Film Review: ‘God’s Not Dead’

'God's Not Dead' Review: A Ham-Fisted

The Almighty deserves better advocacy than he gets in this typically ham-fisted Christian campus melodrama.

Judging by the success of “Son of God,” and the bounty of religious-themed pics scheduled to follow it into theaters over the next 10 months, it would seem that the Almighty is alive and well, at least at the box office. But that doesn’t stop Christian evangelical pic “God’s Not Dead” from delivering the hard and heavy sell. Of course, one doesn’t exactly look to such fare expecting enlightened or even particularly well-informed debate (of Christian theology or any other issue), but even grading on a generous curve, this strident melodrama about the insidious efforts of America’s university system to silence true believers on campus is about as subtle as a stack of Bibles falling on your head — or the third-act deus ex machina that hits one Doubting Thomas like a car speeding through a rain-slicked intersection.

Produced by Christian shingle Pure Flix and cannily pre-packaged with endorsements (and cameo appearances) from “Duck Dynasty” star Willie Robertson and venerable Christian rockers the Newsboys, the pic could build on its projected $8 million opening weekend to become the biggest Christian indie breakout since the $34 million-grossing “Courageous” in 2011.

Though you wouldn’t exactly guess it from the surveys that repeatedly show upwards of 80% of Americans identifying themselves as Christians, “God’s Not Dead” wants us to know that Christianity is under attack in the old U.S. of A. — attack from the liberal, “Duck Dynasty”-hating media, from titans of industry leading lives of wanton decadence, from observers of non-Christian faiths, and worst of all from the world of academia, with its self-important evolutionary scientists and atheistic philosophes. (The pic takes its purported inspiration from dozens of real-life court cases, indexed in the end credits, in which Christian groups have battled universities over the right to assemble, disseminate literature and be officially recognized.) Camus, Chomsky, Freud and Foucault are all on the hit list here — and on the blackboard of the movie’s resident bogeyman, freshman philosophy professor Radisson (former TV “Hercules” star Kevin Sorbo, slimmed down to mortal proportions).

Lacking only glowing red eyes to complete the effect (rather like the Jews in the wartime Nazi propaganda films), Radisson sinisterly strokes his goatee while lecturing his impressionable students on the triumph of science and reason over the ancient “superstition” of Christianity. When a lone dissenting voice emerges in the form of fresh-faced prelaw student Josh (Disney Channel alum Shane Harper), Radisson hands him the ultimatum that sets the rest of the rickety plot in motion: Either Josh drops the class, or else he has to take to the podium and try to prove the existence of God to Radisson and his fellow students over the course of the next three sessions.

To sweeten the pot, director Harold Cronk and screenwriters Cary Solomon and Chuck Konzelman (all vets of multiple prior Christian pics) add in a chorus of other nonbelievers, including a popular lefty blogger (Trisha LaFache) who ambushes Robertson and his wife, Korie, with hand-wringing lefty concerns about the ethical treatment of animals and the conservative values espoused on their TV show. This happens shortly before said blogger is diagnosed with an advanced stage of cancer, to which she responds, “I don’t have time for cancer!” Neither, it seems, does her equally godless, corporate-big-wig boyfriend (Dean Cain), who promptly ditches her upon hearing the news. He shows scarcely greater concern for his dementia-stricken mother, but at least she has a good, God-fearing daughter (Cory Oliver) to look in on her — a daughter who just happen to be the put-upon mistress of a certain hard-line philosophy professor.

Meanwhile, back on campus, Josh begins mounting his defense of the Lord in a fashion that might be called “Christian Apologetics for Dummies,” countering the bad professor’s scientific reasoning with his own citations from theistic scholars who suggest that Scripture and science can exist harmoniously side by side. Well, sometimes those forces sync up more harmoniously (the Big Bang) than others (evolution), but never shall the twain really meet — at least not with this milquetoast Abercrombie model at the stand, making his arguments with all the passionate conviction of a what-I-did-on-my-summer-vacation report. Played by Harper as a nice, clean-cut kid who doesn’t really want to ruffle anybody’s feathers, but who comes to believe that “God wants somebody to defend him,” Josh just might be the Almighty’s worst advocate since William Jennings Bryan.

The movie’s risibly myopic worldview is further evinced in the depiction of two secondary characters: an overachieving Chinese emigre (Paul Kwo) who arrives on campus to be asked by a wide-eyed registration official, “What does PRC stand for?”; and the daughter (Hadeel Sittu) of a strict Muslim father, who steals away in her bedroom to listen to podcasts of Franklin (son of Billy) Graham — in this house, the sure equivalent of the devil’s music.

Less-than-heavenly production values show through the shot-in-Louisiana pic at every turn.

Film Review: 'God's Not Dead'

Reviewed at AMC Empire 25, New York, March 21, 2014. MPAA Rating: PG. Running time: 112 MIN.


A Freestyle Releasing release of a Pure Flix presentation and production in association with Check the Gate Prods. and Red Entertainment Group. Produced by Michael Scott, Russell Wolfe, David A.R. White, Anna Zielinski, Elizabeth Travis. Executive producers, Troy Duhon, Robert Katz. Co-producers, Lisa Arnold, Jarred Coates, Cary Solomon, Chuck Konzelman.


Directed by Harold Cronk. Screenplay, Cary Solomon, Chuck Konzelman. Camera (color, RED Digital Cinema), Brian Shanley; editor, Vance Null; music, Will Musser; sound, Kelly Amrbow; sound designers, Greg Miller, Rick Larimore; visual effects producer, Gregory L. Carter; associate producer, Matt Shapira; assistant director, Jordan Champine; second unit camera, Gabriel Sabloff; casting, Billy Damota, Dea Vise.


Kevin Sorbo, Shane Harper, David A.R. White, Dean Cain, Benjamin Alfred Onyango Ochieng, Paul Kwo, Hadeel Sittu, Trisha LaFache, Cory Oliver, Newsboys, Willie Robertson, Korie Robertson. (English, Mandarin dialogue)

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  1. Good afternoon. My name is Damian Jędryka. My English is very poor. So I use the Google translator. For which I apologize. I would like to get in touch with the producers of the movie,, God Is not Dead ”, because I think it is fair to dial another part. As evidence of His existence and our sense analogous :). Unfortunately, in a very poor financial situation and I have no way to translate the content of which I would have liked you and people who have contributed through faith in our Father to the creation of the Film. I think You will find means and gentlemens Cary Solomon and Chuck Konzelman to translate the content of the blog. In the future, I turn, I promise. On the basis of – “You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free people.”

