The New Christians

The New Christians


Breaking News! Boy with Cancer Gets Chemo!

posted by Tony Jones

daniel hauser.jpgProbably the biggest religion story of the past couple weeks has been the saga of Daniel Hauser, the 13-year-old boy from northern Minnesota who is dying of Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Yes, he’s dying, unless he gets chemo. With chemo, there’s a 90% survival rate. Without chemo, less than 10%.

After one round of chemo this Spring, Hauser refused to go back. At some point he and his mother — and possibly other members of his family — “converted” to Nemenhah, an online Native American “religion” that advotes homeopathic recipes of roots and herbs to treat illness. Daniel claimed to be a Nemenhah shaman, then it turned out that Nemenhahites (?) age 13 or older are automatically shamans. The Hausers are in no sense Indian.

When Daniel refused chemo, his doctor took him to court. Daniel defended himself with a first-person statement that I’m highly doubtful that he wrote himself. When the judge ordered Daniel to resume chemo, he and his mother fled to California, seduced by a sleazy lawyer to promptly ditched them. They were then flown back by a Hollywood movie producer, and yesterday, Daniel showed up for chemo at a hospital in Minneapolis.


Lots of people have been writing about this as a freedom of religion case, and it may be.

My friend, Carla, has written about the parental privacy aspects of the situation:

Because raising children is not something we do for ourselves. We
raise children to be part of the world, to be active, involved
participants in the lives of other people. Daniel Hauser doesn’t belong
to his mother. He belongs to a family, to a community, to God.

Carla’s on to something here. It seems to me that this is a case of a naive and easily manipulated mom, and a bedraggled father, who dragged their son into a hellish public nightmare because of their conspiracy-theory mistrust of Western medicine.

This is why we live in a society, surrounded by other human beings, so that when one of us loses our way, there’s a whole posse of people around to ensure that we don’t take others down with us. Thank GOD for a sensible physician and judge for overriding in unsensible parent.

Photo Credit: Kyndell Harkness, Star Tribune



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Panthera

posted May 28, 2009 at 10:03 am


Appalling.
How can a parent so despise their child as to condemn him to a preventable death, simply to make a point?
Religious fundamentalism is sick. Regardless of whether it is the hateful, bigoted torturing christianists or new-age-female-dogs.
And my apologies to every female canine.
I hope this child survives and find myself, for once, hoping child protective services actually continue to intervene.



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Joanne Cannon

posted May 28, 2009 at 11:08 am


I believe that we are on the slippery slope with this one. Can a judge insist I give my child an aspirin, or a drug that has a 50% chance of cure? And who decides what constitutes the right percentage on either side? What if the medicine is so menacing that the pain and suffering is outrageous but promises longevity? Who has the right to decide how much any person should suffer with any given medicine? When did Western Medicine become the only way a parent could be a “fit” parent? When did it become o.k. for a judge to decide on personal health matters? When and where are matters of quality of life decided? I heard someone say in the last ten years, that our scientific-medical techniques had surpassed our ability to make moral, humane, spiritual choices. I wonder about that too. How quick we are to judge another when we have not had to walk any distance in their shoes? How is the name-calling, shaming and attack of the parents Christ-like behavior? Since when did it become commonplace that a journalist offers an opinion when reporting a story?



