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Subject: i can prove god existthe christan

Hello to all that would take the time to read my email. i just recently became aware of you syndicate talk show and find it belittling how the christian community is betrayed as unlearned individual, having watched a few of your broadcast i can honestly say from the caller in it would be a simply job to disprove the christian faith. having said that i am some somewhat adequately intelligence (not to belittle anyone else) and can adequately debate the issue with you. The topic of the broadcast i view was proving the existence of God and i would like to give my view point on the matter,having said that lets that Yahweh(or as you may call him GOD) out of the equation for a moment as well as all other believed deity and focus simply on the the fact of a higher power(i;ll get back the Yahweh in a moment) but to prove the fact of a higher power i will bring into focus the human conscience.If it is as you state “no god” then i would ask why is all human being born with a conscience?

Having said that let us look at the definition of Conscience { Webster’s definition conscience as a knowledge or sense of right and wrong, with an urge to do right; moral judgment that opposes the violation of a previously recognized ethical principle and that leads to feelings of guilt if one violates such a principle} now lets focus on the fact that by scientific belief that all other animals act simply on instinces, down to the most primitive single celled life form with the exception of the human being. Now let being Yahweh back into the picture if has being proven by modern science that the Torah is the oldest documents of mankind (carbonation). now the Torah also known as the first 5 books of the bible happened to have the book of beginning as it first book(book of genesis) and in that book moses(it author) addresses the human consciousness as the tree of good and evil with well translated back to the original text is self awareness and knowledge and can also be broken down to awareness of god and evil(mind you according to modern day science these writings are only copy of the origins and date back hundreds on thousand of ago giving the same definition) having said all of that is there was no higher power or god overseeing mankind,if we were mere accident or came to be by a cosmic chain of events as most atheist believe the conscience is relevant and one shouldn’t bother with anything beside enjoying them self to the fullest because once your dead it over correct?but if this is not the case and there is a universal law of right and wrong set my god the throuh the consciensness then it makes perfect sense because it is as the bilbes states God standard of moral law given to all human even those who choice not to use it or believe.

p.s
if you fail to agree with this take into consideration that even a child knows when they are doing wrong,and have a natural sense of guilt (condemnation) upon taking part in a unjust act a simply as stealing reference back to the webster definition of conscience. Just my food for though

Good grief. Are people still out there trying to make moral arguments for God? Look, setting aside the usual evolutionary business about how we’re a social species — as are gorillas, elephants, dolphins, et al — and the fact such species develop cooperative behaviors as the obvious survival strategy, and the fact that we explain our behaviors with terms like “conscience” and “right and wrong” because we have the ability to form words to communicate to one another with (for all we know dolphins have a particular chirp for right and another for wrong and a very elaborate one for “Hey, that’s my fish, asswipe!”)…

…it has obviously not occurred to such apologists to consider a painfully obvious point: What need would an all-powerful monotheistic God have for morals?

That’s the whole frackin’ point of Euthyphro. This would be a unique being. It could suffer no consequences for any action it might take. There is no one for it to answer to. And it could have no practical reason to care whether or not any lesser beings it created were moral or not, as it could always create more if they happened to wipe each other out.

Now, I know we always argue that it is homo sapiens‘ innate sense of empathy, not merely the desire for reward and fear of punishment by some authority figure, that explains human morality. Because we evolved as a social species, empathic behaviors are part of our makeup. But an all-powerful God would not have evolved as part of a social species, and therefore would likely not have a sense of empathy. After all, to whom or what would it be directed? The only reason a being so uniquely powerful might have to choose beneficent over malign behaviors would be because it had some good cause to fear the consequences of its actions.

I can certainly see such a God creating a species of worshipers out of a sense of crushing loneliness. But to admit that God can be lonely would be to admit he is imperfect, and needs love and worship. And Christians are all about God’s total and indisputable perfection. Well, if you’re perfect, that pretty much means you’re complete in yourself, and nothing can be added to improve you. So then…morals, love, right, wrong, approval, worship, what have you…what does God really need with any of it?

