so, what does she really think about dinosaurs?

In searching the web tonight for evidence that She Whose Name Must Not Be Spoken really believes that dinosaurs just a few thousand years ago coexisted with man, I stumbled across an article on Salon about a fellow who claims to have exchanged words with her on the subject. It’s an interesting story. Here’s a clip:

…Soon after the book controversy, Bess found himself again at odds with Palin and her fellow evangelicals. In 1996, evangelical churches mounted a vigorous campaign to take over the local hospital’s community board and ban abortion from the valley. When they succeeded, Bess and Dr. Susan Lemagie, a Palmer OB-GYN, fought back, filing suit on behalf of a local woman who had been forced to travel to Seattle for an abortion. The case was finally decided by the Alaska Supreme Court, which ruled that the hospital must provide valley women with the abortion option.

At one point during the hospital battle, passions ran so hot that local antiabortion activists organized a boisterous picket line outside Dr. Lemagie’s office, in an unassuming professional building across from Palmer’s Little League field. According to Bess and another community activist, among the protesters trying to disrupt the physician’s practice that day was Sarah Palin.

Another valley activist, Philip Munger, says that Palin also helped push the evangelical drive to take over the Mat-Su Borough school board. “She wanted to get people who believed in creationism on the board,” said Munger, a music composer and teacher. “I bumped into her once after my band played at a graduation ceremony at the Assembly of God. I said, ‘Sarah, how can you believe in creationism — your father’s a science teacher.’ And she said, ‘We don’t have to agree on everything.’

“I pushed her on the earth’s creation, whether it was really less than 7,000 years old and whether dinosaurs and humans walked the earth at the same time. And she said yes, she’d seen images somewhere of dinosaur fossils with human footprints in them.”

Munger also asked Palin if she truly believed in the End of Days, the doomsday scenario when the Messiah will return. “She looked in my eyes and said, ‘Yes, I think I will see Jesus come back to earth in my lifetime.'”

Could it all be made up? I suppose so. But, as we’re hearing similar stories from a number of different sources, I suspect it’s unlikely. Unfortunately, if there’s audio or video that would corroborate it, it hasn’t surfaced yet. And, if it did exist, who knows if it would even make a difference. I suspect it doesn’t matter to folks that their leader thinks the planet is only 6,000 years old, that Noah’s Ark was home to a pair of lovable little velociraptors, and that nothing really matters anyway because Jesus is coming back to rescue those of us who are saved. All that really matters is that we have someone in the Oval Office who knowingly gave birth to a retarded child. That’s what it’s come to. We don’t trust fancy book learnin’. We want leaders who are obedient to God, and who don’t make us feel bad about ourselves. We want certainty. We want moral clarity. We don’t want a President who agonizes over complex situations, weighing options. We want a leader who sees in black and white… Basically, I guess you could say, we’re fucked.

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  1. not one of the cool kids
    Posted September 17, 2008 at 1:01 am | Permalink

    You are on point.
    To me a perfect candidate is someone with a graduate education. I really prefer someone with a degree in law. After all, isn’t our country built on laws?

    It used to be in this world that the educated were looked upon with respect, and if you were welcomed into a philosophers school or the Catholic Church as a priest, your family was now respected. And don’t forget that for centuries education was kept from everyday people by the aristocrats, the governments, and the Catholic Church in order to keep those taxes and church donations coming in without question. They knew that if people weren’t educated then they would be scared of God or they would not question the people in power, thus they would continue to provide those powerful people with the lifestyle of Kings.

    It was really America that changed all that, that opened education to all the people. But with more education came more freedom of thought, and with that freedom came the questioning of Religion. Since the 1960’s and the summer of love/Vietnam, Segregation,and Roe V Wade, the Republicans and the far right have been trying to take over education and to keep the people in line. After the Nixon crap, and Carter not selling guns to terrorist to free Americans in Iran crap… the Republicans began to cut pel grants, federal funding for state school systems, they added right to life to their official platform. Then Clinton came in and balanced the budget, started Americorps, and restored many grants, etc., but he got his dick sucked and that just sucked more “regular church goers” into the Republican party.

    Then came “W” and with him came “no child left behind,” which cut funding to the states dramatically, and school vouchers. 9/11 also brought more people to the churches. Two wars also make people scared and they turn to religion. Brilliant.

    So, to me it is really no surprise that McCain is sucking the teat of the Evangelicals. That is why the undereducated American voter loves Palin, because she isn’t very well educated (like them) and she will save the soul of this country (because the more people you save, the better chance you will be in the front of the line on the “end of days”). It is Brilliant. They don’t care that she a person that went to 5 different colleges to get her BA in Journalism, that makes her even MORE like them. I said in an earlier post on Palin, we must talk to our friends of faith that aren’t evangelicals, and tell them that these type of Christians really don’t think any other branches of Christianity WILL be saved when their “End of Days” arrives.
    But, on a happier note: if we can get the college students out and the minorities out on Election Day, then maybe we can beat them.

  2. Dan
    Posted September 17, 2008 at 2:15 am | Permalink

    Mark, I have to know what you meant by this statement:
    “All that really matters is that we have someone in the Oval Office who knowingly gave birth to a retarded child.”

  3. mark
    Posted September 17, 2008 at 7:45 am | Permalink


    She got the job 1) because she was a woman, and 2) because she was a liked by the religious right. Her popularity on the right at the time was primarily due to the fact that she knowingly had a retarded child instead of opting for abortion. I’m not suggesting that it was the wrong thing to do. I’m simply stating that it probably isn’t a qualification for President in and of itself.


  4. MSU girl
    Posted September 17, 2008 at 8:10 am | Permalink

    While I know this is off-subject just a bit, can we PLEASE discuss her son’s name. In homage to Van Halen, she named her son Trig Paxson VAN PALIN!!! Are you flippin’ kidding me? This woman could be our PRESIDENT. (Not that Van Halen isn’t a great band, it’s just, SERIOUSLY…)

  5. Posted September 17, 2008 at 8:30 am | Permalink

    Pentecostals want nothing more than to see the apocalypse happen within their lifetime. It would affirm everything about their faith and they would get the self-righteous pleasure of seeing their enemies (infidels) rot and burn. Having someone in office who could potentially be the CIC one day that could possibly speed up this process is inherently frightening.

  6. applejack
    Posted September 17, 2008 at 9:29 am | Permalink

    the level of anti-intellectualism in this country is truly frightening. even if video or audio surfaces of her confirming her creationist beliefs it wouldn’t be something obama could attack her for, because close to 40 percent of Americans are brain-dead creationists too. and they vote in much higher numbers than the rest of us.
    picking an evangelical nut for the ticket was the only thing that could have saved mccain’s campaign, and i think it’s working so far. people who are pro-life can disagree with every single other issue of the candidate’s platform and still vote for them. i spent 12 years in catholic school myself, and i admit i was once the same way (we were never taught creationism though, and i honestly thought that such people no longer existed, until i attended a public university in atlanta, georgia).
    democrats need to find a way to neutralize the abortion issue somehow; it has cost them two elections so far.

  7. Oliva
    Posted September 17, 2008 at 10:01 am | Permalink

    I’m surprised we haven’t heard more children’s rights advocates talk about some of what was on display at the RNC Convention. Down syndrome children are special, unusually loving–or so that has been my experience. But sadly they live shortened lives, and I can’t imagine bringing a tiny child out onto a bright, loud stage will help extend that life one bit. In fact, it probably puts the child in danger given that Down syndrome children have compromised immune systems.

