Odin vs. Jesus

by Luke Muehlhauser on May 17, 2011 in Funny

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{ 63 comments… read them below or add one }

FletchFFletch May 17, 2011 at 12:16 pm

My god has a hammer. Your god was nailed to a cross. Any Question?

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Mikael Sol May 17, 2011 at 1:08 pm

Nice picture of Tor.

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Waldheri May 17, 2011 at 1:46 pm

Yeah, too bad it shows Thor. There are some very interesting depictions of Odin, my favourite being Georg von Rosen’s:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Georg_von_Rosen_-_Oden_som_vandringsman,_1886_%28Odin,_the_Wanderer%29.jpg

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Scott May 17, 2011 at 6:45 pm

Yep, that’s Thor. Odin had only one eye, too.

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Rick Swinburn May 17, 2011 at 7:02 pm

Clearly, the lack of ice giants is evidence Odin exists.

Let N = the evidence that there are no ice giants.
Let O = the hypothesis that Odin got rid of all the ice giants.

Pr(N|O) > Pr(N|~O)

If Odin exists, he would surely want to and be able get rid of the ice giants. So Pr(N|O) is 1. If Odin does not exist, there may be no ice giants due to some other cause, but ~O would not predict the non-existence of ice giants. Perhaps they would be improbable, but we at least must say that Pr(N|~O) is < 1. Thus, the lack of ice giants is good evidence for the existence of Odin.

Also, I have calculated the prior probability of a god's existence to be at least .5. But that's too much for a blog post comment. The point is that N, along with some other evidence I have discovered and given probabilities to, pushes it up to about .997. You can read all about it in my popular summary Was Odin God?

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Luke Muehlhauser May 17, 2011 at 9:02 pm

Thor is standing up for his pappy. :)

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Urban May 18, 2011 at 1:53 am

Waldheri: That’s a picture of Billy Connelly!

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Kiwi Dave May 18, 2011 at 2:52 am

If I could just give this thread a little dignity with some devotional verse…

The god of war went forth
Riding on a filly.
“I’m Thor! I’m Thor!” he cried.
“Of courth,” the horse replied,
“You forgot your thaddle, thilly.”

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Reginald Selkirk May 18, 2011 at 6:59 am

Odin had only one eye, too.

Yes. Odin traded an eye for wisdom. You have to look mighty hard in the Jewish/Christian mythology to find anything good said about wisdom.

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Martin May 18, 2011 at 8:08 am

It’s quite sad to have to confirm the death of one of my favorite blogs.

Where once there was interesting rational discussion of theism/naturalism, now there is only:

readingyudkowskyreadingyudkowskyreadingyudkowskyreadingyudkowskyreadingyudkowskyreadingyudkowskyreadingyudkowskyreadingyudkowskyHERP DERP ZEUS!! ODIN!! IF EVERYTHING HAS A CAUSE, THEN WHY ARE THERE STILL MONKEYS??!!readingyudkowskyreadingyudkowskyreadingyudkowskyreadingyudkowskyreadingyudkowskyreadingyudkowskyreadingyudkowskyreadingyudkowskyreadingyudkowskyreadingyudkowskyreadingyudkowskyreadingyudkowskyreadingyudkowskyreadingyudkowskyreadingyudkowsky

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Teapot May 18, 2011 at 11:33 am

Could God create an ice giant with so much HP that God himself could not destroy it with a single critical hit?

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Jeff H May 18, 2011 at 1:30 pm

You have to look mighty hard in the Jewish/Christian mythology to find anything good said about wisdom.

That’s not entirely fair. The writers of Proverbs and Ecclesiastes would definitely disagree with you. Many Jewish traditions held Wisdom to be of the highest esteem, personifying it as a woman who was God’s first creation, and who assisted God with the creation of the world. It’s consistently lauded as one of the highest virtues.

It’s mostly the Christian tradition that got rid of this and replaced it with obedience as a virtue. The Wisdom tradition is still visible in some parts, but it got watered down significantly.

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Justfinethanks May 18, 2011 at 4:33 pm

It’s quite sad to have to confirm the death of one of my favorite blogs.

It’s quite comforting to see that every time there is a post categorized under “Funny”, there is always an accompanying comment tsk-tsking the lack of intellectual rigor. It’s the same comfort I get from seeing leaves turn red in the fall or seeing the beaches fill with people in the summer. It’s just nice to know that some things just never change.

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Martin May 18, 2011 at 6:09 pm

What’s sad is not the lack of intellectual rigor, but the moving on of Luke. I’m so sick of seeing that bearded dude every time I come here anymore.

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Stan. May 18, 2011 at 6:27 pm

Can somebody please tell me the names of the 14 women and 1 man who were in the sexy scientists list?

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Luke Muehlhauser May 18, 2011 at 11:01 pm

Martin,

Yeah, except for a few little things here and there, all my writing is now at Less Wrong.

