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One in six British psychiatrists and therapists have tried to “cure” patients of homosexuality

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  1. Reminds me of Peter Seller’s psychiatrist character from “What’s new Pussycat”… a psychiatrist who belongs on the couch – not the seat next to it.
    Perhaps we could cure people of hetrosexual urges with the right electric shocks… oh wait, that would be unethical wouldn’t it?

  2. Ian Laughlin 26 Mar 2009, 6:53am

    This is a most disturbing article. I have met a number of psychiatrists in my time, but I am pleased to report that all have been totally gay friendly. When I was much younger, I did have the misfortune to come across a psychiatrist (mental health issues run in my family to several generations) who decided that he could “re-program” me. I was quite robust in my refusal, and several years later the guy was struck off after he tried to seduce a young anorexic woman. Which kind of says it all really.

  3. David North 26 Mar 2009, 7:06am

    I would suggest going to http://www.treatmentshomosexuality.org.uk/contact_us.html and telling them exactly what you think of their “treatment”. I would also suggest a complaint to the British Medical Council about this quack therapy outfit. How F@!kin dare they be allowed to advertise this filth.

    Bigatory in the highest order. And as it’s being published in EVERY paper today it will only serve to reinforce those idiots who take joy in putting us down.

    “Hey, Poofter. Go get the treatment.” That’ll be next.

  4. Sad to read, but sadly not unexpected to read. I think those 17% should spend more time paying attention to, and reading up on, newly published research papers in their professional journals, instead of letting their egos and personal views get in the way of them performing their jobs to the best of their abilities. If they can’t do this, then they have no place as practitioners of patient psychiatry.

  5. …just think that in the U.A.E., Egypt, Saudi Arabia ect. ALL psychiatrists and psycologists fight lesbianism as the fourth love and homosexuality as a mental illness. That’s normal there!

  6. But of the 17%, how long ago did these professinals offer this reparative therapy? I am not surprised there are many nearing the end of their careers who practiced it when they started out.

    The 4%, the relevant figure (at least 56 of those studied), is alarming though…..

  7. Sister Mary Clarence 26 Mar 2009, 9:37am

    “Where someone had a strong faith, then working to help the person accept their feelings but manage them appropriately may be the best approach if [the] person felt they would lose God and therefore their life was not worth living.””

    Surely as religion is a choice, it should be this that they are working to adjust rather than sexual orientation which a product of nature.

    Its a bit like saying he was f*cked up because he didn’t have three legs, so we tried to grow him another one.

    Very worrying that around 240 have tried it, by as has been pointed out, other than the 50 or so that would still do it, we don’t know how long ago they tried it. Different times and all that. The 4% (50+) is a huge worry though.

  8. I hope these idiots are not working in the NHS. If so they should be sacked. Maybe they should be looking at curing religion. Responsible for genocide and the deaths of billions over the mellennia.

  9. I wonder if there are any heterosexuals out there who think that a psychiatrist could “cure” them of heterosexuality and turn them into homosexuals? Probably none. So why on Earth would it work the other way around?

    And in respect of a patient with a strong faith who felt they would lose their god and therefore life would not be worth living, Sister Mary is right. As religion is a lifestyle choice, it should be this that psychiatrists should work on rather than the patient’s sexual orientation which is one of their intrinsic human qualities – especially as it is part of any psychiatrist’s job to challenge a patient’s unfounded beliefs about the world.

    Finally, if gay people are having psychological problems as a result of widespread prejudice (as is also the case with black people in this country who also suffer discrimination based mental health problems) then the thing to do is educate society that such bigotry is wrong and not just give in to such hateful ignorance by trying to change the victims.

  10. Every shrink in my area is either Asian or African and mainly Muslim. One asked why my Civil Partner and I hadn’t had children! Another was furious when I said I was Atheist. So, this survey doesn’t surprise me at all.
    Interesting though, I wonder if it works the other way around!

  11. Heterosexuality/homosexuality is a cultural construction; they are not even opposites. Let us give a monthly gift for 10 years to those who claim they are homosexual and then evaluate the results, and their arguments. This is the only way in those areas which are homophobic. Most arguments against homosexuality are spurious and the people have covert agendas.

  12. Surely if such therapy worked the Vatican would be its biggest client.

    All the best.

  13. Robert, ex-pat Brit 26 Mar 2009, 1:25pm

    Ivan, I’ve been advocating that for quite some time. Let the ex-gay proponents prove that a straight man or woman can be converted to a gay orientation then, maybe then they’ll have some credibility. Important to note is, note one of these fraudulent ministries or psychiatrists has provided any sound scientific evidence in any of the legitimate literature to back up their claims. As long ago as 1973, the American Psychiatric Association removed “homosexuality” from its list of mental illnesses and has condemned reparative therapy as dangerous. The 17% of British psychiatrists are probably those who actually believe that praying away the gay is another alternative, aside from aversion therapy that ex-gay ministries use with next to no success. Most of the so called ex-gays relapse, they are all in denial and it doesn’t change the fact that they are still gay. Abstaining from sex with the same gender in no way removes one’s sexual orientation which is what the ex-gay movement is all about.

  14. Erroll Clements 26 Mar 2009, 2:03pm

    What a load of cr**p ! Do they think we just suddenly wake up and decide that today’s the day we’re going to start being gay, and then skip off to Sainsburgs to get the two for one special!(with extra pink please) HULLO, how long have gay people been around and been persecuted for it, we are not exactly something new it is just that it is more open nowdays. It’s not a choice believe me, I knew at 6yrs old that I was gay and when the family found out at 19 it was a case of follow the word of the good lord or you are out !I left home and have never been back after 25 yrs, and still don’t have much to do with my family because they will not accept me. Would one do that by choice ?

  15. The American Psychological Association has recognized that homosexuals are able to restore their heterosexuality and the therapies that support such are not harmful.
    .
    .
    “APA’s New Pamphlet on Homosexuality De-emphasizes the Biological Argument, Supports a Client’s Right to Self-Determination – The APA has now begun to acknowledge what most scientists have long known: that a bio-psycho-social model of causation best fits the data.”
    .
    .
    http://narth.com/docs/deemphasizes.html
    .
    .
    Homosexuals who choose, are able to successfully restore their heterosexuality. Organizations like http://www.narth.org are there to support their decision. The notion that it’s impossible or harmful is base on ideology and not science. The fact that culture is in denial of this fact shows the hypocrisy of “tolerance” and “acceptance” of an individual’s sexual preference.

  16. Abi Chrisopher 26 Mar 2009, 3:45pm

    Because of my parents Christian belief’s when my transsexuality became evident to them I endured Christian counciling (being told I was evil), healing prayer (people telling their God and me I was evil) and exorcism of demons (physical abuse in the name of God). All that left me so messed up and repressed I joined the RAF then had a mental breakdown and tried to end my own life.

    After all that abuse and bullying sorry counciling I still ended up who I was always meant to be. The only thing that changed is I no longer have a family and a group of people have a restraining order against them.

  17. A real problem here is that many psychiatrists need help themselves! Keep out of their clutches is the best policy.

  18. Dominick J. 26 Mar 2009, 5:11pm

    What morons!!! I didn’t see if their names and addresses were printed and if they weren’t they should so these arseholes can remove their shingles and toss them into the fire!! What they try curing is HOMOPOHBIA, Now that’s curable!!!!!!

  19. Dominick J. 26 Mar 2009, 5:12pm

    OH and my bad spelling teehee!!

  20. Hmmmmm,they should be stuck off for admitting that. I have done two counselling courses and one thing that is drummed into you throughout the courses is that a counsellor. therapist whatever you want to call yourself is that you must under all circumstances be non-judgemental and not allow your own views/religious views cloud your judgement. These people have obviously done just that!!

    They are a disgrace!!!

  21. I am not gay and I think this therapy is stupid. In my opinion this is bad science.
    Dominick J. (above post) has it right – they should spend more time and effort ‘curing’ homophobia.
    Education not medication!

  22. Please, could someone with pinknews.co.uk or the author of this story re-write this: – “in particular, that there has never been a randomised control trials have ever been conducted that show that therapies to change a sexual orientation are effective.”

    I think I know part of what I think you were trying to say but I’m really not sure I’m getting it all.

    Also, “17 per cent of the professionals questioned had attempted to help patients “reduce” gay or lesbian feelings, utilising techniques such as aversion therapy, more commonly used in the 1970s and 1980s. The therapy involved associating gay imagery with electronic shocks. But, just four per cent of therapists and psychiatrists said that they would try to use such treatments if asked by a patient today.”

    So up until today they would have used aversion therapy such as electric shocks “if asked by a patient”? Incredibly revealing study.

    What if a patient asked these therapists to help them have a healthy limb amputated because the patient would be more comfortable dealing with the world that way? They wouldn’t go along with that. But to have a healthy sex drive assaulted with intentionally caused pain? Nothing short of bloody self-flagellation.

    Unless THE GAY are actually guilty of perpetrating THE BIG LIE — forever — to keep secret (ha!) from the hets that we know how we could be “repaired” if only we really wanted to behave, these therapists and their eager patients are playing some very sick S&M/D&s games to the detriment of THE GAY everywhere.

  23. Robert, ex-pat Brit 26 Mar 2009, 6:08pm

    Folks, Narth.com is an ex-gay ministry. Beware of these people. For more information, check out Wayne Besen’s website as to what NAETH is about. http://www.truthwinsout.org/tag/narth/

  24. Robert, ex-pat Brit 26 Mar 2009, 6:15pm

    To those who don’t know what NARTH is, Wayne Besen of Truth Wins Out provides information on ex-gay ministries.

    NARTH’s True Colors On Sound Science
    Posted March 24th, 2009 by Wayne Besen
    The National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH) is known for distorting research about gay and lesbian people. Critics have long claimed that NARTH’s goal is to twist science to make it fit anti-gay religious beliefs. Today, this was confirmed by an e-mail obtained by Truth Wins Out that was sent to a potential client who asked NARTH about its methods. The “therapy” group responded with this reply:

    “As an organization we are trying to maintain the ability for counselors to continue to be able to help those struggling with same sex attraction, the American Psychological Association will not listen to religious reasons so we have taken a stance to have scientific proof as to how and why we should be able to help those live a heterosexual lifestyle.”

    This is precisely why NARTH cannot be trusted. NARTH cherry-picks research and dishonestly call it “proof” that their religion is backed by research. They disregard anything that does not back their agenda

  25. Absolutely Robert. Narth masquerades as a scientific organisation but is infact a religious propaganda machine – entirel funded by ministries and wingnuts.

  26. Poor Hank is seriously mentally ill.

  27. Ian Laughlin 26 Mar 2009, 7:24pm

    Pink News Comments Board does seem to be flavour of the month with US funded anti-gay fanatics at the moment. The NARTH organisation is tiny, with less than 200 members – and is virtually unknown outside of a handful of fundamentalist Christian circles. Interestingly, consistent Christians – even anti-gay ones – have repudiated it for its use of faux-Freudianism. Freud was after all, a severe critic of religion and theologically at odds at the doctrine of free will. (And incidentally, Freud refused to have anything to do with any of the strange heterosexual reprogramming attempts of his day). The religious “ex-gay” organisations, as flawed as they are, have largely steered clear of NARTH, finding its strange “therapies” and odd theories about “real men” rather embarrassing. This has left the organisation extremely isolated and ineffective. Attempts were made in the 1990’s to directly recruit gay youngsters via aggressive campaigining but to little avail.

