September 6, 2006

We Are Prewired To Be Superstitious


click picture to enlarge it

According to Bruce Hood, Professor of Experimental Psychology at the University of Bristol, our minds have evolved the need to accept (be susceptible to) irrational explanations (supernatural beliefs).

"Mankind is adapted to reason intuitively, to invent explanations for how the world works, which increases the odds of keeping safe. Superstitions also provide a welcome sense of control. We cross our fingers to trap the bad luck between them. We say “bless you” to stop the soul following the sneeze out of the body."

He claims that even the most rational people behave in irrational ways at times.

To demonstrate his theory, he asked members of the audience if they were prepared to put on an old-fashioned blue cardigan in return for a pound stg. 10 ($25) reward.

He had no shortage of volunteers. He then told the volunteers that the cardigan used to belong to Fred West, the mass murderer.

"Most hands went down," Professor Hood said.

"When people did wear it, people moved away from them. It's not actually West's jumper. But it's the belief that it's West's jumper that has the effect.

"It is as if evil - a moral stance defined by culture - has become physically manifest inside the clothing."


I'll admit it, I have been known to wear a lucky shirt to the racetrack. And I know I still do other irrational things that border on superstitious behavior.

Professional athletes really show superstitious behavior over and over again. Hockey players not shaving during the playoffs, to baseball players who refuse to step on baselines. Some of this is God related, like crossing oneself before a pitch is thrown but for me, God has nothing to do with it......It is strictly irrational behavior that is prewired in my head. We have to fight it. I think we have to fight the idea of a higher power too....at least Atheists like myself do.

It might be a fine line to figure out what is superstitious behavior versus something that might make you feel overly confident. For example, it is irrational that a lucky shirt will make you win an event you aren't participating in, however, if you are in fact participating in the event, the fact you are wearing the lucky shirt may raise your confidence level enough to win.

In the animal kingdom, when a cat rubs it's ear grease on your legs in order to get fed....could this be some sort of superstitious behavior too? Does the cat think it is lucky if it does this?

Please note: I use the American spelling of behavior because most of my readers are Americans. Canadians can handle the American spellling. I'm not sure if Americans can handle the Canadian spelling. And besides, since I started this blog, I've used American versus Canadian spelling. If I change doing it this way, I know something bad will happen to me.

Also, if you want to view all my comics, go here.

65 comments:

  1. From my faulty memory of a doc I watched years ago...

    There is a rare type of brain sesure that induces a very deep religious feeling which can cause massiac dilusions.

    Apparently, some patients become dangerious until the seasure passes. Using an MRI, doctors can map the part of the brain that is responsible for "faith".

    /end bad memory

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  2. Superstitions are like placebos, bio-feedback and using video games and visualization to fight cancer.

    Superstitions are probably best for
    heading off negative feelings and to circumvent people sabotaging themselves with self doubt.

    Religion and prayer are another example of this type of behavior.

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  3. Hammer, the article does state that irrational behavior is also responsible for human beings to make inferences about the law of gravity for example.

    Jordan, there is research going on in this department (a part of the brain that is active during religious thought). I'm not sure where they are at with it right now.

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  4. As for the lucky shirt. The saying is if you believe you can do something or believe you can’t do something in either case you are likely right. I think that was Henry Ford notorious anti-Semite and innovative business person.

    You can probably apply that logic to just about anything related to luck. I.e.; stepping on the baselines, growing your beard for the playoffs etc.

    As for undoing the wiring in your head. It can be done but you can’t fool yourself either. You really have to believe what you are telling yourself you want to change if you want it to stick for more than a few minutes.

    https://implicit.harvard.edu/implicit/ Under the Research link there are approximately 90 tests that will apparently tell you things about what you really think rather than what you think you really think if that makes any sense. I’ve only tried 1 so far.

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  5. I just did one test old/young...it seems I have a strong preferance for young over old. Must have to do with the fact my wife is older than me:)

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  6. Hmmm...I am willing to bet there is more than just "lucky shirt" in your mystical closet. In fact, I would suggest that atheism itself is pure superstition; to deny the existence of a superior prime mover when observing the vast expanses of the universe is a blind leap to the irrational. Science, as we all know, still has far more questions than answers, and the most unanswerable of them all is about who created these questions in the first place.

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  7. BEAJ:
    Good post. It sounds a lot more rational than my theory about everyone having voices in their head, don't it? ;)

    mad zionist:
    In fact, I would suggest that atheism itself is pure superstition; to deny the existence of a superior prime mover when observing the vast expanses of the universe is a blind leap to the irrational.
    I'm sorry, I find that terribly amusing.
    "An absence of deity doesn't mean the deity is absent"?
    An appeal to wonder wrapped in an argument from design.

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  8. BTW Bacon, I love your cartoons. You should try and get them syndicated.

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  9. Interesting stuff.

    Though I would add that superstitious behaviour and beliefs though they may provide an explanation which may protect someone from harm, can just as easily be harmful in and of themselves.

    Example: Supersitious beliefs have sent many a "witch" to an untimely, gruesome, painful and unnecessary death.

    So, if we are "hardwired" towards superstition, it appears to be able to have either a positive or a negative effect.

    And if it is indeed hardwired, what advantage is there from an evolutionary point of view if superstitious behaviours can result in both positive and negative results?

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  10. Hey, Hammer, good to see you over here - small blog world, I've read your comments over at Redneck's place ( They can be a bit religious over there sometimes but they're cool) I've bookmarked your blog.

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  11. MZ, I have to agree with KA here. Godidit is not a viable answer for any holes we might have in our knowledge at this time. Take Newton for example. Prior to his revelation about gravity, man could easily have said (and probably did say) that the reason an apple falls from a tree to the ground is because of God and there is no other reason for it.

    Science is filling in Godidit gaps quickly these days, and questions such as what was there prior to the big bang is being theorized as we speak, and plausible theories exist, yet none are confirmed at this time.