Comments

  1. says

    "Now let being Yahweh back into the picture if has being proven by modern science that the Torah is the oldest documents of mankind (carbonation)."I could have sworn it was Schweppervescence.

  2. says

    It boggles my mind that someone can claim that they are moderately intelligent when their grammar is so atrocious. Personally I wouldn't even bother to responding to someone who makes "intelligent arguments" using this sort of language.

  3. says

    I've had similar thoughts. If god was alone, does the concept of morality even make sense? Surely morality only makes sense in a social construct. So even if theists are right about a god existing, what reason is there to think this being is the source of morality?Was this guy ESL or something? It sounds like he learned English from Yoda.

  4. says

    Wow. That is one unlettered e-mail.One of my favorite things to argue with people about is the notion that their God is perfect. It's something many believers blithely say, but haven't really thought through. If a being were truly perfect, would it really have mood swings like the Old Testament God? "And God was angry with the Israelites…" Really? God gets angry? You'd think a "perfect" being would be able to cope better than that. The Mr. Deity vignettes are good at teasing out such contradictions.

  5. says

    I didn't read the whole thing. I get frustrated reading messages with sparse punctuation.Wait… did he say that carbonation proves the age of the torah?

  6. Martin says

    tjonp: Yes. Yes he did. "Carbonation," where I suppose he meant "carbon dating." That's just a sample of the many delightful pleasures you find in these kinds of emails.

  7. says

    "i just recently became aware of you syndicate talk show"So wait, the ACA is funded by the mob? Immoral heathens! "the Torah is the oldest documents of mankind (carbonation)"I haven't read the Torah, but this seems to imply that it contains one of mankind's great hidden truths involving "carbonation". I can only conclude that this is a reference to Coca-Cola's secret formula.So, in summary, the ACA is involved in a vast conspiracy. The mafia controls Coca-Cola, who controls the ACA, who seek to deny god as a means of diverting attention away from the valuable secrets of Coke buried within ancient texts.Why Not.

  8. says

    I thought reading all those emails must be very boring and painful. But now I see: it is worthy doing it for moments like this :)Loved your last arguments.

  9. says

    LOLHow do people like this make through life this far without killing themselves accidentally? I think we've made the world too stupid proof.

  10. says

    I know it's not nice to make fun of people, but I just imagine a caveman discovering a computer and trying to figure out how a keyboard is used when I read his email. "OOO OOO AAHHH AH AH AH!!!" *bangs around on the keyboard and makes weird grunting sounds* It's pure unintentional comedy by him, but unintentional comedy can be the greatest sometimes.

  11. says

    I don't think his grammar is naturally bad; it doesn't look like there are any spelling mistakes (, at least no egregious ones) and the wrong words are characteristic of bad translations. I'm taking a wild guess that this is from an online translator and english is not the author's language.

  12. says

    The moral argument for god is a very dodgy one. If goodness is inherent to god's nature (like Aquinas I think claimed), then God is finited, limited, he cannot be omniscient and all powerful if can only be moral. And if he can act immorally (and according to the Bible did), then he is not good, or no better than a human being anyway, and does not deserve to be worshipped.

  13. says

    "has being proven by modern science that the Torah is the oldest documents of mankind (carbonation)."Epic of Gilgamesh, anyone?

  14. Strangelove says

    "The Torah is the oldest documents of mankind (carbonation)"Now that I sprayed carbonated beverage all over my monitor reading this do I own the oldest electronic device of mankind?

  15. says

    Hello there! This is an interesting blog you have. I have always had my theories on religion and I like to read about others that have the same visions. I just recently found your blog (about 3 minutes ago) and I really like it. Many christians say that god invented morals and that these morals are good. I always fail to agree with that, that the morals they say god made are good in its essence. Hating gays for example. Is see nothing good in that. Sorry for my english, I'm Dutch ;)Greetings,Deviant and Fragile, the webcamgirl.

