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A Letter to a Certain Christian

I somehow stumbled across a video that I just have to comment on.  I don’t want to provide a link to it, because the counter showed that I was only the 3rd person to see it.  Hours later, there was only one more view.  So I’m not going to call attention to him.  I suspect this guy isn’t ready to respond to the harsh reality that we so stridently represent.  My intention is not to preach to the choir here.  You guys have already heard it all anyway.  I intend to address this one individual anonymously, but without excluding other readers who didn’t see his video.

This person said he was looking for the ‘rift’ between ‘non-believers’, by which I assume he means atheists, skeptics, rationalists, apistevists, etc. (Whom I will attempt to speak for here) and the ‘make-believers’ whom he represents in the context of this post.  He suggested that ‘we’ likely assume that all Christians are just simple-minded folk.  While that is grotesquely true way too often, (and there is even a growing body of clinical research to support that!) it is not always the case.  It usually comes down to a question not of intellect, but of intellectual honesty.  Whether you have an emotional ‘need-to-believe’ in some irrationally preconceived notion, and whether that overrides your desire to understand whatever the truth really is, regardless what it might turn out to be.

Now I would say that any honest earnest quest for truth must begin with the abandonment of faith.  Are you prepared to lie in order to maintain your self-induced delusion?  Or are you bold enough to question your own convictions and even test them to find out if they’re true, and discard them if they are not?  That’s the rift.  That’s the difference between us.

Now this person was promoting an upcoming conference called ‘Reasonable Faith in an Uncertain World‘. (sigh) Where do I begin just with that?

1. There is nothing reasonable about faith.  Those two words mean completely opposite things.  Putting them together creates an oxymoron, That’s why William Lyin’ Craig thought it would make a clever book title.  Faith is an unreasonable conviction which is assumed without reason and defended against all reason. That’s why faith is the most dishonest position it is possible to have. It really is!

Having reason means that you’re amenable to reason, and that you can be reasoned with, because your position is based on logic and evidence [reasons] instead of faith.  With evidence, you neither require nor desire faith, and visa versa.  In a reasonable perspective, the truth is what the facts are, and truth becomes paramount.  Thus we do not have any a-priori assumed conclusion which we’re predetermined to defend; we are free to follow the evidence in whichever direction makes the most sense.  It doesn’t matter what you believe; all that matters is why you believe it, and how accurate you can show your beliefs to be. Can you show there is any truth to it?  Guess how I’ll answer that question.

2. From what I understand from willful believers, their perspective is wholly opposite of ours, because however confident they pretend to be matters more than whether they actually know what they’re talking about.  That’s why they assert as fact that which is not evidently true, and that’s why attest the strength of their conviction without justification from any defensible data.  They see actual factual truth as irrelevant.  There need not be any measurable truth in anything they ever claim, and in fact there isn’t.  No religion out there can show that their baseless assertions are correct at all, much less whether they are any more so than all the other religions.

Thus everything they say is completely empty to us.  Unsupported assertions of impossible absurdities are indistinguishable from the illusions of delusion, and no one should believe anything that requires faith.  Because faith requires that we believe without question, without reservation, without reason.  That is irrational, foolish; that’s what a fool is.  Your Bible got it wrong. Any assertion that requires faith should be rejected for that reason.

We of course have a prerequisite mandate that we cannot honestly state as fact that which is not actually factual. That means we have to be able to prove that it really is true by some sort of objective verification. We have to have multiple lines of evidence independently indicating only one conclusion over any other before we can say that anything is actually true.  We can’t even say that something is probably true unless we already have the data indicating that probability.  Otherwise we could only say that we believe X to be true, but we can’t say that we know it is.  If you can’t show it, you don’t know it.  If we can’t verify your claims to any degree at all, by any means whatsoever, then it is a fact that you cannot possibly know what you only think you know.

Having no reason to believe something is a good reason not to believe it.  There is no way to be certain of anything if you cannot demonstrate or verify it objectively.  If you can’t show that anything you say is certainly true, then it is meaningless.  And in the case of Christian claims, it would still be meaningless even if it was true, but that’s a topic of deeper conversation than our subject is ready for.

We have to reject all the logical fallacies on which religious beliefs depend.  We have adhere to the rules of science.  So we can disprove a positive claim, and the Bible makes many claims that have been conclusively disproved, the flood, the tower of Babel, the Exodus, and so on …and on, and on.  But we needn’t bother trying to prove a negative claim -like ‘there is no god’.  In science, there is only what is supported by evidence and what is not supported.  Whatever is not supported by evidence doesn’t yet warrant serious consideration.  Come back when you have something of substance.  These are some of the rules of logic to which we must adhere.  For example:

“Positive claims require positive evidence;
extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence”.
-Carl Sagan

“What can be asserted without evidence
can be dismissed without evidence.”
-Christopher Hitchens

This is an example of the ‘minds’ who speak for science, for reason over faith.  The person who’s video I am addressing said he was excited about the ‘minds’ that will be speaking at that upcoming conference; he said they were brilliant.  But these showmen make the most extraordinary claims, unsupported by any evidence whatsoever, and consistently shift the burden of proof when they’re called out on that.  Such people represent less ability to ‘dazzle with brilliance‘ than they do to ‘baffle with bullshit‘.

The person I’m writing to said these speakers have answers to important questions, specific ones which he listed in his video. I have answered those questions below, just for the sake of consideration / comparison.

Q: Why does God allow evil?  A: Because God is evil.  
The supposedly sacred fables in the Bible describe God as creating evil intentionally, of consorting with evil, being compelled by evil, and of gambling with the devil -with human suffering as the desired outcome.  In fact, God is depicted as being almost entirely evil himself, throughout the entire cluster of repugnant horror stories.  The Bible is NOT the ‘word of God’, nor could it be, since it is dead wrong about damned near everything back to front.  It is an obviously internally conflicted compilation conceived by ignorant and bigoted savages attempting to justify slavery, genocide, sexism, racism, and other inhuman atrocities. Consequently the book itself is evil in that it endorses everything that evil is.

Q: Is there evidence for the resurrection?  A: No.
There is strong inference that Jesus is at least a legendary character -if not entirely mythical, (and plagiarized from previous polytheism), yet he still failed to fulfill any of the Jewish prophesies of the coming Messiah.  Then there are the notably epic events of his death, like the official attention from multiple heads of state, hours of global darkness, undead saints in downtown Judea; none of which was remembered or recorded by any historian of that time.  Considering all that, and the fact that there was never any evidence that he ever even lived in the first place, then logically there can be no evidence of him having lived …again.

Q: Does God exist?  A: No.
(a) God is defined by his miraculous nature, defying the laws of physics.  Thus he is physically impossible by definition.  (b) God is defined as existing outside our reality rather than within it, thus he does not exist in reality, again by definition. (c) God evidently does not exist, since there is no evidence to indicate any such thing, and (d) there is plenty of evidence to show that the whole idea was contrived out of earlier, equally erroneous theologies, and adapted by superstitious primitives.

Q: Is scripture reliable?  A: No.
This is an especially important point, because this answer would still be no, regardless how one answers the preceding question. Even if some -or all- of the legends in that tome were actually true, the Bible still wouldn’t be reliable on its own without outside verification.  Human journalism never has been nor will be.  But even if God exists, and he wrote the book himself, (in which case it would be completely different) the authority of the author is not enough.  It would still require outside verification from independent evidence, and that is just not the case.

Where you were born usually determines whatever religion you embrace.  And the more men speculate, the more their religions divide into different sects, denominations, cults and so on, continuously dividing and contradicting each other, because it is the blind leading the blind.  But if you give up whatever faith and pursue evidence instead, then it doesn’t matter what religion you came from, you’re going to find yourself zeroing in on the same one-and-only evident reality as everyone else in the global scientific community. That is the truth of nature and the nature of truth.

There, I saved you a trip.  Now you don’t have to go to that oxymoronic conference where baffling bullshitters will tell you just what you want to hear, but who will never tell you the truth, nothing that any of them can honestly say they actually know, or that is even possible, much less rational, or otherwise logical, nor anything important to the ‘faith’ which can be proven to be true.

Comments

  1. Al Dente says

    For me, one of the strongest arguments against gods is there’s so many of them. If one god or one group of gods exists, then they would influence people into believing the same things. The Bible and the Vedas would say the same things and promote the same religion. I know a Hindu (he’s a Brahmin with a comprehensive religious education) and occasionally we have discussions about the differences between Christianity and Hinduism. Those differences are quite complex and extensive.

  2. says

    Q: Is scripture reliable? A: No.

    I think I can venture a guess as to what that talk is going to be about. Most fiction is based on true stories, at least in part. Authors are heavily influenced by their culture, places they’ve been or seen, etc.

    What they’ll do is show that some historical facts align up… so the rest of it must be true too! Tada!

    It’d be like if I found a book “1000 facts about electricity”, and the first 999 were factually true… that doesn’t mean that fact #1000, “Electricity comes from Zeus” is true. It doesn’t work like that.

    Instead, if you were to tell me “Book X is true”, I’d be translating your statement as meaning “Every individual statement in the book has been independently and sufficiently verified as true.”

    … not them.. get a few things right, and that’s good enough to call it for the whole book.

  3. L.Long says

    I think the example you gave on the podcast of ‘Braveheart’ is excellent example of buyBull BS.
    The movie depicts 5 people who are real, and events that were somewhat real, but the combination of these is total fiction as seen in ‘Braveheart’. This same effect has also been shown in the buyBull. Good post and this also shows why most ‘liars for jesus’ wont debate you in a moderated format, you would cut them down without mercy.

  4. AllenG says

    Just yesterday, I heard Adrian Rogers saying on the radio:
    “The trouble with people today is too many
    of them can’t tell the difference between
    facts and truth….Truth is set in eternity. If its
    new, its not truth.”
    Essentially,don’t let facts confuse you about truth. An express
    admission of your point that facts are irrelevant to these people.
    In fact, facts are the enemy.

    • says

      It’s oftly difficult to have a conversation when every word has a glaringly different definition from what we use.

      It’s like they’re using a version of English where the meaning-to-word associations have been randomized.

    • says

      Truth is set in eternity. If its
      new, its not truth

      What do they even mean by that?

      If I say that “2+2=orange”, some day, 2000 years in the future, all of a sudden, for no particular reason, *poof*, this is now true?

      • moarscienceplz says

        The god-botherers would probably say that mathematics supports their thesis since the ancient Greeks figured out all that stuff thousands of years ago (or god revealed it to them, or something). Of course, the fact that a proof for Fermat’s Last Theorem wasn’t found until 1995 refutes that, but none of ‘em would have bothered learning anything more about math once they are out of High School, so it’s not a problem for them.

    • says

      “The trouble with people today is too many
      of them can’t tell the difference between
      facts and truth….Truth is set in eternity. If its
      new, its not truth.”

      Meaningless word salad.

      • says

        The funny thing is that I actually see a point in that quote, but not the one intended.

        What Creationists get wrong is that they don’t understand that scientific facts and theories are only “new” to human understanding. We’re digging through the planet’s bookshelves, reading the dusty old journals we discover there, cross-analyzing their content for consistency, and performing experiments to verify conclusions. The result is that we form a coherent big picture about how the old authors’ shared world developed into our modern world. We look at this ancient universe and find that the lessons of history are still relevant to the present. We make honest mistakes, but we correct them and note what went wrong.

        The Creationists, however, speak as if we’re unthinkingly idolizing some glossy new fad magazine that cites the rumor mill and wishful thinking, dedicated to some hipster clique that only wants to feel superior to the outside world without actually contributing to society. They think that every change is a superficial attempt to remain fashionable and appealing to a modern audience while past shames are covered up. The irony is that is how I view religion.

  5. bugmaster says

    I don’t think this post is entirely fair. Some Christians — not all, but a noticeable portion — really do believe to possess evidence about their God, in the form of a personal revelatory experience. If you press them, they will fully acknowledge that such evidence can’t be communicated and thus cannot be used to convince anyone else; but still, that’s not the same thing as merely saying, “I have faith because it makes me feel good”.

    • Monocle Smile says

      The word “evidence” implies that one explanation for a data set or phenomenon is far superior to all others. If you can’t even begin to investigate, then no experience can ever be “evidence” for anything. If you can’t communicate it, then it’s not evidence. And if you can’t verify anything about your experience, then why would you believe the conclusions you draw from it?

      As someone who was a Christian for 21 years, I can tell you…because it makes you feel good and secure. That’s what’s obstructing critical thinking.

    • Bill Gascoyne says

      It is said that one of the most important milestones in child development is the ability to discern fantasy from reality, that is, subjective from objective. Proof must be objective. Personal revelation is subjective. What does it say about people who can’t tell the difference?

    • Corwyn says

      really do believe to possess evidence about their God, in the form of a personal revelatory experience. If you press them, they will fully acknowledge that such evidence can’t be communicated and thus cannot be used to convince anyone else

      I am fine with calling that evidence, but it certainly isn’t enough evidence to make a hypothesis of an omniscient, omnipotent, being who exists outside of space and time, even remotely likely. Were it me having that experience, hypotheses of hallucination, trickster friends, complete brain failure, aliens with a brain manipulation ray, all seem *vastly* more likely.

    • No One says

      I had a personal revelation in my driveway. God came to me and explained that the bible was actually written by satan, in order to make humanity miserable. So what makes my personal revelatory experience less viable than those who, have been duped by satan?

      • moarscienceplz says

        Not less viable, less valuable. Your revelation probably won’t inspire little old ladies to send you part of their meager pensions, so what good is it?

  6. machintelligence says

    If you can’t show that anything you say is certainly true, then it is meaningless.

    Please don’t set the standard quite so high. It is quite useful to be able to say that something is probably true. In fact, the whole field of statistical inference depends on this.
    A little quote (source unknown) that I like is: Faith is just gullibility dressed up in its Sunday best.

  7. Ash says

    God is unfalsifiable, so the entity is not testable but we have scriptures that is said to be the word of God. So if we want to prove wether God exists or not we test those scriptures. I believe in the world of today we should have strict understanding wether an entity that will judge us after our life exist or not. If the scriptures have been debunked. Then even if a entity like God exist he wouldnt care what we do on our lifetime. Ridding us of the greatest lie that has ever been told. Thats my opinion.

  8. aziraphale says

    You saying that God doesn’t exist “by definition” reminds me of those Christians who say God is a necessary being, and therefore does exist “by definition”. It’s not that easy. You can’t define your way to truths about what actually exists in the world.

  9. Alfafan says

    Does providing an answer to question 1 not draw you into the false assumption that theists make when they presumptuously state “you must hate god”.

    Surely the only honest answer an atheist can give is that as god does not exist then the question is moot.

    • says

      I don’t know how to get from A to B on that.

      They have defined their god as the God of the Bible. A reasonable analysis of the Bible reveals that character is despicable.

      … at no point are we shoving words in their mouths.

      You could only have a valid point if that question were disparately asked outside of the context of the other questions and post (which clearly indicate we’re talking about Biblical scirpture).

      • Alfafan says

        I understand your point and I apologise for not explaining my point better.
        However I was not expecting to get from A to B when the question “why does god allow evil”? is a pointless question if god does not exist in the first place.
        By asking that question first then it renders the following questions an exercise in futility.

  10. chrisA305 says

    “God is evil.”
    “Consequently the book itself is evil in that it endorses everything that evil is.”

    It always amazes me when atheists say this. If you’re asserting that there is such a thing as evil, then you automatically have to concede that there is such a thing as good. Otherwise, there’s no basis in which to determine what evil is, and it all becomes relative. Therefore, if there’s such a thing as good and evil, then there has to be some objective morale law to distinguish between the two.

    Some people might say, “we decide what that morale law is”, but that’s ridiculous. You can’t possibly state that something like “good” is absolute and inherent, and then turn around and say it changes based on the feelings or rational of any finite creature. Absolutes don’t change.

    If you say that nature determines this law, then we have a serious problem. Nature, according to most atheists, is a product of natural selection. The only philosophy that natural selection has is “the strong survive, and the weak die”. That means that dictators like Stalin were actually doing the greatest possible good, by purging their country of the “least fit” for survival. (Hopefully I’m not alone in thinking that would be a horrible philosophy to live by.)

    Ultimately when you invoke evil, which leads to a morale law. There has to be something on which to establish it. Only something absolute, and unchanging would be big enough to give an absolute and unchanging law. This only leaves God because we know the universe had a beginning. so whenever you say that there is evil, you’re actually affirming God’s existence in order to disprove him.

    Also if God is evil, then there is no evil. Evil is nothing more then doing less then what’s morally perfect. Since God (at least the Christian God your trying to disprove) is perfect, everything he does is perfect. Therefore, what you call “evil” would actually be good, and thus your conundrum continues.

    • says

      Nature does NOT dictate that the strong survive. In the case of societal animals such as we, it is that the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few or the one. Thank you Spock.

      Atheists have an objective moral standard, where -amusingly- theists do not. That morality is best expressed by Scott Clifton, AKA ‘Theoretical Bullshit':

      • chrisA305 says

        “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few”

        This is still a horrid world view. How would you feel if your needs fell into the “few” category? And who get’s to decide? What if a leader decided that the best way to deal with overpopulation, was to kill off all the people that weren’t positively contributing to society? would that then be morally “good” because the majority of people benefited?

        As far as “theoretical bullshit”, I think his arguments are bullshit. I’ll just address the first one.