    And the "more" questions you are talking about is just about details, as in evolution for instance. Once an overall theory exists, the micro questions come out of the woodwork.

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  12. Jordan,

    The most recent research carried out, which was MRI scans of Nuns asked to recall religious experiences showed multiple areas of activity in the brain, not one single part. The BBC carried an article on it here. I haven't had time to find and read the paper yet.

    Mad zionist,

    You said "In fact, I would suggest that atheism itself is pure superstition; to deny the existence of a superior prime mover when observing the vast expanses of the universe is a blind leap to the irrational."

    I'm going to tell you, and I don't mean any disrespect by this, why that is one of the stupidest of the many stupid things theists say. I wrote about it in this article "Why agnosticism is also stupid", which explains why without any supporting evidence the god hypothesis is absolutely invalid purely on the grounds of logic and simple mathematics - no belief is required not to believe in god.

    BEAJ,

    If wearing your lucky t-shirt did boost your confidence and so enabled you to perform more effectiely in an action you undertook then that still does not make wearing the t-shirt a rational act or you a rational person. It is still not the t-shrit that has improved your performance, it is your own irrational beleif that would have retarded your performance with no rational argument to support that retardation if you had not worn the "lucky" t-shirt. If you support your t-shirt argument on the grounds that it enhances your behaviour you might as well support prayer argument on the grounds that it makes you feel better. Both arguments assume an improvement from a base state whereas it is actually the irrational beleif which has locked you in a retarded state unless you perform the irrational ritual. These actions remind me of obsessive compulsive dissorder. We all have to be ready to catch ourselves and our superstitions and grow out of them.

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  13. Beep Beep, although I haven't looked into it to any extent, I'm pretty sure that when it comes to superstitious or irrational belief in humans that the benefits outweigh the costs.

    First, lets look at the animal kingdom. It is irrational for one monkey to be deemed better than other monkeys...but the alpha male does exist in most monkey colonies. Those who are smart enough to question his authority are usually killed or outcasted....but overall, there is a big positive when it comes to monkeys living in a society....and the hierarchy seems to keep them together....and the idea of a monkey colony allows for the three things needed to carry on with a species...food, procreation, and avoidance of predators. Monkeys in numbers will warn each other of impending danger, increasing the odds of survival....the perceived strongest male with have the most offspring as well....though monkey females do cheat on occassion depending on the species....plus there is a benefit when it comes to finding food, or killing food when it comes to not being a lone hunter.

    Humans especially in the past, were most likely less likely to go nuts if they had some sort of explanation for life and death. Irrational belief has a calming effect, and makes it easier to move on to hunting and procreating.

    To see this, look no further than a baby and a stuffed animal or doll....or a child that is calmed down by sleeping with a stuffed animal. Kids don't need a concept of God to be calmed down by an inanimate stuffed toy. There is a sense of protection to be next to something with two arms and two legs eyes, etc....when it doesn't roar at you.

    I know by typing this response that this is a very complex issue. But one more point. Dissenters, or doubters/infidels, have had a history of being shunned and even killed which definitely cut their odds of survival and procreation.....so the religious community people have had their way in the last few thousand years especially.....those with a tendency to except irrational thought are the largest survivers.

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  14. CD, I am not disagreeing and yes, I thought of compulsive obsessive disorder when I wrote the post.

    I am just saying it is something we have to fight, because we are prewired to accept irrational excuses to explain coincidences or things we don't understand, and an offshoot of this is lucky shirts.

    But it doesn't even have to be a lucky object....the power of the mind, and irrational thought could be beneficial...take a job interview....Employers like to see a level of confidence when they hire someone usually. If you go into an interview "irrationally" thinking that you are the best possible candidate for the job, versus someone who comes into a job interview just being themselves, chances are your irrationality will win you the job.

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  15. I'm going to add another thing.
    Our ability to imagine probably got us to where we are today. Inventions and innovations are mostly the product of imagination. Even the first tools were most likely developed by our ancestors through trial and error and imagination of how the object would affectively work.

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  16. RE: atheist jew "I'm pretty sure that when it comes to superstitious or irrational belief in humans that the benefits outweigh the costs."

    I am not positive about that either.

    The majority of people in the world do subscribe to what atheists would consider an irrational belief or a superstitious belief, that is true.

    But I am not sure if this is condusive to the long term benefit of the species.

    Long term would be, for the sake of this debate, longer than a couple of thousand years.

    Frankly, I don't see either christian dominionism nor islamic dominionism as being beneficial to long term survival.

    Competition is one thing, the desire for ultimate supremacy, or a religious monopoly may leave millions of dead humans in its wake.

    Especially when one side at least is fueled by the most superstitious, irrational, religious belief of all ~ the armageddon prophecy.

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  17. Choosedoubt, to be a "theist" means you follow a specific theology or organized religion. If you are making a point about agnostics to this discussion you should use the term "deists" instead.

    We can argue in circles over the idea of science vs. God. I make the point that one is not exclusive or related to the other. The argument itself is as invalid as saying that because the earth is round the French don't shower enough. Yes, the French stink because they don't bathe regularly and, yes, the earth is round, but what's your point?

    God is not an equation. Science is as wholly unrelated to God's existence just as music, art and sports is unrelated to God's existence. One can pray to God to be given help in finding an answer to a physics test or pray to God to be right about a bet at the track. This doesn't relate at all to the existence of the track or to the math test.

    Round and round we go...

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  18. RE mad zionist:

    Actually to be a theist is to be a believer in god.

    Theist - one who believes in the existence of god/gods

    Atheist - one who doesn't believe in the existence of god/gods

    Deist - one who believes in the existence of an impersonal god

    Technically, a deist is also a theist as they both believe in god or gods.

    polytheist - one who believes in more than one god

    monotheist - one who believes in one god

    (I just know I am going to get argument about this ;) )

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  19. Mad Zionist says, "Science is as wholly unrelated to God's existence just as music, art and sports is unrelated to God's existence."
    If so then all other things are unrelated to God's existence? So everything is unrelated to God's existence. That's what we thought.

