The Lord is Not on Trial Here Today

The Lord is Not on Trial Here Today

2010, Religion  -   278 Comments
Ratings: 8.66/10 from 250 users.

The Lord Is Not On Trial Here Today is a Peabody and Emmy Award-winning documentary that tells the compelling personal story of the late Vashti McCollum, and how her efforts to protect her ten year-old son led to one of the most important and landmark First Amendment cases in U.S. Supreme Court history - the case that established the separation of church and state in public schools.

The case is little-known by the contemporary American public, yet the McCollum decision continues to have important ramifications for current conflicts over the role of religion in public institutions - from displays of the Ten Commandments in government buildings to student-led prayers at public school graduation ceremonies.

The Constitution is not self-executing; until there are disputes about its meaning, it is largely ignored. It usually takes an incredibly brave, courageous person to step forward and dispute some part of the Constitution, often resulting in terrible consequences for the individual and/or their family. Yet most of us know nothing of those struggles. They just become names in a law book. The McCollum case is a perfect example.

We just assume, for instance, that there is separation of church and state in public schools because the First Amendment says so. But that's not the reason. The reason is because someone fought for it.

Directed by: Jay Rosenstein

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278 Comments / User Reviews

  1. the non religion described below is a religion. One way or another all men worship something or some one. Like it or not, the non believer won't be in Hell 5 minutes and they will believe the horror of their mistake.. Is it really worth it to defy the existence of God?

  2. Amazing woman, super courageous. We all owe her a debt of gratitude.

  3. We should bring the lord on trial every minute of the day in the of those innocent children who were butchered in the name of God.

    1. Whose God would you invite? I am an atheist, but I am not amoral. In fact, I consider myself more principle than the Christians in my family and community. I do not want your God telling me how to protect innocent children from the act of butchering. I want the citizens of this country to petition the government to tend to the business of governance. I have not watch the movie yet and plan to watch it tonight...and there will be no God the Father sitting on right arm and should it appear, I will voluntarily admit myself to a psychiatric hospital.

    2. @Ruth Briggs - well said!

  4. Well be held accountable

  5. When you get off track, over time one becomes more lost. It's bad enough to be in error but to drag others down with you is troubling. Not only did they cheat themselves out of the free gift of salvation but have confused several generations into missing out as well. More over we'll be held accountable for that. A compounding punishment.

    1. held accountable by whom? by a god? which god?

  6. As a christian Love and Care of Heavenly Father will do whatever is invisible. So it upright the hidden treasure for Christian.

  7. So it starts as tiny infractions and ends up where we are. Today children are taught nothing in school. How much better off we are.

  8. She was protecting her child and thank you for demonstrating the reason...bigotry... the history of Christianity. Her son already made his decision not to go to class and was being harassed for it abusive sheep. Join us or we'll hit you over the head with a Bible. Yeah. No thanks. Religion doesn't have to be that way.

  9. forgive

  10. religion is mind poison

    1. Religion and Churchianity are just other systems like politics, economy, school system, etc. But spirituality is about a lifestyle that has a personal relationship with the Lord! A mistake to equate Spirituality and religion in the same way. Two different things.

  11. Thomas d'Aquinas, later made a saint answered his critics thusly;
    'For those who believe (in God), no proof is necessary.
    For those without belief, no proof is possible'.
    Absolutely, Church and State must be separate. To quote Jesus, "render unto Caesar that which is Caeser's ..." Look what happened to us in Ireland !

    1. What happened in Ireland?

    2. The better reasoning is if you make a claim without proof ( god exists ) , then it can be dismissed without proof. Habeas Corpus. Show us this god or quit using your delusions as a basis for argument. It is easy to fool people, but hard to convince people they have been fooled, as evidenced by the number of church goers and the most deluded among them who believe angels walk the earth. The saddest part is they are allowed to vote just like a sane person.

  12. This stupid woman sacrificed her sons on the alter of her personal beliefs rather than give them the chance to attend religious classes with their school friends and have the opportunity to form their own opinions about religion. Now she is shocked - shocked! that her son's become alienated at school. My personal beliefs? I know there is God but no one can really know him based on the writings of elderly jews 2,000 years ago.

    1. They weren't elderly. The disciples ranged in age from 13-21 when they were with Jesus and the writings themselves give good evidence that they were written within 40 years of Jesus' ministry. That makes their writings the writings of young and middle aged adults. Not elderly men. Otherwise I agree with you about her.

    2. Form their own opinion. You really think those classes give the student an option? They preach it is a sin use your brains and think and question. Curiousity is punished (turned in to salt). These are fairy stories and they keep going by brainwashing to think magic is real. Go to these religions when you are a adult and you would be laughing at these stories.

    3. what an ignorant opinion? most of you talk about religion, know nothing religion except of your religious leaders teach you from the bible which was written to benefit the powerful. The narratives never change. Most of you can't probably explain the structure of religious experience not along know anything about the academic study of religion. The world would be a better place if ignorant religious believers and practitioners like yourself could live like a true human being.

    4. Bffffff! The writings...stupid argument.

  13. There's not much good in being called something you're not. Calling America Christian when the reality is far different is confusing at best and deceptive at worst. There is a beauty and hope and power and reality to Christianity that is not seen or known when people fight to be called Christian. The name should follow the reality.

  14. Christians seem to always be on the side of hating. Haters they are and haters they stay. They really should be Jews and stick with the Old Testament which is all about a hater god because the New Testament's message of love is totally wasted on them. What a strong woman to stand against haters. Wow, now if only humanity was filled with people like her.

    1. Wow! I could not have said it better.

  15. if those people were real christians and were bible believers they would pray for her instead of attacking her and her children they were no christians only by name

  16. hmmm..... does anyone think there's any harm in kids reading "Thou Shalt Not Kill" as they enter school everyday? I know this all sounds like a good idea on the surface, but it actually began an era in which the government has been tasked with declaring what we should and should not do - The Offense Police. No where in the constitution do i read "....has the right never to be offended." And so fast forward to today, we've become a police state! The problem wasn't in the content, it was in the way it was forced and delivered. Asking the courts to control other's behavior doesn't seem to be how a democracy should exist. There's too many unintended consequences that adversely affect all of us as a whole when the courts make such decisions because the Court has no mechanism with which to deal with the many nuances that all of us as human have. We've lost the awareness and freedom of what it means to allow give and take and the importance of never allowing outside people or things to dictate my happiness. Now we're in a world where Victimhood is a badge of honor. If I was teaching this as a lesson, I would ask folks to name 3 things that could have been done, in retrospect, that would have more favorably solved the issue besides going to court. It's called effective conflict management and the court system is to be used in the most serious of instances and when all other attempts have been exhausted. Otherwise, we all lose in the end and our democracy begins to look more like an Oligarchy.

    1. Cherry pick "Thou Shalt not Kill" all you want. It doesn't work for the approval of slavery in Leviticus,the second class position attributed to women, the heirarchy and anti science.
      But that is all irrelevant. Religious beliefs don't belong as a subject imposed by the state. To test yourself on this what if the classes were Islamic and the Koran, or Buddhist, or Wiccan or Thughee?

  17. I just found a great show on Hulu that took 6 episodes before introducing a fantastic loving homosexual couple and then introduced Christians as hateful. With Hollywood setting the modern compass of societies, it is amazing that anyone is still a Christian because Hollywood hates them - not to mention colleges filled with anti-God rhetoric. It turns out that God has never proven himself to someone without faith.....instead, He rewards faithfulness with supernatural events. So while the world confuses the media with science, several of us are seeing supernatural intervention that our pragmatism cannot write-off as coincidence.