  16. says

    And wait wait…This guy is talking about the 'carbon theory?' and he uses that to proof HIS argument?I thought Christians say the universe and the world only exists for a few thousand years and that the carbon theory is thus incorrect…Am I just crazy or is this weird?Greetings from Holland,Deviant and Fragile, the webcam girl

  17. says

    "having said that i am some somewhat adequately intelligence (not to belittle anyone else) and can adequately debate the issue with you."Ya gotta love an ungrammatical assertion of intellectual credentials… no, wait, "love" is not the word I mean…

  18. says

    One little correction for Martin (I'm an equal opportunity guy)…The Euthyphro dilemma has nothing to do with whether or not a god would have any use for morals.

  19. Martin says

    Well, right, Euthyphro itself is simply a chicken-or-egg question where God and morals are concerned. For my part, "What would an all-powerful monotheistic god need with morals anyway?" is just a question that has always immediately popped into my mind when considering Euthyphro.

  20. says

    "Good grief. Are people still out there trying to make moral arguments for God?"Haha. I got into a probably-excessive YouTube "conversation" with a Christian who thinks arguing for objective morality is the bee's knees. I eventually got a little fed up and paraphrased Antoine Dodson – "That is really dumb, for real."I had already made the argument that saying that an objective moral standard exists is like saying that skunks *objectively* smell bad (since everyone without a physiological problem will recognize skunks as smelling bad). He couldn't accept that, but also wouldn't say why, instead choosing to divert the conversation into empiricism's failure to provide absolute knowledge (so what?), then bringing his lame moral argument up again, necessitating the Antoine line. *sigh*Anyway, that email was a gem. Maybe he meant this: the Torah is made of paper, therefore it is flat, therefore it has lost carbonation, therefore it is old.

  21. says

    Well, you knew it was all downhill when the said no animal displays a conscience except humans. It is unbelievable that people write these messages and seem to think that it is some killer argument that nobody has heard before and not something that we have all seen 989,798 times. I don't get why some believers have such a hard time accepting that morals could arise from social behaviors, especially in light of the fact that morals only have value in the context of other people. If you were a hermit, living alone on Mars what possible way could you even display moral behavior?The carbonation bit… For some reason it made me think he was talking about freezing Han Solo…

  22. says

    @Deviant and FragileSome Christians believe the earth is young, others accept science. Neither can claim carbon dating as supporting the bible as the oldest book as the first group denies carbon dating as accurate, and the second group accepts it and can't refute evidence that it isn't. in chess we would call that a "fork"

  23. says

    I'm sorry, I think this e-mail is a fake. I mean, seriously, this text is rife with all sorts of grammatical mistakes, poor phrasing, non-existent words etc., not to mention idiotic argumentation. Do you honestly think someone could be that ignorant and still able to use a computer ;)?I think someone was just too bored and had too much time…

  24. Martin says

    Maciej: Learn to accept an uncomfortable truth. Poes notwithstanding, there are, in fact, lots of people in the world exactly this dumb. And they do believe the ignorant idiocy they spout, very sincerely.This guy has written back a couple of times, defending his position with laughable tautologies.

  25. says

    When I run across this argument, this is my usual response.Horses know how to run since the minute they are born. Therefore, we know that knowledge can be stored in the "hardware" part of the brain, IE innate.Knowing how to run helps the survival of the horse. Knowing how to live amongst our peers helps the survival of the infant. I see no difference between our knowing how to behave in a group ("knowing right from wrong") and a horse knowing how to run since birth.

  26. says

    for all we know dolphins have a particular chirp for right and another for wrong and a very elaborate one for "Hey, that's my fish, asswipe!"If they do a double backflip through a hoop while whistling the star-spangled banner, I'm getting out of here.

  27. says

    My argument against religion, faith or whatever they'd like to call it being the root of, or necessary for, morality can be summed up in one word: Tlaloc.