        “A particular action or choice is moral or right when it somehow promotes happiness, well being, or health or it somehow minimizes unnecessary harm and suffering, or it does both”

        Once again, for whom? If a majority of people decided that the world would be a better place without you in it. Does it then become “morally” good to get rid of you?

        Also what does he define as “unnecessary”? That’s so subjective it’s almost laughable. Many people in the middle east feel it’s necessary to kill their rivals, and anybody who has wronged them. “Necessity” changes from person to person.

        Moreover, some people are sadists, pedophiles, rapists, murderers, and thieves. If a particular society had a majority population containing these types of people. Then wouldn’t their needs become the many, and in his view “morally” good?

        Honestly, you guys make this morality thing much harder and far more convoluted then it needs to be. It’s far easier when you have a purely objective basis for it, instead of just the floating rationales of aspiring philosophers.

        • Monocle Smile says

          You seem to reject the notion of data and drawing objective conclusions with respect to a value.

          Also, neither Aron nor Clifton even implied that we just get to arbitrarily decide what’s best for us. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. We can objectively determine what fosters a healthy, happy society. Or at least it can be objectively determined with the proper data. A society that allows raping and murdering is not stable and does not foster a positive atmosphere. This is objective despite what the majority of such a society thinks.

          Furthermore, your criticism can’t actually be drawn from anything Aron or Clifton said, so on top of being wrong, it’s dishonest.

          Yes, it’s always easier to just do what you’re told by a mythical tyrant that doesn’t have the best interests of humanity at heart. This also makes you a shitty human being and not a moral agent whatsoever.

        • moarscienceplz says

          Honestly, you guys make this morality thing much harder and far more convoluted then it needs to be. It’s far easier when you have a purely objective basis for it, instead of just the floating rationales of aspiring philosophers.

          Sure, and it’s easy to build a time machine, all you need are a DeLorean and a Flux Capacitor. Trouble is, Flux Capacitors are fictions from someone’s imagination, just like your Objective Moral Basis.

          Furthermore, it’s quite easy to demonstrate that morality changes over time, so it is obviously not governed by some eternal standard. One of the first legal executions performed in what would become the USA (i.e. the Massachusetts colony) was of a 15 year old boy caught having sex with a sheep. Now, you may think what he did was gross, but I doubt that very many modern-day Americans would agree that he deserved to be executed for it. But in the 17th century it was considered an appropriate punishment. Did God change his eternal and omniscient mind about this?

        • Ichthyic says

          Honestly, you guys make this morality thing much harder and far more convoluted then it needs to be.

          why ask why, drink Bud Dry.

          you know, you might want to read John Stuart Mill sometime.

    • aziraphale says

      That gives us a nice syllogism

      The Christian God, if he exists, is perfect and would do no evil.

      The God of the Old Testament does many evil things. Genocide, directly and through his minions, for a start.

      Therefore the Christian God is not the God of the Old Testament.

      We have discovered Marcionism! (Or atheism, of course, but that’s true and therefore boring)

      • chrisA305 says

        No. Not at all. The christian God is the same as the old testament. There is NO difference between God and Jesus. Yes God ordered Genocide, directly through his people. He also did it himself when he destroyed the everyone on the face of the earth except Noah.

        Does this make God evil? Only if the people he killed were perfectly good people that did nothing wrong. But as we can see, the Canaanites where burning their children as sacrifices to their gods. And the Bible says this about the pre flood people,

        “And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that EVERY imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually”

        Not a single “good” person was killed in the flood. Also if you’ve ever read the story of sodom and Gamorrah God says that he won’t punish the righteous along with the wicked.

        Abraham asks if he will destroy the city if he finds 50 righteous men, God says “no”. “How about 45″, God says “No”. “30, 20, even 10″, God says No. And he kept his word, because he spared lot and his 2 daughters.

        • Monocle Smile says

          The fact that you admit to God’s atrocities AND sanction them tells us all we need to know about your moral compass. You are an embarrassment to humanity and it’s horrifically ironic that you claim the moral high ground.

          Also, stop taking the word of mass murderers that the people they wiped out were all evil. That’s just plain stupid.

          • chrisA305 says

            I don’t have to sanction anything. What you’re saying is that it’s wrong for God to judge somebody. It’s wrong for the being who created everything, and owns everything, to make a judgment on evil. All I’m saying is that I don’t agree. It’s not even a matter of wether I like what God did or not. Does me liking or not liking something determine wether it’s right or wrong? I don’t think so.

            Also remember this, God doesn’t judge people based on how good they are, but on how good they are not. Under this world view there is no such thing as a “good” person, there is only grace,mercy, redemption, and forgiveness.

          • Monocle Smile says

            Might does not make right, and it’s cowardly for you to claim otherwise. You have compromised your humanity out of fear of an imaginary being.

          • Ichthyic says

            It’s wrong for the being who created everything, and owns everything, to make a judgment on evil.

            slave owners thought like you.

        • aziraphale says

          “Does this make God evil? Only if the people he killed were perfectly good people that did nothing wrong.”

          So the appropriate punishment for every wrong act, including the most minor, is the death penalty. Do you believe that?

          “Not a single “good” person was killed in the flood.”

          What about the children?

        • Ichthyic says

          There is NO difference between God and Jesus.

          indeed. both never existed, both were invented as a cornerstone to join together various myths and influences at the time, both evolved in the texts over time.

          you’re exactly right.

    • EnlightenmentLiberal says

      So many fallacies and misunderstandings, so little time. I’ll be generous and assume it’s misunderstandings and not purposeful strawmanning.

      In this context, most people use the word “objective” contrary to its usual meaning. Generally, the word “objective” refers to a particular kind of rules set or algorithm to solve decision problems. Consider soccer vs figure skating. We commonly say that the rules of judging soccer are objective, and the rules for judging figure skating are not. What we mean by this is that any reasonable person who understands the rules of soccer and who applies them will come to the same conclusions, whereas reasonable people who understand the rules of figure skating do not come to the same conclusions. Note that there is no black and white boundary. Instead, there are degrees of objectiveness.

      So, when we say that material facts are objectively true, what we are saying is that according to the rules of evidence-based reasoning and the formal scientific method, any reasonable person who applies those rules on a particular question will usually come to the same result.

      In other words, when we say something is objectively true or objectively judged, we are always doing so in the context of a specific rules set for deciding problems, such as the scientific rules set for deciding factual questions about our shared reality.

      You are using objective in a new and quite confusing way. You are using “objective” in sort of Platonic realist way. I subscribe to some of the beliefs of logical positivists, and consequently I don’t know what you’re talking about. I don’t know what you mean when you say that there is an objective moral law or not. When I say it’s an objective material fact that I’m sitting on a chair, this is implicitly understood to be in the context of evidence-based reasoning, and every reasonable person who comes into my room will come to the same conclusion that I am sitting on a chair. I don’t know how to extend this to “objective moral facts”. What rules set are we using? Science? What evidence do you have for an “objective moral fact”? Are we using a different rules set? What rules set would that be?

      When I talk about objective moral facts, I am using a different rules set from science. I am going to promote human happiness, safety, freedom, well-being, and the other values of humanism. Just like I decide what is true about our material shared reality by the algorithm of the scientific method, I also decide what is morally true and false by the rules set of humanism.

      I think this is your problem: You have internalized the rules set of evidence-based reasoning and science so much that you don’t even see it as a starting axiom, but you have not internalized humanism to the same extent. You are asking me why should we use humanism? To me, that’s as stupid a question as asking me why should I use evidence to inform my beliefs about our material shared reality. It’s just a complete non-starter. For additional information, please see the work of Sam Harris, esp. “The Moral Landscape”.

      In other words, not only am I dismissing your idea of objective moral facts, I’m also dismissing your idea of objective material facts. I do not subscribe to Platonic realism. I subscribe to knowledge as something which is testable and demonstrable and no more.

      No one says that the products of natural selection are by definition good, or are good in any sense. This is called the “appeal to nature” fallacy, and sometimes the naturalistic fallacy. This is a strawman. Almost no one holds to this position, least of all your very common humanist skeptic atheist. “Letting nature take its course” is a rather bad way to promote human happiness, safety, freedom, well-being, etc. Thus, humanists very often act against natural selection and “nature”.

      Next, you misunderstand evolution. “Survival of the fittest” is a very bad short description of natural selection. Sometimes the most fit animal may be one that sacrifices itself to help out its friends or kin. This misconception is basic. Natural selection is not about which individual is best. Natural selection is about population genetics. Read a book, or take a few courses, and hopefully it should become clear. For the layperson, I suggest Richard Dawkins’s “The Greatest Show On Earth”.

      Next, we do not know the universe had a beginning. The modern scientific consensus is “We don’t know”. If you are about to quote the BVG Theorem, note that William Lane Craig has lied to you about what it actually means, and what its authors actually believe, and also lied a lot about modern physics.

      Finally, my last question to expose the sheer absurdity of your position. You are not infallible, right? Your christian god is infallible, right? Surely there is a way that your christian god could communicate with you and convince you that you are talking to the christian god, right? As you are fallible, it must follow that there is a chance that you are mistaken about whether it is ok to rape others for your amusement or for your christian god’s amusement. As there is a scenario whereby you could be convinced that you are talking to the christian god, it follows that the christian god may command you to rape someone for the christian god’s amusement. Suppose this happened to you. Would you obey your god? You have no ways out. Either you try to claim that this could never happen, which makes you an infallible judge of some moral questions – more knowledgeable even than your christian god – or you would say that you would rape someone if ordered to do so, which makes you a despicable miserable human being.

    • EnlightenmentLiberal says

      PS: Ever see the TV show Stargate SG-1? If that has taught me anything, it is the proper reply to a very powerful evil creature calling itself a god is not to bow down and worship, but to blow it up. If your christian god actually existed, and you demonstrated this, I may drop the atheist label. However, I would not stop being a humanist. If your god stood in the way of human happiness – and it does based on its actions as documented in your bible – and if it could not be reasoned with or restrained, then I would act to destroy your god. Nuke god!

      • Ichthyic says

        f that has taught me anything, it is the proper reply to a very powerful evil creature calling itself a god is not to bow down and worship, but to blow it up.

        or at least ask it why it needs a starship.

      • Ichthyic says

        “Survival of the fittest” is a very bad short description of natural selection.

        especially for the word “survival” (which is only part of the story). However, the inevitable fumbling with the word “fittest”, isn’t a problem with the phrase, so much as a problem with the fact that the word is commonly misused in this context and does not at all mean what most unfamiliar with evolutionary biology think it means.

        People need to learn that it’s not just survival itself that selection acts on, but instead your relative ability to produce offspring that can themselves reproduce. this is what “fittest” means in context; that selection will favor traits in any individual in a population that increase the number of successfully reproducing progeny in that population. This is (or at least should be) basic high school biology stuff, but sadly the vast majority of people still do not know this, and instead think of “fittest” as just a synonym for “strongest”.

        Not that the phrase has ever seen use in modern evolutionary biology, but if the media insist on maintaining it, maybe we could propose changing it simply to… Success of the fittest.

    • Ichthyic says

      You can’t possibly state that something like “good” is absolute and inherent, and then turn around and say it changes based on the feelings or rational of any finite creature. Absolutes don’t change.

      so, when any particular version of any Abrahamic religious text you care to use, contradicts itself repeatedly, as they ALL do….

    • says

      Therefore, if there’s such a thing as good and evil, then there has to be some objective morale law to distinguish between the two.

      Yes., and such a law can be (and is) derived from repeatable observation of which actions are beneficial to us (which we label “good”), and which are harmful (which we label “evil”). There’s no need to invoke any particular god in this process — and, in fact, trying to base morality on unprovable claims about an unprovable god is not “objective” at all, it’s subjective.

  11. says

    According to your mythology, your god doesn’t care how good we are. We are judged solely on our gullibility and not on any other criteria. Our actions are ignored and only our beliefs are considered. It doesn’t matter how good and kind, altruistic and charitable we are, we are damned if you don’t believe. But if you do believe, then it doesn’t matter what an evil baby-buggering cannibalistic selfish shit you were in life, because all sins will be forgiven -all except the sin of disbelief. That’s the only one that not even God has the power to forgive. So that’s it. Morality isn’t an issue. All that matters is that you buy into the bullshit the clergy are selling, pay them tithing so that they don’t have to get into multilevel marketing schemes, and you’re guaranteed to get into Heaven.

    • chrisA305 says

      “But if you do believe, then it doesn’t matter what an evil baby-buggering cannibalistic selfish shit you were in life, because all sins will be forgiven -all except the sin of disbelief.”

      I don’t know where you got this from? I’ll admit that there are a lot of things some churches teach that are not scriptural at all, and maybe it’s given people this specious view of Christianity. But Jesus specifically said, not everyone who calls themselves christians are getting into Heaven(Mathew 7:21-23).

      Also nowhere in the Bible does it command christians to tithe 10%. It’s was never about the money. It was always about giving over to God what you value most, so that you don’t make anything more important then him.

      Morality is important. You can’t show love for God without showing love for people. “Verily I say unto you, Since you have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, you have done it unto me.”

      Also your only held guilty for your disbelief if you knew the truth to begin with. The same way that if you had the cure for aids, but didn’t share it with anybody, you would be a morally reprehensible person. But if you never knew what it was, then you are blameless. People who don’t know who Jesus is, will be judged in light of what they do know (Romans 2:14)

      But aside from all of that. I don’t know what the real objections to christianity are. When we get down to the morale values that Christianity actually teaches, I think we both probably agree on most things:

      – Forgiveness is better then revenge (Mathew 6:15)
      – Do not judge and condemn others, unless it’s a righteous judgment (John 7:24)
      – Love your neighbor as yourself (Mark 12:31 )
      – Be merciful, act humbly, deal justly (Micah 6:8)
      – give to other people (Luke 6:38)
      – Try to live at peace with all people (Romans 12:18)

      …and on and on…

      Sometimes I think that the real problem is, people want to work out morality by themselves. They don’t want it dictated to them. I completely understand that. But if it all comes full circle anyway, then what’s the point in arguing where it came from? What’s the point in climbing back down a mountain, just to go back up the other side?

      • Monocle Smile says

        Good job picking those cherries. You don’t want to see me do the same thing. My list will be at least an order of magnitude larger than yours, and some of them come from passages in those same books.

        Ephesians 2:8 is one spot at least where works are discounted and only faith is required.

        “I don’t know what the real objections to Christianity are”

        First and foremost, how about IT’S ALL MADE-UP BULLSHIT? It’s mythology, straight-up. And yet millions of preachers are peddling it as reality. So that’s a huge one.

        PZ Myers had a blog post a while ago about what “winning” would look like for atheists. This isn’t exclusive to Christianity, but most of them are relevant. It’s a struggle to understand your extreme myopia, because at least some of the objections to Christianity are pretty obvious.

        http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2013/04/10/i-had-a-vision-last-night-a-vision-of-a-world-without-gods/

        • chrisA305 says

          As long as you don’t run to an atheist blog, and copy/paste one of those obnoxiously interminable lists… I have no problem with it :)

          As far as Ephesians, I don’t think you understand what your reading. Works are important, but you are not saved by them. “Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified”. It’s a simple concept to understand once you realize the standards that God judges people by. The standard isn’t “good enough” like most secularists think. The standard is perfection, and since nobody is perfect, nobody can be “good enough” to be justified before God. Therefore, it has to be a free gift. You don’t have to work for it. You just have to work at it (Philippians 2:12).

          “First and foremost, how about IT’S ALL MADE-UP BULLSHIT?”

          Can you prove that? And more importantly, does it even matter if you can? Truthfully, nobody is a Christian because they believe Moses parted the reed sea (Even though I do believe it happened. Napoleon was almost killed proving it) or any other amazing story in the Bible. People are Christians for a much deeper reason. And besides, once you believe that Genesis 1:1 is true, believing everything else is a trivial matter.

          “winning”? Atheists forget that without religion some of the greatest aspects of our society wouldn’t even exist:

          – The majority of the greatest artworks of all time wouldn’t exist
          – Some of the largest charities on earth would be no more (YMCA, Salvation Army, Catholic Charities USA,etc)
          – The Civil rights movement would have never happened
          – And that’s largely because America wouldn’t exist either
          – Some of the grandest Architectural feats would never have been undertaken
          – Music would be very different
          – There would be no Higher education system
          – Some of the greatest leaders of all time might have never been
          – Oceanography would cease to exist (Matthew Fontaine Maury founded it, after reading that psalms described “pathways” in the sea)
          – Darwin probably would never have made the discovery he did
          – Who knows what would have happened to the field of electromagnetism (it’s founder, Michael Faraday, was devoutly religious and it greatly influenced how he approached science). This would have had a profound impact on computers.
          – Quantum Physics might not be. Its Founder,Max Planck, believed that God was “everywhere present”.
          – Isaac Newton, arguably one of the greatest scientists of all time, was anything but an atheist and he also believed that God was at the forefront of all creation

          I could go on and on for hours. It would take a library to describe the impact religion has had on the world. Some of the greatest minds in all of History where devoutly religious people. Some of the greatest architectural feats, where undertaken because of faith. Science itself owes a tremendous amount of gratitude to religion, even though it faced some opposition in the beginning. What atheists desire to do, is climb a ladder and then kick it down in disgust once they reach the top. You forget that Religion in and of itself doesn’t poison anything. People do. Without religion there would still be wars, hate, murder, theft, jealousy, revenge, pride, lust, and greed. The prevalence would just increase.

          • Monocle Smile says

            I have yet to hear anyone provide a good enough reason for being a Christian. ALL reasons I’ve ever heard are terrible.