    So, where does this leave NARTH today? Increasingly embittered, it has turned on the psychiatric profession from which it once begged tricks. As more and more studies have been published which find that non-heterosexual functionality and mental health is equivalent to anyone else’s, and as dysfunction amongst homophobes is analysed, so it has retreated to wildly exaggerated conspiracy theories to explain its failures. The APA is a secret homosexualist cabal which was taken over in the early 1970’s to promote the international gay agenda; psychiatrists and psychologists are all liberals financed by the communist-Judaist-vegetarian world government – and so on, ad infinitum.

    Of course, the final sickness in all of this game-playing is that NARTH also ratchets up general hostility to people – heterosexual or otherwise – who have experienced mental ill-health.

    http://www.americablog.com/2005/12/wash-post-homophobes-may-be-mentally.html

    http://againstbiblicalcounseling.blogspot.com/2009/01/homphobia-as-mental-illness.html

  28. Ian Laughlin 26 Mar 2009, 7:32pm

    Quite right Neville: it is tempting to throw the mental illness accusation back at the well financed homo-haters who seem to crawl out from under their dirty little keyboards when these issues emerge. However, there’s a danger that one stoops to their level and in the process adds to the general marginalisation of people living with mental ill health. We can take solace in the fact that people who become fixated on gay people (or Jews, black people, liberals or whoever) will, unless they address their issues, merely build up suffering for themselves. Since none of these groups are going to go away, and are a part of daily life, then the fixated individual will either become more and more withdrawn from society or develop ever more elaborate and aggressive defence mechanisms – such as obsessionally posting on gay internet fora. Either way, the only people who they are psychologically damaging are themselves. Shame really.

  29. You are quite right,Ian. The best response to Hank and his ilk is non-response, that is never comment on anything he says.

  30. “The APA vote to normalize homosexuality was driven by politics, not
    science”

    And Hank, you’re an expert in science, aren’t you? You believe in creationism, the literal Adam and Eve… not quite the pinnacle of scientific fact, now, is it? I love you religious nut jobs, who use science when it suits, but wouldn’t now what science was if it got up and raped your eyes.

    Given you’re a half blind albino ex-gay (as pointed out by your own posting previously), you really had a lot of hate inside you to the world, and hating yourself for being gay was really the straw the broke your back, wasn’t it?

    The others are right, you are mentally ill.

  31. Bent Sauer 26 Mar 2009, 7:56pm

    who is sick????

  32. Abi Chrisopher 26 Mar 2009, 10:07pm

    Even Dawin saw the fossil evidence of the link between dinosaurs and birds its in the natural history museum in London its called Archaeopteryx.

    At some point Hank you really must question who your trying to convince the people reading your posts or yourself. The fact your on this site shows your NOT an ex gay your just repressed.

  33. Hank – do you actually know anything about evolution? Have you ever read even a brief synopsis of the theory? Come to think of it, do you know anything about science and its methodologies? Maybe you should go off and do a little research on basic science before commenting on evolution. Y’know, it’s uninformed and truly uneducated people such as yourself that these creationists thrive on to perpetuate their lies – you don’t have the intellectual werewithall to understand their deception.

  34. Allen,

    “…these therapists and their eager patients are playing some very sick S&M/D&s games to the detriment of THE GAY everywhere.”

    “… But to have a healthy sex drive assaulted with intentionally caused pain? Nothing short of bloody self-flagellation. …”

    Is there really any need to stoop to anti-kink hatred here? SM and D/s are perfectly healthy, informed-consensual, and safe intimate pleasures, just like queer sex.

    “… What if a patient asked these therapists to help them have a healthy limb amputated because the patient would be more comfortable dealing with the world that way? They wouldn’t go along with that. …”

    You also might want to revise this illustration, since it is almost word for word one used to advocate all sorts of nastiness against transgender people, from refusing life-unlocking healthcare to classifying trans people as “mad” and sectioning them.

    in queer solidarity,
    Jessikat

  35. Hank – I’ll gloss over the fact you’re wholly ignorant of Archaeoptrex in the fossil record and cut to the chase… there’s nothing wrong with you that drinking 3 pints of lager wouldn’t solve.

  36. @ all the Christians and other religiously-motivated pro-quackery posters here:

    While scientific evidence certainly does NOT support claims of effective sexual re-orientation, historical evidence HAS effectively falsified the claims of Orthodox Christianity.

    There can be no reasonable doubt on HISTORICAL grounds that the Apostolic generation of Christians expected the imminent, apocalyptic arrival of the Kingdom of God in the first century, and they portrayed Jesus as doing so too (Mark 13:1-30).

    The Kingdom didn’t come. The Apostles were wrong. Deluded.

    You see! There IS a cure for Christinsanity…

    All it requires is the simple willingness to face the evidence and its clear implications.

  37. Ok Hank – done that. There are a few issues with Horner’s methodology and certainly that will be tackled in the peer reviews. But that is the point. No one scientist will have exclusive rights to the truth. They will research their area of expertise, publish results in journals and have their work peer reviewed, debated and re-examined to determine whether or not their results should be added to a body of knowledge or dismissed. Now, show me where ANY creationist “scientist” has done proper research using established scientific methodologies and then published and had it peer reviewed. Oops, you can’t can you – because none of those nutcases have ever proposed any hypothesis that supports their outrageous claims. They just scream “Gawd did it” and slag off everyone elses work.

  38. Dominick J. 27 Mar 2009, 1:26am

    OMG Hank!! Adam and Eve and the Creation story is just that A STORY!!! Most of everything in the old testament were ORAL stories handed down from generation to generation and they were ment to spoken until, at the time when writing came along, some one said, ahhhhhhhhhhh I think I’ll write down this STORY! AND wahla a story with another story and other until there were enough to make a book. BUT then someone said which stories do I keep to put in this book? AND then thousands of years after the stories the person writng the book says “And you know what? I think this should be known as the “word of GOD!” Nobody found thr bones of Adam of Eve BUT the bones of the fist Homosapen were found, and the bones of Dinosaurs were found, BUT no bones of Adam and No bones of Eve who by the way couldn’t have fathered ALL the childen in the beginning, because when Caine fled, God caught him and banished him to another city that was already POPULATED. And another thing, accoding to the BOOK, God said to Adam and Eve when they were banished from Eden, “go out and multiply” HE didn’t say go out and get married and multiply!!
    Sorry Hank, you’re GAY and you were born that way and if you belive in God then You must know you were created by DESIGN! And if you don’t believe in GOD then you Must know You still were created by design!!

  39. Dominick J. 27 Mar 2009, 2:22am

    I don’t know if the thought occured to anyone else BUT How in the hell did we get from “Research published today in the BMC Psychiatry journal shows that a sixth of registered British therapist and psychiatrists have attempted to “cure” patients of homosexuality”

    To what we’ve all be talking about??? ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhahahahaha
    Lets’ take care of the fruit of loom Quaks before we start on the other “stuff” and I’ll be the first to say Hank get a life!!

  40. Derek Northcote 27 Mar 2009, 5:53am

    Its obvious that Professor Hank, deems himself to be a professor of everything.

    Scary thing is, when idiots like him, with his supreme “cut and paste” ability gets together with his misfortunate Deity belief,
    we all must cower under his ignorance.

    I don’t bloody think so.

    Hank. Just F off.

    Go away. Meet your god. Stop bothering everything on this forum.

    You are not wanted.

    You would think it would be possible for this bloody rag to stop “hate mongers” like HANK, however they seem to enjoy it.

  41. Mihangel apYrs 27 Mar 2009, 7:53am

    I don’t care why I’m gay, I’ve been this way since the first time my cock erected, the object of my sex interest has always been men. I have never had a “heterosexuality” to return to!

    And indeed if it is a “choice”, who chooses to be slighted, alianated, bullied, and beaten JUST to get one’s jollies?!

    And for humanity’s sake, keep religion out of politics, policy, education and medicine (as starters) – no-one has the right to impose limitations on other people on religious or indeed moral bases – both are subjective.

  42. Jessikat,

    I said: “…these therapists and their eager patients are playing some very sick S&M/D&s games to the detriment of THE GAY everywhere.”

    I said: “… But to have a healthy sex drive assaulted with intentionally caused pain? Nothing short of bloody self-flagellation. …”

    You asked: Is there really any need to stoop to anti-kink hatred here? SM and D/s are perfectly healthy, informed-consensual, and safe intimate pleasures, just like queer sex.

    Ahh, there’s the rub, pun intended. “Perfectly healthy, informed-consensual, and safe intimate pleasures” are the opposite of what these people are indulging in. Only the therapist is consenting, because the patient in these instances is incapable of giving informed consent, because the therapist won’t honestly inform him! The power exchange is not equally agreed upon, and there is no safe word. There is torture happening, and only one partner to the torture is fully aware. Those are the sick and twisted parts of what should be a normal therapy arrangement between two adults, just as normal S&M/D&s arrangements are. These therapists remind me a great deal of those bad players in those arenas. Nothing against S&M/D&s coming from me.

    I said: “… What if a patient asked these therapists to help them have a healthy limb amputated because the patient would be more comfortable dealing with the world that way? They wouldn’t go along with that. …”

    You suggested: You also might want to revise this illustration, since it is almost word for word one used to advocate all sorts of nastiness against transgender people, from refusing life-unlocking healthcare to classifying trans people as “mad” and sectioning them.

    It may be, but I never use it that way, and I was thinking of those people who actually have healthy limbs (arms, legs, etc.) amputated because they have that need. I also don’t care if they do that, though I would try to talk a friend out of it. Regarding trans people, this has nothing to do with them. I know what you are referring to though, and I’ll try to be more explicit *if* I ever again find myself referring to the particular limb-cutter-offers to whom I was clumsily referring.

    Go play, you “queer polyamorous hedonistic-yet-loving femme-centric pansexual panaffectional pankinky D/s & SM switch nympho hugslut slightly-genderqueerish non-op trans girl.” That’s an order from yo daddy! JK!

  43. Unfortunately and tragically there are an awful lot closet cases out there who are consumed by homophobic self-loathing.

    I suspect that some of these closets go to their local psychiatrist and coerce them – against their own better professional judgement – to do something about their ‘unwanted sexuality’.

    Reading this study it appears that the majority of psychiatrists were reluctant to give this treatment but only did so because they were pressurised by their clients; and only a very small proportion of psychiatrists really bought into ex-gay ideology.

    The problem here is not so much the ex-gay movement but the internalised homophobia of people struggling with their sexuality. And perhaps the REAL problem is that the gay world is insufficiently welcoming to people who are trying to come out. And given that gay nightclubs, cruise bars, saunas and fetish clubs seems to be the be all and end all of the gay scene, this problem is hardly surprising at all.

  44. I can be a jerk sometimes, more often than I would like. But the real jerk is the guy – it had to be a guy – who sat down one day thousands of years ago and scribbled a few stupid words about men loving men in a book called Leviticus. Those who read these stupid words as the «word of God» are the descendants jerks of the Great Jerk.