  18. oQ & willymayshayes,
    The site is called Top Documentary Films, not Top Science Documentary films. Some of us appreciate a variety of knowledge from a wide arena of experiences & some of us aren't so narrowly minded. Some of us also wish to be informed, not just entertained.
    All knowledge is useful to some degree, you just don't know that yet, so stop complaining & eat your vegetables...

  19. What a credit to us all this woman was (not). Nobody in their right mind would put their child in a public school today if they want them to have a good future.

  20. So, lets see how this affected public schools today. I see the free public school system not teaching students a damn thing. All you see is a majority of African American kids getting educated in public schools, and we see the affect that has. I see people graduating and still can't read or write. They have no moral base, or money. Colleges don't want students who are pushed through the public school system.

  21. That woman is sitting in a dark corner of hell right now wishing she would have had a drinking problem back in the 40's

  22. hey, Hollywood -- instead of all those sequels, prequels, superheroes and video game movies, how about a thrilling tale about Vashti McCollum and her quest for equality for all? or do you think we're all too stupid to appreciate such a story.

  23. Being Human means having the ability to think and rationalise. Being human also means that we can imagine and invent as we have done with religion. Reality is different for different people because the arrival at a perception is a journey that starts from birth and that journey is different for each one of us. The perception of truth is nothing more than majority thought. When this is challenged it becomes problematical because beliefs and 'truths' are revealed in a different light. The world is changing and governments, religious institutions, the media and people of influence are continuously driven by power and the control it gives them. For some of us, we are saddened that society has yet so far to travel before attaining a state where critical and rational thought dominates each mind instead of religious and political doctrine and a culture largely manufactured by the media. The American Constitution's First Amendment recognises this and I think it is amazing for what it represents and the intellect that developed it. I also think it is amazing that a nation that can have such a wonderful underpinnings continues to do what it can to deny the brilliance of thought upon which it is founded.

    1. ... kicking and screaming ...

  24. Everyone please calm down and stop religion bashing...soon Obama will impose his "New World Order" where religion doesn't exist, law doesn't exist,freedom doesn't exist...and we will all be nothing but branded sheep. And he has us to thank...because of our ignorance and inability to tolerate and respect one another.

  25. -Standing Applause-

  26. Why are people focusing their verbal attacks on Christianity? What about islam? They are beheading children and now they have moved on from that to burying children and women alive because they do not want convert to islam.

    1. you are scared for you religion.A documentary can't make any change in the mind of a true followers

  27. yo i look at alot of these religious documentaries and ive noticed a serious bias when it comes to the descriptions. the ones that are anti religious have an epic summary whereas the pro-religious videos seem to always have descriptions that are borderline hateful. i really don't want someones personal opinion when im trying to see what a video is about...annoying

  28. Man, I'm an Atheist and the post on this thread are seriously harsh. Let's stop Christian bashing... everyone has the right to believe whatever they want to believe. I'll let you be if you let me be.

    1. Criticizing Christian misbehavior is bashing?

      But it is not bashing for you to criticize others because of what bit of logical fallacy?


    2. the problem is in your last sentence -- there are religions (not naming names) that aren't happy unless and until all the "yous" become "wes."

    3. > everyone has the right to believe whatever they want to believe

      But you don't have right to use tax dollars to impose those beliefs on others.

    4. Good idea!

  29. 7:51 "One Nation Indivisible." No "under God" anywhere to be found.

    1. i enjoyed that bit immensely.

  30. Brainwashing your kid into any religion is a form of child abuse….i am very glad that my parents did not put me through the fear of hell. What a horrible thing to put your children through. There is no such thing as a Christian child or Muslim child, children are innocent and its only when adults corrupt their minds usually through fear that they start being mean to other kids who don't believe in the same crap their parents do.

    1. probably the best point that Dawkins ever made.

  31. This woman is an inspiration. Thank you, Vashti McCollum for your hard work.

  32. Religion is the root of all evil, what a horrible way to treat someone who smart enough and logically thinking enough to protect her kids from the "religious" mind disease. You do not see Atheists knocking on peoples doors trying to spread their opinions, but they do get treated outcasts if they dare speak out against religion(even killed)

  33. and now we have moral depravity, and twerking. hormones in milk, children having sex at age 10. and thats just the beginning.

    We need Jesus Christ, so very much. Open your heart

    1. You need Jesus the same way as children need Santa Klaus , Muslims need Mohamed and Jews need Jehovah, Buddhists need Buddha.You need Jesus the same way , people on the remotes islands of Philippine need food and shelters before Bibles and Korans. You need Jesus the same way I need my beliefs to be truth.Regarding the moral depravity and twerking ,.. well..., it is easy to see the stains on a beautiful painting but is your choice to focus either on the stains or the painting.

    2. Moral depravity?? Like religious people have the moral high ground….You people discriminate against other religions and non-believers more than anyone else, not to mention all the pedophile priests and with hunts. All because you believein a book that is full of lies and made up stories, and a character that is a plagiarism of many other mythical characters like Thorus and hercules. You my friend sound mentally disturbed, like all the other happy clappers who say they are good people but only good people to people who believe in the crap you do.

    3. geeez does everyone really believe that all Christians are prejudice, hypocritical, religious, discriminatory, prideful, arrogant zealots??!!! Why as human beings do we even put people in such biased groupings? Sometimes we don't even realize how prejudice and hateful we are when we call others the same thing. May God help us all.

    4. Not all Christians are prejudiced.

      A lot of Christians are prejudiced.

      Look at all the laws made/proposed based on Biblical prejudices.

      If the Gods of the Bible were more moral, you might have a point, but the laws discriminate (exhibit prejudice) against non-Christians.

      The number of these discriminatory laws that pass suggests that there is a lot of prejudice among Christian voters.


    5. Before you go any further, you must show proof that there is, or was, such a deity as your Jesus Christ, the most amoral in my books is the hypocrite religee's spouting their holier than thou attitude, you apparently have the religious virus disease of the mind, yes it is a disease.

      funny religee's

    6. You have the same critical faculties as a caveman exclaiming "Why mountain angry!?!?"

    7. Besides, I reject the notion that making blatantly fallacious knowledge-claims about the supposed veracity of a totally extraneous ancient myth (I think you call it "believing") is a virtuous act. How you religiots buy into the idea that self-deceit is the exclusive path to truth is beyond me. When it comes to truth I've always found honesty to be more productive than willful delusion.

    8. No offence, but as a historian, I just want you know the facts are in and.....(drum roll)....."He" never existed. If he did though, which one are you referring to? The Prince of Peace, or the horse-top warrior with a bloodied sword smiting nations (Revelations)? Or both? Open your mind.

    9. no, we need more people like Vashti McCollum!

    10. Can you specifically link depravity, and twerking, and even hormones in milk; to a lack of Christianity?

  34. The constitution guarantees the freedom of practice of all religion but most important provides protection for individuals against all religious groups .That's what I think the founding fathers had intended.May all Gods bless America,Canada and Romania and may all poor and uneducated people be protected from all churches .

  35. That woman is a true hero.

  36. Well, I got some good news for everyone. We have done a good job of getting Christ out of American schools and government for awhile but was it worth the effort? Our future has a thousand year date with Christ on the earth as its government and center of teaching. We had a real chance at the beginning of America to get a small taste of that future glory but we opted out. I can turn on the evening news and see what we opted for instead, so I look forward to the day the earth will be ruled with real righteousness, truth, and understanding.