            Every entry in that list you posted is either:
            – tautological (Do you really think universities wouldn’t exist without religion? The timeline and background behind their formation would be different, but claiming they wouldn’t exist is asinine)
            -an argument from authority (Newton was also an alchemist and believed all sorts of batshit crazy things, and it doesn’t matter what Faraday thought about deities)
            -just plain WRONG (Maury “discovered” what ancient civilizations had known for thousands of years about currents. Claiming his work was inspired by the Bible is VenomFangX-level dishonest).

            You’re also incredibly wrong about the atrocities in this world. We have multiple studies confirming beyond any reasonable doubt that the more secular a society is, the higher it scores on societal health tests. More secular societies have less crime, less violent crime, less poverty, higher education, etc. This is even true within specific countries like the US, where the most religious states are also the most crime-heavy and have higher divorce rates, higher rape rates, higher teen pregnancy rates, and the list goes on.

            It’s very clear that you haven’t done your homework, and consequently you’re wrong about damn near everything. I don’t even need to get into the inanity of Genesis 1:1.

          • Monocle Smile says

            For the record, “without religion (specifically Christianity), America wouldn’t exist” is perhaps the dumbest, most ill-informed thing I’ve heard in several months. Way to gloss over several bouts of genocide, you jingoist, xenophobic dick.

          • EnlightenmentLiberal says

            “winning”? Atheists forget that without religion some of the greatest aspects of our society wouldn’t even exist:

            That’s right! Let’s look at some of them.

            The right of self determination. Oh wait, no, that’s flatly contradicted by a lot of christian denominations. The Calvinists go all the way in dismissing it. But even most denominations go with “god works in mysterious ways” and “god has a plan”, which means your right to self determination is non-existent.

            Right to life. Oh wait, no again. All the time I hear christian apologists clearly state that because god made me, god can kill me and torture me whenever he wants, because he made me.

            Democracy, the right to vote, and the right to self determination of government. Oh wait, no again. The christian bible does not mention democracies at all. In fact, the christian god supports several kings. It’s no surprise that the christian god would support unelected tyrants, considered that the christian god itself is an unelected celestial tyrant. Also keep in mind that all of the kings of medieval Europe claimed the divine right of kings, the idea that they should rule because the christian god commands it. All of the churches at the time went along with this.

            Freedom of speech. Oh wait, no again. You could be burned at the stake for being a heretic, for taking the lord’s name in vain, for preaching science and cosmology, for preaching skepticism, or for any other variety of offenses of speech.

            The right to happiness and freedom from suffering. No again. The christian doctrine has always been against this. From being for slavery, against women voting. Being against rock and roll music. Against sex. Generally the church is a giant kill-joy. Furthermore, all doctrine teaches that human happiness and lack of suffering is secondary to avoiding sin and pleasing god. Again what a miserable way to live your life. Sinning without hurting others is awesome, and I thoroughly recommend it.

            Science and education. Oh wait, no again. I don’t need to give any details here.

            The simple facts are that we owe far more of western culture and morality to the secular writers of the European Enlightenment than we do to the Catholic church or any other christian church. Religion has been nothing but an impediment to moral progress.

          • chrisA305 says

            Saying it doesn’t matter what Faraday thought about deities, is completely disingenuous. I’m going to assume you have absolutely no idea what your talking about. He believed that one God created the world, and that all of nature must be interconnected as a single whole. He went looking for these connections. He turned down Government jobs to develop poison gas because it went against his faith. He wouldn’t even buy insurance because he believed that to do so was to show “lack of faith”. He was also a preacher.

            “The beauty of electricity, or of any other force, is not that the power is mysterious and unexpected, but that it is under law, and that the taught intellect can even now govern it.”
            – Michael Faraday

            Don’t be so daft into thinking that he would have been the same person and made the same discoveries regardless of his religion. His actions and methodologies prove that that’s palpably untrue.

            – With Maury you make the, appeal to probability, fallacy. You assume that if He hadn’t read Psalms he would still have been inspired some other way. Once again, you have no idea what your talking about. Just because some other ancient civilization 1000’s of years old, and hundreds of thousands of miles away, knew something, doesn’t mean that Maury would have gained inspiration from them.

            This is what he said after his daughter brought him Psalms 8 to read while he was very sick:

            “the paths of the sea, the paths of the sea, if God says the paths of the sea, they are there, and if I ever get out of this bed I will find them.”
            -Matthew Fontaine Maury

            I’m not even going to get into how wrong you are about Newton, or the clear fallacy you make when trying to show that higher education would have been established regardless. I’m not even going to go into how you think secular societies are superior to religious ones because I agree with separation of church and state. (Although I’m wiling to bet anything, that those secular societies are not atheistic societies.)

            I will, however, tell you why I am a Christian. In short, it’s because I believe we are more then just a meaningless collection of atoms and molecules. I believe that human beings have inherent worth, and that are lives have purpose beyond the subjective ones we impose. I also believe and trust in God, and I’ve seen the profoundly positive influence that that faith has had in my life and the lives of those around me. I also Don’t have enough faith to be an atheist.

            I don’t have enough faith to believe that:

            – The universe came from nothing (not quantum physics nothing. I mean nothing as in the absence of anything)
            – You can get life from non life
            – Even though it’s a mathematical impossibility, we are still here just because some arbitrary probability dictated it had to happen
            – Gravity, the cosmological constant, the strong and weak nuclear force, and a host of other immutable factors governing are universe are here just because
            – free will still exists even though we are supposedly bound by our DNA
            – that every major civilization on earth was wrong for believing in some deity
            – that the fact that you can trace back most polytheistic religions to monotheism is just random chance
            – that the 6,000,000,000 plus people who believe in some form of higher power are all crazy, and you atheist’s are the only sane ones

          • EnlightenmentLiberal says

            @chrisA305

            Let’s cut to the chase.

            There is a different god hypothesis for every planet in the observable universe, and your christian god hypothesis is just one of many. One god who made creatures on that planet in its own image, and who doesn’t care about the life on other planets or merely made life on other planets to pass the time, or to teach its favored creatures a lesson in a million years time when they find them. Humanity might just be a small cog in a small plan to teach the creatures of Rigel 7 a lesson in a million years time.

            Even if you demonstrate that one element exists of this amazingly large set of “one god per planet”, in practice it gets you absolutely no closer to demonstrating that the christian god exists. The evidence for a mere deist god is effectively a non-sequitir with regard to the christian god. Only by employing fallacious reasoning ala Pascal’s Wager can you bridge that gap.

            Atheism includes the “I don’t know” position. I am an atheist.

            I want you to defend your christian god position. I don’t give a rat’s ass about the deist god position. Maybe such a thing exists. I do not know.

            The only arguments of yours that are even remotely close to addressing the christian god are:

            “I also believe and trust in [christian] God, and I’ve seen the profoundly positive influence that that faith has had in my life and the lives of those around me.” – What does this have to do with whether the faith claim is true? This is a non-sequitir.

            “- that the 6,000,000,000 plus people who believe in some form of higher power are all crazy, and you atheist’s are the only sane ones” – You cannot quote this in support of the christian god, because most of them do not believe in the christian god. In fact, most of them believe in something wholly inconsistent with the christian god. The only sane conclusion is that most of those people are simply wrong, and that they have very bad reasons for their beliefs. As soon as you understand why you dismiss Krishna and Muhammad, you will understand why I dismiss Jesus and the christian god.

            And that about sums it up. Not a single applicable argument. All non-sequitirs.

          • chrisA305 says

            @EnlightenmentLiberal

            What? Maybe you don’t realize this, but your entire response was a non sequitur. I was responding to Monocle Smile’s comment about no Christian providing a reason for their belief. That’s why I gave reasons for why I’m a Christian and not an atheist. It had nothing to do with your comment.

            “Even if you demonstrate that one element exists of this amazingly large set of “one god per planet”, in practice it gets you absolutely no closer to demonstrating that the christian god exists.”

            I don’t really understand what your talking about? There’s not a shred of evidence for life on another planet. Trying to use the small possibility of it to diminish the Christian God is ridiculous. As far as my comment not addressing the Christian God, maybe you need to re read.

            In Christianity, God is the creator of the universe and everything in it. So me arguing that I don’t believe the universe created itself, with an essential set of governing laws, is a perfectly legitimate argument for the Christian God. And let me step back for a second. There is no krishna, Muhammad never claimed to be God (just a messenger), and there are no multiple God’s. There is no God but God. Nor can there be. Logically you can’t have two all powerful beings.

            And we have evidence to support the fact that all religions sprang from monotheism. Ancient Egyptians, which where notorious for polytheism, Actually believed in monotheism. The priests understood that the various Gods, such as Ra, were only expressions of the one true God. Who they had this to say:

            “He doth not manifest his forms; vain are all representations”

            “His commencement is from the beginning; he is the God who has existed from old time”

            “There is no God without him”

            Some of the ancient Chinese were also monotheists. They said this:

            “‘When Te [ShangDi], the Lord, had so decreed, He called into existence [originated] heaven, earth, and man. Between heaven and earth He separately placed in order men and things, all overspread by the heavens.”

            So it’s my belief that the 6 billion people that believe in some form of God or deity, are not wrong in believing a higher power exists, they are just misrepresenting him. The fact also remains that these 6 billion plus people are NOT atheists. Which means that in your view 99% of people on earth are all crazy, and you are in a small group of “enlightened” and sane individuals. You see how ridiculous that sounds?

            But I would like to present a challenge. Show me how atheism is actually better then believing in God. I’m not just talking about society wise. I’m talking about in your own personal life. I never hear atheists say how their atheism has improved their life. Only why belief is bad.

          • EnlightenmentLiberal says

            Show me how atheism is actually better then believing in God.

            Right now, I don’t give a flying fuck. We are going to have a conversation about what is actually true, or we are not going to have a conversation at all. Whether “atheism is actually better” has absolutely fucking nothing to do with whether it is true that there is a god or not. Understand? Can you agree to these terms?

      • EnlightenmentLiberal says

        I don’t know what the real objections to Christianity are

        1- Christianity is demonstrably false, man-made fiction.

        2- “Those who can be made to believe absurdities can be made to commit atrocities.” – Voltaire. “Religion is an insult to human dignity. With or without it you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion.” – Steven Weinberg.

        3- Christianity teaches people that they are born sick, and only by submitting themself as a slave to an eternal celestial tyrant can one be happy. This teaches people to be dependent, not independent. This is a miserable way to live your life, and it also is not a good way to get a happy life.

        4- Christianity depends on the idea of sin as a debt which accrues which deserves to be punished apart from any deterrence value, safety value from imprisonment, or any other value. This idea is what we commonly call the retributive theory of justice. There’s another word for it: sadism. The christian idea of sin and justice is barbarous. It is vile, sick, and twisted.

        To be explicitly clear, let me say this: If I was in charge of the afterlife, and if it was cheap or free for me to give Hitler the best afterlife ever, where he is as happy as can be, but also kept him safely locked away, I would do it. I would be morally obliged to do it. Apart from deterrence and safety from imprisonment (and a few other justifications), it is immoral to inflict harm on someone else. Furthermore, apart from those considerations, it is immoral to stand in the way of someone else’s happiness. Furthermore, it is immoral to not put forth a modicum of effort to make other people happy. It doesn’t matter that Hitler previously hurt a lot of people or that he’s a miserable human being. Hurting him in the afterlife doesn’t make it better.

        I say this because I am a dedicated humanist. I am for the plan which achieves the best happiness, freedom, safety, and well-being of humans, and the other values of humanism. Punishment for its own sake is completely inconsistent with the values of humanism. Punishment for its own sake, and consequently the entire christian doctrine of sin and justice, is sick and twisted shit. Repulsive trite.

        These apply basically to every flavor of christianity. These apply even to the variants of christianity which don’t have hell. Any sort of punishment or lack of reward based on sin qualifies.

        • chrisA305 says

          You may be a humanist but you err in understanding what punishment is for. You think that punishment is only good as a deterrent for one particular person? Then why do we put serial killers away for life; why not just let them go free after a few years? Don’t be so egoistical.

          Punishment is not just meant to deter the person that did something wrong. It’s meant to also deter other people from committing the same mistake.

          Also if people were really born good, there would be no need for laws. The worst thing about atheism is that it teaches people that they are good enough. It tells people that there’s nothing wrong with them. But the same people who insist on spreading this lie, would be too scared to even leave there door unlocked at night.

          I’m convinced that everyone has the capacity to do good. But I’m not naive enough to think that anyone exercises it full time. You don’t have to teach anyone to do evil. We are born knowing how. Take a look at any 2 year old child. By the time they can talk, they can lie.

          Parent: “Did you break that vase Timmy?”
          kid: “no it wasn’t me”

          Who taught children how to lie? Nobody did. We’re born knowing how. We LEARN to do good.

          • Monocle Smile says

            If your child’s knee-jerk reaction is to lie, then you are a shitty parent because they learned it from YOU and you’re just ignorant of it.

            Children are more prone to honesty and altruism than anything else, and yes, there are a host of studies proving this. My own sister is studying child development and dealing with this research. Here in America, our society produces selfish, dishonest dicks because it’s all about getting ahead at the expense of everyone else. Our children pick up on this.

            It’s truly baffling how you can be this completely wrong about pretty much everything you post and be none the wiser.

          • EnlightenmentLiberal says

            You think that punishment is only good as a deterrent for one particular person? Then why do we put serial killers away for life; why not just let them go free after a few years? Don’t be so egoistical.

            You need to work on your reading comprehension. I specifically mentioned this, quite clearly, up front, with “safety value from imprisonment”.

            Furthermore, I left myself a wide open door with “or any other value”. Offhand, the idea changing a person for their own betterment and the betterment of society through punishment is allowed. I would say that raising a child is included under this umbrella.

            Also if people were really born good, there would be no need for laws. The worst thing about atheism is that it teaches people that they are good enough.

            I don’t know what you’re talking about. People are neither wholly good nor wholly bad. We all have impulses both ways. However, when we channel that properly by having a good culture, esp. with police, then we can arrive at a good society for everyone.

            But the same people who insist on spreading this lie, would be too scared to even leave there door unlocked at night.

            I really fail to see what this has to do with anything. By your world view, people sin, and thus you lock the door. By my world view, people are both good and evil, and so I lock my door.

            We LEARN to do good.

            We are born with some instincts to do good, and some instincts to do evil. Upbringing, including culture, then teaches us additional things, both good and bad.

            There is a reason that today most people in the US recognize slavery as “a bad thing” and women’s right to vote as “a good thing”. As opposed to a few centuries ago where the consensus was the exact opposite. People are not more evolved. It’s a culture thing. We have changed the cultural memes, and fought the christian churches to do so. We’re doing the same thing now with gays and transexuals. We’ll win, and we’ll do it by bringing the christian churches kicking and screaming.

            However, none of this has anything to do with my basic claim that christianity is rested on the premise that criminals deserved to be punished because that is justice. Not deterrence. Not imprisonment for safety. Not for reformation. Not for anything else. But because it is just to inflict suffering on people who committed crimes and for no other reason. That is barbaric, sick, and twisted. If you look up “sadism” in the dictionary, that’s what you’ll find.

      • Ichthyic says

        They don’t want it dictated to them.

        uh, then why claim the bible contains moral code to follow to begin with?

        you’re wrong. at least 20% of the population likely DOES want to have it dictated to them. They say it often enough.

      • says

        I don’t know where you got this from?

        We get it from Christians like you who make it a BIG priority to assure us that being good, and doing good for others, will never get us to Heaven, because being “saved” is the only important thing we can do in this life. Seriously, I’ve been hearing this since I was 14, and it’s coming from several rather large Christian denominiations; so don’t try to pretend it has nothing to do with your religion.

  12. GuyThroway says

    What an inane post.

    “That’s why faith is the most dishonest position it is possible to have”

    I suspect you don’t know what ‘dishonest’ means.

    ““What can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence.” -Christopher Hitchens”

    Which luckily he asserted without evidence….

    • Monocle Smile says

      Someone needs a course in logic 101. You seem to be claiming it’s okay to make shit up and believe stuff for no reason whatsoever. That’s the only reason you’d ever criticize that quote from Hitchens.

      I hold total conviction that there is a dragon in my garage. If you can’t understand why this conviction is not honest, then no discussion is possible.

  13. moarscienceplz says

    Faith is an unreasonable conviction which is assumed without reason and defended against all reason.

    I am SO stealing that!

  14. deepak shetty says

    There is nothing reasonable about faith. Those two words mean completely opposite things. Putting them together creates an oxymoron,
    Offtopic – But an oxymoron is when contradictory terms are used , which however make sense when you think about it. I wish people would stop using this term in the sense you use it

    • Monocle Smile says

      No. An oxymoron by definition does not make sense. If you think you’re making one and it is an accurate description, then it’s not an oxymoron.

  15. says

    I believe as you do, except for these last two points, these things which you believe for no good reason. That’s what faith is, an unsupported belief in things that are not evidently true. It also requires you to be dishonest, like pretending that you don’t have enough faith to be an atheist, when atheism requires no faith at all. Because I don’t believe any of the nonsense you want to pretend that I believe either. I don’t believe the universe came from ‘nothing’ for example. You and I both believe that life came from non-life. The only difference is that I believe it happened naturally and I have a lot of strong evidence to indicate that. You believe it happened magically, and the only reference you can point is a compilation of fairy tales written by ignorant primitives who believed in magic spells and talking animals. It’s not that they’re crazy; it’s that they don’t know any better. They’ve been taught childish fables and they’ve been trained to react violent when those delusions are challenged. That’s how it is with you. In other words, you have ALL the faith in this discussion and none of the knowledge nor the facts. The things you believe are not true, and could not be true. Too bad for you.