    I thought this article was nauseating, especially with the photograph of the electrical shock equipment used in aversion therapy. My kid brother was a victim of this cruelty. He became so aggressive we didn’t recognize him anymore, until one day he threw himself into my mother’s arms and collapsed. He was pronounced D.O.A. at 28 years old, the year, 1986. R.I.P., my beautiful Maurice.

  45. @ Mal

    I agree with some of your observations about the commercial gay scene. However, I believe the ex-gay quackery movement is just the tip of an iceberg of religiously-motivated hatred that, historically, has influenced our culture, and brought about the very self-loathing that some LGBT people experience. After all, no reasonably healthy child loathes him or herself ‘naturally’ — this has to be learned in an atmosphere of contempt and hatred.

    …An atmosphere of contempt & hatred caused largely by the very religious ideologies underpinning the ‘ex-gay’ industry.

    It’s a very sick kind of ‘blame-the-victim’, Bait & Switch hustle these quacks are selling….

  46. Hey Dominick J
    I can handle one major question at a time.

    You say “OMG Hank!! Adam and Eve and the Creation story is just that A STORY!!! Most of everything in the old testament were ORAL stories handed down from generation to generation and they were ment to spoken until, at the time when writing came along, some one said, ahhhhhhhhhhh I think I’ll write down this STORY!

    (Please tell me where you got this information? When you give
    me a verifable answer, I have an important question for you)

  47. Dominick J. 27 Mar 2009, 3:53pm

    Hank I posted twice to answer your question but for some reason my post didn’t go through.

  48. We need to know who these offending “therapists” are in terms of their religious beliefs and so on, so that the issue can be appropriately challenged. The NHS and social care agencies in the UK are supposed to be non-homophobic, but also non-racist and also to respect people’s belief systems. Clearly, there can be a real problem where practitioners of certain religious affiliations belive that being gay is wrong. In my experience (as a therapist working in the NHS)this is never challenged – it’s felt to be too sensitive. This really won’t do! If a practitioner’s religious values prevent them from giving a decent service to their patients, or giving downright abuse as in this case, then we should know who they are and they should be dismissed.

  49. 47.

    Hank I posted twice to answer your question but for some reason my post didn’t go through.

    Comment by Dominick

    I belive you — the same thing happened to me a couple of
    my comments yesterday — I had to post it a third time.

  50. Dominick J. 27 Mar 2009, 6:01pm

    well I’m trying to post it but a pop up comes up and says I already posted it BUT it’s NOT here!!

  51. Dominick J. 27 Mar 2009, 6:03pm

    “Most of the Bible started out as oral tradition, as stories passed from generation to generation. Stories told to enraptured crowds. Stories that stretched people’s imaginations. Stories that helped people bridge the gaps between what they knew and didn’t know about the world around them. Stories that helped them make sense of their lives.”

    If this comes through I’ll send the link it came from.

    Other than this I suggest you take a theology class or write to Dr. Funk, Dominic Crossan, Bishop Spong

  52. Dominick J. 27 Mar 2009, 6:12pm

    I can’t seem to post the link so I suggest doing a GOOGLE search for Canerbury Northwestern “Mama Tell Me A Story”

  53. Hey Dominick J. I checked out “Mama Tell Me A Story” by
    liz Stedman. She tells a good fairy tale, but I’m certain
    she’s ignorant of the original Scripture writings.

    You’re wrong that the ancient Scripture was all oral….they wrote on animal skins because they had no writing paper. Please read the below for an authentic view of the Old Testament that goes back 4,000 years. Also please point out any unreliability of believing Scripture as it’s presented today. Sorry for
    the great length, but it’s a serious topic.

    Because the Scripture was The Holy Word of God, it was treated and
    handled with the utmost respect, and you’ll see that’s the
    reason it can be trusted to be The Truth of God.

    How the Old Testament Was Preserved
    Skeptics have pointed out that the oldest extant version of the Old Testament is less than 1,500 years old. The skeptic looks at the manuscript and says, “The first books of the Bible were written hundreds and hundreds of years before this copy.” He says, “All we have available to us is a copy of a copy of a copy, etc. After centuries and centuries of transcribing copies of copies of copies, there must be HUNDREDS of errors in the text of the Old Testament!”

    Bible skeptics say this is surely what has happened to the Bible as it was recopied over the centuries. The accurate preservation of the Bible should be a concern for all Christians.

    It’s important to understand that the copying methods used in reproducing the Bible were computer-like in their accuracy – (also without a virus that messes up today’s computers)
    ]
    Notice the beginning of the history of biblical preservation:
    “And it came to pass, when Moses had made an end of writing the words of this law in a book, until they were finished, that Moses commanded the Levites, which bare the ark of the covenant of the Lord, saying, “Take this book of the law, and put it in the side of the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God, that it may be there for a witness against thee” (Deuteronomy 31:24-26).

    Here we see the beginning of the sacred trust given to the Levites to safeguard the Scriptures. The “writings of words” referred to here are the first five books of the Bible: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy, also known as the Law or Pentateuch (Greek) or Torah (Hebrew).

    From that time forward, the religious leaders of Israel became the zealous guardians of the Scriptures. Later, after the Babylonian captivity of Judah, these Scriptures were practically worshipped as much as was the Creator Himself. It could be said that the love that the Jews had for the Law was tantamount to idolatry! They watched over these Sacred Writings more carefully than any other possession in the Holy Land.

    Joshua, Moses’ successor, also instructed the Israelites to have a special concern for “all the words of the Law” (Joshua 8:35). He told the people to sit down as the Law was read to them. This reading probably took several days because the Torah was a lengthy volume.

    Many people assume that Paul wrote more of the Bible than any other servant of God. Actually, Paul wrote more books than anyone else, but Moses wrote more volume. Each of Moses’ five books was much longer than any of Paul’s smaller books. All in all, Moses wrote about three times as much material as Paul.

    In the time of Joshua, the entirety of the Torah was read to the children of Israel. A great reverence for the Scripture had developed within one generation after the Exodus.

    We also see that, the Levites were not the only ones involved in preserving the Scriptures. God knew that the day would come when His people would reject Him as their king and that they would insist on having a human king (Deuteronomy 17:14-15).

    But notice what God instructed the new king to do: “And it shall be, when he sitteth upon the throne of his kingdom, that he shall write him a copy of this law in a book out of that which is before the priests the Levites: And it shall be with him, and he shall read therein all the days of his life: that he may learn to fear the Lord his God, to keep all the words of this law and these statutes, to do them” (verses 18-19).

    The kings of Israel not only had to study and obey the Law, they also had to write their own personal copies of that Law!

    The Rules of Copying:
    Now, the result of this reverence was the creation of a system of copying which is nothing less than astounding. The Levites had to create a system of making new copies of the Bible as old copies wore out and had to be destroyed. They knew it would be easy to make a mistake in copying a new transcript, so here is what they did. They developed elaborate and meticulous RULES for transcribing.

    They decreed that when a person was making a new text, he had to copy the original page with such exactness that the number of words on a page could not be changed. If the original page had 288 words, then the page being copied had to have the same 288 words.

    Each line on a new page had to be the exact same as the line on the old page. If the first line on the original page had nine words, the first line on the copy page had to have nine words.
    After a page was copied, the number of letters on that page was counted and compared with the original.

    After a page was copied, each letter was counted and compared with the original. After a page was copied, someone would check to see what the middle letter was on the copy and the original.
    “A synagogue roll [remember that they did not have paper as we do today] must be written on the skins of clean animals, the length of each column must not extend less than 48 or more than 80 lines; the breadth must consist of 30 letters. No word or letter, not even a yod, must be written from memory… Between every consonant the space of a hair or thread must intervene, between every book three lines. Besides this the copyist must sit in full Jewish dress, and wash his whole body” (Hebrew Text of the Old Testament, Davidson).

    The scribes were not allowed to copy sentence for sentence or even word for word. They had to copy letter for letter.
    After a page was copied and checked by another, still a third person would check to see what the middle word was on the page. Then, when the whole book was finished, another would count the phrases.

    These are just a few examples of the great detail that went into ensuring the accuracy of the Scriptures. There were many more steps taken in the process. All of this could be characterized as a “fence to the Scriptures (Massorah) because it locked all words and letters in their places… It records the number of times the several letters occur in the various books of the Bible; the number of words, and the middle word; the number of verses, and the middle verse; the number of expressions and combinations of words, etc… All this …for the set purpose of safeguarding the Sacred Text, and preventing the loss or misplacement of a single letter or word” (Bullinger, The Companion Bible).

    These men had no worry whatsoever that there might have been an error. For that reason, they felt no more need to keep their older copies than a data processing manager feels a need to keep his older printouts when he knows his current hard copies are accurate.

    The Role of the Scribes
    The ancient Israelites kept a copy of the Scriptures in the first Temple. They put it inside the Ark of the Covenant. This copy became known as “The Temple Scriptures.”

    Even though the first temple was destroyed and the Jews were taken to Babylon, the Scriptures were preserved. In the Babylonian captivity, a group of Levites who became known as the Scribes painstakingly copied and disseminated the Scriptures to other Jews.

    One of the most important historical figures during this time was Ezra. He was not only a scribe, but the last of the Old Testament prophets. He probably wrote Chronicles and is said to have fixed the Old Testament canon around 400 B.C.

  54. Of course, we can cut through the above post with the realisation that there is no evidence whatsoever for any event in the so-called ‘books of Moses’. How appropriate that Exodus Ministries should name themselves after an event which did not happen!

    Soloman – no hard evidence for any temple and none whatsoever for any empire from the writings of the Egyptians and Babylonians, Hittites or any other civilisation in the middle east at the time.

    Reassuring to think that the massacres, genocide, infanticide, and god-commanded rape described in Deuteronomy and Numbers are all fiction. Unfortunately because people believe this nonsense to be true there will always be misery in the middle east. The only way for a peaceful world is to walk away from superstition: man made god, not the other way round.

  55. Yo Adrian, you say, “Reassuring to think that the massacres, genocide, infanticide, and god-commanded rape described in Deuteronomy and Numbers are all fiction” Don’t deceive
    yourself Adrian.

    Throughout the Holy Bible, we can form general interpretations of the various acts of providence, including natural and “man-made” disasters. And we have the Scripture saying that when disasters like hurricanes, tsunamis, and even terrorist attacks
    occur, killing thousands of people, there is a hidden element of divine punishment.

    But whatever the reason for the event, God is perfect in His judgement, even when we as humans don’t understand it.

    To speak plainly, God kills these people because they are living in sin and they deserve to die, and the time is ripe to punish them. The worldwide flood killed millions of people and only
    8 righteous people survived.

    If you reject this, you are a heathen, for your faith rests in yourself and your own opinions, and it is evident that you have no regard for God and Scripture and you risk sudden death and eternal punishment. Don’t hide in your sin and look to God to give you love when you don’t deserve it.

  56. Yo Adrian, you say,” Of course, we can cut through the above post with the realisation that there is no evidence whatsoever for any event in the so-called ‘books of Moses’.

    But Moses was there and he witnessed and wrote about many
    events in his lifetime. For example:

    Moses’ Comet, by Mike Baillie
    Discovering Archeology, July/August 1999

    Moses called down a host of calamities upon Egypt until the pharaoh finally freed the Israelites. Perhaps he had the help of a comet impact coupled with a volcano. A volcano destroyed the island of Santorini in the Aegean Sea (between today’s Greece and Turkey) around the middle of the second millennium B.C.