    1. That's what private schools are for. You realize that not all tax paying americans are christians right? We opted out? American is the #1 superpower in the world and also the richest. We have been tremendously successful in the short amount of time we have been a country. I don't understand your logic. You want to teach your kids Christianity....go ahead! no one is stopping you! Don't force other people to do the same. This country is a melting pot of people and ideas. That's why we are successful and that is the only way we are going to be successful in the future. Go ahead and turn on the evening news, you know what you will see? You will see priests being arrested for child molestation. You will see corruption in the church both morally and financially. You will see die hard christians committing crimes just like everyone else. Why don't you do some reading up on statistics of the percentage of people that are in jail that are atheists. Pretty interesting the mental gymnastics you have to do to avoid the obvious and stick by your falsehoods. Live and let live, forcing people to be like you will get you enemies not friends.

    2. Agreed! There is a reason I no longer choose to practice Catholicism or any organized religion, for that matter. I agree--go ahead and raise children as Christians, or Buddhists or Hindus or whatever you want to raise your children. Look at the Mormon dude MacNeil, the Mormon with 8 kids, who killed his wife and is being sent to prison for her murder. Yeah he's really God fearing and followed the "do not kill" Commandment. It's not like the Christians of the "Bible" were non-violent people either. The Bible is filled with violence, war and the slaughter of innocent people. Keep the church out of my state and send your kids to private school. There's a reason we live in the United States of America--it's called the freedom to practice or not practice a religion.

    3. Very true! Suddenly the mainstream's more popular consensus of what's to
      blame for ever-increasing school shootings & such as a result of
      violent video games, for example, that's triggered by social persecution
      or bullying. But it's not the things added in today's culture at the
      root of such behavioral changes, instead it's what's been taken away,
      ..these radical actions are a symptom of the problem. The problem is
      actually better described as 2 separate issues that are directly akin;
      1) an impairment to cope AND 2) the perception of lost hope,
      insignificance, being void of purpose. This is in result to not only
      withdrawing faith from our educational institutions but progressively
      banning it while increasing the emphasis on indoctrinating a largely
      "Theistic" culture into adopting "Atheistic" teaching of sciences
      established around darwinism, theories having no basis of fact. One
      can't believe in the God of the Bible AND evolution & atheists know
      that. Mutations in cells & species doesn't contradict the Bible or
      Creation by intelligent design but evolutions are a different animal,
      literally & aren't proven in fact but theory alone. Evidences
      available only compliment mutations and do not help evolutionary theory
      at all. Give our youth back their significance both in life and the
      universe that God our Creator instilled in us.. as the moral fiber of
      our being & our culture ...then at that moment will an aimlessly
      lost generation find their direction again. We took out the Sword
      "Bible" & Guns took it's place!

    4. If you need make-believe to lend life a sense of meaning then clearly you already presume it meaningless: this makes the believer the most faithless of all.
      And look, religious institutions attempted for thousands of years to monopolize purpose and morality, so if people feel lacking in those things because superstition (er, religion) doesn't stand up to time and scrutiny, then the fault truly lies with the church for claiming that they were the sole dispensation of virtue and meaning while simultaneously eroding their own credibility over the years. Wake up.

  37. Rodney these words are as relevant today as they were back then! And yes it's not the LORD God who is on trial it's rather the peoples themselves and who have taken of invention and have set themselves above Him!

  38. One might infer to this decision as the day America began its decline for it is written in Exodus 19:6 concerning the correct decision analysis which should have been made available in argument concerning "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion"!
    Exodus 19:6

    And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel.

    1. Those words were written by scribes almost 3 thousand years ago for people living in Canaan, not Americans living during the present day.

    2. "speak unto the children of israel" you are now speaking unto the children of America ! the day we should infer to as the decline of America is the day we granted privilege to churches and a tax exempt status serving to further inflate their oh so righteous ego. This country was founded on freedom. The bill of rights established your freedom "of" religion and in the exact same measure it established my freedom "from" religion. the founding fathers knew full well this country should be run on rights and not beliefs. The "establishment of religion" clause of the First Amendment means at least this: Neither a state nor the Federal Government can set up a church. Neither can pass laws which aid one religion, aid all religions, or prefer one religion to another ... in the words of Jefferson, the [First Amendment] clause against establishment of religion by law was intended to erect 'a wall of separation between church and State' ... That wall must be kept high and impregnable. We could not approve the slightest breach."

  39. It is apparent people have not learned their lesson since this ruling. Some wish to continue nibbling at this ruling hoping to weaken it for their own ideological empowerment.
    As they say, freedom is not free, it has to be guarded every day.

  40. Jesus in Church, not Schools.

  41. Moderators: Clicking on the names of posters no longer brings up their previous posts. Is something wrong with disqus?

    1. Worked for me?

  42. This is a really unbelievable story, but I don't know why I'm surprised. I remember thinking as a kid that the idea discussed here was the reason all the kids were going to hell because of their heathen parents.

  43. Nice pagan-influenced Maypole dance at 13:20 or so. Most Christians don't even realize how pagan they actually are.

  44. The Supreme Court deserves a lot of credit also.

  45. An excellent documentary that explores the nuances of integrated society, and the impact that one individual can have when they stick to their guns. I really like how it exposed how McCollum was used for alterior motives by those for, and against her position. I also like the exposure of the simplistic connections, (atheist/communist) which are continuously used today to divide, and conquer the populace as a whole. (man vs woman, black vs white, republican vs democrat, capitalist vs communist, etc.)
    In my opinion, the treatment of her son was lost in the rhetoric, as was the importance of the decision. Personally, I don't have a problem with the teaching of religion in public school, as long as it is by choice, and not as a prerequisite course,(theological studies) and more importantly, that it is not brought into the science class as a competing theory. Contrary to popular belief, science and spirituality are not in conflict, and anyone who insists otherwise, is implying disparity where none exists.

    1. I agree that this was an excellent documentary; and you're right about simplistic, 'right/wrong' connections.

      The only thing I don't agree with is your statement that "science and spirituality are not in conflict," if by spirituality you mean religious belief.

      In Richard Dawkins' book, "The God Delusion" he points out that religion is the antithesis of science, since it takes any unknown and substitutes 'god' for the answer, thus effectively shutting down further inquiry for an answer, and thus ending scientific research.

    2. I'd call that the Dawkin Delusion...quite simply religion (as much as I don't agree with its teachings) does not exist in the gap between knowns. To me that is a typically contrived statement by Richard Dawkins. God exists in all things, everywhere, not in the question marks (according to most religions). Dawkins is well aware of this, making him unscrupulous in his though a scientific truth removes god from the picture. His eyes would be blinking profusely (knowingly lying) if he said that in an interview. It's not even that it is done blatantly maliciously either, it's just a typical confrontational joust of an intellectual mind, little different from a clever chess move.

      If a religion rejects curiosity and inquiry over blind faith, then that religion is living on borrowed time. Making it not the antithesis of science, but instead wilfully ignorant.

      Spirituality, to which awful_truth referred, is not necessarily closed to inquiry or curiosity as it is more of a philosophical reflection (i.e. Buddhism). It too does not reject science or claim to live in the gaps left behind by it.

      Dawkins' science often uses false logic (as seen in this example) and circular arguments to promote a scientific paradigm above all else. I wonder if you can see the language trickery that is employed by Dawkins to infer science as infallible? It is not unintentional by any means.

    3. DigiWongaDude,

      The "God of the gaps" did not originate with Dawkins.

      The "God of the gaps" is the excuse of many people for their mysticism/spirituality/religion.

