Science vs. Faith: no conflict!

January 17, 2014 • 2:24 pm

Faith-friendly historians of science (viz., Ronald Numbers), as well as many accommodationists, hasten to reassure us that there is no real conflict between science and religion. It’s all illusory, and insofar as it doesn’t seem illusory (i.e., the 46% of Americans who are young-earth creationists), well, it’s just a small misunderstanding.

That is, until you see something like this, which is not a Photoshop job. It’s a church sign from Fort Worth, Texas:

Forth Worth Texas

“Facts don’t count.”  Can you get much more irrational than that? I’d love to put that on the cover of my book, but will refrain.

But do you suppose the congregants at Victory Tabernacle Holiness Church accept God as a Ground of Being rather than a Disembodied Person Who Cares About Them? Damon Linker and David Bentley Hart: are you listening?

At any rate, reader Barry, who sent me the photo and did a bit of legwork, also sent me a few tw**s by one Joseph O Morrow, a Christian from Philadelphia. This also demonstrates that a) some Christians do rely on evidence for their beliefs, and b) the standards of evidence are, well, a bit thin. . . .

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68 thoughts on “Science vs. Faith: no conflict!

  1. The historical existence of the garden of Eden is much more widely documented than the entire life of Julius Caesar.

    Widely, but not accurately. It’s in Jackson County, Missouri, right?

    1. This guy is really DOWN with that, “Facts Dnt Count” thing, and he doesn’t know the proper use of the word, “document”, either- he’s using it to mean “published, printed, or disseminated”, when the dictionary definition of it as a verb is:

      (1) To furnish with a document or documents.

      (2) To support (an assertion or claim, for example) with evidence or decisive information.

      (3) To support (statements in a book, for example) with written references or citations; annotate.

      You’ll probably notice that the Babble in NO way satisfies (2) concerning the Garden of Eden, unless you’re running in that mental circle of, “The Babble is the literal word of God because it says so, right in the Babble” thing.

    1. Well the documentation is in pretty much every hotel room in the country. How much more widely do you want?


      1. That might qualify for widely distributed documentation but not widely documented.

        And I might be wrong as one of the definitions for documented is:

        To furnish with a document or documents.

        So ok, but I think that meaning is intended to mean “given a document”. Such as being served with a court order.

        Used as the christian is using “documented”, seems intentionally deceptive, or in other words, true christianity.

      1. I learn from Google that Boggle is a game of some sort in the USA, unknown over here where it is ‘To confound, bewilder; to amaze, astound. Now chiefly in to boggle the mind: to be bewildering, astounding, or mentally overwhelming’

  2. But do you suppose the congregants at Victory Tabernacle Holiness Church accept God as a Ground of Being rather than a Disembodied Person Who Cares About Them?

    No, I suppose that the congregants at Victory Tabernacle Holiness Church accept God as a Ground of Being IN ADDITION to a Disembodied Person Who Cares About Them. They downplay the former view but are perfectly happy to accept it as a background assumption. The two fit together … somehow. Praise Him and Glory!

    Just as the Sophisticated Theologians play up the Ground of Being God and at the same time still believe that God has major implications for how we understand and live our lives on earth, invoking our capacity to care for each other as one of the signs that God exists. Or “exists.”

    The ability to hold two opposing thoughts in one’s mind and feel undisturbed is one of the sporting events at the Theology Olympics.

      1. Gone are the days when the gods preferred Greco-Roman style wrestling. Legendary, it was and now they are too.

    1. “The ability to hold two opposing thoughts in one’s mind and feel undisturbed is one of the sporting events at the Theology Olympics.”

      It’s also the top billed act at Bullshitpalooza.

  3. You know, even if the bible WERE true, it would be a more sketchy account on Eden than anything Caesar wrote about his campaigns.

  4. “Facts dnt [sic] count.” But that’s what they really believe! It goes all the way back to Martin Luther, and he got it from the Bible!

    1. It bothers me that people can go through a school system somewhere in the USA and really believe facts don’t count. Can’t we do better?

      1. When people are told from the day they’re born that the quality of the their character and their fate in eternity depends upon accepting the proposition that facts don’t count, it may be unfair to blame the schools.

      2. The answer is yes, we can do better. Will we? I’m not so sure. The philosopher Harry G. Frankfurt aptly defined bullshit as “lack of concern for the truth.” That sums up the age in which we live, it seems.