  28. says

    The article reminds me of a book titledWho is this Alien? This Higher Power in the Universe…This Supreme IntelligenceIntelligent Design is based on scientific discoveries. Hence, it is science and logic blending together forever…..to support the existence of a Supreme intelligent being…..….Concerning evolution, scientists at the Genome project and other scientists have concluded that there is an element of design built into creation that cannot be explain by evolution. No life form, be it a single cell, multiple cells or even evolutionary cells can exist without DNA. Genome scientist and other scientists have concluded that every life form is a product of DNA and the DNA molecule is a product of an intelligent source, a Supreme intelligent being. Genome scientist, Professor Francis Crick, and other scientists have come to a conclusion that the DNA molecule originated from some alien source in the heavens, some extra-terrestrial source , not from evolution, according to History channel documentary about “The universe.”Yes, there is an intelligent life form beyond our galaxy…Many scientists and individuals are searching the heavens for extra-terrestrial beings; believing by faith that something is out there in the heavens. They will be surprised when this Supreme intelligent being reveals its identity to every scientist at the same time from east to west and north to south …including every human being on this planet-yes at the same time……….It will not be a secret.Check out the new book, written in layman’s term, titled "Who is this Alien? It’s all about this Intelligent being, this supreme intelligent being, creator of the DNA Molecule with all of its genetic instructions and intelligence “ to build you- a product of DNA.”Check it out on Amazon, Barnes or http://www.kingdomcomeforever.ecrater.com…………..Lou

  29. says

    @Lou, a.k.a love1scent.When plugging your own book it is usually considered bad form to pretend that it is just something you happened upon rather then something you wrote yourself via comments like "reminds me of a book titled….". It's sock-puppetry and it is pretty weak tea.And the fact that a minority of scientists at the genome project, basically Francis Collins, believes in a creator doesn't make DNA proof of any divine intervention. Even Collins believes in evolution, just that it was setup by a god basically.And… I'm not even going to expend the effort explaining what is wrong with your argument since I am guessing you posted not for discussion but just to publicize your book.

  30. says

    @love1scentPlease, please, PLEASE call into the show. I've never seen anyone go so wrong, so quickly, in just one paragraph

  31. says

    "if you fail to agree with this take into consideration that even a child knows when they are doing wrong"…. Children don't always realize they're doing something wrong… and will keep doing it in fact unless you tell them not to.Ever split a popsicle between a two year old and his one year old brother?Turn your back and you'll find the older brother with two popsicles and a crying one year old.

  32. says

    Okay, since someone brought it up, I have not heard an effective argument showing how the 'first life form' had the ability to not only consume and use energy from its environment, but also to procreate. I would really like to read an intelligent explanation of that. Ooh, and I just remembered reading an article in the past year or two talking about how it is more likely that this 'first life form' started in ice (yes, frozen water) and not in a much heated environment… however, one subject at a time. How did it procreate? How did it eat? And how is an intelligent source explained out of it?

  33. says

    I would also like to touch up this guys argument… okay, I really want to restate the historically accepted argument.1) Moral law implies a moral Lawgiver2) There is an objective moral law3) Therefore, there is an objective Moral LawgiverThis has become an argument that seems to be easily debunked, however, a lot of good input has been forgotten over the years.I will add later…