      You claim that there is a God and that this God exists in everything, but that is not what Dawkins is saying.

      Dawkins is saying that the lack of scientific understanding of something is often used as proof of God.

      The comments of awful_truth are excellent examples of this logical fallacy. I don't know, therefore God (or whatever spirituality/mysticism I want to justify).

      "It too does not reject science or claim to live in the gaps left behind by it."

      You cite what Dawkins describes as the "God of the gaps" in your comment claiming that there is no "God of the gaps" argument by the religious.

      "I wonder if you can see the language trickery that is employed by Dawkins to infer science as infallible?"

      Please provide some direct quotes of Dawkins claiming that science is infallible.

      Or is Dawkins not making this inference?

      You appear to be assuming this in order to pretend to have something to criticize.


    4. @Rogue Medic: It is not that science is infallable, just that it will always be incomplete, because we are very limited in what we can observe and measure on the grand scheme of things. (can never know it all)
      Since our own life is partly what we make it, one should never dismiss the potential of thought itself regarding the outcome of what will be. If you choose to see yourself as meaningless, or only physical, that choice limits the potentiality of your own possibilities. Ultimately, without the perception of existance, (life) all you have is sterility. (non existance)
      One just need look in the mirror to realize that life is everywhere, not just on the planet, but the planet itself, even the sun, and yes, the universe. If you do not see it that way, that is okay, because it is neither right or wrong, only a choice. The only limitation of choices are the ones we place on ourselves.
      This is just my opinion, take it for what it is, but everyone has one, and that is what makes life interesting. (the possibilites)

    5. awful_truth,

      There is nothing wrong with our knowledge being incomplete.

      Those who insist on complete answers about the world have to settle for lies.

      Those who pretend that they know what goes on do not have knowledge. They only have self-deception.


    6. @kateye70: Since science can neither prove nor disprove the unknowable, it's judgment of preconceived systems of philosophy/belief only have merit regarding issues of certainty. In contrast, issues of philosphy/belief that conflict with what we know to be certain, must be adjusted accordingly. (and seldom are)
      Dawkins view by it's very nature is 'one dimensional' thinking like his religious predacessors because he refuses to accept that science (the newest gospel) will never answer everything, let alone even come close. There is so much more going on they we could ever hope to understand as human beings, and the second you think you have it all figured out, (science or faith) I can guarantee you, that you haven't got a clue, and are merely deluding yourself. Science of today may answer some things far better than religous belief of yesterday, but this does not make all religious/spiritual belief invalid. In the end, this type of thinking is what creates close mindedness, preventing further research of the unknown.
      Ultimately, Science and philosphy/belief are complimentary by nature, not the atithesis purported by Dawkins. It is really not a question of whether (god/ the universe) exists, (it clearly does) the question is what analogy/belief best describes it. Since we will never completely know what that is, it will forever be open to debate.
      Since the universe is imperfect, yet composed of all possibilities, I leave you to decide for yourself (choice/heretic) what you wish to believe. Hopefully, it will be composed of both the truth of certainty, and the creative possibilities of the imagination. (like the zen master who ordered a hot dog, you know, one with everything) Anything else, is incomplete!

    7. "It is really not a question of whether (god/ the universe) exists, (it clearly does) . . . " So in other words to bring god (that is your god) into existence, you artificially tie this entity to the universe and therefore it must exist. So much for the "creative possibilities of the imagination." You're not fooling anyone.

      So the universe is imperfect. Compared to what? And what makes you think you know so much about it? Your study of zen?

      " . . . and the second you think you have it all figured out, (science or faith) I can guarantee you, that you haven't got a clue, and are merely deluding yourself." Really? So with all of modern science, we haven't got a clue. In case you haven't noticed it, the one-dimensional way of thinking (which you dishonestly term closedmindedness when it is actually intellectual discrimination) against which you cavil has produced and continues to produce results which trumps anything you have to offer. If anyone is delusional, it's definitely you. If anyone is dishonest, it's definitely you. If anyone is incomplete, it's definitely you.

    8. Religion has no place in schools they are there to educate our young and not teach them about some fairytale at school at best it should be treated like the bedtime story it is the same as little red ridinghood.

    9. Except Little Red Ridinghood has not had the same impact on the world as religions. So it's a bit more than that.

      World Religions can be a class, as long as it taught objectively and not there to persuade someone of the "one right way". To solicit a choice of one over the other.

      It could be an objective class that teaches about each religion (not just one), the foundation, development and growth. Like a history/literature/philosophy class all rolled into one and on a specific subject.

    10. when you say "It could be an objective class that teaching about each religion (not just one" do you mean EVERY religion? there have been over 28 000 000 gods worshiped how would that be possible? if not who gets to decide what gods/religions are discussed? would atheism be included in these classes?

      i have no problem with the factual impact that religion has had on historical or political events being discussed in the classroom. when discussing events and attitudes both good and bad. but if a holy book (or books) are presented as fact the facts must first be established.

    11. Yes, a world religion class should say that there have been 28 million gods worshiped. It should be stated that there are so many we can't begin to cover them all. Then the courses can focus on a variety of topics, including atheistic views and ideas as well as agnostic. I imagine that it would require several classes akin to Eng 101, 102, 151, 152, 161, 162..... 241, 242 .... ect....

      What's in the course? Is that not something usually set by a panel of people? Sitting on a curriculum committee board at university, we had many people give input on what should be included on the course. Usually outlined and plotted by those who were going to teach it/department heads, and approved or rejected by committee. There are plenty of ways to set that up, and it should be according to the institutions standards and polices. Which naturally evolve over time.

      I would not presume to represent any "holy book" as fact, not in the terms "fact" should be used. And I think that "holy" books should be tested as best as they can.

      As for use in the course, merely part of the study material. As anything it should be laid out as information, with teachers to assist and enable students self-exploration of the subject, not mold them into thought robots.

    12. sorry i misunderstood. if you are talking university then teach away.

    13. It's likely to be the best place (university) for the subject. Everywhere else seems to cause too much friction. ;)

      I went to a high school that had World Religions, and we covered as much as we could over grades 9 - 12 in a non-bias way. Looked at everything from history, to sects and ideology. Simply, here's what it is, where it came from, and what they believe, why there are different sects (yes, Henry split from the church so he could get a divorce (in part anyway)). No conflicts arose from those classes, and it's always interesting to have good open discussion.

      Either way, I agree with the principle of keeping religious indoctrination out of schools. Heck, I don't even think private schools should do that, but then that's not my call. I can only choose to not send my kids. :)

    14. I agree with this, provided these criteria are met and the classes are not used to tell people how they or others should lead their lives..

    15. They never should be told how to lead their lives, people should always be allowed to self discover, self actualize and discover the consequences of their actions.

    16. That is discover the consequences of their actions not only on themselves, but on others. That's what I mean: morality works from the ground up, not from the top down--it's situational. .

    17. I understand what you're trying to say. I'm curious though, what do you mean by situation?

      For example, Many Hutu's were able to kill Tutsi because they were sub-human, terms like "cockroaches" were actively used and the Tutsi people de-humanized. This de-humanization seems to have disabled empathy. Where as other Hutu's that did not share that view point, even though they were in the same situation as their fellow Hutu's, were able to Empathize and see the morality of the situation differently. Why would I care what my actions do to others, if I think they're on par with a cockroach infestation? I see empathy playing a huge role in morality, not just situations.

      I begin to wonder (again) if we are merely debating semantics, and yet do mean the same thing.

    18. That sounds good on paper? Sometimes peoples action bring adverse consequences to others? And anyway isn't that the way it is, don't we create our own consequences?