    Researchers Val LaMarche and Kathy Hirschboeck suggest the volcano might be associated with tree-ring evidence for several years of intense cold beginning in 1627 B.C. Could that form the basis for strange meteorological phenomena recorded in the biblical book of Exodus?

    In the book of Exodus, which describes events a few hundred kilometers from Santorini, we read of a pillar of cloud and fire, a lingering darkness, and the parting of the Red Sea. An enormous column of ash must have hung in the sky over the eruption (the Israelites’ “pillar of cloud by day and fire by night?”), and the volcano doubtless caused a tsunami, or tidal wave (which could have drowned a pharaoh’s army).

    The Exodus story is traditionally dated to either the thirteenth or fifteenth century B.C. Those dates, however, depend ultimately on identifying the “Pharaoh of the Oppression,” and historians have never proven to which ruler that infamous title referred. Many biblical scholars will disagree, but I suggest that a seventeenth-century B.C. date is not impossible.

    Mike Baillie is a leading dendrochronologist and Professor of Palaeoecology at Queen’s University, Belfast, Northern Ireland. His book, Exodus to Arthur, describes in detail his theory of comet encounters and turning points of civilization.

  57. Well, of course I have no regard for god – that would be ridiculous, since god does not exist. Charles Darwin answered that one 150 years ago – and the heavens get emptier as science advances, thankfully so. And I don’t use ‘faith’ as a way of finding the truth. Evidence, reason, logic – these are the real yardsticks.

    You sum up why you cannot be a God person and a good person: you’re actually saying to people is “Accept my lovely message or burn”. Is this morality, Hank? What is the difference between this evil, horrible piece of blackmail in Matt 25:41, and the 9/11 hijackers, or the murderers in Bombay and Bali.

    All the actions you perform are dictated by this threat. You admit that you only do a right action, to evade a wrong one. Or more bluntly, the only reason you don’t go murdering, raping, stealing, is that it would stop you from gaining eternal life.

    I don’t need such bronze age nonsense to tell me right from wrong. And I am sure, any Israelites would have never reached mount Sinai in the first place, if they did not know it was wrong to kill, steal and lie.

    I not only cannot believe, but I am delighted to think no such celestial dictator exists, examining our every move and ready to convict us even of thought crime. The only reason you believe this is because in 312 CE a Balkan thug called Constantine slaughtered his way to Rome. It’s been spread by coercion ever since.

    This is your one and only life, make the most of this short period of consciousness while you can, before you’re dead forever again. Stop preparing yourself for an eternal life which will not come.
    That’s why I invite you and everyone reading this to walk away from this childish belief tonight.

  58. Absence of evidence = evidence of absence. The onus is on you to provide any evidence for ‘Moses’, not me to prove he didn’t exist. You’re the one who makes such a claim.

    Carl Sagan in his excellent ‘Demon Haunted World’ – p. 210 – talks about the ‘Baloney Detection Kit': how to sniff out bullshit, Penn & Teller style. 2 rules stand out in this conversation:

    – ‘wherever possible, there must be independent confirmation of the ‘facts’. We want to avoid this: Eg. Q How do we know the bible is true? A: It’s the word of god Q: How do we know that A: the Bible says so. This is a circular argument. And of course, all 4 gospels completely contradict eachother on the most basic details of Jesus’ life, getting more banal the later they are written.
    I need confirmation of something outside what was written – archaelogical evidence, lists of gifts from the tablets of royal courts of the Pharoahs or the emperors and kings of Babylon, Assyria, van, for example. Or the Greeks, Persians, Medians…. but no, absolutely nothing!

    2. Spin more than one hypothesis. if something could be explained, think of ALL the different ways it could be explained. What’s more likely explanation for DNA: the original, more basic replicator – a crystalline or clay structure for example, we cannot know – was simply replaced by a more efficient one? or, ‘god’ did it? (for more refer to Richard Dawkins, ‘Blind Watchmaker’, chapter 6, ‘origins and miracles’. I am not going to copy and paste 28 pages, in any case high quality information is found in real, offset-printed and bound books, not on cranky websites.)

    Hank, your problem is that you have TWO massive leaps of creation to solve: the sudden arrival of a perfectly harmonious universe, with 70 million million million stars all in one go, AND the creation of the designer who created it. You just shove the problem of creation one stage further.

    I’ve seen that silly website you referred to – my blood boils from the introduction – it makes the huge mistake with the premise that evolution is all random chance, which it is not.

    The problem, really, is that your belief in god is stopping you from pursuing any unbiased enquiry. No doubt you swallowed the warning in Rick Warrens ridiculous ‘purpose driven live’ against this (‘don’t try to reason with the devil, after all he’s had thousands of years of practice’). Funny how all the people who cannot accept the fact of evolution are almost all religious isn’t it?

  59. (Sorry folks, the original thread is officially dead now – it’s punch and judy again, from now on)

    Where does morality come from? Well most certainly not religion. In fact, this is best summed up by Ibn Warraq, ex-muslim, the You Tube video ‘Ibn Warraq defends western values'; see also Dan Dennett’s book ‘freedom evolves’).

    We have evolved to co-operate, like our other ape ancestors. we just do it at a more sophisticated level (cf Matt Ridley, ‘origins of virtue’). Doing to others as you would be done by – the so-called golden rule – was around for centuries before the supposed Jesus reportedly made this statement. We knew that already.

    Those ancestors that did not co-operate (‘the cheats’) would have been excluded, and died out. We rush to help strangers because evolution has programmed us to. In 8000 years, we have gone from tiny tribes where we know everyone, to a global community. (There will, of course, always be psychopaths, which just proves we are not a perfectly designed species.). That possibly explains why we feel guilt, sorrow, or a need to rush to the aid of people we do not know (Guilt is a healthy motivation: I could not live with myself if I had done nothing)

    Morality evolves, too: we have the police, the judiciary, accountable and fairly represented governments; we also get our morality from understanding about the world through news reports, plays and dramas, through philosophy like John Stuart Mill and many others, and of course through science: microbes – not judgements of god – make us ill for example.

    The pinnacle of morality is the 1948 UN Declaration of Human Rights, which islamofascist dictatorships like Iran and Saudi are busy trying, right now, to undermine, with some silly clause to prevent defamation of religion. All the advances in morality came through a bitter fight with religion, certainly not because of it.

    Good to see the reports in the USA by the way, indicating that religion is withering on the vine. One in Six is a non-believer – the 3rd biggest belief group. Organised religion is like the Fig tree in mark 11:12. Who knows, in 20 years, Saddleback Church will become disused, and will be holding circuit parties blasting out house music – and the lecterns being used to hold a pair Pioneer CDJ 1000’s, rather than some crusty old book :-))

  60. Sister Mary Clarence 28 Mar 2009, 1:11pm

    Hank:

    “However, you may purchase male or female slaves from among the foreigners who live among you. You may also purchase the children of such resident foreigners, including those who have been born in your land. You may treat them as your property, passing them on to your children as a permanent inheritance. You may treat your slaves like this, but the people of Israel, your relatives, must never be treated this way.”

    (Leviticus 25:44-46 NLT)

    “If you buy a Hebrew slave, he is to serve for only six years. Set him free in the seventh year, and he will owe you nothing for his freedom. If he was single when he became your slave and then married afterward, only he will go free in the seventh year. But if he was married before he became a slave, then his wife will be freed with him. If his master gave him a wife while he was a slave, and they had sons or daughters, then the man will be free in the seventh year, but his wife and children will still belong to his master. But the slave may plainly declare, ‘I love my master, my wife, and my children. I would rather not go free.’ If he does this, his master must present him before God. Then his master must take him to the door and publicly pierce his ear with an awl. After that, the slave will belong to his master forever.”

    (Exodus 21:2-6 NLT)

    “When a man sells his daughter as a slave, she will not be freed at the end of six years as the men are. If she does not please the man who bought her, he may allow her to be bought back again. But he is not allowed to sell her to foreigners, since he is the one who broke the contract with her. And if the slave girl’s owner arranges for her to marry his son, he may no longer treat her as a slave girl, but he must treat her as his daughter. If he himself marries her and then takes another wife, he may not reduce her food or clothing or fail to sleep with her as his wife. If he fails in any of these three ways, she may leave as a free woman without making any payment.”

    (Exodus 21:7-11 NLT)

    “When a man strikes his male or female slave with a rod so hard that the slave dies under his hand, he shall be punished. If, however, the slave survives for a day or two, he is not to be punished, since the slave is his own property.”

    (Exodus 21:20-21 NAB)

    “Slaves, obey your earthly masters with deep respect and fear. Serve them sincerely as you would serve Christ.”

    (Ephesians 6:5 NLT)

    “The servant will be severely punished, for though he knew his duty, he refused to do it. “But people who are not aware that they are doing wrong will be punished only lightly. Much is required from those to whom much is given, and much more is required from those to whom much more is given.”

    (Luke 12:47-48 NLT)

    Hank I assume from your various postings that you follow to the letter the teachings of the Bible, and in light of that, could you please confirm your position on slavery? If you could put particular emphasise on your position in regard to their kidnap (Exodus 21:2-6 NLT), rape (Exodus 21:7-11 NLT) and murder (Exodus 21:20-21 NAB)

    Approval of the slave trade did not end with the Old Testament, as Luke’s testament shows.

    You have previously stated that:

    “They decreed that when a person was making a new text, he had to copy the original page with such exactness that the number of words on a page could not be changed. If the original page had 288 words, then the page being copied had to have the same 288 words.”

    “Each line on a new page had to be the exact same as the line on the old page. If the first line on the original page had nine words, the first line on the copy page had to have nine words.
    After a page was copied, the number of letters on that page was counted and compared with the original.”

    “After a page was copied, each letter was counted and compared with the original. After a page was copied, someone would check to see what the middle letter was on the copy and the original.”

    This being the case then I think we can be quite confident, having acknowledged your reassurances, that by ‘slave’, the scriptures do actually mean ‘slave’ and not, as is sometimes put forward, “servant”, “bondservant”, or even “manservant”. Though to be fair, reading some of the texts, whoever you would be doing some of these things to they would still be very wrong.

    If you could clear this up for us it would be great, and I know you’ll have some very interesting views to share.

  61. Sister Mary Clarence 28 Mar 2009, 1:13pm

    Adrian, just like to compliment you on some excellent postings

  62. “The truth is you cannot believe any of this, because your belief
    system is directed by your selfish thinking…..a very constricted
    outlook and actually prevents you from any worldwide view of
    life. You actually live a very small life and I feel sorry for
    you)”

    I’ll be quick because the football’s about to start but really: what is more beautiful and majestic – the story of Evolution, the big bang, the view to the beginnings of time 13 bn years ago through the Hubble telescope….. or a burning bush? whose outlook is being constrained? Whatever floats your boat, it’s your life you’re wasting.

    “…you only comment with your opinion (never with any evidence or
    facts that I can check for myself)…”

    It must be said, you only comment with other peoples’ opinions. I’ve given you plenty of refernces in the past – real books choc- full of citations from recognised scientific papers, you can find for yourself in libraries.