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Martin Freedman May 19, 2011 at 1:21 am

That’s not entirely fair. The writers of Proverbs and Ecclesiastes would definitely disagree with you. Many Jewish traditions held Wisdom to be of the highest esteem, personifying it as a woman who was God’s first creation, and who assisted God with the creation of the world. It’s consistently lauded as one of the highest virtues.

It’s mostly the Christian tradition that got rid of this and replaced it with obedience as a virtue. The Wisdom tradition is still visible in some parts, but it got watered down significantly.

Indeed.

Protestants, in particular, removed some of the Jewish Canon of Wisdom Literature such as Ecclesiastes. This might go some way to explain their anti-wisdom stance, which is still somewhat ironical since they reject the catholic/orthodox interpretation of the bible and go back to”studying” the source.

Terms such as “JudeoChristian” or “Jewish/Christian” God or tradition is regarded, by jews, as an xian slur on judaism, implying that xianity is an improvement over judaism. After all one does not see, with the advent of islam, talk of , say, the JudeoChristianIslamic God or traditions do you? (By either xians or ex-xians and I think that Abrahamic God is a less biased and more neutral position on this).

Now whilst I regard judaism as archaic, antiquated and quite absurd it is a radically different religion to xianity (which has a whole other level of ridiculousness and absurdity all it own), indeed it is, arguably, more similar to buddhism in many ways! (Ex)xians thinking they know what judaism is from the reading the “old testament” can only make inferences about biblical judaism which is virtually non-existent apart from the obscure Karaists.

Anyway enough of this digression lets get back to Odin versus Jesus.

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Martin Freedman May 19, 2011 at 1:25 am

Luke

Then I suggest you get some more guest posters in here as your blog has become a great portal for issues such as on philosophy of religion and you can use it to expose others worthy of larger readership and keep that core theme alive through those others.

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Citizen Ghost May 19, 2011 at 4:52 am

Martin Freedman,

You make an excellent point about the term and the concept, “Judeo-Christian.”

You’d be hard-pressed to find the term appearing anywhere in the English language prior to World War II. Indeed, for most of Christian history, Judaism and Jews were regarded as antithetical to Christianity – save for select passages of Old Testament, particularly those that were interpreted to presage Jesus. And, as you note, the Jewish conception of God is not compatible with the Christian version. Theologically speaking, it makes as much sense to speak of an Islamo-Christian God. And culturally and historically speaking, one can just as accurately speak of the Judeo-Islamo tradition.

But now I too digress. In the interest of getting things back on track, I’ll simply note that references to Nordic-Teutonic gods and Nordic-Teutonic traditions might also be resented as as a cynical co-opting of the Norse tradition.

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Martin Freedman May 19, 2011 at 5:34 am

Citizen Ghost

I find it interesting that this usage only started after WWII. This is not a challenge I just want to know if you have any references that backs your claim and/or explanations as to why this occurred then?

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Reginald Selkirk May 19, 2011 at 7:40 am

After all one does not see, with the advent of islam, talk of , say, the JudeoChristianIslamic God or traditions do you?

No, because most people who might be inclined to say that are also inclined towards not being beheaded.

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Rufus May 19, 2011 at 10:49 am

Reginald Selkirk,

Yes. Odin traded an eye for wisdom. You have to look mighty hard in the Jewish/Christian mythology to find anything good said about wisdom.

The word “wisdom” is mentioned 222 times in the KJV Bible. I would have to go through each instance, but I would bet that much of it is in praise of both human and divine wisdom. In the Catholic Bible there is entire books entitled “Wisdom.” This is from the introduction of the Book of Wisdom NAB edition:

The primary purpose of the sacred author was the edification of his co-religionists in a time when they had experienced suffering and oppression, in part at the hands of apostate fellow Jews. To convey his message he made use of the most popular religious themes of his time, namely the splendor and worth of divine wisdom… the glorious events of Exodus… and the manner in which God’s justice is vindicated in rewarding or punishing the individual soul.

From the Book of Wisdom:

“Resplendent and unfading is Wisdom, and she is readily perceived by those who love her, and found by those who seek her. She hastens to make herself known in anticipation of men’s desire; he who watches for her at dawn shall not be disappointed, for he shall find her sitting by his gate… To observe her laws is the basis for incorruptibility; and incorruptibility makes on close to God; thus the desire for Wisdom leads up to a kingdom” (NAB, Wis. 6:12-15, 18).

I did not look mightily hard for these quotes, so I think it is rather silly to think wisdom is not praised within either the Jewish or Christian traditions. This is just an attempt to paint in broad strokes theists as anti-intellectual. Though a minority of Christians are anti-intellectual, the vast majority reject this tradition. At the very least, I know my Church rejects anti-intellectualism.

-Rufus

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Citizen Ghost May 19, 2011 at 11:50 am

Martin F.

I first encountered this claim – that the term “Judeo-Christian” was not part of the common parlance until after WWII – in Susan Jacoby’s “Freethinkers” (an excellent book, by the way). I found this obervation fascinating and though her book is well-researched, I did wonder how one would go about actually demonstrating it – beyond challenging others to find earlier references.