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  20. Now, now, Anglo, you know what I meant...

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  21. mad zionist:
    An agnostic & a deist are 2 different creatures.
    I see theism as an effort to cast our shadow over the universe as a whole, when in actuality, it exists independently of us.

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  22. mad zionist, my only problem with your point is that you didn't actually make one. Angloamerican rather got you on the whole "unrelated" business anyway. Very direct and meaningful and brought a smile of appreciation to my face But I'm gonna have to set you straight that this isn't a science-religion compatibility thing, it's a think-don't think compatibility thing. Science sits in the think camp and religion sits in the don't think camp and it's the think camp that has absolutely all of the reason. The don't think camp, despite thousands of years, hasn't even come up with some worthy excuses because all their excuses expired when understanding came into fashion and pushed dogma out of the shop window. Face it. Please just face it. Your beliefs are based on nothing more than the rantings of ancient ignorance. Not one shred of evidence exists in it's favour and literally millions of pieces of evidence exists saying it's wrong. Even if there were no evidence at all against it then it still wouldn't even be worth considering seriously because simple logic dictates that it is an assumption as equally stupid as believing that there is a rabbits den in my nose. Absolutely no evidence at all even begins to look as though it might even think about, with some encouragement, suggesting that this god hypothesis might be true. Believe in that and you might as well beleieve in ballet dancing elephants and hippos, because these fat athletic mammals and your god have only ever been shown to you by the ingenuity and lack of realistic constraint of fiction.

    Face facts - the faithful cannot debate ever because the faithful don't have reason. All you have is faith. You have nothing at all but you bargain your morality and your understanding on oit. You gamble your chance to know what your life really is. Why do you defend that without even investigating a little? Is that why you are here? To save us or to save yourself? To show how sure you are of your faith or to show yourself how sure you are of your faith? Tell me honestly - do you really believe?

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  23. ChooseDoubt, I am here because Bacon is a rightwing Zionist with a very clever blog that I find entertaining.

    We are going in circles on God...you insist with blind faith that there cannot be a prime mover or a creator, while I believe you are doing this for religious reasons not rational argument.

    If I were an objective being from another planet, and observing the debate you and I are having, I would say one person has absolute faith in some mystical future science that will someday answer what it can't begin to answer now, while the other is rationally suggesting that the fact we are even here asking these questions makes it impossible to believe that their can't be a prime mover.

    Yes, I do believe in God, and no, I am not pursuaded by your blind faith in a whimsical, someday scientific equation that to date doesn't begin to exist. Your faith is absolute, unfounded and without a pursuasive argument to support it.

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  24. methinks mad zionist projects too much ;)

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  25. "Your faith is absolute, unfounded and without a pursuasive argument to support it."

    Projection if I ever saw it.

    Smiles sweetly and leaves before she incurs wrath..lol

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  26. mad zionist:
    I am not persuaded by your blind faith in a whimsical, someday scientific equation that to date doesn't begin to exist.
    Maybe you could elaborate on that? I've got no idea what you're talking about.

    BBIM:
    methinks mad zionist projects too much ;)
    You can say that again. "I am, ergo everyone else is, too."

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  27. Mad Zionist,

    But I have no faith, only reason. You have no reason, only faith. The post I linked to gives one entirely correct logical reason not to believe in a god - no faith required. So if you read that post, rather than say it relies on blind faith tell me how it relies on blind faith - show me the flaw in my reasoning? There are many other reasons I can provide and not one of them relies on faith or contradicts any of my other reasons or any aspect of reality so far observed. So if you want to share reasons I would welcome the exchange. You can start with your reasons why my reasoning relies upon faith. If you are right, I will learn from the exchange.

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  28. Choosedoubt, I think the central cog to this debate is deciding what to make of the unknown. If you look at the unanswered questions about the origins of life and the universe, and believe with complete faith that science will someday answer all those questions, than you have adopted a powerful religious position. A position that states we may not have the answers now, but have FAITH, because someday we will.

    I look at those same unknowns and say we should absolutely find scientific explanations for them, and then look to how incredible it is that God created this amazing puzzle for us to put the pieces together for, and then ask why it is God created such a puzzle in the first place?

    If science is used as a tool that God's given us to advance ourselves with than we are obligated to use it, but I see no point in using it for the purpose of trying to deny God. That's when good science becomes junk science, or political science, or philosophy.

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  29. Beepbeep,

    To say I'm projecting is pure projection on your part.

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  30. Mad zionist,

    I am curious about one thing that is unknown to me. I do not know how you know that god exists, created a puzzle universe, and gave us science to try to solve it with. I do not know how you know that science that disproves religious dogma is junk.

    Can you fill that in a little bit for me please?

    Also, and I mention this only to clarify, I have no faith - not even in science. I do not expect science, or for that matter any other discipline or all of them together, to ever answer every question. I have good reason to conclude that some questions that are currently important to us will very likely be answered very soon, such as how life originated. I think I am not alone in my understanding of the probability of this occuring. I think a major reason why so much energy is recently going into promoting stupid ideas like ID is because theists realise (thanks to genetic therapies and cloning, evolution research and mircobiology) that the literal bible ship has sunk and that rather than just admit that their faith is a lie and let it drown they intend to prepare the life raft and keep on drifting. Unfortunately for them the life raft is also full of holes. Anyway, I don't want to get side tracked on that. The only question I have is the one I already asked.

    Cheers,
    CD

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  31. I would say it is because I can't find any other sensible conclusion. If there is no prime mover than I am wrong, but the way God has been proven out both macro and micro, or impersonally and personally, by Torah's brilliance, can only be explained as miraculous.

