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Thursday, June 28, 2012

Bill Maher, Jesus, and Horus

There is a scene in Bill Maher's film, Religulous, in which he compares Jesus to a number of other Gods in order to show that Jesus was simply stolen from other cultures. Here is the clip:

This clip spawned an infographic which circulated around the internet and which was then edited by another atheist in a way that actually surprised me.

I know all that text can be hard to read at that size, so you an find an enlarged version HERE.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Jesse Anderson and the Infinite Money Theorum

"It was the best of times, it was the BLURST of times?
Stupid Monkey!"
The Infinite Money Theorem states that a million monkeys with a million typewriters, given a million years, will type out all the works of Shakespeare.

About a year ago, a Nevada software developer named Jesse Anderson claimed that a computerized simulation of a typing simian had completed  "A Lover's Complaint," a narrative poem by Shakespeare.

CNN reports that Anderson's virtual monkeys began typing on August 21, 2011. Using open-source software called Hadoop, he created a huge group of "monkeys" that input random strings of gibberish. When a chunk of text matches a word used in Shakespeare's catalogue, it gets crossed off of a database of the plays and poems.

The problem is that this completely misses the point of the theorem. The theorem, at least as applied to the origin of life implies that the words must be in order. The analogy between randomly creating Shakespeare and DNA randomly forming in primordial seas necessitates it, because the argument requires the formation of a complete strand of DNA, not a single segment.

Therefore, the work of Shakespeare produced by the monkeys must also be a complete strand, not individual letters.

Anderson reported that trillions of character combinations have so far been used, but Shakespeare has presumably not yet been reproduced.

However, even if it were, there would be other things to take into account, such as the fact that amino acids are soluble in water. Even if it could have formed in ancient seas, it immediately would have broken up again.

While evolution by natural selection is an adequate explanation of the development of complex life, and it is an explanation that I do accept as truth, we cannot yet explain how that life originated in the first place. Even Richard Dawkins admits this.

But whatever the case, Anderson's virtual monkeys do not prove that such complexity could come about so quickly.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Bart Ehrman and Some Dead Babies

Bart Ehrman
The following comes from Bart Ehrman:
“In terms of the historical record, I should also point out that there is no account in any ancient source whatsoever about King Herod slaughtering children in or around Bethlehem, or anyplace else. No other author, biblical or otherwise, mentions this event. Is it, like John's account of Jesus' death, a detail made up by Matthew in order to make some kind of theological point?”
 ― Bart D. Ehrman, Jesus, Interrupted: Revealing the Hidden Contradictions in the Bible & Why We Don't Know About Them 

 I'm curious what Ehrman considers an "ancient source," and I mean that in all sincerity. No sarcasm. While it is true that no contemporary of Matthew, Biblical or otherwise, commented on it, we do have some quotes from only a short time later.

 First is the 2nd-century apocryphal Protoevangelium of James of c.150 AD:

"And when Herod knew that he had been mocked by the Magi, in a rage he sent murderers, saying to them: Slay the children from two years old and under. And Mary, having heard that the children were being killed, was afraid, and took the infant and swaddled Him, and put Him into an ox-stall. And Elizabeth, having heard that they were searching for John, took him and went up into the hill-country, and kept looking where to conceal him. And there was no place of concealment. And Elizabeth, groaning with a loud voice, says: O mountain of God, receive mother and child. And immediately the mountain was cleft, and received her. And a light shone about them, for an angel of the Lord was with them, watching over them." 

The first non-Christian reference to the massacre is recorded four centuries later by Macrobius (c. 395-423), who writes in his Saturnalia:

"When he [emperor Augustus] heard that among the boys in Syria under two years old whom Herod, king of the Jews, had ordered to kill, his own son was also killed, he said: it is better to be Herod's pig, than his son." 

Some skeptics view the story as being apocryphal or symbolic because it is not even mentioned by Josephus, but many scholars argue for its historicity. R. T. France argues for plausibility since “the murder of a few infants in a small village [is] not on a scale to match the more spectacular assassinations recorded by Josephus” and Gordon Franz points out that Josephus also fails to mention other important first century events, such as "the episode of the golden Roman shields in Jerusalem which was the cause of the bad blood between Herod Antipas and Pontus (sic) Pilate".