    And then Cindy McCain, showing off her and her husband’s “compassion,” told the big crowd about her daughter who had been adopted and that she had had a cleft palate. We’ve been preparing to adopt a child and have had to take various classes, do lots of reading, etc., about “positive adoption language” and such, and we’ve had it drummed into us that it’s terribly harmful to a child who has been adopted to draw attention to his or her medical issues. There’s even an effort to not say “my adopted daughter” but to say instead “my daughter who was adopted.” It might seem too PC for people, but apparently the idea is that words really do matter.

  8. EoS
    Posted September 17, 2008 at 10:29 am | Permalink

    53% of Americans are creationists. Looks like McCain has made a good political decision to give the majority of Americans a seat at the table. Faith and reason are not mutually exclusive views. In fact, if a person takes an objective, open minded look at all the evidence, faith in a creator God is the only rational choice. Evolution is anti-scientific. If you understand the 1st and 2nd laws of thermodynamics, then you’ll have sufficient evidence to refute evolution.

    The right to life is the issue that supersedes all others. If I gave you the choice of free universal health care or your life – which would you choose? If you had to choose between one billion dollars or your life – which would you choose? It really doesn’t matter what a politician promises if you’re dead.

    I’d very much prefer a leader with integrity who was obedient to God. We would all be much better off than we would if we have leaders who are obedient to the special interest group who provides the most campaign money.

  9. Monk
    Posted September 17, 2008 at 10:40 am | Permalink

    Why doesn’t the right to life extend to those on death row? Why did people who felt compelled to vote based the ‘sanctity of life’ in the last two elections not hold it against Bush that he had so many men killed as Governor of Texas, not to mention getting us into an unprovoked and illegal war in which many Iraqi children have been killed? To me it looks like these individuals are very selective in what parts of the Bible they choose to follow.

    Turn the other cheek?
    Preemptive war.

    Don’t judge others.
    Except women who have abortions.

    The good news is, the more people get to know Palin, the less they like her.

    The Rule of Law will be restored!

  10. Tark
    Posted September 17, 2008 at 10:47 am | Permalink

    How does one stay obedient to God? Does God talk to them and tell them what to do? Or do we trust our leaders to interpret the Bible themselves? As we know, there are many interpretations of the Bible.

    Are you suggesting we move to Biblical law, EOS?

    Is it time for another Scopes trial?

    I happen to be religious AND believe in evolution. The two are not mutually exclusive.

  11. applejack
    Posted September 17, 2008 at 10:50 am | Permalink

    thank you EoS for proving my piont and confirming my fears.

    i’d love to argue evolution vs creationism with you, but this may not be the right place to do it. suffice it to say for now that the first and second laws of thermodynamics have nothing whatsoever to do with evolution. saying, “evolution is anti-scientific” is typical evangelical double-speak. or an example of how evangelicals don’t know what the word ‘science’ means.

    the pro-life issue is more complex because i do still have sympathy for the arguments on both sides. personally i don’t know that abortion should be a federal issue. i think states might be better situated to set those rules for themselves.

  12. Curt Waugh
    Posted September 17, 2008 at 11:00 am | Permalink

    “In fact, if a person takes an objective, open minded look at all the evidence, faith in a creator God is the only rational choice.”

    Um… no, it’s not. Looking at a bunch of evidence, realizing that you don’t know all the answers is a call to a life’s work of finding the answers. It’s called science.

    They used to think that vapors and humors and “bad air” and crap like that caused all the illnesses in the world. Way back when, that was “the only rational choice.” Then, they figured out there were microscopic things called bacteria and viruses that were the real cause. Then, smaller things like prions. These are called “answers”, not “choices”. Remember when smallpox evolv… sorry, when God made smallpox? And then we figured out what it was. Then we killed it? Did that anger God? Should we not have done that because it wasn’t a rational choice to save all those lives?

    “If you understand the 1st and 2nd laws of thermodynamics, then you’ll have sufficient evidence to refute evolution.”

    I do understand the 2nd law of thermodynamics quite well, thank you. But you clearly fail to understand it if you think it alone provides all the evidence you need to refute evolution. A tendency toward universal entropy does not limit concentrations of energy in specific places for limited periods of time. Stars and whole galaxies come and go. The energy most certainly moves around, but it will form temporary concentrations as it does. You are confusing the entropy of the entire universe with entropy of a specific location within it.

  13. EL
    Posted September 17, 2008 at 11:03 am | Permalink


    Keep posting on Palin. I enjoy reading your writings that deal with her, even if some of the commentary moves off-topic and into soapboxing by proselytizers of all shape and form.

    I loved the last paragraph of this Palin post.


  14. Posted September 17, 2008 at 11:11 am | Permalink

    Yes, Monk, the Palin bounce is already showing signs of subsiding. Nobody knew anything about her accept that she looks like your standard soccer mom, or hockey mom, or whatever. As women get the information on what she believes and what her experience level is, her numbers will drop even more.

    Fortunately for McCain, Al-Qaeda car bombed the US embassy in Yemen right in time. This might help keep the Republicans numbers from dropping too fast. It’s nice that Al-Qaeda can be so considerate in the timing of their bombings. I’m willing to bet they carry out at least one more significant attack before our election.

  15. EoS
    Posted September 17, 2008 at 11:29 am | Permalink

    Do any of you read the poll results? McCain’s lead has continued to grow since the Republican convention. Yesterday, the polls showed that he has the electoral votes necessary to win. I’m not saying that things can’t change, and there’s plenty of time left before the election, but Obama hasn’t yet been able to stop the slide. Women make up the largest group that has changed their support from Obama to the McCain camp. Face it, the majority of women are pro-life. There’s been leaks that Obama is considering dropping Biden and getting Hillary on the ticket. Do you think that would help or hurt?

  16. Posted September 17, 2008 at 11:43 am | Permalink

    “In fact, if a person takes an objective, open minded look at all the evidence, faith in a creator God is the only rational choice. “

    Believing in God is about as rational as believing in the tooth fairy. You believe it not based on any evidence at all but not for more than the reason that you simply do. This is exactly what faith is. We do not need evidence for God, we simply believe that he is there, without rationality or evidence.

  17. Robert
    Posted September 17, 2008 at 11:43 am | Permalink

    EoS, I said that yesterday. Damn! Am I talking to myself here? Obama’s numbers have been sliding for over a week. However, yesterday and today there have been some signs that the Palin honeymoon period is already beginning to collapse.

    By the way, if the Democrats decided they needed to bring Hillary onto the ticket, they’d get Biden to come up with some phony reason that he had to drop out…something personal probably. The Republicans wouldn’t be able to get any mileage out of it. In fact, the Democrats would instead. War-profiteering interests would rather have Hillary on the ticket anyway.

    For that same reason, McCain couldn’t dump Palin from his ticket if he wanted to. She wasn’t his choice in the first place. He was pressured to take her by those same war-profiteering interests.

  18. Posted September 17, 2008 at 11:44 am | Permalink

    But Christians still suck and creationism is bunk.

  19. Posted September 17, 2008 at 11:47 am | Permalink

    I agree with EL. There is way too much entertainment to be had to ignore Palin. To hell with that strategy! Keep it up, Mark!

    I didn’t want to mention this (I feel like the PC police), but it’s killing me. Do you mind using “child with a cognitive impairment”, instead of “retarded child”? That language implies that he is a child first, not a label first. Same idea as Olivia brought up, using “child who is adopted”, instead of “adopted child”. If we’re going to criticize, we should model appropriately.

