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On Weddings, Religion and Arthur C. Clarke

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Is it not a good feeling when you find yourself reading a book you've been meaning to delve into for a long time? An old friend reminded me recently that he once recomended Arthur C. Clarke's Childhood's End as, to reproduce his father's praises, a must read science fiction text. Five years later and upon discovering that I still hadn't read any of Clarke's work, my good friend went to the trouble of bidding for a copy of it on Ebay. Now, sitting with the book half-read in my lap as I communicate with you, dear reader, I believe that had I actually read it half a decade ago at the age of fifteen much of Clarke's masterpiece would have been left unexplored and untainted by my then largely inexperienced mind. I might add that, in so far as experience goes, I refer mostly to the theories, ideologies and textual accounts of those who have lived a more practiced life than my own. At the age of twenty and as a mere undergraduate one is often reminded of his unrealistic principles and of the expectation that he shall eventually conform to the reality of his elders.

I am particularly fond of 'Supervisor Karellen'; the alien charged with the task of restructuring human society so as to improve the quality of life for every citizen of Earth, put an end to animal cruelty (only for food or in self defense may a person slay an animal), and:

'though Karellen was often asked to express his views on religion, all that he would say was that a man's beliefs were his own affair, so long as they did not interfere with the liberty of others.'

It is with this quotation in mind that I look back upon the wedding of my girlfriend's cousin and her fiance of eighteen months; Amy and Paul… how does an atheist deal with Church and religious ceremonies? Is it considered rude to move one's lips in accordance with the God fearing lyrics of the hymn sheet and not actually pronounce them? Does the black sheep of the flock, upon the command of the shepherd, bow his head and pray like those in the congregation who buy into the concept of nonsensical, omnipotent beings or remain upright and wide eyed? This is where I find another perfect theory conflicting with the same oppressive reality.

Perhaps one places far too much importance on his own complete lack of belief in the Almighty? Who am I to have the vicar, who looks like everybody's favorite Grandpa, catch me in the act of passive resistance; failing to project my voice sufficiently? Why must those around me go to the effort of jabbing my selfish self in the ribs, or thrust their hymn sheet towards my face when it fails to animate itself appropriately during the songs of praise? Why can I not just compromise and vocalize these lies like the newly weds, who are not much older than my own twenty years, do convincingly?

Refusing to turn up is just plain silly, ex-communication is not a price worth paying. Yet the odd looks from distant relatives and members of the local community continue to harass one's principles: 'I didn't want to hear that,' was my mother's response upon hearing my declaration of non-belief; 'I'll pray for you'. Saying such words to an atheist may conjur anything from indifference to annoyance; it is considered a grave insult to make apparent one's belief that practicing Christians are irrational. In truth I believe one wouldn't have to vocalize such thoughts if only religious types would stop advertising their commodities in the belief that doing so gives them a better chance of surviving past the death of their brains. 

It is mostly tiresome and sometimes painful depending upon who you find attacking your non-beliefs this day or the next. Is it any wonder that we have people like Richard Dawkins out on the offensive for the universal atheist these days? He is slammed for being far too passionate, even rabid in his arguments against organized religion. Yet surely he only puts onto paper what those of us who self-define as entirely secular dare not let out of our heads or, at most, speak of before being shouted down by parrot-like recitals of ambiguous scripts and tracts?

Why does it feel like climbing an insurmountable object knowing that the day will come when one announces to his friends and relatives of his own engagement to his beautiful girlfriend, and that the marriage will take place without submission to the uncaused cause? Why did Amy and Paul transform themselves from mostly secular beings into practicing religious types upon announcing their engagement to each other one year ago? As far as I am aware, at no other point in their adult lives did they attend Church on Sundays. Did they think of it as the correct thing to do? Did they truly believe themselves called into the service of an all-powerful deity once engagement rings had been exchanged?

'Beneath the fierce and passionless light of truth, faiths that had sustained millions for twice a thousand years vanished like morning dew. All the good and all the evil they had wrought were swept suddenly into the past, and could touch the minds of men no more.'

I am prepared to forgive Clarke for the gender-specific language that he often employed when authoring Childhood's End in the early 1950s; he was merely a product of his generation as we are of ours. He addresses a topic that has been plaguing society for a multitude of generations now and dispenses beautiful, poetic images of love and affection for the human condition via the words on each page of his wonderfully written secular bible. Still, it is a damn shame that we must rely upon an improbable invasion of super-intelligent aliens to address such imbalances and contradictions.