  2. Korou says:

    “You and I understand that the Big Bang is a theory; no credible scientist says “we KNOW that the Universe came from the Big Bang”
    The Big Bang theory is the prevailing cosmological model for the early development of the universe…

    The Big Bang theory offers a comprehensive explanation for a broad range of observed phenomena, including the abundance of light elements, the cosmic microwave background, large scale structure, and the Hubble diagram…

    While the scientific community was once divided between supporters of two different expanding universe theories—the Big Bang and the Steady State theory,[8] observational confirmation of the Big Bang scenario came with the discovery of the cosmic microwave background radiation in 1964, and later when its spectrum (i.e., the amount of radiation measured at each wavelength) was found to match that of thermal radiation from a black body…

    By the way, you can easily find out that there is a similar situation with regards to evolution.

    Also, some information for you about what the word “theory” means:

    “When used in non-scientific context, the word “theory” implies that something is unproven or speculative. As used in science, however, a theory is an explanation or model based on observation, experimentation, and reasoning, especially one that has been tested and confirmed as a general principle helping to explain and predict natural phenomena.”

    “Theories are foundations for furthering scientific knowledge and for putting the information gathered to practical use. Scientists use theories to develop inventions or find a cure for a disease.
    A few theories do become laws, but theories and laws have separate and distinct roles in the scientific method. A theory is an explanation of an observed phenomenon, while a law is a description of an observed phenomenon.”

    I don’t believe that it’s a complete waste of my time here; informing creationists about the state of scientific research may bear fruit at some later time.

  3. Korou says:

    Oh poor Ben, I’m glad you’re happy, I really am, but you haven’t actually achieved anything yet. You’re claiming that God created the universe, and you haven’t taken a single step towards proving that.

    As to my “finally admitting” that “things inside the universe cannot teach us how the universe came into existence” – that’s not actually anything I’ve ever denied. I’ve shown you that we know that the Universe came from the Big Bang, that it was a singularity of infinite density before that, and that in such a state the laws of physics and logic (on which you are basing your argument) have no meaning.

    You said:
    “the question you asked was ”So how is it that you think studies of things inside the universe can teach you about how universes come into existence?”
    The answer is – – – – – I don’t. I don’t think studies of things inside the universe can teach us how the universe came into existence! That’s been my point all along….. Things inside the universe CANNOT tell you how the universe came into existence.”
    That’s been your point all along, has it? Funny, I was getting the impression that your point all along was that there was no such thing as an uncaused cause, and so there must be something that caused the Universe to exist. Seeing as how you started by saying “an uncaused cause must necessarily exist in order for there to be a an effect.”
    Are you now ready to admit that if time began with the Big Bang there is no way you can discuss “cause” and “effect” prior to it?

    If you’re not, perhaps we can move along and you can finally make your case for the existence of God? Your posts seem to be coming through fine now, and I’d like to get on with debunking it. You’ve already lost the arguments about Christians being persecuted in America, about creationism and science (ie, evolution) being equally valid, and about God being an inevitable part of the universe (an argument you have now additionally contradicted by saying that God is outside the universe), so I feel on a good streak.

  4. Korou says:

    Wow. I certainly feel sorry for your students! I can only hope that your comment means you’re a Sunday school teacher, and that the kids will have a chance to outgrow the influence of a man who thins that evolution is a fairy tale and that he can set Stephen Hawking right in his spare time.
    And yes, since you mention it, I did think the comments I quotes were a little funny – the way they skewered your arguments from all sorts of angles.

    You said: “Take your last statement: “There was the Universe, “rolled up” into a singularity. A student of science such as yourself will know that, of course.” When I show my students your statement and ask them “now what is wrong with this statement” another 14 year old will shoot his hand up and say “a material packed singularity is not nothing.”
    Nobody has said that the universe began from nothing. I say it began from a singularity, which we have evidence for; you’re saying it began from God, which you have no evidence for.
    And I hope that another 14 year old will shoot up his hand and say, “Sir, why do you always tell us what Hawking said and never let us read for himself?” or “Sir, how is it that you’re not a scientist and the scientific community all disagree with you?”

    You said: “Why is it so hard for atheists to grasp the concept of absolute nothingness? I can only attribute their mental blockage to the fact that they cannot allow themselves to follow the evidence where it logically leads.”
    What do you know about absolute nothingness? Have you ever seen it? I haven’t. Nobody has. True nothingness doesn’t actually exist in our Universe. So how do you know about how true nothingness behaves? Maybe the natural state of nothingness is the bring forth something. Do you have any evidence that it isn’t?

    “Question: given that we empirically know through observation that nothing comes into existence without a cause…”
    Let me stop you right there. You do realise that we are talking about the origin of the universe, don’t you? That is to say, the origin of everything. So how is it that you think studies of things inside the universe can teach you about how universes come into existence?
    And in point of fact, you’re wrong – we have never seen anything come into existence at all. Have you ever seen an apple come into existence? Or a baby? Or a house? Everything that exists is a rearrangement of pre-existing matter. Do you agree to that?

    So in fact, your argument is not:
    (1) everything that begins to exist has a cause
    (2) the universe began to exist
    (3) therefore the universe has a cause.

    Your argument is actually:
    (1) Every rearrangement of pre-existing matter has a cause
    (2) The universe began to exist from absolute nonexistence, NOT from a rearrangement of pre-existing matter.
    (3) Therefore the universe has a cause.

    Or, to simplify it:
    (1) Every X has a cause.
    (2) The universe is Y.
    (3) Therefore the universe has a cause.
    You can see how your argument doesn’t hold together.

    “… then how could the universe that you say was rolled up into a singularity have come into existence.”
    We know that the Big Bang happened through scientific observations. We know that prior to the Big Bang the universe was a singularity. I hope you don’t dispute these?
    We also know that time only began with the Big Bang itself, and that “before” that the laws of physics entirely break down. Including the one about cause and effect. The one that your argument is based upon.
    You say “where did it come from?” Come? From? These words only apply in a universe in which time exists. If there is no time, they don’t apply.

    If you have anything worth saying about where the universe came from, then I challenge you to answer these two questions:

    1. If time did not exist before the Big Bang, then how can you say that cause followed effect before the universe existed?
    2. How many scientific experiments have you conducted, or heard of being conducted, outside of our universe? If the answer is none, please explain why you are so confident in describing how things work outside of our universe.

