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“Junk” DNA: Darwinism’s Last Stand?
Discovery Institute ^ | June 4, 2009 | Jonathan Wells, Ph.D.

Posted on 06/05/2009 8:25:33 AM PDT by GodGunsGuts

“Junk” DNA: Darwinism’s Last Stand?

We are often told that the evidence for evolution is “overwhelming.” If “evolution” is defined as “change over time” or “minor changes within existing species,” this is a truism. But what if “evolution” means Charles Darwin’s theory? According to Darwin, all living things are descendants of a common ancestor that have been modified by unguided processes such as random variation and natural selection.

Despite the hype from Darwin’s followers, the evidence for his theory is underwhelming, at best. Natural selection—like artificial selection—can produce minor changes within existing species. But in the 150 years since the publication of Darwin’s Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, no one has ever observed the origin of a new species by natural selection—much less the origin of new organs and body plans. As a result, the only evidence that all living things are biologically descended from a common ancestor comes from comparisons of the similarities and differences among fossil and living species. When making such comparisons, however, Darwinists start by assuming common ancestry. Then they try to fit similarities and differences into the branching-tree pattern that would result from it, and they ignore the glaring inconsistencies that often remain.

So the evidence for anything more than minor changes within existing species is surprisingly flimsy. In most other scientific fields, a theory with so little empirical support would probably have been discarded by now. To make matters worse for Darwinism’s defenders, their theory now faces a new challenge: intelligent design (ID). According to ID, evidence from nature shows that some features of living things are explained better by an intelligent cause than by unguided natural processes.1

Junk DNA to the Rescue?
Darwin was mistaken about the origin and hereditary transmission of variations, and it wasn’t until his followers embraced Mendel’s competing theory of genetics in the 1930s that evolutionary theory began to rise to the prominence it enjoys today. According to modern neo-Darwinism, genes that are passed from generation to generation carry a program that directs embryo development; mutations occasionally alter the genetic program to produce new variations; and natural selection then sorts those mutations—the raw materials of evolution—to produce organisms better adapted to their environment.

In the 1950s, molecular biologists discovered that sequences of nucleotide subunits in an organism’s DNA encode proteins, and they equated “gene” with “protein-coding sequence.” When genetic mutations were traced to molecular accidents in the DNA, neo-Darwinian theory seemed complete. In 1970, molecular biologist Jacques Monod announced that with its “physical theory of heredity” and “the understanding of the random physical basis of mutation that molecular biology has also provided, the mechanism of Darwinism is at last securely founded. And man has to understand that he is a mere accident.”2

With design seemingly eliminated, Oxford professor Richard Dawkins wrote in 1976 that the only “purpose” of DNA is to ensure its own survival. Dawkins considered the predominant quality of successful genes to be “ruthless selfishness.” It follows that “we, and all other animals, are machines created by our genes. Like successful Chicago gangsters, our genes have survived, in some cases for millions of years, in a highly competitive world.” A body is simply “the genes’ way of preserving the genes unaltered.” Thus natural selection favors genes “which are good at building survival machines, genes which are skilled in the art of controlling embryonic development.” And genes control embryonic development by encoding proteins that build the body.3

By the 1970s, however, it was clear that most of the DNA in humans and many other animals does not code for proteins. In 1972, Susumu Ohno remarked that there is “so much ‘junk’ DNA in our genome.” 4 Dawkins was aware of this, but he argued that such junk was consistent with the logic of neo-Darwinism. “The amount of DNA in organisms,” he wrote, “is more than is strictly necessary for building them: a large fraction of the DNA is never translated into protein. From the point of view of the individual organism this seems paradoxical. If the ‘purpose’ of DNA is to supervise the building of bodies, it is surprising to find a large quantity of DNA which does no such thing. Biologists are racking their brains trying to think what useful task this apparently surplus DNA is doing. But from the point of view of the selfish genes themselves, there is no paradox. The true ‘purpose’ of DNA is to survive, no more and no less. The simplest way to explain the surplus DNA is to suppose that it is a parasite, or at best a harmless but useless passenger, hitching a ride in the survival machines created by the other DNA.”5

In 1980, Francis Crick and Leslie Orgel argued in Nature that “much DNA in higher organisms is little better than junk.” The spread of junk DNA in the course of evolution “can be compared to the spread of a not-too-harmful parasite within its host.” Since it is unlikely that such DNA has a function, “it would be folly in such cases to hunt obsessively for one.” In a companion article, W. Ford Doolittle and Carmen Sapienza similarly argued that many organisms contain “DNAs whose only ‘function’ is survival within genomes,” and that “the search for other explanations may prove, if not intellectually sterile, ultimately futile.”6