Other than Jacoby, I can only offer my anecdotal reading experience but it does seem that when you encounter accounts from cultural commentators and religious leaders on this subject, you will find much discussion of our nation’s “Christian heritage” and our shared “Christian values” and only in the mid-20th century do you find reference to our “Judeo-Christian” values and traditions. According to Jacoby (who, to be fair, does bring an anti-religion perspective), the change is at least partially a result of feelings of Christian guilt over the Holocaust. Personally, I think the embrace of the “Judeo” can be seen, in one sense, as inclusive – a moving away from the ugliness of traditional church-based anti-Semitism but it might also reflect a degree of political opportunism. The political clout of Jews in America (and the all-important “Jewish vote”) was growing at this time and so there was a practical advantage to this sort of new brotherly ecumenism: “Hey fellow American, aren’t those 10 commandemnts great? It seems we share the same God and the same basic values after all!”

Now if we can only build that bridge between Odin and Wōden…

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Reginald Selkirk May 19, 2011 at 1:54 pm

Rufus: Though a minority of Christians are anti-intellectual, the vast majority reject this tradition.

Four in 10 Americans Believe in Strict Creationism

Subtracting out the portion of the U.S. population which is not Christian, that’s around half of Christians who are Young Earth Creationists. (It still leaves out Old Earth Creationists, Theistic evolutionists, etc.) There is no way to claim that Young Earth Creationists are not anti-intellectual. Your “vast majority” claim is in doubt.

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Reginald Selkirk May 19, 2011 at 2:02 pm

1 Corinthians 3

[18] Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise.
[19] For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness.
[20] And again, The Lord knoweth the thoughts of the wise, that they are vain.

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Rufus May 19, 2011 at 2:49 pm

Reginald Selkirk,

Subtracting out the portion of the U.S. population which is not Christian, that’s around half of Christians who are Young Earth Creationists. (It still leaves out Old Earth Creationists, Theistic evolutionists, etc.) There is no way to claim that Young Earth Creationists are not anti-intellectual. Your “vast majority” claim is in doubt.

1. The poll says nothing about “Young Earth Creationism.” The question is whether God created humans in their present form within the last 10,000 years. Many “Old Earth” creationists and theistic evolutionists believe that God directly intervened at some point in history to create the Imago Dei. One example of an “Old Earth” creationist who holds such a view is Hugh Ross. I do not take Dr. Ross to be anti-intellectual. I do not agree with everything Dr. Ross says, but I am talking about his attitude towards “wisdom” or “knowledge.” He certainly does not hold reason in low regard.

2. I hardly take the responses to this poll question as sufficient evidence that Christians are anti-intellectual. Furthermore, it is one thing to say that many Christians are scientifically illiterate and quite another to say that they are anti-intellectual. So even if it is not possible for a person to hold that Imago Dei was created 10,000 years ago and still be scientifically literate, it does not follow that such a person is anti-intellectual. Interestingly enough, Chris Mooney, in a recent interview, stated that he thought the position that God intervened in history and specially created human souls was not incongruous with evolution so long as the soul was defined supernaturally.

Essentially, you have provided a red herring. I stated that the vast majority of Christians are not anti-intellectual, which I take to be an attitude towards knowledge. You provide an example in which Christians may be ignorant of scientific facts, which is not the same as an attitude towards knowledge.

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Citizen Ghost May 19, 2011 at 7:19 pm

Many “Old Earth” creationists and theistic evolutionists believe that God directly intervened at some point in history to create the Imago Dei

Then they are not in any meaningful sense “evolutionists” since they reject the scientific theory of evolution. A core component of modern evolutionary theory is common descent. To reject that – as Dr. Ross explicitly does – is to reject evolution. He claims to accept the evidence of evolution EXCEPT insofar as it concerns human beings. And in the link you provide he is forthcoming about WHY he rejects this – it contradicts biblical revelation. In his own words:

The picture that so far vaguely emerges from the accumulating data does not, and will not, according to my understanding of God’s revelation, ultimately contradict the Biblical account of the creature for whom the second Adam, Jesus Christ, gave His life.

I’m sure Dr. Ross is very bright and knowledgable in his field (physics or astronomy) but this offering is most certainly not scientific. It is a surrender of reason to the certainty of biblical revelation. If you seriously want to call that “intellectualism” go ahead, but from an evidentiary standpoint, it’s only marginally better than Young Earth Creationism.

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Rufus May 19, 2011 at 9:08 pm

Reginald Selkirk,

1 Corinthians 3

[18] Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise.
[19] For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness.
[20] And again, The Lord knoweth the thoughts of the wise, that they are vain.

Are you suggesting that seeming to be wise in this world= wise? This passage is far from an example of rejecting wisdom. Besides, your original claim was not that there are conflicting accounts of whether wisdom was good in Christianity or Judaism, but that one would be hard pressed to find and example where anything good is said about wisdom. Finding examples where a kind of “wisdom” is said to be foolishness will not prove your case. So, even if the phrase “seemeth to be wise in this world” is meant to mean wisdom, this quote has no relevance to your earlier claim. The sample of evidence provided by Jeff H and myself is sufficient to prove your claim false.