    • Ben says:

      Fantastic! I finally got you to ask the same question I’ve been asking and you’ve been dodging for three weeks. You finally asked the all important question. I had a feeling you were getting it – but were just acting like you weren’t getting it because you didn’t like where it leads. Now I know you were getting it, and that is great news!

      You finally asked — ” So how is it that you think studies of things inside the universe can teach you about how universes come into existence?”

      This is great! Thank you for finally acknowledging that things inside the universe cannot teach you about how the universe came into existence. That’s a tremendous breakthrough.

      Well here’s your answer. It’s the answer you already know. Are you ready? here it comes —–

      the question you asked was ” So how is it that you think studies of things inside the universe can teach you about how universes come into existence?”

      The answer is – – – – – I don’t. I don’t think studies of things inside the universe can teach us how the universe came into existence! That’s been my point all along….. Things inside the universe CANNOT tell you how the universe came into existence.

      This is great! You finally admit that things inside the universe cannot teach us how the universe came into existence. Scientific study is the study of that which is inside the universe. And since science is the study of that which is inside the universe, science cannot tell us how the universe came into existence. Eureka!

      Congratulations! good job. There is hope for you. I’m encouraged. You have finally seen the light.

      Thank you, and good night.

  5. Korou says:

    Hi Ally,

    Basically, the answer to your question is that deciding that the answer was God would work with anything. The argument could be used by absolutely any believer in any religion, hence it means nothing. It COULD be God, and of course if you believe in God already you’ll have a reason to prefer that explanation. But if you don’t have any evidence for it being God, then it could just as easily be Allah, the tooth fairy or the Flying Spaghetti Monster. The answer “God” could mean anything, and therefore means nothing.

    As I mentioned to Steve, Occam’s Razor shows that a God is superfluous. We know that the Universe exists already; we don’t know that God exists. Therefore, if you are saying that something can be eternal, why should it not be the Universe?

  6. Korou says:

    It’s interesting how you seem to think the consensus of the scientific community is based on my on personal problems in life! I had no idea I was so powerful.
    Perhaps you ought to write your ideas up in a paper and confound those who disagree with you, i.e. the entire scientific community? Think what a triumph for creationism your Nobel Prize would be!

    I won’t disagree with you that my answering you is a waste of time, but as well as returning your wishes for a long and happy life, I’ll add that I hope someday you crack open a science book and learn a little about what you dismiss so readily.

    By the way: Occam’s Razor states that “among competing hypotheses, the one with the fewest assumptions should be selected.” You’ve posited two possibilities for the existence of the universe: one, a universe has always existed; two, a God has always existed and He made the universe. The first argument has one assumption, the second has two. See how it works?

  7. Ana says:

    You are lucky the Paul Busacca didn’t come and comment on here or else we would all be shredded by his opinions and beliefs.

  8. ovillegator says:

    I just saw it, and I loved this film. Much better than this reviewer indicates in all ways, including acting and production value. For what I’m guessing is about a $2M budget, it’s pretty amazing. See it.

  9. Korou says:

    A little bit of googling led me to this: – “Atheists, since nothing comes from nothing, where does the universe come from?”
    I think that a look through it would do you good. Some of my favourites:

    “The Big Bang theory posits an infinitely hot, infinitely dense singularity that expanded into the universe. That’s not nothing coming from nothing or something coming from nothing.”
    “It doesn’t ‘come from’ anywhere at all.
    Time exists, and isn’t nothing. Space-time is part of the Universe. I think you’d agree that there cannot be a time when there is no time.
    That means there was NEVER a time when the Universe did NOT exist.
    Hence it didn’t ‘come from’ anywhere – it was not created.
    Whether time has a zero-point or is infinite, that is still the case.”

    “How do you KNOW that there was nothing 20 billion years ago? Perhaps there was nothing… except for all the matter in the current universe that was coalesced in a single point, a tiny little ball, which eventually collapsed under its own weight, and BOOM! Universe. Come to think of it, I’ve heard that theory somewhere else, before. What’s it called, again? Oh yeah. The BIG BANG theory.
    Bottom line, who told you that there was ever NOTHING?”

    Also, I like the commenter who says that if you say God didn’t need to be created, then you are saying that it is possible for something to have existed forever. So why not just say that it’s the Universe? After all, we already know the the Universe exists, which is more than we can say for God. Occam’s Razor solves the problem for you. But possibly you’re going to answer something about the Second Law of Thermodynamics to that, forgetting how the laws of physics don’t apply to before the Big Bang?

  10. Korou says:

    Apologists like to see the Cosmological argument as airtight (“Everything that exists has a cause; if the universe exists, it must have a cause! God, QED!”) but in fact, as usual, it’s full of logical holes and ends up sabotaging itself in multiple ways.

    You said: “There was nothing and then there was something. This means that the something must have 1) caused itself, or 2) was caused. ”
    Well, first, you’re wrong about there being nothing. There was the Universe, “rolled up” into a singularity. A student of science such as yourself will know that, of course.

    Second: so, everything has a cause, does it? Cause and effect are an immutable rule?
    In that case, what happens if time does not exist? As you are surely aware from your studies, both time and the universe “began” to exist simultaneously, at the point of the Big Bang. Prior to this, the rules of physics are completely unknowable. You are aware of this, aren’t you? Because when we’re talking about a realm in which there is no time, there is also, logically, no such thing as cause and effect. How could there be? When would the cause happen, and why would the effect happen after it? Your basing your claim on knowledge of how things behave in our reality, a viewpoint based on Aquinas’ pre-scientific thinking, is meaningless when discussing how things behave outside of our reality.

    And that seems to blow your whole argument to pieces. Do you want to try to put them together?

    • Ally says:

      But, isn’t the problem that there had to be nothing in the beginning in the first place. I think the fact is that we can’t imagine something without a time limit, wether it be nothing or something that always was. In the beginning, the beginning was always and never and there just was no real beginning and that is why we can’t understand it. God always was and aways will be there is no time limit so we can’t explain it. In the beginning there was God, it is not “in the beginning there was nothing”. God was always and is always. Atheists, theists, scientists, and all people in general cannot comprehend something that always existed, because in many of our minds things must have a beginning and an end.