Also, Barclay finds Josephus' silence not relevant, comparing him to John Evelyn, who failed to mention the masscre at Glencoe. Paul L. Maier argues that skeptics and Biblical scholars alike have tended to "regard opinion as fact, and have largely avoided a careful historical search into the parameters of the problem". After analyzing the arguments against the historicity of the infant massacre Maier concludes they all "have very serious flaws". Maier follows Jerry Knoblet in arguing for historicity based on the "identical personality profiles that emerge of Herod" in both Matthew and Josephus.

While it may be true that no contemporary of Matthew mentions the massacre, and that certain parts of the Bible, even in the life of Jesus, are the product of later Christian interpolation, the jury is still out of the massacre of the infants. Scholars are divided and there are reasonable grounds to believe it happened, while arguments against its historicity "have very serious flaws." But despite what Ehrman thinks, the incident is mentioned by ancient authors, depending on his definition of "ancient," with the oldest reliable source being c.400 AD.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Religulous and the Founding Fathers

Bill Maher is actually a fairly insightful individual when it comes to social issues or politics, and he does have a regrettably accurate view of some aspects of modern Christianity. I say "regrettably" because I have to admit that he is right in some of what he says about theists these days. A significant percentage of theists at least seem to be deluded sheeple clinging to demonstrably false claims.

However, that doesn't mean that he is always right. In his documentary, Religulous, he talks about the Founding Fathers and whether they established America as a "Christian nation." In order to support the claim that they did not establish such a nation, he offers three quotes, seen in the video below:

Again, those three quotes were:

"Lighthouses are more useful than churches." - Benjamin Franklin

"This would be the best of all possible worlds, if there were no religion in it." - John Adams

"Christianity is the most perverted system that ever shone on man." - Thomas Jefferson

In offering these three quotes, Maher steals a page out of Dawkins playbook by using quotes that are either  taken wildly out of context, or which simply do not exist.

Benjamin Franklin actually never uttered the words, "Lighthouses are more useful than churches." This sentence cannot be found in any of his writings or correspondences. It is generally agreed that this is a paraphrase of a sentiment written in a letter to his wife shortly after he survived a shipwreck. To his wife, he wrote:
"The bell ringing for church, we went thither immediately, and with hearts full of gratitude, returned sincere thanks to God for the mercies we had received: were I a Roman Catholic, perhaps I should on this occasion vow to build a chapel to some saint, but as I am not, if I were to vow at all, it should be to build a light-house."
Here we see a much more accurate view of Benjamin Franklin's beliefs, more of which can be read HERE.

To be fair, John Adams did actually utter the words used by Maher in the documentary, but Maher takes them far out of context. Adams only meant these words hypothetically, and not as being representative of his own beliefs. This is made more than clear when we read the words in context:
"Twenty times in the course of my late reading have I been on the point of breaking out, "This would be the best of all possible worlds, if there were no religion in it!!!" But in this exclamation I would have been as fanatical as Bryant or Cleverly. Without religion this world would be something not fit to be mentioned in polite company, I mean hell."
When read in context we see the actual opinion of Adams, and what is likely the opinion of several other of the Founding Fathers. He was rightfully disgusted by the history of religion and Christianity, but he also understood that we would be worse off without it. In Adams' view, religion doesn't prevent this world from being paradise, it prevents it from being Hell. More on John Adams view of Christianity can be read HERE.

Thomas Jefferson is the real Wild Card here. He did say (most) of the words that Maher quotes, and they do accurately reflect his feelings of Christianity, but again, the context is enlightening. The quote is an abbreviated form of his words in a letter to Dr. Joseph Priestley, in 1801. He writes:

"DEAR SIR, -- I learnt some time ago that you were in Philadelphia, but that it was only for a fortnight; & supposed you were gone. It was not till yesterday I received information that you were still there, had been very ill, but were on the recovery. I sincerely rejoice that you are so. Yours is one of the few lives precious to mankind, & for the continuance of which every thinking man is solicitous. Bigots may be an exception. What an effort, my dear Sir, of bigotry in Politics & Religion have we gone through! The barbarians really flattered themselves they should be able to bring back the times of Vandalism, when ignorance put everything into the hands of power & priestcraft. All advances in science were proscribed as innovations. They pretended to praise and encourage education, but it was to be the education of our ancestors. We were to look backwards, not forwards, for improvement; the President himself declaring, in one of his answers to addresses, that we were never to expect to go beyond them in real science. This was the real ground of all the attacks on you. Those who live by mystery & charlatanerie, fearing you would render them useless by simplifying the Christian philosophy, -- the most sublime & benevolent, but most perverted system that ever shone on man, - endeavored to crush your well-earnt & well-deserved fame."