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Jim Marks

posted May 28, 2009 at 11:29 am


There is no slippery slope. All medical decisions (ALL MEDICAL DECISIONS) are made on a risk-benefit analysis basis.
Also, due to cases which parental groups supported to implement random drug testing of high school athletes, transparent book bags and locker searches without probable cause, minors don’t actually have any constitutional rights. This is US law, upheld by SCotUS. Minors in this country have no constitutional protections. None.
Roe v. Wade was a case that put the State’s interest in preserving life up against a woman’s constitutional right to due process (and thus by extension medical privacy).
The state cannot force an adult to receive medical treatment for the same reason that the state cannot prevent a woman from seeking an abortion. Medical privacy trumps the State’s interest in preserving life (according to the courts and the rulings).
But minors have no due process protection and so the State’s interest in preserving life can step in and insist on treatment.
Regardless, there is no slippery slope. Child Protective Services (aka the State) step in and insistence on how children are to be raised -all the time-. The only thing that makes this case even remotely interesting is the supposed first amendment angle, except that the State put strict fencing around Free Practice long ago and made it clear that free practice does not trump Law & Order. You can’t legally sacrifice a dog under the First Amendment. You can’t choose suicide under the First Amendment, either. And even if you could, this child has no First Amendment rights.
There is no slippery slope. If there were, we’re already at the bottom of it and have been for a long, long time now.



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Brian

posted May 28, 2009 at 11:52 am


Tony- your a doctor now? You advocate the state forcing treatment on someone? Sounds Orewllian to me…



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Makeesha

posted May 28, 2009 at 11:54 am


I wish the whole phrase “slippery slope” would vanish from our lexicon. It’s overused and rarely makes any kind of sense. There is only a “slippery slope” if you choose to plop your ass down and slide down it, and even then you can always jump off.
Most of us realize that in life, very rarely is ANYTHING all or nothing. Even with the issue of “murder” it’s muddled and gray and complex. Is self defense still murder? is it the same kind of murder? what about dr. assisted suicide? .. you get my point.
As for this story, parents need to be held accountable for their children’s well being – my kids do not just belong to me and i don’t own them. I can’t just do whatever the hell I want just because they came out of my body…and THAT’s NOT a slippery slope.



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Panthera

posted May 28, 2009 at 12:08 pm


Makeesha:
So right. Your children are a gift, a privilege a responsibility.
They are not your toy or your property.
So, Brian, since you obviously are happy to condemn this child to a slow, agonizing, horrible death, why don’t you just plain come out and say so?
State your positions clearly – here’s a morally unambiguous opportunity for you to stand up for “real” Christianity. Or Republican values.
Or fascist-liberal Amerika.
Whatever.



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Ted Seeber

posted May 28, 2009 at 12:38 pm


From the non-Christian religion in question, right on the front of their website:
Official Release:
It is the official policy of the Nemenhah Band and Native American
Traditional Organization to sustain and support the decisions of our members
with regard to the use of or the choosing of natural medicine and natural
medicine modalities. We believe these are gifts of the Spirit. In that we
fully sustain and support Colleen and Danny Hauser in their decision to seek
alternative modalities in treating cancer. Having said that we also must say
that it is not the policy of the band or anywhere in our belief system to
disregard an order from the judge and abscond with a young person that has
been placed in the custody of the court, this is a capital crime and this is
not the way to do it. Our counsel and our plea to Colleen is to come home.
The judge has said he would cancel the warrant for your arrest. There are
better ways to handle this, come home, bring that boy home.
Phillip R. (Cloudpiler) Landis,
Elected Principal Medicine Chief



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Daniel

posted May 28, 2009 at 12:40 pm


I believe I like the outcome of this case. There are of course several “what if’s” that arise (what if the court tells me I can’t teach my child about Christ, etc), but these “what if’s” are just that…”what if’s”.
The point I’d want further discussion on is who does a child belong to? Biblically speaking a child belongs of course to God and then also to parents who are responsible to God to raise the child in a godly fashion to become a godly man or woman. Now of course this will impact society, community, etc. but no where do I see that the child “belongs” to a community. When I stand before God I will not be able to pass the buck to the community for how my child was raised. The parent takes full responsibility.
“This is why we live in a society” Or better yet, this is why God ordained human government to step in when parents do not fulfill their God-given responsibilities. And for the Christian parent the church acts as an additional encouragement and resource.