      People will say that by saying God always existed I am basically he never existed but many (not all) have already said they believe in this concept. A lot of their argument is that nothing created the universe that it always was. Why can’t we take just one more step back and apply that principle to God?

  11. Korou says:

    Agreed. The movie is certainly spreading some nasty messages. Basically, it’s founded on Jack Chick tracts, and they were the essence of close-minded dogma.

  12. The danger of movies like this is that an increasing number of Christians will come to the conclusion that most public universities are bad, that being an intellectual is anti-Christian, and that critical-thinking skills are unnecessary. Not only will those ideas ultimately result in a population much less prepared for the future, but they help foster an unhealthy suspicion and fear of all others who are different from themselves, who become a “threat” to their increasingly narrowly defined tribe. One only has to look to how the Arab world declined over the past thousand years once Islam pushed aside what was once a thriving, intellectually vibrant culture, to what is now an increasingly backward, generally paranoid, semi-medieval civilization. The choice here isn’t about atheism vs. fundamentalist Christianity. It is a choice between allowing oneself to be humble enough and intellectually open enough to accept that neither side has all the answers, and that whether God exists or not, striving to learn more about our world through science and a rejection of close-minded dogma is not necessarily a rejection of God.

    • Bump says:

      Verrrry well said.

      • Speaking of Big Bang Theory,here’s my favorite Sheldon Cooper quote:”A Dogapus Can Play Fetch With Eight Balls.Who Could Hate That?”.

      • True,so true.Have you noticed that it’s only the Fundavangelical Christians who love to play the”Persecution”card!!
        Think about it,you never hear Methodists;Presbyterians;Disciples of Christ even most Baptists*(*The exception being the Independent Fundamentalist Baptist Church and Fred Phelps*(*Whom I hoping is getting cornholed in Hell by Matthew Sheppard as we speak!!)let alone Episcopalians;Mormons;Lutherans;The Varied Orthodox Churches and Catholics!!
        BTW:Catholics and Mormons were persecuted in America up until the mid 20th century.
        Really,if you think about it,when did Hobby Lobby and Mardel Christian Book Stores have their windows smashed with bricks and their employees dragged out in the streets and beaten unmercifully by atheist mobs while people jeer and applaud at their plight??
        When are Christian Radio and TV Stations having their signals jammed??
        When did angry mobs bust into the nearest Best Buy(tm)and forcibly demand that they remove”Going My Way”;”Passion of the Christ”;”Ben Hur”;”Bruce almighty”and”Evan Almighty”;”Heaven Is For Real”and(My fave)”Lillies of the Field”from their shelves??
        Answer:IT DIDN’T AND WON’T HAPPEN!!!Contrary to the fundavangelical”Persecution Complex”,religion is alive and well in America!!
        “Byron figured Jesus wouldn’t mind.Apparently Jesus don’t like the Apache.”-Ben Wade*(*Russell Crowe)”3:10 to Yuma”.*(*THE 2007 REMAKE).

  13. Korou says:

    Ah, thank you.

  14. Korou says:

    Sorry? Cynicism? Scientism? Sinocism?

  15. That’s “cynicism,” son.

  16. Korou says:

    A chocolate planet was a key illustration in your argument. You needed to be shown that it couldn’t exist. You may say this is irrelevant, but I’d disagree as you apparently *still* don’t understand what I told you about it. I didn’t say it would be a pretty messy affair – I demonstrated how it could never be created and, if it did miraculously come into existence, would immediately become something else.

    In effect, a chocolate planet is something that we can imagine, but which could never exist in reality. Just like God.

    Your idea was a good one but ultimately, if you follow it to its logical conclusion, it disproves itself. This is the kind of thing you should expect when you begin arguing that the existence of immaterial, all-powerful, eternal entities is inevitable.

    • Korou says:

      Ah, the Cosmological argument. Well, what do you know about the Big Bang? Do you know that scientists consider it to be the beginning of our universe? Do you know that prior to the Big Bang, the universe was a singularity, with all the matter in existence squeezed into an unimaginably tiny point?

      This might be a good point to ask: do you actually believe that the universe is some 14 billion years old? If you don’t, there’s not much point discussing it.

  17. Korou says:

    First of all, I’m sorry if you think that correcting you on your misconceptions is a red herring. You are the one who said that a planet made of chocolate could exist; I thought you’d appreciate being put right about it.

    Now, it appears, you’ve changed your argument again, Ben. I wonder if you know that? What you originally said was:
    “I assume since the universe is so large with “all conditions imaginable” that one of those existing conditions would be an almighty God sitting on his throne just as we Christians imagine… correct?”
    Here, you were arguing that God must exist. I pointed out that If our cosmos can pop supremely powerful and all-good beings into existence, then it is inevitable that anything else we can imagine also exists. You don’t yet seem to have grasped how this invalidates your argument by reducing it to meaninglessness. Try looking at what you said and see if your own words can help you to understand: “just as we Christians imagine,” you said. In that case, what is there to stop Allah sitting on his throne, just as Muslims imagine, or Zeus sitting on his cloud, just as the Ancient Greeks imagined, or Thor making lightning with his hammer just as the Norse people imagined? You said that “I will make my case for God as opposed to Thor, etc later.” Oh dear, oh dear. You don’t seem to realize that by making a case for one of them inevitably existing you are making a case for all of them inevitably existing, along with anything else we could imagine, all at the same time. This, of course, is an impossibility.

    Let me spell it out for you: can you explain how it is inevitable that God has come into being but how it is not inevitable that every other deity ever imagined has come into being?
    If you can’t, then you must accept that, by your own reasoning, every religion is true. Which is impossible. See?

    However, it is possible you are becoming aware of how you’ve shot yourself in the foot, because you have now decided to say something different. You said: “The question is: on your theory do you agree that God CAN (as opposed to the more forceful DOES) exist?”

    Interesting that you are no longer using “the more forceful DOES”, or must; because what you originally argued for it that God must exist. Now you’re trying to get me to say that he could exist. As you said, “You have stated that I must prove God’s existence. Well the first step I shall take is to demonstrate that he CAN exist based on your theory of existence.”
    Ben, I’ve never said that God is logically impossible (although there are atheists who take that tack). Most atheists, however, simply ask for proof of God before they believe in Him. Which, if you think about it, is how it should be.
    This, of course, puts you straight back at the start of the argument; there are all sorts of things which could exist – such as fairies, Vishnu, ghosts and Yahweh – but which we do not believe in. Russell’s teapot too. Have you ever heard of it? I think it would explain a lot to you.

