16 thoughts on “Newton vs. Bill Nye – EA meme”

  1. Newton was a Christian, sure–so was nearly everyone in his time and place, including slaveholders (the Bible heavily condones slavery) and other ignorant (by today’s standards) awful people. Newton was also a weird mystic, a large part of his secret writings dedicated to wildly superstitious beliefs. People are complex. But most important is the fact that Newton lived long before Darwin, who provided the first (and ultimately very powerful) real alternative to an intelligent creator. If alive today, Newton would almost certainly have views very different from those he had then. So calling on Newton’s views to argue for theism is ludicrous. –from a Professor Emeritus in Philosophy of Science (with a BA and ABD in Physics)

    1. LOL! This a wonderfully typical atheist reputation smear in one compact paragraph. Worth the study if you’re a newbie.

      It *is* handy that you’re more morally advanced as human being than Newton. Makes such an analysis much easier. I like that you got the backing of a guy who couldn’t teach real science at a college level. Instead, he had to settle, er, was interested in teaching about the scientific method. I might lie as much as that Prof did about Newton, too, if I was sentenced to be around actual competent people and cram a week’s worth of material into a semester long course for the entirety of your career.

      1. I’m afraid your word ‘typical’ is unintendedly ironic, given all of your ad hominems here. And for the record, I was not defending Bill Nye–I have my own objections to him. There is illogic among both atheists and believers. But illogic is about all I have seen on this site.

      2. No, ‘typical’ is not ironic. There is much more interesting variety in theists than atheists. Typically, Western atheists are white males who come from middle class to upper middle class households. When they vote, they generally vote Democrat and are socialists. If they’re not socialists, they’re libertarians.

        A completely predictable thought pattern dominates the angry run away crowd from the Episcopalian social club set.

      3. I have delayed making my final comment on this site to see
        whether anyone else would weigh in. Since no one else has, here it is:

        The typicality to which my second posting was referring is
        that of ideologue-believers–namely dishonesty, intellectual and otherwise. It
        applies to ideologues of every stripe–yes, including some atheists. (It
        includes people who, lacking any actual evidence, instead make up ad hominem falsehoods
        about me when they are completely ignorant of the actual facts.) But it applies
        especially strongly to religious believers, for special reasons. The riposte
        that there is great variety among them is true–but there is not much variety
        in THIS regard.

        The big difference among believers is between
        post-scientific-revolution religious liberals such as those Episcopians, who
        bend themselves into pretzels trying to avoid admitting the provable fact that
        the Bible is a pack of old myths–some of them highly morally evil–saying
        “But the ESSENTIAL message of the Bible is true–just don’t expect us to
        know exactly what it is!”, on the one hand, and religious fundamentalists
        on the other, who realize what a slippery slope the liberals are on and whose
        dishonesty consists in denying the provable fact just alluded to.

        Unless you are grossly ignorant for people living (unlike
        Newton) in the 21st century, you know something about that massive body of
        proof: everything from linguo-textual analysis of the Old and New Testaments
        along with Biblical archeology, to astronomy and geology and paleobiology and
        archeology, to genetics and brain science (structural and
        electrochemical)–replacing those evil spirits Jesus is supposed to have talked
        to (and which Christians once believed caused all sorts of physical and mental
        pathologies), for just a single example.

        But there is no point in my trying to list all of this
        evidence for you. As Jesus allegedly said, it is foolish to cast pearls before

      4. LOL! I’m not sure you’ve got too many pearls there. Try not to worry.

        I’m a Catholic, the denomination that pulled together the Bible, along with the Orthodox. There is a consistent, known message in the Bible because it was pulled together as a desk reference of sorts for Priests. Many parts were never intended to be taken literally and others are there only for reference, to understand the laws at the time of Christ’s lifetime. Still other books in the Bible are complex pieces of Judiac philosophy which the Jews themselves don’t tackle in a vacuum.

        If you insist on reading the Bible like an uneducated fundamentalist, yeah it seem inconsistent, just like reading an MD’s desk drug reference will too. Sorry. It’s easy to deny belief in a child’s silly cartoon of Christianity. The real theology is adult, dark, complex, and much trickier to outright reject. If you ever want to learn about the real version, we have some ideas in the Resources section.

  2. Hm. The tone and content of this message of yours (is this
    Dean?) is so much better than before–avoiding the lies about me personally and most of the distortion of my words–that the scientist and scholar in me are tempted not to sign off after all; you have some claims of fact here that are worth rational debate. In the hope that you would like rational debate–vigorous but respectful–I herewith make another stab.

    To start, you would have to be more precise about just where
    in your Resources section is the factual information you think I lack. I have already read far too much rewriting of history by Christian apologists to just go searching there. I also know far too much history and science to settle for anything less than provable facts.

    Let’s begin with your claim that “the Bible … was pulled to get as a desk reference of sorts for Priests”. Not so. It was debated over and settled on at the council of Nicaea because emperor
    Constantine looked at the massive doctrinal differences among the many Christian factions–based partly on the large numbers of conflicting scriptures in use–and demanded that the various leaders get together and settle on a common set of doctrines. They then weeded out a great many of the extant texts–especially Coptic Christian ones recently re-discovered–declaring the
    latter, along with many of the extant doctrines (e.g., Arianism) to be heretical.

    As for your claim that large amounts of the resulting
    scriptures were historically never taken literally, “LOL” is the only
    appropriate response. A key fact in that regard, as I understand what happened at Nicaea, is that they DID decide that the Song of Solomon was only metaphorical, and accepted the Apocalypse/Revelation as conditionally in that category. That
    they would do this sharply underlines the fact that they WERE taking all the rest literally. They most certainly did take it literally in that scientifically primitive age, and no amount of time-traveling rationalization will erase the fact.