Citizen Ghost,

I’m sure Dr. Ross is very bright and knowledgable in his field (physics or astronomy) but this offering is most certainly not scientific. It is a surrender of reason to the certainty of biblical revelation. If you seriously want to call that “intellectualism” go ahead, but from an evidentiary standpoint, it’s only marginally better than Young Earth Creationism.

It is true that what Dr. Ross offers here is not scientific. He is taking a metaphysical position that at a certain point in history humans were ensouled. Many Christians believe that it is at that moment when human rationality was created. That is, man is the image of God insofar as man is a rational animal (once again proving that within the Jewish and/or Christian tradition wisdom is elevated).

There will not be scientific evidence for this, but as you know, not all beliefs or knowledge is based on scientific evidence. It would be a ridiculous standard to set, if one demanded all beliefs and knowledge to have scientific evidence to back it. So Dr. Ross is correct to say that no data could overturn this position, since the position cannot be verified or falsified scientifically. While I think some definitions of soul can be scientifically falsified, many definitions place the soul beyond scientific scrutiny.

So yes, I seriously want to say that Dr. Ross is not an anti-intellectual. He is far from taking a negative attitude towards reason, intelligence, or wisdom. I have witnessed this attitude in certain Christian circles and they would be very wary of Dr. Ross.

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Martin Freedman May 19, 2011 at 11:08 pm

“a wise man proportions his belief to the evidence”

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Keith J. May 20, 2011 at 4:08 am

“He is far from taking a negative attitude towards reason, intelligence, or wisdom. I have witnessed this attitude in certain Christian circles and they would be very wary of Dr. Ross.”

Hmm… it seems to me you shot yourself in the foot here: so there ARE Christians who are negative toward wisdom….. What percentage would you say of the Christian population fit into these “certain Christian circles”?

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Reginald Selkirk May 20, 2011 at 6:48 am

Rufus: The poll says nothing about “Young Earth Creationism.” The question is whether God created humans in their present form within the last 10,000 years.

Dude, WTF is your definition of “Young Earth Creationism”? You seem to be saying “It’s not six, it’s half a dozen.”

Rufus: I do not take Dr. Ross to be anti-intellectual. I do not agree with everything Dr. Ross says, but I am talking about his attitude towards “wisdom” or “knowledge.” He certainly does not hold reason in low regard.

Old Earth Creationism is only slightly less ridiculous and anti-intellectual than Young Earth Creationism. But I don’t feel a need to fork the conversation here. The polls say about half of U.S. Christians are Young Earth Creationists.

Rufus: I hardly take the responses to this poll question as sufficient evidence that Christians are anti-intellectual. Furthermore, it is one thing to say that many Christians are scientifically illiterate and quite another to say that they are anti-intellectual.

Then too bad for you. Young Earth Creationism is driven almost entirely by religious sentiment. Those people are not simply poorly informed, they are deliberately poorly informed. They indoctrinate their young in Sunday schools from a very early age to resist scientific learning relevant to evolution. They build museums to enshrine their idiocy. They are attempting to corrupt the public education system.

Your position is so ridiculous that you make it very difficult for me to respect you and your views.

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Reginald Selkirk May 20, 2011 at 6:50 am

Rufus: So yes, I seriously want to say that Dr. Ross is not an anti-intellectual. He is far from taking a negative attitude towards reason, intelligence, or wisdom.

Then I seriously want to say that you are fucked in the head. He opposes any reason, wisdom or evidence that contradicts a book of folklore written by a Bronze Age tribe.

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Reginald Selkirk May 20, 2011 at 6:54 am

Rufus: Interestingly enough, Chris Mooney, in a recent interview, stated that…

So? Chris Mooney says lots of stupid things. If you are saying that you agree with him, then we could discuss the wisdom of the position, but the authority to whom you appeal buys you nothing in the way of respect.

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Martin May 20, 2011 at 7:14 am

Chris Mooney says lots of stupid things.

That’s because he’s from the Reformed Accommodationist denomination of atheism. Those heretic faitheists should be burned at the stake if they don’t learn to follow the One True Faith of New Atheism.

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Rufus May 20, 2011 at 7:39 am

Keith J,

Hmm… it seems to me you shot yourself in the foot here: so there ARE Christians who are negative toward wisdom….. What percentage would you say of the Christian population fit into these “certain Christian circles”?

Yes. Earlier I had posted:

Though a minority of Christians are anti-intellectual, the vast majority reject this tradition.

What I am saying is not that every Christians is always correct on every intellectual issue, or that Christians have the highest IQs. I am saying that the orthodox tradition of the largest denominations within Christianity generally has a positive attitude towards wisdom, intelligence, and rationality. I argue that it is not difficult to find evidence of this within the tradition and then I made my case with just a few scriptural quotes and an encyclical from JP II, the previous pope of the largest denomination within Christianity. I have encountered Pentecostal groups that tend to distrust the intellect. I believe some forms of Calvinism view the human intellect as corrupted. Again, this is the minority, and I would say heterodox, position.

