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All I want is an explanation.

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I suspect that in 1491, the Pope probably did think the earth was round. It wasn't such an outlandish idea by that time. The problem was he really KNEW that it was a biblical fact that the solar system and all the stars orbited the earth. And being infallible, a Pope wasn't ready to listen to a scientist on the subject a few years later. BTW, Galileo's birthday was just a few days ago.


The deception that was embodied in the concept of "phlogiston" is essentially the same contained in "intelligent design" except I suspect that some of the promoters of ID actually know that they are engaged in a deception. ID fails to be scientific because it is incapable of being tested experimentally at any level. The so-called evidence for it amounts to identification of complexity that is so great that it seems that the only alternative is for some 'intelligence' to be behind the complexity's 'design'. Aside from being untestable, the weakness of this and similar philosophical chicaneries is this: as objective evidence accumulates, explaining more and more of the mechanisms of the apparent complexity, there is less support for an 'intelligent designer'. In essence, the less we understand about that complexity (that is, the greater our ignorance of it), the greater the apparent support for the 'intelligent designer'. ID depends on our ignorance for its support.


I enjoy all of the creation myths. There simply isn't a way to judge one more worthy or correct than another.


Prairie_Scouter, I too have colleagues who say things like, "Personally, I think the truth, if there is such a thing, is someplace in the middle. Perhaps, a God who set the wheels in motion and is content to let the wheels spin as they will, and intervenes every once in awhile, just to keep things interesting." I often wonder if they are merely trying to avoid conflict so they can quickly get back to the lab to see what's on the slab. ;)

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On intelligent design ...it seems to me that as a matter of logic this idea can neither be disproved or proved.

First, it clearly can't be disproved--whatever state the universe is in, it could have been designed by someone to be that way.

But how might you go about proving that the universe was intelligently designed? You'd have to show that something occurred which could not be explained in any other way. What could this possibly be? If it's some event that can't be explained given our current understanding of physical laws, that doesn't prove design--it may just mean our understanding of physical laws isn't complete. It also can't be simply aesthetic evaluations like symmetry, complexity, beauty, etc.--while they may convince many of us viscerally of intelligent design, they aren't proof.

To put it another way, any and every scientific discovery I can think of is consistent with a belief in intelligent design, and I can't think of any possible scientific discovery that is inconsistent with a belief in intelligent design. (Thus, it's perfectly possible to believe in intelligent design and to also believe in evolution, the Big Bang, the theory of relativity, and any other scientific theory one might name.) Ergo, intelligent design is a philosophical or religious idea, and not a testable scientific hypothesis.

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Talk about timing! As it happens, a new book just arrived unsolicited at my mail stop. It claims to be two books in one, the first being a Geocentrism Primer and the second being a Geocentric Bible. I will begin reading it tonight. Evidently there are a number of persons who still hold to the belief that the earth is the center of the universe...based on Biblical authority. This could be just delicious!

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I've heard of flat earther's, but I didn't know there were still geocentrists alive and kicking. I know of some people whose cosmology says our earth rests on the back of a cosmic turtle (not sure they really believe that, though). Religion is a strange lens sometimes.


I doubt whether any of them work for NASA...

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Aristotle, 384-322 B.C. gave us the "geocentric theory of the universe". This meant that the universe revolved around the earth and man. Aristotle also developed mechanical principles, so it was theorized that the celestial bodies were linked together with one Prime Mover. This theory stood for 1,800 years basically because the Church agreed with it.


Ptolemy of Alexandria developed geometrical proofs for the circular orbits of the solar system in the second century. This theory held back advancements in astronomy until the sixth century when Copernicus put forth his arguments. Another problem that Ptolemy had was a discrepancy found later in the Julian calendar of 365 days as predicted from his model but was short by 5 hours and 48 minutes. This error in time was small but it created confusion for the Churchs Easter Sunday service and for astronomers, farmers, and sailors.