    You disagree, which is fine, but I am not mad that you don't see as I see, yet you seem to be outraged by God's possible existence which makes no sense at all to me. It's as if you, and most atheists that I encounter, are more proseletizing than the mormons or Jehova Witnesses.

    Regarding ID, I believe it is the right path being taught in the wrong category. It should be a philosophy or social science rather than a science class. I still think evolution is the best science we have to date, and should be taught as such, but it shouldn't be considered a religion either, which it seems to have become, because once a science is given a status of no questioning permitted it ceases to become a science at all. This has happened with Darwinism I'm afraid, and critical analysis should be encouraged of all scientific theory...look at Pluto.

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  32. Sorry MZ, but evolution is questioned all the time. There is not one single scientific study that puts doubt on the overall theory of evolution.
    Science is all about critical analysis and every new discovery is scrutinized immensely.
    Pluto didn't change size, orbit, or texture. All it did was change in classification. I don't get your point about Pluto.
    Oh, and I found you a new person to pick on MZ. Click here.

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  33. RE: md

    You are the one with the belief system, to suppose this upon others, is a projection of yourself and what YOU believe.

    YOUR WORDS : ~ "Your faith is absolute, unfounded and without a pursuasive argument to support it."

    It is YOUR faith which is absolute.
    It is YOUR faith which is unfounded.
    It is YOUR faith that is without persuasive argument.

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  34. Mad Zionist,

    "I would say it is because I can't find any other sensible conclusion. If there is no prime mover than I am wrong, but the way God has been proven out both macro and micro, or impersonally and personally, by Torah's brilliance, can only be explained as miraculous."

    Two points here - the first, how do you manage to assume that is supported by absolutely no evidence at all is sensible? The second, if God has been proven in these ways then why can't you communicate that proof to me?

    "You disagree, which is fine, but I am not mad that you don't see as I see, yet you seem to be outraged by God's possible existence which makes no sense at all to me. It's as if you, and most atheists that I encounter, are more proseletizing than the mormons or Jehova Witnesses."

    I am not outraged by gods possible existence. I am outraged by the fact that people that base their understanding of reality on absolutely nothing but wild and ridiculous stories do not understand how grossly irresponsible their faiths are. I'm outraged by Muslims killing for faith, Catholics contributing to two million AIDS deaths per year and the innability of theists to question thier actions on rational grounds which results in nothing but conflict and abject stupidity.

    "Regarding ID, I believe it is the right path being taught in the wrong category. It should be a philosophy or social science rather than a science class. I still think evolution is the best science we have to date, and should be taught as such, but it shouldn't be considered a religion either, which it seems to have become, because once a science is given a status of no questioning permitted it ceases to become a science at all. This has happened with Darwinism I'm afraid, and critical analysis should be encouraged of all scientific theory...look at Pluto."

    Are you even serious with this last paragraph? If you had the sligthest clue about science you would understand that all theories are questioned. With the case of evolution what you fail to understand is that evolution is a very, very wide field of study. There is very little doubt that the core concept of that field is correct in that new species emerge by mutation that enhances or reduces the probability of breeding success within an environment. Below that level there are many questions and competing hypotheses. The reason why there is very little doubt at the high level view is because not one signle piece of evidence out of literally millions of different pieces contradicts that theory. Do you fully understand that? Out of literally millions of ancient and modern samples not one signle sample contradicts the theory.

    If you think ID should be taught at all then you should first go away and make a serious study of evolution. Then you should look at the arguments put forth by ID proponents and you will not find it terribly difficult to see why absolutely every single one of the ID arguments is demonstrably incorrect. So if you think you should be teaching ID in schools my question would be why? Whilst they're at it should they also teach that ducks fly to the moon for summer? This is the level of understanding we are talking about. ID is not a competing theory. It's not even a theory. At best it could be called an hypothesis if one were feeling charitable. It hs not one testable conjecture, not one shred of supporting evidence and absolutely all of the evidence that we have so far catalogued in our history of studying nature directly contradicts its assertions as to why evolution must be false.

    And that really nicely hits the nail on the head because that is one thing that outrages me about theists. You seem to think it's your right or duty to try to make everybody else as ignorant and stupid as yourselves. I don't want my childrens understanding of reality to suffer because mentally deficient reality dodgers think it is their right to teach my children about their ridiculous superstitions. It's like brain washing somply by the sheer quantity of idiocy the theists want them to be exposed to. We alreayd live on a planet where it's practically taboo to disrespect someone elses baseless beliefs and this has a very real cost in human life, human sufering and human understanding. You want to promote more of that idiocy and absolutely I'm outraged. Give me one good reason why it should be promoted?

    Of course, you never will.

    So give me one good reason why the rights of the rational are trampled over by idiot theists demanding the right to shovel their own confusion over everybody else?

    In my opinion we would be better off leading the populace away from superstition and towards critical thinking. I am outraged by anybody that promotes the reverse. I consider them to be idiot criminals. The blood is one their hands butthey are just too stupid to see it.

    Sorry if that offends you, but when is everyone going to stop dancing around trying to be polite and admit that this really is a very big issue. I demands reasons and evidence. If you can't provide any then your promoting your "answer" should be considered fraud. Promoting it in schools or even to your own children should be considered child abuse.

    So back to square one - give me one single reason to believe any of the fantastic fantasy you call truth?

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  35. ok, next time I'll spell check, but the points stand.

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  36. MZ, don't you think your "I would say it is because I can't find any other sensible conclusion" is a result of "We Are Prewired To Be Superstitious".

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  37. CD, you are missing the entire point. Apparently, you know very little about ID (even less than you know about spelling), and even less still about what Darwin bases his entire theory of evolution on: Incremental, tiny changes in a species from genetic mutations that will make that species stronger and better adapted to its environment. Eventually, this evolution of mutations leads to completely new species, such as humans, that continue this chain of mutation indefinitely, or until extinction.