    As far as Palin knowingly having Trig, I personally think that it was admirable. Does it make her more qualified to be VP? No. People have been seeing it that way, like Robert alluded to, along with her hockey mom stuff. But she was just new and something for people to cling to.

    What will make her less qualified to be VP in people’s minds is when she is questioned on the spot without a teleprompter, especially about foreign policy. Her answers to that last interview about seeing Russia from Alaska, possibly invading Pakistan to fight terrorism, freezing when asked about Bush’s strategy – that’s what’s going to kill McCain. I bet he already regrets it. He got a little push in he polls and everything, but all that’s going to go away once Obama does something else positive to put him back in the spotlight.

    But, man, keep up with the Palin stuff – I love it.

  20. NicA2Y3
    Posted September 17, 2008 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

    This Creationism stuff is absolutely insane!!


    Here’s a link to a very entertaining blog entry from a blog I like to read. This guy visited the Creationist Museum, here are his findings and observations, with pics and video! A candid look into the lunacy of Palin’s beliefs if you will… Amazing! Not very politically focused but very entertaining and worth the read.

  21. Robert
    Posted September 17, 2008 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

    Yes, Mark. I agree with Geoff. Keep doing the Palin stuff. It’s funny. She’s the one they’re really running for president anyway. Once the pressure starts building on her to actually answer questions, her numbers will plummet. So far people are mostly just supporting the image of a working mom, that’s all. But this one’s a real flake, and most people won’t feel comfortable with a goofball being a very weak heartbeat away from the presidency.

  22. The Lord
    Posted September 17, 2008 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

    I checked out your site, NicA2Y3, and noticed that you stole intellectual property. God doesn’t like that.

  23. Steve
    Posted September 17, 2008 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

    Which of her kids is retarded? I can’t tell from this photo.

  24. Dan
    Posted September 17, 2008 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

    I knew she had a handicapped child. I didn’t realize that was why she is so popular with the right. She seemed to gloat about it a but during the RNC. Perhaps that is why.

  25. NicA2Y3
    Posted September 17, 2008 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

    The Lord,

    Well thanks for the link. I hadn’t realized there was a post on this topic on this blog previously. I will certainly read it. The site I linked to is not mine. I don’t really think any intellectual property was stolen either way. Doesn’t the Dr. Zaius/Ken Hamm comparison pop into your head immediately though? That guy should really shave that beard.

  26. Ian Curtis
    Posted September 17, 2008 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

    The fundamentals, I mean American workers, are strong, but the Dow is fucked…


  27. Robert (writing in Mort Sahl's voice)
    Posted September 17, 2008 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

    McCain’s doctor examined him and reassured him that his “heart is as sound as a dollar.” McCain broke down sobbing.

  28. mark
    Posted September 17, 2008 at 9:46 pm | Permalink

    Yeah, sorry, but I have a copyright on the observation that Ken Ham is Dr. Zaius. I hate to be a prick about it, but I’m going to have to exact some kind of retribution… If I don’t, people everywhere will start stealing my ideas. And, before you know it, someone else will be getting all the praise for having coined the phrase “face taint” for that little area between the nose and mouth.

  29. heronblue
    Posted September 17, 2008 at 10:20 pm | Permalink

    thought y’all might find this interesting… using the link didn’t work for transmission (sorry) this is from

    This is Your Nation on White Privilege

    By Tim Wise

    For those who still can’t grasp the concept of white privilege, or who are constantly looking for some easy-to-understand examples of it, perhaps this list will help.

    White privilege is when you can get pregnant at seventeen like Bristol Palin and everyone is quick to insist that your life and that of your family is a personal matter, and that no one has a right to judge you or your parents, because “every family has challenges,” even as black and Latino families with similar “challenges” are regularly typified as irresponsible, pathological and arbiters of social decay.

    White privilege is when you can call yourself a “fuckin’ redneck,” like Bristol Palin’s boyfriend does, and talk about how if anyone messes with you, you’ll “kick their fuckin’ ass,” and talk about how you like to “shoot shit” for fun, and still be viewed as a responsible, all-American boy (and a great son-in-law to be) rather than a thug.

    White privilege is when you can attend four different colleges in six years like Sarah Palin did (one of which you basically failed out of, then returned to after making up some coursework at a community college), and no one questions your intelligence or commitment to achievement, whereas a person of color who did this would be viewed as unfit for college, and probably someone who only got in in the first place because of affirmative action.

    White privilege is when you can claim that being mayor of a town smaller than most medium-sized colleges, and then Governor of a state with about the same number of people as the lower fifth of the island of Manhattan, makes you ready to potentially be president, and people don’t all piss on themselves with laughter, while being a black U.S. Senator, two-term state Senator, and constitutional law scholar, means you’re “untested.”

    White privilege is being able to say that you support the words “under God” in the pledge of allegiance because “if it was good enough for the founding fathers, it’s good enough for me,” and not be immediately disqualified from holding office–since, after all, the pledge was written in the late 1800s and the “under God” part wasn’t added until the 1950s–while believing that reading accused criminals and terrorists their rights (because, ya know, the Constitution, which you used to teach at a prestigious law school requires it), is a dangerous and silly idea only supported by mushy liberals.

    White privilege is being able to be a gun enthusiast and not make people immediately scared of you.

    White privilege is being able to have a husband who was a member of an extremist political party that wants your state to secede from the Union, and whose motto was “Alaska first,” and no one questions your patriotism or that of your family, while if you’re black and your spouse merely fails to come to a 9/11 memorial so she can be home with her kids on the first day of school, people immediately think she’s being disrespectful.

    White privilege is being able to make fun of community organizers and the work they do–like, among other things, fight for the right of women to vote, or for civil rights, or the 8-hour workday, or an end to child labor–and people think you’re being pithy and tough, but if you merely question the experience of a small town mayor and 18-month governor with no foreign policy expertise beyond a class she took in college–you’re somehow being mean, or even sexist.

    White privilege is being able to convince white women who don’t even agree with you on any substantive issue to vote for you and your running mate anyway, because all of a sudden your presence on the ticket has inspired confidence in these same white women, and made them give your party a “second look.”

    White privilege is being able to fire people who didn’t support your political campaigns and not be accused of abusing your power or being a typical politician who engages in favoritism, while being black and merely knowing some folks from the old-line political machines in Chicago means you must be corrupt.

    White privilege is being able to attend churches over the years whose pastors say that people who voted for John Kerry or merely criticize George W. Bush are going to hell, and that the U.S. is an explicitly Christian nation and the job of Christians is to bring Christian theological principles into government, and who bring in speakers who say the conflict in the Middle East is God’s punishment on Jews for rejecting Jesus, and everyone can still think you’re just a good church-going Christian, but if you’re black and friends with a black pastor who has noted (as have Colin Powell and the U.S. Department of Defense) that terrorist attacks are often the result of U.S. foreign policy and who talks about the history of racism and its effect on black people, you’re an extremist who probably hates America.

    White privilege is not knowing what the Bush Doctrine is when asked by a reporter, and then people get angry at the reporter for asking you such a “trick question,” while being black and merely refusing to give one-word answers to the queries of Bill O’Reilly means you’re dodging the question, or trying to seem overly intellectual and nuanced.