Some biologists wrote to Nature expressing their disagreement. Thomas Cavalier-Smith considered it “premature” to dismiss non-protein-coding DNA as junk, and Gabriel Dover wrote that “we should not abandon all hope of arriving at an understanding of the manner in which some sequences might affect the biology of organisms in completely novel and somewhat unconventional ways.” Orgel, Crick and Sapienza replied that “most people will agree” that higher organisms contain “parasitic” DNA or “dead” DNA. “Where people differ,” they wrote, “is in their estimates of the relative amounts. We feel that this can only be decided by experiment.”7

In 1980, the techniques for DNA sequencing were tedious and slow, but they improved rapidly. In 1990, the U.S. Department of Energy and National Institutes of Health established the Human Genome Project (HGP), with the goal of sequencing the entire human genome by 2005.8

Throughout the 1990s, however, many biologists continued to regard much of human DNA as non-functional “junk.” For example, according to the 1995 edition of Voet & Voet's Biochemistry “a possibility that must be seriously entertained is that much repetitive DNA serves no useful purpose whatever for its host. Rather, it is selfish or junk DNA, a molecular parasite.” Indeed, it may be that “a significant fraction, if not the great majority, of each eukaryotic genome is selfish DNA.”9

In the coming days I'll address the junk-DNA hypothesis in more detail.



TOPICS: Culture/Society; Miscellaneous; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: creation; evolution; fools; goodgodimnutz; intelligentdesign; science; tiresome
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1 posted on 06/05/2009 8:25:33 AM PDT by GodGunsGuts
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To: GodGunsGuts

Another thread where we might see “Science is stupid” again?


2 posted on 06/05/2009 8:27:39 AM PDT by Travis T. OJustice (I can spell just fine, thanks, it's my typing that sucks.)
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To: Travis T. OJustice

Not “science”, just some “scientists”


3 posted on 06/05/2009 8:28:36 AM PDT by LiteKeeper (When do the impeachment proceedings begin?)
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To: GodGunsGuts
Wow, you just saved my day.

I was so bummed that I had to go to work without my daily dose of parody, few more minutes and it would have been a bad day indeed.

4 posted on 06/05/2009 8:29:14 AM PDT by going hot (Happiness is a Momma Deuce)
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To: All

5 posted on 06/05/2009 8:29:49 AM PDT by GodGunsGuts
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To: GodGunsGuts

Darwin = false prophet...


6 posted on 06/05/2009 8:30:06 AM PDT by xtinct ("There's a sucker born every minute." P.T. Barnum)
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To: metmom; DaveLoneRanger; editor-surveyor; betty boop; Alamo-Girl; MrB; GourmetDan; Fichori; ...

Looks like this is going to become a series. Stay tuned for next installment!

Ping!


7 posted on 06/05/2009 8:30:40 AM PDT by GodGunsGuts
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To: GodGunsGuts

I was told by a Darwinist that the proof of evolution is that I exist.

I was a bit confused because that is a very similiar simplistic response to a belief in God for so many years.


8 posted on 06/05/2009 8:32:04 AM PDT by autumnraine (Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose- Kris Kristoferrson)
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To: GodGunsGuts

to read later


9 posted on 06/05/2009 8:33:15 AM PDT by ElayneJ
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To: GodGunsGuts
The Missing Link is Discovered..........
10 posted on 06/05/2009 8:34:20 AM PDT by jessduntno (July 4th, 2009. Washington DC. Gadsden Flags. Be There.)
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To: Travis T. OJustice

Only Temple of Darwin fanatics think science is stupid...for falsifying their religion.


11 posted on 06/05/2009 8:35:06 AM PDT by GodGunsGuts
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To: Travis T. OJustice

12 posted on 06/05/2009 8:35:45 AM PDT by Riodacat (Legum servi sumus ut liberi esse possimus.)
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To: GodGunsGuts

13 posted on 06/05/2009 8:37:48 AM PDT by Riodacat (Legum servi sumus ut liberi esse possimus.)
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To: GodGunsGuts

On some planet, i’m sure that makes sense, but not Earth.

I’m not taking sides in the debate, but the “science is stupid” comment is one I can’t fathom.


14 posted on 06/05/2009 8:38:41 AM PDT by Travis T. OJustice (I can spell just fine, thanks, it's my typing that sucks.)
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To: xtinct

...who came to preach there is no god except the natural selection god.


15 posted on 06/05/2009 8:40:33 AM PDT by GodGunsGuts
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To: GodGunsGuts; allmendream

Elucidating the form and function of the product of a strand of DNA is not as simple as simply reading the code.

