Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Q&A - February

I know it's March, but I have an inbox full of questions. So, let's get to it...

How can you prove the earth is millions of years old? Niagra Falls and the Grand Canyon prove it's only 5-7000 years which relates perfectly to the Bible. Only a fool would believe in a million year old earth. Get a life! Atheism is for people who are too lazy to live by God's Word. - Abe Javner

Where to start?
1. I agree. The earth isn't "millions of years old": it's BILLIONS of years old. Most scientists agree that the earth is approximately 4.5 billion years old.
2. There are several methods by which one could lend proof to an earth that's billions of years old. One of my favorites is radiometric dating (note to creationist: NOT carbon dating). All isotopes have half lifes. We can see that radioactive isotopes with relatively short half-lifes should be decayed. Those with longers half lifes should show less decay or no decay at all. This is precisely what we find when we study these isotopes. But, this isn't the only evidence of an old earth...if you don't like radiometric dating, there are other options. The reason we can be reasonably assured that the earth is old, and wasn't created by God, is through the independent measurements that point to the same conclusion. The fact that these independent measurements are open to evaluation and constantly being re-tested and observed point to their credibility. By contrast, the only thing that points to a young earth are some words in a book.
3. Niagra Falls is most certainly not proof of a young earth. Before your question, I had never come across this particular claim. So...I researched Niagra Falls and it became abundantly clear where you got thisi claim from. Those who study the falls have said the erosion most likely began 6500-7000 years ago. This would be reasonable since, prior to this time frame, that part of the continent was still covered in glacial flows. This, however, does NOT serve as proof of a young earth. The only thing this information speaks to is the age of Niagra Falls itself...not the earth. If a heavy snowfall or rainstorm results in a flood that changes the path of a river in 2008, does that mean that the entire earth was born in 2008? Of course not!
4. How can one flood result in the Grand Canyon's canyons, while at the same time laying a layer of sediment that deep in the same canyons?

I know many Christians, Abe. Most of them believe in an old earth. Are they foolish, too? Being a Christian doesn't mean you have to live in a state of sustained ignorance about science. You choose to do that of your own volition. Peace.

God is every thing. God is indescribable. He loves you even if you don't love HIM. - Faith Brooks
If God is unlimited in scope and description, then this must mean that this deity also embodies all of the unpleasant aspects and emotions in our vocabulary. If he is everything, then he is; angry, vengeful, petty, antagonistic, jealous, lustful, evil, selfish and all the other negative attributes that humans can be or imagine. If God is indescribable, then the Bible can't be held as the authority on this God's persona. If God can't be described, then it's a fair bet that you can't claim to know his emotions regarding me or anyone else.

What have Christians ever done to you to deserve your bullshit? - Chad
It depends on which Christians you're referring to and what you consider to be "bullshit".

If you end up before God what will u say? - DH
That's a pretty big "if".


Poodles said...

If I end up before god I would probably just say something like... "shoulda left some evidence dumbass!"


Chris said...

"What have Christians ever done to you to deserve your bullshit?"

PM, I've never seen you attack or go off on a theist without some kind of justification, be it trolling or personal attacking you first. If this emailer is talking about these cases, his bias and lack of reading comprehension is showing. If he's talking about other cases, then this just goes to (further) show that theists, for the most part, take a lack of faith as a personal attack. You're an atheist and you're not afraid to talk about it on the blog, so, of course, it's some kind of attack or bullshit on christians.

If the emailer is to elaborate? What incident are you talking about, which christians, and why was PM's actions / words bullshit?

jimmy said...

Not to be too picky, but since I did grow up in Western New York (and thankfully got out!) it is spelled Niagara Falls.

Jennifer said...

"...what will u say?"

Sigh. These questions hold about as much weight for me as "If you end up meeting the big purple mollusks from Uranus, what will you say?", or, "If your house gets sucked into an interdimensional vortex, what will you do?" In that, I guess I could, in all fairness, admit some vague, nebulous possibility that they could happen...but I'm not exactly writing any speeches, or upping my insurance, based on the premise. There has to be a measureable, non-zero chance that something is going to happen before we start to prepare for it. That's why I like your answer, PMomma. ;)

Alternatively, you could throw it right back at them and ask, "What would YOU say?" If it's anything like "I tried my best, I tried to be a good person," etc., then it would probably be the same. It's really all anyone can try to do.

So what's with all the godbottery lately? Is this usual, or has a certain post wrangled them in?


Milo Johnson said...

You ever talked to a dog? You know how they prick their ears up and tilt their head from side to side and gaze intently at you as you speak? That sort of seeming engagement that actually masks complete incomprehension is the only reward you will ever get for going along with the pretense that any of these people are capable of grasping the topic being discussed. No matter how patient you are, no matter how slowly you speak, no matter how carefully you choose simple words that are almost impossible to misinterpret, no matter how much evidence you muster, no matter what you do, when you speak to your dog, your dog hears "Fido, blah blah blah blah blah, Fido. Blah blah Fido blah blah blah." While I still talk to my animals, I long ago stopped expecting them to ever understand a word of it. Same for these superstitious chuckleheads. Why bother?

fdqpink/Baal's Bum said...

To take a leaf out of the late great Douglas Adams.
If I found myself before god I would say "You refuse to prove that you exist,for proof denies faith, and without faith you are nothing."
"But by having me stood before you is a dead giveaway isn't it? That proves that you exist, and so therefore, by Your own arguments, You don't. QED"

Sander said...

