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December 27, 2006



Me, grumpy, how can you say that, we have never met. And what about Arthur Miller, John Malkovich, Kramer, Woody Allen, Richard Bransen, Angelina Jolie, Griff Rhys-Jones, Bill Gates, Katharine Hepburn, Barry Manilow, Sir Ian McKellen, and Jack Nicholson – just to name a few famous atheists. Hardly grumpy folk these. Rather, let me give you an alternative example of grumpy – fundamentalist christians and their obsession with other people’s sex lives. Hey, a lot of us are having fun! Forget about us – live a little; love a little; lick a little; ingest a little, drink a little! Enjoy with us – you only get one life!

Atheists, some of us love laughing. We used to love laughing at the absurdity of young earth creationists, until the more astute of their lot spoiled our fun and repackaged it as intelligent design. Call it what you may, at the end of the day you still have to try and explain – with a straight face –the garden of Eden, Noah’s menagerie and the rest. Which reminds me – Ian you are an enigma! As an investigative journalist you apply reasoned, objective discipline into most things bar the supernatural realm of your christian faith. You denounce the conviction of Scott Watson, yet you fail to apply the same rigorous objective review to the bible’s account of the history of the world (all 6,000 years of it!). If the evidence against Scott Watson is thin, then, hey, surely it screams out against the biblical account of the young earth creationists!

Ian Wishart

Ah Neil, what makes you think I don't have a sense of humour...I reckon this could be fun!

Perhaps you can show me where in the Bible it claims the Earth is only 6,000 years old... :)



I can’t show you where the Bible claims the Earth is only 6,000 years old. I haven’t personally done the sums. Rather, I have relied on Creationist claims that the earth’s maximum age of 6,000 to 10,000 years “is a consequence of accepting the authority of the Word of God as an infallible revelation from our omniscient Creator.” This quote is from ‘answersingenesis.org’ which I linked to directly from this site (so I have assumed that they must have some credibility in the Christian world). Elsewhere in the discussion forum you claim the universe is 13 billion years old. I am confused?

On another note, I noticed that you haven't included any links to web sites which refute intelligent design, so though I should balance the scorecard and offer at least a couple: ‘http://www.ncseweb.org/icons’ and ‘http://talkdesign.org’. Happy surfing.

Ian Wishart

You can't show me because nowhere in the Bible is the claim made, and I have done the research. With respect to AIG, there are gaps in the recorded genealogy of the patriarchs, and therefore anyone who claims they can put an age on the Earth is, strictly speaking, stepping outside of Scripture.

However, you'd also be aware that the NT records that a day to the Lord is as a thousand years, ergo that could be 365,000 earth years to one God "year", 365 million earth years per 1000 years, and nigh on 4 billion years over 10,000.

I have no problem at all with the age of the universe being 13 billion years as measured by NASA, but I'm also aware that we have no real way of accurately calculating these things, and in fact various dating methods all have their flaws.

Nor is it outside the realm of possibility that God did indeed create the Earth 10,000 years ago, but that to achieve the conditions required to immediately sustain life the universe had to contain built-in obsolescence - ie, for us to exist certain elements had to be semi decayed etc, so that what we have is a young universe that merely appears old.

None of this conflicts with scientific principles, all of it is possible, but we just don't know at the end of the day. We certainly have no proof that the Bible is wrong.

Ian Wishart

You state: "Ian you are an enigma! As an investigative journalist you apply reasoned, objective discipline into most things bar the supernatural realm of your christian faith."

Let me tell you a little story. I didn't begin my journey as a fundamentalist, I began as an atheist and a skeptic. What ultmately got me was continuing to investigate Christianity from a journalistic perspective instead of merely taking the opinions of others at face value.

The deeper I dug, the more truth and coherence I found. I'd been well and truly turned off fundamentalists in the early 1980s - imagine my surprise to find I am one!

But here's the rub: Christianity is far more intellectually stimulating and fulfilling than I ever gave it credit for and than I suspect most churchgoers give it credit for.

As for the supernatural, I was a skeptic until God struck me in a way I couldn't weasel out of, forcing me to come to terms with this dimension.


Interesting, I went in the opposite direction. From a start as a ‘born again’ fundamentalist, I moved to agnosticism, then, finally, atheism. Unlike you, the more I investigated the evidence for god, the more I found it to be seriously lacking. Today, I am more at peace than when my time on earth was merely a teaser for a supernatural afterlife – which I now know doesn’t exist, and, quite frankly, sounds rather boring. Wasn’t it Nietzsche who quipped that in heaven, all the interesting people are missing?

Richard Dawkins offers one of the best description I have come across for atheism: “The word atheism sounds negative; let me call it rationalism. It is a rational view of the world where you stand up proudly, in your humanity, you look life straight in the face, you look the universe straight in the face, you do your level best to understand it, to understand why you exist, what the universe is about, you recognise that when you die that's it, and therefore life is very, very precious and you devote your life to making the world a better place, to leading a good life so when you die you can say to yourself I have led a good life. Now, that seems to me to be a worthwhile goal to put in place of the medieval superstition which is religion. Belief in God doesn't have to be a bad thing, but I think it's a very demeaning thing to the human mind to believe in a falsehood, especially as the truth about the universe is so immensely exciting.

At the beginning of the 21st century, we humans have a real opportunity to learn about and understand the universe, the world, humanity, life, in a way that none of our predecessors have ever come close to. That is a huge privilege, and belief in God simply gets in the way of that. Religion is an irrelevance, it's a distraction, it's a rather boring, parochial falsehood that stands in the way of the glories of true understanding.”


Very well expressed Neil.Despite affliction of a Church School education , but helped by later extensive reading and ,I stress ,tolerance of other`s viewpoint, I have never been more contented within myself than now. Simply because I have grown to become honest with myself. I would never have believed that, to some ,intellectual integrity could be as essential as happiness itself ,not that one seeks happiness per se ,it is a consequence of how we fulfil others in our relationships. A religious belief system is no more tenable simply because "the crowd "pursue it headlong like lemmings .Sheer weight of numbers adds nothing to the veracity of a belief,particularly where fear is an element. The pursuit of organised religion is the very antithesis of selflessness it`s true goal, if examined critically, is selfish. . If it be an ultimate sin to be intellectually honest with oneself faced with the threat of annihilation by some supreme being then I want no part of such a perverse belief and will place my loyalties elsewhere where they are better merited.Organised religion and the way it is and has been practiced by most of it`s adherents ,represents everything base and ignoble in human beings.I do not refer to the Mother Therese`s of this world who forget themselves into immortality by true dedication to others. Give me an Einstein philosophy of reverence for the unknown -uncomplicated but honest presupposing nothing. .Not idolatry of some anthropomorphical divinity capable of the worst of human failings if we read our Old Testament correctly.


I agree with Ian - atheists and the flat earth society have plenty in common and should possibly consider combining their members to beef up numbers at the meetings.


"and you devote your life to making the world a better place, to leading a good life so when you die you can say to yourself I have led a good life."

So... how are you personally going making the world a better place?

"The pursuit of organised religion is the very antithesis of selflessness "

Forget religion, Jesus was against it. Who has ever been more unselfish than Him? He said "Greater love has no man...than to lay down his life for his friends" then He unselfishly laid down HIS life for... YOU.

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