    • chrisA305 says

      I don’t know why you think you live your life off reason and facts alone. It’s simply not true. It’s not even scientifically true. We are emotional creatures, and ultimately we make decisions through our emotions. All of us are forced to operate by some sort of faith because everyone of us is ignorant of… well… everything. There’s not one thing in this world that you’re absolutely sure of, and most things you’re not even reasonably sure of. If you had to enlist a scientific study for every action you took, your entire life would stagnate.

      If the entire world disdained faith, and we needed concrete proof for everything, then we would still be building fires in caves. You need faith. Without it, you can’t have progress. No entrepreneur could succeed, no new land could be discovered, no movement could thrive. Maybe you don’t call it “faith”. Maybe you call it hope. It’s the same thing.

      “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen..”

      Show me a great leader, a revolutionary movement, or a novel entrepreneurial endeavor that succeeded without faith and I’ll retract everything I’ve said.

      You and I both believe that life came from non-life.

      I absolutely do not believe that life came from non life! In fact, I believe just the opposite. I believe that life came from the very source of life itself. God.

      the only difference is that I believe it happened naturally and I have a lot of strong evidence to indicate that.

      You don’t have one scientist anywhere that can demonstrate life coming from non life. And if you do, I would really like to see.

      They’ve been taught childish fables and they’ve been trained to react violent when those delusions are challenged. That’s how it is with you.

      I have not once reacted violently. If anything, your approach has been far more hostile then mine. I’m just use to it, so it doesn’t bother me. Also present some good evidence that they’re fables. Saying something doesn’t make it true.

      The things you believe are not true, and could not be true. Too bad for you.

      Didn’t know it was possible to make an absolute claim like that without having any facts to support it…

      • Monocle Smile says

        Faith is not the same as hope. Now you’re making shit up. But you’ve been doing that all along.

        Norman Borlaug saved over a billion lives and continues to do so due to his agricultural work. No faith required.

        You clearly have done zero investigation into the field of abiogenesis. Ignorance is not an argument.

        The stories in your “holy book” are impossible by everything we know about anything at all. Seas don’t part because some imaginary being says so. People don’t come back from the dead. Miracles evidently don’t occur. That’s evidence that they’re all fables, no different than any other religion in history. Deal with it.

        • chrisA305 says

          Faith is not the same as hope. Now you’re making shit up. But you’ve been doing that all along.

          Many times now you have accused me of being dishonest or using no facts to support my claims. And many times now I’ve used specific examples, such as quotations and citations, to prove my points. So I show you a passage in the Bible that defines what faith is to Christians (faith = things HOPED for but not seen), and you ignore it and claim I’m being dishonest. Does that even make sense?

          Faith is hope. This is how the dictionary defines hope:

          – To have confidence; trust
          – A wish or desire accompanied by confident expectation of its fulfillment.

          I’m not making things up. I don’t just pull imaginary facts out of thin air. This is how Christians see faith. There’s also different levels of faith. Some people have strong unshakable faith that won’t be swayed by any facts or evidence. Others have faith that grows over time, based off evidence and experience.

          In the majority of the stories in the Bible, the people had to work at their faith. Even though God spoke to Moses out of a burning bush, he doubted many times along the way. it says many times in the New Testament that the disciples “did not believe” at first. I’m sure your familiar with the phrase “doubting Thomas”.

          Seas don’t part because some imaginary being says so..

          I’m not going to present all the evidence for this here because I feel as though it will fall on deaf ears. I’ll just say this; the Bible does not say that God magically parted the sea. It says “the Lord caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all that night, and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided.” This is possible. Napoleon almost lost his life in the process of emulating this event. The water wasn’t 100 feet high like portrayed in the movies. It was more like 7-9 feet. But as soon as the wind stops blowing, the water rushes back at about 15mps. Far to fast for any human to escape. You can look it up for yourself.

          • Monocle Smile says

            It’s hilarious that you attempt to lecture me with the story of doubting Thomas.

            Skepticism is healthy and honest, so of course the book that’s clearly selling you snake oil tries to demonize it. It’s no different than a used car salesman poo-pooing the CarFax report. Christianity convinces you that you are poisoned and sells you a fake cure. That’s it.

          • chrisA305 says

            If you say so. It’s a waste of time discussing with someone whose convinced their right. Especially when they resort to grandstanding instead of offering proof or reasons.

          • Monocle Smile says

            I realize you’re utterly oblivious, but the irony of that last comment is so thick I can taste it.

      • EnlightenmentLiberal says

        http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/StrawVulcan

        A straw man is a rebuttal to an argument not made, in order to look as though you’ve defeated your opponent’s actual argument. It may be accidental or intentional.

        “Straw vulcan” is a play on words on “straw man”. A straw vulcan is a kind of straw man. A literal straw vulcan is a mythical person who fits the cliche of some Star Trek Vulcans – perfectly “logical” under a broken definition of logical.

        You pretended as though our position was that of a straw vulcan – when it’s clearly not – and thus you perpetuated a straw vulcan and straw man fallacy. Again, this may be accidental or intentional.

        Specifically, you did a straw vulcan in the following ways.

        1- A straw vulcan is someone who thinks that logic and emotion are somehow contradictory. This is simply not the case. Sometimes extreme emotional states can cause us to act rashly, such as by not taking the time to perform the proper analysis, or more often by seeking short term goals at the cost of longer term goals. However, the identification of our goals in a “logical” and rational mind set is obviously driven by our emotions.

        Consider the star trek example in the above link.

        In the end, Spock’s desperate act of igniting the fuel from the shuttle to create a beacon proves to be the correct action since it gets the attention of the Enterprise and allows for a rescue. When called on this “emotional” act, Spock replies that the only logical course of action in that instance was one of desperation.

        The episode contains several straw vulcan arguments and several actually logical arguments. In this case, they are all going in die in 30 minutes when their fuel is exhausted if they do nothing, e.g. guaranteed death, but if they waste their fuel all at once to make a flare it is possible that they’ll be seen and rescued. The possibility that they’ll be seen and rescued is miniscule, say 1%, which some of the crew call desperate and reckless. However, it is actually the most logical choice. If your only options are 100% guaranteed death, or 99% guaranteed death, then you go with the 99% guaranteed death.

        2- A straw vulcan is someone who waits for absolutely certainty before acting. This is also known as analysis-paralysis. Analysis-paralysis is the situation where you do nothing while waiting on more data, or while doing more analysis. However, gathering more data and doing additional analysis can have a non-trivial cost. Consequently, it may be that it is more beneficial to go with the limited data and analysis and take any risks as opposed to doing more analysis.

        For example, I do not know that this food I’m about to eat is not poisoned. I haven’t done any tests on it. It’s left my possession many times. Many people have had the opportunity to poison it. However, I have good background knowledge – based on evidence – that most food sold at the store is not poisoned, and it’s rare for people to break into houses to poison food. I don’t have absolutely certainty. I could take additional time and do testing for various kinds of poisons, like arsenic and so on. However, the additional time to do all of that testing clearly has a higher cost than any likely benefit it will give, and thus I do not do it. I act on my limited information, I take the risk, and I will eat the food.

        This is not faith. Faith is beliefs based wholly without evidence. When I eat the potentially poisoned food, I am taking a chance on limited information, but I still have some evidence. Some evidence is more than the zero evidence of faith.

        Show me a great leader, a revolutionary movement, or a novel entrepreneurial endeavor that succeeded without faith and I’ll retract everything I’ve said.

        What does this have to do with whether it is true that there is a god? You seem to be having a difficulty where you confuse “what is true” with “what I want to be true”.

        PS: This reminds me of one of my favorite plot elements of a silly little scifi show called “Space: Above And Beyond”. What was the defect that caused the enslaved robots of this series to rebel and try to kill their human masters? A single human unwittingly gave the robots a very, very dangerous command: Take a chance.

        • chrisA305 says

          Your star trek logic is interesting, and I know many people who would be happy to discuss it with you for hours. When I was younger, I use to watch the show myself. One scene in particular comes to mind, and I think it’s far more relevant to us humans. Spock is a vulcan and judges things based off probabilities. Humans don’t go through their every day lives doing the same. We aren’t able to calculate the numeric probability of each possible outcome, so we go with what we “think” or “feel” to be the best decision. In lame mans terms, we often go with our gut.

          In an episode of star trek, were a native American commander is talking to the captain, he tells her the story of “the scorpion and the fox”. It goes like this:

          The scorpion asks the fox to take him on his back across the river.
          The Fox says, “no if I do, you’ll sting me and I’ll drown”.
          The scorpion reassures the fox by saying, “no If i do that then we will both drown”
          So the fox agrees and the scorpion hops on its back and they start to go across the river…
          About half way, the fox feels a sting on his back, and as he’s dying he turns to the scorpion and says,
          “why did you do that!? now you’ll drown too!”
          “I couldn’t help it”, says the scorpion. “It’s in my nature”.

          I think humans are a lot like this. All of us have had some time in our lives were we made a decision, and in hindsight it was a really stupid idea. We act irrational at times, we put our trust in certain people only to find ourselves betrayed at the end. Other times our intuition wins out, and we trust in the right people who do help us across the river. We live our lives through faith (or hope if your prefer), and faith is NOT the absence of evidence.

          Faith is just a strong trust or belief that something is probably true. I have a strong belief that it’s probably true that God exists. Why? Because I don’t believe that every crazy thing that happens in my life and the life of those around me is just random chance. I don’t believe we live in a world where probability is the only determining factor of our existence. I look around at the world and it seems to have a semblance of design. There’s order down to the subatomic level of something as simple as a blade of grass. Even in chaos, such as stars dying, there is both order and purpose because it gives rise to other things. Science wouldn’t be possible without this order. The earliest scientists believed that since God was the creator, there must be order in the universe, so they saw discoveries as man being able to gain insight into the mind of the divine.

          I also don’t believe that God is just a first mover, and distances himself from his creation. I believe that he is always present. Can I prove it? Not a chance. Is there evidence for it? Depends on whose looking. You look at the world and see order the same as I do. But you see it as a completely natural occurrence. Something that either came to be out of necessity, or has always existed. I believe that something made it so. I believe that there is both design and purpose. Does this make me irrational? Once again, depends on whose judging. If you truly think that every decision we make and every action we take, is or should be, predicated on what can be verified or tested. Then yes, I can see how you would think I’m delusional. But if you think that sometimes you have to take a chance, sometimes you have to have faith or hope, in order to arrive at the truth. Then no you wouldn’t.

          We all push towards truth in our lives. And we all have to start with some presupposition somewhere along the line. I CHOOSE to start with God, and from there everything else follows. The majority of times my conclusions will be the same as a non believers. The beauty of truth is that it’s exclusive. Therefore, what’s true will ultimately win out and force aside what isn’t. This allows us to arrive at whats true even with separate world views.

          Until you or someone else can prove that God isn’t true, or that God is most likely not true. I will continue to believe. We are not in a legal trial, so burden of proof doesn’t apply here. If you want 2 billion christians to give up their “delusions”, then we’re going to need a very strong and unshakable reason to do so. You’re going to have to show us why some of the most profound experiences in our lives, were nothing more than chance and circumstance shooting craps.

          • Monocle Smile says

            Your fundamental reason for believing in your deity is BY DEFINITION an argument from ignorance. I hope you realize this, though you’ll invent a million excuses around it.

      • says

        Even my emotions are driven by the accuracy of my information as I understand it. So what you’re saying is not true, neither philosophically nor scientifically. For example EVERY scientific advance has come from the abandonment of faith. Had we retained our faith in everything we once conjured supernatural excuses for, then we would still be living in caves. Every time we discarded faith and started looking for the real explanations, the answers we discovered revealed whole new fields of study previously unimagined and far more complex and nuanced than our supernatural nonsense. So will it be when we discover how life originated. So will it be *if* we discover how the universe came to be. That discovery will render gods as absurd as blaming gods for erupting volcanoes.

        One thing that we can absolutely sure is that there was never any global flood. There is no ambiguity about that. Likewise we know the ‘Tower of Babel’ didn’t happen the way the Bible describes it. Both of these things can be easily proven and known for certain.

        Show me a great leader, a revolutionary movement, or a novel entrepreneurial endeavor that succeeded because of faith. But I contend that faith has always at best irrelevant and a tragic impediment to all achievements otherwise.

        Even Christian scientists readily admit that at it’s most basic, life is simply chemistry. You do not believe that God is chemical, so you clearly must believe that the activation of these chemicals by the magic powers of your god is NOT ‘life coming from life’. And while we do not have the complete series of processes identified, we do have some of them, and an overwhelming preponderance of evidence to imply that that is what happened.

        We have nothing whatsoever to imply that any portion of your fables is true or even possible, but we can show many reasons by which we can be certain that they are false. We know they are not true, and cannot be, and we can prove that by way of evidence.

        • Ichthyic says

          Show me a great leader, a revolutionary movement, or a novel entrepreneurial endeavor that succeeded because of faith.

          there lies the rub. You will get nothing but an argument from ignorance in response to such a question, becaus they will presuppose that people like Ghandi, MLK, etc., all “succeeded” because of their proclamations of faith in whatever.

          they won’t bother to analyze that presumption, and see that their success really had NOTHING to do with faith at all, regardless of whatever claims they laid to the value of religion in their lives.

          the very value religion itself held for them wrt to the success of their various efforts was a tangible, measurable, thing, and had nothing to do with faith!

          faith leaves you, to paraphrase you; blind, in a cave, going nowhere.

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  18. Dora says

    “We of course have a prerequisite mandate that we cannot honestly state as fact that which is not actually factual. That means we have to be able to prove that it really is true by some sort of objective verification. We have to have multiple lines of evidence independently indicating only one conclusion over any other before we can say that anything is actually true…Having no reason to believe something is a good reason not to believe it…Whatever is not supported by evidence doesn’t yet warrant serious consideration.”

    Well, no not really. When Ted Bundy kidnapped and killed Donna Manson and Susan Rancourt, he didn’t leave one shred of evidence behind, same with Jeffrey Dahmer and his first victim, as a matter of fact there was no logical reason to believe that there were even any murders committed because there were no bodies, there wasn’t any reason to believe that any of the victims were even dead and didn’t run away on their own volition, as people do sometimes. So if you didn’t believe that Bundy and Dahmer murdered them due to lack of objective verification (witnesses, etc.,) and physical evidence (hair, fibers, blood) or even a body, well you would clearly be wrong because we know that they did in fact kidnap and kill them. How do we know? Because both Bundy and Dahmer confessed many years later and led detectives to where the remains were buried. There was nothing for science to test and confirm, as a matter of fact if neither of them confessed there’s a good chance that the bodies would’ve never been found. So we have situations with no scientifically testable evidence, no bodies, no connection to the killers, no witnessess and so by your logic you would have no reason to conclude or even suspect that Bundy or Dahmer had anyting to do with it or that there was even any crime committed, but you would be wrong. Do you see that your method of arriving at your conclusion would steer you wrong. Lack of scientific testable evidence and objective verification clearly doesn’t mean that nothing happened because obviously it did. If we follow your logic, since there was no evidence to point to Dahmer or Bundy and furthermore no evidence that any crime was committed, there was no reason to believe it, and since there was no reason to believe it, it should not be believed, and since it wasn’t supported by fact it should be dismissed, but this logic is unreliable because if you didn’t believe they did it and dismissed it, you would be wrong because the truth is that they did in fact commit these crimes and subsequently led the detectives to the bones.

    “What can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence.” Clearly not true.

    Do you think that detectives and cops sit around waiting for scientifically testable evidence before following a lead? They have to chase every possible lead sometimes no matter how flimsy because they know that many times perps don’t leave behind the perfect evidence to get themselves caught. Can you imagine if detectives ignored all their leads that didn’t come with evidence, because if it’s not supported by evicence it shouldn’t be believed and therefore dismissed?

    It’s really nice to think that we can sit back and have all the evidence placed before us so it can be tested and peer tested and tested again before we have to make decisions and choices but that’s not how life works. That’s not how this world works. Life is unpredictable and unfair and unbalanced and more often than not in both our personal and work situations we have to make decisions on the fly without having all the evidence laid out in front of us, that’s just life and it works the same for theists and atheists. Yes life even puts atheists in positions where you just have to trust someone without having all your evidence so you can have it tested and retested and tested again, sometimes you just have to go on faith, yes even atheists because that’s just how life is. So since this is how this unpredictable life works for us, it’s funny how atheists act like faith is some kind of foreign concept unique only to theists when we all do it in our every day lives.