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About Graham McKnight

  • PlasticTokyo


    Firstly I think Amy and Paul may have wanted a church wedding for the sake of a church wedding, perhaphs because it is “traditional” (I dont want to open up a can of worms with that word btw!) to her, many members of her family may have been married in that church, including her parents.

    Secondly, I do not thnk that they transformed “themselves from mostly secular beings into practicing religious types.” Practicing?? Who said that they remained practicing after the wedding? It is true they may have attended several services before the wedding(as the vicar asks you to do), but out of respect; not faith. Did it appear to really bother them that they do not have much of a belief?

    As for singing hyms. Again, I think it is more a question of singing/mimeing hyms out of respect not faith. Perhaps not respect for the vicar, but more out of respect for the couple getting married. Afer all it might not be YOUR choice of how to get married, but it was THEIRS, for what ever reason. After all they did have the courtosy to invite you to the wedding.

    Also, did the relitives really “thrust their hymn sheet towards [your] face when it fails to animate itself appropriately during the songs of praise”? Did they do this?

  • Dr Dreadful

    Might the nature of the church Amy and Paul got married in also be a factor in their apparent sudden piety? Something that they may not have expected when they first settled on it as a wedding venue?

    For several years I attended a church – a lovely Edwardian building and a wonderful place to have a wedding – which, although it was administered as part of the traditional Anglican flock and based most of its services on the Book of Common Prayer, was actually quite charismatic in nature. Much of this was down to its clergy, in particular the vicar, an extraordinary preacher named James Jones, who is now the Bishop of Liverpool. The previous incumbent had been competent enough, but Jones created a buzz about the place which infused it with evangelical enthusiasm. The church membership grew crazily while I was a member, attracting many worshippers who, turned off by the turgid liturgy of traditional Anglicanism, might otherwise have been drawn to one of the charismatic nondenominational churches that are so popular nowadays.

    So maybe Amy and Paul’s church was something like that. Maybe all it took was for the vicar to ask them a few searching questions when they first approached him, perhaps enroll them in premarital counseling, invite them to services, introduce them to a few welcoming parishioners and lo! they were hooked.

  • Graham McKnight

    PlasticTokyo and Doc,
    I have asked the editor to remove my article as, upon personal review, I find it amounting to a personal attack on Amy and Paul. What I wished for was to write an article that would tackle the issue of religion from a general perspective, and instead managed to produce this.

    What I shall attempt to do in the future is to write an article that, in the unlikely event that either Amy or Paul come across it, does not offend them or their practices.

    Thanks for the advice, I’ll do better next time!


  • Dr Dreadful


    Rather than withdraw it, why not change the names of your friends and ask the editors if you can submit the altered article and have them change the references to your friends’ names in the comments?

    Not sure if that would be too much hassle for you and them. Just a suggestion.

  • I am Buddhist, and a vegetarian. Recently I visited old friends from my high school days. In my honor, they had a barbeque and served roast pork. I ate it happily.

    Why? If my friends had known of my dietary preferences and chosen to serve meat anyway, I would have not eaten it. But they did not know, and they meant well. My feeling for their hospitality and the discomfort I would cause was, to me, of far more importance than the eating of an animal that was already dead, and whose death was not effected on my behalf.

    It was delicious.

    If one errs on the side of avoiding discomfort for others, one is rarely wrong in the overall scheme of things, it seems to me. If making a point is more important than the happiness of others…well, one does what one must.


  • As a seasoned veteran of attending faithist rituals without sharing in the belief, yes, it’s okay to sing the songs, just think of it as respecting the relationships of your friends and relatives: stay quiet during the praying, no true believer will notice!

    Oh, and you weren’t attacking your friends in any way, so there’s no case at all for having this article re-written.

    Finally, at the age of twenty, you’re still just a kid. Male puberty doesn’t end until the mid-twenties, so just enjoy these precious years whilst you can and try not to get too set in your ways. There’s plenty of time for calcification later on…

  • Graham McKnight

    thanks guys 🙂

  • Marilyn

    *** g77 7/22 p. 29 Watching the World *** Einstein and Jehovah

    ♦ In a letter published by the magazine Physics Today, a member of Rutgers University wrote about her impressions of Albert Einstein’s letters to his ‘old crony,’ Michele Besso. In her opinion, the letters showed that Einstein studied “God’s works . . . in the laws of physics. There are numerous references to Jehovah in the letters.”