Thanks,

Rufus

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Reginald Selkirk May 20, 2011 at 10:37 am

Rufus: I am saying that the orthodox tradition of the largest denominations within Christianity…

And isn’t it true that as the “mainstream” denominations have moved away from Creationism, and away from Biblical literalism, they have lost adherents to the more Fundamentalist sects?

Largest denominational families in U.S., 2001
Catholic 24.5%
Baptist 16.3%
Methodist/Wesleyan 6.8%

Southern Baptist Convention Resolution on Scientific Creationism

June 1982
WHEREAS, The theory of evolution has never been proven to be a scientific fact, and

WHEREAS, Public school students are now being indoctrinated in evolution-science, and

WHEREAS, Creation-science can be presented solely in terms of scientific evidence without any religious doctrines or concepts, and

WHEREAS, Public school students should be taught all the scientific evidence on the subject of the origin of the world and life, and

WHEREAS, Academic freedom and free speech should be encouraged rather than inhibited.

Therefore, be it RESOLVED, That the Southern Baptist Convention in session in New Orleans, Louisiana, June 1982, express our support for the teaching of Scientific Creationism in our public schools.

To repeat; there is no freaking way that you can be pro-Creationism and pro-intellectualism. Your falsehood will be apparent.

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Rufus May 20, 2011 at 10:40 am

Reginald Selkirk,

Dude, WTF is your definition of “Young Earth Creationism”? You seem to be saying “It’s not six, it’s half a dozen.”

Young Earth creationists believe the Earth is somewhere between 6,000-10,000 years old. They reject evolution in any of its forms and believe God created every biological entity on Earth directly. They also tend to take the first eleven chapters of Genesis literally.

The reason I mentioned Dr. Ross is because he believes the universe’s age to be about 13.7 billion years old and the Earth’s age to be over 4 billion years or so. He accepts certain forms of microevolution, though he is not a theistic evolutionist like myself. Both Dr. Ross and I agree that God created humans relatively recently in Earth’s history. I would go with a much later date than Dr. Ross to around the time Homo Sapiens first emerged. It is at that moment that I think the human soul came into existence.

Despite your name calling, I still maintain that the poll you cite is not narrow enough to describe Young Earth Creationism. It certainly is not a poll on how many Christians reject reason, which is the interpretation you are forcing on it.

Then I seriously want to say that you are fucked in the head. He opposes any reason, wisdom or evidence that contradicts a book of folklore written by a Bronze Age tribe.

Dr. Ross applies a hermeneutic to understand how scripture can coexist with the latest science. I take this as a sign that he respects the human capacity to reason. However, I suspect that we are operating with different definitions of “anti-intellectualism.” As I understand it, anti-intellectualism is an attitude of general distrusts of the human capacity to reason and comprehend and assent to true propositions. Dr. Ross might not trust the conclusions of mainstream evolutionary biology, but I don’t think this means that he distrusts human reason generally. He utilizes human reason though he operates with a set of presuppositions that are not scientifically based. But most people do this.

So? Chris Mooney says lots of stupid things. If you are saying that you agree with him, then we could discuss the wisdom of the position, but the authority to whom you appeal buys you nothing in the way of respect.

Reginald, unfortunately I care very little about garnering your respect. You are a crass individual who resorts to vulgarities when someone offers a dissenting viewpoint. I mention Mooney as an example of a skeptic who agrees with my claim that certain forms of theistic evolution are not incompatible with science. He also does a good job articulating the fact that theistic evolutionists and “Old Earth” creationists agree with “Young Earth Creationists” that God intervened in history to ensoul humans. The Mooney interview might help illuminate my own interpretation of the poll you cite and why I reject it as evidence that a) a large minority of Christians are Young Earth creationists and, b) a large minority of Christians distrust reason. The interview was recent and I thought people on this blog might be interested in hearing what he has to say on the matter. I don’t take Mooney as an expert myself, but I take him as one who holds the intellect in high regard and who is respected by many within the “skeptic” community. I think he articulates my position well, so if you are interested I recommend listening to the podcast.

Finally, I’d like to request two things of you, Reginald, 1) an apology for insulting me 2) an admission that your claim “You have to look mighty hard in the Jewish/Christian mythology to find anything good said about wisdom” is false.

Thanks,

Rufus

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Reginald Selkirk May 20, 2011 at 10:53 am

Rufus: … and then I made my case with just a few scriptural quotes and an encyclical from JP II, the previous pope of the largest denomination within Christianity.

The current pontiff, Pope Indulgence, seems to be riding the fence on the issue of evolution. He will echo JP2′s comments about evolution being “more than a hypothesis,” and then he will turn around and pull something like this. The Holy Roman Catholic Church is among the biggest of Big Tents. It includes everything from the academic Jesuits to the tortilla worshippers.