  34. says

    "Okay, since someone brought it up, I have not heard an effective argument showing how the 'first life form' had the ability to not only consume and use energy from its environment, but also to procreate. "Ok you're in my feild. Abiogenesis, the start of life, is a fuzzy issue right now. We have some good evidence and some good models but there is no consensus yet and there' a lot of work to be done. Let me address your first misconceptionConsume and use energy: 100% the first life forms were autotrophs. They used energy from the environment. Archae bacteria are ancient orders that maintain a lot of early life strategies and are extremeaphiles which may answer your ice question (ie they live in deep cold, extreme heat, high osmolarity, high or low pH). As to the first ones, its important to note that metabolism was we see it now is not what the first life had. There probably was not a Eureka moment, where life became non-life. There was a lot of intermediate steps as the building blocks existed, gradually showing more and more life qualities due to selection (those that have ways to prolong their existence do while those that don't, don't last as long). The early proto-full cells got energy/metabolism directly. It was incorporated via absorption. the same way all chemical processes go, a force in the environment drives it to completion. Metabolism, when developed enabled the cell to ensure that those reactions can continue. Non-life=>protocells->life was a long process, insanely long. It may be that given good conditions, life is a favorable reaction. The answer to "why doesn't life form in the test tube" could be "wait longer". we're talking millennial of time, absurdly long. For reproduction, there's debate over whether genetics came first or metabolism. I subscribe to the metabolism first part. The model is that you had early membrane like forms with proteins etc, and outside it developed the genetic chemicals that when inside could use the cell metabolism to replicate itself. The cell itself replicated by just splitting, when it got too big, sometimes with both halves having enough 'stuff' to survive. genetic and metabolism may have collided and had a 'symbiotic' relationship forming what we know as genetic life. Its important to know when talking about such things, that the primary reactions DO happen spontaneously. base chemicals will assemble into amino acids and even genetic structures. Genetic structures will self replicate given enough resources devoid of any cell, and may even transcribe without a cell if in the proper environment. We don';t know yet how it happened exactly, but we do see that the foundations occur naturally and on their own. Again, the reason why we don't see full on, neogenesis in a lab may be because the reaction time for abiogenesis, even in the ideal conditions is on the magnitude of millions of years. Not that outrageous, most of the reactions in your body have year to decade long reaction time if not sped along by enzymes. As to the ice, you'll have to provide citation before anyone can respond. I hope some people got something from that, it's hard to conceptualize. I actually have no delusion that Johnathan will learn squat, he's going to come back with "HOW UNLIKELY" or "YOU DON'T KNOW!" or something to callously belittle science and higher education. I repeat though, young field of study, don't necessarily hold me to it just giving the best explanation as I understand it at this time. Sorry for wall of text. Word verification==Ingso

  35. says

    For Johnathanhttp://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/abioprob/originoflife.htmlhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abiogenesishttp://science.howstuffworks.com/environmental/life/evolution/evolution11.htm

  36. says

    "1) Moral law implies a moral Lawgiver2) There is an objective moral law3) Therefore, there is an objective Moral Lawgiver"Problems off the batPremise 2) is not established in your foundation. Any conclusion is invalid. Premise 1) is also not established. What is Moral Law? It seems to imply a giver only because you have used language to imply that. Premise 3) Even if so, that does not establish the moral law giver as a god. It could be that morality is established by observation and seeking to fulfill agreed upon base axioms (its good to avoid pain, its good to survive and be happy etc). Objective moral law could be decreed by a person, and work as a moral law if the resulting premises are consistent. You're dead before you leave the gate. 1) Moral law requires a moral law giver2) No one can seem to agree on moral law,3) Since it is not demonstrable moral law is either subjective, or existent but not yet discovered empirically4) therefore, there is either no objective moral law giver, or the objective moral law giver's moral law has not yet been revealed.

  37. says

    "And how is an intelligent source explained out of it?"Why the fuck would an intelligent source be put into it in the first place?

  38. says

    Jonathan, here is the thing. How the first organisms procreated is all very interesting but totally irrelevant here. I say this because of your last sentence. "And how is an intelligent source explained out of it." That right there tells me I am wasting my time because you are operating from the ridiculous position that god has to be disproven.In all these god debates there is a point that is often made implicitly when it should be made explicitly. Atheists don't do it because it seems self-evident and believers don't do it (I assume) because they simply aren't aware of it.Here is why, as interesting as debates on biogenesis might be, it doesn't matter in the god debate, and that is because "god did it" has no explanatory power. None. Most believers would never accept that because to them "god did it" is an explanation. But let me try to explain why it isn't.[continued on next comment]