    *** g02 6/8 p. 4 How Did the Universe and Life Originate? ***
    How Did the Universe and Life Originate?
    “Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind.”–Albert Einstein.
    OURS are times of astonishment on a scale previously unknown. New discoveries from space are forcing astronomers to revise their views of the origin of our universe. Many people are fascinated with the cosmos and are asking the ancient questions that are raised by our existence in it: How did the universe and life come about and why?
    Even if we look in the other direction–within ourselves–the recent mapping of the human genetic code raises the questions: How were the multitudes of life-forms created? And who, if anyone, created them? The sheer complexity of our genetic blueprint moved a U.S. president to say that “we are learning the language in which God created life.” One of the chief scientists involved in the genetic decoding humbly remarked: “We have caught the first glimpse of our own instruction book, previously known only to God.” But the questions persist–how and why?

    *** ct chap. 5 pp. 73-74 The Handiwork–What Is Behind It? ***
    Chapter Five
    The Handiwork–What Is Behind It?
    AS NOTED in earlier chapters, modern scientific discoveries offer an abundance of convincing evidence that the universe and life on earth both had a beginning. What caused their beginning?
    After studying the available evidence, many have concluded that there must be a First Cause. Nonetheless, they may shy away from attaching personality to this Cause. Such reluctance to speak of a Creator mirrors the attitude of some scientists.
    For instance, Albert Einstein was convinced that the universe had a beginning, and he expressed his desire “to know how God created the world.” Yet Einstein did not admit to belief in a personal God; he spoke of a cosmic “religious feeling, which knows no dogma and no God conceived in man’s image.” Similarly, Nobel laureate chemist Kenichi Fukui expressed belief in a great framework in the universe. He said that “this great link and framework may be expressed in words such as ‘Absolute’ or ‘God.'” But he called it an “idiosyncrasy of nature.”
    Are you aware that such belief in an impersonal cause parallels much of the Eastern religious thinking? Many Orientals believe that nature came into existence on its own. This idea is even expressed in the Chinese characters for nature, which literally mean “becomes by itself” or “self-existing.” Einstein believed that his cosmic religious feeling was well expressed in Buddhism. Buddha held that it was not important whether a Creator had a hand in bringing forth the universe and humans. Similarly, Shinto provides no explanation of how nature came to be, and Shintoists believe that the gods are spirits of the dead that may assimilate with nature.
    Interestingly, such thinking is not far removed from views that were popular in ancient Greece. The philosopher Epicurus (341-270 B.C.E.) is said to have believed that ‘gods are too remote to do you any more harm than good.’ He held that man is a product of nature, probably through spontaneous generation and the natural selection of the fittest. You may sense from this that similar ideas today are by no means modern.
    Alongside the Epicureans were the Greek Stoics, who gave nature the position of God. They supposed that when humans die, impersonal energy from them is reabsorbed into the ocean of energy making up God. They felt that cooperating with natural laws was the supreme good. Have you heard similar views in our day?

    *** ce chap. 11 p. 151 par. 21 The Amazing Design of Living Things ***
    21 Some of the world’s most famous scientists have found it hard to believe. They see intelligence in the natural world. Nobel-prize-winning physicist Robert A. Millikan, although a believer in evolution, did say at a meeting of the American Physical Society: “There’s a Divinity that shapes our ends . . . A purely materialistic philosophy is to me the height of unintelligence. Wise men in all the ages have always seen enough to at least make them reverent.” In his speech he quoted Albert Einstein’s notable words, wherein Einstein said that he did “try humbly to comprehend even an infinitesimal part of the intelligence manifest in nature.”13