The genome is documented (see human genome project) but not ALL of the genetic information is not in use at any particular stage in growth and development. While some segments may be active in embryogenesis they become dormant in the fully formed. Likewise, once differentialization occurs, the DNA within those cells will no longer function stematically and will not transcribe the unneeded segments. The function of exogenous DNA is primarily conservative, acting as a spacer, a competence check for read frame encoding as a site for restriction enzyme attachment and ligation when a frame error occurs.

Quote mining by the author from 20 or more years ago is not proof that biochemists are dimwits - it only shows how far we’ve come in our understanding of recombinant processes. Note: there is still a great deal to learn.


16 posted on 06/05/2009 8:45:32 AM PDT by FormerRep
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To: Riodacat

The Temple of Darwin Method:

We have never observed random processess plus survival evolve one organism into an entirely different kind of organsim, and yet somehow it must be true.


17 posted on 06/05/2009 8:47:31 AM PDT by GodGunsGuts
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To: GodGunsGuts
Another Hail Mary pass from the “Abracadabra, Amen” crowd lands incomplete.
18 posted on 06/05/2009 8:53:05 AM PDT by Natural Law
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To: GodGunsGuts

What I enjoy most of all about these posts, is the hysteria from those who practice at “the church of evolution, no debate possible or acceptable or other point of view allowed” religion.


19 posted on 06/05/2009 8:57:28 AM PDT by svcw
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To: Riodacat

The sad part about the cartoon is that it is made by someone
who obviously believes that “the western scientific method is the
final arbiter of all truth”. For a good experience talk
to someone who studies human philosophy and try and prove
that idea to them.


20 posted on 06/05/2009 9:09:30 AM PDT by Getready (Wisdom is more valuable than gold and diamonds, and harder to find.)
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To: GodGunsGuts
Despite the hype from Darwin’s followers, the evidence for his theory is underwhelming, at best. Natural selection—like artificial selection—can produce minor changes within existing species. But in the 150 years since the publication of Darwin’s Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, no one has ever observed the origin of a new species by natural selection—much less the origin of new organs and body plans.

Which is a strawman since evolution doesn't occur that quickly. Now if you're a promoter of ignorance and think the Universe is only 6000 years old, then it's a whole different story.

21 posted on 06/05/2009 9:19:19 AM PDT by Moonman62 (The issue of whether cheap labor makes America great should have been settled by the Civil War.)
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To: Moonman62

The real promoters of ignorance are those who put their trust in the med school dropout, turned clergy dropout, turned amateur naturalist, who then presumed to write a long argument on behalf of his natural selection god with nothing more than minor variations within species to go on. And all the unfulfilled atheists fell for it hook, line and sinker. Now that’s ignorance!


22 posted on 06/05/2009 9:24:37 AM PDT by GodGunsGuts
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To: GodGunsGuts

“The real promoters of ignorance are those who put their trust in the med school dropout, turned clergy dropout, turned amateur naturalist, who then presumed to write a long argument on behalf of his natural selection god with nothing more than minor variations within species to go on. And all the unfulfilled atheists fell for it hook, line and sinker. Now that’s ignorance!”

—No, ignorance is thinking that modern fields of science are any more dependent on Darwin than modern astronomy is dependent on Copernicus.
Ignorance is also not realizing that Darwin based his arguments on many fields of science, including taxonomy, biogeography, comparative anatomy, paleontology, embryology, etc.


23 posted on 06/05/2009 9:45:09 AM PDT by goodusername
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To: GodGunsGuts

Yet another strawman. At least you didn’t mention Darwin by name.


24 posted on 06/05/2009 9:48:40 AM PDT by Moonman62 (The issue of whether cheap labor makes America great should have been settled by the Civil War.)
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To: GodGunsGuts

How can I trust a god who so screwed up his initial attempts at creation that he must continuously tinker with his project? A competent god would have got it done in the first Planck Second and let his laws of physics take it from there.


25 posted on 06/05/2009 9:49:08 AM PDT by Jeff Gordon (I don't trust Obama with my country. Do you?)
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To: Jeff Gordon

Nothing in biology makes sense except in light of creation and the fall.


26 posted on 06/05/2009 10:00:51 AM PDT by GodGunsGuts
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To: goodusername

That’s why I call it the Temple of Darwinistic Materialism. The name may change from time to time, but the aim is always the same.


27 posted on 06/05/2009 10:14:32 AM PDT by GodGunsGuts
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To: Jeff Gordon

If we lowly humans can create machines that function in space and other planets, I wonder why God didn’t do the same.