    White privilege is being able to claim your experience as a POW has anything at all to do with your fitness for president, while being black and experiencing racism is, as Sarah Palin has referred to it a “light” burden.

    And finally, white privilege is the only thing that could possibly allow someone to become president when he has voted with George W. Bush 90 percent of the time, even as unemployment is skyrocketing, people are losing their homes, inflation is rising, and the U.S. is increasingly isolated from world opinion, just because white voters aren’t sure about that whole “change” thing. Ya know, it’s just too vague and ill-defined, unlike, say, four more years of the same, which is very concrete and certain…

    White privilege is, in short, the problem.

  30. heronblue
    Posted September 17, 2008 at 10:34 pm | Permalink

    By the way, is the last shot in this video for real????

  31. Ol' E Cross
    Posted September 17, 2008 at 11:16 pm | Permalink

    Okay. I’ve got a small window to comment before I return to my temporary blogging exile…

    First thought:

    I see that Mark’s asked a couple of times how Christians can vote for a liar. Given that “Christians suck” and belief in miracles/supernatural stuff is cause for alarm, I’d ask how rational non-Christians can vote for a man who repeatedly claims to believe some Jewish fellow died a couple thousand years ago and suddenly popped back to life and, it gets worse, believes that because he believes this his “sins” are forgiven and he gets to go happily to heaven for all eternity.

    Isn’t Obama’s belief (source cited) as scientifically absurd as Palin’s? Can we really trust our nation with a man who thinks people spontaneously come back to life and to give him a ticket to heaven? I’m not advocating Palin’s creationism, I’m just challenging folk to explain why believing that Jesus is alive in heaven waiting for me is less crazy than creationism…

    Second thought:

    When I was watching the Republican Convention my jaw dropped at the chants of “Drill, baby drill!” I recall thinking, “Are these people idiots, don’t they realize they’re just reinforcing my bias to vote Democratic?” That’s because I think drilling is stupid. Others, apparently, don’t.

    As I read these “Palin is a raving Christian lunatic” comments, I find myself thinking, “Are these people idiots, don’t they realize they’re just reinforcing conservative Christians’ bias to vote Republican?”

    Mark, maybe you know your audience and are just trying to inspire action. But, tactically speaking, all these comments just do what Palin was intended to do: reassure Christians that the Republican Party is the party of faith.

    Unless Obama is a liar, he is a sincere Christian. I think a comparison of what values his Christianity displays versus the values of McCain or Palin would be more interesting.

    There are atheist Republicans and Christian Democrats. Dear Democrats: If you want to keep pushing Christians into the Republican Party, you’re on the right track. If you want to push Christians to think differently about which party best reflects their values, it might not hurt to admit that your candidate for president actually is one … who, in my opinion, doesn’t suck.

  32. EoS
    Posted September 18, 2008 at 12:36 am | Permalink


    I think Palin was McCain’s choice. Without her, 40% of the Republican party would not have bothered to vote. With his choice, he captures all the voters to the right of Obama’s extreme left position.

    Obama has promised billions of dollars of new government programs. He wrongly believes he can buy votes by promising more entitlements with a simultaneous reduction in personal taxes. And he is fostering class warfare thinking he can convince Joe Six-pack that corporations will pay for a free ride for everyone else. Corporations don’t pay any taxes. They pass increased costs directly to the consumers. If Obama gets elected, a huge percentage of workers will no longer be able to afford the increased costs of basic necessities. Political activists in the Democratic party assume that the majority of voters are too stupid to figure this out.

  33. mark
    Posted September 18, 2008 at 6:47 am | Permalink

    OEC, I know that you’re comment was more directed at the fellow who said that Christians suck, but I’m feeling defensive about my comments on Creationism. I don’t think that I’m Christian-bashing when I say that Creationism is wrong. I don’t think that Creationism and Christianity are the same thing. You can, in my opinion, believe in both God and science. I somehow manage it. And if I can, I suspect that others can as well. I appreciate what you’re saying though. Maybe we shouldn’t alienate folks just because they believe that people rode around on dinosaurs like in an episode of Land of the Lost. Maybe we should welcome Flat Earthers and people that think the Earth is the center of the solar system. Sure, it’s crazy, but we need the votes, right?

    Sorry for the sarcasm, but I’m tired. I’m physically tired, and I’m tired of having to direct things at the lowest common denominator so as not to alienate people and make them feel bad. You have to draw the line somewhere, and I guess Creationism is where I draw it. Yes, I consider myself a Christian, but that doesn’t mean I have to accept all the nonsense that I see being done in God’s name. We encourage moderate Muslims to speak out, why not moderate Christians? Why shouldn’t we call the fundamentalists on their anti-science BS? But maybe you’re right. Maybe that puts us dangerously close to insulting people for believing in the virgin birth, the resurrection, and all the rest of it. I can see as how it’s a slippery slope. But, from where I’m sitting, we need to establish parameters before we lose even more ground in the fight over reality.

  34. Posted September 18, 2008 at 8:14 am | Permalink

    Christians suck. I am Christian and a Catholic although I see the wide scale appropriation of a great humanist religion in the name of self serving ignorance to be a sacrilege. I find that Palinesque pentacostal faiths are inherently racist, believe themselves to be the only chosen people, akin to the KKK or Zionist or right wing Japanese that view the Emperor as a sacred being. I doubt that Christ envisioned a world where a select few would dictate morality onto the many and marginalize those who did not agree.

    This creationist nonsense is just that: nonsense. It has nothing to do with what Christ taught. Who the fuck cares whether the world was created in 6 days or 6 billion? The idea was to be nice to your brother, be nice to yourself and make a better world for all people. Much of Christ’s impact was reforming the ignorant policies of the local bureaucratic priests, throwing out dietary laws and other nonsense that had nothing to do with making life a little bit more palatable. These bozos like Palin are the modern day hypocrites, picking and choosing where to use God’s name to get positions of power and privilege.

    This museum is fucking hilarious. I can’t believe that people don’t see it for what it is: a big cash cow for this australian guy. The scary thing is that people go and think it’s the truth.

  35. kjc
    Posted September 18, 2008 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

    “If Obama gets elected, a huge percentage of workers will no longer be able to afford the increased costs of basic necessities. Political activists in the Democratic party assume that the majority of voters are too stupid to figure this out.”

    A huge percentage of workers already are unable to afford basic necessities. Political activists in the Republican party assume the majority of voters are too stupid to figure this out. Actually I think the Democrat party activists are similarly inane.

    I liked your post too, mark, and I liked what EL had to say. It’s definitely best to skip the comments, though I laughed at that Land of the Lost line.

  36. Posted September 18, 2008 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

    OEC and Mark:

    OEC said to explain why Jesus is alive in heaven waiting for me is less crazy than creationism.

    Someone else mentioned that both of these beliefs have to do with faith.

    Here is where the line is drawn:

    You can’t scientifically disprove God. You can’t scientifically disprove Jesus being in heaven. This is where faith comes in. You can, however, scientifically disprove the theory of creationism, as it is laid out literally in the bible.

    Now, blending the two beliefs depends on how literal your interpretation of the bible is.

    And “all” of any religion does not suck.

  37. Naiemah
    Posted September 18, 2008 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

    Obama has promised billions of dollars of new government programs. He wrongly believes he can buy votes by promising more entitlements with a simultaneous reduction in personal taxes. And he is fostering class warfare thinking he can convince Joe Six-pack that corporations will pay for a free ride for everyone else.