    You just cut and paste nonsense full of non-squiturs, false premises, selective observations, confusing correlations with causations, I could go on – and you refuse to defend your points when questioned. You posted a bogus article and I rumbled you. You tried to pass white supremicist hatespeech off as a scientific citation. I don’t take any of your posts seriously as it’s clar you are looking for anything and everything on the internet which meets your warped view of the world – and as we all know, there are enough nutcases out there promoting everything from 9/11 conspiracies to flat earth societies. You’re clearly in good company.

  63. What’s so miraculous about out earth?

    So, out of all the failed galaxies, collapsed stars, uninhabitable planets – there is our planet which happened to be hospitable to life. But a good proportion of our planet is too cold or too hot. And for the vast majority of that time, (90% of its age so far) no complicated life has been possible. And 99% of all life that ever was, is extinct. SOME DESIGN!!!!

    Science is counter intuitive. We have evolved to think in distances of millimetres to miles, to be able to think in terms of thousands of years, to see only a tiny fraction of the wavelengths that exist.

    Your definition of science is completely wrong – it’s about making hypotheses, testing them to see if it meets the predictions. cf bacon, scientific method (look it up yourself) Evolution does exactly that, time and time again. It;s the strongest theory there is. It’s had geological time to get going, and for life to evolve. Science is precisely about testing that which we cannot simply see for ourselves. Evolution isn’t just about bones (?). Go to a museum. Geology, the DNA record, taxonomy, anthropology, geography, as well as the fossil record. All the independent lines of evidence meet and that’s what gives strength to the findings.

    You, however, have nothing to support your case – just words, hot air…..

  64. (thankyou for the kind compliment Sister Mary – and don’t forget to add some anti-semitic quotes from 1 Thessalonians too. Hitler referred to them in some of his speeches.)

    But, Hank – if you don’t know what evolution is about – you don’t know what you are arguing against in the first place. Go read ‘The Selfish Gene’ then come back with some coherent comments.

  65. Dominick J. 29 Mar 2009, 1:35am

    Hank lets face it all you are is a Religious Right Evangelical and YOU are NOT open to interpretation of any kind. You think your view/interpretations are the only ones, which fortunately for a lot us, they are not. So as far as I’m concerned You’re Full of HOT over bloated AIR!
    A slave is a salve is a slave whether Pharoh owns them, Ceasar owns them, God of Jehova owns them!! No matter how good or bad they’re treated they are still slaves and Lincoln was the first person to set slaves free!

  66. Really, your ignorance and stupidity reaches yet new lows.

    Don’t talk to me about evading questions – you’re the one who claims to know how the universe started, and who was responsible. Your job to prove those ridiculous claims, not me.

    You spent all your time last time round posting lies from neo Nazi hatespeech pamphlets and magazines which did not exist – a pathological liar. You still evade any questions about that – because, as you know, you just found something that appeals to your bigotry, and passed it off as fact, hoping people wouldn’t notice. You are a truly nasty piece of work – I caught you out, lying for Jesus. I can’t remind readers of this enough, and will continue to do so, every time you post on this website.

    So, because Richard Dawkins doesn’t believe in god, you won’t even bother to read what he has to say. How babyish. Not only are you a bigot, you’re a blind fool, who needs to be told what to believe, because you cannot think for yourself, as your rabid, brainless posts show. Indeed, I expect you to read the book, without bringing fictitious notions of ‘god’ into the picture. The Selfish Gene is packed with citations. I am not wasting my time reprinting them for your benefit, simply because you are too thick or stupid or stubborn to look the references up I give you.

    It seems to go completely over your head that science is based on real hard facts that hypotheses are used to make PREDICTIONS that can be tested. That’s why science – evolution – is not faith. You can find a rabbit fossil in the pre cambrian rock strata and the theory will fall like a pack of cards. Similarly, if Jesus reveals himself, e.g. in the middle of a football match, for all to see – then we can talk of the science of Christianity. I am prepared to change my opinion if the evidence is strong enough, unlike you, who has all the answers to life.

    Above all, airplanes and spaceships fly, magic carpets ad broomsticks don’t – science, unlike faith, works. Try lighting the room with prayer instead of electricity one day and see what happens. But also, science does not make massive claims that cannot be tested. Again, that’s what religion does. We don’t know for sure what caused the big bang – but we’ll do our best to find out. You don’t know at all, yet claim to have all the answers! Typical Christian arrogance.

    You weren’t around when the bible was written for that matter, so you should treat that with at least some scepticism. Once again, all you have is hearsay, from a book written by simple peasants, which contradicts itself all over the place. That’s not even close to evidence.

    The problem is your need to believe in a tooth fairy is clouding your ability to think. You screwed up in life and instead of facing up to your responsibilities, you turned to jesus for a whitewash, by throwing your ‘sins’ on a dead man. It doesn’t change anything – you still failed in life hank. You can’t erase the past. I think that’s your problem – you’re running from the truth. You’re desperately taking cover from reason, because if evolution was true, and Jesus wasn’t quite who the bible says he was – then you won’t get eternal life. It’s all about you, and your selfish needs isn’t it?

    You can run from reality – but that doesn’t change anything. It doesn’t make Jesus any more real when you’re in your church tomorrow – talking to no-one. Really, find a girlfriend and stop interfering in other people’s affiars, that do not concern you.

  67. Julius Caesar can wait, my bf is annoyed and wants me to switch the computer off and have some more hard sex – do have us in your thoughts, Hank, wont you… ;-)

  68. Ciaran McMahon 29 Mar 2009, 10:57am

    Folks,

    You’re all arguing logic with someone who uses the bible as “truth”. Only a fool would be so pompous in defending a book like the bible that is only clearly stories to an evolved mind… the bible has no more “truth” than the Egyptian “Book of the Dead” or a Stephen King novel.

    You’re wasting your time with this Hank freak. Anyone who understands science would not use Genesis to refute the origin of life and evolution… to even suggest that is proof enough of diminished capacity, a lack of understanding, and a personal agenda based in superstition.

    Why bother with him? What does he hope to gain? Validation for his ex-gay s–t? Do we really care?

    We know he’s retarded, so let him off…. all the gay people make highly enlightened and educated points of view, and Hank goes on a “I know god” rant. The very arrogance of that! To think that one like him knows the will of God is bordering on delusional, and insulting to everyone else here.

    Don’t feed its neurosis, let it wallow in its own ignorance. The very fact its here on a gay site trying to peddle speaks volumes in itself.

    Hank is obviously a twisted person, a hurt and troubled individual…. he’s not worthy of our conversation.

  69. … that was fantastic.

    To repeat my comment before – and this does refer to the ludicrous mathematics of evolution website. Its premise was that the first DNA molecule is statistically impossible – flawed in this case because it starts with DNA magically coming into existence. My comment about spinning more than one hypothesis went completely over Hank’s head, so here it is again:

    “If something could be explained, think of ALL the different ways it could be explained. What’s more likely explanation for DNA: the original, more basic replicator – a crystalline or clay structure for example, we cannot know – was simply replaced by a more efficient one? or, ‘god’ did it? (for more refer to Richard Dawkins, ‘Blind Watchmaker’, chapter 6, ‘origins and miracles’. I am not going to copy and paste 28 pages, in any case high quality information is found in real, offset-printed and bound books, not on cranky websites.)”

    Not also the website is based on the work of Michael Behe, whose ‘darwins black box’ and ‘edge of evolution’ have been panned and ridiculed by scientists, real scientists who know what they are talking about.

    DARWINS BLACK BOX – THE FLAWED PREMISE OF IRREDUCIBLE COMPLEXITY (‘we don’t know what happened, therefore god did it)

    As summed up by Richard Dawkins, july 2007 : “In “Darwin’s Black Box,” Behe simply asserted without justification that particular biological structures (like the bacterial flagellum, the tiny propeller by which bacteria swim) needed all their parts to be in place before they would work, and therefore could not have evolved incrementally. This style of argument remains as unconvincing as when Darwin himself anticipated it. It commits the logical error of arguing by default. Two rival theories, A and B, are set up. Theory A explains loads of facts and is supported by mountains of evidence. Theory B (‘god’)has no supporting evidence, nor is any attempt made to find any. Now a single little fact is discovered, which A allegedly can’t explain. Without even asking whether B can explain it, the default conclusion is fallaciously drawn: B must be correct. Incidentally, further research usually reveals that A can explain the phenomenon after all: thus the biologist Kenneth R. Miller (a believing Christian who testified for the other side in the Dover trial) beautifully showed how the bacterial flagellar motor could evolve via known functional intermediates.”

    A more plausible theory for the evolution of flagellum, see Michael Schermer ‘why darwin matters’ . Once again, read it for yourself. (I love that quote from Hank ‘what do you expect me to do….read the book?’ – isn’t that the sign of an illiterate, unintelligent, uninquiring mind?). “

  70. Sorry Ciaran, it’s my fault, I just wanted hank to know that he can walk away from superstition anytime he likes, change is possible …. is this a ‘cease and desist’ demand? :-)

    I do have better things to do, honest…..

  71. No, its not your fault, Adrian, for the day we stay quiet against a twisted creature like Hank, is the day we lose the battle against those who wnat to return to the dark ages. People who think like Hank are the reason 6 million people were gased and burned to death in death camps in Germany in the 1940’s and people were burned as witches… and these people are not the future of humanity.

    However, I do hear Ciaran’s point, why argue reason with one who is so tragically beyond reason? Lets face it, we’re all gay on this site, born such and learned to be proud of what we are…. Hank is ex-gay, so he didn’t have our strength or wisdom to be able to handle what he was born to be. Sad really. Its Hank who should be learning form us. S

    So, do we really care what a weak little man like him thinks, when he hadn’t even the balls to be as strong as us?

  72. Simon Porter 29 Mar 2009, 4:02pm

    I never thought that way before Will, makes sense really, fair play. Those ex gays are really cowards compared to the rest of us, arent they.

    hank, tail back between your legs mate, I’m with Ciaran, a yellow belly ex gay like you can teach us nothing!

  73. Religious faith is a mental illness, and in the form that Hank suffers from such an illness, it is defined as religious mania.
    He can receive treatment for this, perhaps on the NHS. I suggest that he reveals all his symptoms, including uncompromising belief in the whole of the Bible and a failure to accept any arguments based on reason and logic. His GP would then refer him to a psychiatrist.

  74. Neville, I couldn’t agree more.

    What fascinates me the most is that these people, like Hank, are able to accept without question that science has given them television, their PC, and their digital watch, and yet they don’t have the faintest idea HOW they work. But they accept them and wouldn’t live without them. Yet, when confronted with Evolution, they seem to have an “issue” with science. Strange, that selective acceptance of science, when in fact they haven’t a clue how any of it works. As if they see science as a belief system, rather like the way the select the titbits they want out of religion. Time to wake up Hank, science isn’t a question of faith.

    If Hank is so keen on the bible over proven and logical science, let him reject any medical research that might make his life better? Hmmm, I doubt he will… like them all, they’ll flush their stupid beliefs down the toilet when at their death bed for the pills years of scientific research have provided, so that may may prolong their miserable little ex gay lives a few years.

    Only an idiot talks about in expert terms about what he doesn’t understand, and the bigger fool fears what he doesn’t understand.

  75. Simon Porter 29 Mar 2009, 6:21pm

    Will, well said indeed !!! I’m becoming a big fan of your comments.

  76. I have to say, all the comments here are very insightful indeed, well done all. Delightful read!

    Well, except for Hank. I’m sorry old boy, but youre out of your dept here, you’re just banging a tired old drum, and these people here are dancing too fast for you!