    Before we go any further, then, you need to decide what it is you are saying. Are you arguing that (a) God must necessarily and inevitably exist, or (b) that it is not impossible that God could exist?
    If (a), you are arguing for a logically impossible situation; if (b), you are in the same position as a representative of any other religion, with the burden of proof squarely on you.
    I’ll be interested to see which one you go for.

  18. Chantale Houle says:

    Yes. It’s not a $40,000,000 budget movie.
    Astute observation. But it’s message got across. The U.S.A. young Christians are persecuted for their faith.

  19. Korou says:

    Ceretainly. The next question is: how do you know?

  20. rocky-o says:

    god exists…period…next question…

  21. Korou says:

    Now, turning to the question of God: I see that you’ve changed your argument already. You originally said:
    “I assume since the universe is so large with “all conditions imaginable” that one of those existing conditions would be an almighty God sitting on his throne just as we Christians imagine…”

    Now you say: “There is a planet somewhere in the universe where a God of the Universe resides and he commands all that is.”

    I’d like to point out that you are still playing with the meaning of the word “conditions” in an unwarranted way. But why stop you when you’re doing such a good job of shooting yourself in the foot? Because Christians don’t believe that there is “a planet somewhere in the universe where a God of the Universe resides.” Christians believe that God interacts intimately with this planet that we live on. You, however, are arguing for a God limited in time and space, which is quite a strange thing to say. Perhaps you’d better explain exactly what you mean by God?

    You’ll find that you have now have stepped into a trap of your own making: If you are arguing that God exists because anything can exist, then you are also saying that Thor exists. So does Allah. So does Zeus. So do all of the Gods and Goddesses who were ever imagined. Can you explain how your argument proves that your God exists, but no others do?

    And of course, by saying this, you contradict yourself, because the existence of all the Gods is mutually exclusive. The world cannot have been created by Yahweh and by Zeus, by the Norse Gods and the Mayan ones. But that is what you are arguing (in fact, you’re arguing a lot more; according to your reasoning, anything imaginable exists). Thus, your argument collapses into incoherence; it tries to prove too much, and so can prove nothing at all, and we are left back where we started.

    You say that God exists? Fine. Prove it.

  22. Korou says:

    It’ll be a handy point to start with the chocolate planet, as it neatly illustrates the mistake you’re making. You said:

    “Let’s say there is another highly unlikely yet possible planet on the other side of the universe that is made primarily of chocolate. There are little cocoa based units with cocoa based brains who walk around debating each other.”

    Do you have any idea what would happen to an accretion of chocolate that large? It would immediately collapse in on itself and be reduced to its elemental forms of matter. Finding people discussing this is not easy, but I think this quote puts it well:
    “I assume chocolate is mostly carbon and hydrogen, probably with some oxygen and nitrogen. The friction of gravitational collapse would separate each element. As it cools, whatever oxygen there is would probably combine with the hydrogen to make water. The rest would form into different types of hydrocarbons but little else. Nitrogen is fairly inert which would form its atmosphere. The tallest mountain would probably be an ethylene sludge bubble rising from the “mantle”.”

    This point is also neatly answered here:
    In which the write points out that there are some things that can never happen and therefore will never happen; the laws of physics do not allow it:
    “As a slightly less fantastical example, we can imagine creating, say, an array of Tinker Toys™ linked together and spanning light-years of space…However, due to laws like the conservation of mass, the light-speed speed limit, and the nature of gravity, there’s no way to put together a structure this big and massive (or for it to form naturally). Long before you even got to the business of connecting everything together you’d find that there was already far too much mass, far too close together. No matter how fast you tried to get everything in place you’d find that the arrangement is smaller than its own Schwarzschild radius, which means that a Tinker Toy™ construction of this size and density is already a black hole (“teleporting it together” gives it a little time because no part of it would “know” that it was too big for a while)… While it could exist, it could not be formed. So simply knowing that something is “possible” doesn’t mean that the universe can ever be in a state that would eventually lead to that thing happening.”

    So, no: not everything that we can imagine has to exist. Now, on to the next point…

  23. rocky-o says:

    just a quick question here…whose hands do you think pushed those two planets together in the first place?…

  24. Korou says:

    Alright then, apparently you need it spelled out. Let’s go back to the start.

    We began when Jack Maxwell asked me if I didn’t consider that it was very unlikely that life could have come into being “from a bunch of inert gas, dust, and energy?”

    He then went on to say:

    “First, you would have to have just the right star, with just the right planet at just the right distance, with a moon of just the right size and distance from Earth so that its gravitational pull would keep our molten core sloshing around to produce a magnetic field to keep the solar wind from stripping away our atmosphere. Then on Earth, you would have to have a lot of liquid water randomly deposited by comets and an atmosphere that was non-toxic to life. Then it gets even more dicey. While I’ve read that it might have been possible for lightening strikes in Earth’s primitive atmosphere to have produced minute amounts of amino acids, the odds that amino acids could form itself into just the simplest protein is one over ten to the 65th power over a period of 100 billion years. That’s pretty long considering the universe is supposed to be only about 15 billion years old.”

    Have you got that, Ben? Jack Maxwell was talking about conditions – the Sun being a certain distance from the Earth, gravity, atmospheric content…he was making a reasonable if flawed argument that it was unlikely that such a combination of fortuitous conditions came about by chance. I pointed out the flaw in his argument, which was that we live in a universe with billions of planets – and so there is no problem with a low-probability event happening, since it has so many chances to happen.
    It was then that I talked about planets with every condition imaginable – to spell it out for those who need it, meaning every possible combination of the elements that Jack Maxwell had talked about – gravitational pull, atmospheric content, distance from stars, etc. And Jack Maxwell seems to have understood me, because he then answered that he might agree with me, except that he still considered the odds to be much too high. Which is something we can disagree on, but at least he knows what we’re talking about.

    Oh, and look at the definition of condition I cited (look at it again, I mean, as you apparently missed it the first time).

    1. the state of something with regard to its appearance, quality, or working order.”the wiring is in good condition”

    2. the circumstances or factors affecting the way in which people live or work, especially with regard to their well-being.”harsh working and living conditions”

    What exactly is there in that that tells you I’m thinking of the existence of God, or that the existence of God is implied from my arguments? Apparently you’re reading words seen only to yourself.