  5. What amuses me is how Linker ridicules atheists for their simplistic understanding of God without expressing any concern whatsoever about how many believers share that understanding. I mean, those people are fundamentally wrong about something very important, are they not? You’d think it’d be treated as a spiritual crisis.

  6. If conservatism is an ideology that puts more value on ‘conserving’ traditions, despite evidence that certain things don’t (or do) work- does that make it inherently anti-scientific? That being the case, why aren’t more people against such a movement?

  7. Well, lucky for us, the UR faith is only a small, insignificant sect whose membership appears to be dwindling every year.

    Facts thus appear to be safe, for the forseeable future.

  8. Another exaggerated claim is the 42/10 trope – 42 eyewitness accounts for Jebus and only 10 for Tiberius – Roman Emperorzombiefication of.

    Accomplished by ignoring large pieces of evidence for Tiberius and defining eyewitness as a 150 year window post zombiefication of HeySuess

  9. I was once buttonholed by a creationist missionary who started his spiel by informing me that there was more evidence for the life of Jesus than for the life of Julius Caesar. I told him we had books actually written by Caesar and many references to him in books written by contemporaries, and he said he’d have to carefully consider my claims. And that was the end of that. I wonder what happened to him.

  10. “The existance of the garden of eden is much more widely documented than the entire life of Julius Caesar”

    I suppose it is if you are one of the ‘mericans with four or fewer books and none of them include Caesar’s Gallic Wars.

    1. Total number of Bibles (O.T.) printed: 6,000,000,000
      Total number of Gallic Wars printed: 47,500

      See? Waaay more evidence for the Garden of Eden.

      (By the way, I made up the number for Gallic Wars).

  11. Thirty years ago I read in Plain Truth [a fundamentalist magazine] that “the resurrection of Christ is better documented than the assassination of Julius Caesar.” This line (or variations on it) is evidently a standard response trotted out whenever a Christian is challenged by a skeptic.

    1. Arrgh! Plain Truth. We used to have that lying around (I think because my grandfather was a Methodist or a Baptist or a Presbyterian or a Congregational or one of those Protestanty things). Being a compulsive-addictive reader of anything printed I copped the occasional dose of nonsense. I think I soon decided that going ‘cold turkey’ on my reading compulsion was preferable to reading anything in ‘Plain Truth’.

      1. Herbert W. Armstrong/ Garner Ted Armstrong/Radio Worldwide Church of God/Ambassador College/’Plain Truth’ magazine–

        all add up to one of the most popular and wealth-inducing (and effective?) evangelical outfits in the period of ca. 1936-2003. That’s when the son, Garner Ted, died. He had broken with his father years before when the patriarch took exception to the son’s drinking, gambling and whoring. GTA splintered the church and founded his own–gotta kill the father, you know–and had a great and lucrative run until his death.

  12. But that’s an absolutely accurate statement, isn’t it?

    (By the way, he obviously has a shortage of ‘O’s – so fortunate he managed to spare one for ‘count’. Not…)

  13. “Facts don’t count.” Can you get much more irrational than that? I’d love to put that on the cover of my book, but will refrain.

    But do you suppose the congregants at Victory Tabernacle Holiness Church accept God as a Ground of Being rather than a Disembodied Person Who Cares About Them? Damon Linker and David Bentley Hart: are you listening?

    But, but, … if facts don’t count, there is no Being to Ground!? Because last I checked, reality is a fact.

    Or should I take the combo as a NOMA proposal, that L&H means we should take Being (and its Ground) on faith? But then why do they claim that atheists doesn’t tackle their “best argument”? If existence isn’t a fact claim in their woo world, the only beef we can have with their argument is, besides that it is wrong (O.o), that it supports irrational thinking and religious woo.

  14. I wonder if Mr O Morrow is lying about the Garden of Eden? That is, is he knowingly telling a falsehood? Or he does he actually believe that the “historical evidence” for his garden are greater than that for Julius Ceasar?
    I guess what I am trying to say, is he a liar or just an idiot?

    1. Lying. He may lying to himself as well as to the parishioners. And he may be enforcing his belief by avoiding information contrary to the fairy tale. But he’s clearly lying for Jesus.