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Ted Seeber

posted May 28, 2009 at 12:43 pm


“There is no slippery slope. If there were, we’re already at the bottom of it and have been for a long, long time now.”
I agree with Jim on this one- I myself have used the slippery slope argument in the past, but he’s very correct, we’re LONG past the slippery slope on life issues. This is a culture of death. The only way left to go is up.
But having said that- I think we’ve been awfully arrogant about “modern medical science” in ignoring what the *real* native Americans have to say about living on this continent in the past. And while I think denying modern medicine *or any medicine* to a child is wrong, there have been sins in the other direction that must be acknowledged.



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Panthera

posted May 28, 2009 at 12:49 pm


Daniel,
I’ll agree to the party of the first part: God.
To the best of my knowledge, however, (and I reference the Ten Commandmants) He is not good at sharing His own with anyone.
So I’ll have to say parents are granted the privilege of raising children, but they aren’t their own property or belonging.
What boggles my mind is how so many people here are capable of taking a black and white, cut and dried situation: Do we a. Subject the child to a short, defined period of moderate pain and suffering then see him live a normal life or , b. Subject the child to months of horrible suffering, a likely remission or two or three, following on each with further months of pain and suffering before he finally gets to die horribly, painfully and over a long period – fully conscious?
WWJD seems an appropriate answer to this one. Oh, He did. He granted us doctors and scientists who figured out a cure.



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Panthera

posted May 28, 2009 at 12:52 pm


Ted,
We can have a discussion on our opposing views of this culture another time, I am relieve that – for the first time in my memory – we are in agreement that torturing children is not a valid Christian position.
It’s scary how far we have to go to find agreement, but I am so thankful we have it, at least here.



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Hillary

posted May 28, 2009 at 12:53 pm


We’ve been debating the ethics of this situation on our blog too–thanks for your thoughtful take on it. I’d love it if you’d comment on our take as well. I tend to think it was a good choice on the part of the state to take over, as this is a life-and-death situation and the mother was not going to take the appropriate action that would ensure her child would live.



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Panthera

posted May 28, 2009 at 12:59 pm


Still not seeing that there is even an Iota to be debated…but making mental notes to upgrade my medical power of attorney to have me flown back to Europe for treatment of anything, more serious than a hangnail.
Oh, right, forgot to mention – these charming red-nexs are not that far from us when we’re in the ‘States.
Yee-haw.



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RunFROMtheCURE

posted May 28, 2009 at 1:20 pm


AMERICA WAKE UP! DO SOME RESEARCH ON THE NATURAL CURE SHE WAS SEEKING!WWW.Phoenixtearsmovie.com DO SOME ACTUAL RESEARCH OF YOUR OWN AND ASK YOUR SELF THIS…WOULD YOU ATTEMPT TO CURE YOUR SON WITH A NON-TOXIC MEDICINE IF POSITIVE RESULTS WERE VISABLE IN AS LITTLE AS 30 DAYS? WOULD YOU GIVE HIM 30 DAYS, POISON FREE TO SEE WHAT HAPPENED NEXT? THATS ALL SHE WANTED TO DO! NOW THE PEPLE WHO TRIED TO HELP HER ARE IN TROUBLE AND HER SON IS FORCED TO POISON HIMSELF NEEDLESSLY! CHECK THIS OUT YOURSELF, THEN ASK… WHY ARE PEOPLE IN TROUBLE FOR TRYING TO GIVE HER A PROVEN SAFE, NON-TOXIC ALTERNATIVE TREATMENT? WHY IS NO ONE STATING THE TREATMENT SHE WAS SEEKING OR THE PEOPLE WHO HAVE BEEN CURED THAT HELPED HER MAKE THIS DECISION? THERE IS PLENTY OF SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE TO BACK THIS TREATMENT JUST GOOGLE IT FOR YOURSELF! “Most cancer patients in this country die of chemotherapy. Chemotherapy does not eliminate breast, colon or lung cancers. This fact has20been documented for over a decade. Yet doctors still use chemotherapy for these tumors. Women with breast cancer are likely to die faster with chemo than without it.”-Alan Levin, M.D.
RESEARCH
A new study published in Nature Reviews-Cancer http://americanmarijuana.org/Guzman-Cancer.pdf
provides an historic and detailed explanation about how THC and natural cannabinoids counteract
cancer, but preserve normal cells.