    Perhaps you’re still not convinced? Take your own advice and follow your argument to a logical conclusion. If you believed that I was positing a Universe in which every possible reality exists, as opposed to pointing out the multiplicity of combinations of conditions on the planets throughout the Universe, then you must assume (as I explained in my previous post) that I believe that:
    – Thor exists.
    – There are planets out there made of chocolate.
    – That God did exist and was killed by Satan (hey, I can imagine that!)

    If you now see your mistake, you might see why I’ve never really had to admit to being wrong on this thread. I’m arguing against someone who believes that a dominant and bullying majority (American Christians) is being persecuted, who believes that they are right about evolution and virtually every scientist in the world is wrong and who, bizarrely, believes that an unbroken string of defeats for Creationists trying to get their dogma taught in schools, and an unbroken record of scientists supporting the truth of evolution means that who lost and who won in the evolution-creationism wars is still a matter that can be debated! It’s not hard to always be right when you’re arguing against someone with views like this.

    By the way, you never did respond after I pointed to evidence that every single scientific body in the world supports evolution. And I still haven’t heard a single case of a professor telling a class that they will fail a course if they don’t renounce their religious beliefs. Still think you’re winning?

  25. Korou says:

    Hmmm. Cool name.

  26. Randall Underwood says:

    I have to laugh……MasterButtblaster…….that was a good one. yawl keep smilin

  27. Randall Underwood says:

    I’m looking for the list that was at the end of the movie, God Is Not Dead…….it shows all the legal cases that the movie was actually based on.

  28. Virgil Bakken says:

    You state, “The Almighty deserves better advocacy than he gets in this typically ham-fisted Christian campus melodrama.” Well I say that if the best advocacy the Almighty can get from Hollywood is a ham-fisted melodrama, He’ll take it and gladly. When it comes to representing Christianity, Islam, Norse mythology or any faith you choose, Hollywood is the great sausage grinder of belief. Everything looks and tastes and smells the same when it comes out the other end. If angst and maladroit filmmaking can get our attention, at least it deserves some respect.

  29. Korou says:

    Do please share examples of professors who have told students that they will fail a course if they do not renounce their belief in God.

  30. Korou says:

    (1) – not sure how that follows at all! Usually, the analogy for a body-soul is that the container can be damaged or broken, but the liquid inside is unaffected – unless it is caused to drain out in some way. Findings in our studies of the human brain provide very good evidence for a soul not existing; we know that a person’s personality can be fundamentally affected by brain damage – losing their entire memory, becoming a completely different person, becoming two or more people!

    I’d like to refer you to another source; generally in discussing apologetics I turn to Daylight Atheism, a very thoughtful collection of essays. Take a look at this one:
    It argues, quite compellingly, I think, that medical studies show very little evidence of a soul existing, and strong evidence against the possibility of a soul existing.

    (2) I don’t see the problem here for an atheist. Although I’m not at all in expert, it does seem possible that at some time in the future a true artificial intelligence will be created. If and when it is, then yes, I would say that it deserves to have the same rights as a human intelligence would. The hard question would be how to determine if a machine mind is truly conscious; but if we do determine that it is, that it can love, feel pain and so on, then the moral question doesn’t seem a particularly difficult one to answer.

    (3) Don’t be to quick to dismiss Mathie’s reply about morality. “Not wanting to be hurt” is not a bad basis for a secular system of morality. Take your example: if someone was having things stolen from them, how long do you think it would take them to realise this? Would they be hurt then? And how would you feel if you lived in a world in which everyone accepted that it was moral to steal things from other people if they didn’t know about it – could you ever feel truly comfortable or secure, imagining that someone cleverer than you might be stealing your time, your money, your possessions or investments?

    But to follow along the same lines as Mathie: yes, I do believe that you can justify morality without recourse to a God. A moral system can be based upon permanent and universal features of humanity. These include the fact that everyone wishes to be happy; the fact that we have empathy, and can imagine how others feel; and the fact that we have enough imagination to know that if we hurt others we will increase the chances of being hurt ourselves in the future.

    Again, an outside link: the best and clearest explanation I’ve found of this type of morality is at an amusingly named post: “The Ineffable Carrot and the Infinite Stick.”

    But really, it doesn’t need to be too complicated; I imagine a lot of us had our first experiences of learning about morality when a parent or teacher asked us, “And how would you like it if somebody did that to you?” That’s a good grounding for a sound system of morality, as taught by Jesus – a lesson which has nothing to do with whether or not God exists.

    Now then, as turnabout is fair play, I have a question for you, Rudy: If God is the source of all morality, deciding what is good and bad by His very nature, then what would happen if He told us that murder was good? If God told you that it was a most moral act to kill people who annoyed you, would it then become moral? Or would you disagree with God on this?
    Please don’t try to dodge the question by saying that God would never say such a thing; the point is, if he did say it, you would not have any grounds to disagree with Him, would you?

    If God said that an evil act was good, would it be?

  31. Korou says:

    Thanks for your help, Mathi – right on target!
    Sorry, it’s been a busy weekend. I’ll get arount to giving my own answers shortly.

  32. Korou says:

    Considering that most reviews of the movie agree that it’s not very good, I think Scott Foundas is in good company. Have a look at this:

    “Despite the campus setting, little about the story is intelligently designed.”
    “Dubious religious content aside, God’s Not Dead is, above all, a dismal piece of filmmaking.”
    “It’s not just bad filmmaking; it’s bad Christianity.”
    “God may not be dead, but I’d be willing to wager this movie at least gave him a faint wave of nausea.”
    “Even by the rather lax standards of the Christian film industry, God’s Not Dead is a disaster.”

    As has been pointed out in this thread before now, people are willing to give religious movies good reviews; they just have to be, you know, good movies – worthwhile pieces of cinematic art.

    • Korou says:

      It would be hard for him not to lose the argument, considering he’s a ridiculous parody. But I thought Foundas’ objections were that this movie was a “strident melodrama…about as subtle as a stack of Bibles falling on your head,” with a “risibly myopic worldview” and “less-than-heavenly production values.”

      Sounds about right!

      • Randall Underwood says:

        I disagree, I thought it was a good piece of cinematic art……more and more colleges are turning young folks away from God, in just this manner. You have professors that think they are ‘god’ on campus, trying to bully freshmen students……and it snowballs from there.
        I want to find the list of cases that was shown at the end of the movie…..I think it would be interesting to read up on each and every one.
        God is NOT Dead…

        keep smilin,
        Randall Underwood
        former VietNam Medic

  33. Korou says:

    Hi, Ben. Sorry, it’s been busy these last couple of days.