    This says it better than any response I could formulate:

  38. Robert
    Posted September 18, 2008 at 5:14 pm | Permalink


    The fact that you think Palin was McCain’s choice tells me for certain that you have never worked directly for any elected federal official, and you probably haven’t even talked to anyone who has about this particular subject either is my guess.

    Here’s how it worked. McCain was presented with a search committee which he approved without consideration. Then, at the moment it became an absolute that Hillary wasn’t going to be on the ticket (which happened later than you think) this committee handed him Palin as supposedly the “best” option at the moment. She WAS selected for the reasons you say. However, there was one essential vetting factor which was not shared with McCain.

    The supposed list was actually much smaller than he or most people were made aware of. Any one of the folks on that smaller list would have solidified and energized the base. The list was filtered through one extra set of criteria which are given away by the details of Palin’s background. If McCain even questioned the committees suggested selection, he would still have been allowed no real alternative. It is why he hadn’t even talked to her until 24 hours before the selection was made. Did you miss that little tidbit of info. It’s very meaningful, and in a way I think you don’t quite understand the full gravity of.

    For the most part, I’ll let others, like Naiemah, be the ones to respond to the little campaign speech portion of your comments. They’re all just silly talking points to me. You aren’t getting paid to shill for the GOP you know. I turn it off when I’m not working for a campaign. You can too when talking to me. I’m not trying to convince you to vote for Obama, or against McCain. I’m just using this conversation with you to share a little general information about the way politics really work, for anyone who might find the details interesting…including you if you care to put aside your spinning.

    I will say this; my vote is never based on anyone’s THEORIES about what will happen if a particular candidate gets elected. There is plenty of hard historical evidence out there. I try to base my vote on that. The fact is, the US has had much stronger economies during Democratic administrations which all essentially espoused the same policies Obama does. In contrast, the economy has always faltered under the policies McCain and every other Republican in recent times has espoused. That is simply a fact. I’m not interested in your unsupported predictions, or anyone else’s for that matter. You may notice, when I make predictions I back them up with historical references and evidence.

  39. Posted September 18, 2008 at 8:42 pm | Permalink

    “Obama has promised billions of dollars of new government programs. He wrongly believes he can buy votes by promising more entitlements with a simultaneous reduction in personal taxes. And he is fostering class warfare thinking he can convince Joe Six-pack that corporations will pay for a free ride for everyone else.”

    And this is different than any presidential candidate in what way?

  40. Ol' E Cross
    Posted September 18, 2008 at 11:41 pm | Permalink

    Dear Couz,

    I have to disagree. You can’t scientifically disprove creationism when creationists argue, as they have on this blog, that God just made the earth look old even though it isn’t really. You also can’t disprove that there’s an invisible monster living under my house. Science focuses on what is provable. You can’t disprove that Jesus rose from the dead, but, unless you replicate the results, you can’t prove it. Both creationism and resurrection require faith, not science. Which leads me to…


    I know you can believe in science and God. I appreciate all your posts on creationism. I can appreciate your drawing a line in the sand and you might be right to do so. I’m just a) tired of Democrats losing elections and b) mindful that this post is tied to an election.

    More than backing off Palin for her views, what I’m trying to suggest is that we don’t paint Palin as the one valid Christian candidate. Better to exposure her as a fraud than bolster her fundamentalist credentials. Better yet, we seldom talk about Obama’s faith and how it impacts his morality (unless J. Wright forces us to, but then its on the defensive). If faith has to be part of elections, I’d rather compare how the faith of all candidates informs their decisions rather than talk exclusively about the faith of people in one party.


    I agree that many, many Christians suck. I suck. Everybody sucks. I just think it would be helpful to be more specific about who and why. It’s worth remembering than many of the African American Pentecostal Christians who vote Democratic also believe the earth was created in six days and believe God makes them talk in angelic tongues and they are “akin the KKK” when they think they are the chosen. Perhaps the Democratic party should sit down and have a heart-to-heart with them. Then there’s Democratic voters who believe a piece of bread turns to a slice of skin in their tummies.

    I like pressing creationists; I’m glad to have that debate. I’m not sure it’s a good campaign issue. But, if this is where the line must be drawn, let’s very clearly point out that there are Christians and people of different faiths (or lack thereof) on both sides of the party line.

  41. Posted September 19, 2008 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

    When I was in college at U of M studying biology, I took a course in vertebrate anatomy. On the first day the professor said the two main theories for the origin of species are evolution by natural selection and special creation. He said a few things about evolution and then about special creation said, “It has never been observed. It cannot be reproduced. It is therefore outside the realm of science.” That about sums it all up for me.

  42. Posted September 19, 2008 at 8:42 pm | Permalink

    Good points OEC…

  43. Dirtgrain
    Posted September 21, 2008 at 8:52 am | Permalink

    If winning the election means sanctioning absurd views (AKA selling out), then I would sacrifice the election.

    I don’t think criticizing a Christian extremist is necessarily turning off religious people in general. If the Reverend Sun Myung Moon were to run for president, we surely could question his “Christian” beliefs without alienating Christians (I think–I assume–please tell me we haven’t gotten that ridiculous where he could run for president). A question to ask before determining the damage the Democratic Party might suffer from questioning Palin’s views is this: how mainstream are her beliefs? How many Americans believe the science world’s views on dinosaurs? I don’t know. I did just see an article on a 2004 poll that said 55% of Americans believe in creationism. Is Palin an extremist? Is she too radical for mainstream Christians? Even so, why hide what you believe to be true? I’m no politician, though.

    We can’t know how seriously any candidate takes religion, as being religious, and in the case of the presidency, being Christian, is a prerequisite for being elected (how many of them pretend?). We have one Muslim congressman, Keith Ellison, Democrat from Minnesota. We have a number of Jewish congressman. We have one atheist congressman, Rep. Pete Stark (D-Calif.), the first congressman to have publicly claimed to be an atheist.

  44. Dirtgrain
    Posted September 21, 2008 at 8:54 am | Permalink

    A Gallup survey shows how atheists rank among voters:
    Fully 53% state that they would not vote a for an atheist candidate nominated by their own party, as compared to 43% who would refuse to vote for a homosexual candidate, 24% for a Mormon, 12% for a Hispanic, 11% for a woman, and single digit percentages who would refuse to support a black, Jewish, or Catholic candidate. Although the Gallup survey doesn’t include these groups, Pew surveys conducted in 2005 show that 38% of Americans are categorically unwilling to support a Muslim candidate of their own party, and 15% feel the same way about an Evangelical Christian. (source).

  45. Dirtgrain
    Posted September 21, 2008 at 9:03 am | Permalink

    And “Atheists may be the most unpopular minority, but law offers few answers”: (Dammit! This site’s software won’t let me post the link for some reason–you can google “Atheists may be the most unpopular” and it comes right up, if you’re interested).

    If we try to appease religious voters by not questioning religious ideas, then we maybe don’t help to end political discrimination against atheists, agnostics, and non-Christians–maybe we hinder progress there. Is this true?

  46. mark
    Posted September 21, 2008 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

    I would agree with you, OEC, we have a number of wonderful Christian candidates this election cycle. It’s just that one of them is of the crazy variety.

    I’m off to Google about the unpopularity of atheists now.

  47. EoS
    Posted September 21, 2008 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

    The creation of the universe was not observed. It cannot be reproduced. Therefore the theory of evolution as it pertains to the origin of life is outside the realm of science. Belief in evolution requires faith, not science.