During the years from 1350 to 1550, there were significant changes during the Renaissance that were considered radical. Before this time, the Church and its' beliefs were the law of the land. The Bible was the Word of God and man's reason was not allowed. Until this time, observation had to fit theory but during this time science changed so that theory had to fit observation.


In 1475 Pope Sixtus had Johann Muller investigate the problem with the Julian calendar. Muller used more advanced mathematics and proved that Ptolemy's model incorrect. Copernicus, 1475-1543 knew that Ptolemy's theory did not agree with observation. He also observed that objects were attracted to the earth and that the earth moved. He wrote a book called "The Revolutions" in which he detailed the "heliocentric" or Sun centered theory and he found that the earth moved. He observed that things fell to the earth but the cause had nothing to do with the earth being the center of the universe. He solved the calendar problem and the new Gregorian calendar was later adopted by Pope Gregory XIII, around 1580-90. The Church still held to their belief that man and the earth was the center of the universe, in spite of Copernicus's views.


In 1560 and with the advent of the Telescope, Tycho Brahe, 1546-1601, noted Copernicus's predictions and confirmed that the Sun was the center of the solar system. Brahe's assistant, Johannes Kepler, 1571-1630, demonstrated with math proofs the heliocentric theory. This model had the planets moving in an ellipse around the sun, not circles. This model was not accepted by the Church because this theory meant that the movement of the earth eliminated divine control, but this was the first time physics and astronomy were brought together.


Giordano Bruno, 1548-1600, a priest, theorized that the Sun was a minor star which meant that other planetary systems must exist. This theory further reduced the importance of the earth and man and led to Bruno having problems with the Church. They staked him out and burned him alive.


Galileo Gaililei, 1564-1642, used the telescope and math to study the solar system. He also saw that there were many more stars in the sky than first thought, remember Bruno? He also discovered four moons of Jupiter which indicated to the Church that the earth was less special than theologians wanted. This confirmation of the Copernican theory led Galileo into Pope trouble. Galileo felt that the Bible should be used for moral teachings and not as a source of scientific fact. He was forced to recant his theories and it was not until 1992 that Pope John Paul II acknowledged their error after 350 years. This was even after Newton and Einstein!


Before Galileo died, he made significant advancements in the area of falling bodies. He used the Tower of Pisa to prove that falling objects fall at the same rate. He added experimentation to the list of theory and observation. This particular experiment refuted Aristotle's theory of falling objects after 1960 years. It also meant that science should use observation and then follow it with experiment.


Newton published "Principia" in 1687 which stood as fact for the next 300 years. Newton proved how Kepler's laws worked to explain gravity, he developed the modern math system of Calculus, and he used deductive and Inductive logic to realign theory to predict results. He developed the laws of motion and gravity. Newton discovered the Law of Conservation of mass which states, that mass can't be created or destroyed, later refuted by Einstein. Newton also published a book on optics and thus brought about the era of Enlightenment and what was known as Newton's Clockwork Universe. This theory proved the Churchs argument again of predetermination and the Prime Mover. Somebody had to wind the clock and/or build it, and you can predict where a person will be in the universe at any particular time once you know their position, so God was vindicated by science.


In 1905, Albert Einstein wrote four papers, one paper was about the Special Theory of Relativity (* called The Electrodynamics of moving bodies) where his famous equation E=MC2 was presented. He extended Newton's physics to include the idea that time is not fixed but relative. Time is relative to the speed of movement called "relative motion". So, for everyone on the planet earth, their frame of reference would be the same and the time would be standard or fixed to that movement of that planet. This made the earth special but also it made it one in billions.