    If you need evidence smacking you in the face before you can believe something, let me give you a relatable hypothetical scenario. Let’s assume there’s a small company where the boss is a christian with 5 employees, 3 are christian, 2 are atheists. So the boss isn’t outwardly mean to the atheists but he doesn’t like them and discriminates against them but in very subtle ways, so subtle if you weren’t paying attention you wouldn’t notice, like nasty side eyes and an attitude whenever he has to talk to them. Now let’s assume that these 2 atheists aren’t the kinds of atheists that need to be smacked in the face with hard tested evidence before they believe something to be true, so even though the boss is really subtle, they get it. They get that he’s being discriminatory towards them and they know perfectly well why (remember, they don’t need to be smacked in the face). Now there’s room for a promotion coming up and the 2 atheists say to each other that the mofo boss isn’t going to choose any of them because they’re atheists, he’s going to pick one of the christians. So sure enough just like they said, the boss promotes one of the christian employees. So the atheists just got discriminated against, the boss of course didn’t come out and say it but even though it’s unspoken the atheists know perfectly well what’s going on. But here’s the problem, they can’t prove it. They can’t even prove his nasty behavior towards them because he was so subtle and made sure that no one would notice but them. Unfortunately this kind of stuff happens where people get mistreated, they know perfectly well what’s going on but they can’t prove it because like I said before, that’s life. So does this mean that it didn’t happen because they have no evidence? Well according to this logic, if they assert discrimination without evidence it should be dismissed without evidence. So to all of you that need to have evidence packed into a nice fancy white glove so you can get smacked in the head with it before you believe anything, are you seeing the problem here?

    • Monocle Smile says

      I think you’re conflating actual evidence with evidence that we successfully collect and analyze. Criminals ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS leave evidence behind, as it is physically impossible not to do so. There’s actually a principle in forensic science about this. Conflation of methodology and reality is common in theistic arguments, so this is unsurprising. Furthermore, you make the mistake of equating SOME evidence with NO evidence. We don’t need ALL possible evidence. You make this mistake again in that last paragraph; the employees may have a hard time acquiring evidence, but that doesn’t mean it does not exist.

      Bundy and Dahmer most certainly left evidence behind. The forensic team just didn’t manage to collect and/or analyze it.

      Intuition is a good reason to INVESTIGATE. Intuition is NOT a good reason to accept a claim as true. You’re committing the same straw vulcan fallacy EnlightenmentLiberal described above. You’re imagining us as robots operating in an idealistic world. That’s not how it works. For the most part, atheists are skeptics, which is healthy.

      In actuality, you’re trying to distract from the real issue, which is that you believe in some magic man in the sky for no good reason at all and you’re trying to project this shortcoming onto us. Sorry, that’s dishonest.

      • Dora says

        “you make the mistake of equating SOME evidence with NO evidence. We don’t need ALL possible evidence. You make this mistake again in that last paragraph; the employees may have a hard time acquiring evidence, but that doesn’t mean it does not exist.”

        I already said that the only thing he did to them were side eyes and an attitude so subtle that no one would notice but them. This is not evidence, not even SOME evidence. The boss could easily defend himself against this, as a matter of fact the other employees wouldn’t take this seriously because they never witnessed him being nasty to the atheists and he was perfectly nice to the other employees themselves. There’s no evidence of any wrong doing, it’s just their words. The atheists know the deal because they’re they can tell when someone is throwing shade at them even in the subtlest way (well most people can) and they can tell exactly why. The problem is that just because people can tell that someone doesn’t like them, it’s intangible and also subjective and that’s why it can’t be called “evidence”, it can’t even be called “some evidence” because it really doesn’t tangibly exist. The result of it can become tangible, in this case that the atheists got denied a promotion on completely unfair grounds. They know why it happened because they’re not stupid but the fact is that they unfortunately have no evidence. If they claim discrimination, whose to say that they’re not doing for their own motivations (attention, money, jealousy, imagination/persecution complex)? The boss can claim any of these things because no one ever witnessed his behavior with the atheists, so it’s just their words. You don’t believe something just because somebody told you, where’s your evidence? Oh, you don’t have any besides your words and your subjective experience? Well, what can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence.

        ” I think you’re conflating actual evidence with evidence that we successfully collect and analyze. Criminals ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS leave evidence behind, as it is physically impossible not to do so…Bundy and Dahmer most certainly left evidence behind. The forensic team just didn’t manage to collect and/or analyze it.”

        Oh come on now, don’t you get what I’m saying? We’re talking about evidence that’s smacking you in the face, that’s the whole point. We’re not talking about the issue of “if a tree falls in the woods…” We’re talking about evidence that we can perceive and test and analyze. Some atheists need the evidence right in front of them before they can believe something, what good is it if a criminal leaves evidence out there somewhere undiscovered, it’s meaningless in their perception because it doesn’t exist unless it’s been discovered, that’s why so many criminals get away with it and so many crimes remain unsolved. The point is that we’re talking about evidence that is actually perceived, the evidence which makes someone believe something that they otherwise wouldn’t believe if it wasn’t right in front of them.

        We’re talking about statements such as this: “That means we have to be able to prove that it really is true by some sort of objective verification. We have to have multiple lines of evidence independently indicating only one conclusion over any other before we can say that anything is actually true”. It should be obvious to you that this is not referring to evidence that is out there that hasn’t been discovered and tested and perceived, so it should’ve been obvious to you that I’m not “conflating actual evidence with evidence that we successfully collect and analyze”, but then again, to some atheists the obvious isn’t really obvious unless it’s smacking them in the face.

        Let me make this more clear to you. Let’s look at the case of Donna Manson. Ted Bundy kidnapped her, raped her, killed her, dismembered her and buried her body and burned her skull in the fireplace. At the end of his life Bundy told the cops where he buried her body but to this day it has never been discovered. The investigators had no “perceivable” evidence and since that was the case, there was no logical reason to assume that she was even dead, and a lot of people did indeed think that she just took off on her own. There was no body, no evidence of a kidnapping or foul play. Now let me repeat, if a person needs to have evidence laid out in front of them and tested and retested and verified before they believe something, any undiscovered evidence that Bundy did inevitably leave behind, probably in the place where he killed her and dismembered her, is not going to mean anything to that person, It hasn’t even been discovered, much less tested and restested and verified, so therefore it doesn’t even exist in their perception. Are you getting this? My point in my previous post was how erroneous and unreliable this type of logic is because clearly these crimes were committed even though there was no perceivable evidence to lay out in front of a person with this logic and since they would disbelieve and dismiss it based on this lack of perceivable evidence, clearly they would be wrong.

        “In actuality, you’re trying to distract from the real issue, which is that you believe in some magic man in the sky for no good reason at all and you’re trying to project this shortcoming onto us. Sorry, that’s dishonest.”

        Clearly you need to have a seat now. Allow me to smack you in the face with something else that apparently didn’t occur to you, you’re just an anonymous meaningless person on an open internet message board, I don’t know anything about you nor do I care to, so that being the case, obviously it’s meaningless to me what you would think of my personal beliefs nor do I care to “project” anything on you. Being that this is an open message board, I’m commenting on some of the ideas being brought up here. If you want to create something more out of it, well, you would be wrong.

        • Monocle Smile says

          I was contemplating writing an actual reply, but that “fuck off” attitude of yours is really something.

          That last paragraph is embarrassing. I post to communicate. You post to masturbate, apparently. Thus, any response would be a total waste of time.

          • Dora says

            Oh really now? You post here to communicate? Who are you trying to kid with this? Your attitude has been condescending and dismissive and not just to me, accusing posters of being dishonest, ignorant, and making shit up. You try to patronize me by presuming to tell me that I believe in a “magic man in the sky for no good reason at all” and I’m “trying to project this shortcoming” onto you and then you act shocked and outraged and collapse onto your fainting couch when you’re told to go fuck yourself. You’re hilarious.

            Your assertion that you post here to communicate is amusing. The only thing you’ve communicated is your condescension. Maybe the problem is your concept of communication and let me clarify. Communication happens between 2 or more people and it happens if you’re really and truly interested in what the other person(s) has to say, you might not understand it one bit, it might make no sense to you but you’re really interested in what they have to say because you want to see it from their point of view and to expand your own understanding so that you can have a better grasp of the issue from more than one angle. That’s communication. What you want however is what one of my old friends used to call a monologue. You’re not interested in their point of view, your mind is already made up and the only reason that you want the person to say anything at all is so you can point out why they’re wrong. Their point of view really doesn’t matter, you just want to tell them why they’re wrong and why they’re ignorant and why they’re dishonest, and why they’re making shit up, etc., That’s not communication. Patronizing people, especially strangers, and telling them what they believe and why they believe it, and accusing them of making shit up and being dishonest, and then you call that communication… if you don’t see a problem here, well, ironically therein lies the problem. And a monologue response would be a waste of time and therefore you’re right that if you respond it’ll be a waste of time.

          • Ichthyic says

            You’re hilarious.

            they are also correct.

            it’s not patronizing to say you are projecting.

        • Ichthyic says

          My point in my previous post was how erroneous and unreliable this type of logic is because clearly these crimes were committed

          let’s examine your OWN logic here:

          how do you know the crime was committed? what leads you to the conclusion?

          how do you know Bundy was the actual perpetrator? what leads you to that conclusion?

          well?

        • Ichthyic says

          The point is that we’re talking about evidence that is actually perceived, the evidence which makes someone believe something that they otherwise wouldn’t believe if it wasn’t right in front of them.

          NO.

          what you are talking about is evidence that can be IMAGINED.

          big difference.

          a judge would admonish you to remember it if you were on a jury.

      • Dora says

        “let’s examine your OWN logic here: how do you know the crime was committed? what leads you to the conclusion? how do you know Bundy was the actual perpetrator? what leads you to that conclusion? well?”

        Because like I already said in my other posts, he CONFESSED. And in his CONFESSION he told investigators circumstances about her disappearance that only the perpetrator would know. Same thing with his confession about Georgeann Hawkins and Roberta Parks among others, he was saying things that investigators knew only the perpetrator would know.

        “innocent until proven guilty” what does that mean to you, Dora?”

        What that means to me, guilt has to be proven before we can consider someone guilty. Ideally that’s correct. Ideally. But the point of my posts here is to say that that’s not always the case because this world is not ideal and obviously people get away with murder and other crimes because their guilt cannot be proven. And just because it cannot be proven it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist. Just because you can’t prove someone did something, it doesn’t mean that they didn’t do it. Let me put it this way, using this logic to determine whether it is a fact that someone committed a particular crime:

        “We of course have a prerequisite mandate that we cannot honestly state as fact that which is not actually factual. That means we have to be able to prove that it really is true by some sort of objective verification. We have to have multiple lines of evidence independently indicating only one conclusion over any other before we can say that anything is actually true…Having no reason to believe something is a good reason not to believe it…Whatever is not supported by evidence doesn’t yet warrant serious consideration.”

        Ok, in the absence of this evidence/objective verification we can conclude that it is not a fact that said person committed the crime and therefore having no reason to believe it it shouldn’t be believed and therefore dismissed. But as we have seen, the person can indeed be very much guilty of the crime even in the absence of this evidence/objective verification and therefore the conclusion that they did not do it would be incorrect and not factual. Therefore if this logic leads you to an incorrect conclusion, it should be considered faulty and unreliable.

        Ok look at it another way, let’s look again at the example that I gave of the 2 atheist employees that were discriminated against and denied a promotion simply because the boss didn’t like them because they’re atheists. Now since the boss’ negative attitude towards them was not witnessed by any of the other employees nor did he do anything which would expose or document his discriminatory attitude, the only “evidence” that the atheists have are their own claims. Now since these claims can be very subjective, why should anyone believe them, I mean there could be a myriad of reasons why the atheists could be making these claims in the first place. Obviously, these atheists don’t have anything anywhere near what the above logic would even begin to consider factual, and therefore worthy of being believed, and well, the asshole boss will get away with his terrible behavior. While his discrimination is in fact very real towards them, and their claims against him are true, the problem is that since the atheists can’t prove it and he gets away with it, and that’s why this logic is faulty and unreliable.

        “NO. what you are talking about is evidence that can be IMAGINED. big difference. a judge would admonish you to remember it if you were on a jury.”

        No, what I’m talking about is evidence that can be realized and grasped and tested, not imagined. I said that if they don’t have this real, concrete, tested evidence right in front of them, then they won’t believe anything to be true. That’s the whole basis of this logic. You can’t test and verify evidence if it’s imagined. Even if it’s laying out there somewhere undiscovered, what good is it to a person who needs to have it tested and retested and verified and put right in front of their face before they believe anything? I’m talking about real solid tested evidence.

        “they are also correct. it’s not patronizing to say you are projecting”

        No they are not correct and it should be very clear why.

        • No One says

          he was saying things that investigators knew only the perpetrator would know

          So one would consider that pretty strong evidence to back a hypothesis. Unless he is lying, which is another possibility.

          • Dora says

            “So one would consider that pretty strong evidence to back a hypothesis. Unless he is lying, which is another possibility.”

            Yes that’s absolutely true, that’s how the crime was eventually solved. But here’s the thing, this was many years later right before his execution, he had been long suspected of the kidnappings and murders but the investigators didn’t have evidence with with to charge him much less prove his guilt. Especially with the case of Donna Manson because there was no physical evidence found and no witness to put him at the scene of her disappearance. Now suppose he never confessed. We know he did it, as far as the possibility of him lying, the investigators are very certain that he was telling the truth, like you said, the things he said in his confession was very strong evidence to back up their hypothesis, they long suspected that he was responsible. So suppose he never confessed, he still did it but he never confessed. The lack of any real, tangible, testable, observable evidence would make it unprovable but that doesn’t mean that he didn’t do it. If you conclude that since you don’t have real testable verifiable evidence and can’t pin it on him therefore his guilt should not be believed and therefore dismissed, you would be wrong because he is guilty. Just because you can’t prove something that doesn’t mean that it didn’t happen and it should be dismissed.

          • No One says

            If you conclude that since you don’t have real testable verifiable evidence and can’t pin it on him therefore his guilt should not be believed and therefore dismissed, you would be wrong because he is guilty. Just because you can’t prove something that doesn’t mean that it didn’t happen and it should be dismissed.

            Yes you can make inferences based on human behavior. You can scientifically codify human behavior. That’s why they are psychological profilers, and there is F.A.C.S. (Facial Action Coding System). It’s not magic or supernatural. Our “gut feelings” are actually based on previous experience and knowledge. It is not so unreasonable, based on a persons previous behavior to make an assumption. That person may or may not be actually guilty of that crime. There are people who have been exonerated once new evidence has been presented (years later in some cases). “Gut feelings” can be, and have been wrong. Not being able to prove a persons guilt or innocence via lack of evidence is not the equivalent of not being able to prove the supernatural.

          • Dora says

            “Yes you can make inferences based on human behavior. You can scientifically codify human behavior. That’s why they are psychological profilers, and there is F.A.C.S. (Facial Action Coding System). It’s not magic or supernatural. Our “gut feelings” are actually based on previous experience and knowledge. It is not so unreasonable, based on a persons previous behavior to make an assumption. That person may or may not be actually guilty of that crime. There are people who have been exonerated once new evidence has been presented (years later in some cases). “Gut feelings” can be, and have been wrong. Not being able to prove a persons guilt or innocence via lack of evidence is not the equivalent of not being able to prove the supernatural. ”

            Yes this is true, but it has nothing to do with what I’ve been saying. From the beginning, this is what I’ve been arguing against:

            “We of course have a prerequisite mandate that we cannot honestly state as fact that which is not actually factual. That means we have to be able to prove that it really is true by some sort of objective verification. We have to have multiple lines of evidence independently indicating only one conclusion over any other before we can say that anything is actually true…Having no reason to believe something is a good reason not to believe it…Whatever is not supported by evidence doesn’t yet warrant serious consideration…There is no way to be certain of anything if you cannot demonstrate or verify it objectively.”

            “What can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence.”

            If something is not verified by evidence we have no reason to believe it’s true, we must have “multiple lines of evidence independently indicating one conclusion before we can say anything is actually true.” Ok I gave examples of things which were in fact true but not only was there lack of “multiple lines of evidence” but no evidence at all and yet it was still true, so if you concluded that you should not believe it based on this lack of evidence, you would be led to the wrong conclusion. I”m not talking about “gut feelings” or maybes, I’m talking about evidence that means you can “demonstrate or verify” something objectively. Now if Bundy never confessed to the kidnapping and murder of Donna Manson, the crime would still be unsolved because they would lack the evidence to prove that his guilt is indeed fact, there wold be no evidence to support his guilt and therefore “ Whatever is not supported by evidence doesn’t yet warrant serious consideration” and we would be unable to “honestly state as fact” that he is guilty. But he is in fact guilty and this line of thinking would lead to a conclusion that is false.

          • Ichthyic says

            But he is in fact guilty and this line of thinking would lead to a conclusion that is false.

            you don’t even understand why we lay the burden of proof on the prosecution, do you?

            you have no idea what the history of the US legal system even is, or why it is the way it is.

            here’s a hint for you:

            false positives are much more subject to abuse.

        • Ichthyic says

          Because like I already said in my other posts, he CONFESSED.

          confessions can be lies. if there was no evidence to check his statements against…

          oh wait, there’s that pesky evidence again.

          But the point of my posts here is to say that that’s not always the case

          IOW, no, you don’t believe in a rational justice system.

          thanks for playing. It is indeed quite clear you should have nothing to do with being on a jury, ever.

        • Ichthyic says

          No they are not correct and it should be very clear why.

          O.o

          lol

          “It is the way I say it is because I say it!”

          you and evidence simply do not get along.

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  23. Corwyn says

    the problem is that since the atheists can’t prove it and he gets away with it, and that’s why this logic is faulty and unreliable.

    This is just wacky. You can’t fault the logic just because there is a lack of evidence.

    We should not believe something when there is no evidence. The process of determining hypotheses based on what evidence is available, is used to determine everything which we rely on. It is as reliable as it is possible to be.

    • Dora says

      “We should not believe something when there is no evidence. The process of determining hypotheses based on what evidence is available, is used to determine everything which we rely on. It is as reliable as it is possible to be.”