    Either the universe has always existed or it came into existence at a particular time. Both science and religion agree that it came into existence at a particular time by a force external to the known universe which was unlike any natural force in existence today. There is much scientific evidence for this “big bang” theory. The difference is that the scientific explanation of the Big Bang states that everything was created from nothing without a cause or a purpose and creationists believe that an intelligent designer was a requirement for the complexity of even the simplest life forms.

    The scientific law of conservation of mass/energy states that mass/energy can be neither created nor destroyed, only converted in form. So to believe that a “Big bang” created all the matter in the universe, scientists have to come up with wild postulates of how matter was sucked out of some alternative universe through a black hole or energy warp to establish our universe. Or, more often, that all the matter in our universe was condensed to a volume smaller than a pinhead, which then exploded in an ever repeating cycle of expansion/contraction. This of course avoids addressing the question of where matter originated in the first place and what happened to the force that caused it all to condense?

    Scientists have not been able to create life from non-life regardless of how hard they have tried. Evolutionists believe that life spontaneously generated from a primordial soup of chemicals that existed after “the big bang”. The theory is that the planet Earth began as a molten mass of matter a few billions years ago. It cooled off into solid, dry rock. Then, it rained on the rocks for millions of years, forming great oceans. Eventually, this “prebiotic rock soup” came alive and spawned the first self-replicating organic systems.

    Evolutionists believe that a “simple cell” spontaneously formed, replicated, and gave rise to all other life forms. Yet even e. coli has 4.6 million base pairs of DNA. Although the tiniest bacterial cells are incredibly small, each is in effect a miniaturized factory containing thousands of exquisitely designed pieces of intricate molecular machinery, made up altogether of one hundred thousand million atoms, far more complicated than any machine built by man and absolutely without parallel in the non-living world.” In a word, the “simple cell” is complicated. Very complicated.

    But to be an evolutionist, you must have the faith to believe that an explosion created a soup of all the elements necessary for life, and that these chemicals spontaneously assembled themselves to form a complex biochemical factory, and more importantly, that these “simple cells” also spontaneously “evolved” a copy of a complete set of plans and a method for their replication so as to reproduce more of the same kind. If you took any living organism today, threw it into a blender and made “soup”, and waited billions and billions of years, no rational person would expect that a living organism would “evolve” even though all the components and DNA templates are already there – far greater starting materials than what existed in the primordial soup.

    And this has to occur within a scientific worldview which adheres to the 2nd law of thermodynamics that states matter/energy in a closed system always proceeds from a more ordered state to a state of greater disorganization. Evolutionary scientists themselves have calculated the odds that a free-living, single-celled organism could result from a chance combining of life building blocks. Harold Morowitz, a renowned physicist from Yale University and author of Origin of Cellular Life (1993), declared that the odds for any kind of spontaneous generation were one chance in 10 raised to the 100,000,000,000 power. By the way, scientists generally set their “Impossibility Standard” at one chance in 10 raised to the 50th power. (1 in a 100,000 billion, billion, billion, billion, billion).

    Calling yourself a Christian does not make a person become one. Picking a few things out of the Bible to believe and discarding the rest while ridiculing anyone who does believe the rest is not indicative of a transformed life. You can call yourself a Catholic, but if you disagree with the Pope on matters of abortion or homosexuality, then it doesn’t matter how often you sit in a pew – you’re not a Catholic. And John Kerry still wonders why he lost the Catholic vote. Howard Dean wanted everyone to believe that he was a good Christian by telling the crowds that Job was his favorite book of the New Testament. Obama claimed his former pastor was his spiritual leader even though Rev. Wright said plenty of anti-Christian beliefs from the pulpit. OEC is right in believing the Democratic Party has lost the last two elections largely because they defined themselves as the party that ridiculed Christianity and whose platform was opposed to most Christian beliefs. And although the Republican party is slightly better at talking the talk, when push comes to shove, they seldom walk the walk.

    Real Christians don’t look to government programs or political parties for salvation. We are all born sinners and in spite of technological expertise and sophisticated education, morality does not evolve. We just invent better and more efficient means of destroying each other.

    The planet is only about 6000 years old, Noah’s ark is a historical fact, Jesus is coming and I really like the Creation Museum and think it’s a much needed resource to combat today’s culture.

  48. Posted September 21, 2008 at 5:38 pm | Permalink

    “You can call yourself a Catholic, but if you disagree with the Pope on matters of abortion or homosexuality, then it doesn’t matter how often you sit in a pew – you’re not a Catholic.”

    Obviously, you think that being an American means that you have to agree with the President 100% of the time.

    As for evolution, not being observable, that is not true. People have been observing genetic changes in life due to environmental manipulation since time immortal. Next time you pet your dog or eat an ear of corn, thank evolution for the fact that the dog does not eat you and the corn is more than 1 inch long and yellow.

    And as for the world being 6000 years old, that is just moronic. As a Christian, you should know better. Being a Christian is about much more than merely believing in fairy tales.

  49. Posted September 21, 2008 at 5:39 pm | Permalink

    Oh, and as a Catholic, I found the quip about the Pope to be exceedingly offensive. Being a Catholic is about much more than agreeing with whatever idiot gets chosen in Rome.

    Is your faith really that shallow?

  50. Dirtgrain
    Posted September 21, 2008 at 8:03 pm | Permalink

    “The creation of the universe was not observed. It cannot be reproduced. Therefore the theory of evolution as it pertains to the origin of life is outside the realm of science.”


  51. EoS
    Posted September 21, 2008 at 8:47 pm | Permalink

    Dirtgrain –

    Scientific method refers to a body of techniques for investigating phenomena, acquiring new knowledge, or correcting and integrating previous knowledge. To be termed scientific, a method of inquiry must be based on gathering observable, empirical and measurable evidence subject to specific principles of reasoning. A scientific method consists of the collection of data through observation and experimentation, and the formulation and testing of hypotheses.

    Although procedures vary from one field of inquiry to another, identifiable features distinguish scientific inquiry from other methodologies of knowledge. Scientific researchers propose hypotheses as explanations of phenomena, and design experimental studies to test these hypotheses. These steps must be repeatable in order to dependably predict any future results…

    …Among other facets shared by the various fields of inquiry is the conviction that the process be objective to reduce a biased interpretation of the results. Another basic expectation is to document, archive and share all data and methodology so they are available for careful scrutiny by other scientists, thereby allowing other researchers the opportunity to verify results by attempting to reproduce them. This practice, called full disclosure, also allows statistical measures of the reliability of these data to be established.

  52. Posted September 21, 2008 at 8:59 pm | Permalink

    Ok, you win. I now believe that the earth is 6000 years old since I can’t travel back in time to say otherwise. Wow. Wikipedia wins.

  53. EoS
    Posted September 21, 2008 at 9:24 pm | Permalink


    If you don’t believe in the authority of the pope, why do you remain a Catholic? I’m not a Catholic, and my intent wasn’t to offend. I’m sorry you interpreted it that way. But help me understand. Why would you continue to be a member of a group whose tenets you disagree with?

  54. applejack
    Posted September 21, 2008 at 9:54 pm | Permalink

    EoS all you’re displaying is your deep knowledge of Creationist talking points, not a bit of it grounded in reality. It’s easy to deconstruct the theory of evolution and the big bang, but you have no valid theory to replace them as explanations for how life got here.