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RunFROMtheCURE

posted May 28, 2009 at 1:22 pm


CANNABINOIDS:POTENTIAL ANTICANCER AGENTS
http://americanmarijuana.org/Guzman-Cancer.pdf
The study by Manuel Guzmán of Madrid Spain
Cannabinoids: potential anticancer agents. [Nat Rev Cancer. 2003] – PubMed Result
fou nd that cannabinoids, the active components of marijuana, inhibit tumor growth in laboratory animals.
They do so by modulating key cell-signalling pathways, thereby inducing direct growth arrest and
death of tumor cells, as well as by inhibiting the growth of blood vessels that supply the tumor.
The Guzman study is very important according to Dr. Ethan Russo , a neurologist and world
authority on medical cannabis: “Cancer occurs because cells become immortalized; they fail
to heed normal signals to turn off growth. A normal function of remodelling in the body requires
that cells die on cue. This is called apoptosis, or programmed cell death. That process fails to
work in tumors. THC promotes its reappearance so that gliomas, leukemias, melanomas and
other cell types will in fact heed the signals, stop dividing, and die.”
“But, that is not all,” explains Dr. Russo: “The other way that tumors grow is by ensuring
that they are nourished: they send out signals to promote angiogenesis, the growth of new
blood vessels. Cannabinoids turn off these signals as well. It is truly incredible, and elegant.”
In other words, this article explains several ways in which cannabinoids might be used to
fight cancer, and, as the article says, “Cannabinoids are usually well tolerated, and do not
produce the generalized toxic effects of conventional chemotherapies.



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Cathy

posted May 28, 2009 at 1:24 pm


I don’t disagree with your observation that children do not belong to their parents but to God and to the community of God’s people. But the general society is not necessarily the primary community to which any of us belongs. I actively choose to be a part of a community of Christ’s people called the church. I was baptized into that community, and I am in covenant relationship with that community. My child is also part of that community. I have a pretty broad understanding of that belonging. I started in New Jersey and am now in Minnesota, having come through churches in New York in the interim. All part of the church to whom I belong and to whom I am accountable.
This family made a different choice. They are part of a different religious community, and they are accountable to that community for their decisions and for their life. Why should those decisions be undermined by the state? Simply because I wouldn’t make the same choice? That just doesn’t follow. I’m not convinced the court made the right decision at all.



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Jim

posted May 28, 2009 at 1:26 pm


Panthera, I’m not sure anyone here is saying that the child should not be given treatment. (I think) We all agree that the mother’s stance is wrong. The question is whether the government has any authority in this area, whether the state can play daddy (or big brother?) and tell people how to raise their kids.
It’s not a question of whether the state is right or wrong, in this instance, but whether or not they have authority.
I think, in this case, they probably do, but it isn’t always simple. If the government can tell me how to medicate my child, can they tell me how to educate my child?
It isn’t a debate over treatment. Of course the kid should get treatment. It’s a matter of governmental authority. In this case, I think the state is in the right.



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Jim

posted May 28, 2009 at 1:28 pm


Ok, didn’t see runfromthecure’s post until after I posted. I suppose some people are debating the manner of treatment. But I don’t think that’s the main issue of debate.



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Cathy

posted May 28, 2009 at 1:28 pm


I don’t disagree with your observation that children do not belong to their parents but to God and to the community of God’s people. But the general society is not necessarily the primary community to which any of us belongs. I actively choose to be a part of a community of Christ’s people called the church. I was baptized into that community, and I am in covenant relationship with that community. My child is also part of that community. I have a pretty broad understanding of that belonging. I started in New Jersey and am now in Minnesota, having come through churches in New York in the interim. All part of the church to whom I belong and to whom I am accountable.
This family made a different choice. They are part of a different religious community, and they are accountable to that community for their decisions and for their life. Why should those decisions be undermined by the state? Simply because I wouldn’t make the same choice? That just doesn’t follow. I’m not convinced the court made the right decision at all.