‘Not enough evidence God! Not enough evidence!’
—Bertrand Russell, upon being asked what he would reply if, after dying, he were brought into the presence of God and asked why he had not been a believer
As for the age of the earth, I like using this link:
It has some vacuous bible-stuff sprinkled over it, but the rest of it is very interesting regardless of your beliefs.

Seven Crows said...

RE: God is every thing. God is indescribable. He loves you even if you don't love HIM.

It seems that these people are CONSTANTLY describing god. Right there Faith says he loves us. How does she know?

I have just been working with someone whose daughter has an abusive boyfriend and have been looking for resources to help them. And I will quote one of those resources:

Love doesn't hurt—it's not a feeling either. It's a behavior. It's what he does, not what he says, that shows his love.
Ask yourself (or your daughter) these questions to find out if you're "in love" or "in danger":
Is your boyfriend jealous and possessive about you?
Does he try to control the way you dress and who you see?
Does your boyfriend call you names or ever put you down?
Has he ever hit, slapped or pushed you around (physically hurt)?

If we are going to hold a human being to these standards as proof of love then how can we say that a god that does not treat you well; keep you safe, make you feel good about yourself, let you be who you were born to be whether gay or straight, "loves" you?

Calladus said...

If you end up before God what will u say? - DH
"My bad, Allah! - Say, what's with all these Christians in Hell?"

Thranil said...

The question regarding god being indescribable etc reminded me of this video

reVAMPed said...

Poodles made hot coffee come out my nose...thx.

I bet you Faith Brooks will say all those negative things aren't God, they're the Devil.

If I saw God, *IF* he existed, I'd give him the finger as a last act of defiance.

CAE said...

I think I'd say "oh, all those people who said that fossils and other evidence of evolution were put there by you to test our faith were right after all.

Did you not have anything else better to do?"

Berlzebub said...

How can you prove the earth is millions of years old? Niagra Falls and the Grand Canyon prove it's only 5-7000 years which relates perfectly to the Bible. Only a fool would believe in a million year old earth. Get a life! Atheism is for people who are too lazy to live by God's Word.
- Abe Javner

It's not that the billions of years old is proven, but the evidence supports it. Which is more than can be said for your deity of choice, Mr. Javner. I won't bother debunking your erroneous science, which was probably gathered from AiG or other such dishonest groups.

God is every thing. God is indescribable. He loves you even if you don't love HIM.
- Faith Brooks

Your first two sentences contradict each other, Ms. Brooks. You start off by describing your deity of choice, and then say he's indescribable. You really need to make up your mind.

As far as love, perhaps you should take a good look at the world around you. If you believe your imaginary friend truly loves us, then why is there so much suffering in the world?

What have Christians ever done to you to deserve your bullshit?
- Chad

This statement is bullshit in so many ways. For one, Chad doesn't explain what he means by bullshit. My 36 years of experience defines "bullshit" as someone talking about something like they know about it, without knowing a damn thing.

Considering the "Christians" that P-Momma has written about, their exploits are public knowledge. The Catholic and LDS churches come to mind. Both have shown their willingness to deceive their own, and others, in order to preserve their repuations (power). Unless Chad thinks that priests should be able to bugger children, and the RC church should protect them, I'm not sure of his issue.

If, however, he's referring to the trolls that appear, well that just means his reading comprehension is lacking.

If you end up before God what will u say?
- DH

You're a lousy father, you know it? You never called, wrote, hugged, gave words of encouragement, or anything that real parents do. And don't even get me started on those arrogant little sprogs that you actually spoke to.

Poodles said...

Sorry Vamp.

James said...

As a public service announcement regarding the science of dating (lol), I highly recommend a book by the name of Bones, Rocks, and Stars. It's a great introduction to the science behind dating objects at all lots of different time scales.

James said...

Er, just a few lots of different time scales, not all lots.

Tracey R. said...

I believe in some sort of higher-being-God-type-of-thing, but I've often thought that if Jesus really was there after I died (I'm not a Christian) I would just start laughing and say "Okay, you got me!"

I think that if Jesus really is the the son of God and Saviour and all of that (and therefore "waiting" there to judge) that he will have a sense of humor and laugh with me. If we are "judged" in the afterlife, we'll be judged on our actions and intentions...not whether we idolized one particular dead person.

Arkonbey said...

The one question that bugs me is not the 'bullshit' one, but this:
Atheism is for people who are too lazy to live by God's Word

I am an atheist.
I do not actively lie, ever.
I have never and will never cheat on my spouse.
I do not intentionally steal.
With the exception of insects,I have never intentionally killed except for food.
I have never intentionally harmed another human being for my own gain.
I am kind to children and animals.
I give a fair amount to charity.
I try to not judge people by skin color or claimed religion or who they have consensual sex with.

Am I perfect? Hells no. But with the exception of belief, I'm doing a pretty good job of living by 'God's word'.

And I know that I am not alone in this.

reVAMPed said...

Poodles, that was pretty damn funny, no problem.

Kathryn said...

I was going to say what jimmy said - that it's spelled Niagara.

But I laugh when I see it spelled wrong, because I always think of Viagra when I see Niagra spelled that way.


See, we've been corrupted! In fact, a number of years ago, a TV ad for a show about the falls, on Discovery Channel, spelled it Niagra. LOL