  39. says

    Take a stage magician for example. You are in the audience and you watch the while the magician is put in a box. The assistant raises a cloth and suddenly the two people are reversed, the magician appears behind the falling cloth and the assistant in the box. Someone says, "How did he do that?" and of course he answers "magic!" Is that a real explanation? In the most rudimentary form of the word it is, but does it actually explain how any of it happened? Of course not. It doesn't explain how the magician slips out a side panel and maneuvers behind the curtain. It doesn't explain a key hidden in a shirt sleeve. Details like that would be the real explanation of how it was actually done.Similarly when people invoke the 'god did it' they are saying 'it's magic'. I know you don't like that term but that is really what you are doing and this is why. When you say god created life does that actually explain anything? No. Does it explain that god rubbed his fingers together to create a spark? That he just willed it into existence and how exactly does something get willed into existence anyways? Or where did the raw materials for god to work with come from? Pulled from dimension X? How did it get in dimension X to begin with? Or if god exists then what is god made of (atoms?) and where did that come from? "God did it" doesn't actually explain the magic trick of creation at all, it just kicks the can down the road. It is the ultimate cop-out. It is the magician saying 'it's magic' and it doesn't explain a damn thing.So we could sit here and discuss self-replicating cells but it doesn't really matter because you are operating under the self-delusion that the idea that 'god did it' can actually explain anything when in reality it doesn't offer an answer to any question at all. It lacks explanatory power. There is absolutely no way to differentiate the explanatory power of saying 'god did it' and 'it's magic'. I challenge any believer to show any situation that saying 'god did it' offers any more detail over some other person simply saying 'it's magic'. There is none, they are indistinguishable, and completely useless as explanations.

  40. says

    "Moral Law" doesn't even make sense as a term. You can tell it comes straight from the mind of a theist, who can only comprehend morality as a set of rules that one must be obedient to.We actually don't have that. We have laws against actions, which can come from morality, but that's not the same thing. Morality is a sense, not a rule set, which is why "thou shalt not kill" doesn't always apply.It'd be like asserting that there's objective Happyness Laws, where in particular situations we are commanded to be happy or not, and if we didn't have these Happy Laws, we wouldn't know when to be happy.

  41. says

    BREAKING NEWSI interrupt the discussion of this brain-melting email to announce that it is my birthday, and I am happier about that than I thought I would be. Happy birthday thoughts to all.Also: kittens.There. Don't you feel better?

  42. Martin says

    Well George, who wouldn't be happy to be one year closer to death? Congrats and many happy returns of the day.

  43. says

    Looking at the grammar, which is beyond hideous, I have to disagree with anyone thinking the was a foreign person unfamiliar with English. Have worked with the educationally deprived in the south east, assisting with adult education (though many of our clients had just graduated high school and had no idea what a verb was), I can honestly attest this is not the worst I've seen by an English speaker. I'm guessing the author is really that uneducated (by genes or circumstance) or this letter is a Poe. I'm thinking the former because of his final statements.By the way, guys, I really enjoy your show and I think you put a positive spin on atheism while also presenting a good face for it. Great job.

  44. says

    To be fair, MArtine, Matt's contention was based on your wording, which I am sure you would retract:"What need would an all-powerful monotheistic God have for morals?That's the whole frackin' point of Euthyphro."

  45. Martin says

    It wasn't the best choice of words, no.There's no "e" on the end of my name. That'd make me a girl. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

  46. says

    Yes, I understand that the moral law argument is not very strong, and that goes for both sides of it. I think it is simply due to a super complex subject attempted to be made simple. It would take way too many words to fully explore it to be efficient in this forum.Now, the idea of life starting… wait, how about a bigger picture… the idea of science is one I take very seriously (retaining a sense of humor of course). Yes, I am a declared Theist. I believe that if God created the universe, then there are things in the universe that we can learn, call it General Revelation. In creating the universe, God has revealed himself in part. I am skeptical of the theories that God created the Earth with fossils and light from distant stars already arriving to make the Earth look old. That does not seem to fit the operating rules of the universe. Now, my field is forensics and investigation. And I have trained to not be presupposed to a conclusion. The whole, "innocent until proven guilty" thing does not even apply because I do not presuppose innocence or guilt. My aim is, "what is the truth?".That being said, Jeremiah, I am not one to be categorized into a group that you choose for me. I do not believe in 'magic' as you have me to. That is stopping and not asking the next question. So, I would appreciate it if no one would put words in my mouth, or guess what I will say next.