      Well look at the example above of the employees who were denied a promotion because the boss discriminated against them because of their atheism. Now their claims against their boss would be absolutely 100% true because that was indeed his reason for not promoting them, but the problem is that they have no evidence to prove it. So since we should not believe something when there is no evidence, we should not believe that the atheists were discriminated against and therefore this would cause us to not believe something that is actually true.

      • Monocle Smile says

        You speak as if there’s some danger in not believing things that happen to be true. You’re advocating believing things for bad reasons.

        The key is to believe things for GOOD reasons. It’s called “reliability.” If someone who believes something crazy turns out be to be right later in the luckiest fashion possible, they were STILL not justified in believing. This is the opposite of skepticism, and it’s unreliable.

        In the situation you described, you’re RIGHT. We SHOULD NOT believe those atheists were discriminated against without evidence. So what? It’s an unrealistic scenario, since you’re setting it up with knowledge any observer would not possess. That’s how skepticism works. It’s much better to let guilty men walk free than imprison innocents, and thus it is much more reliable to not believe unjustified claims that just happen to be true rather than believe crazy things for bad reasons.

        • Dora says

          “The key is to believe things for GOOD reasons. It’s called “reliability.” If someone who believes something crazy turns out be to be right later in the luckiest fashion possible, they were STILL not justified in believing. This is the opposite of skepticism, and it’s unreliable.

          Um back up here for a minute, nobody said anything about believing something crazy, you’re the only one bringing up crazy. I brought up believing someone who was discriminated against and believing a murderer is actually guilty of a crime.

          The problem is that you’re going from one extreme to the other and I can see why. “What can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence.” That’s it, that covers everything, we should believe nothing unless it can be proven with evidence, otherwise, let’s dismiss. Now when someone argues against that, you go to the complete opposite extreme that it must surely mean that we should believe everything no matter how crazy. The thing is that both of these are unreliable. Life is too rich and complicated to fit either one. The first one because as we have seen there are times when people have legitimate claims and are actually telling the truth and shouldn’t automatically be dismissed even though they don’t have evidence lined up like little ducks under someone’s nose. And that doesn’t mean that we should automatically go to the opposite extreme and believe anything and everything that people say because that’s not realistic either.

          The key is to use discernment. Some situations are easy to determine, like if you’re in the Times Square subway station and one of the homeless people that hangs out on the platform comes and sits his drunk ass next to you and tells you that the world is ending next week, well it’s a pretty safe bet not to believe him. The same thing applies to those annoying philosophical drunks that you run into at parties and bars. But what happens if your girlfriend looks like she’s a little too happy with the new guy that moved in down the hall that looks like Michael Fassbender? So you ask her if she’s interested in him and she says “NO honey, he’s just a nice guy and I like him as a friend and nothing more.” Now you can believe her or not but there’s no proof she can possibly give you that she’s telling the truth. What proof can she give you that she doesn’t secretly fantasize about having sex with him against the washing machine in the laundry room? But then again, what proof can she give you that she doesn’t fantasize about him? You see, in this situation the “nothing should be believed unless there’s evidence to prove it” logic doesn’t even apply here. You see how complicated life is? That’s why you can’t squeeze it into this neat scenario: “What can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence.” And the scenario I gave you with the atheists is realistic BECAUSE of the fact that nobody observed him, do you think people in the real world do their dirty deeds out in the open where they can be seen instead of in secret, especially a boss who could loose everything if he gets caught?

          Again, this doesn’t mean that we have to believe everything we hear, like I said we have to use discernment in each situation, so don’t jump to the other extreme. Some people are wiser and more perceptive than others and better at determining situations. You can’t rely on a simple formula to explain the nuances and complexities of life for you, you have to live it and learn as you gain experience.

          • Monocle Smile says

            This entire thread is about GOD CLAIMS. You’re distracting from the issue once again.

            You also don’t understand what “evidence” is. There are varying degrees. If my girlfriend seemed a bit more aloof and a bit too happy with the new guy who moved in, THAT IS EVIDENCE by definition, just not as strong as it could be. And it would be worth investigation. But I should also trust her based ON THE EVIDENCE that she’s been loyal in the past. Then I have to weigh THE EVIDENCE.

            The type of evidence we’re looking for depends entirely on the claim. You’re talking about mundane issues for which we have large data sets throughout the population with which to compare. This entire post is about GOD CLAIMS. When it comes to existential claims, we disbelieve until there is sufficient testable empirical evidence beyond reasonable doubt. We’re not talking about believing something about our friend with tenuous evidence or inferred evidence. We’re talking about believing something wildly different from anything we know about anything in nature for which there is ZERO evidence. This equivocation bullshit is asinine.

          • aziraphale says

            Dora, if a Muslim wrote the exact same words as you have written, but in defence of her faith, what weight would you give them?

          • Dora says

            “Dora, if a Muslim wrote the exact same words as you have written, but in defence of her faith, what weight would you give them?”

            Well I’ve had many many wonderful deep conversations about spirituality and religion with Muslims.

          • Corwyn says

            “Dora, if a Muslim wrote the exact same words as you have written, but in defence of her faith, what weight would you give them?”

            Well I’ve had many many wonderful deep conversations about spirituality and religion with Muslims.

            Nice dodge. Care to answer the actual question?

        • Dora says

          “This entire thread is about GOD CLAIMS. You’re distracting from the issue once again.
          You also don’t understand what “evidence” is. There are varying degrees. If my girlfriend seemed a bit more aloof and a bit too happy with the new guy who moved in, THAT IS EVIDENCE by definition, just not as strong as it could be. And it would be worth investigation. But I should also trust her based ON THE EVIDENCE that she’s been loyal in the past. Then I have to weigh THE EVIDENCE.
          The type of evidence we’re looking for depends entirely on the claim. You’re talking about mundane issues for which we have large data sets throughout the population with which to compare. This entire post is about GOD CLAIMS. When it comes to existential claims, we disbelieve until there is sufficient testable empirical evidence beyond reasonable doubt. We’re not talking about believing something about our friend with tenuous evidence or inferred evidence. We’re talking about believing something wildly different from anything we know about anything in nature for which there is ZERO evidence. This equivocation bullshit is asinine.”

          I love the way the definition of “evidence” changed several times during this conversation. Originally, it was necessary to have “multiple lines of evidence independently indicating only one conclusion over any other before we can say that anything is actually true.” We’re talking about evidence to objectively prove something is true before we can actually believe it, otherwise if we don’t have such evidence it “doesn’t yet warrant serious consideration” But then based on the examples I gave, the definition of “evidence” started to change. With the case of the empoyees denied a promotion, we suddenly don’t need all the evidence to prove it, “evidence” can now mean only “some evidence” and now suddenly their claims, although unsupported, “can” merit serious consideration and investigation until possibly hard evidence can be found in the future. When I responded that the boss was careful not to do his dirty deeds where he can be observed or documented in any way, well now “some evidence” wasn’t good enough anymore,so the definiton of “evidence” went back to being “all evidence” and since the atheist employees had nothing but their claims, which would constitute “no evidence”, then the argument became that the atheists flat out shouldn’t be believed. But when it was pointed out that sometimes there is no evidence to be produced in order to “prove” something true or not, like the situation with the girlfriend, suddenly all this became irrelevant and now this way of thinking only applies to the things of God. And now it changed again and we have some kind of a floating definition of “evidence”, it depends entirely on the situation, you can’t really pin it down, so now, it depends.

          So as stated originally, this is what we’re discussing:
          “We of course have a prerequisite mandate that we cannot honestly state as fact that which is not actually factual. That means we have to be able to prove that it really is true by some sort of objective verification. We have to have multiple lines of evidence independently indicating only one conclusion over any other before we can say that anything is actually true…Having no reason to believe something is a good reason not to believe it…Whatever is not supported by evidence doesn’t yet warrant serious consideration…There is no way to be certain of anything if you cannot demonstrate or verify it objectively.”

          “What can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence.

          We’re talking about real evidence here…proof. So if someone is making a claim about God, which is unnatural and, like you said, not of anything that we know exists in the natural world, they must use the above stated logic to prove it. Now the thing is that I’ve been poking holes in this logic and giving examples of how it is unreliable in situations even in our natural world, the things that we see and experience in our everyday lives. So if this logic shows itself to be unreliable even a few times in certain situations in our natural world, how can you trust it to define that which is unnatural and of which we do not know?

          Let’s look again at the situation with the employees who were denied a promotion because of discrimination. As I said before, that the boss didn’t leave any evidence is realistic because shady people do their business in secret, he’s not going to be stupid enough to do it in front of people or to do anything to let himself get caught. Ok so you said that the atheists shouldn’t be believed, they have no proof. After all, “It’s much better to let guilty men walk free than imprison innocents, and thus it is much more reliable to not believe unjustified claims that just happen to be true rather than believe crazy things for bad reasons. “

          Ok fine, they’re not going to be believed because they have no proof. They just have to suck it up, after all, that’s life. The fact that they had no proof to back up their claims and therefore objectively prove them, would lead to the false conclusion that the discrimination claims were untrue. What can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence. So here we have an example in our own world in which this applied logic would lead to a conclusion which is not the truth. The same is also true in the case of Ted Bundy and Donna Manson had he never confessed. Now if we can observe some cases in this natural world of ours where this logic fails to produce a truthful conclusion, why would it be considered trustworthy to be applied to the things which are unnatural? If it can fail in situations even in our world, how much more would it fail in a situation with a being or beings which are by definition unnatural to our known world? If you’re dealing with beings which are unnatural and thus would be unrecognizable by any of our natural laws, why would you use logic that even some of the time would fail to produce a truthful conclusion even in situations based in the natural world that we do know?

          • Ichthyic says

            You also don’t understand what “evidence” is.

            there’s that projection again.

            …and learn how to blockquote, would ya?

            gees.

          • Corwyn says

            We’re talking about real evidence here…proof.

            Evidence is NOT proof. In fact, ‘proof’ is a logical conclusion from a set of axioms, and really only applies in mathematics.

            Evidence is some piece of information which is more likely given a hypothesis is true than if the hypothesis is false (or the converse). That’s all.

          • Corwyn says

            why would you use logic that even some of the time would fail to produce a truthful conclusion even in situations based in the natural world that we do know?

            Because it sometimes DOES produce a truthful conclusion, unlike any other method of drawing conclusions.

            Until some method can produce MORE truthful conclusions about the natural world, it shouldn’t even be considered for any other type of evidence. I LITERALLY bet my life everyday on the ability of scientific discovery to come to truthful conclusions. Is there anything else that you are prepared to bet your life on (note: we will insist on a test of that)?

  24. Dora says

    and learn how to blockquote, would ya? gees.

    There. Are we happy now?

    Ichthyic and Corwyn, congratulations you’ve successfully went fishing around my posts, yanking out quotes and creating BS out of them. Let’s put them back in their original context, shall we?

    there’s that projection again.

    Really now? The quote wasn’t even mine, Monocle Smile was the one who said it. You’re quoting Monocle Smile and telling me that I’m projecting…I didn’t even freakin’ say it! It might not have been perfectly blockquoted, but it had quotation marks.

    confessions can be lies. if there was no evidence to check his statements against

    Ok let’s put my quote back from where it was snatched and you’ll see that his statements did match details of her disappearance that only the perp would know. Now if you have a problem with this, go take it up with Bob Keppell, Roger Dunn, and the myriad of other detectives who worked this case and also took his confessions and concluded that he was in fact telling the truth.

    IOW, no, you don’t believe in a rational justice system. thanks for playing. It is indeed quite clear you should have nothing to do with being on a jury, ever.

    If we put my quote back into the paragraph from which you snatched it we see that my quote was referring to ‘innocent until proven guilty’ in which I stated the obvious fact that sometimes a person is guilty even though their guilt cannot be proven. That’s just obvious, you do know that don’t you? That’s why we have the expression “getting away with murder”! Look at the Casey Anthony case, the jury concluded there there was not enough evidence to prove her guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, but that doesn’t mean that people actually believe that’s she’s innocent, as a matter of fact the jurors themselves didn’t actually believe that she was innocent, they just didn’t have enough evidence to legally convict her. As one stated “I did not say she was innocent, I just said there was not enough evidence. If you cannot prove what the crime was, you cannot determine what the punishment should be.” The same thing with OJ Simpson and Robert Blake, who got away with murder.

    Just because I’m not naive enough to believe that people don’t actually get away with murder because the evidence does not prove it beyond a reasonable doubt, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t believe in a rational justice system, nice jump though. Pointing out that people actually do get away with murder because of lack of evidence proving their guilt, doesn’t automatically mean that we should fly to the other extreme and hysterically lock everybody up without rhyme or reason.

    you don’t even understand why we lay the burden of proof on the prosecution, do you? you have no idea what the history of the US legal system even is, or why it is the way it is. here’s a hint for you false positives are much more subject to abuse.

    Once again, let’s look at my quote in it’s proper context. If Bundy never confessed to murdering Donna Manson, the evidence anyone would have against him would be….well, nothing. That’s right, zero, nada, zilch, zippo. Yes the burden of proof is on the prosecution, thank you captain obvious, and since what they would be working with here as far as evidence is, again, zero, nada, zilch, well the conclusion of his guilt would be, well, zero, nada, zilch,…there you have it. And yes we don’t want to convict an innocent man and as Monocle Smith said, which I agree with, it’s better to let a guilty man go free than to imprison an innocent man. And I’m pointing out that this does allow guilty men to go free because their guilt cannot be proven beyond a reasonable doubt, they’re still guilty…see my paragraph above, this is what I’ve been saying all along. So your yanking of my quotes out of my paragraphs and trying to construct other imaginary arguments out of them is pointless.

    Evidence is NOT proof. In fact, ‘proof’ is a logical conclusion from a set of axioms, and really only applies in mathematics. Evidence is some piece of information which is more likely given a hypothesis is true than if the hypothesis is false (or the converse). That’s all.

    Again, let’s kindly put my quote back from where you snatched it. Nowhere did I say that evidence equals proof, as a matter of fact, right above that I put the entire original quote from the top of this page to clarify what exactly we’re talking about here when we say “evidence” and “proof” and I did that multiple times in my posts. In all my posts I clarified “testable” and “observable” evidence, not evidence that would automatically equal proof, I repeated it so many freakin’ times, I didn’t think it was necessary to do so again for it not to be misconstrued.

    Because it sometimes DOES produce a truthful conclusion, unlike any other method of drawing conclusions. Until some method can produce MORE truthful conclusions about the natural world, it shouldn’t even be considered for any other type of evidence. I LITERALLY bet my life everyday on the ability of scientific discovery to come to truthful conclusions. Is there anything else that you are prepared to bet your life on (note: we will insist on a test of that)?

    Yes sometimes it DOES and sometimes it DOESN’T, and right now in our natural world, as you said, we don’t have something that would produce MORE truthful conclusions. That’s not my argument. My argument is this: when it comes to God claims, we realize that we’re dealing with claims that go beyond what we know in our natural world, these claims go beyond our natural laws, we all seem to be in agreement about this. Now these claims are supernatural and thus by their very definition goes beyond our natural laws. Supernatural defined is:

    “Attributed to some force beyond scientific understanding or the laws of nature.”

    ” Of or relating to existence outside the natural world.”

    So since this is the case with these claims, obviously these supernatural beings or forces exist outside of what we recognize within our natural world and therefore the logic we use with our natural laws would not be reliable because they exists outside of our natural laws. Once something is supernatural it ceases to be natural and recognized as such. Especially since this logic that we have been discussing here and we use upon our natural world can even SOMETIMES be unreliable to reach a truthful conclusion, why would you trust it to provide us with a reliable truthful conclusion with something that exists beyond any of our recognizable logical laws? Wouldn’t that it be even more unreliable when dealing with something above and beyond anything we know and understand in our natural world?

    It seems to me from your post that you’re saying that, well this is what we have and it works most of the time so it’s good enough for now. Well it might be sufficient within our natural world, even most of the time, but why would you consider it sufficient for something outside our natural world if you recognize that the natural logical laws wouldn’t even apply to something which is defined as supernatural?

    And I’m not sure I’m following you with your question about what I would bet my life on? I recognize that I would have to use different sets of laws in determining between natural and supernatural, so I’m not sure about your question. You’re betting your life on scientific discovery to come to truthful conclusions within our recognizable world? Yes fine, science and logic do apply to things in our own natural world, and while it’s not going to reach a truthful conclusion all the time, as we have already said, it does work, so I’m not seeing a problem with you trusting it within our own natural world, but are you saying that you think science would come up with a 100% truthful conclusion when dealing with something that supercedes the understanding of all scientific law? And if so, why? And what exactly are you asking I would bet my life on?

    “Nice dodge. Care to answer the actual question?

    Dodge of what exactly? Obviously if I’m having a wonderful spiritual conversation with someone I’m giving them weight, if I didn’t give them weight I would dismiss them, and I certainly wouldn’t describe someone feeding me bullshit and untruths as a wonderful experience. And as I said they were conversations and not debates. I found many spiritual consistencies, which I give weight to. There are many things which are cultural/political influences upon religion and those things I don’t give weight to and not just in Islam but in Judaism and Christianity as well.

    • aziraphale says

      Let me try to sharpen my question:

      If a Muslim wrote the exact same words as you have written, but in defence of the theological propositions that define Islam (for instance that God is a unity), would you regard her as giving a good argument for those propositions?

      • Dora says

        Let me try to sharpen my question: If a Muslim wrote the exact same words as you have written, but in defence of the theological propositions that define Islam (for instance that God is a unity), would you regard her as giving a good argument for those propositions?