    *** gh chap. 6 pp. 53-54 pars. 9-10 The Source of Good News–“God” ***
    9 Even famous scientists have at times acknowledged their own smallness in comparison with the stupendous power and wisdom apparent in creation. For example, Albert Einstein once testified:
    “It is enough for me to . . . reflect upon the marvelous structure of the universe, which we can dimly perceive, and to try humbly to comprehend even an infinitesimal part of the intelligence manifest in nature.”
    10 The discoverer of the “law of gravity,” Sir Isaac Newton, was another who was deeply impressed by the evidence of God’s invisible qualities that are to be seen in His creation. The following account relates how Newton testified to his belief in Almighty God:
    Newton once had a skilled mechanic make for him a model of the solar system. Balls representing the planets were geared together so as to move realistically in orbit. One day an atheist friend visited Newton. On seeing the model, he operated it, and exclaimed in admiration, “Who made it?” Newton answered, “Nobody!” The atheist replied, “You must think I am a fool! Of course somebody made it, and he is a genius.” Newton then said to his friend, “This thing is but a puny imitation of a much grander system whose laws you know, and I am not able to convince you that this mere toy is without a designer and maker; yet you profess to believe that the great original from which the design is taken has come into being without either designer or maker!”
    Newton’s friend came to acknowledge that the great Designer and Maker of all things is God. Surely we, too, as we look on the marvels of creation about us, in the heavens and on earth, must acknowledge that an all-wise Creator made it all! How thankful we should be that this mighty Creator lovingly placed man here on this earth and that he is deeply interested in us!

    *** g92 1/22 pp. 9-10 The Source of True Values ***
    Scientists See Mysteries Only God Can Explain
    Very interesting is the fact that as science learns more of the earth and the universe, some scientists gravitate toward a belief that a supreme intelligence must be behind it all. They balk, however, at accepting the God of the Bible.
    Astrophysicist George Greenstein, in his book The Symbiotic Universe, set out “to detail what can only seem to be an astonishing sequence of stupendous and unlikely accidents that paved the way for life’s emergence. There is a list of coincidences, all of them essential to our existence.” Greenstein said the list got longer, the coincidences could not be by chance, and the thought grew that some supernatural agency was at work. “Is it possible,” he thought, “that suddenly, without intending to, we have stumbled upon scientific proof of the existence of a Supreme Being? Was it God who stepped in and so providentially crafted the cosmos for our benefit?” He felt “an intense revulsion” at such a thought and arbitrarily said: “God is not an explanation.” Yet the growing list of “coincidences” had forced the questions from him.
    Another astrophysicist, Nobel prize winner Fred Hoyle, in his book The Intelligent Universe, discussed those same mysterious coincidences that troubled Greenstein: “Such properties seem to run through the fabric of the natural world like a thread of happy accidents. But there are so many of these odd coincidences essential to life that some explanation seems required to account for them.” Hoyle also agrees with Greenstein that they could not have happened by chance. Consequently, Hoyle says, ‘the origin of the universe requires an intelligence,’ ‘an intelligence on a higher plane,’ ‘an intelligence that preceded us and that was led to a deliberate act of creation of structures suitable for life.’
    Einstein spoke of God but not in the sense of orthodox religion. His concept of God related to “the infinitely superior spirit” he saw revealed in nature. Timothy Ferris, in his article “The Other Einstein,” quoted Einstein as follows: “What I see in nature is a magnificent structure that we can comprehend only very imperfectly, and that must fill a thinking person with a feeling of ‘humility.’ This is a genuinely religious feeling that has nothing to do with mysticism. . . . My religiosity consists in a humble admiration of the infinitely superior spirit that reveals itself in the little that we, with our weak and transitory understanding, can comprehend of reality. . . . I want to know how God created this world. I want to know his thoughts, the rest are details.”
    Guy Murchie, after discussing some of the incomprehensible mysteries of the universe, comments in his book The Seven Mysteries of Life: “It is easy to see why modern physicists, who have been pushing the frontier of knowledge into the unknown probably more profoundly than any other scientists in recent centuries, are ahead of most of their fellows in accepting that all-encompassing mystery of the universe commonly referred to as God.”

  • Marilyn, what a wonderful display of your cutting and pasting skills. Now tell us what you think. You do think don’t you?

  • Marilyn

    Sorry I disappointed you. My intentions are to present facts as in a “Court of Law”, heresay is unacceptable.

  • Marilyn, the comments spaces here are for people to express their own thoughts, not regurgitate those of others.

    And I assume you meant to use the word “hearsay”. Of course, it could have been “heresy”, although I fail to see the relevancy of either…

  • Marilyn

    Sorry about the spelling, I am just getting weary!

    When faced with a question or a decision, we should first reflect on Bible principles that may apply. Some of these may be: respect for headship (Colossians 3:18, 20); honesty in all things (Hebrews 13:18); hatred of what is bad (Psalm 97:10); pursuing peace (Romans 14:19); obedience to established authorities (Matthew 22:21; Romans 13:1-7); exclusive devotion to God (Matthew 4:10); being no part of the world (John 17:14); avoiding bad associations (1 Corinthians 15:33); modesty in dress and grooming (1 Timothy 2:9, 10); and not causing others to stumble (Philippians 1:10). Identifying the relevant Bible principle can thus strengthen our conscience and help us make the right decision.