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Korey

posted May 28, 2009 at 1:58 pm


I think Jim demonstrates why there is room for debate on these issues of government intervention. I think most parents could envision unacceptable practices by the government that could infringe on our freedom to parent how we choose. I support the courts ruling in this situation based upon what I’ve read above. But whenever the government determines how a parent should parent or when a parent is unfit to be a parent, I am exceedingly cautious.



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churchmouse

posted May 28, 2009 at 3:03 pm


And what will the state say should this boy die? This is just another example of government taking over our lives. Unbelievable……..just shows how corrupt our government and laws are today.
I personally believe that abortion is murder. Abortion is killing a living human being in the womb. So if the community is there to stop a parent from making a terrible mistake, why isn’t the community stopping the slaughter of unborns in the womb? Obama says its a terrible choice for a woman to make. Sure it is, its a decision to kill a life. He wont say that however. It’s the womans body remember? So Obama has made it legal for a MINOR TO DECIDE TO GET AN ABORTION WITHOUT PARENTAL CONSENT AND CROSS STATE LINES TO DO IT. He says that they are grown up enough to know what they want to do with their own bodies. No parental intervention needed. The government as parent. But this kid who has cancer can’t refuse to take chemo. Any minor girlcan kill because it’s her body and the boy with cancer cant determine what he wants to do with his body.
In both caes the government says parents have no say. Why don’t they take over everything then, make all decisions for us. God help us as we slide even further down that slippery slope.



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Carl Holmes

posted May 28, 2009 at 4:07 pm


“This is why we live in a society, surrounded by other human beings, so that when one of us loses our way, there’s a whole posse of people around to ensure that we don’t take others down with us.”
I wonder how many pastors have, and still are, telling you that same thing in regards to emergent thinking?
I know, off topic, just saw it being a little Ironic… And for the record, I am not one of them, not by a long shot.



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Panthera

posted May 28, 2009 at 5:43 pm


Jim,
I live in a country which has far stricter laws than the United States has governing how, when and if the State may intervene in the decisions parents make on raising their own children.
Anytime I see a court intervene in the relationship between parent and child, I cringe. It is a direct violation of my culture.
But I accept it when it is clear – as the matter is here – that the parent is risking the child’s life unnecessarily.
And yes, I fear there have been enough comments here in the meantime to bear out what we both fear.
What I don’t get is all this nonsense about parent’s being responsible to their religious community? Huh? You fundamentalist Christians have completely lost it. You are responsible before God.
Period.
When I say the appalling manner in which you would treat this poor child, no wonder you seek to deny my family human status.
Disgusting.



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Kevin s.

posted May 28, 2009 at 7:04 pm


I agree that the state should intervene in this instance, but I also think there should be a law about when and how the state should intervene. Legislature should consult with doctors to determine where parental rights end, and legislators should be politically accountable to how they craft legislation.
Otherwise, we’ll inevitably get some judge sending a parent to prison for failing to give their kid Tylenol, or spanking their kid, or not hugging enough. These decisions shouldn’t be made by one unelected (or, in Minnesota, guaranteed re-election) person.



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Larry

posted May 29, 2009 at 9:22 am


What I don’t get is all this nonsense about parent’s being responsible to their religious community? Huh? You fundamentalist Christians have completely lost it. You are responsible before God.
It is God who placed us in community (or communities); there is a reason He created the church, it is simply not possible to practice the Christian faith as a monad. You are much more in alignment with fundamentalism, and its simplistic take on Christianity, when you say “You are responsible before God”. Nobody is denying that, but our responsibilities extend beyond that, too, to our communities, both religious and secular.