Thomas Jefferson actually considered Christianity to be the most sublime and benevolent philosophy that had ever shown on man. Knowing this, we can now plainly see what he meant when he called it perverted. He was not using the word in the sense of being "characterized by sexually abnormal and unacceptable practices or tendencies," even though that does seem to fit some denominations today. Rather, he meant it in the sense of "having been corrupted or distorted from its original course, meaning, or state."

In other words, he meant "perverted," not "perverse."

His view that Christianity was truly "sublime" and that it had been corrupted is further evidenced by the way he spoke of other Christians in his day. Refusing to even acknowledge their faith, he referred to them as "Platonists." In a letter to Charles Thomson, January 9, 1816, he wrote about a "wee-little" book of his, known as the Philosophy of Jesus:
"I, too, have made a wee-little book from the same materials, which I call the Philosophy of Jesus; it is a paradigma of his doctrines, made by cutting the texts out of the book, and arranging them on the pages of a blank book, in a certain order of time or subject. A more beautiful or precious morsel of ethics I have never seen; it is a document in proof that I am a real Christian, that is to say, a disciple of the doctrines of Jesus, very different from the Platonists, who call me infidel and themselves Christians and preachers of the gospel, while they draw all their characteristic dogmas from what its author never said nor saw. They have compounded from the heathen mysteries a system beyond the comprehension of man, of which the great reformer of the vicious ethics and deism of the Jews, were he to return on earth, would not recognize one feature." 
Jefferson's Philosophy of Jesus was one of his first efforts to produce his own version of the Bible, taking only the actual teachings of Jesus and compiling them together. Of Jesus' philosophy, Jefferson says, "A more beautiful or precious morsel of ethics I have never seen." He clearly thought very highly of "real" Christianity. In fact, it is somewhat amusing to note that when he referred to himself as a "real Christian," he underlined it for emphasis.

The emphasis not only draws attention to his affection for Christianity, but also to his disdain for modern Christians. He says they "draw all their ... dogmas from what [Jesus] never said nor saw," and that if "[Jesus] were ... to return on earth, [He] would not recognize one feature."

This is the definition of "perverted," not "perverse." Jefferson clearly did not view Christianity as something terrible or evil, but rather as the "most sublime & benevolent ... system that ever shone on man." Though it had been twisted and turned into something else by modern Christians. More on Jefferson's view can be read HERE.

Back to Bill Maher. He uses these faulty quotes to support the idea that the Founding Fathers had a negative view of religion and did not intend for religion to play a large role in society. I'm not a historian, but I don't believe so.

In 1787, the year the Constitution was written and approved by Congress, that same Congress passed the Northwest Ordinance which outlawed slavery in the Northwest Territory and stated the basic rights of citizens in a similar way as the Bill of Rights. In the Northwest Ordinance, they emphasized the essential need to teach religion and morality in the schools, saying:
"Article 3: Religion, morality, and knowledge, being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education shall forever be encouraged."
In other words, schools and education were to be forever encouraged specifically because people need to learn "religion, morality, and knowledge." The study of religion and morality is not required simply as an intellectual exercise,  but because it is a necessary ingredient for "good government and the happiness of mankind."