  • Graham McKnight

    I find your assertions entirely alien, Marilyn.

  • Dr Dreadful

    When faced with a question or a decision, we should first reflect on Bible principles that may apply.

    Using that logic, we wouldn’t even be able to order pizza without first looking up the relevant biblical passage.

  • Dr Dreadful

    Chris claimed: Male puberty doesn’t end until the mid-twenties

    Well, I dunno. I’m getting on for twice that, and – do I even have to finish this sentence?


  • Graham McKnight

    Yeah but doc, his words serve as a good let off for my terrible attempt at an article!

  • Marilyn

    Making wise choices and being successful in life certainly require the ability to distinguish what is right from what is wrong. However, the Bible warns: “There exists a way that is upright before a man, but the ways of death are the end of it afterward.” (Proverbs 14:12) We must learn to differentiate what is truly right from what appears to be right. The expression “the ways of death” indicates that there are many such deceptive paths.
    A way may appear upright because of self-deception. To base our decisions on what we personally feel is right is to depend upon the heart, a treacherous guide. (Jeremiah 17:9) An unenlightened and untrained conscience can lead us into thinking that the wrong way is the right way.

  • Marilyn

    Things are very different today. In practically every field of human endeavor, there are experts galore. Marriage and family counselors, columnists, self-styled therapists, astrologers, psychics, and others are ready to offer advice—for a fee. But what kind of advice is being offered? Often, Bible standards on morality are put aside to make room for the so-called new morality. The trend today is to be tolerant, not judgmental. Everything is considered relative; there is no longer any absolute in right and wrong.

  • duane

    I’m a habitual cut-and-paster, too Marilyn (and Christopher). Try this one, borrowing from Mano Singham’s web journal:

    “Edward J. Larson and Larry Witham, who published their findings under the title “Leading Scientists Still Reject God” in the journal Nature, Vol. 394, No. 6691, p. 313 (1998) …. found …. that the number among [the National Academy of Science] who expressed ‘disbelief or doubt in the existence of God’ was a whopping 93%.”

  • Dr Dreadful

    Everyone is entitled to express an opinion, Marilyn. There are no absolutes, even in the Bible. Modern Christians are quite happy to do things which were considered wrong by the ancient Israelites and even the early Christians. Like comment on this article, for instance.

  • Marilyn

    During this century, science has greatly increased our knowledge of the natural world around us. Its telescopes have revealed the awesome wonders of the starry heavens, just as its microscopes have disclosed the amazing complexities of molecules and atoms. The marvels of design in plants and animals, the wisdom reflected in our own fearfully and wonderfully made bodies–this knowledge also comes to us through the discoveries of hardworking scientists. We are not unappreciative.
    But there is another side to science. Not all its practitioners measure up to the image of the objective, passionate pursuers of truth, regardless of where it might lead. There are too many scientists who select the material that supports their theory and discard what doesn’t. They report studies they have never made and experiments they have never performed, and they fake what they cannot establish. They plagiarize the writings of fellow scientists. Many claim authorship of articles they have never worked on and maybe have never even seen!
    Flagrant fraud may be rare, but some of the manipulating of data mentioned above is common. Even more common, however, are two additional kinds of fraud, both involving deceitful propaganda. The four articles that follow examine the problem.