    This theory has failed to be substantiated out by evidence, as we all know (or should know), as not a single species has ever been quantifiably proven to have evolved from a previous species.

    ID only challenges the larger idea that evolution radically alters each species enough to create new ones, not the idea that subtle changes do occur within species.

    It also suggests that because the complexity of the DNA strand, and micro level intelligence of cells within single organisms, makes it mathematically impossible to occur by evolution alone we must consider the very likely idea that something else explains all this.

    That idea leads to what they call the "prime mover". You can call PM God if you like, or you can call it aliens, or you can call it the Easter bunny, or call it anything that gets you off, but it is believed that that something else has created this complex system which life exists within because evolution has failed, yes failed, to adequately give reasonable evidence to the contrary.

    I personally don't say evolution is wrong, and I also don't say ID is 100% right. What I am saying is that you are too devout in your evangelical faith in Darwinism to rationally discuss the matter with any objectivity, and therefore lack any credibility.

    Yet, despite the fact that you are somewhat of a zealot in your faith in mystical darwinism, I still don't care or reject your right to your religious beliefs. Perhaps you may next want to tell me about how the Hal Bop Comet is coming to blow us up so we must sacrifice ourselves before it hits?

    LOL!

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  38. MZ:
    Apparently, you know very little about ID (even less than you know about spelling), and even less still about what Darwin bases his entire theory of evolution on: Incremental, tiny changes in a species from genetic mutations that will make that species stronger and better adapted to its environment. Eventually, this evolution of mutations leads to completely new species, such as humans, that continue this chain of mutation indefinitely, or until extinction.
    You obviously have no clue what you're talking about at all. 1st off, Darwin's theories weren't 'written in stone' - that was what? 150 years ago? Ever hear of punctuated equilibrium? 2nd off, your 'mathematical impossibility' theorem 'evolved' from Fred Hoyle, who pulled that 10 to the power of 400,000 number right outta his ass. 3rd off
    This theory has failed to be substantiated out by evidence, as we all know (or should know), as not a single species has ever been quantifiably proven to have evolved from a previous species.
    Try the neanderthal on for size.
    I personally don't say evolution is wrong, and I also don't say ID is 100% right. What I am saying is that you are too devout in your evangelical faith in Darwinism to rationally discuss the matter with any objectivity, and therefore lack any credibility.
    Then you know jack squat about the subject. ID is 100% WRONG. It's pseudoscience. 'Rationally discuss'? This from a guy who calls himself the 'Mad Zionist'? Here's a newsflash: Darwinism ISN'T a religion. Evolution GETS RESULTS. Science is NOT A DEMOCRACY.
    Here, go educate yourself: www.talkorigins.org.
    Rationalists don't DO religion. We do RESULTS.
    Yet, despite the fact that you are somewhat of a zealot in your faith in mystical darwinism, I still don't care or reject your right to your religious beliefs.
    Yeesh, BBIM was spot on: you ARE projecting. Mystical my homesick ass. Religious beliefs? Maybe you should look up the definition of religious.
    Sorry, I get sick of you dorks piping up w/ 'You're just like us.'
    Sorry I didn't misspell enough words to allow you to use an ad hominem.

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  39. Mad Zionist,

    That’s the stupidest drivel I’ve seen you post yet. You are wrong on all counts and you would know this if you studied evolution from within the bowl of its studies and knowledge rather than from the scum ring of ID that the overflow of theist sewage in our societies has left around the rims of our understanding.

    Read this link:

    http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?articleID=000D4FEC-7D5B-1D07-8E49809EC588EEDF

    Then shut up or start going door to door asking if you can speak to people for a few minutes about Moses.

    PS. If you insult me and atheism one more time by calling it or my assertions a faith then I’m going to rip you a new one. Please refer to the previous link I posted that demonstrates accurately why it is a theist smear to call atheism a faith. If you still want to tempt me after that then go ahead, but I am not going to be kind in my response.

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  40. CD, Zealotry will get you nowhere. It is you doing the evangelizing here, not me, so go door to door with your bible, "Origins of the Species" and pass out some daisies, and then wait for the day to someday come when your mystical Darwinism will be scientifically fulfilled according to your prophecy.

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  41. PS., I have never stated that evolution is false and that fundamentalist creationism is true. I would suggest you argue this point with someone else who takes such a position. I merely have exposed your closed mindedness and bigotry by suggesting that evolution as Darwin claimed still has many holes that continue to leave us with more than enough room for uncertainty.

    Your moniker is not very accurate, I'm afraid.

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  42. MZ, what holes specifically?
    Again, Darwin came up with his overall theory 150 years ago.

    Every new biological discovery reinforces evolution. I have yet to see one refute it.

    What uncertainty are you talking about? Be specific please.

    There was a lot of uncertainty during biblical times. Pi was estimated at 3, the sun revolved aroung the flat earth, and people new apples fell to the ground, but figured it was because of God and not gravity.

    Holes do not prove God. As time goes on we find less and less holes.

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  43. Mad Zionist - provide one argument, just one, in favour of your nonsense? "Mystical Darwinism"? How is it mystical? Do the many thousands of published and peer reviewed papers mean nothing? If you want to debate stick to what you can demonstrate and stop making these wild and absurd correlations between your own baseless belief system and demonstrable knowledge. I suppose these many thousands of peer reviewed papers are just "prophecy" to you though. Can you explain how?

    Of course not, because you can't explain anything at all unless you can some how slide your prime mover in to make it make sense for your retarded understanding. All I ask is for one piece of evidence suggesting that evolution is false. You provide none. I ask for you to share the proof of your miraculous Torah that you previously claimed existed. You share nothing except more empty statements, not even daring to retread that terriroty. Put up or shut up. Present your case or present your arse outside the hall of serious debate because you don’t belong inside.