George Washington echoed this sentiment in his Farewell Address, saying:
"Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of men and citizens. The mere politician, equally with the pious man, ought to respect and to cherish them. A volume could not trace all their connections with private and public felicity...And let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle."
But just because they viewed religion, in general, as an essential part of public and private welfare, doesn't mean that they promoted Christianity specifically. For example, Thomas Jefferson wrote a bill in Virginia regarding "Establishing Elementary Schools" in which he writes:
"No religious reading, instruction or exercise shall be prescribed or practiced inconsistent with the tenets of any religious sect or denomination."
In other words, religion was to be taught in schools, but only religious tenets which were universal to all religions. We can only speculate what these universal tenets might be, but some of the Founding Fathers have hinted at their opinion. For example, Benjamin Franklin wrote:
"Here is my creed. I believe in one God, the Creator of the universe. That he governs it by his Providence. That he ought to be worshipped. That the most acceptable service we render to him is in doing good to his other children. That the soul of man is immortal, and will be treated with justice in another life respecting its conduct in this. These I take to be the fundamental points in all sound religion."
From this we may gather that Benjamin Franklin considered the following to be universal religious tenets:

  1. Recognition and worship of a Creator who made all things
  2. That the Creator has revealed a moral code of behavior for happy living which distinguishes right from wrong.
  3. That the Creator holds mankind responsible for the way they treat each other
  4. That all mankind live beyond this life.
  5. That in the next life individuals are judged for their conduct in this one.
If the Founding Fathers had their way, these basic principles would be taught in schools, beginning in Elementary Schools, and they would be held as "indispensable supports" to government and prosperity.

On a brief side note, there is a somewhat controversial line from the Treaty of Tripoli which states that "the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion." This is absolutely true. The United States were not founded on the Christian religion. However, "Christianity" is not "religion." While they did not intend to found a nation specifically on the Christian faith, it is more than clear that they intended for the United States to be a generally, fundamentally religious nation.

I do actually agree with Bill Maher that the Founding Fathers would be displeased by the current religious condition in America. Not because we are too religious, but because we are not religious enough. They intended for religion to be taught in schools and for it to be held as an important pillar of our society.

Instead, we live in a nation that seems to be forever on guard for new ways to erase God and religion and where any discussion of religion quickly degenerates into childish shouting matches. Under the Founding Fathers, the nation clearly lived an undeniably religious lifestyle.

Alexis de Tocqueville was a french political thinker and historian who visited America in 1831. He was so impressed by Americas government that it inspired his book, Democracy in America, one of the most definitive studies on the American culture and constitutional system that had been published up to that time. He wrote:
"On my arrival in the United States the religious aspect of the country was the first thing that struck my attention; and the longer I stayed there, the more I perceived the great political consequences resulting from this new state of things, to which I was unaccustomed.In France I had almost always seen the spirit of religion and the spirit of freedom marching in opposite directions. But in America I found they were intimately united and that they reigned in common over the same country." 
The Founding Fathers produced a nation in which religion was, unlike its modern counterpart, a force of liberation and freedom, and where religion was an important part of the lives or American citizens, regardless of race, class, economic status, or political party. This was a sharp contrast to Toqueville's description of Europe at that time. His description also closely fits modern America:
"The philosophers of the eighteenth century explained in a very simple manner the gradual decay of religious faith. Religious zeal, said they must necessarily fail the more generally liberty is established and knowledge diffused. Unfortunately the facts by no means accord with their theory. There are certain populations in Europe whose unbelief is only equaled by their ignorance and debasement; while in America, one of the freest and most enlightened nations in the world, the people fulfill with fervor all the outward duties of religion ... The unbelievers of Europe attack the Christians as their political opponents rather than as their religious adversaries; they hate the Christian religion as the opinion of a [political] party much more than as an error of belief; and they reject the clergy less because they are the representatives of the Deity than because they are the allies of government."
The nation established by the Founding Fathers was exactly how they wanted it. True, it was not a Christian country, but it was a very religious country. Religion was taught in schools, as they intended. It was a force for liberation, as they intended. It was one of the fundamental pillars of America, as they intended.

I wish mainstream Christianity was still the sort of organization that could fulfill this role in America. Even in Jefferson's day, it had been deeply "perverted" from Christ's original message. I am not arguing that we return Christianity to schools and society. Given the way most Christians think and reason now, that would be a catastrophe.