    *** g90 1/22 p. 3 Fraud in Science–It Makes the Headlines ***
    The image of scientists as invariably dedicated to truth has been tarnished, as these headlined items show. ***
    “Ethics in Science”
    “A fight is building in the U.S. House of Representatives over fraud, misconduct, and conflict of interest in science.”–Science, July 7, 1989.
    “Two New Studies Ask Why Scientists Cheat”
    “It was an innocent enough question: how do scientists behave when no one is looking? But it has produced an incendiary answer: not too well, reports a paper this month in the British journal Nature.”–Newsweek, February 2, 1987.
    “The Case of the ‘Misplaced’ Fossils”
    “A prominent Australian scientist has examined two decades of work on ancient Himalayan geology and alleges it may be the greatest paleontological fraud of all time.”–Science, April 21, 1989.
    “Now It’s the Journals’ Turn on the Firing Line”
    “[He was speaking] specifically about how poorly many [science] journals have handled scientific fraud. . . . The same message previously dispatched to other members of the scientific community has now been addressed to the journals: clean up your act or you may find legislators getting into it.”–The AAAS Observer, July 7, 1989
    “Do Scientists Cheat?”
    “After the initial inquiry by this [congressional] committee into this subject, the committee has had important iceberg.”–NOVA broadcast on PBS (Public Broadcasting Service) on October 25, growing reason to believe that we are only seeing the tip of a very unfortunate, dangerous, and 1988.
    *** w90 2/15 p. 28 Insight on the News ***
    “Hijacking Fossils”
    Under that title, the French daily Le Monde reported the case of a paleontologist in India who “for 20 years . . . apparently deceived his colleagues concerning the origin of fossils that he submitted to them for their appraisal.” It is claimed that the “hijacking” consisted of sending them fossils obtained in the United States, Africa, Czechoslovakia, and the British Isles, saying they had been discovered in the Himalaya Mountains. This scientist published his findings in over 300 articles. The fraud was brought to light by an Australian scientist via the British scientific journal Nature. He wondered ‘how it could be that such a large quantity of doubtful findings remained unchallenged for such a long time.’
    One possible reason, according to Le Monde, was the law of silence heeded by many members of the scientific community. The article noted that this fossil “hijacking” has “made useless practically all the facts accumulated [over the past 20 years] on the geology of the Himalayas.”
    Obviously, this new case of fraud in science does not cast doubt on the entire scientific world. It does, however, provide further evidence that arguments of paleontology when pitted against the unfailing accuracy of the Bible record are often nothing more than what the apostle Paul called “the contradictions of the ‘knowledge’ which is not knowledge at all.”–1 Timothy 6:20, The New Jerusalem Bible.

    ***Fraud in Science–Why It’s on the Increase
    “THE competition is savage. Winners reap monumental rewards; losers face oblivion. It’s an atmosphere in which an illicit shortcut is sometimes irresistible–not least because the Establishment is frequently squeamish about confronting wrongdoing.” So opened the article “Publish or Perish–or Fake It” in U.S.News & World Report. To escape perishing, many scientific researchers are faking it.
    The pressure on scientists to publish in scientific journals is overwhelming. The longer the list of published papers to the researcher’s name, the better his chances for employment, promotion, tenure in a university, and government grants to finance his research. The federal government “controls the largest source of research funding, $5.6 [thousand million] a year from the National Institutes of Health.”
    Because “the scientific community shows little stomach for confronting its ethical dilemma,” “has been strangely reluctant to probe too deeply for hard data about its ethical conduct,” and “isn’t keen about cleaning house or even looking closely for malfeasance,” congressional committees have held hearings and considered legislation to do the job of policing for them. (New Scientist; U.S.News & World Report) This prospect wrings from scientists much wailing and gnashing of teeth. Yet, one science journal asks and answers the question: “Is the house of science clean and in order? The bit of evidence that reaches the public invites serious doubts.”
    Some researchers eliminate data that does not support what they want to prove (called cooking); report more tests or trials than were actually run (called trimming); appropriate for their own use data or ideas of other researchers (called plagiarism); and make up experiments or data they never performed or produced (called forging). A cartoon in a science journal poked fun at this last tactic, one scientist talking to another and saying of a third: ‘He’s published a lot since he took up that creative writing course.’
    “What’s the major product of scientific research these days? Answer: Paper,” U.S.News & World Report said. “Hundreds of new journals are being founded each year to handle the flood of research papers cranked out by scientists who know that the road to academic success is a long list of articles to their credit.” Quantity, not quality, is the goal. Forty thousand journals published yearly produce a million articles, and part of this flood “is symptomatic of fundamental ills, including a publish-or-perish ethic among researchers that is stronger now than ever and encourages shoddy, repetitive, useless or even fraudulent work.”

  • Dr Dreadful

    Chris, apparently your rebuke to Marilyn in #9 went in one unevolved ear and out the other.

  • Ruvy in Jerusalem


    I don’t agree at all with Graham McKnight’s article. But he’s just a kid, with, as Chris Rose so aptly put it, with plenty of time for calcification of his ideas.

    But you, appear to have, in the comments you’ve written, an article that would be a more than adequate response to Graham’s. And you appear to have a stack of sources to draw from.

