Christians are declining."

No, you missed my point. You are looking at Micro instead of Macro. In the small window of time, yes there is a decline, but in the grand scheme of things, that is just the way the pendulum is swinging right now. Over time, that pendulum is sure to shift back the other way; it always does. This is why the shift over long periods of time is insignificant. Sometimes what you need to do is step back and take the 30,000 foot view to see the big picture.


Paladin_ profile image

Paladin_ 6 months ago from Michigan, USA Author

You may be correct, Bill. But I suspect not. Of course, part of that is undoubtedly hopeful thinking on my part, but there is also information in the polls we've both cited to support that hopeful view.

For example, the trend in the Gallup poll extends over a period of more than six decades. And whether we're looking at the decline in religious numbers or the increase in "nones" (including a rising proportion of atheists and agnostics), that trend appears to be fairly steady, with very little back-and-forth variation.

Also, in the Pew study you cited, there's a section that I'll simply quote instead of trying to summarize:

"...Although it is low relative to other religious groups, the retention rate of the unaffiliated has increased. In the current survey, 53% of those raised as religiously unaffiliated still identify as “nones” in adulthood, up seven points since 2007. And among Millennials, “nones” actually have one of the highest retention rates of all the religious categories that are large enough to analyze in the survey..."

And the proportion of atheists and agnostics among these "nones" is growing (from a quarter in 2007 to nearly a third in 2014). Whether that specific change is a long-term trend in itself is open to question, but that seven-year stretch is the only data they offer on that particular issue.

Another reason for hope from the Pew study is its indication that generational replacement is not the only reason for the increase in the "unaffiliated" (including atheists and agnostics). According to the survey, the ranks of unaffiliated have increased in every age group cited (with the exception of younger millennials, born after 1990, for which -- for some reason -- there is no previous data).

Again, that's a short-term trend, but it's the only data available on that issue. But what it suggests is that the trend away from religious affiliation (and toward, in some measure, atheism and agnosticism) is not something that's merely a passing fad among the young.

I sincerely hope the pendulum doesn't "shift back" over time (and the polls offer me encouragement in that regard). But, as I previously stated, I'll keep up the good fight even if it does.


Wild Bill 6 months ago

And thus is the circle of life...good luck with all of your endeavors.


Paladin_ profile image

Paladin_ 6 months ago from Michigan, USA Author

Indeed! Good luck to you as well (and my apologies for losing my cool a few comments back)! :-/


Wild Bill 6 months ago

Paladin_ said: "Indeed! Good luck to you as well (and my apologies for losing my cool a few comments back)!"

No problem. I am sure the little vacation that HP gave you will help calm your temperament. lol


Paladin_ profile image

Paladin_ 6 months ago from Michigan, USA Author

Wild Bill, what "vacation" are you referring to? I have absolutely NO idea what you're referring to.

Care to clarify?


Wild Bill 6 months ago

Playing coy are we? Well, you have more control over your emotions than Link10103, Paula, and Austinstar. They threw a hissy fit when I got them banned.


Paladin_ profile image

Paladin_ 6 months ago from Michigan, USA Author

Sorry to disappoint you, but I haven't been "banned." Or, if I HAVE been, somebody forget to tell me! And I don't know about Paula, but as far as I can tell, Austinstar and Link are still active on HubPages. I guess someone forgot to tell them, too! ;-D

Of course, this only reveals to everyone that you've been engaging in some sort of shenanigans here behind the scenes -- apparently with no success! :-D What could be more revealing of your own character than that?

Which prompts the question -- why is someone who wrongly believes he's managed to ban from HubPages everyone with whom he disagrees posting from an ANONYMOUS account? Could it be that YOU'VE been personally banned by those other Hubbers, Oz?......I mean, "Bill?"


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 6 months ago from Somewhere in the universe

I am leaning toward WB being Oz too, but there are a couple of others I suspect. Tsad is high up on the list. And a previously banned, BizWiz is also on the list.

At any rate, you are correct, Palladin. This character won't reveal himself because he is just a sad, confused, troll who lurks around trying to gloat over his little imaginary conquests.


Paladin_ profile image

Paladin_ 6 months ago from Michigan, USA Author

I've never heard of Tsad and, while I do vaguely recall the name of BizWiz, I wasn't aware that he (or she) had been banned.