    No, I’m afraid you’re not correct. You seem to be using a rather unusual definition of the word “condition” –

    the state of something with regard to its appearance, quality, or working order.
    “the wiring is in good condition”
    the circumstances or factors affecting the way in which people live or work, especially with regard to their well-being.
    “harsh working and living conditions”

    And also missing the hyperbole. When I said that I didn’t mean that I thought, say, planets made entirely of chocolate, Shakespeare-quoting unicorns or Yahweh actually existed.

  34. Randall Underwood says:

    I”m trying to find a list of cases that were shown at the end of the video, the cases the movie was inspired from. Can anyone help me?

  35. Korou says:

    Hi Jack,

    Actually, this doesn’t strike me as much of a problem, for a very simple reason: the Universe is huge; it has huge numbers of stars and planets with all conditions imaginable. Among all of those throws of the cosmic dice, it’s hardly unlikely that in one instance, ours, they came up all sixes, if you see what I mean. “You can’t sow a million seeds without getting at least one potato.”

  36. Peggy says:

    It wasn’t bad. It was excellent. Reviewer is more than transparent in his determined agenda to ensure that the film is not seen. The student’s arguments are very well done and the movie is doing extremely well in theaters despite the tactics of critics to decimate the film. The tactics and anti- Christian perspectives of the average critic validates the movies premise.

    • Korou says:

      Steve: I don’t mean to be sharp here, and I hope you won’t take this the wrong way. But I think that your time would be better served by doing some research on evolution and related sciences. It won’t be time wasted. Even if you don’t end up believing in it, it’s fascinating stuff, and I’m sure you’ll learn a lot about related areas of science too.
      The reason I say this is that you seem to have some misconceptions about how science works, and evolution in particular. Why don’t you do some reading about them, and then you’ll be in a better position to have conversations about them?

  37. Maralina says:

    so, was the movie bad because the theory of creationism is bad or was it bad because the acting wasn’t well done? I’m trying to distinguish it between a move like War of the Worlds and Crazy Heart. One a complete unrealistic but good movie and one a story based on true to life happenings.

  38. Steve says:

    You wrote, “Yes, everything that happens is natural.” Really? Why? Are you assuming because something exists it is “natural” for it to exist. What is your basis for that assumption? Do you ascribe everything as existent because “Mother Nature” is in charge? I’m not trying to debate you, I’m trying to gain insight from you, and others who like you have obviously put a great deal of thought into arriving at answers they feel answer the questions they believe are worthy of asking.

  39. Korou says:

    Yes, everything that happens is natural. If you think that something unnatural has happened, you’d need to provide evidence for it. Perhaps rather than asking me questions that simply don’t make sense, like “where does the energy for evolution come from,” you should learn a bit about it before you try debating it.

  40. Korou says:

    What a strange argument. Of course we’re not “content” not to know the answer; we are extremely interested in knowing the answer, and are doing everything we can to find it. If you say that the answer is God, then we’d be delighted to hear your proof for this.

    By the way, it seems that you still haven’t learned what the word “evolution” means, as you seem to think that the theory of evolution has something to do with the existence of the universe.

  41. Korou says:

    Oh good, so you do accept that it’s your responsibility to prove that God exists, not mine to prove that He doesn’t. Thank you for that answer, even if it was rather confused. I especially enjoyed reading that “the time for the “Big Bang” to take place was brought about by evolution” – so thanks for the laugh.

    “Ok, where is your proof that evolution started on its own?”
    Basically, evolution started as a natural consequence of organisms that could reproduce.

    Where is your proof that the material for the “Big Bang” just spontaneously occurred out of nothing?
    I think you misunderstand what people think about the Big Bang.

    Where is your proof that the energy for the “Big Bang” was somehow a forerunner of evolution?
    I’m afraid that question is completely nonsensical.

    Where is your proof that the time for the “Big Bang” to take place was brought about by evolution?
    So is that one.

    Where is your proof that evolution created life to start with?
    Evolution didn’t create life. But I suppose that you’re asking what the proof is that life began as a natural occurrence. This is the study of abiogenesis, as I said, and there are a lot of fascinating ideas about it. If you think that life began because God made it so, then you need to prove that; finding a way to prove that God exists would be a good start. As for the rest of us, we know that life must have begun, because it’s here now; and the study of how it might have happened is an ongoing one. You’ll be delighted to hear that we don’t know for sure how life first began, but you’ll probably make the mistake of thinking this is some sort of admission or weakness on the part of science.
    There’s a lot that we don’t know, of course, but scientists respond to these by looking for answers; whereas apologists respond to them by saying that God is the answer – a God that they haven’t yet proved to exist!

    Back to the subject at hand: if you claim that God exists, it’s your job to prove that He does, not mine to prove that He doesn’t. Feel free to let me know when you have something more profound than “Oh, look at that pretty leaf! How could it have come about by blind chance?”

    • Rudy says:

      Per your “Christians have to prove God exists, Atheists don’t have to prove he doesn’t exist” . That is a fair position to take. However, if you take it, then it is incumbent on Atheists to satisfactory address the following issues:
      1. Human Consciousness/Feeling – how does a biological “machine” feel love & pain?
      2. Moral Code – so what’s right & what’s wrong?

      Being a dualist, I can explain these topics within the framework of my Religion. Look forward to your replies so I can have the same fun poking holes in your arguments as you are having poking holes in our side proving the existence of God.

      • Rudy says:

        1. Yes, brain injury does impact personality and cognitive abilities. But think of the brain as being a vessel for the spirit with this analogy you can see if the container is damaged or altered, it will impact the fluid within it. But that is not the point of my earlier comment, If you are a reductionist, then you still have to explain how we “feel” & “perceive” things or you can claim as the strict A.I. guys that consciousness is irrelevant. (thus leading to point 2)

        2. Given your denial of duality then what is “equal” becomes quite slippery. This will lead to down the path that google’s smart car or IBM’s watson are almost to the point where we need to consider them as equals (well maybe in a few decades) as they “behave” in humanistic ways and therefore should be granted “humanistic” rights. Or are you just being a “biological bigot” because if a device from plastic and silicon can replicate human behavior then why wouldn’t it be “equal”.