Based upon the experiment by Albert Michelson and Edward Morley disproved the Ether theory and they found that the speed of light was constant. Another experiment found that the speed of light is the same for either a moving object or an object at rest. For Einstein, this meant that speed is nothing more than the relationship between distance and time. Einstein reasoned that if the speed of light is constant then time is the variable. Time was no longer found to be absolute! Another way to reason this is that the faster an object moves, time for that object slows and the time between the moving object and the stationary object it traveled from would be different and that mass increases with speed. It was also reasoned that time would stop when the object moved at the speed of light and Mass would increase to an infinite amount. Also, the length of an object that moves at the speed of light shrinks to zero but the Mass increases to an infinite amount, but the speed of light would never be reached because it would take an infinite amount of energy to reach the speed of light.


This means that that all objects that have mass also have an equivalent amount of energy that is equal to the speed of light squared, E=MC2. Likewise, energy has mass. This is the relationship between energy and mass, not the formula for the atomic bomb. In other words, man and earth was found to be no longer the only time and the only place in the universe but one of many. This was not good news to the Church.


The arguments between the Church and Science have been a long running battle. It appears that winning should not be the battle as much as understanding should be the goal. The Church really does have something to say about morals and the how we should live. Science continues to give us clues about how things work all around us. We now know that we are not the center of the universe but with an all knowing God, that shouldnt be such a big deal.


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Fuzzy Bear, that's a nice timeline. Regarding your concluding remarks, I have a different view in that I think the conflict between religion and science is 'apparent', that is it seems like a conflict, but does not actually exist for science. I know of no scientist who believes that science can address religious matters in any manner. I DO know religious persons, plenty of them, who think they are under attack by science. And in their minds the conflict is real.

The book I mentioned has no ISBN# so anyone wanting a copy would have to contact the author, Gerardus D. Bouw (Ph.D), or the publisher, The Biblical Astronomer, located in Cleveland, OH.


I found some interesting statements so far, I'll share one:

First, "The fall of geocentricity and the beginning of the false theory of heliocentrism (the earth spinning daily) beginning in 1613 marked the division between the one perfect Bible, the KJV 1611, and the many corrupt versions. The false theory of evolution came in 1860, followed by the first corrupt modern version in 1881."

Here, the author is addressing the fact that all versions of the Bible after the 1611 KJV version are corrupt. And he related this to 1613, presumably the date that Galileo published his "Letters on Sunspots" providing observational evidence in support of the Copernican model. He also related it to 1860 which I surmise is June of that year in which Huxley debated Wilberforce regarding evolution.


They have sent 46,816 free copies to churches, the top two of which are Assemblies of God and Church of Christ (Non-instrumental) (whatever that means). The rest are various flavors of Baptist and Church of God and Mennonite. I have no idea how these faiths relate to each other if at all.


You can see this for yourself at their website:



But before everyone charges to that site to feast on its wisdom, I bring to your notice the statement that,

"The difference between Christ and Satan can appear to be very thin. Christ is the 'bright and morning star.' (Rev. 22:16). Satan is called the 'son of the morning' (Isaiah 14:12). As both refer to the sun, Satan can be mistaken for Christ!"


Hard to top that! Bon apetite!

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Wow, what an interesting site the Geocentric Bible is! The basic premise behind their belief system is somewhat reasonable, ie, "well, we believe this, and everthing you say to counter that can be explained in some way by our belief system". Well, yeah, I guess so. The same is true of any belief system. I think science differs in that it tries to explain things within a set of rules that are consistent with each other, while religious belief allows for contradictions within their own belief set, explaining them with such things as "the Lord works in mysterious ways". Sure, could be. Frankly, I think the world is a much more interesting place if you can't explain everything. I think it's pretty cool, actually. Whether things are unexplained because "the Lord works in mysterious ways" or because we just don't understand the laws of Nature well enough yet, doesn't really matter. It just means that we're not as smart as we think. So, maybe we not smart enough to understand that "the Lord works in mysterious ways", but maybe we're also not smart enough to interpret the words in a Bible correctly, either.