    "PS., I have never stated that evolution is false and that fundamentalist creationism is true. I would suggest you argue this point with someone else who takes such a position. I merely have exposed your closed mindedness and bigotry by suggesting that evolution as Darwin claimed still has many holes that continue to leave us with more than enough room for uncertainty."

    Blah, blah, blah, you have stated that evolution is false. You have stated that the only sensible conclusion because is a prime mover - a designer - so you have taken such a position. You made some vague suggestions to why evolution is wrong and I provided you with a link that debunks those suggestions. Did you even read it? You continue to call atheism a faith; did you even read the post I pointed you to? Is it that you are too stupid to understand simple logic and reasoning or is it that your theist brainwash left you free and clean of the capability to reason? I mean, what is wrong with you? You're mentally disabled as far as I can see and it's horrific that fools like you are permitted to continue to promote your madness.

    My moniker is very accurate, but you wouldn't stand a chance of understanding why because your philosophy is just too basic. Let’s face it, you’re an idiot. You take your ultimate answer from ignorant ancients with absolutely not one shred of supporting or suggestive evidence and you think that is a defensible position. In fact you think it is the only sensible conclusion. Really, what an idiot you are.

    Your room for uncertainty on evolution is artificially created and not in accordance with the facts. Your room for uncertainty on ID and your prime mover hypothesis is artificially removed and absolutely not permitted by or in accordance with the facts. But of course, you cannot see this. You prefer to believe in the fairy tales of historically non-existent events such as the exodus and Noah’s ark. You deny evolution and yet support the nonsense text that demands that all of the colours and types of people on this planet came from just one couple, Adam and Eve, and that every type of animal on this planet went through a single door into a single boat at a rate of more than 30 per second to account for the species that currently exist and that the disaster they were escaping was totally unrecorded in the continuous records of civilizations that existed at the time. What an absolute and uncompromising idiot you are.

    You demand that your opinion is meaningful and fail constantly to provide any slight or suggestive reason why it should be given any credence above suggesting that Polar Bears came from Pluto and yet you openly refute thousands of independent and mutually supportive studies that demonstrate unfailingly that the theory of evolution is entirely in accordance with absolutely every known fact. Can you not provide a single observable trait about reality that backs up your nonsense assertions learnt from the back of a long out of date theist cereal packet?

    Ignorance is not an art form, it’s a disability. The inability to understand critical thinking, note I don’t even suggest yet attempting to employ it, is a severe mental disability on your part. It saddens me that people such as yourself will abuse the next generation by pushing your worthless and harmful nonsense upon the young. It sickens me in fact. You are the enemy of all mankind because you promote superstition above reason. You are the enemy of mankind because you promote that it is acceptable to make decisions based on idiot fairy tales and factually incorrect lies and ignore that the damage caused by that is immense.

    Don’t let me make this look too light because I do not consider it that way. In a very real sense I consider the blood to be on your hands and that you are too arrogant or pig stupid to be able to hold yourself accountable for your thinking and your understanding. You raise yourself on to the pedestal of the one true ignorance and from your vantage point of pure fantasy you shit on the reality of human suffering and ignorance that your idiocy requires. And your only excuse for this is the dogma you were poisoned with by your own misled parents and elders for which you have never and will never provide a single supporting fact.

    You and your theism are a disease. It is a societal sickness that has reigned in an unchecked pandemic since accepting that some things are unknown was first hidden by the rhetoric of idiots with “answers” who sought power over idiots with no answers. It’s a travesty of ignorance – the blind and greedy leading the blind and stupid – and you, like a second hand car salesman’s wet dream, bought into every line of the pitch. And you can provide not one reason to say why.

    You bought the bullshit and the cost was your intelligence, your honesty and any real reason to respect yourself. You are a clown and quite frankly your defence of ignorance disgusts me by revealing in greater depth just how ignorant you truly are.

    Now come back with one reason why ID should be considered, as I keep asking you to. Come back with one reason to even begin to think that your prime mover exists. You can’t. So give me one reason why your worthless rhetoric should continue to be allowed to pollute the minds and politics of this world?

    There is none. Your opinions are a negative in every single way. They are negative in their alignment to reality and every scientific investigation ever. They are a negative in terms of personal honesty and understanding and they are a brutal negative in terms of governing society by reason instead of biased mysticism that should have been left back in the ignorance of the dark ages, if not long before. You are a fool and yet you can provide not one excuse for why you are a fool. I can provide you one reason, although not one excuse, for why you are a fool and it is just one word – faith.

    Now provide some facts that dispute the facts already established. The facts to date establish clearly that you are an ignorant fool.

    So bring it on.

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  44. I am the enemy of mankind. BAHAHAHAH!!

    You are the savior of all mankind.
    BWHAHAHWAH!!

    Wow. You may get the award for zealot of the year at this pace. Take a pill, call your mommy, have a cookie, and do your daily affirmation in the mirror until the drool on your frothing mouth stops.

    You think only with your arrogance. I prefer to argue with rational minds, not xenophobic religious extremists who are one step from the straight jacket. Darwin, your God, has quite the hold over you, eh?

    Breathe...

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  45. Then argue with a rational response, such as one of these mysterious reasons you claim to have but never share. I keep mentioning I have no faith. I have at no time ever expressed having a faith. I have several times explained that I have no faith. But this is your only rertort; describing an understanding of peer reviewed research as a faith. Is this just another case of the facts bouncing off the outside of your skull? Try letting some in, you might like it.

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  46. BTWm about being a xenophobic religious extremist:

    1) I have lived to date in 7 different countries. It's hard to be xenophobic when practically your while life is spent being a foreigner.

    2) I have no religion.

    3) I find it hard to understand how being in accordance with the FACTS can be considered extremism.

    Now run a long and lick your gods anus like a good little theist.

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  47. I have at no time ever expressed having a faith. I have several times explained that I have no faith.