    19. How did the victims of the Holocaust create their own consequences other than being in the wrong place at the wrong time?

    20. That's a good question robertallen1, one I can't answer? However for what ever reason I don't believe things are random? I do believe we seek the right answers to the wrong questions? and worse yet we get or receive the right answers to wrong questions? And that is where the MentalMasterBation begins!

      I always liked what Richard Nixon said, "In life there are 99, rounds and I still have a few left".

    21. What you believe is only so much garbage. It's what you can prove. One way or the other, what does your answer have to do with the documentary?

    22. Fully agree.. :)

    23. My father went along to take a religious class once a week at Shirley Intermediate school....Christchurch NZ. By the time I went to intermediate school the practice was discontinued... So I only know what my father preached from the pulpit of Shirley Methodist, because volunteer Sunday Superintendents and members of the congregation taught the kids while a university prof took the older bible class group tues night ...others did Choirs and girl guides and Scouts.... Women's fireside group and guilds and missions and hospitality events for the Maori boy apprentices from the North Island , Hospices and hospitals for the elderly , charity fundraiser events and interfaith ecumenical retreats and bake sale and handmade crafts bazaars, the flowers and Organ voluntaries and hymnal accompaniments, stewardship and Offering collection and accounts- with heavy input and involvement from my mother, the Parson's wife. But the whole set up in my youth boasted a surge to become the largest and i felt the socially liveliest Youth group in the whole of NZ.
      I did feel a difference in attitudes from early childhood discrimination on sectarian lines when I lived out of the city in a town ... and feel this US ruling separation of Church and State had a carry on effect into NZ with promotion of more ecumenical inclusiveness between Protestant denominations and between Pakeha and Maori.... And the outward looking Pacific missions to Papua New Guineaand Solomon Islands.

    24. You must not know science, religion, or both... I'm sorry you want your cake and eat it too, but they are indeed at odds with one another. Holy books make claims that are not backed up by facts and must simply be believed. "Spirituality" follows the same concept. When you are a spiritual person you believe things simply because you want them to be true, not because they are true. Science is a way of discovering actual facts, and not a belief system.

    25. @Rodney Graham: Love, compassion, and morality can only be addressed by issues of philosophy/faith, and are beyond the purvue of science. Furthermore, science will never be capable of answering everything, so, while you put all your eggs into one basket of what you believe to be factual, you have only dismissed imagination, creativity, and most importantly, the 'power of thought' to be valueless, because of their lack of certainty. Science and faith are complimentary by nature, not antagonistic as you believe. Right or wrong, that is your belief, and perhaps you have arrived at your conclusions, because you fear life after death, as much as those you accuse of fearing death after life. Either way, on either extreme, be careful what you ask for, (believe) you just might get it!
      P.S: If you wish to test my knowledge regarding science, we can continue this discussion on a science documentary, where we can pontificate as to what we really know with certainty. (not much) Take care, and best wishes Rodney Graham.

    26. While science will never be capable of answering everything, by their very nature, philosophy and religion are incapable of answering anything--and don't insult the intelligence by confounding quackery with creativity.

    27. If I show one example of philosophy answering "anything" than that would disprove your assertion. Philosophy is the fundamental basis for all of science. Not some thoughtless ramblings like you seem to point out every now and then. How do we know that the scientific method(like other logical methods) work. Its because it gives us sound and valid results, but without philosophy and more specifically logic how would we even begin to agree how to go about it.

      People that assert philosophy is dead or assert it is somehow like religion need to take a critical thinking class. Philosophy is not unlike mathematics. And yes the scientific method is the best method for testing anything in the universe but because it is derived from philosophy; that method was and is directly influenced by philosophy and more specifically logic.

      In a nut shell:
      There are scientists("doers" of experiments) and there are philosophers(thinkers, creators, and discoverers of ideas) and of course there is everyone else. But who cares about them! :D
      I would argue to be the best scientist you could be you must be proficient at both philosophy(logical thinking) and of course a specific field of science.
      I am not an experimental scientist and have no intention of becoming one. I would rather have a solid understanding of all fields(or at least as much as I could learn in my life time). From there I can use philosophy and a broad knowledge of science to come up with a big picture idea of existence. This is why I love the idea of getting a degree in philosophy of science.

      Philosophy is about clarification and thinking into existence concepts, new ideas and other ways of looking at already known things through the use of logical methods. It's not just a place to store untestable concepts within metaphysics and ethics.

    28. Any scientist worth his salt doesn't need a philosopher to tell him how to go about his business.
      The scientific method was developed from the ground up, not from the top down--and it didn't need philosophy or philosophers. Its success derives not from some overblown tin-can-on-the-tail-of-the-dog codification yclept philosophy, but rather from people rolling up their sleeves and producing tangible results, a practice unknown to philosophy and philosophers. In short, you have things backwards.
      Philosophers are no different from religees trying to justify their existence and incessantly caterwauling about how much they are needed when in truth they are not. How many philosophers were employed on the Higgs-Boson project? How many philosophers are employed by major medical research companies? How many philosophers are employed in biology labs?.

      "From there I can use philosophy and a broad knowledge of science to come up with a big picture idea of existence." Which philosophy? Whose philosophy? Let's see the current results of this "broad knowledge of science." Let's see this big picture idea (whatever that is) of existence to which philosophy (that is some philosophy) has made a major contribution.
      Unlike science, philosophy never answered anything; philosophy never did anything; hence, it is as worthless as your post.

    29. Lets clearify what philosophy is to you before I reply. Because we dont seem to have a meeting of minds as far as the definition goes.

    30. Philosophy is in essence talking about something rather than doing it.

    31. But we can't do something if we don't think it first.

      Robert we are currently having a philosophical discussion now. And it is not worthless in the least bit. Please define what it means to you, and what we "could" learn if the discussion doesn't go south. I learn the most from deep conversations like these; maybe others will as well.

    32. Planning ahead is quite different from philosophizing--and the last thing a scientist needs is some philosopher telling him how to go about his work, just as the last thing an author needs is some philosopher telling him how to write a novel, a composer how to write a symphony or a painter how to depict a landscape.

    33. I want to point out that a lot of what I type is bull*(in other words filler). That said; the only thing for a skeptic, logical positivist, empiricist, logician, atheist, debater, troll, etc. is science to justify arguments, and maybe rhetoric if they think they can get away with it. If you use logic to win arguments and not scientific data, than by your own rules you've broken the first and only rule. However, most of the time logic alone is plenty justified to win arguments. The known rules of logic is a philosophy, one that you yourself use constantly! I don't mean to pry but I am surprised you advocate that philosophy is useless and yet you yourself use it more so than anyone else on this site. This is just, in general, thinking about issues(arguments) and using logical rules to defuse them and express truths.
      -Can you tell I am a lover of wisdom(philosophy).. as are you.

      Your understanding of philosophy is some sort of old slow useless discussion about metaphysical concepts. There is so much to philosophy people don't even recognize it anymore. For instance when they are thinking about "how odd it is that the universe can have conditions where life can arise evolve and then those life forms can ponder their own universe", they are philosophizing.

    34. Once again, if philosophy is so valuable to science, how many philosophers do NASA, CERN, Merck or any other mainstream scientific organization employ?

      Your problem is that you put philosophy ahead of science and it seems just about everything else.

      P.S. Logic alone is not enough to win many arguments. It must be tied to fact/evidence and no scientist needs a philosopher to point out the weaknesses in someone's scientific argument.