    Hope you get better and recover from that “ex gay” illness you’re clearly suffering from. Awful disease that “ex gay” thing. Makes you less of a human really.

    Kisses, darlings x

  77. Dominick J. 29 Mar 2009, 8:42pm

    Let me just add one more thing to Hank—You are indeed a bibliolator which of course is Bibliolatry –Bible Worship. Wake up and Join the 21st Century Hank. Wake up and Start drinking that coffee you’ve been smellin’

  78. I’m aware that the original thread became ‘hijacked’, but I won’t let unreason and blatant lies go unanswered. If we don’t defend reason, as Will says, we go back to the Dark Ages. (YouTube: ‘Carl Sagan: A thousand years of darkness’ to understand why.) He posts in huge volumes – rarely his own writing – purely to drown others out, posts outright lies, refuses to defend his whacko statements when questioned, and reposts assertions that have been blown out the water before. We are dealing with a graffiti artist. That, in my opinion, warrants a ban from this site.

    (No big deal for me either way – but the alternative is, more threads will end up like this… take your pick, editorial team)
    PS “One in six psychiatrists HAS tried to cure…” (not ‘have’)

  79. Ian Laughlin 30 Mar 2009, 3:18am

    Well said Ciaran, Will, Adrian T and others. Pink News has grown in the last five years and now seems to be on the radar of full time anti-gay extremists. Mind you, it’s not limited to gay websites only. The secular magazine The Freethinker published some suggestions on dealing with trolls – particularly US based religious ones on its blog: http://freethinker.co.uk/2009/03/14/when-a-troll-comes-calling/.

    And on the subject of the original article, about mental health and the fallacy of re-orientation therapy, there’s a good perspective from the American group Teach the Facts, which opposes anti-science and anti-democratic activity from the US right wing: http://www.teachthefacts.org/2009/03/findings-maybe-not-as-bad-as-they-sound.html#comments

  80. Hey Domminic, you say, ” Wake up and Start drinking that coffee you’ve been smellin'”

    I drink Guinness not coffee — caffeine is bad for your health.

  81. ****** FIRST, AN APPEAL TO THE READER ******

    Did I not explain why evolution is not faith, earlier? Science is about making hypotheses based on the hard evidence – real facts, testing them. Science is based on making predictions. Evolution is the strongest theory in science not just because of the fossil record (which is brimming). The DNA record alone answers that. The geological record, anthropology, geography – all the evidence corroborates. Nothing to do with faith whatsoever.

    I’ve had to make this point three times – it seems not to be sinking in with this guy. (What do they put in the Guinness on planet Hank?) I may as well write this in Swahili.

    *************

    Hank, yet again – you’re making yourself look even more stupid than you can imagine (Carry on, by all means). It’s clear to me that you are just cutting and pasting from Answers In Genesis, Way of the Master, and other sites. (I at least bother to read what I disagree with, unlike you!) Why not simply cut and paste the whole of Creation Wiki into this thread and have done with it?

  82. DEVIOUSLY, SELECTIVELY QUOTE-MINING HARRISON MATTHEWS FOR JESUS
    You’re dishonest in the extreme because you make it look like you’ve done all this reading and research yourself, when it’s clear you haven’t. (Your anawareness of the Selfish Gene speaks volumes about your ignorance.)

    You have no idea for example, who is Harrison Matthews? Can you tell me anything about him? Why is his opinion so significant to you? You have just taken some quotes completely out of context. Do you own the 1971 edition of Origin? Ha, didn’t think so….

    In short, Harrison Matthews is not your saviour.

    Creationists claim “Evolutionary theory is not a science, for it has no facts to support it” based on this quote:

    “The fact of evolution is the backbone of biology, and biology is thus in the peculiar position of being a science founded on an unproved theory — is it then science, or a faith? Belief in the theory of evolution is thus exactly parallel to belief in special creation. Both are concepts which believers know to be true but neither, up to the present, has been capable of proof.” (Matthews, L. H. Introduction to the 1971 edition of Charles Darwin’s “The Origin of Species”)

    (This has been taken out of context by the following propagandists: Pathlights: Only Two Alternatives, Northwest Creation Network: Evolutionism: Is Evolution a Religion? , and The Church Of Christ: Evolution: Fact or Faith? and Intelligent Design and Evolution Awareness (IDEA) Club: Philosophy Quote Collection)

    Did Harrison Matthews (for hank’s benefit, he was the scientific director of the Zoological Society of London), really feel that belief in evolution was comparable to belief in special creation? While it might warm the hearts of some creationists to think so, we’ll soon see that it’s NOT TRUE.

    Reading through the introduction, but before the quoted passage, we come across these words:

    The intense hostility and controversy produced by the appearance of The Origin of Species a year after the publication of the Darwin-Wallace paper had, fundamentally, nothing to do with the originality of the ideas put forward. Many naturalists were already convinced of the fact of evolution, but without a plausible theory to show how it might have taken place they were unable to refute their opponents who held to the doctrine of special creation. [Matthews 1972, ix]

    Note that Matthews differentiates between the fact of evolution, and a theory to explain it. This is similar to the fact of gravity, and a theory (either Newton’s or Einstein’s) to explain it, and is a common mistake made by creationists when attacking evolution. For more on this particular error see “Evolution is a Fact and a Theory”.

    We now come to the paragraph containing the quote-mined passage. Beginning on page x, and concluding on page xi:

    Even ‘Darwin’s Bulldog’, as Thomas Huxley once called himself, wrote in 1863: ‘I adopt Mr. Darwin’s hypothesis, therefore, subject to the production of proof that physiological species may be produced by selective breeding’ — meaning species that are infertile if crossed. That proof has never been produced, though a few not entirely convincing examples are claimed to have been found. The fact of evolution is the backbone of biology, and biology is thus in the peculiar position of being a science founded on an unproved theory — is it then science, or a faith? Belief in the theory of evolution is thus exactly parallel to belief in special creation — both are concepts which believers know to be true but neither, up to the present, has been capable of proof.
    Once again, we can see that Matthews makes a distinction between the fact of evolution (citing it as the backbone of biology), and a theory to explain it. However, the fact that he cites both natural selection and special creation as being on equal footing doesn’t stop him from throwing his lot in with evolution, for on page xii he writes the following:

    Mendel showed that inheritance is particulate, that ‘factors’ in the genotype transmit the characters expressed by the phenotype. This discovery, combined with the growing knowledge of the chromosomes and their behaviour in the maturation of reproductive cells, was the basis of the modern discipline of genetics, which revealed how evolution by natural selection of random changes in the factors or ‘genes’ or in their permutations and combinations proceeds. …

    (to be continued)

  83. During the last fifty years genetics has unravelled many of the extremely complex phenomena of inheritance, and has show that evolution by natural selection of random mutations, generally of small size, is a logical explanation of the origin of the immense array of organisms now and in the past living on earth. The theory is so plausible that most biologists accept it as though it were a proven fact, although their conviction rests upon circumstantial evidence; it forms a satisfactory faith on which to base our interpretation of nature.

    So Matthews feels that not only does natural selection have a basis in the science of genetics, but that it’s a logical explanation for life’s diversity. In essence, Matthews’s stance is that natural selection has not been proven to be the mechanism of evolution, but that it’s a plausible basis for the fact of evolution that doesn’t conflict with the evidence.

    Chris Nedin has pointed out that Matthew’s introduction also played a small part in the Arkansas creation trial (McLean v. Arkansas Board of Education) of the early 80’s. Professor Michael Ruse, an expert witness at that trial, writes in “A Philosopher’s Day in Court” that:

    …stopping over in England, I spoke to an elderly zoologist, L. Harrison Matthews, who wrote the introduction to Darwin’s Origin in the Everyman Edition. In phrases which have been seized on by Creationists, Matthews argues that belief in Darwinism is like a religious commitment. This was going to be used by the State of Arkansas, who would argue that belief in Creation-science is logically identical to belief in evolution. Hence, since one can teach the latter, one should be allowed to teach the former. (A more rigorous conclusion would be that since both are religion, neither should be taught. But no matter.)

    Would Matthews recant? He was happy to do so, and wrote me a strong letter about the misuse that he felt Creationists had made of his introduction. Reading between the lines, I got the strong impression that what motivated Matthews in his introduction was not the logic of evolutionary theory at all. He wanted to poke the late Sir Gavin de Beer in the eye. De Beer was a fanatical Darwinian, and Matthews was dressing him down for the undue strength of his feelings! [Ruse 1984, 323]

    (tbc)

  84. Professor Ruse, when asked for a copy of Matthews’s letter, he replied that some things don’t survive 20 years and a move to another country, Matthews’s letter being one of them. However, in his narrative of the Arkansas trial, Ruse relates that at the end of his testimony:

    We had covered just about everything under the sun, with the possible exception of L. Harrison Matthews’ claims about the religious nature of Darwinism. When Williams [the assistant attorney general of Arkansas] saw the scathing letter that Matthews wrote to me about Creationism, he decided not to introduce Matthews into the testimony. [Ruse 1984, 334]

    One has to wonder why Williams, defending a bill that would have introduced creationism into the Arkansas school system, wouldn’t bring up a biologist who supposedly put creationism and evolution on an equal footing. There can be little doubt that Matthews’ letter revealed that creationists had misrepresented him.

    More evidence of Matthews’ true views can be found scattered throughout his writings. For instance, a few years after penning his introduction for the Origin, he stated that:

    The evolution of new species of animals, before our eyes, through changes in the genetic code is not apparent because it is believed to take place by natural selection acting upon cumulative small changes over a long period of time, in populations isolated by geographical or other barriers. [Matthews 1975, 115]

    Here, once again, Matthews asserts that natural selection, the theory of evolution, is a belief. In another instance, he wrote:

    Convergences such as these show that the environment appears to mould the evolving living material under its influence by means of natural selection. [Matthews 1969, 74]

    And later on in the same book:

    It is generally held that the behaviour patterns as well as the physical characters of animals have been determined by the action of natural selection, and population cycles must be equally subject to its influence. [Matthews 1969, 282]

    Again, Matthews takes a tentative view of natural selection. But does this mean that Matthews didn’t believe that evolution had occurred? Not at all:

    Ever since the first appearance of life on earth a process of evolution from comparatively simple to more complex organisms has been going on. [Matthews 1975, 114]

    So while Matthews seems to have had some doubts about natural selection in certain instances, he expresses no doubts about the reality of evolution. Regarding the evolution of the mammals, he wrote that:

    Long before the dinosaurs had achieved their evolutionary success another group of reptiles, the synapsids, had appeared, evolved during forty million years into a variety of forms, and then had all but disappeared by the time the great dinosaur dynasty was coming into power. They left only a tenuous thread of descendants, small and inconspicuous creatures leading obscure lives in out of the way places during the million centuries of dinosaur dominance. Yet they were destined, insignificant though they seemed, to replace the once dominant reptiles.