    2. I vote ignorant. I’ve known enough creationists personally to know that they really do believe all this stuff, since most of them have been indoctrinated into it their whole lives, and because most people in general tend to uncritically accept statements that don’t contradict something they already know.

      1. I believe that it is easy for religious people to convince themselves that because something
        “ought” to be true, then it is. Look at how many insist that Darwin rejected evolution “on his deathbed.” At first I wondered how Christians could repeat something that was obviously untrue; if they really believed in their religion, didn’t they think that God would be angry at them for lying? I finally concluded that they don’t see it as lying; for them it is a small step to go from “I wish Darwin renounced evolution,” to “he probably did,” to “he did.” If you’re going to rely on wishful thinking (which you have to do when you’re religious), where do you stop? It is no harder to believe that the Garden of Eden is better documented than the life of Julius Caesar than it is to believe in the Garden in the first place.

  15. Hey, Caesar is known widely as a salad now. You can’t say that for Eden & I bet it had a lot of vegetables in its garden too!

    Caesar 1, Eden 0


  16. I’m enjoying a running debate with a biblical literalist troll by the name of Heddle, who admits that there’s no rational proof of God; you just get a message. If you don’t heed the message, you’re a “jackass” or an “idiot.” (Well, at least, per heddle, I am.)

    Mr. Heddle doggedly refuses to answer straightforward … err, “simplistic” questions like, “is God Love?”, or “was it wrong for God to command genocide?” Instead, he tells us what the “actual question” ought to be, then refuses to answer even that, pleading that it’s all so very “nuanced.”

    Despite Heddle’s mad dodgeball skillz, he did finally let it slip that exterminating the Amalekites, or nuking Sodom & Gomorrah, or children being mauled by bears, is piddly dink compared to the eternal fires of hell. So quit y’r whinin’, QED.

    And if you simplistic jackasses can’t see that, it’s not heddle’s fault.

      1. …where all the children are above average.

        Nice, agreeable, folksy types. If pushed on the point, you know the nice peoples will gently chide you for not being able to take a joke. And then when talking to other members of their flock… it’s not entirely a joke all-of-a-sudden. It’s a win-win.

    1. If evolution should produce a third arm for a mom, does that mean evolution is the process where the human female generates a third arm upon giving birth?

      This additional limb presumably only sprouts upon the first successful childbirth event, or the sign would say evolution results in a new arm for the birth mother each time a child is born, instead of stating specifically just 3 arms for mothers.

      Clearly the male gender is not affected by this feature of biology, because it doesn’t say so on the sign. Meaning if evolution is true, families with children should all have two-armed fathers and three-armed mothers.

      I’ve yet to see a single married couple who fits this description. Therefore: hard to argue with the Lutherans.

      I wonder what the guffaw to cringe ratio will be tomorrow among church attendees? Who knows, maybe somebody will say “That’s it, last straw,” turn around, drive away and never go back again.

      1. Near as I can tell, it’s a nice, folksy, heartwarming truism that highlights the hard-working virtues of motherhood (they need extra arms, those super-moms) whilst circling the cultural wagons against the obvious falsity of (Lamarckian?) evolution. It’s the kind of humor that colorless, robotic, determinist, shrill, secular, atheist types are unable to appreciate… like the humor in the first 2 minutes of this Simpsons episode. Kind of like the folksy Lutheran humor in this article.

        1. My face is so red sitting here right now. This explanation for the sign text completely escaped me, fixated as I was on something repugnantly stupid recently said by a YEC evolution denier, and it is the obvious explanation. My apologies to the Lutheran church sign author for selling you short; I believe your intent was to pay tribute to harried moms, and that’s not a bad thing.

  17. I am a Buddhist and therefore has no issues with religion and science as Buddhism is scientific. Buddha ( a mere human being) was the only religious leader who said not to take it just because he said it but to find out about it; he said ” come, question me”. He also said it does not matter how this world or the universe came to be but what matters is how you live your life. Live in the present/ now, is what he preached and practised; (don’t dwell in the past,only take a lesson from it; don’t make too many plans for the future). Buddhists didn’t have an issue when the then flat earth became spherical and don’t have issues, most importantly, with evolution.

  18. Interesting documentary by entirely atheist historian about the ‘real’ garden of Eden. Of course it’s not what you think.
    The other two episodes in this little BBC series are better I think.

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