    And yet, you continue to rant about the omnicience of you dogma, and the evil of anyone who poses the tiniest doubt in your absoluteness. You make the moslems look open minded in comparison. Sorry, but your religious ferver is about as strong as any I have ever seen.

    I have lived to date in 7 different countries.

    Oh, well, never mind then. Had I known your all-knowingness had lived in so many countries I'd have changed my views a long time ago.

    I find it hard to understand how being in accordance with the FACTS can be considered extremism.

    Precisely my point. When facts are unable to be demonstrated enough to prove the central position of the theory then it leaves question marks. Why you can't see this seems to be the central flaw in your argument. I could just as easily argue in defense of Darwin if I were speaking to someone who was so zealous he denied the possibility Darwin was right, just as I can argue with someone who has chosen darwin as his God and refuses to allow the tiniest dissent to the contrary.

    Now run a long and lick your gods anus.

    Very objective and sensible of you. Nicely argued and clearly well thought out. No way to make a good counterpoint to those FACTS of yours.

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  48. MZ, what facts are demonstrated enough to shed doubt on evolution? You evaded my post to you from earlier this morning.

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  49. He's evaded every request to provide anything to support any of his assertions.

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  50. Bacon,

    The origin of life, and the ability of mutations to fundamentally alter a species where it evolves to a new species. I don't contest minor changes in species development being a result of the evolutionary process. The big changes, however, remain unproven.

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  51. Mad Zionist,

    Number 3 from the link I previously posted (so you didn't read it):

    3. Evolution is unscientific, because it is not testable or falsifiable. It makes claims about events that were not observed and can never be re-created.

    This blanket dismissal of evolution ignores important distinctions that divide the field into at least two broad areas: microevolution and macroevolution. Microevolution looks at changes within species over time--changes that may be preludes to speciation, the origin of new species. Macroevolution studies how taxonomic groups above the level of species change. Its evidence draws frequently from the fossil record and DNA comparisons to reconstruct how various organisms may be related.

    These days even most creationists acknowledge that microevolution has been upheld by tests in the laboratory (as in studies of cells, plants and fruit flies) and in the field (as in Grant's studies of evolving beak shapes among Galápagos finches). Natural selection and other mechanisms--such as chromosomal changes, symbiosis and hybridization--can drive profound changes in populations over time.

    The historical nature of macroevolutionary study involves inference from fossils and DNA rather than direct observation. Yet in the historical sciences (which include astronomy, geology and archaeology, as well as evolutionary biology), hypotheses can still be tested by checking whether they accord with physical evidence and whether they lead to verifiable predictions about future discoveries. For instance, evolution implies that between the earliest-known ancestors of humans (roughly five million years old) and the appearance of anatomically modern humans (about 100,000 years ago), one should find a succession of hominid creatures with features progressively less apelike and more modern, which is indeed what the fossil record shows. But one should not--and does not--find modern human fossils embedded in strata from the Jurassic period (144 million years ago). Evolutionary biology routinely makes predictions far more refined and precise than this, and researchers test them constantly.

    Evolution could be disproved in other ways, too. If we could document the spontaneous generation of just one complex life-form from inanimate matter, then at least a few creatures seen in the fossil record might have originated this way. If superintelligent aliens appeared and claimed credit for creating life on earth (or even particular species), the purely evolutionary explanation would be cast in doubt. But no one has yet produced such evidence.

    It should be noted that the idea of falsifiability as the defining characteristic of science originated with philosopher Karl Popper in the 1930s. More recent elaborations on his thinking have expanded the narrowest interpretation of his principle precisely because it would eliminate too many branches of clearly scientific endeavor.


    So in other words, the absolutely unchallenged conformity of the fossil record and every living species with the theory is positive evidence that the theory is correct. Genetic evidence is positive evidence in favour of the theory. The fact that the theory has lead to prediction which have later been verrified is postive evidence in favour of the theory. You don't have to sit there and watch a species change into another in front of your eyes to verrify the theory any more than you have to directly observe an electron to prove its exitence. But please feel free to ignore the evidence once again and remain convinced that you, from your absolute lack of actual reference, are indeed correct.

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  52. The reading you provided is a dream come true for critics of evolutionary science. The idea that the apologists for evolution even concede they are basing it on loose-knit guesswork founded on the fact that fossil records of humans aren't found in the Jurassic period makes those who find fault in macro-evolution that much more emboldened. The follow up point that no life has been created from an inanimate object proves that evolution must be right is pure hypocricy. Perhaps when a creationist tells you that because evolution fails to show a species originating at all means that the only ansswer is God you'll see that you're no different.

    Try again. Your hocus-pocus junk science is looking even worse now than before you made that post. What's next: astrology?

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  53. RE md: The only answer is NEVER god. The honest answer is "I don't know."

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  54. Beep, I would accept "I don't know" as a legitimate reaction. I just don't like the total cocksure arrogance about macro-evolution when serious holes still remain.

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  55. RE: spelling.

    I use the english spelling versions, because I am australian.

    (See, I knew that wouldn't make sense..lol )

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  56. MZ:
    You think only with your arrogance. I prefer to argue with rational minds, not xenophobic religious extremists who are one step from the straight jacket.
    Here I am.
    If you're all finished w/your poisoning the well/ad hominem tactics.
    Attack the argument, not the arguer, if you please.
    Unless that's all you've got. It seems that's the entirety of your repertoire.

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  57. Mad Zionist,

    How about pointing out one of these serious holes?

    If you can't do that then the discussion on evolution is over and you bravely disagreeing with more than 99.8% of all bioligists has failed to pay off for you - you lost.

    Want to argue about any other aspect of your nonsense?

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  58. I'd like to know what the serious holes are too. Maybe I can be swayed to at least thinking evolution isn't a sure thing. I've looked though, and I can't find any.