  85. The synapsids are known also as the ‘mammal-like reptiles’, and in the evolution of their descendants there came a point at which a human observer would have realized that they were no longer mammal-like reptiles but reptile-like mammals. This point was probably reached about a hundred and eighty million years ago in the late Triassic, but because they were creatures of modest size few fossil remains of them have been preserved and the documentation is scanty. Some seventy million years ago, at the close of Mesozoic times, they began to expand in numbers and diversity, and took the place left by the dinosaurs and their relations as the dominant creatures of the earth. [Matthews 1969, 1]

    Now there is no uncertainty in Matthews’s words. Referring to the evolution of the monotremes (a group of mammals that includes the platypus and the spiny anteater as its only living representitives), he states that:

    The monotremes have not left their reptilian ancestral characters so far behind as have the other mammals; they do not, however, represent a stage in the evolution of the Metatheria and Eutheria [two mammal classes] but a parallel line that early diverged. [Matthews 1971, 14]

    Matthews also supported the ever-popular evolution of the horse:

    A remarkably complete fossil record has enabled the evolution of the equids to be traced from small Eocene browsing ancestors with four toes on the front foot and three on the hind, to the modern grazing forms with a single functional digit on all limbs. The reduction in number of digits accompanied an increase in size, in length of leg, length of face, and specialization of the cheek teeth. [Matthews 1971, 345-346]

    And on the beginnings of humanity, he wrote that:

    Over two million years and more before that time early species of man were evolving from the stock of australopithecine man-like apes — their brains were getting larger, and they had got up from all-fours to walk upright on their hind legs. At the same time their eye-teeth, the canines, became smaller so that they no longer projected as fangs above the level of the other teeth. [Matthews 1975, 1]

    And at one point on his career, Matthews even disposed of that imagined problem for evolution, the origin of the eye:

    “The evolution of eyes from simple eye-spots consisting of light-sensitive substances was almost inevitable. In a many-celled animal the cells containing such pigment will generally lie at the surface of the body, and their pigment will be at the inner end of the cells, as close as possible to the under-lying nerve fibers. The transparent protoplasm of the cell body causes the surface membrane of the cell to bulge outwards slightly so that, especially in non-aquatic animals, light falling on it is refracted and upon the pigment. Such simple eyes, like eye-spots, are light-gathering organs and do not form images, but the basis structures are present for the development of image-forming organs by further stages of evolution. In the first stage, still a light-gatherer and not an image-former, the density of the refracting part of the cell is increased, thereby producing a very simple lens. In the next stage the cell is divided into two, so that a lens-cell lies above a retinular-cell containing the pigment. This simplest form of eye containing an optical system is found in the young stages of some Ascidians or Sea-squirts, animals that swim freely in the sea while they are minute larvae but then settle on the bottom and become superficially more like vegetables in appearance when adult. Once a lens-cell and a retinular-cell are separated the further stages of evolution to produce an image-forming eye of great efficiency are merely those of an increased differentiation of cell structure, and enormous increase in cell numbers (the human eye is said to contain 137,000,000 nerve endings) and a general increase in complexity.”

    A series of eyes ascending from the simplest to those probably as efficient as our own, perhaps even more so, can be traced in the molluscs, the shell-fish that include the snail, limpet, and periwinkle, the oyster, clam, and cockle, the squids and octopuses — very different from those other shell-fish, the crustacea, which include crabs, lobsters and shrimps. [Matthews 1963, 156-157]

    And Matthews wasn’t always so coy about natural selection as a legitimate mechanism for evolution:

    Behaviour patterns have evolved under the influence of natural selection during thousands or millions of years, just as have the physical characters of mammals and, as would be expected, they have diverged widely. [Matthews 1969, 220]

    And in a final affront to creationist sensibilities, Matthews points out that new species of plants have appeared:

    There is no reason to think that evolution has stopped because we see little change in the character of the world’s biomass by the appearance of new species by hybridisation and polyploidy, the multiplication of the numbers of characteristic chromosomes. Many of the cereal cultivars are such species — the cord grass Spartina townsendi is another well-known example. [Matthews 1975, 115]

    Lest there are any readers who still hold out hope that Matthews had any philosophical kinship with creationists, I can only point out that the man seems to have held a rather bleak view of the world, one that a creationist would have trouble identifying with:

    Speaking teleologically, the production of vast numbers of animals merely to destroy them seems pointless, but then all the phenomena of life are, in the ultimate analysis, equally pointless, for all end in the final frustration of death. The only biological things that can be regarded as immortal are the self-replicating molecules of DNA in the minute proportion of germ cells that produce another generation. [Matthews 1969, 283]

  86. And if Matthews did believe in a deity, it was one closer to the God of Job than the God of Genesis. Describing the fates of less fortunate young penguins, he wrote that:

    The skuas pick off the less active chicks, often disembowelling them and pecking them to pieces alive in a way highly repulsive to human eyes, put presumably not offensive to those of the Almighty who ordains these things. [Matthews 1977, 102-103]

    And at the end of this same book, a combination of history, science, and anecdotes from his experiences on the seas surrounding Antarctica in the 1920s, he speculates:

    It is therefore just possible that one or two of all those thousands of birds and seals that fascinated me so many years ago are still living, though most of them have long since perished. Yet the immortal stream of self-replicating DNA flows on in each according to its kind, budding off its annual generation of creatures to harbour it and bear it along, until mutation changes them to something different, or some happening brings the inevitable extinction that awaits all forms of life. [Matthews 1977, 164]

  87. It’s probably safe to say that on these points the vast majority of creationists, and Christians in general, would part philosophical company with Matthews. But, just as theologians shouldn’t dissect biology, neither should biologists pontificate on theology. And while Matthews may have been a prolific biologist, there’s little reason to give his views on the ultimate purpose of life much credence, and I only present them here to show how incompatible they are with those of creationists who call on him for support.

    In conclusion, to say that Harrison Matthews felt that belief in evolution was comparable to belief in special creation is a grotesque misrepresentation. In reality, he felt that evolution itself was a fact beyond dispute, and in none of his writings that I’ve examined is there even the slightest hint that faith was required to accept it as true. However, he didn’t believe that natural selection had been demonstrated to be the universal mechanism for evolution, and accepting it as such was what required faith. It is the ambiguity of the phrase “theory of evolution”, as opposed to “fact of evolution” in the sentence before it, that the quote-miner has taken advantage of to cast doubt upon Matthews’ belief in evolution itself. And, as Michael Ruse wrote in his initial response to me, regarding Matthews’ quarrel with Sir Gavin de Beer, “of such molehill things are creationist mountains made”.

    I’d like to express my appreciation for Chris Nedin’s powers of recall, and to Michael Ruse for his kind responses to my questions.
    (Jon Aubray)

    Hope that clears that one up, Hank.

  88. “Ramses, Julius Caesar…” – I am no expert on either. My ignorance of these characters does nothing to strengthen the existence of Jesus of Nazareth, for wehom there is no hard evidence outside the propaganda of the Gospels.

    Again, you’re illogic is working overtime – another of your non-sequiturs.

  89. Hank said: “I posted my early comments because all of you either believe or state that homosexuality is strictly inborn – that’s it
    and there’s nothing more to debate! Well I’m here to dispute your
    position with arguments.”

    Feel free to point out where I made any such claim. Yet again, you cannot read, or don’t read.

  90. (editorial team – I did warn you….)

  91. WHAT IS EVOLUTION
    For hank’s benefit – here is an acceptable explanation of what evolution is (not what creationist wingnuts want it to be), by Laurence Moran:

    “Most non-scientists seem to be quite confused about precise definitions of biological evolution. Such confusion is due in large part to the inability of scientists to communicate effectively to the general public and also to confusion among scientists themselves about how to define such an important term. When discussing evolution it is important to distinguish between the existence of evolution and various theories about the mechanism of evolution. And when referring to the existence of evolution it is important to have a clear definition in mind. What exactly do biologists mean when they say that they have observed evolution or that humans and chimps have evolved from a common ancestor?

    One of the most respected evolutionary biologists has defined biological evolution as follows:

    “In the broadest sense, evolution is merely change, and so is all-pervasive; galaxies, languages, and political systems all evolve. Biological evolution … is change in the properties of populations of organisms that transcend the lifetime of a single individual. The ontogeny of an individual is not considered evolution; individual organisms do not evolve. The changes in populations that are considered evolutionary are those that are inheritable via the genetic material from one generation to the next. Biological evolution may be slight or substantial; it embraces everything from slight changes in the proportion of different alleles within a population (such as those determining blood types) to the successive alterations that led from the earliest protoorganism to snails, bees, giraffes, and dandelions.”
    – Douglas J. Futuyma in Evolutionary Biology, Sinauer Associates 1986

    It is important to note that biological evolution refers to populations and not to individuals and that the changes must be passed on to the next generation. In practice this means that,

    Evolution is a process that results in heritable changes in a population spread over many generations.
    This is a good working scientific definition of evolution; one that can be used to distinguish between evolution and similar changes that are not evolution. Another common short definition of evolution can be found in many textbooks:

    “In fact, evolution can be precisely defined as any change in the frequency of alleles within a gene pool from one generation to the next.”
    – Helena Curtis and N. Sue Barnes, Biology, 5th ed. 1989 Worth Publishers, p.974

    One can quibble about the accuracy of such a definition (and we have often quibbled on these newsgroups) but it also conveys the essence of what evolution really is. When biologists say that they have observed evolution, they mean that they have detected a change in the frequency of genes in a population. (Often the genetic change is inferred from phenotypic changes that are heritable.) When biologists say that humans and chimps have evolved from a common ancestor they mean that there have been successive heritable changes in the two separated populations since they became isolated.
    Unfortunately the common definitions of evolution outside of the scientific community are different. For example, in the Oxford Concise Science Dictionary we find the following definition:
    (to continue)

  92. ** Science requires complicated answers, not simple stories in Genesis that even a five year old can see through as nonsense.

    Glad to see, you at last ADMIT to posting lies about gay people.
    Like I said, you cut and paste without knowing the context, the methodology, how reliable the figures are.

    Everything you have posted here has failed to hold up to scrutiny by professionals, so I ask you AGAIN, who has peer reviewed any of the findings you post?

    You haven’t got a clue have you – you just post other people’s opinions. You didn’t even know that, for instance, Michael Behe, whose book was used for Mathematics of evolution,com – has NO PROBLEM with evolution of humans from other apes. (you did read his book, right…?) WHY ARE YOU ARGUING FOR CREATIONISM BY REFERING TO WEBSITES THAT BASE THEIR ARGUMENTS ON ‘THEISTIC EVOLUTION’, WHICH YOU REJECT COMPLETELY? Once again – your blind cut and paste spamming has led you to put your foot in it. You don’t know what you’re talking about really do you Hank?

  93. Continued from earlier

    Unfortunately, the common definitions of evolution outside of the scientific community are different. For example, in the Oxford Concise Science Dictionary we find the following definition:

    “evolution: The gradual process by which the present diversity of plant and animal life arose from the earliest and most primitive organisms, which is believed to have been continuing for the past 3000 million years.”

    This is inexcusable for a dictionary of science. Not only does this definition exclude prokaryotes, protozoa, and fungi, but it specifically includes a term “gradual process” which should not be part of the definition. More importantly the definition seems to refer more to the history of evolution than to evolution itself. Using this definition it is possible to debate whether evolution is still occurring, but the definition provides no easy way of distinguishing evolution from other processes. For example, is the increase in height among Caucasians over the past several hundred years an example of evolution? Are the color changes in the peppered moth population examples of evolution? This is not a scientific definition.
    Standard dictionaries are even worse.