    What you are saying is that if the scientific community suddenly found evolution to be wrong that they would look at all the other world origin stories out there and decide, “yes the Christian genesis story must be true.” not the Hindu creation stories. not the Buddhist creation stories. not the Norse. not the ancient Greeks. or American Indians or Egyptians or whoever. if you read these mythologies and compare them with the bible you can easily see they are all complete fiction. obviously. jesus.

    I can find a Christian theology built around the New Testament and the life of Jesus to be compelling (though still false). But the old testament is such obvious crap that I cannot fathom an intelligent human being still trying to argue otherwise.

  55. Dirtgrain
    Posted September 21, 2008 at 10:19 pm | Permalink

    EOS, my “huh?” was referring to you linking evolution to the Big Bang, as if that is necessarily when life began.

    Also, the claim that we cannot observe the creation of the universe is off, as we are observing and measuring it now–or do you mean the exact moment it occurred and not a moment later? But every observation is a bit delayed (time it takes light and sound and other sensible effects to travel to our sensory organs). In a sense, every scientific observation is looking back, even though we don’t quite sense it.

  56. Dirtgrain
    Posted September 21, 2008 at 10:36 pm | Permalink

    Dang, I’ve gone and butchered the word sense. Sorry.

  57. EoS
    Posted September 21, 2008 at 10:37 pm | Permalink


    Obviously, I don’t agree with you. I think there are only 3 alternatives.

    1) The universe has always existed as it is today (Neither science nor Christianity believes this to be true)

    2) The universe suddenly popped into being by a completely random force that doesn’t exist today but that created order from disorder, and increasing complexity as time elapsed
    (What evolutionists believe without any scientific evidence to support it)

    3) The universe was created according to plans of an intelligent designer (Which is self-evident by observation to a multitude of cultures)

    No intelligent human being looks at a sand castle on the beach and marvels at the complexity of the structure made only by wind and waves. The design itself is evidence of forethought and planning.

    No intelligent human being looks at Mt. Rushmore and stands amazed at the likeness of famous profiles and guesses that it was formed by mere weathering and erosion.

    Neither can a human look through a telescope to the far edges of the universe, or through a microscope at the intricacy of a cellular process and surmise that mere chance has formed a universe to which living organisms are so ideally suited. Nature itself proclaims the glory of God.

  58. Posted September 21, 2008 at 11:03 pm | Permalink

    “Why would you continue to be a member of a group whose tenets you disagree with? “

    I can tell that your ignorance of science runs at least as deep as your ignorance of Catholicism. Do you leave your spouse because you don’t agree with them?

    A bunch of Italian guys in red suits have little bearing on my religious life.

  59. Ol' E Cross
    Posted September 21, 2008 at 11:20 pm | Permalink


    I’m all in favor of scrutinizing affiliations of all sorts for candidates. Religious affiliations (or lack thereof) should be no different than any other social affiliations. I think if, say, a candidate believes that the destruction of the USA will bring space ships to deliver them to a utopian life in Atlantis, we should weigh that.

    As far as Mark’s hint of Palin being “crazy,” I think the jury is out. Crazy is always defined not by objective truth but by public opinion. The folks who thought the earth was flat weren’t crazy, or unintelligent, they were simply wrong.

    This may be hard to swallow, but there are a lot of intelligent people out there that think the world is six or so thousand years old. I’m not one of them, but I’ve met them. They, are likely, quite wrong. But, given the occasional scientific outburst on things like Lake Missoula, I’m ready to call them wrong, but not crazy.

    Frankly, my interests are mostly pragmatic. I simply don’t think it’s helpful to reinforce Palin’s Christian right street-cred.

    And, my challenge remains. (I’ll issue it more formally.) Someone please explain, clearly, how Obama’s views of the literal, bodily resurrection of Jesus and it’s accompanying benefits is more scientifically sane than a creationist’s belief.

    As long as I’m at it. Dude/applejack. Frankly, I’m on your team, which makes your responses all the more frustrating. “Is your faith really that shallow” and “obvious crap” are rather unpersuasive responses. Here’s my challenge. Clearly articulate what it is you actually believe (origins, meaning of life, afterlife … get metaphysical). Give all the proof you can. I’ll bet you a beer in five minutes I can make your beliefs looks like crap.

    If Obama believed in a literal six day creation, I’d still vote for him. By many accounts, his church does. My primary contention is that the pompous Democratic smirk at popular religious belief drives people out of the party. And, I’d be fine with that if I didn’t find the scattered, logically inconsistent and seemingly inarticulable beliefs of those with the smirk on their faces as completely, comparably absurd.

    But, press on Democrats, this election, like those before, is still yours to lose.

  60. Posted September 22, 2008 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

    When I was a kid, my parents made me go to Catholic Sunday school where they would teach us about all the magical things that happened in the Bible, people living 900 years, pillars of fire, raising the dead, walking on water, plagues of frogs (well, that one might be real), etc. One day I raised my hand and asked why all of these things seemed to happen all the time in antiquity, yet in the past 2000 years nothing magical seems to happen at all. I was told that “God reveals himself in mysterious ways now” and to truly believe in God, I had to accept that these things truly happened the way the Bible said they did. Bullshit, I thought. This crap never happened. An awesome movie it may make, but this is just entertainment and nothing more. This was a great way to make an atheist of a 9 year old kid.

    When I was 12 I got drafted into an Episcopalian school that taught the Old Testament as literature and not fact, and the New Testament as a book with the very deep, basic and profound human lessons that Christ left for everyone minus all of the hocus pocus nonsense that even Christ himself would have likely said was bunk. The Resurrection was a great metaphor for forgiveness and rebirth of the human and moral soul, rather than having me believe that the cheap wine we drank in Communion was that ACTUAL blood of Christ and that somehow, by cannibalizing the Son of God, we were to magically achieve everlasting life.

    In short, Christianity became something much more deep than parting of waters and wars between angels and demons and turned into something extremely deep and human. I no longer had to subscribe to some egotistical, anthropomorphized version of a deity and religion became about ME and what I could become. So when I say that believing the nonsense in the Old (and New) Testament is shallow, I mean just that. If all there is to your faith is Santa Claus and Tooth Fairy, then you don’t have much to stand on. God should have no need to impress us or perform magic tricks to get us to stick to religion. If that’s what he thinks he needs to do, then he’s as cheap as Robert Tilton. Subscribing to any religion takes a lot more than just believing, it takes a willingness to change the deepest parts of your being for the greater good.

    Unfortunately, I don’t see much of that in the type of Christianity that seeks to pollute our politics.

  61. Posted September 22, 2008 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

    “Nature itself proclaims the glory of God. “

    If things like malaria, HIV and Guinea Worm proclaim the glory of God, then I want no part of it. Creationists love to go on about the beauty of nature, but the truth is that nature is a complex system of individual species all fighting for survival. Basically, it wants to eat itself.

    And before you start proclaiming that things like malaria, HIV and Guinea Worm are punishments for God for the sins of man, remember that malaria disproportionately strikes children under 5, most people with HIV are not gay and live in Christian countries and Guinea Worm was the scourge of the Mediterranean even when Christ walked the earth.

    I want you to tell me, in a straight face, that a fatherless anemic 2 year old in a household that makes $2.00 a month, shaking and writhing in pain from acute malaria infection, that has only a 50% chance of making it to age 5, somehow proclaims the glory of God.

  62. Ol' E Cross
    Posted September 22, 2008 at 11:28 pm | Permalink

    Dear Dude,

    I genuinely respect your reasons for not believing certain aspects of the faith; they’re reasonable.