    35. I don't put philosophy ahead of science, but I sure as heck don't assert philosophy is worthless. You have insisted that no scientists ask philosophers for help, that's because most scientists (edit)should(obviously they would most if not all have a basic understanding from basic intro courses -at least-) have some background in philosophy themselves. Again you clearly have a misconception of what philosophy is. An example of an engineer with expertise in philosophy is Seth Lloyd. He is one of my heroes. And he is a leading quantum physicists/ and engineer. The stuff he says is very thought provoking!

      Furthermore, we are not having a scientific argument we are having a philosophical one :)

      PS why do you insist on down voting our discussion, do you want me to down vote every response you make, that I don't agree with regardless if its a thoughtful response or not.. Is this not a valuable discussion, after all you are "wasting your time" in it.

    36. Name me one institute of higher learning which requires science majors to take courses in philosophy other than those required of the general student population. Once again, name me one philosopher employed by NASA, CERN, Merck or any other mainstream scientific organization.
      And as long as we're discussing quantum physicists, there's Laurence Krauss who hates philosophy with a passion.
      And get this straight, science came up with the scientific method, not philosophy and also get this straight, philosophy is at best the tin can on the tail of the dog.

    37. Have you ever taken critical thinking?

    38. If a Philosopher steps into a scientific field then he had better come equipped with the scientific method. That does not mean that philosophizing didn't lead him there. And that it is at any point any less viable as a tool in the thinking process. Its like what are we doing when we are pondering or discussing music, art, or a novel as a whole(not the story itself) but things like what is art. Or what is the reason I study physics. Is it to eventually figure out that the universe is a giant quantum computer which can almost completely if not completely be described through math, and is somehow built into it (at least once for a fact) the potential to produce a conscious being that can then learn for itself and then ponder its existence.. philosophy is like poetry without the emotional drawback. Philosophy is the meaning of life (that isn't to say there is actually a meaning to life).

    39. As philosophy has no answers, it cannot validly comment on the "meaning of life" (which is subjective) much less can it validly comment on morality, ethics, etc. which develop from the ground up, not from the top down.

    40. "As philosophy has no answers, it cannot validly comment on the "meaning of life" (which is subjective) much less can it validly comment on morality, ethics, etc."


    41. @Rampage: Well done, and well said regarding the implications of philosophy. Keep up the good work!

    42. Love, compassion, and morality can only be addressed by issues of philosophy/faith, To which philosophy and or faith does your love, compassion and especially your morality come from from ? who is to say what to the uncountable varying forms of philosophy.. basically the wine of the dreamers. As to faith that's another matter, my study of the major books of faith would indicate anything but a loving. compassionate morality. Misogamy, slavery, blood sacrifice, aggression to any one not of the particular one true faith.Is this compassion and morality.. worship me do as i decree, believe or burn forever in hell. quite frankly to my way of thinking this is certainly not love, compassion or morality.

    43. @kicknbak60:
      You are correct that history is riddled with examples of bad philosophy/faith, and anyone who embraces stupidity is far more foolish than the ones they follow. With that said, nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons, are scientific bi-products of the worst of all addictions (greed) which is running/ruining the planet, and is far more destructive than any philosophy designed so far.
      Thus, if your intent was prove science above philosphy/faith in regards to which is less evil, you have failed miserably. My above blog was only to acknowledge that items such as love, compassion, and morality cannot be addressed by science, because it is beyond it's purvue. Good people come in all shapes, and forms, but good deeds only come from reflecting on one's actions, and their impact on everything around it. (philosophy) Sadly, science, and philosphy/faith are not to blame, only the people who exploit them for their own reward! Take care, and best wishes Kicknbak60.

    44. "... but he loves you." -- George Carlin

    45. Proving that love is real is about as likely as proving god exists! Apologies, but science can't help with either of these.
      P.S: George Carlin rules.

    46. Science does not make claims about certainty, that is the purview of religion, which is regularly shown to be wrong. Science deals in probabilities.

      Look at the big moral questions addressed by the Bible, such as slavery.

      The Bible supports slavery, but almost everyone knows that slavery is immoral.

      How did the Gods of the Bible get that one some completely wrong?

      Morality does not come from religion, but plenty of people find support for immorality in the Bible and other religious books.


    47. All science, (above the plank scale) deals in certainty. This was the premise of science to begin with that any experiment can be reproduced to verify the same results for confirmation of validity. Only the science of quantum mechanics (below the plank scale - very tiny) deals in probability. (different rules - superposition, entanglement, Heisenberg uncertainty principle)
      Morality does not come from religion, nor did I say it did. I stated in my previous comment, that only philosophy/faith (improvable concepts) can address issues of morality. As Albert Einstein stated so eloquently,(paraphrasing) " morality is a man made concept that is not governed by super human authority".
      It would seem that your desire to defend science while attacking religion has prevented you from absorbing the point of my comments.
      If religion didn't exist, humanity would kill just as many people as it does now replacing it with greed/power, patriotism, or 100 of the other 'isms' that exist. (political ideologies - nationalism, communism, socialism, capitalism, fascism, etc)
      It should be noted that science (like religion) is not to blame for people dying, but has sure made it a lot easier to kill a lot more people, more efficiently. If I was to follow the same logic you have expressed, then I can guarantee you that science has killed far more people in the last 100 years that religion killed in the last 1000!
      P.S: Violence is neither good nor bad, it is what motivates our actions that determines it's morality. (subjugation bad, defense good) Take care, and best wishes Rogue Medic.

    48. All science, (above the plank scale) deals in certainty.

      Science deals in probabilities.

      If you wish to defend your statement, then explain the use of p values and error bars in certainty.

      If religion didn't exist, humanity would kill just as many people as it does now replacing it with greed/power, patriotism, or 100 of the other 'isms' that exist. (political ideologies - nationalism, communism, socialism, capitalism, fascism, etc)

      How do you propose to test your hypothesis with certainty?

      If I was to follow the same logic you have expressed, then I can guarantee you that science has killed far more people in the last 100 years that religion killed in the last 1000!

      How does science give people motivation to kill?

      If you were to follow my logic, you should not have confused the religious claims that morality comes from religion with the claims of science that science has learned something new.


    49. If you are unable to comprehend the basic premise of science, then I will be unable to help you. (P values deal with statistical analysis, not scientific certainty) Statistical analysis is used to predict 'probability' because uncertainty exists due to unknown variables which cannot be expressed in a testable, reproducible experiment. There is a reason we still use 350 year old Newtonian mechanics because it is based on certainty. (the rules and effects of gravitation, and electromagnetism are not debatable - certainty) Thus, only an aspect of science (quantum mechanics) assigns probability, and at least does it with great accuracy. Statistical analysis is not even scientific, not to mention that statistics can be bent to support any hypothesis.
      This is precisely why it is inappropriate to request scientific certainty regarding the effects of religion. (nothing scientific about it) My statement was based upon the understanding that religion can be used as an 'excuse' to justify unjustifiable actions. (as is the many others ism's I mentioned in my previous comments) So, if you wish to assign blame to the method (religion) instead of the motivation behind it, (power, subjugation) then you must blame science as well. (you can't have it both ways) I thought I made this clear in my previous post.
      It is disappointing that you chose to imply that I stated morality comes from religion when I made it very clear that the premise of morality comes from philosophy/faith. (I even added an Einstein quote) These 'beliefs' are structured from the emotion of empathy, to create a stable construct for society. (how would I feel if I was in someone else's position?) Logic stems from consistent thinking that doesn't contradict itself to support a position, (bias) nor create circular arguments. (chicken or the egg)
      Thus, to answer both of your questions, is as follows:
      1) Russia (communism) drove out religion, and it didn't stop the endless other motivations from replacing it to justify unnecessary violence.
      2) Science is incapable of motivating immoral action, but like religion, is a powerful, and more efficient 'method' at the disposal for those in positions of power. (government and church are both based upon greed, and power, ergo same crap, different pile) In a nutshell, one does not require certainty to predict human nature. Religion, science, even guns don't kill people; people kill people, and they will use religion, science (advanced weaponry) and anything else (political manipulation) if they think it will work. (do you get this now?)
      The bottom line is I am not going to defend the negative impact of religion, because, like science, it has both positive, and negative attributes. This is not just my opinion, this is a scientific premise. (For every action, there is an opposite and equal reaction) If you find the taste of this unpalatable, buck up, and don't shoot the messenger, because I didn't create the universe, nor the rules that govern human nature.
      You really need to look closely at what I have stated to you before responding.
      P.S: I am very spiritual, but not religious. ( I am capable of making this distinction, but not everyone can) Take care, and best wishes Rogue Medic.