It's quite perplexing, because its seems like such a waste spending all that time and effort solely for the purpose of starting fights -- especially when you usually wind up getting your head handed to you. HubPages can be such a great tool for interacting with people, learning about topics of interest and honing one's debating skills. But, for some, I suppose it will never been anything more than a grade school playground.

**sigh**


Titen-Sxull profile image

Titen-Sxull 6 months ago from back in the lab again

When you can't win an argument simply goad your opponent into insulting you and then report them, that seems to be the MO of certain trolls here on hubpages.

My answer to this is to simply refuse to lose my temper no matter what our anonymous acquaintance has to say. If we don't break the rules, or insult anyone, people can push that report button to their heart's content, it ain't gonna silence anyone.

Gotta love the religious people who have learned they can silence dissent and disagreement with their ideas by playing the victim. Like a school bully who pushes a kid too far, then when he is confronted verbally by his victim (who has finally had enough) HE is the one who goes and tattles.


Paladin_ profile image

Paladin_ 6 months ago from Michigan, USA Author

A great analysis, Titen, and right on the mark. But I think it's worse than that. It seems to me -- based upon my one experience with having a hub flagged -- that HubPages doesn't really have a mechanism or procedure for addressing or analyzing a specific complaint.

In my case, the message from HP didn't even specify which comment was the reason for the flagging. It was left to me to try to sort through scores of comments, trying to figure out which could be deleted to rectify the supposed offense. In the end, I just concluded it was easier to re-publish the hub and hope for new comments.

As for resisting the urge to reply in kind to these trolls, I'm afraid I don't have your fortitude. As intellectual and analytical as I try to be, I still sometimes find myself engaging in the all-too-human art of laying a beat-down on some obnoxious prick. As a matter of practice (and character), I generally HATE confrontation, but there's something about the perfect storm of arrogance and ignorance that tends to release the beast! :-)


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 6 months ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

Hi Paladin....(& everyone else) I'm here, just not as often as I once was.

I think when WB mentioned he was responsible for some members being "banned," they were temporary bans from Q&A & Forums~~not banned completely from HP. WB has proudly claimed this is his chosen mission here, to punish us for what in his opinion are our "sins." Except in Lela's case because he has told her in no uncertain terms, he will not let up on her until he gets her to quit HP altogether. So far she has hung in there.

WB took credit for having me banned from Q&A for a period of time, but of course we really cannot know for certain who actually reported us. And yes, I did "throw a hissy fit." Rather female of me, wouldn't you say?

I just read through this thread of comments....interesting to say the least. BTW Paladin, good hub, logical, well-written.

OK....I'll leave you all to your discussion. Just wanted to say "Hello" to prove I'm still among the living but too preoccupied in real life to spend as much time here as I used to enjoy doing. Take Care. Peace, Paula


Paladin_ profile image

Paladin_ 6 months ago from Michigan, USA Author

Thanks for the clarification and the compliment, Paula! I wasn't aware that WB had publicly proclaimed his intent to rid HubPages of all us heathens!

This "banning" confusion now makes a bit more sense, though it still makes little sense with regard to me, because I very rarely comment in the Q&A forums (I EXTREMELY dislike the format). Perhaps WB made some spurious complaint about something I said and, because I so rarely appear there, he concluded his complaints got me banned. Who knows...


lawrence01 profile image

lawrence01 6 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

Paladin

I finally caught up to this hub and I've found it pretty entertaining. You're right about some of the problems with the Genesis account and some of the misunderstandings but lets have a look at a few of them.

"The waters above" as the account puts it. you'd be right about Gravity, but that doesn't necessarily mean that the water was stored at the beginning of creation in liquid form, or even that it was necessarily in orbit around the earth!

What's the most common compound in the solary system? Would you believe me if I told you it was ICE!!! Mars has ice, Many of the Moons of Jupiter have Ice! The chief component of comets is ICE!

Recently the probe we sent to Pluto found mountains of ice water on the surface of the planet (Mountains as big as any in the Rockies!!!) and now she's heading out into the Kuiper belt cum Oort cloud where they've found mostly water and methane ice but by far the most abundant of the two is water ice!

Just as the Bible said is was, it just didn't tell us that it was in ice form!

I'm glad that you encourage people to read the book and 'think outside the box' with it, but don't forget that the explanations we find might not always fit the neat packages that we think they should.

Slight correction (sorry) just checked and Water is the third most common compound found in the Universe so far (not the most common)

Good hub though

Lawrence


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 6 months ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

Yes, Paladin, WB does often assume things. I'm surprised you were unaware of his plight to be an HP Super Hero, ridding our site of whomever he takes exception with. He has not been shy about admitting his mission. Have to credit a person with their gift of transparency.