    But let me be more specific. The claim that long years back
    the Bible was not taken literally would explain the facts (being ironic, not literal) that: Galileo was forced to recant his astronomical heresies; the literal sins of a literal Adam and Eve have been taken to stain all humanity, requiring as THE central Christian doctrine a literal sacrifice of Jesus to remove
    that stain (and reflecting that evil passage in Leviticus where Yahweh virtually invites human sacrifices to Him–practiced at least once later, by an Israelite general on his young daughter); Catholic priests to this day stand ready to exorcise demons (not so?); many Christians take literally certain New Testament passages which led at Nicaea to the logically incoherent doctrines of the Trinity and transubstantiation (OK–so Quantum theory is pretty weird too). I could literally go on and on, but will await any response to this much.

    So don’t try to blame the messenger (me) for the views of
    Christian fundamentalists; they stand in a very long tradition, and are a large part of the body of believers you have been defending against atheists. And don’t try to palm off the Old Testament on the Jews–too many New Testament writers took its words completely literally too, merely jettisoning some of its
    more onerous commanded practices.

    1. “To start, you would have to be more precise about just where
      in your Resources section is the factual information you think I lack.”

      No, I don’t. One of our tests for how much effort we put into these conversations is how much effort *you* put into them.

      If you can’t seek out one webpage on a site you’re determined to comment on, why exactly should I continue to engage you? Why I would I think the rest of your rather long comment would be anything but you spouting non-sense while taking breaks from long, loving looks in the mirror?

      As for the rest of it, sorry the history is history and the world is messy. Galileo insisted in inserting himself into a mess and was hardly an innocent in the situation. It was very complex and the in end, the worst thing to happen to him was house arrest.

      Adam and Eve have nothing to do with that, but it is clear to any thinking observer that we live in a world where there is no perfect human. No one without any sin. Human social structures that decay. In that I think there is more than enough evidence enough for a fallen world, even if it’s hard to deal with.

      I’m not going address the rest of the particulars as they are literalist critiques meant to make you feel intellectual. Obviously since you can’t even find the Resources section of this website by yourself, much more of an effort on my part is a waste.

      1. This retort confirms the earlier evidence of your profound ignorance of history–and you have reverted to type as jeering nasty SOB. So indeed, any further time spent would be a waste.

      2. If you’re ever interested in real history, rather than the pretend atheist one, Borden Painter, Jr, a respected historian has written The New Atheist Denial of History. http://a.co/9J6GaNF It’s very good.

  3. Newton is something of a personal example to me, maybe even a hero, as he seemed to be something of an Arian Christian (though he couldn’t say it to his superiors at Cambridge because holding a position there demanded fealty to Church of England theology).Reading the Bible for myself, I’ve come to a lot of his same conclusions about doctrine. Nye? He could be a poster boy… along with Neil deGrasse Tyson… for making science into a Bolshevist-like cult. Like that Apple decal on a Prius, that “I F#$%!ng Love Science” retweet has nothing to do with actually loving science and everything to do with being a tribal signifier. A lot of people… myself included… are fascinated by science and like doing things like amateur astronomy, but stay far away from “science” groups because they inevitably turn out to be neckbeard atheist conventions with Dawkins fans always starting crap about those stupid Xtians in middle ‘Murica. I guess I’d rather just read the books and explore it by myself than listen to a lecture from so-called brights.

    1. Considering that the Church of England was forced on the English by Henry the VIII, I would not say that Newton’s lack of fealty to it specifically says much about his Christianity. I’m not sure what an “Arian” Christian is. However, as long as you accept Christian with doubts about the nationalist aspects of the Church of England, I’m there with you.

      Regarding the Bible – generally speaking, it’s something people can’t just read for themselves, at least not without a guide of some sort. It sounds like you in particular can get away with it because you’re an avid reader who works at it. *grin*. However, for the more average bear, if nothing else, it requires a great deal of historical context to even make sense. It appears that many parts of the Bible were pulled together to give historical context to non-Jews about Jesus’ life, but people don’t even seem to “get” that bit. That the Bible is a actually a portable library of books, not something really meant to be read cover to cover like a how to book or a novel. All of us in the English speaking world are soaked completely post-Reformation thoughts on the matter, but the truth of it is, for most people without context, or culture that really helps them work through parts of it, the Bible falls flat or is confusing, assuming they don’t have some sort of ax to grind.

      To me, the endless mutterings from Dawkins crowd is just the flip coin of American fundamentalist preaching. Almost always they’ve read the Bible like basically a brain dead maroon, never once noting, for instance, that most Christian thinking never took Genesis literally until it became a point of faith for particular denominations. There is no more pointless debate than the one regarding evolution versus creationism. 99.99% of science marches on without caring in the slightest about the right answer to the question of where we came from. I almost want to put the two groups in a room so they can sort out their particular dogmatic issues and leave the rest of us alone. 🙂

      1. Newton’s personal theology more or less aligns with what we know of Arius’ teachings.

      2. First, I appreciate the information. Learning something new is always good.

        I am unfortunately “meh” about the idea of his personal opinions aligning with Arius. I don’t know if you’re a believer yourself, but when people get involved with Trinity discussions, I’m right back at the same place as evolution vs. creationism. Nobody is going to prove anything in this lifetime, for sure. 😉

      3. Completely understand, which is why I usually avoid them. It gets me a big fat “Heretic!” from the Trinitarian side, and a “Eh, it’s just another flavor of voodoo” from the neckbeard atheist side.