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  59. BEAJ:
    I'd like to know what the serious holes are too.
    Oh, he's got nuthin', except some sweeping generalizations, probably a few "Gee, a scientist shows doubt by saying 'shoulda woulda, coulda'". He'll probably point out the 'theory' isn't seamless, it's called a 'theory', you know the drill.
    Same old dreck. False dilemmas all.
    "None so blind as those will not listen", hehehehe.

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  60. None so ignorant as those with the "ultimate answer".

    Sorry for the previous ranting but at times I feel a powerful need to vent a little about how truly vile and irresponsible theism is. With not one single fact or ability to rebutt science and reason they smuggly wash their hands of the carnage their idiot beliefs cause. I can't imagine why sane people don't organise seriously to put a stop to it. They should all be on medication the instant that someone finds a cure for stupid.

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  61. CD:
    I can't imagine why sane people don't organise seriously to put a stop to it. They should all be on medication the instant that someone finds a cure for stupid.
    Can't DO that, dude. This is America. They're entitled to their opinions, even if they're wrong.
    You can't just shut people down for disagreeing.
    Problem w/a free country is, everyone's got rights. Whether we like it or not.

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  62. It's pointless having a debate where we try to prove one side or the other. Lets look at the weight of evidence.

    Well, all the existing evidence is on the side of an earth over 4 billion years old, where life started and evolved to create the diversity of species today.

    If each bit of evidence were a goal scored in a soccer match, the current scoreline in the match between Old Earth Evolutionists and Young earth Creationists would be about 43,756,354 - 0.

    I'm not exaggerating to make a point.

    MZ, things are looking bad for your team. Still, I'm sure there still a chance for you to make a come-back. If you can make it to half time with the score under 50 mil against, a tough-love half-time pep talk from your manager should get your boys back into shape. Hope he doesn't lose it and flood the place again, though.

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  63. Choosedoubt,

    So, you want to ethnically cleanse the world of all who believe in God, huh? Hmmm...sounds like you've got your head on straight. Have a nice life "Stalin on steroids", for I will not be communicating with you ever again, as you've been revealed to be the worst of all the atheist stereotypes. The jihad you are on to force-convert the world to your religion is as scary as the moslem scum. I assume you are planning to hijack a jet and fly it into the Vatican, so hopefully you'll be unsuccessful in your mission, you crazy, zealot fool. Toodloo.

    Regarding ID, let me again say that I am not the expert who has advanced the cause, merely I am trying to show that because we don't have all the answers yet, it should be permissable to question whether or not a Prime Mover is involved in the puzzle.

    End of discussion, guys. I am not an opponent of evolution, just someone who has reservations to the absoluteness of macro-evolution since it is based less on fact and more on hypothesis. Disagree if you like, even have a fit, but that won't prevent me from doubting the conclusiveness of the findings on this level of the evolutionary debate. Call them "holes", call them "gaps", call them "most likely scenarios", but, either way, I cannot currently accept where evolutionary science stands on the origins of life and radical species change.

    -MZ

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  64. As long as you reject it out of knowledge and not ignornace, MZ. If you have researched the subject to the full (and that does not mean reading every article in answeringgenesis) and still find it wanting, fine.

    It sounds to me though like you haven't done that.

    That isn't surprising as it is a massive subject which required many dedicated hours to get your head around.

    It would require the same level of study to understand quantum physics. But for some reason, even though this area of science is much further "out there", there are very few theists determined to persuade people it is wrong.

    I don't understand why theiets don't take on all scientific subjects they are baffled by.

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  65. Mad Zionist,

    Who said anything about ethnic cleansing? Is n't ityour own beliefs which are focussed on that issue, what with it being your ultimate goal? Isn't that right, the Jews are the chosen right?

    Regarding your ID point it is just plain invalid. Provide one reason why ID should be considered? You can't. You have absolutely no way of differentiating your ID hypothesis from the hypothesis that the entire universe just spotaneously existed exactlyt as it is 5 seconds ago and that all of our memories are false or an infinite number of other theories that have absolutely no suggestive evidence. So why should ID be singled out of all those infinite options and given special treatment? The answer to that is of course your faith and your faith also provides absolutely no suggestive evidence. It seem impossible for you to grasp that very simple point.

    It is simply your opinion, and ill-informed one at that, that macroevolution is b is based on hypothesis and not fact. It is supported by absolutely eveyrliving thing and eabsolutely every non-living thing that has been found preserved. Not one single life form on this planet does not fit into the theory. Previosussly you belittled the link I sent you becuase the example of not finding hominid remains in the Jurassic strata was too wide and simple as a prediction. The example was illustrative for stupid and uneducated people to understand. In fact hundreds of predictions of significant precision and been born out by evidence later discovered. You ignore the massive flaws in your argument and ignore the literrally incredible amount of evidence, starting with all existing life on this planet, that fits the theory of evolution. Your opinion is thus utterly disconnected from the facts.

    So back to the ethnic clensing. No, I don't think you should be killed. Yes, I do think that you should have legal restraint placed upon you of what idiot prejudices and missinformation you can promote to children, your political opinion with regards to education should be entirely ignored and you should probably have to pass a knowledge test prior to voting. You are an irresponsible thinker, unconcerned by the evidence and the facts, absolutely blinded by your ridiculous belief in the supernatural, and I don't see any reason why those that can quite clearly see and demonstrate that you are quite mad should have to put up with you retarding their society by having equal rights to influence it. If you drive a car drunk you lose your license because you endanger yourself and others and you have demonstrated your lack of ability to responsibly control that machine. Do I think that "respecting peoples beliefs" is a valid reason to leave you drunk on irrational faith with equal access as any other to the controls of society then the answer is certainly a no. You are wrong. You are demonstrably wrong. Your reasoning is demonstrably deeply flawed. There is no way that it is rational to let you steer society and more than it is right to let the severely mentally disabled work as neurosurgeons. You lack the education and the capabilities for the job at hand. You lack the ability to reason.

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