FYI, HP Team has been made aware of his existence and activities, even receiving a copy of his comment to Lela that his goal is to encourage her to quit HP. I don't know what this tells everyone else, but for me it's a blatant admission from HP that WB is welcome to remain here and do whatever he chooses. The reality is if they were to close his account, he would only return as someone else to continue on his mission.

After I commented on 2 hubs by a "new" hubber, WB informed me that the "new" hubber was HIM. If I recall, his profile name was "N. DePlume." His 2 hubs were actually well-written so I really wish he would focus on writing rather than his current practice of reporting & flagging hubbers at his own discretion.

We contend with quite a bit here as writers but I admit there's rarely a dull moment. Just one adventure after another. Tolerance is the key, I guess. Paula


lawrence01 profile image

lawrence01 6 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

Paladin

Sorry to see some of the stuff going on here. I agree with Paula above


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 6 months ago from Somewhere in the universe

Hi Ya'll! Some of my favorite peeps here.

Paadin - WB gets away with his continuous 'threats' because he only does them when he is not signed it to an account here on HP.

If you edit your Comment Capsule, you can choose to check the box that says "only signed in users" can leave comments. That will stop his anonymous crap. You can do this globally or by individual hub. After that, he will disappear from our sight.

Of course, it doesn't stop him (or her) from being a totally disgusting troll and all around unfriendly, unreasonable person.

It is also why HP can't ban this person - because he is too big of a coward to sign in to a legitimate account and make those threats.

But HP moderators have come out with a suggestion to delete 'low quality' comments, so maybe it will help a little bit.

Now, back to your hub.

I am of the opinion that Genesis is all myth and conjecture anyway because, well mostly because I'm an atheist, but also because whoever wrote Genesis was only as educated as those at the time of writing. There isn't any real science put forth to analyze. It's all just an imaginative way of describing the 'beginning' as was known at the time.

I doubt it has even been translated properly as connotations of words change over time and what was considered common knowledge then has since been lost to definition.

Imagine describing a story about using a Model T engine to today's typical teenager. They understand rocket science and can't relate it to simple steam power.

What I don't understand is why doesn't the Pope or leader of the Christian religion (whoever it is) simply re-write the bible and add in all the discoveries that have been made? Make it official so people will quit trying to compare science to faith?

Religious leaders should make a real effort to keep up with the times!


Paladin_ profile image

Paladin_ 6 months ago from Michigan, USA Author

Thanks, everyone, for the comments. And thank you, Lawrence, for making me think of something that hadn't occurred to me (regarding the water being in ice form!). That's why I think it's so valuable to have these discussions and/or debates!

As for prohibiting anonymous comments, I'm really loathe to do that, because I don't want to keep new visitors from reading and commenting. I want to give them every encouragement to participate, and the requirement to register as a user may keep some away (I know it does for me on a great many other sites). Hopefully, they'll enjoy their 'anonymous' experience and decide to become 'Hubbers' themselves!


Randy Godwin profile image

Randy Godwin 6 months ago from Southern Georgia

So where did all of the water go after the Great Flood? It supposedly--according to the novel--covered the highest peaks on earth and receded somewhere. Did God wield a giant sponge? But after all, the flood story in the novel was plagiarized from a much older tale.

Enjoyed the read, Paladin!


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 6 months ago from Somewhere in the universe

Randy, the water all drained into hell and was turned into steam which made the fluffy white clouds which made the rainbow! Didn't you read that part? And then, everybody on Earth lived happily ever after because God wiped out ALL the wicked men and women and future wicked babies. He CLEANSED the world! So, now it is perfectly CLEAN! Cause, you know, he PROMISED!

Paladin - that is your right to accept or deny any comment you darn well feel like having. It does tend to show how moronic some people can be! :-)


Randy Godwin profile image

Randy Godwin 6 months ago from Southern Georgia

Thanks Lela! Since you explained so well I am now religious. Can I now start being judgmental of those who aren't? :P


Wild Bill 6 months ago

Paladin,

You don't have to approve my comments. I'll just sit back in the shadows and keep watching until you guys mess up. No comments necessary.


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 6 months ago from Somewhere in the universe

Well god bless your little pea picking heart, Randy. I'm glad you have finally seen the light! Yes, you now have the power to judge everyone inferior to you and yours. You can even heal the sick now. I will send you some money. Do you accept Visa?