    50. Since you do not appear to have understood my original comment, read it again. Or you just do not understand that there is more to science than physics.

      Science does not make claims about certainty, that is the purview of religion, which is regularly shown to be wrong. Science deals in probabilities.

      Look at the big moral questions addressed by the Bible, such as slavery.

      The Bible supports slavery, but almost everyone knows that slavery is immoral.

      How did the Gods of the Bible get that one some completely wrong?

      Morality does not come from religion, but plenty of people find support for immorality in the Bible and other religious books.

      Science and religion (a form of philosophy) do overlap. Where they overlap, religions lose. Creationism is just one example.


    51. I understand your comments. You hate religion; you believe the bible is immoral for supporting slavery, and you keep re-iterating that morality does not come from the bible. (did I miss anything?)

      Question: How do you prove any religion, or the bible to be false? Since what happens after we die is beyond proof, it cannot even be addressed. If you are referring to what can be proved wrong regarding the here and now, it is from the 'certainty of science'.
      (Is it your position that religion is probably wrong???) LOL
      I have the same concerns as you regarding organized religion, but I don't allow it to impact the neutrality of logic.
      The only way you are going to recognize your incongruity, is when you remove your personal bias regarding religion from your thinking process, which is even preventing you from learning about the history of science, what it is, who actually created it, and how they arrived at their conclusions, (with certainty)
      There is no overlap between religion and science. (opposite ends of the spectrum) One is based on belief, the other is based upon proof. (certainty - not to be confused with statistical analysis) You should also realize that Copernicus, Kepler, Galileo, Newton, Einstein, etc were all profoundly religious, or spiritual individuals, and they never allowed their 'faith' to interfere with their thinking, or scientific investigation.
      Note 1: there is only 1 god in the bible. (monotheism)
      Note 2: corporatism, and the governments they control also believe in slavery. (global slavery to be precise) It would seem that the vast majority of humans either support slavery, or are too powerless to prevent it.
      What is the origin of life? Since science is incapable of answering this question, (science will never know everything) the 'belief' in creationism will continue to exist whether you 'believe' it, or not.
      (of that, I am certain!) Take care Rogue Medic.
      P.S: Look below, and learn!

      Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
      'Word Origin and History for science'
      mid-14c., "what is known, knowledge (of something) acquired by study; information;" also "assurance of knowledge, certitude, certainty," from Old French science "knowledge, learning, application; corpus of human knowledge"
      science: (sī'əns)
      The investigation of natural phenomena through observation, theoretical explanation, and experimentation, or the knowledge produced by such investigation. ◇ Science makes use of the scientific method, which includes the careful observation of natural phenomena, the formulation of a hypothesis, the conducting of one or more experiments to test the hypothesis, and the drawing of a conclusion that confirms or modifies the hypothesis. See Note at hypothesis.

    52. I understand your comments.

      Obviously, you do not, or we would not continue to disagree.

      Some of theoretical science involves certainty, but that may change. Science deals in probabilities.

      Rather than play with a dictionary, demonstrate the certainty of the science of evolution.

      As far as your claim that I am blinded by religion, I am opposed to any philosophy that justifies immorality and irrationality.

      You seem to have chosen to defend immorality with the deflection that others are also bad, as if that washes your hands of the problem of immorality. It certainly does not.


    53. Defend immorality??? (I get it, if I am not attacking organized faith, or the bible, I must somehow be a supporter of it - if I am not with you, I am against you - George Bush mentality) Better yet, you state that 'I do not understand, or we would not continue to disagree'. So, you believe that no one can understand your position unless they agree with you? Who are you, Hitler? ( a rogue in need of a medic) Since you are obviously one of those 'people' who perceives the world with a bi-polar/binary mindset (A or Z, nothing in between) there is no point in furthering this discussion. You have refused to address the logic of the issues I have raised, (parallels in power structure) and any reasoning that threatens to expose the contradictory nature of your hate is just outright ignored. (sounds a lot like the church to me!) So, believe what you want, (no one can't say I didn't try) and best wishes to you Rogue Medic.

    54. You are the one changing the subject.

      You claim that science is about certainty, show how evolution is an example of certain science.

      Or keep changing the subject, rather than providing any valid defense of your claim.


    55. I gave you a textbook definition of science. Grow up!
      P.S: They offer courses in political science, but there is nothing scientific about it. (evolution is merely a theory, and has not been determined with certainty)

    56. A textbook definition means that evolution is a science of certainty?

      Be serious.


    57. No, it tells you how science began, and what it's criteria is. The simple fact that evolution has not been determined with certainty, (it still has holes in it) is why it remains a theory! When science can tell us where and how life began, (evolution does not address this) we can continue this discussion! (don't hold your breath)

    58. Gravity is also a theory.

      Most of science is less certain than evolution.


    59. Your attempt at equating evolution with gravitation shows how ludicrous your position really is. LOL
      P.S: The certainty of gravitation (Newton to Einstein) is not debatable, and this is precisely why it isn't a theory, like evolution. I am obviously dealing with someone who hasn't a clue about science, nor its history, and I can no longer ill afford to waste time spoon feeding pabulum to a child that isn't mine. Good day!

  46. The fact that we separate "religion" from State is the math that defuses the false power of false concepts of "god"

  47. Good doc, happy to see the story behind the stories. Like women's reproductive rights, I thought freedom of and freedom from religions was a finished debate in schools. It is not, school boards hide out from anyone who wants to talk about prayer in school, or science classes, evolution or climate science. God knows (pun intended)what is going on in (various kinds of) religious schools (in Canada, also funded by the public). Who cares about truth anymore? We have a Prime Minister in my country who doesn't 'beleive' in climate change, he 'believes' in the love of his cat, who he pets through photo ops (his family won't stand next to him is my guess), funny his 'photo cat' is always a kitten, some weird kinda science going on over there.:)...who has energy to fight, what battle lines to choose? Pipelines, fracking, acid rain, de-forestation, nuclear power, clean air and water, oceans , wildlife of land, air and sea, plants/seeds and species extinction,(inadequate research of GMOs), education, housing, fair wages, a disintegrating middle class ...seriously?...and now I have to find time to defend the laws we already have to keep fanatical religious crazies out of schools? HELL, the 'insane' are running our countries!! ( i feel myself falling off my soap is it i can get soo angry so fast...scary sometimes). Anyway- yep, if you have not researched this story before, it is worth the view for background - sadly it may also remind you of how far we have NOT come since then.