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Rufus May 20, 2011 at 10:55 am

Reginald Selkirk,

There are about 1.2 billion Catholics in the world and 16.3 million in the SBC. I am not sure why you are focusing on U.S. statistics here or the rates of conversion. Your claim has to do with Christianity’s and Judaism’s attitudes towards rationality. Citing a resolution of the SBC from 1982 does not prove your original claim! You said “You have to look mighty hard in the Jewish/Christian mythology to find anything good said about wisdom.” I looked and I found good things said. Your claim is false.

I admitted that some Christian sects are anti-intellectual, but it is a minority. You then found a minority that rejects the claim that evolution is true. I don’t think this makes them anti-intellectual, but even if it does, get back to me when there are 1.2 billion Southern Baptists.

-Rufus

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Reginald Selkirk May 20, 2011 at 10:56 am

Rufus: Finally, I’d like to request two things of you, Reginald, 1) an apology for insulting me

And I’d like a pony! But no one is going to give me a pony.

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Rufus May 20, 2011 at 12:17 pm

Reginald Selkirk,

The current pontiff, Pope Indulgence, seems to be riding the fence on the issue of evolution. He will echo JP2′s comments about evolution being “more than a hypothesis,” and then he will turn around and pull something like this. The Holy Roman Catholic Church is among the biggest of Big Tents. It includes everything from the academic Jesuits to the tortilla worshippers.

Oh, gosh… what a terrible thing to pull! He basically said that Catholics can believe in evolution so long as God is acknowledged to direct it in some way. He advocates theistic evolution rather than atheistic evolution by natural selection–what a shocker.

Can we agree, then, that Christianity itself is a Big Tent and that there is a mix of people who are pro-intellect and anti-intellectual? We have everything from Augustine, Anselm, Aquinas, Ockham, Descartes, Newton, Leibniz, the academic Jesuits you mentioned, to Bob Jones, Ken Hamm, Pat Robertson, and Harold Camping. Can we agree that there is a tradition within Christianity that holds wisdom in high regard and a tradition that is anti-intellectual. We can quibble over percentages, but you and I both know that neither of us have hard data on this.

And I hope you get that pony someday…

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Reginald Selkirk May 20, 2011 at 2:36 pm

Rufus: Can we agree, then, that Christianity itself is a Big Tent and that there is a mix of people who are pro-intellect and anti-intellectual? … We can quibble over percentages, but you and I both know that neither of us have hard data on this.

Does that mean you are retracting your earlier “vast majority” statement? I thought that Gallup poll was a good attempt at hard numbers, certainly better than anything you provided. And your “Humans created less than 10000 years ago != Young Earth Creationism” disagrees with the interpretation of that poll by almost every source I have seen. I am sorry that I do not work for Gallup and thus cannot control the phrasing of their questions. A belief that Homo sapiens was created by divine intervention less than 10000 years ago is itself a sign of anti-intellectualism.

Other relevant polls
Tidbits:
NBC News 2005: God created the world in 6 days: 44%
More polls

Creationism is to intellectualism as forgery is to art appreciation.

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Reginald Selkirk May 20, 2011 at 2:38 pm

Can we agree, then, that Christianity itself is a Big Tent…

Christianity itself is a split tent. All the various denominations have gone their separate ways, so that there is no one attempting to keep them all under one tent.

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ildi May 20, 2011 at 3:29 pm

Gallup poll taken September 2005 asked Which of the following statements comes closest to your views on the origin and development of human beings : human beings have evolved over millions of years from other forms of life and God guided this process, human beings have evolved over millions of years from other forms of life, but God had no part in this process, or God created human beings in their present form exactly the way the Bible describes it? 53 percent answered God created man exactly how the Bible describes it.

Also, the HMC reports 1.1 billion baptized Catholics. Not the same as practicing Catholics.

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Rufus May 20, 2011 at 8:16 pm

Reginald Selkirk,

Does that mean you are retracting your earlier “vast majority” statement? I thought that Gallup poll was a good attempt at hard numbers, certainly better than anything you provided. And your “Humans created less than 10000 years ago != Young Earth Creationism” disagrees with the interpretation of that poll by almost every source I have seen. I am sorry that I do not work for Gallup and thus cannot control the phrasing of their questions. A belief that Homo sapiens was created by divine intervention less than 10000 years ago is itself a sign of anti-intellectualism.

No, I am not retracting my statement. I disagree with you that some polls on what American Christians believe about evolution constitute proof that wisdom is not valued by Christians. I think the vast majority of Christians believe that reason is a gift from God and a good thing. Again, the issue is their attitude towards “wisdom” or “rationality”. I would agree with you that many “Young Earth” apologists offer flimsy arguments against evolution. Nonetheless, they play the rationality game. If they did not value rationality, then it seems odd that they would put out so much literature to “debunk” evolution. It is one thing to have bad arguments and quite another to be anti-intellectual. Again, I think we are quibbling over how “anti-intellectual” ought to be defined.

Christianity itself is a split tent. All the various denominations have gone their separate ways, so that there is no one attempting to keep them all under one tent.