        You’re asking me 2 separate unrelated questions here. If a Muslim woman wrote the same words as you have written: the words that I have written are that just because there’s no testable evidence leading to conclusive proof of something, it doesn’t mean that it isn’t true and that it didn’t happen, thus the examples I gave…and if a Muslim woman wrote those words, well I would tell her that she’s absolutely right. And she would be.

        Now the second part of your question is specifically about Islam and how I would respond to a Muslim woman defending her faith to me. I am a former New Ager turned Christian, I had a long arduous spiritual journey and I would explain all of that to her in detail and what I learned on this journey and from who and also explain to her how I arrived at the my conclusion and the point that I am at now. I would explain to her about theosophy and how that ties into Christianity and also how that applies to the divinity of Jesus. And like I said before, there are many spiritual consistencies within Islam and Christianity and whatever spiritual discussion we we would be having, well it would be independent of the fact that if the logic that I’ve been consistently criticizing here were actually true, OJ’s ass would’ve been in jail from 1995, Casey Anthony’s ass would’ve been in jail, and so would Robert Blake’s. So yeah, the Muslim woman and I would very much be in agreement.

        It’s sickening how you can type so many words and say so little. Why haven’t you answered any actual challenges? Why are you obsessed with red herrings and non sequiturs?

        No, I answered every question that was posed to me, I’ve been clear as to my point, I’ve repeated it so many freakin’ times already and I also provided very detailed examples. it’s not my problem if it’s not what you want to hear. See I even took the time out to answer your little nonsense post. And someone disagreeing with you on a message board shouldn’t be as dramatic as ‘sickening’. Annoying maybe?

        Could you please describe the set of laws governing the supernatural?

        I didn’t say anything about what sets of laws govern the supernatural, I’m not a supernatural being and therefore unable to know what laws, if any, would actually govern them. What I said was that I would have to use different laws to determine between the natural and the supernatural. For the reasons that I already stated in my previous post, I would not trust or use the logic that we’ve been discussing, it would be completely invalid for the reasons that I’ve already stated. In determining whether something is supernatural,
        it depends on how the experience or occurence manifested itself because they’re not all the same. You have to be able to eliminate every possible logical and natural explanation and only then can you begin to consider it supernatural. Rather than using our natural laws to gain testable evidence and proof, it works quite the opposite. Since we recognize that a supernatural being would exist outside our known laws and therefore not understood and perceived, then we cannot have such testing and conclusions that we would expect by our known laws. So in determining the supernatural, since we already recognize that a supernatural occurence would by it’s nature, violate our laws, so if we can observe an occurence in our world which indeed does violate our logical known laws and thus we can eliminate them as the cause of this occurence, and yet we have this occurence still existing, this is how we may define something as supernatural.

        • Monocle Smile says

          It’s truly pathetic how you continue to dodge the questions about Islam.

          Here’s a more blunt version…why aren’t you a Muslim?

    • Monocle Smile says

      It’s sickening how you can type so many words and say so little.

      Why haven’t you answered any actual challenges? Why are you obsessed with red herrings and non sequiturs?

      • Ichthyic says

        It’s sickening how you can type so many words and say so little.

        yup, I have simply given up trying to wade through it.

        after three attempts, there doesn’t appear to be anything cogent underlying any of it anyway.

        Dora can have the last word, AFAIC.

        or the last 1756 words…

    • No One says

      Especially since this logic that we have been discussing here and we use upon our natural world can even SOMETIMES be unreliable to reach a truthful conclusion, why would you trust it to provide us with a reliable truthful conclusion with something that exists beyond any of our recognizable logical laws? Wouldn’t that it be even more unreliable when dealing with something above and beyond anything we know and understand in our natural world?

      I disagree. The logic is very reliable. There may not be sufficient evidence to discern the truth at a given moment. This is why the “murder confession” argument is weak. There are lines of evidence pointing in that direction, and in a court of law a confession of guilt is generally accepted as evidence. I wouldn’t however accept that type of assertion for let’s say… aircraft design.

      An interesting note… The examples that you have presented so far deal with human interactions; the “murder confession”, the “cheating girl friend”, and the “prejudiced boss”. These scenarios deal humans deceiving other humans. Game theory stuff… since deception seem to be part of human nature why would I trust anyone who makes supernatural claims? How does one ascertain deception, ineptitude, or erroneous cultural momentum? How do we separate hallucination brought on by brain tumor, from revelation (or whatever process) is the “real deal” supernatural. You need a standard. We have one.

      • Dora says

        I disagree. The logic is very reliable. There may not be sufficient evidence to discern the truth at a given moment. This is why the “murder confession” argument is weak. There are lines of evidence pointing in that direction, and in a court of law a confession of guilt is generally accepted as evidence. I wouldn’t however accept that type of assertion for let’s say… aircraft design.

        If it allows for people to get away with murder, it’s not what I would call reliable. And you have to remember that sometimes there is never evidence to discern the truth, that’s why so many crimes remain unsolved forever, the perpetrator dies, the investigators, etc., It’s not about having enough evidence to discern the truth at any given moment, sometimes you never have it.

        An interesting note… The examples that you have presented so far deal with human interactions; the “murder confession”, the “cheating girl friend”, and the “prejudiced boss”. These scenarios deal humans deceiving other humans. Game theory stuff… since deception seem to be part of human nature why would I trust anyone who makes supernatural claims? How does one ascertain deception, ineptitude, or erroneous cultural momentum? How do we separate hallucination brought on by brain tumor, from revelation (or whatever process) is the “real deal” supernatural. You need a standard. We have one.

        Well since deception is part of human nature and why would you trust anyone who makes supernatural claims, well if you’re going to look at life that way, why would you trust anyone anywhere at any given time. Let me say this, I personally know of 3 women who have cheated on their boyfriends multiple times in the past and haven’t even been suspected. So as far as the boyfriends are concerned, well they’re happily oblivious. So it’s totally possible for people to fuck you over and you would be completely clueless, so knowing that, does that mean that you should never trust anyone ever because people lie and it’s part of human nature? If someone makes a supernatural claim to you, you can have them tested to find out if they have a tumor or if they have schizophrenia or any other mental illness by investigating it. That’s how you can find out.

        • No One says

          It’s not about having enough evidence to discern the truth at any given moment, sometimes you never have it.

          There is always evidence. Being aware of it (or not) is a different matter.

          If someone makes a supernatural claim to you, you can have them tested to find out if they have a tumor or if they have schizophrenia or any other mental illness by investigating it. That’s how you can find out.

          Right. Investigation of supernatural claims seeking evidence via the scientific method. If you strip that method away you might well end up with a witch burning… or a religion.

          • No One says

            “What can be asserted without evidence
            can be dismissed without evidence.”
            -Christopher Hitchens

            For the record… Hitchens had made this statement in a variety of contexts. A more accurate “version” would be:

            “Extraordinary claims asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence”

            I had a chicken sandwich for lunch…. OK. A chicken had me for lunch… not so much.

  25. No One says

    I recognize that I would have to use different sets of laws in determining between natural and supernatural, so I’m not sure about your question.

    Could you please describe the set of laws governing the supernatural?

  26. No One says

    I recognize that I would have to use different sets of laws in determining between natural and supernatural, so I’m not sure about your question.

    BQF!

    Could you please describe the set of laws governing the supernatural?

    • No One says

      Would those laws have predictability, would they readily be recognizable as separate from natural law or just “part of the fabric” we don’t recognize. Are we talking a book of spells?

  27. Monocle Smile says

    If it allows for people to get away with murder, it’s not what I would call reliable.

    That’s cherry-picking to the point where suggesting that you actually believe that statement would be an insult to your intelligence. You choose a few failures of the judicial system (while you yourself don’t fucking know the actual facts, BTW), which have to do with systemic issues and failures to GATHER evidence rather than the logic…and yet you ignore ALL OF SCIENCE, like the computer you use to post stupid shit.

    if we can observe an occurence in our world which indeed does violate our logical known laws and thus we can eliminate them as the cause of this occurence, and yet we have this occurence still existing, this is how we may define something as supernatural.

    Completely wrong. Like, it’s not even funny. In this case, we’d have an UNEXPLAINED occurrence. And furthermore, no such event you refer to has ever been confirmed and verified in the history of mankind, so there’s no evidence whatsoever for the supernatural.

  28. Dora says

    It’s truly pathetic how you continue to dodge the questions about Islam.
    Here’s a more blunt version…why aren’t you a Muslim?

    Why are you asking me a question that I already answered? What’s pathetic is that you would need everything spelled out for you. I already told you why I’m not a Muslim, but ok let me smack you in the face with it again. I come from a background outside of both Christianity and Islam, and Judaism as well. As I said I’m an ex-New Ager and have studied Theosophy. As I also already said, I had a long aruous spiritual journey which took me to Christianity, now what I apparently didn’t spell out is this: along my journey I studied the religious texts, including the Abrahamic texts and applied them to Theosophy; the concept of the ascended masters; kundalini; the concept of meditation and how it differs between Buddhism/Hinduism, and Christianity and why, and the meaning of transcendental meditiation and the mantras; and even the concept of the term New Age and how that leads directly to Jesus Christ. When I said I had an arduous spiritual journey, I wasn’t kidding. Ok let me smack you in the face with something else too, all of these gods/spiritual beings exist and they’re all interconnected and they all lead back to Christianity, and the only name and authority that these beings recognize and respond to is Jesus. But to be fair, even some Christians don’t like to acknowledge these other beings because it leads to some very dark places, so they like to stay blissfully unaware. I’ll tell you, I’ve had many more freakish experiences when I was a New Ager than when I was a Christian. So this is why I’m not a Muslim.

    Now here’s the thing, being that you don’t even acknowledge that spirituality or a spiritual realm even exists, then this is a big hot load of shit to you, so the only reason that you would even ask this question is because you think that I was born into a Christian hillbilly family and never questioned my faith and believed only because I was told, and never acknowledged the existence of the other religions, and therefore would be ‘trapped’ by the question of Islam and if I can’t accept ‘other’ gods, which would therefore make me an ‘atheist’ why would I accept mine. You see, sometimes we don’t need to have things spelled out for us. But see, the truth here is quite the opposite, where I come from a non-Christian religion, have questioned all religions, acknowledge these other gods, and have this all lead to the divinity of Jesus Christ.

    That’s cherry-picking to the point where suggesting that you actually believe that statement would be an insult to your intelligence. You choose a few failures of the judicial system (while you yourself don’t fucking know the actual facts, BTW), which have to do with systemic issues and failures to GATHER evidence rather than the logic…and yet you ignore ALL OF SCIENCE, like the computer you use to post stupid shit.

    Ok let’s try going back and reading through my posts, shall we. Where the fuck did I say that I’m ignoring ALL OF SCIENCE???? If you actually read my posts instead of ironically cherry-picking and creating bullshit out of them, you’ll see that what I’ve been saying is that logic we’ve been discussing here, while true MOST OF THE TIME, can SOME OF THE TIME fail us, and therefore if it can even be unreliable even some of the time by our known laws, then why would anyone trust it to apply it to things which would stand outside and by their very nature violate our known laws? Do you understand now, there, it’s completely spelled out for you. If you’re not going to read my posts then why bother responding? Don’t cherry-pick what you want out of them, formulate nonsense from it and create a post about it. You yourself acknowledged in previous posts (as did some of the other posters) that yes, it does SOMETIMES fail us, but we just have to accept that because it’s better to risk letting a guilty man go free than to put an innocent man in prison. And as one of the other posters said, ok it can fail us SOMETIMES but it’s correct MOST OF THE TIME and that’s all we have right now, until we can come up with different logic that can be correct all of the time, then we have to stick with this. Ok that’s fine. Now you yourself also said, (see, I actually do read your posts) that the “evidence” that we would require, varies depending on the situation that we are dealing with. Ok so going by that, if we are dealing with something that is supernatural and by definition, outside of our known laws and therefore would violate “evidence” as would be defined by the logic we have been discussing here, (and for fuck’s sake don’t make me have to post the whole paragraph again, – testable evidence that would lead to a positive conclusion of proof), so again, if something supernatural would violate those very laws, why is that exactly type of evidence that you are requiring? You’re requiring the type of ‘evidence’ and ‘proof’ that this would, by it’s very definition, violate and be unable to provide. If our definition of ‘evidence’ must vary according to what we are trying to prove, why does it not vary when we’re dealing with the supernatural?

    Right. Investigation of supernatural claims seeking evidence via the scientific method. If you strip that method away you might well end up with a witch burning… or a religion.

    But that in and of itself doesn’t make sense. It’s almost like trying to capture a shark or a whale with one of those small butterfly fishing nets. Let’s say I have a small butterfly fishing net which would expand to 10 feet. Now if I want to catch a shark that is 30 feet long, obviously I have to understand that the dimensions of this shark goes beyond the dimensions of the net that I have. Why would I insist that I have to use that netif i know that the shark goes beyond what that net can provide? What if I kept insisting that a shark could never be caught since it can’t be caught by the only net that I have? Wouldn’t my method have to vary according to what I”m trying to catch? As far as the supernatural, I’m not talking about witch burning or anything like that, it would have to do with studying and examining how these beings manifest themselves among believers to begin to understand what “evidence” might mean in this particular situation. But see, you won’t even get that far if you automatically have dismissed it based on requiring evidence and proof via a method which would not even recognize them in the first place.

    For the record… Hitchens had made this statement in a variety of contexts. A more accurate “version” would be:
    “Extraordinary claims asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence”

    Wouldn’t it be more appropriate to say:

    “Extraordinary claims asserted without extraordinary evidence can be dismissed without evidence”

    As has been said on this board, our definition of ‘evidence’ should be adjusted according to the proof we are seeking, so if we are seeking something ‘extraordinary’ and ‘supernatural’, what kind of ‘evidence’ should we be seeking?

    There’s my point and the question that I have repeatedly asking. Before anyone responds, please read this post carefully to see what I’m saying, don’t cherry-pick any of my quotes at random and try to construct something that I’m not saying in the first place. I think I’ve been very clear in my posts, so please don’t misconstrue my point, I’m not dissing science and saying that we all have to undress and dance around a fire naked and scream to the gods. I think I posed my question clearly.

    • Monocle Smile says

      Yes, your reasons for being a Christian are indeed a hot load of shit, and I commend you for recognizing this.

      You didn’t actually answer this question before. The word “spiritual” means absolutely nothing to me, so you might as well have been trying to speak to me with a series of clicks and grunts.

      You’re requiring the type of ‘evidence’ and ‘proof’ that this would, by it’s very definition, violate and be unable to provide.

      Firstly, this is not my problem.
      Secondly, most claims of supernatural origin do contain testable elements (like the claims of psychics and faith healers). These testable elements have always failed the test, so it’s not even just that we can’t verify the source of these phenomena…the claimed phenomena don’t even seem to be real.

      And as one of the other posters said, ok it can fail us SOMETIMES but it’s correct MOST OF THE TIME and that’s all we have right now, until we can come up with different logic that can be correct all of the time, then we have to stick with this.

      Yes, and this should be painfully obvious to anyone with two neurons to rub together. Until you can develop a better methodology, stop bitching about science. You’ve spent a torrent of words creating fictional scenarios as if this is a “GOTCHA” when you have no alternative. I realize you’re into woo and some seriously fringe hippie shit that somehow led you to Christianity in some ass-backwards way I guess only you can understand, but I have no reason to believe anything you say about “spirits” or “magic” or any other hokum.

      • Dora says

        Yes, and this should be painfully obvious to anyone with two neurons to rub together. Until you can develop a better methodology, stop bitching about science. You’ve spent a torrent of words creating fictional scenarios as if this is a “GOTCHA” when you have no alternative. I realize you’re into woo and some seriously fringe hippie shit that somehow led you to Christianity in some ass-backwards way I guess only you can understand, but I have no reason to believe anything you say about “spirits” or “magic” or any other hokum.

        What??? There are other better methods that actually exist that do adjust the bar of “evidence” according to what they are studying. Since they’re studying the supernatural, they don’t use a scientific method that wouldn’t be able to even recognize what they’re studying. They themselves recognize and base their studies on how these supernatural beings actually manifest themselves and relate to people and circumstances, experiences and occurrences are carefully evaluated, compared and contrasted, as are the religious texts. This is covered in branches of theology, spiritual studies (both eastern and western), paranormal studies, and even demonology. See I was under the mistaken impression that you actually knew this, ok I didn’t realize the extent that you needed things to be right in front of your face. So now that you see that we do actually have better methodology more suited to the object of the studies, I’m going to spell out my question again: since there are other methods which deal with the supernatural in a way which actually does recognize it, why would anyone insist on using a method which cannot recognize them, and then scream “where’s your proof?!” when they know that the method of proof that they are asking for cannot be acquired?

        If your brain is going to stop, crash, and burp out that I’m “”bitching about science” and that I “ignore all of science”, why are you bothering to even respond here? How anyone can come to that conclusion by reading my posts is amazing to say the least, and especially after it was spelled out for you. If you’re reading these posts and your brain is not computing and comes to a screeching halt and spits out a bunch of WTF’s, then why bother? Especially since my question is about spirituality, which you don’t believe in or even acknowledge, so anyting you would have to say about spirituality would be as useless as tits on a bull. So why bother? I’m sure you can find something more pleasant to do with your time, no?

        most claims of supernatural origin do contain testable elements (like the claims of psychics and faith healers). These testable elements have always failed the test, so it’s not even just that we can’t verify the source of these phenomena…the claimed phenomena don’t even seem to be real.