Trying to tie this back to the original question, I just can't agree with the BSA notion that you can't be a good citizen unless you have a belief in God. This whole thread could be thought of as the very embodiment of the problem, and that is, if you're going to say you have to believe in God to be a "Good Scout", then who's God is it going to be? And therein lies the rub. BSA has chosen a very specific definition of who their God is. You not only have to buy into the idea that you have to believe in a God to be a Scout, you have to believe in the God that BSA has chosen. Scouting should be about the kids, and frankly, the kids don't give a hoot about any of this stuff. They want to camp, and they want to have fun. We, as adult leaders, should be providing a nurturing environment that provides a safe haven for them. Leading them into being good adults shouldn't mean teaching them how to create polarizing positions, and yet that is exactly what BSA is doing. Or, I should say, BSA National. The local units do, mostly, a tremendous job and manage to ignore the issues that BSA National has managed to create. If BSA National would go back to the original, all-inclusive, philosophy of Scouting, we'd all be better off, and we'd be more in step with Scouting Worldwide.

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"You not only have to buy into the idea that you have to believe in a God to be a Scout, you have to believe in the God that BSA has chosen."


But this just isn't so--you can believe in any God, or god, or gods, you want, just as long as you have some kind of religion. Also, where do you get the idea that Scouting was once inclusive of those who don't believe in any religion?

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To Hunt....


I'm not so sure that that's true. If I were to belong to a religion that believes in the inclusion of gays, then that would seem to be odds with Scout doctrine. Taken to its conclusion, then, I wouldn't be able to sign an adult leader app that requires me to agree with Scout doctrine, which would disallow me from Scouting. There have been examples, haven't there, where particular religions found their Scout religious award (I forget the formal names) at least temporarily "de-commissioned" because their faith was at odds with BSA on the gay issue? I'm almost certain that that's true. It just seems to me that BSA, by their actions and doctrine, have chosen certain religious beliefs over others.


I was incorrect to include my thoughts on the original guiding principals behind Scouting in with my thoughts on religious inclusion. Baden-Powell was pretty clear in his belief that you had to have some sort of God belief to be a worthwhile citizen. I just think that he was wrong. (Personally, also, I think that the atheists have it wrong as well, but that's just me. It just seems to me that there is overwhelming evidence that SOMEBODY up there is in control; of course, as has been written in literature, any sufficiently advanced being could be seen as a "god"; these things are kind of relative). I had meant to make that as a more general remark that BSA would be a lot better off, overall, if they went back to the original Scouting philosophy of inclusion. But, there's a reason, I guess, that they moved their headquarters to the middle of the Bible Belt. I've tried, over the years, to find some unbiased information on the history of how Scouting came to be in the middle of this firestorm over religion and gay issues, but everything I've found comes from sources that are obviously biased one way or the other. If anyone could provide some direction on that, I'd appreciate it.


I also have some questions about "who's in charge and why?". Scouting certainly isn't a democracy, but who is it that makes up the rules and are they really doing things in the best interest of Scouting, and if we start to believe they're not, what could we do about it? BSA National decided that gays were "out". What happens if they say, next, that blacks are "out" because of crime statistics in that demographic group? Or Catholic priests, because of their problems at present? And then white males, because they represent the vast majority of pedophiles? Maybe this needs to be a different thread, but right now, it doesn't look to me like BSA National is accountable to anyone, and that's a dangerous situation for Scouting. The rumor I hear is that the BSA Board is mostly there for fund raising, and there some committee beneath them that actually makes up the rules, and they don't seem to be accountable to anyone. Like I said, tho, most of this comes from biased sources.

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I do not understand how Science threatens the Church or the reason behind all of the many fears that Religionists have when it comes to Science. The three elements of God are: 1. He is all knowing; Science does not claim to know everything and even defends their lack of knowledge by stating most discoveries, laws and such, as theories; Religionists believe that they know everything and can prove it with scriptures, 2. God is everywhere at all times, Science tries to explain history, evolution, the beginning/end of the universe through observation, experiment, and theories but Religion explains God's plan for man, the earth, the history of man, the history of the earth, everything with one book, the Bible, without so much as one act or experiment, 3. God is all powerful, Science defines power, how it works, helps to build the atomic bomb, etc., but God can call in a legion of angels and conquer it all instantly, so where is the threat?