        “Not wanting to get hurt” is the basis for your moral code? Well, so if you could steal something from someone who wouldn’t notice it being taken, is that okay? (adds to you feeling good – no change in “feel good” status on other end). Our laws are actually derived from Judeo-Christian ethics which I would argue is a good thing.

        Look forward to your replies

      • Mathie says:

        Let me answer those… (just because I like poking holes in arguments as well)

        1. Let me start by saying: It does. If you look into the literature about brain damage and how it deeply and predictably alterates the personality of the injured, you will see that arguing for the existence of a soul that is in some way different from your brain is as difficult as arguing for the existence of a god.
        2. That one is easy: you have to decide for yourself. I like to start from the idea that we are all equal and go from there. I could also start with me not wanting to get hurt. If I follow these thoughts, I get to a reasonable moral code.
        The laws we have are a reflection of the moral codes of all people living in a country.
        And a nice little counter question: why do you think, christian values are correct (and what version of them: the bible allows slavery)?

  42. Steve says:

    Ah, the “burden of proof”? Ok, where is your proof that evolution started on its own? Where is your proof that the material for the “Big Bang” just spontaneously occurred out of nothing? Where is your proof that the energy for the “Big Bang” was somehow a forerunner of evolution? Where is your proof that the time for the “Big Bang” to take place was brought about by evolution? Where is your proof that evolution created life to start with? Where is your proof that evolution has ever created life anywhere at any time?

  43. Korou says:

    No, Steve, you’re confusing the study of evolution with abiogenesis, which is the study of how life first began.
    As to how I began, I was created by my parents, in a biological act. Humans evolved from human-like organisms in a biological process; and these in turn were descendants of other life forms, right back to the first single cell. There’s no reason to think that any of this was anything other than natural. Perhaps you’d like to do a little research into this.

  44. Korou says:

    Some evidence that a Creator exists would be welcome, surprising and novel. Absent from that, your comment is completely irrelevant.

    • Korou says:

      Apparently the concept of “burden of proof” is unfamiliar to you. You say your religion is true, with all of it’s curious claims – an intelligent entity exists that created the universe, we die but continue to live in another form, etc. etc. Then, when someone asks you how to know that this is true you say that “all you have to do is look around,” and imply that the questioner is blind if they can’t see it. Which is useless as an answer, vaguely insulting, and not at all surprising on either count.

    • Korou says:

      Remind me again – in which book was it that the Devil took Jesus to a high mountain so that he could see “all the kingdoms of the world”?

      Also, you seem to be confusing thousands of years with hundreds of years, as well as being wrong into the bargain.

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  46. Sal Governale says:


    “There’ll always be some crackpots who believe in things like a flat earth…”

    Yes, for thousands of years they were called scientists. ;-)

    • thegame21x says:

      See, that’s the wonderful thing about science. It’s open to being proven wrong by new ideas and fresh thinking! I’d like to see how the typical deeply religious person would react when you tell them that religious views of things like homosexuality and shellfish are outdated and should be reconsidered. I doubt they’d be quite as open as these scientists you speak of!

    • Ben says:

      Absolutely! And we have them with us today by the hundreds of thousands unfortunately.

  47. Korou says:

    No, I didn’t notice. Still, sorry about that.

  48. Korou says:

    Really? I’m sorry about that.

    I was replying to you saying:
    “If a professor did what Radisson does in this film, he’d be fired, and would deserve to be.”

    This is obviously incorrect. Many professors have done what this professor did as attested to by eye witnesses and were not fired.

  49. Korou says:

    Links, please.

    • Korou says:

      Okay. So, basically, you don’t have any evidence for God. Rather decent of you to come straight out and admit that – well, if it hadn’t followed a few days of chest-thumping about how great your arguments were going to be.

      Well, I can’t say I’m surprised. I must admit to being a little bit disappointed, though.

      • Ben says:

        On the contrary, I wrote multiple posts stating my case, surely you saw the post total go from 300+ to under 300. Those were my posts. I can only assume that Variety magazine is not in the truth business but could potentially be in the “book burning” business. Not literally but figuratively speaking.

    • Ben says:

      Korou: The moderator deleted my last 5 or so posts, so I don’t know what you’re referring to or even if you’re talking to me. Ben

    • Korou says:

      I’m sorry, Ben, there’s really just not much to be said. You can pretend that you don’t know what the word “lose” means if it makes you feel better!
      “The vast majority of the scientific community and academia supports evolutionary theory as the only explanation that can fully account for observations in the fields of biology, paleontology, molecular biology, genetics, anthropology, and others.[19][20][21][22][23] One 1987 estimate found that “700 scientists … (out of a total of 480,000 U.S. earth and life scientists) … give credence to creation-science”.[24] An expert in the evolution-creationism controversy, professor and author Brian Alters, states that “99.9 percent of scientists accept evolution”.[25] A 1991 Gallup poll found that about 5% of American scientists (including those with training outside biology) identified themselves as creationists.[26][27]
      Additionally, the scientific community considers intelligent design, a neo-creationist offshoot, to be unscientific,[28] pseudoscience,[29][30] or junk science.[31][32]”

      “There are many scientific and scholarly organizations from around the world that have issued statements in support of the theory of evolution.[36][37][38][39] The American Association for the Advancement of Science, the world’s largest general scientific society with more than 130,000 members and over 262 affiliated societies and academies of science including over 10 million individuals, has made several statements and issued several press releases in support of evolution.[22] The prestigious United States National Academy of Sciences, which provides science advice to the nation, has published several books supporting evolution and criticising creationism and intelligent design.[40][41]”

      And now you come along with your funny little list. Meet Project Steve:
      “In short, no matter how one objectively compares these lists, it is a fair conclusion that several hundred times as many well-qualified professional scientists accept the main precepts of evolution as dissent from them. And, given that the number of signers of the Discovery Institute list has hardly grown at all in the past two or three years, there is no indication that the number of dissenting scientists is sharply growing relative to those who have declared their support of evolution.”

      “… Because the evidence is so overwhelming, … evidence for evolution no longer engages the interest of biologists except when explaining evolution to the public or arguing with those who refuse to accept evolution. Although not sought and no longer needed, the evidence for the fact of evolution continues to accumulate.”

      That’s why we’re not interested in discussing this. It’s been done. And you lost. I don’t have to talk about proving evolution. It’s been done. We’re finished.

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