    “evolution: …the doctrine according to which higher forms of life have gradually arisen out of lower..” – Chambers
    “evolution: …the development of a species, organism, or organ from its original or primitive state to its present or specialized state; phylogeny or ontogeny” – Webster’s

    These definitions are simply wrong. Unfortunately it is common for non-scientists to enter into a discussion about evolution with such a definition in mind. This often leads to fruitless debate since the experts are thinking about evolution from a different perspective. When someone claims that they don’t believe in evolution they cannot be referring to an acceptable scientific definition of evolution because that would be denying something which is easy to demonstrate. It would be like saying that they don’t believe in gravity!

    Recently I [L Moran] read a statement from a creationist who claimed that scientists are being dishonest when they talk about evolution. This person believed that evolution was being misrepresented to the public. The real problem is that the public, and creationists, do not understand what evolution is all about. This person’s definition of evolution was very different from the common scientific definition and as a consequence he was unable to understand what evolutionary biology really meant. This is the same person who claimed that one could not “believe” in evolution and still be religious! But once we realize that evolution is simply “a process that results in heritable changes in a population spread over many generations” it seems a little silly to pretend that this excludes religion!

    Scientists such as myself must share the blame for the lack of public understanding of science. We need to work harder to convey the correct information. Sometimes we don’t succeed very well but that does not mean that we are dishonest. On the other hand, the general public, and creationists in particular, need to also work a little harder in order to understand science. Reading a textbook would help.

    Reading a textbook would indeed help!!

  94. Anyway – Where’s your proof for ‘God’ and how do you know the mind of ‘God’, HANK? You cannot make such a claim. Your job to prove god exists, not mine to disprove. Otherwise, I want you to disprove Poseidon, Thor, Wotan, Vishna, Ra, Zeus.

  95. “There’s no more fun discussing this topic”

    Ha! Yes. Because you lost. Another example of how reason is the light in the darkness of religion. Nicely done Adrian.

    I quite liked the bit when you said “the theory of evolution is outside of empirical science”. Talk about grasping at straws! This is utter nonsense, who said this? NO scientist would ever say this, because its wrong. Simple as that. Just plane old wrong. You made it up, didn’t you, you silly twit? Evolution is a theory in name only, its acceptd now as fact due to the overwhelming evidence to support it. To even state what you just said in a public forum only shows you clearly lack any understanding in science and the blatantly obvious.

    Lets be honest, you’re only here to promote your failed ex-gay lifestyle, and you think that demonstrating an ignorance in science is the way prove you’re right? I think Adrian was been overly kind to even try to educate you.

    Hank, you fell through the cracks of humanity, and what’s worse is that underneath all your bluster and ranting, you know it.

  96. (You sum it up perfectly Will.)

    +++ APPEAL TO THE READER +++
    Conspiracy theories (UFO’s, that 9/11 was staged by a jewish conspiracy, the flat earth, the holocaust never happened… David Icke’s Illuminati…) are easy to make – they thrive on lack of evidence, and appeal to our worst prejudices. But remember the adage: absence of evidence = absence of evidence. We have, after all, evolved to find answers where there are none. Natural selection would have weeded out those ancestors who were 100% rational all the time, about e.g. earthquakes by the sea, shadows at night…

    As mentioned, Hank just copies what he’s read on creationist websites. These websites quote-mine (selectively use quotes out of context), make false assumptions, non-sequiturs, to prove their point: that the world is 6000 years old. A website dedicated to exposing this is talkorigins.org , a 13-year project aimed at debunking the myths.

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    So when a creationist is humiliated and seen to have nothing whatsoever to support his views, he says ‘we can’t prove or disprove either one scientifically’. What sportsmanship!!

    Hank, I gave you a whole list of questions – I see you evade them all by running off!!!! My comment about hijacking the thread – fine by me, but you haven’t got a debate in the first place.

    By the way, I need have made no reference to H Matthews earlier – because science is cumulative. In the last 38 years, thanks to the work of people like Craig Venter, Francis Collins, we opened the genome; we’ve found millions more fossils, we’ve discovered the asteroid impact site in the Gulf of Mexico, we’ve discovered that mass extinction events occur with frequency – this earth was not designed for us at all. Our survival as a species required accepting this hard fact, and walking away from superstition.

    Yet again – please explain the relevance of Julius Caesar to the veracity of the legend of Jesus of Nazareth. I just haven’t got time to become an expert in Ancient history for the sake of proving some point on a website like this. If it were found we didn’t know after all (fine), it wouldn’t change the fact there is scant evidence for the events described in the gospel. I am willing to change my opinion based on the evidence but, like I said, extraordinary claims need extraordinary evidence. Over to you….

    **Any further cut-paste plagiarisms that may follow this message, can be answered by JD’s excellent response earlier:
    “No one scientist will have exclusive rights to the truth. They will research their area of expertise, publish results in journals and have their work peer reviewed, debated and re-examined to determine whether or not their results should be added to a body of knowledge or dismissed. Now, show me where ANY creationist “scientist” has done proper research using established scientific methodologies and then published and had it peer reviewed. Oops, you can’t can you – because none of those nutcases [HAS] ever proposed any hypothesis that supports their outrageous claims. They just scream “Gawd did it” and slag off everyone elses work.”

    ++ So where’s your evidence for God, and how can we know you have personal intimate access to the mind of god, on whom we should sleep with, Hank? come back when you can give a coherent answer to that, before you pursue this or any other dialogue any further. You still there Hank……Hank? HANNNNK?

    Look, I’ve got work to do. It’s been nice x A.

  97. Now Hank’s posts are gone – (no need to have removed all of them, since many of us have our time into defending Reason, now, seemingly for no reason!), please also remove all my comments beyond no.80 at least – including this one. Otherwise, it could be assumed I enjoy conversations with myself!!!

  98. Sister Mary Clarence 31 Mar 2009, 5:51pm

    Please don’t removed them – you should be proud of that Adrian!

  99. Mihangel apYrs 31 Mar 2009, 5:51pm

    nice to see “happy” Hank filling up this board with his take.

    Hank is a fundamental Xian. He believes that every word of the bible is “god-breathed”, ie god dictated it. He overlooks the council of Nicae picking and choosing its may through the fables, and various translators mucking it around. If he’s a King James’ Versionist he believes that to be the only valid version.

    He also knows that be engaging us in debate he can win some points – for his own satisfaction.

    All you can do with these fundies is ignore them. They’ll spam endlesly, but if youi ignore them it reduces the stresses of living in te same world as them.

  100. Is the sudden disappearance of Hank’s comments evidence for the Rapture? :-) :-)

  101. I agree with the good Sister, Adrian, you’re comments are a delight to read…. besides, you’re done what only a few can do, shut that muppet Hank up! :)

    And to Sister Mary, good to see your comments here again, as insightful and witty as ever!

  102. Thankyou Will; and indeed where would we be sans Soeur Marie… –
    Actually, I hope confrontations like this mobilise any readers to ridicule, and poke fun at those placard waving fundamentalist nutcases who line the gay pride parades. I don’t think you can just ignore these people. Just ask them how they know the mind of god, and ask them for some damn good evidence to back it up. And yes, for laughs, ask them how old they think the Universe to be.

  103. Mihangel apYrs 1 Apr 2009, 9:24am

    Adrian
    I agree we should ignore them when confronted f2f, because then you can deal with them properly. But life’s too short to get into long wrangles with them on this board, they fill it up, go back and research from their big book of fables when faced with reality (such as your responses) and fill up more.

    I read these threads to comment and respond to comments from other LGBTT people whose views I can appreciate if not agree with. I don’t like to wade through the santimony of Xian bloggers who “hate the sin, not the sinner!” (bulls–t!!)

  104. Yes I agree Mihangel. I think such people should be ignored in future. There is no end of stupid responses that such people can give – and then even when their arguments are demolished, they just wait till they think everyone has forgotten about them and repeat them!!! People should refrain from giving trolls the dignity of any reply; but also, hopefully PN will remove blatant propaganda as soon as it appears!

  105. Sister Mary Clarence 1 Apr 2009, 6:26pm

    I have to say that if anyone kicks off with all that religious hate stuff, with the best will in the world I’m not going to be able to shut my great big mouth.

    As long as he thinks he can win or hold his own he is going to keep on doing it here and everywhere else. Whilst there are a number of people on here who can clearly spew as much, if not more, bile back in his direction, and walk away from any confrontation with him thinking he’s a twat to be pitied, there are others who may be genuinely intimidated and affected by what he has to say. You only have to look at gay teenager suicide rates to see that not everyone is so at ease with their sexuality as, dare I say it, some of us, who are just that little bit older.

    If you are at a delicate stage, when you are feeling that you are wrong and haven’t found your way in life, getting hanked could fatal and seriously dent any self-confidence you have beyond repair.

    I strongly believe that those who can should do whatever they can to ensure that those who treat us with contempt do not get away with it scot free. On this occasion Adrian was done a fantastic job of seeing off Hank – and a really hope his postings are retained on here for posterity.

    On other occasions the likes of Will and others have shown that we are not some down trodden underclass for every in-breed religious weirdo to off load their shit onto, and I think as long as we turn the other cheek or ignore this type of think, we will suffer endlessly.

    Credit where credit is due, Adrian absolutely cleaned this twat and rather than talk about ignoring him next time, the minute he rears his ugly head it should be “Hello Hank meet my friend Adrian”

  106. Well… maybe I could be persuaded to repeat this exercise – it certainly beats writing long technical articles about printing self-adhesive labels, which is what I usually do (don’t even go there).

    My problem with entering in such a debate is that the thread will just disintegrate, it means normal discussion becomes a dogfight: there are literally hundreds of ‘conspiracy’ theories about Evolution (all refuted on talkorigins.org), and homosexuality (by a vipers’ nest of fundies, see boxturtlebulletin.com).

    So here’s the ultimatum: either PN removes spam / fanatical postings IMMEDIATELY – or I and others answer them, head on.

    Hank wasn’t speaking to me in his postings – it was a cynical attempt to sow guilt and fear, and self doubt into the minds of gay people. The deleted postings represented exactly the kind of brainwashing that teenagers probably get at ‘Love In Action’ ex-gay bootcamps (see the Zach Stark story). Yes, we should give recipients of such verbal abuse hope and strength, in the form of reasoned arguments. Fight your corner. I’m thinking, maybe we should organise a website dedicated to combatting ex-gay / anti-gay arguments from a philosophical, scientific and anti-religious perspective.

  107. Brian Burton 4 Apr 2009, 7:06am

    Do’nt look back, do’nt even think back, just think forward and onward. For we are beautiful as we are and not what some strangers in medicine would have us or like us to be.

  108. Brian Burton 9 Apr 2009, 9:22pm

    After reading 107 comments my eyes have gone Mosaic. Excuse me, I think I’ll hang myself!

  109. No wonder they say psychiatrists all need their own psychiatrist. Guess these guys been going to the local church – the ones full of science like the earth is 4000 years old, etc etc etc.

    God, why did you create so many idiots? Tell us

  110. Bishop Ioan 3 Jun 2009, 9:42am

    My late mother used to say that psychiatrists need helo more than the people that go to them and in the case of GLBTQ clients who seek out groups such as NARTH. There is absolutely NOTHING wrong with being gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender or queer. What IS wrong is the mindset of people who cannot allow for difference because they are uncomfortable with it.

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