28 posted on 06/05/2009 10:30:45 AM PDT by Moonman62 (The issue of whether cheap labor makes America great should have been settled by the Civil War.)
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To: Riodacat

The scientific community often accuses Creationists of basing their science on presupposition, while completely ignoring their own tendency to do so as well.


29 posted on 06/05/2009 11:01:22 AM PDT by Karma Police (Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition!!!)
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To: GodGunsGuts
Nothing in biology makes sense except in light of creation and the fall.

How do the creation and fall explain god's failure to get it right the first time?

30 posted on 06/05/2009 12:34:21 PM PDT by Jeff Gordon (I don't trust Obama with my country. Do you?)
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To: Jeff Gordon

Who says He got anything wrong. He wanted creatures with free will, and He got creatures with free will...and all that that implies.


31 posted on 06/05/2009 12:36:21 PM PDT by GodGunsGuts
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To: Jeff Gordon
How do the creation and fall explain god's failure to get it right the first time?

LOL!

Always... ALWAYS someone will come along with their own definition of "right", then declare that God doesn't meet it.

32 posted on 06/05/2009 12:41:18 PM PDT by TChris (There is no freedom without the possiblity of failure.)
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To: TChris; Jeff Gordon; GodGunsGuts; metmom

How do the creation and fall explain god’s failure to get it right the first time?

LOL!

Always... ALWAYS someone will come along with their own definition of “right”, then declare that God doesn’t meet it.


JG: “How can I trust a god who so screwed up his initial attempts at creation that he must continuously tinker with his project?”

Meanwhile things just evolve, over ga-jillions of years...just for uhhhh for fun I guess?

LOL!

And for what reason?

They have to evolove over ga-jillions of years so no one will be around to see it or confirm it. How very convenient when evos are demanding proof...this way they don’t have to abide by their own demands, like with the medical miracles issues.

Why aren’t there giant animals flyng by now? They’ve only had ga-jillions of years...so why aren’t there animals that can fly like an eagle, swim like a dolphin, run like a cheetah ALL AT ONCE by now?

Or do we just need to be patient ANOTHER 500 ga-jillion or so years?


33 posted on 06/05/2009 1:56:10 PM PDT by tpanther (The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for g!ood men to do nothing---Edmund Burke)
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To: Riodacat; YHAOS; Fichori; tpanther; valkyry1; Mr. Silverback; Ethan Clive Osgoode; betty boop; ...

Here are the facts?

Like Einstein when he fudged his relativity equations by adding the cosmological constant to make them fit the steady state theory of the universe, popular among scientists of his day?

Like Piltdown Man and archaeoraptor?

Like:
Studies examine withholding of scientific data among researchers, trainees
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1565120/posts

It May Look Authentic; Here’s How to Tell It Isn’t
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1563746/posts

Most scientific papers are probably wrong
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1473528/posts

Most Science Studies Appear to Be Tainted By Sloppy Analysis
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1896333/posts

Why Most Published Research Findings Are False
http://medicine.plosjournals.org/perlserv/?request=get-document&doi=10.1371/journal.pmed.0020124&ct=1

One in seven scientists say colleagues fake data
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2264439/posts

You Can Trust a Scientist – Can’t You?
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2262237/posts


34 posted on 06/05/2009 2:41:52 PM PDT by metmom (Welfare was never meant to be a career choice.)
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To: Jeff Gordon
A competent god would have got it done in the first Planck Second and let his laws of physics take it from there.

Wow, we've just met someone smarter than God?

Who knew?

35 posted on 06/05/2009 2:44:59 PM PDT by metmom (Welfare was never meant to be a career choice.)
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To: Travis T. OJustice

Stupid would be correctable but biased, self important, dishonest, willfully obtuse and full of its self in the practice of science is much more difficult to deal with.

Unfortunately that is becoming ever more common and failure to recognize or defending it means science as a whole becomes less trustworthy.

Need examples?


36 posted on 06/05/2009 2:58:55 PM PDT by count-your-change (You don't have be brilliant, not being stupid is enough.)
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To: metmom
Wow, we've just met someone smarter than God?

No, not smarter than God. Just smarter than the Creationist's god who always does things the hard way.

37 posted on 06/05/2009 4:52:38 PM PDT by Jeff Gordon (I don't trust Obama with my country. Do you?)
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To: GodGunsGuts

What does free will have to do with creation?


38 posted on 06/05/2009 4:54:46 PM PDT by Jeff Gordon (I don't trust Obama with my country. Do you?)
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To: tpanther
Why aren’t there giant animals flyng by now?

Because it was not in God's plan. The plan God had when he created all that is in the first Planck Second of this universe.