If this is true, then I think it is pointless to try to stereotype all Christians or most Christians as anti-intellectual. I think that you will find the average Christian that you meet on the street to be quite reasonable. Perhaps I have a more optimistic view of my fellow man.

Ildi,

Also, the HMC reports 1.1 billion baptized Catholics. Not the same as practicing Catholics.

Yes, I agree. However, practicing Catholics, Anglicans, and Orthodox Christians tend to not take the first 11 chapters of Genesis literally. I would guess that “High Chruch” practicing Christians outnumber evangelicals quite a bit.

Using U.S. polls in order to capture Christianity’s attitude towards rationality is misleading. The United States has far more evangelical Christians, so it is not surprising that many believe in a literal account of Genesis.

Have we beaten this dead horse enough?

More proof Reginald Selkirk’s claim is false:

“Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you; love her, and she will watch over you. Wisdom is supreme; therefore get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding” (Proverbs 4:6-7)

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Zeb May 21, 2011 at 4:40 am

One can be intellectual and still be a fundamentalist/creationist. It just depends on the epistemology one has chosen. If you think the Bible is the ultimate source of truth, and you believe people should spend lots of time and energy examining and interpreting it as ultimate source of truth in order to find the best interpretation and application, that’s intellectualism. That’s not me, but I won’t accept an “anti-intellectual” designation for someone who reads and engages all the arguments and genuinely believes the Bible ought to be used that way and uses their intellect in their pursuit of truth starting at the epistemological base.

On the other hand, one can at least claim to be an adherent to rationalism or scientism and be anti-intellectual. One of my friends who uses Facebook as a pulpit to rave against religion and promote the New Atheists also uses it as a pulpit to rave against psycho-pharmacology and promote Zeitgeist because he’s seen Youtube videos that prove he’s right about them and he just feels like he’d definitely right about them and any “facts” that disagree probably come from compromised sources.

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Christopher Zimny May 21, 2011 at 6:04 pm

Rick Swinburn, I thought that near-proof was pretty good. I don’t know if you were serious about that article you mentioned, but I’d love to read it if it exists.

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JOrge(Chile) May 21, 2011 at 9:41 pm

odin is god ontic, GOD the bible is the ontology
faith of the atheist is good video but is in Spanish
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0JdIZXRXMBg

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Reginald Selkirk May 22, 2011 at 12:00 pm

Rufus: There are about 1.2 billion Catholics in the world and 16.3 million in the SBC… get back to me when there are 1.2 billion Southern Baptists.

I’m thinking you probably don’t know too many Southern Baptists. Several of them I have met have been of the opinion that Catholics are not Christians, so they wouldn’t even bother with the alleged population of Catholics.

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Rufus May 22, 2011 at 12:32 pm

Reginald Selkirk,

I’m thinking you probably don’t know too many Southern Baptists. Several of them I have met have been of the opinion that Catholics are not Christians, so they wouldn’t even bother with the alleged population of Catholics.

You are correct. I do not know many Southern Baptists. However, I am aware of the anti-Catholic sentiment shared by many of them. I have participated in online discussions where I have been called an idolater and that the Catholic Church is the “Whore of Babylon.” I suppose the people who made such accusations have since been raptured! Nonetheless, Catholics claim that they are the original Christian Church founded by Christ with unbroken apostolic succession through Peter.

Our debate was about the anti-intellectual sentiment shared by Christians generally, not Southern Baptists and those whom Southern Baptists count as Christian. I am not sure how this point is relevant, unless you share the Southern Baptists opinion that Catholics are not Christian. We could debate that point, though it might not be appropriate to engage in such a tangential debate here.

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Lee A.P. May 22, 2011 at 5:35 pm

Ah yes. “Epistemology”. Apparently “epistemology” has become the new way of excusing unintellectual horseshit. It is a place holder to allow you to believe anything. My “epistemology” is such that shit monsters from the planet Zoltroff crapped Earth into existence. Do not claim that I am not an intellectual! My epistimology is simply different than yours! Thats all! That’s “philosophy!”.

Craig says a magic ghost magically gives him magical trump answers! Epistemology baby! I can believe whatever I want! Given epistemology, no belief can ever be stupid! Glory!

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Zeb May 23, 2011 at 6:15 am

Lee A.P., thanks for that perfect example of a “rationalist” being anti-intellectual. Refusal to engage the arguments, willful distortion of terms and propositions, straw-manning – all you’re missing is blatant tribalism.

One could lay claim to Craig’s sort of “witness of the Holy Spirit” epistemology and admit, as they should, that the epistemology itself is unintellectual, and yet approach discussions on epistemology or the results of an epistemological basis intellectually. Or they could use an anti-intellectual approach, as you have. OBVIOUSLY, being an intellectual is NO guarantee of being right about anything. It is just a way of approaching conversation and the pursuit of knowledge. Craig may be wrong, he may be foolish, but the type of writing and arguing that he does and that he promotes prove beyond any question that he is an intellectual, and is pro-intellectual, not anti-intellectual.