    1. Lol you went off for a minute right there

    2. I think it would be helpful if you were more succinct. It is hard to follow your logic or get the point of your rambling with so many digressions and such over-usage of ellipses and parentheses.

      If you are upset about having to defend laws that already exist I suggest you look into the former "Jim Crow" laws in the USA. They are a good reminder that just because something is law does not make it above questioning. A healthy and prosperous society is one that constantly reviews, renews and rejects its laws.

    3. Jo that was wonderful to read...(sorry honeybadger)...I could feel your passion, contempt and dismay. I wish more people would write like you! Powerful conclusion too (always a nice touch). I'll be looking out for your other posts.

    4. honoured...

  48. I'm glad Vashti McCollum lived long enough to tell her story. She stands as one of those obscure yet major figures in the struggle for true religious (or anti-religious) freedom--besides she was also a good-looker.

  49. Someone needs to get up again and make it fresh in the minds of church and state that religious views will not be tolerated in schools and end this 'teach the controversy' crap.
    Religions are free to have private and sunday schooling teaching their own brand of belief just as atheists are free to advocate nonbelief. Anything in the public domain however, belongs to everyone regardless of religion and must remain unbiased towards one or the other, teaching only the facts and leaving the beliefs or non beliefs up to the individual.
    Rome fell because they got lazy and let slip their most important rights.

    1. Agreed except for the statement about the fall of Rome.

    2. I saw a doc that mentioned it at any rate. Perhaps not the reason it fell, but the public grew complacent and let their rights slip away.

    3. Gibbons thought it was Christianity. However, complex structures generally fall for a varfiety of reasons.

    4. Rome fell for a variety of reasons and more than once.

      One big reason why Rome fell was political intrigue. People conspired with enemies of Rome for their own particular interests, at the expense of the interests of the country.


    5. Or put another way, Rome granted citizenship to those who had greater allegiance to their patriae than to Rome itself.

    6. I read something about the influx of foreigners outnumbering the native Romans. To combat the Roman's declining birthrate, Constantine turned to Christianity to set a more rigid moral climate and discourage birth control, abortion, and exposure of unwanted infants. Didn't work, apparently; Rome was conquered by the Vaticans. o.O

    7. Thought it was Christianity and spreading themselves to thin, militarily.

  50. Why is the wide world of logical reason and sanity does ANYONE want religion to be taught in school. School is for empirical research and practical learning. It's not for practicing beliefs.
    I will never understand the importance of spreading the word. Keep it to yourself please!

    1. The answer in one word is "hell". If I were religious and I believed in hell, it would concern me that anyone would not, at least have the opportunity, to save themselves from the eternal pit of fire. It's a silly concept, but they believe it to be true. My mother, a deeply religious person, told me, on her death bed, that she could go to her maker in peace, if only I would accept Jesus. She was devastated with the thought that I would end up there. I actually thought about lying to her and saying that I had seen the light, but she's my mom. She always knew when I was lying. This salvation from retribution is the driving force behind evangelism. The Koran is even worse. Every chapter seems obsessed with the idea of an ever watchful God, who is tallying every move you make to judge whether you should go to hell and how long your punishment should last. I know many believe that religion is a quest for power but it wouldn't work if they could not convince people of the afterlife and it's implications. It's why so many people give their hard earned money to evangelical causes.

    2. The Roman catholic church edited the bible, there were 39 gospels not four, they extracted one that said all souls will in time rise out of hell, (para phrasing).

      The pope knew that would loosen control over the

      masses within the organized religious concept.

      There is a unilateral consciousness this I know to be Fact! One that "we" all share in, in various ways at various times. (I am not sure, (yet), if my individual thought process is in fact individual or too one and the same as the whole)?

      The Unilateral Consciousness give credence to Emerson, "The Over Soul"

    3. I have heard of unilateral neglect. This is a symptom of brain damage where one is not aware of one side of his body or anything external on that side of the body. This unilateral neglect has been a part of a discussion about the basis of consciousness. I'm not sure how legitimate this idea is. It sort of rings like pop psychology. I could be wrong.

      Christianity would lose it's hold on it's adherents quickly if the idea of heaven and hell were to be proved false. That is the basis of power that the churches holds over their followers. Do what our holy book says or face the consequences.

    4. So you know unilateral consciousness, whatever that is, is "Fact!" Then you must have a lot of hard evidence to back it up. How about providing some--Emerson won't wash.

    5. It takes awhile to answer that question, I will but not tonight. In the meantime think about this, Have you ever had a thought at the same time as someone else?

    6. 1concept1,

      "Have you ever had a thought at the same time as someone else?"

      As in - have you ever been in a group of people with similar backgrounds, been presented with similar stimuli, and had the same though in response to the same stimuli?

      Of course.


    7. In addition, Newton and Leibnitz came up with the fundamental ideas behind calculus at about the same time. The question is loaded. What is meant by "at the same time?"

    8. I was expecting this type of reply when I post my question, "Have you ever...........etc"

      Yes you are correct but that is a very very very small part of it and that can and I am sure does happen in a group of like minded individuals in a like minded group of people working together on like minded project etc and so on But no there is a whole lot more to it then that.

    9. I don't believe in a "hell", never have. I think a more fitting analogy for death would be like a birth. For example, birth maybe terrifying to a child in the womb, may even seem like death to that child, leaving one world for another. The child would have no way to know what's happening, and would have no concept that this other world outside the womb awaits it. Interesting idea.

      Like a child in the womb develops arms and legs and other physical aspects (tools) to be used in this world, maybe we develop something similar with spiritual qualities that help in the next (if there is one)? When one looks at it that way, it's less about accepting Jesus, or Mohammed at the one right way, and more about trying to be a good person. Someone who hasn't developed those spiritual tools would be hindered in the next world?

      An interesting idea anyway, regardless of belief stance. Anyway, just a point of view that I enjoyed thinking upon.

    10. There is a difference between teaching something and indoctrination. Learning about how other people view the world is a worthwhile pursuit; forcing people to believe in ghosts and fairy tales is quite clearly not.

    11. That is the truth. Unfortunately, its hard to teach religion in the primary schools without bias creeping in. Somewhere along the line, anyone who wants a complete education should know the basics of the different religious faiths. In the west, we should learn about and understand Christianity. To understand modern life and who we are would be incomplete without understanding one of the major influences of our history. How to achieve this and avoid the proselytizing is the challenge.

    12. I agree with you, but as the Jesuits so famously said, "Give me the child, and I'll give you the man." It doesn't make indoctrination right, but it certainly explains the motive.

    13. What about art classes, English literature, poetry? Often not practical and almost never empirical in evidence.

  51. Worth the watch. Very interesting doc. I wasn't familiar with the details of this case. Thinking back on my religious upbringing, it amazes me at how ahead of the times & the general populace Vashti McCollum & her family were. Especially her father with his evil ideas of "free thinking". Very strong, brave & intelligent woman. I have no doubt that her sons were forever proud of her.

  52. I was thinking what will the doc be this morning? Science? more spoon full of To God or Not to God.
    Yum Yum!

    1. Agreed, too much from the drama dept., more science docs please top doc.

    2. I know what you mean, but, not TDF fault, most top flight science docs are copyrighted, so pulled off in due course, then everyone bitches not available. Solution?, put (one) science link on yourself for the general public on the appropriate docs of course.

    3. I, for one. am happy with the selection of documentaries on TDF, even if most of them are of no interest to me, for I realize that I'm not the only one following the site.

    4. I see your point, but as an American born after this case was tried, it's actually the first I've heard of it. I found it really interesting. But we should find something more fun for you. =)