39 posted on 06/05/2009 4:58:04 PM PDT by Jeff Gordon (I don't trust Obama with my country. Do you?)
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To: Jeff Gordon; GodGunsGuts
“How can I trust a god who so screwed up his initial attempts at creation that he must continuously tinker with his project? A competent god would have got it done in the first Planck Second and let his laws of physics take it from there.”
Well, since you know the right way to creatio ex nihilo, why don't you do a demonstration?

While your at it, could you also adjust a few politicians ideologies?
40 posted on 06/05/2009 5:07:20 PM PDT by Fichori
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To: Fichori
Well, since you know the right way to creatio ex nihilo, why don't you do a demonstration?

Because I am not God nor do I play god as the authors of the bible did.

41 posted on 06/05/2009 7:43:38 PM PDT by Jeff Gordon (I don't trust Obama with my country. Do you?)
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To: metmom

Thanks for the links, dear sister in Christ!


42 posted on 06/05/2009 8:27:53 PM PDT by Alamo-Girl
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To: Jeff Gordon
“Because I am not God nor do I play god as the authors of the bible did.”
So you're just jealous that God has the guts to claim to be God and you don't?

Or are you just mad because God could creatio ex nihilo and you can't?


Seriously, God said He is God and that He made everything, and you say that you aren't God and you didn't make anything.

Seems to me that you aren't really in any position to say He did it wrong ;-)


PS: hate to break it to you, but all documents allegedly created before you were born are fake. They were created to deceive you by the author. Sorry.
43 posted on 06/05/2009 8:35:25 PM PDT by Fichori
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To: Fichori
So you're just jealous that God has the guts to claim to be God and you don't?

Nods and smiles.

44 posted on 06/05/2009 9:02:33 PM PDT by Jeff Gordon (I don't trust Obama with my country. Do you?)
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To: Jeff Gordon

Are you saying He did not, "get it right the first time" or are you saying that going by your own (limited) understanding of Him, that He, the Creator --- is incompetent???

haarump!

Go get your own dirt.

45 posted on 06/05/2009 11:13:55 PM PDT by BlueDragon (and wipe that smug smirk off your face while you're at it....)
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To: BlueDragon
I am saying the the Creationists' god is incompetent. He was not able to set some initial conditions for the universe and then let everything evolve from that. He had to design various forms of life and then put them onto the earth like animals into a zoo.

Note: The god of the Creationists is not to be confused with any real god. The Creationists god come from the imagination of some bronze age men who made up the biblical stories. The real God is a wonder to behold.

46 posted on 06/05/2009 11:37:31 PM PDT by Jeff Gordon (I don't trust Obama with my country. Do you?)
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To: Jeff Gordon

How would you know?

Here you say that the "creationist's God" is merely a product of the "imagination of some bronze age men who made up... stories."

Then you say that the "real" God is a wonder "to behold". Well then, what did He look like?

Or is it that you are substituting some vague conception of "God" to me here, that is much the product of your own imagination (and limited understanding)?

47 posted on 06/06/2009 12:04:01 AM PDT by BlueDragon (the ante is on the table)
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To: BlueDragon
All of our gods are figments of our imaginations. There is no way of knowing, really knowing, the characteristics of God. We imgaine our gods in our image and likeness

My God is smart enough to have created all that is and all that will be in the first Planck Second. My God is not the type of guy who orders the killing all the first born of a nation. My God is not the type of guy would require that his son be tortured to death. The mean, vicious god of the bible is not someone that I would even want to know.

48 posted on 06/06/2009 12:12:25 AM PDT by Jeff Gordon (I don't trust Obama with my country. Do you?)
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To: Jeff Gordon

Your side, including you, demands to babble endlessly that God has nothing to do with it, has no place in science...blah blah blah.

Try again.


49 posted on 06/06/2009 4:35:35 AM PDT by tpanther (The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for g!ood men to do nothing---Edmund Burke)
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To: Jeff Gordon
All of our gods are figments of our imaginations. There is no way of knowing, really knowing, the characteristics of God. We imgaine our gods in our image and likeness

My God is smart enough to have created all that is and all that will be in the first Planck Second. My God is not the type of guy who orders the killing all the first born of a nation. My God is not the type of guy would require that his son be tortured to death. The mean, vicious god of the bible is not someone that I would even want to know.

I would suggest getting some help with reading comprehension. But seriously, how about a Christ-centered church to lend you a hand? If I were you, I wouldn't allow satan to play me like a fiddle like that.

50 posted on 06/06/2009 4:42:32 AM PDT by tpanther (The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for g!ood men to do nothing---Edmund Burke)
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