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Lee A. P. May 24, 2011 at 12:11 pm

Lee A.P., thanks for that perfect example of a “rationalist” being anti-intellectual. Refusal to engage the arguments, willful distortion of terms and propositions, straw-manning – all you’re missing is blatant tribalism.

One could lay claim to Craig’s sort of “witness of the Holy Spirit” epistemology and admit, as they should, that the epistemology itself is unintellectual, and yet approach discussions on epistemology or the results of an epistemological basis intellectually. Or they could use an anti-intellectual approach, as you have. OBVIOUSLY, being an intellectual is NO guarantee of being right about anything. It is just a way of approaching conversation and the pursuit of knowledge. Craig may be wrong, he may be foolish, but the type of writing and arguing that he does and that he promotes prove beyond any question that he is an intellectual, and is pro-intellectual, not anti-intellectual.

I remain undeterred by your criticism. My epistemology is such that 1. I am always correct and 2. I have a larger penis than my inoculator every time I am challenged. Thus I can hold my head up high. Both heads.

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ildi May 24, 2011 at 5:12 pm

Craig may be wrong, he may be foolish, but the type of writing and arguing that he does and that he promotes prove beyond any question that he is an intellectual, and is pro-intellectual, not anti-intellectual.

Craig is not an intellectual; not because he may be wrong but because he subverts and cherry-picks various disciplines to support his a priori conclusions, and has clearly stated that no evidence would ever make him change his mind.

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Martin May 24, 2011 at 6:30 pm

Craig is not an intellectual; not because he may be wrong but because he subverts and cherry-picks various disciplines to support his a priori conclusions, and has clearly stated that no evidence would ever make him change his mind

Ugh.

*facepalm*

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Rufus May 24, 2011 at 8:16 pm

Lee A.P.,

I remain undeterred by your criticism. My epistemology is such that 1. I am always correct and 2. I have a larger penis than my inoculator every time I am challenged. Thus I can hold my head up high. Both heads.

Your claim (1) is proved false by the fact that you incorrectly spelled “interlocutor” in claim (2). Penis jokes? Really? Are you twelve?

ildi,

Craig is not an intellectual; not because he may be wrong but because he subverts and cherry-picks various disciplines to support his a priori conclusions, and has clearly stated that no evidence would ever make him change his mind.

I recommend the recent “Defenders 2″ podcast on God’s existence. In parts 29 and 30 Craig addresses the “Witness of the Holy Spirit.” It is a very clear presentation of his position and its connection to Plantinga’s epistemology. Craig clearly has been influenced by Warrented Christian Belief, a highly respected and influential work in the philosophy of religion.

William Rowe (2007) in Philosophy of Religion: An Introduction, 4th ed. writes of Plantinga’s epistemology saying,

…[Plantinga's] defense of his view of the proper basicality of theistic belief relies in part on the claims of orthodox theism concerning God and human sin being true. Although this view is not likely to win friends and influence people among atheists and agnostics, that fact doesn’t bear much on whether the view is true. Clearly, this carefully worked theory provides a new approach to the question of the rational justification of theistic belief. And in a period of declining confidence in the traditional arguments for the existence of God, it merits the careful attention of students of philosophy of religion” (109-110).

Rowe, an atheist and philosopher of religion, does not bother to attack the rationality of Plantinga or his arguments in this book. Instead, he invites the reader to study the arguments carefully, as they are worthy of debate. I think that is significant.

I think it is a shame that some people here want to mount ad hominem attacks on professional philosophers with whom they disagree. Simply calling Craig or Plantinga irrational, or anti-intellectual, does not prove anything. It is clearly just a way to dismiss their arguments without carefully engaging them.

-Rufus

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ildi May 24, 2011 at 8:19 pm

Ugh.

Deep Thoughts by Martin

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ildi May 24, 2011 at 8:28 pm

Craig clearly has been influenced by Warrented Christian Belief, a highly respected and influential work in the philosophy of religion.

That would be awesome and properly ‘intellectual’ if he stuck to theology and stayed out of physics, probability theory and historical methodology. He’s as bad in his own way as Jonathan Wells.

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owntaur August 31, 2011 at 11:02 am

Yeah, too bad it shows Thor. There are some very interesting depictions of Odin, my favourite being Georg von Rosen’s:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Georg_von_Rosen_-_Oden_som_vandringsman,_1886_%28Odin,_the_Wanderer%29.jpg

it implies Odin sent Thor to eliminate the frost giants…at least you can look at it that way.

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Richard September 29, 2011 at 1:22 am

My god has a hammer. Your god was nailed to a cross.Any Question?

luve it asatru all the way [sorry if speled wrong im from denmark

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Nick Farida October 16, 2011 at 7:38 pm

Jesus promised to get rid of all the wicked people, Odin promised to get rid of all the ice giants, and Lenin promised that candy would rain from the sky, let downs around every corner.

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Meghan October 30, 2011 at 10:30 pm

im p. sure that thats odin..

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Luke January 3, 2012 at 12:45 am

I don’t think this is regarded as a proof of Odin’s existence, it’s simply an argument saying that Odin did a better job than Jesus.

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