Nevertheless, the Founding Fathers did establish a religious nation. They were believers, perhaps not in Christianity, but in God. Bill Maher's quotes are misleading, and he is simply wrong.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Ehrman on First Century References to Jesus

I recently stumbled across a quote by Bart Ehrman. Ehrman is a Biblical Scholar who started his career as an Evangelical Christian, but became an atheist due to the numerous (hundreds of thousands) of textual errors found in the Bible. Bart said the following in a 2010 debate:

The first thing I thought was, "What about Josephus?" Josephus was a Romano-Jewish Historian, meaning that he was a Roman of Jewish descent. Josephus' Antiquities of the Jews, written around 93–94 AD, includes two references to Jesus in Books 18 and 20.

The first reference, known as the Testimonium Flavianum (meaning the testimony of Flavius [Josephus]) reads:

Now there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man; for he was a doer of wonderful works, a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. He drew over to him both many of the Jews and many of the Gentiles. He was [the] Christ. And when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men amongst us, had condemned him to the cross, those that loved him at the first did not forsake him; for he appeared to them alive again the third day; as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him. And the tribe of Christians, so named from him, are not extinct at this day.
 There are numerous arguments for and against the Christian references in the writings of Josephus, and the Testimonium Flavianum is no different. Many scholars have different opinions regarding its authenticity.

However, it is generally agreed that the section was altered by Christian writers, most likely Eusebius in 324. Nevertheless, scholars also agree that the alteration was built around an authentic reference to the execution of Jesus.

One of the ways we know this is because we have found older copies of Josephus' writings which do not include these changes. In 1971, Schlomo Pines uncovered a 10th century Arabic version of the Testimonium which differs in small, but important, ways from the Greek text. For instance, the Arabic version does not blame the Jews for the death of Jesus. The key phrase "at the suggestion of the principal men among us" reads instead "Pilate condemned him to be crucified". And instead of "he was Christ," the Syriac version has the phrase "he was believed to be Christ".

In other words, Josephus does actually reference Jesus, but then Christian writers came and messed it up. So in Josephus, we have a first century reference to Jesus from a Roman historian and religious scholar. Bart Ehrman is mistaken.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Reproducing Religious Experience

A few years ago, there was a study done in which a scientist used electromagnetic currents to give subjects feelings similar or identical to those experienced in reported "religious experiences."

There have been studies like this for decades. The most famous ones, and certainly the ones that were the most fun, involved giving subjects LSD in a controlled environment.

The study was not done to disprove the existence of any religion. In fact, they claim that "we have not attempted to refute or to support the absolute existence of gods, spirits, or other transient phenomena that appear to be prominent features of people's beliefs about themselves before and after death... However, we have shown that the experience of these phenomena, often attributed to spiritual sources, can be elicited by stimulating the brain with specific weak complex magnetic fields."

However, this information is almost always cited as proof that there is no God and that religious experience is false. It is a simple fact that this is not proof that God does not exist. However, it is evidence. It is evidence that there is no God and that religious experience is a delusion. In other words, based on the results of this and similar studies, we cannot conclude that there is no God. We can only conclude that is it less likely than we thought. How much less? I don't know. Even Richard Dawkins can't put an exact number on it. But this does give us reason to doubt.

I think the reason that this is taken as proof of God's non-existence is because of the false assumption that God, if He exists, works exclusively through mystical, abstract, non-physical means, but this is not a Christian doctrine. The Atheist demands magic. The Christian is comfortable with chemicals. The Atheist demands that God operate entirely outside of our bodies. The Christian is comfortable with religious experience being just that — an experience, and thus experimental. The idea that God doesn't always work through ridiculous violations of the laws of physics, but through natural processes, is not new the Christians.

Furthermore, you cannot prove that something does not exist simply because you can replicate it. If this were true, then we could conclude that there is no Federal Reserve because people fake counterfeit money. We could say that there is no such thing as love because there is Ecstasy. There are no natural lakes because there are man-made lakes.

The existence of a counterfeit does not indicate that it is not based on something authentic. It only means we need to be more careful before coming to conclusions about what is true or false, because even if there was a God, a good percentage of religious experiences must still be false.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Why PZ Myers Won't Debate

Where is your god now???
Just a few weeks ago David Marshall, author of Christ The Tao, challenged PZ Myers to a debate over whether or not Christianity has uplifted, or oppressed, women.