And God bless Wild Bill and send all the little trolls a bible to keep them warm at night.

Onward Christian soldiers. God is too weak to handle things down here anymore. We are a sorry lot of writers who must beg for forgiveness.

Excuse me, i feel the need to vomit.


Randy Godwin profile image

Randy Godwin 6 months ago from Southern Georgia

I understand completely, Lela. Even pretending to believe in the ancient misbeliefs can make one nauseous.


Wild Bill 5 months ago

Austinstar,

I am glad to hear about your lifetime ban from Q&A. It couldn't have happened to a better person.

I guess HP is trying to get rid of the "good" writers. lmao


lawrence01 profile image

lawrence01 5 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

Paladin

Sorry I've not been back on the hub for a while. I actually do enjoy good and productive debate and your hubs tend to make me think somewhat.

As for Randy's question about where the water would have gone after the flood?

Let me answer it with a question. The last ice age finished around 15,000 years ago, at its height the ice stretched from the poles to the Caribbean in the north and at least as far as South Africa in the south. That ice was over a thousand feet thick in places, where did the water from that ice go?

There is no longer any debate whether there was a flood (see my hubs 'Legends of the floor' there are four of them) what scientists and historians now debate is whether it was truly global or localized but all the 'known world'

One possibility is whatever happened was so catastrophic it affected the earths magnetic field (temporarily) allowing much of the water to escape into space similar to what is thought to have happened on Mars!

Hope this helps

Lawrence


Paladin_ profile image

Paladin_ 5 months ago from Michigan, USA Author

That's okay, Lawrence. You have a novel to promote! I haven't yet finished anything that substantial, and even I know that writing it's only half the battle. You have to get it published, promoted and distributed!

I think we all agree that there are probably origins of the Genesis flood story either in older stories (like Gilgamesh) or in local or regional floods (people back then tended to think their little corner of the planet was the entire world!). Unless new information or artifacts come to light, we may never know the actual origin.

That said, it always seems to me that trying to make the Genesis flood story fit with the available archeological evidence always requires some outlandish hypothesis, like magnetic shifts or global tectonic events. I'm more inclined to follow Occam's Razor and settle on the explanation that requires the fewest number of assumptions (which, in this case, is that no global flood ever took place).

In any case, thanks for visiting again! :-)


lawrence01 profile image

lawrence01 5 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

Paladin

Thanks for the reply, and you're right about the writing being only half the battle, that I'm finding out!

I'd agree with much of what you say in the comment, what I was trying to do was show that the commonly used objections to the idea of a flood (be it global or otherwise) don't actually 'stack up' anymore.

Lawrence


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 2 months ago from Orlando Florida

Another excellent analysis of how the Bible is so fantastic--full of fantasy. So much is clearly impossible. Thanks for your line by line exegesis. It is too bad that believers will either ignore you, tell you the Bible tells basic truths in metaphors, or try to come up with a quasi-scientific explanation for how it could have happened. I have noticed that "quantum physics" is the latest go-to explanation. Quantum physics is so counter-intuitive that believers like to say that everything that is counter-intuitive, like the Bible, is quantum physics. It's not and most physicists are atheists.


Paladin_ profile image

Paladin_ 2 months ago from Michigan, USA Author

Thanks for the kind words, Catherine! I try to be as methodical in my analyses as possible.

As for quantum physics, I'm actually surprised more apologists don't resort to using it in religious explanations. As you say, it is most definitely counter-intuitive, and is easily the most mystifying of the physical sciences. In the words of the late, great Nobel laureate Richard Feynman (a legendary atheist),

"...If you think you understand quantum mechanics, you don't understand quantum mechanics..." ;-)


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 2 months ago from Orlando Florida

Love your Feynman comment.


lawrence01 profile image

lawrence01 2 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

Paladin.

I think the reason is people don't like talking about what they don't understand, as for me, yes I'll talk about it in the hope we'll all gain more understanding.

I also think Feynman was right.

Setterfield uses quantum mechanics to show how the universe can seem billions of light years across but only be a few thousand years old, but that's an ongoing discussion that in not trying to 're-ignite' but show there are some using quantum mechanics from a creationist point of view.

Lawrence


Paladin_ profile image

Paladin_ 2 months ago from Michigan, USA Author

Thanks for the info about Setterfield, Lawrence. I'll have to look that up!