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Dean Myrick

posted May 29, 2009 at 10:15 am


“If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face—forever”-1984
If Daniel were Danielle and, instead of having cancer she were pregnant, which of you would have the government step in and tell her she can’t have an abortion (do what she wants with her own body). Do people have the right to do what they want with their own bodies only so long as we agree with them?
For all the pro-abortion-rights people out there that are all gung-ho and yippy about the government forcing Daniel to “take his medicine” (make no mistake about it, that is exactly what is being done!), what has happened to Daniel’s right to self-determination when it comes to his own body.
The right to self-determination is now being taken away! Yippy! This isn’t about Daniel being a child, this is about him being a human being! He is being forced to live with the life-long consequences of chemotherapy. There is no guarantee that this will work.
I know that some of you will say “Well, at least he will live longer”. First of all, that is not a guarantee. Second, what good is living longer when you have no right to self-determination? That doesn’t sound like much of a life to me. I wish the best for Daniel, whatever he decides to do with his life.



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Panthera

posted May 29, 2009 at 11:25 am


Dean Myrick,
How considerate of you to wish upon this child a slow, painful, torturous death – the pain he would experience ranks right up their with bone pain.
But hey – he’ll go out knowing that his “right to self-determination” was preserved.
Larry, I admit to having compressed several thoughts into a too short sentence.
One of the biggest, nastiest and most hateful lies the conservative American Christians propagate is that one must be part of a church-based community in order to be a good Christian.
Nearly as big a lie is the insistence that monogamous, life-long, faithful and true gay relationships like my marriage damage the body of the church.
Certainly, we need to have a body of people around us who are loving, caring and willing to give us both moral and direct support. Equally if not more important is our need to return God’s love by showing it to others.
Given the horrible, hateful, monstrous way conservative American churches treat homosexuals, transgender and the parents of people who have committed suicide, I am very hesitant indeed to endorse such institutions.
Our church here in my little village donated more hours to charitable works last year than the tax-payer supported social services. That is what the church is really for – manifesting the fruits of the spirit, not distributing hatred and interfering in politics.



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SteveC

posted May 29, 2009 at 12:16 pm


Daniel Hauser doesn’t belong to his mother. He belongs to a family, to a community, to God.
And maybe for that very reason his mother would argue that God has told her, or her community has encouraged her, or her family has instructed her to pursue this alternative type of treatment.
Why do we see some people’s faiths or beliefs as out of whack just because it doesn’t align with our own? I don’t think what the mother is doing is actually any different than those of you that pray for God to heal your kid… but you don’t really believe God can heal your kid so you also take them to a doctor for treatment.
Believe me I think taking your kid to the doctor for treatment is the sensible thing to do. Can we agree that just leaving it to God or your “faith” to heal them is ludicrous?
Steve
stupidchurchpeople.com



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Panthera

posted May 29, 2009 at 2:36 pm


SteveC,
I wasn’t aware that a solution has finally been found wherewith the nonexistence of something may be proved.
Fascinating.
Do, please expound upon your breakthrough – the rest of us working and teaching in the natural sciences have been stumped by this little problem in falsifiability for several thousand years now.
Seriously, I would find it presumptuous to assume that God does not desire my use of science, medicine and submitting my will to His through prayer…
And for my ego to find something presumptuous is, well, please: Do share your brilliant discovery with us, please.



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SteveC

posted May 29, 2009 at 6:35 pm


I don’t think I made such presumptions that God doesn’t desire you to use science or medicine. Actually I believe I supported the opposite.
And I don’t care about God’s nonexistence… it’s existence that bears the burden of proof.
But from reading your statements throughout these comments, I can certainly testify and prove one thing… your condescension and arrogance are certainly unsurpassed.



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Panthera

posted May 29, 2009 at 8:31 pm


Touché, SteveC – tho’, I might add:
“It takes one to know one.”
Oh, and I can’t “prove” the existence of a point, line or plane. No more can I tell you both the exact when and where of a specific electron.
And yet, here we are, snarking away at each other using technologies dependent upon both.



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