        How can someone conclusively determine the results of a study in which they don’t recognize or even understand the source? Even if a particular study gets a positive result, it really doesn’t convince skeptics. If is was a prayer healing with a positive result, oh well that’s because it’s psychosomatic and the person’s mind convinces them that they’re actually well. If the person doesn’t know they’re being prayed for and they get a positive result, well that’s just luck and chance, how do we know that they would’nt have gotten well if no one prayed for them. If a psychic makes an accurate prediction, well that’s just chance and luck. If they make consistent accurate predictions, well maybe there’s something wrong with the way the study itself is being conducted, maybe the person conducting it has a bias and/or is somehow influencing the results. If that’s not the case, well it just moves into the category of something ‘unexplained’, I mean nobody is going to jump and assume that something as far fetched as the supernatural is taking place here just because we currently have no explanation. A skeptic will be a skeptic. These studies are BS, they’re not going to convince a skeptic of anything regardless of the results.

        • Monocle Smile says

          If you can’t convince skeptics, that should tell you something. Science CAN convince skeptics because it works. We send shit into space and land on the moon, and Woo evidently can’t…because it doesn’t. No, you don’t get to piss on skeptics and say we won’t believe “regardless of the results.” If the results weren’t bullshit, then we’d take another look. But all real studies done have shown inconclusive results at best, total failures at worst. Thus far, all claims of supernatural activity have shown to be just as credible as Uri Geller.

          The fact that you mention crap like demonology as if it’s anything other than laughable woo anybody other than crazy and/or gullible people practice means we’re done here. We clearly have no common ground because I care about whether or not my beliefs are true and I value the methodology used to make those determinations. You evidently don’t and are apparently willing to believe whatever appeals to your emotions.

          P.S. the irony of your “don’t you have anything better to do” bullshit when you write a fucking novel every time you post is delicious.

          • Dora says

            If you can’t convince skeptics, that should tell you something. Science CAN convince skeptics because it works. We send shit into space and land on the moon, and Woo evidently can’t…because it doesn’t. No, you don’t get to piss on skeptics and say we won’t believe “regardless of the results.” If the results weren’t bullshit, then we’d take another look. But all real studies done have shown inconclusive results at best, total failures at worst. Thus far, all claims of supernatural activity have shown to be just as credible as Uri Geller.

            In the classic words of Christian Bale, What don’t you fuckin’ understand?” This is utter BS. How do you expect to be convinced of something if you can’t even recognize or understand the source??? If studies get a positive result that can’t be explained, it’s simply UNEXPLAINED. ” then we’d take another look”, oh really now? Oh yes, that the possible explanation might be woo? This is full of contradictions. Yeah this makes total sense, let’s use a method to identify the supernatural which we know can’t even recognize it much less give any evidence leading to proof and then say that we can’t prove it. And let’s ignore the other methods that actually do recognize it, close our eyes and simply call it woo.

            Even if tests do get a positive result, skeptics will say there are two possible results – 1- There’s obviously a perfectly logical explanation for this, or 2- Ok this is unexplained but that’s only because we haven’t found the perfectly logical explanation yet, but there is a logical explanation and we’ll eventually find it, and until then we’ll call this unexplained. And why is this? Because you’re using a method that doesn’t even recognize and can’t possibly accept another explanation as the source, so don’t give me this BS.

            The fact that you mention crap like demonology as if it’s anything other than laughable woo anybody other than crazy and/or gullible people practice means we’re done here. We clearly have no common ground because I care about whether or not my beliefs are true and I value the methodology used to make those determinations. You evidently don’t and are apparently willing to believe whatever appeals to your emotions.

            This is so funny because when I was typing my previous post I considered not putting in the word “demonology” because that particular word would cause your brain to crash, sputter, and melt. Spirituality is actually not based on emotions, that’s a false assumption, but like I said in my last post, since you refuse to even accept or acknowledge or understand spirituality, anything you have to say about it is completely useless. ” I care about whether or not my beliefs are true and I value the methodology used to make those determinations” Oh really, is this what you’re going with? Not too long ago, you said “The type of evidence we’re looking for depends entirely on the claim…There are varying degrees” And now you’re saying that since you care whether your beliefs are true, you value a methodology which cannot even recognize or determine whether a claim may be supernatural, thus this method is unable to provide such evidence but while there are other methods that do use the very thing you said, varying degrees of evidence, and thus do recognize the supernatural and study it, you’ll just ignore them, make fun of them and dismis them. Now suddenly this varying degrees of evidence thing doesn’t matter anymore and you actually value a method that can’t actually test something that it can’t recognize, but ok, let’s call this caring whether your beliefs are true. And by me saying all this, don’t let your brain have another meltdown and somehow make of this that I hate and disregard science and scientific study. Clearly (and I’ve learned not to use this term lightly here) I’m talking about it in reference to identifying the supernatural.

            P.S. the irony of your “don’t you have anything better to do” bullshit when you write a fucking novel every time you post is delicious.

            Well see, the true irony here is that if you didn’t constantly need everything spelled out for you, I wouldn’t have to write a freakin’ novel for every post. When I post a paragraph of one or two sentences, it’s not clear enough and you don’t know what I mean or I’m avoiding the question and I have to go back and explain further what’s already clearly there, or since I didn’t spell something out, it gets misconstrued and I have to go back and explain what I meant. This is what happens when you need to have everything spelled out and put right in front of your face.

          • Monocle Smile says

            I didn’t say spirituality is “based” on emotions. I said that you cling to it because you have an emotional attachment to woo and are thus unskeptical. Why would you believe ANYTHING that couldn’t possibly be independently verified? A: because it makes you feel good. Makes you feel “special.” And skeptics are just haters because they’re not special like you. Get over yourself.

            Demonstrate that spirits or any of the other New Age bullshit like “demons” exist. Prove it. I fucking dare you. We’re talking about repeatable tests. That should hold REGARDLESS of whether you’re using the scientific method or not. If you don’t think repeatable tests should be part of your crazy methodology, then you just plain don’t care if what you believe is true or not.

            You either won’t do this or you’ll write a fucking novel AGAIN where you say the same thing five times over, none of which gets to the point. DEMONSTRATE with a TEST that spirits exist. Or you’re just a fucking coward. This would literally revolutionize our knowledge of nature and whatever’s beyond, if anyone. You have nothing. Nothing.

  29. No One says

    There are other better methods that actually exist that do adjust the bar of “evidence” according to what they are studying. Since they’re studying the supernatural, they don’t use a scientific method that wouldn’t be able to even recognize what they’re studying. They themselves recognize and base their studies on how these supernatural beings actually manifest themselves and relate to people and circumstances, experiences and occurrences are carefully evaluated, compared and contrasted, as are the religious texts. This is covered in branches of theology, spiritual studies (both eastern and western), paranormal studies, and even demonology.

    How supernatural beings actually manifest themselves ? Could you please give an example? Can I do it here behind my keypad? Or do I have to believe really, really hard first? Or should I rely on an expert like Helen Ukpabio? Or the pope? Or perhaps Ramtha? There is no evidence, extraordinary or otherwise. Anyone can make stuff up, like L Ron Hubbard and pedal it to the gullible.

  30. Dora says

    I didn’t say spirituality is “based” on emotions. I said that you cling to it because you have an emotional attachment to woo and are thus unskeptical. Why would you believe ANYTHING that couldn’t possibly be independently verified? A: because it makes you feel good. Makes you feel “special.” And skeptics are just haters because they’re not special like you. Get over yourself.

    Wrong again, spirituality does not involve your emotions and many times it makes people feel neither good nor is it comforting and it doesn’t make people feel special, that is just so simplistic and silly. As a matter of fact, spirituality can be very very frightening. If you understood anything about spirituality you would already know this, but since you don’t you can only apply your very simplistic understanding. You know, somebody would normally take the cue and stop talking about something that they know nothing about, but no you keep going on and on. And skeptics are haters? I already told you, stop cherry-picking my posts and creating BS out of them, if you like making stuff up, go write a novel.

    Demonstrate that spirits or any of the other New Age bullshit like “demons” exist. Prove it. I fucking dare you. We’re talking about repeatable tests. That should hold REGARDLESS of whether you’re using the scientific method or not. If you don’t think repeatable tests should be part of your crazy methodology, then you just plain don’t care if what you believe is true or not.

    The crazy methodology that you’re talking about is about getting verification, there’s nothing crazy about that. Since they’re not dealing with something recognized by science, they use other forms of objective verification. Like for example look at the experiences of Warren Smith, in trying to determine if it’s valid, you will see that’ it’s independently verified in the writings of theosophy, which also strangely independently verifies the writings of Helen Schucman, which also independently verifies Smith (who also actually independently verifies several other accounts). These are just some examples and they’re there for anyone to read. If you want to read them to see exactly how these things are independently verified, among others, I’ll gladly direct you to the books, but you’re not interested in the answer, you only asked for the same reason that you asked why I’m not a Muslim. When you asked, you were sitting there like a little kid who thinks he’s getting away with something because his mother hasn’t discovered the load of shit in his diaper yet. And it’s not my method, it’s the method that they use to acquire evidence/objective verification depending on the subject that they’re studying. Remember? So no, you are incorrect saying “You have nothing. Nothing”. I do “have nothing. Nothing” of scientific proof, but this is not a scientific study, as we’ve already established, this can’t be studied or even recognized by science, but I do get the feeling that you’re naive enough to expect that, because as we have seen, you don’t fare well when something isn’t right in front of your face slapping you.

    Or you’re just a fucking coward. This would literally revolutionize our knowledge of nature and whatever’s beyond, if anyone. You have nothing. Nothing.

    First of all, dude you seriously need to get a grip. Wow this is seriously getting under your skin and making you lose your shit. You sound like one of those stumbling drunks in a bar trying to pick a fight. Yes clearly a fucking coward is someone who has no scientific proof of the existence of spirits. This is priceless. What I provided you was not scientific proof, but cases where objective verification was used to confirm people’s spiritual claims, but you’re not exactly feeling the nice hot tingle of the slap of evidence against your face.

    Many people around the world actually do already believe in the existence of spirituality, so while the idea of the existence of the supernatural might hit you like a cement block dropping on your head, it wouldn’t surprise many people and they wouldn’t consider it revolutionary.

    Take a deep breath, may I suggest a xanax?

    • Monocle Smile says

      I don’t give a flying fuck about the writings of random people. Smith is a make-shit-up New Ager who believes we’re living in the goddamn “Last Days.” Schucman was mentally ill, as hearing voices in your head is what mentally ill people perceive.

      If that’s your “objective verification,” I’m not impressed. Cherry-picking what some people wrote and shoehorning that into other writings shouldn’t be enough for anyone. You’re also ignoring the (likely) thousands of other writings that DON’T match up with those of Smith and Schucman. So this is a Texas sharpshooter fallacy even if it wasn’t already laughable. But you’ve already convinced yourself that you’re right, so this is falling on deaf ears…and you’re again projecting this shortcoming onto me. I don’t share your desire to believe garbage.

    • EnlightenmentLiberal says

      The crazy methodology that you’re talking about is about getting verification, there’s nothing crazy about that. Since they’re not dealing with something recognized by science, they use other forms of objective verification.

      No such thing (for material factual claims about our shared reality).

      You continue:

      Like for example look at the experiences of Warren Smith, in trying to determine if it’s valid, you will see that’ it’s independently verified in the writings of theosophy, which also strangely independently verifies the writings of Helen Schucman, which also independently verifies Smith (who also actually independently verifies several other accounts).

      That’s science. That’s using evidence. Using evidence (in the normal way) is science.

  31. Dora says

    How supernatural beings actually manifest themselves ? Could you please give an example? Can I do it here behind my keypad? Or do I have to believe really, really hard first? Or should I rely on an expert like Helen Ukpabio? Or the pope? Or perhaps Ramtha? There is no evidence, extraordinary or otherwise. Anyone can make stuff up, like L Ron Hubbard and pedal it to the gullible.

    Ok this made me laugh, and no I don’t mean that sarcastically, I actually mean it in a good way. Honestly even though we disagree, I find you to be one of the more pleasant people here, and I got a good chuckle out of this. As a matter of fact, most of the people here seem really nice even though obviously we don’t agree on this.

    Actually it’s not that simple, you don’t believe everything that everybody says all the time, of course some of them are full of shit. But they do examine people’s claims and try to objectively verify them against many things and sometimes they fail but sometimes they don’t and sometimes these experiences are verified by unexpected sources that have nothing to do with each other. See my post above.

    • No One says

      Actually it’s not that simple, you don’t believe everything that everybody says all the time, of course some of them are full of shit. But they do examine people’s claims and try to objectively verify them against many things and sometimes they fail but sometimes they don’t and sometimes these experiences are verified by unexpected sources that have nothing to do with each other. See my post above.

      *yawn*

      … they use other forms of objective verification.

      It all comes down to one woo peddler propping up another. Mind you I love a good story, like “Jumping Mouse” or “The Odyssey” or “The Golden Bough” (not really a story, but a good collection of the supernatural beliefs). Heck even John of Patmos’s Datura induced ramblings would make an excellent horror series. But evoking Smith and Schucman? Voices in their heads? Objective verification?

      A while back I had a fellow who told me how Martial Arts Master so and so used his chi to make a plant “rustle”. He believed it to the core. Heck I’d seen Master so and so pull some rabbits out of the hat before. He could repeatedly take a stack of bricks slap it with his palm, and break only the bottom brick. Someone asked him how he did that: “First you have a pallet of bricks delivered to your driveway”. No mention of chi. But here is the kicker… I was in the room when he caused the the plant to “rustle”. It was at a tournament, the AC rumbled on and Master so so (having a great sense of humor) timed it so at the moment the air came out the vent, he did a “powerful” gesture with his hands and the plant moved. To this day I’m still explaining it to the gullible.

      None of the “other methods of “objective verification” ever presented to me lead to anything other than deception, gullibility, mis-information or some variant of the placebo effect.

      Mescalito anyone?

  32. Dora says

    I’m going to address both previous posts together since you both posted the same fuckery just using different words. When I make a post, you take it, crash it into a wall, pick up the pieces and formulate garbled misunderstandings and post that wreck as a response. Martial arts masters, and the bricks, and the rustling plants, and the mesc? When I first looked at that post I didn’t know what to do with that mess. That has nothing whatever to do with with I’m saying.

    But here’s the point, I was really surprised at the extent of the lack of understanding of the concept of spirituality here, for example that the acceptance of spirituality is an emotional response, it makes people feel good and special. This isn’t the only place I’ve heard this foolishness though. It’s beyond me how someone even arrives at this conclusion, much less park their brain in that position and stay there. It’s so ‘slap you in the face’ obvious that that’s not true even to someone who has a cursory understanding of spirituality…we’re talking ‘duh’ obvious. So what were dealing with here is not even a cursory understanding of spirituality.

    Yes Helen Schucman’s writing is BS and if you knew anything you would know why she wrote it and that she wasn’t really hearing voices in her head, it’s BS, and what it has to do with all the other things I mentioned in my post. But as we have already seen, you’re not even at the ‘duh’ stage of understanding spirituality. When you try to explain something to a brain that’s in park position, well, you get a hot mess.

    This doesn’t mean that you have to move your brain out of park position, you can just stay there. It’s fine, really. You don’t care and that’s totally fine. It just means that what you have say about the topic amounts to a whole lot of, well, nothing. The one thing we do agree on is that it’s useless to continue this. I have much better things to do with my time than to sit here and engage you in this and it’s clearly going nowhere. And this time it’s so clear that even you notice it and it doesn’t even have to be written in bright neon glitter ink on your forehead for you to be aware. I’m so done.

    • Monocle Smile says

      More projection. All you can do is whine that we “don’t understand,” call us stupid, and then prove absolutely nothing. There’s nothing to understand because there’s apparently nothing there. This is creationist-level hubris. Oh, the arrogance of being thick as a brick.

      Have fun wasting your life on stuff that isn’t evidently real.

  33. No One says

    Yes Helen Schucman’s writing is BS and if you knew anything you would know why she wrote it and that she wasn’t really hearing voices in her head, it’s BS, and what it has to do with all the other things I mentioned in my post. But as we have already seen, you’re not even at the ‘duh’ stage of understanding spirituality. When you try to explain something to a brain that’s in park position, well, you get a hot mess.

    You brought those people up, not me. Why waste my time if their writings are BS? As far as the “DuH” stage of spirituality… Really? Is that what you are going for? A variant of “Sophisticated theology”?

    As for my “Brain Being in Park”, that’s one of the refuges of charlatans the world over; “Your just not open minded enough”.

    *yawn*

    But I will give you this… superstition does have power. That power is derived by the sway it has over culture, politics, and the collective sub-conscious on mankind. That power is harnessed, manipulated, or often times spills un-contained and uncontrolled to wreak havoc. That’s where the power of spirituality lies. Not as an existence but as a concept.

  34. xahpod says

    “Obviously, the faster we process information, the more rich and complex our models or glosses — our reality-tunnels — will become. Resistance to new information, however, has a strong neurological foundation in all animals, as indicated by studies of imprinting and conditioning. Most animals, including most domesticated primates (humans) show a truly staggering ability to “ignore” certain kinds of information — that which does not “fit” their imprinted/conditioned reality-tunnel. We generally call this “conservatism” or “stupidity”, but it appears in all parts of the political spectrum, and in learned societies as well as in the Ku Klux Klan.”

    -Robert Anton Wilson, Quantum Psychology