There does not appear to be a contest but historically speaking, the fear of freedom to think has driven the Church to burn people at the stake for believing otherwise. It doesn't make sense that if a person has a belief in a God that is all powerful that one voice, ten voices, a million voices would be loud enough to quiet the one small still voice of a God that has shown the strength to withstand and overcome forces much stronger than any number of voices.


It does not make sense that the Church needs to declare war on Science when there is no match, so there needs not be a war. If Science declares evolution as a theory, then why must the Church declare a Quasi-Scientific like approach to match it to try to defeat it? It should be stated that Science is based on theories and that the Church is based on facts that are irrefutable. Since God will overcome all in the end, any acts against Science become meaningless declarations.


Does the Church fear their ability to have faith and that maybe, somehow God has left them behind?


God exists and is just as powerful as ever. There really is nothing to fear, not science, gays, abortion, or atheists. God is much bigger than any issue. God can take care of his own plan in spite of not because of an argument. It appears that He really does want us to love one another. It is just that simple.




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Fuzzy, I agree with you 100%. People seem to feel the need to stifle any dissent against their God, even tho their God seems perfectly capable of taking care of him/herself (anybody remember the story about the Great Flood?).


I've been a believer for some time that, in the grand scheme of things, the major religions of the world are pretty much a net zero game when it comes to the good vs bad that they've done over time. I've read that Christianity spread rapidly across Europe at the beginning of the Middle Ages, as a percentage of population, largely because they killed off so many of the non-Christians. There's almost a constant string through history of mass killings done on behalf of someone's belief in their supreme being. The Crusades, the Inquisition, the Salem Witch trials, and on and on to the present. So, for all the good they've done, they manage to balance that off by doing some truly nasty things, or standing idly by while someone else does truly nasty things (such as Rome not having much to say while the Jews were being exterminated during WWII).


The Onion, a satirical newspaper that's also published online, ran a story awhile ago that was an "interview with God". In it, he took particular issue with the 4th Commandment. "I thought", said God, "that it was pretty straightforward, ie, "Thou shalt not kill". Pretty clear, I thought. I didn't say it's ok to kill on my behalf. I said don't kill".


Point is, people of all denominations have taken upon themselves at one time or another to decide what God wants done. Kill abortion doctors, stop birth control education, convert people after they're dead (a favorite of the Mormons), you name it. What makes these guys so enlightened; do they have a pipeline to God? Seems awfully convenient to say "the Good Book says we have to do this", including such apparently God-inspired things as slavery, beheadings, and stonings.


It'd be nice if we could all just believe what we believe and just enjoy Scouting. Unfortunately, while saying that all religions are equal, seems to make some more equal than others. And their politicizing of their positions is only hurting the Scouts.

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"I'm not so sure that that's true. If I were to belong to a religion that believes in the inclusion of gays, then that would seem to be odds with Scout doctrine. Taken to its conclusion, then, I wouldn't be able to sign an adult leader app that requires me to agree with Scout doctrine, which would disallow me from Scouting."


I think you're mixing up two issues, the belief in God requirement and the no-gays membership requirement. Although there is some connection, they aren't the same. There is nothing you have to sign that would "disallow" from Scouting if you disagree with BSA on its membership standards--as opposed to whether you believe in God.

Perhaps what you're really trying to say is that while on the one hand BSA says it's completely nonsectarian and accepts believers in any religion, on the other hand some of its standards--in particular the one excluding openly gay members--seem drawn from a particular religious tradition. I think that's a fair comment, and worth discussing. But it belongs in a "gay members" thread, not an "atheism" thread.

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