Paladin_ profile image

Paladin_ 2 months ago from Michigan, USA Author

Now that I've had the opportunity to examine Setterfield's theory regarding "c decay" (a decrease in the speed of light), as well as rebuttals to his arguments, I can offer a few observations.

First, for those who wish to view the original work, as well as rebuttals, the original can be found at Setterfield's site:

http://www.setterfield.org/report/report.html

The most comprehensive rebuttal of this work can be found on the "Crank Astronomy" website, written by physicist G. P. Jellison (updated critiques can be found elsewhere on the site):

http://crankastronomy.org/cdecay/cdecay_2007Jellis...

First, I'll admit that I've yet been unable to completely read either Setterfield's original work or the rebuttals, as they are all quite lengthy, involving mathematics beyond my understanding, as well as a great deal of data. That said, there are a few, more obvious, problems I noticed with Setterfield's theory.

First, the bulk of Setterfield's 'evidence' lay in a table of historical estimates of the speed of light. While he insists that they represent a 'curve' representing the gradual decrease in c, when one examines the actual table of data, the estimated speeds are all over the place -- some higher, some lower. Setterfield, rather un-scientifically, cherry-picks only the data points that fit with his theory.

Next, Setterfield surmises that the decrease in c came to an effective stop -- right about the same time that more exact measurements of c became possible (in the 60s). This seems an incredibly convenient coincidence. In essence, now that we can actually TEST Setterfield's hypothesis with accuracy, the phenomenon it postulates (c decay) no longer exists!

There are a number of other criticisms of Setterfield's theory that can be found in Jellison's critique, but my limited knowledge of the scientific particulars prevents me from personally endorsing or promoting them -- at least without further study. I'll leave it for others to examine them for themselves.

Still, there is one other troubling aspect of Setterfield's work that I find very compelling, and it appears to be a common, unfortunate theme among creationist websites. While both Setterfield's paper and Jellison's critique contain numerous bibliographical references, ONLY Jellison's critique offers links to the opposing point of view (Setterfield's original work).

On the other hand, Setterfield, while making references to Jellison on his website, offers NO links to Jellison's full critique. In other words, Jellison offers BOTH sides of the argument, while Setterfield offers only ONE -- his. All hypotheses and data aside, this -- as much as anything -- suggests to me who is more concerned with revealing the truth.


lawrence01 profile image

lawrence01 2 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

Paladin

Thanks for the reply, and the pretty comprehensive look into Setterfields's work, I knew there were rebuttals, but the ones I looked at the time spent more time criticizing the man and not the science.

Setterfield isn't the only one who proposed the idea of a 'decay' in lightspeed, Dr John Moffatt also proposed a theory where at 4,000 BCE (according to his calculations) it was approximately ten thousand times faster than it is now (science has admitted that it has varied but not as much as he claims)

I think this is a major reason why many don't even think of trying to use quantum mechanics in apologetics! We just don't understand it!

Lawrence


Paladin_ profile image

Paladin_ 2 months ago from Michigan, USA Author

Actually, I believe it's the ESTIMATES of light speed that have varied, and not the actual speed itself. Unfortunately, until relatively recently, it was impossible to measure it with meaningful accuracy, so when it comes to tiny variations in c, we simply don't know...

I tried not to critique Setterfield personally too hard in my comments, though he does seem to be someone who is trying to make the 'observations' fit his conclusion, and not the other way around (which is the proper scientific method).

In any case, nobody's in the same league as that snake oil salesman Deepak Chopra -- the master of the pseudo-scientific word salad. He's not a 'religious' apologist per se, but he's used his quantum gibberish to con a great many people into believing his supernatural new age woo. Man, I hate that guy!!!


lawrence01 profile image

lawrence01 2 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

Paladin

Sorry I've not got back to you before now, I've come across Deepak Chopra a few times but not really read much of what he says, though I agree with you that most of the 'New age' stuff just gives me a headache.

As for the 'measuring lightspeed' or the speed itself there are physicists on both sides of that argument, but there are hypotheses that lightspeed has varied and the only reason I'm aware of it is my hub on distant starlight!

Lawrence


Paladin_ profile image

Paladin_ 2 months ago from Michigan, USA Author

No worries, Lawrence. I'm glad that we both tend to agree on Chopra's line of hogwash. Always nice to find some common ground!


lawrence01 profile image

lawrence01 2 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

Paladin.

True.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    Click to Rate This Article
    working