David Marshall has not gotten a response, as predicted, but another popular Christian blogger has. Myers has responded to the invitation of Vox Day to debate the exact same topic.

Myers reasoning can be read here, but basically sums up to Myers finding Day morally reprehensible, and not wanting to give "the other side" any more credibility.

What's curious to me is that this is becoming an identical situation to Dawkins refusal to debate with Craig.

Marshall thinks that Myers has chosen to respond to Day, and ignore him, because Day is the easier target for Myers typical tactic of using slander and mockery (rather than logic and reason) to provoke his readers to rage against Christianity. Marshall says,
"Instead of implying that he won't debate because we're all racist, women-hating savages ..., or because PZ Myers owns this vast stockpile of credibility and doesn't want any of it leaking out to nourish undead believing memes, PZ might just admit, 'My whole schtick involves pretending that we atheists are a breed apart, and that the solution to religion is to mock it, deride it, and slander those who believe it.  I would lose credibility with my crowd if I were found on stage reasoning -- really reasoning, thinking and discoursing and looking at evidence and trying to really understand, rather than just slandering and dancing and posturing -- with the other side.'"  

Friday, June 8, 2012

Christianity and the Birth of Modern Science

It's a pretty common view these days that science and religion are at odds, or that they work against each other. This is tragic. What is even more tragic is that this view is often accurate. Theists make claims which are demonstrably false and consider it a badge of honor to obstinately refuse to listen to reason, or to promote a conception of God which even they admit makes no sense.

Another view is that science and religion are independent of each other. Science is about the physical, whereas religion is about the metaphysical. Science is empirical, religion is more philosophic. Rejecting religion because of science is like rejecting politics because of science, or rejecting economics because of science. The two have nothing to do with each other.

Recently, I came across another idea which I had never heard, but the more I look, the more sources I see that hold this position. Some scholars apparently think that religion has not been a hindrance to science. In fact, they believe that modern science owes a lot to medieval Christianity.

One example is James Hannam, who holds a PhD in the History and Philosophy of Science from the University of Cambridge. He wrote an article called Christianity and the Rise of Science. In this article, he argues that Christianity is largely responsible for the rise of science as we have it today for a number of reasons, including:
  • The preservation of literacy in the Dark Ages.
  • The doctrine of the lawfulness of nature.
  • The need to examine the real world rather than rely on pure reason.
  • The belief that science was a sacred duty.
I highly suggest you read the full article, linked above, for a complete explanation. Another article by Hannam is Science owes much to both Christianity and the Middle Ages.

A misconception about apparent conflict comes from a few high-profile cases, such as Galileo, but these are not characteristic of the entire Middle Ages. The idea that science and religion were in conflict did not become popular until long after in the writings of Voltaire. 

We think that science and religion were in conflict for the same reason that people are afraid to fly in airplanes. We never hear reports of planes successfully landing with no trouble. We only hear about the horrific crashes, so we have a distorted view of how common they are. Likewise, we never hear about all the support religion gave to science and education in an era when it was hard to come by. We only hear about Galileo's trial so our view is distorted.

Another mistake is equating "religion" with "Christianity". Even in the Middle Ages, religious communities in other parts of the world, such as in Muslim regions, saw many fundamental advances in science and mathematics, including a theory of evolution by natural selection which was common knowledge among Muslims almost a thousand years before Darwin.

Much of history is simply a matter of perception and interpretation. If Hitler had won WWII, our textbooks would be very different, regardless of what actually happened or who was actually "right", but it seems there is a certain number of scholars who interpret history such that not only has religion not been a stumbling block for science, but that we may not have had science without it.

What do you think?

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

TIL that Evolution was taught among Muslims almost a thousand years before Darwin.

Here's another post on Reddit that has exploded into something interesting. I submitted a post called TIL that Evolution was taught among Muslims almost a thousand years before Darwin. The comments turned into a pretty interesting discussion about the relationship between science and religion, the history of Evolution as a scientific idea, the effect of religion on peoples minds, and many other things.

This submission hasn't blown up the way IAmA Former Mormon Missionary. AMA did, but there are some pretty interesting insights that are definitely worth checking out.
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