    As I’ve said, my primary interest in this post are practical. I don’t want to push people of faith into the false embrace of Palin/McCain. For me, part of encouraging folks to be less polarizing and didactic is to encourage them to reflect on the nature of belief and how personal and indefensible it is.

    Frankly, I think a shallow faith is one that is unquestioning and unreflective. But, I think that people that have reached different conclusions than yourself aren’t necessarily shallow. No doubt, many are. But, I’ve met folks who have gone quite deep and surfaced on a different side.

    All that said, I’m compelled to point out you don’t offer any affirmations of your belief. You describe well why you don’t believe in what you don’t but don’t describe what you believe and why. The closest thing I could find to an affirmation of belief was: “Subscribing to any religion takes a lot more than just believing, it takes a willingness to change the deepest parts of your being for the greater good.”

    I’m confident most creationists would agree with that.

    I don’t expect you, or any of us, to come up with a series of beliefs as comprehensive and consistent as the world’s major religions.

    All I’m trying to say is if you, or any of us, were to take the time to actually document our personal beliefs they would come out more crazy, incoherent and internally contradictory than what the crazy people believe.

    Personally, I think making sense of belief takes a lot more thought than dismissing it. For those given to skeptical scrutiny, dismissing is easy; affirming is hard.

  63. Posted September 23, 2008 at 6:29 am | Permalink

    I agree, faith is irrational, which makes it all that much more meaningful. My beef is when it starts to reach over into things like education and environmental policy. Then irrationality becomes a serious liability. The inability to separate the two is overwhelmingly dangerous.

  64. EoS
    Posted September 23, 2008 at 9:37 am | Permalink


    I apologize for suggesting that you pick a few things out of the Bible to believe in and discard the rest. There is absolutely nothing in your stated belief that can be logically derived from either the Old or New Testaments. You have every right to believe anything you want, but don’t be dishonest and label your beliefs as Catholic or Episcopalian. Your stated philosophy is more akin to Scientology.

    True religious belief influences every aspect of life. It’s not something that is practiced for an hour or so one day a week. To belief something within the walls of a church, synagogue, or mosque and then leave the building and act as if your belief has nothing to do with any other part of your life is indicative of real unbelief, a sign of lack of faith, and is a practice that is truly dangerous.

  65. Posted September 23, 2008 at 10:05 am | Permalink

    I haven’t been to church (outside of a funeral) for nearly 20 years, although I have gone to the Church of Scientology for a personality test.

    Everyone picks a few things out of the Bible and throws away the rest. Christ did. That’s what happened to the Jewish dietary laws. He was a reformer. I’m sure you do, too.

    Like I said, the Bible is mostly junk. It was written by humans so by definition it’s flawed and influenced by the personal whims of whoever put whatever together at the time. If some bozo had decided to make Adam eat cream corn and claim that that’s where toenail fungus comes from, we’d be stuck with it.

    Similarly, the Nicene Creed got together and had a great circle jerk and decided what books were the Bible, and then people still couldn’t agree (the Apocrypha).

    Faith is driven by the spirit and not the words and fantasies of some sexually frustrated cloistered bozos.

    Catholicism on the other hand, is something you are born into. Just lijke you are born with hair on your head. You are not given a choice, ever.

  66. applejack
    Posted September 23, 2008 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

    dude, i think you mean the nicene council. they came up with the creed at the council. i think. but anyway they’re different things.

    (i was raised catholic myself and twelve years of catholic school was a great education. and they always taught us evolution in science class. and kept the religious stuff in the religion class as it should be.)

  67. Posted September 23, 2008 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

    Yeah, sorry. I get Creed and Style Council confused.

    Applejack, you just said it. I was very happy with my Catholic upbringing for the most part, mostly for the tendency to keep the two separated. I had gone to DIY evangelical churches and found the people to be passionate but lacking the historical depth and self awareness that I found at the Catholic/Anglican/Episcopalian churches.

    Of course, there were bozos there, too. Bozo the clown went to a lot of churches.

  68. applejack
    Posted September 23, 2008 at 7:32 pm | Permalink

    my own mother who was always a devout catholic has recently joined one of these ‘born-again’ christian churches because they are much more passionate about their worship and much more fervent in their faith. which is fine, but i keep trying to convince her to go back to the catholic church (which she thinks is funny since i’m atheist).

    but part of my reason for liking the catholic church is the dogma — and i guess the pope is included in that too. it is this tradition that has been built up over the years and refined and sometimes updated that keeps the catholic church more moderate.

    one reason the bible is so successful is because it can be interpreted so many different ways. the problem with that is when somebody decides to start their own church based on scripture alone and discard the thousand year-old traditions of the catholic church it isn’t hard to bend the words in a certain direction if you want to. basing your faith on the bible alone means any pastor can pick and choose certain passages that enforce his anti-gay rights message, or his ‘the end is nigh’ message, or whatever the person wants. this is how the christian faith has drifted towards extremism in recent years. i’d say the same has happened with islam, but i don’t know enough about the religion to back that up.

    in principle i’m against all religions, but in practice i think it can be a very good thing for society as long as it isn’t extremist/fundamentalist. moderation is everything.

  69. Brackache
    Posted September 23, 2008 at 7:34 pm | Permalink

    I remember reading something in some psychology journal maybe 10 years ago that schitzophrenia often doesn’t develop in a person till they’re like 35. There was a story of this person who all of a sudden in her mid 30’s had a hallucination of a Tyrannasaurus walking across the road in front of her car.

    So driving south on 23 today, I wondered what I’d do if I saw a tyrannasaurus walk across the road in front of me, or maybe a pteradactyl flying around attacking cars.

    I imagined myself pulling over and staring at it, regardless if it were real or a hallucination. Cause if it were real, it would be worth pulling over for, and if it weren’t, I shouldn’t be driving.

    Maybe I’d have to ask other motorists if they saw it too, but trying to flag down cars on the freeway to ask if they could see the dinosaur might make me look crazy, and I don’t think their negative reactions would be all that helpful for my new-found screwed-up psyche.

    Finally, as I turned onto my exit, I realized there’s still a chance I might suddenly turn into a total schizo and start hallucinating dinosaurs out of the blue. That scared me a little until I realized if I took the turn too fast my beverage would spill.

    Then I thought about this thread on mark’s blog, and sipped my unspilled beverage.

  70. Posted September 23, 2008 at 10:12 pm | Permalink

    Applejack, I am in complete agreement. I always found the longetivity of the Catholic church to be a reality check. I’ve met very few reasonable Catholics who weren’t afraid to criticize the church, I even met priests who weren’t ashamed to ctiticize the church. Hell, I’ve talked to priests who don’t believe the resurrection even happened. I think these new DIY evangelical churches have a hard time thinking critically about their own religion given their small size and the passion of their followers.

    Even though I might as well be called atheist at this point, I still very much consider myself a Catholic since it’s something that I constantly think about and want to learn more about. It always seemed more academic in Catholicism and remains an intellectual challenge rather than sweaty passion, which I have never quite understood, unless it involved ACDC and Longnecks.

  71. Ol' E Cross
    Posted September 24, 2008 at 11:35 pm | Permalink

    Damn. Brachache is one crazy SOB. That said, I’ll move additional comments to the new thread…

  72. mark
    Posted September 28, 2008 at 8:51 pm | Permalink

    The “LA Times” has checked out these claims, and has found them to be legitimate. They’re running the story today.

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