    Why don’t you set down your thoughts in some order and write an article yourself?

  • Graham McKnight


    I doubt very much that a person with religious convictions could ‘respond’ to my particular rhetoric (no matter how poorly I have put the article together).

    scientists and rabbis won’t ever meet on the same level in an argument. They discuss issues on entirely seperate levels from one another.

    You may find that some people agree with my complete lack of belief in the Almighty, and others agreeing with you or Marilyn, but this would be because the reader feels either Marilyn’s or my own argument more persuasive. The art of persuasion, rather than the presentation of undeniable ‘evidence’ is what counts in arguments such as these.

  • Hey Marilyn, I need a new computer; which biblical resource should I consult?

  • Marilyn

    THE BIBLE IS THE WORD OF GOD, IN THAT; it is capable of “maintaining” the attention of the most “naïve” to the most “intellectual.” It encompasses the complete range of human intellect. It contains the entire scale of human emotion. No publication produced by humans is capable of this umbrella of Wisdom. All of humanity has the same fundamental needs and desires, whether one lived centuries ago or in our twenty-first century. All have suffered equally. Men and women alike throughout Bible history were our counterparts in every way, the only difference between them and we are basically their culture. They too, struggled with the questions; “Why Does God Permit Wickedness,” and “What Is The Purpose Of Life?”

    Universities teach one knowledge! The Bible teaches one how to live!
    Proverbs 2:1-9

  • Graham McKnight

    I’m pretty sure that Plato and Aristotle would accuse those who founded the Christian tradition of plagarism in many respects.

    ‘I think you can see why the early Christian church made Plato an honorary Christian, even though he died three and a half centuries before Christ’ ~ http://www.webspace.ship.edu/cgboer/athenians.html

  • Ruvy in Jerusalem

    “Scientists and rabbis won’t ever meet on the same level in an argument. They discuss issues on entirely separate levels from one another.”


    Do yourself a favor and visit Dr. Gerald Schroeder’s website.

    In fact, invest a few quid and buy The Science of G-d. It’s soft-cover, but it’s not easy reading. In that book, he deals with precisely the issue you raise above.

  • Ruvy in Jerusalem


    One last comment from me – then I gotta go back to making money.

    Father of modern science calculated: World to end in 2060

    At the top of the ancient, densely written English manuscript a verse in Hebrew stands out: “Blessed is the name of His glorious kingdom for ever.” Other pages contain sketches of the Temple and calculations of the end of the world, based on verses from the Book of Daniel. The author of these mysterious ruminations was not a sorcerer nor a religious fanatic but none other than Isaac Newton, the 17th-century mathematician and physicist considered the most influential scientist of all time.

    Sir Isaac Newton, the father of much of modern science, was a theologian, Graham, and this article touches upon what really interested him, what really drove him.

    Before you make all your set in stone assertions, remember that you are only twenty years old, with much to learn. You may, after twenty or thirty years, retain the conclusions you have reached now – or you may, as I did, completely reorient your thinking.

    At your age I was very much the pragmatist, not wanting to be bothered with G-d or any particular religious ideas. Were it not for my deep pro-Israel feelings and developing sense of identification with this country, I’d have abandoned Judaism altogether.

    As you may have guessed, I’ve redrawn my conclusions. And while all conclusions can only be tentative, events have seemed to have proven many of my views. But that is not relevant to your own situation – aside from the thought that you need to keep an open mind…

  • Graham McKnight


    I understand your position, my mother shares much common ground with yourself.

    With regards to the pro-Israel thing (my mother is pro-Britain), I think of this as more of a political stance rather than religious. Many of those that possess religious conviction (that I have met) also possess a belief in the concept the nation (rule Britania etc).

    Notice that those Israeli academics I often quote in defence of my position are secular in their world view, whereas those who you quote are either practicing religious types.

    Newton was religious yes, but was not a scientist in the sense that scientists consider themselves today as the products of the Enlightenment era. A.C. Clarke discussed a future society free from inequality in Childhood’s End, but saw no wrong in employing sexist, gender-specific language in his text. Products of a generation such as this scientist or that author with revolutionary ideas do not opperate in a vacum.

    All that said Ruvy, thanks for taking the time to debate with me rather than dispense obscene insults as others have done. I appreciate the possibility that we may never speak on the same level, but at least you and I have our standards.