  47. says

    When trying to determine past events, a crime is always a good example, you start with possible explanations using the evidence as given. Once you have postulated a list of explanations (inductive logic), you then prioritize them starting with the most likely (purely subjective at this point). Then, you disprove them starting at the top (deductive logic). When you're left with one that you cannot disprove, that is the one you bet on. No one can ever know everything, or exactly what happened, but you can know some things.I had a several courses in school that assigned a case study as the final exam. Two I will never forget. One involved a lawyer found dead in his office on the floor with his throat slashed to ribbons. The apparent weapon was a circular saw found at the scene next to him covered in blood. There were many pieces of evidence. I came to the conclusion (because you have to pick one of three: homicide, suicide, or accidental death) that it was a suicide. I discussed this with my teammates and no one would believe that someone would cut their own throat that way. They would not even consider it. In the end, I was correct, it was a suicide. But what I learned from my teammates was this: you must consider and disprove every possible explanation. They refused to consider and ponder a possible explanation simply because it made them uncomfortable.

  48. says

    Yes, I understand that the moral law argument is not very strong, and that goes for both sides of ituh no. We – nonbelievers – don't make a moral argument at all. Its you theists claiming there are absolute "moral laws" and that it means there must be a "moral law giver".We atheists just point out that your arguments are, well, stupid… And that varying morals, or "moral relativism" as you theists like to call it makes perfect sense in a natural world.

  49. says

    One involved a lawyer found dead in his office on the floor with his throat slashed to ribbons. The apparent weapon was a circular saw found at the scene next to him covered in blood. There were many pieces of evidence. I came to the conclusion (because you have to pick one of three: homicide, suicide, or accidental death) that it was a suicide. I discussed this with my teammates and no one would believe that someone would cut their own throat that way. They would not even consider it. In the end, I was correct, it was a suicide. But what I learned from my teammates was this: you must consider and disprove every possible explanation.Dude, that makes no sense. You post an anecdote about being open minded and following the evidence until you can prove your case.Yet you are an theist, meaning you already made up your mind. Being a theist requires you to have a positive belief "there is a god".Atheism does NOT require one to have a positive belief that there are no gods.By the logic of your anecdote, being a theist would only be justified if you had disproved every natural explanation for the universe and everything in it. In other words, only proving god existents would justify theism.So either you are a hypocrite – believing in something while telling other people to be "open minded", or you have proof that a god exists. What is it?

  50. says

    You disprove EVERY possible explanation? REALLY? Even death by phaser? Even "mauled by land shark?" Even "bludgeoned via telekinetic attack?" or "absorbed by Alien parasite?" or "Cursed by pixy faeries?"

  51. says

    When trying to determine past events, a crime is always a good example, you start with possible explanations using the evidence as given. Once you have postulated a list of explanations (inductive logic), you then prioritize them starting with the most likely (purely subjective at this point). Then, you disprove them starting at the top (deductive logic). When you're left with one that you cannot disprove, that is the one you bet on. No one can ever know everything, or exactly what happened, but you can know some things."Jesus fucking Christ. I hope your classes don't actually teach that and that's you're take on it. If so our forensic science is next to useless. A good defense lawyer would eat that up. "So you haven't PROVED your theory, you only disproved every other theory YOU could think of…" the lawyer then goes on to posit a new theory explaining his clients innocence and asks you point blank if you have disproved that. You're working backwards. Your friends were valid in their disbelief of you and you were invalid in your belief if it was just on "no better explanation". You needed to provide for them EVIDENCE to assert your belief. Forensic should use the data at the scene and build up the most likely outcome. How the hell can you talk about not starting at any forgone conclusions when you claim the first thing you do is go and write up a list of possible conclusions!? You look at evidence, analyze the data, come up with the hypothesis and then go and test that. continued due to URL error

  52. says

    Continuing…This is an elaborate way of shifting the burden of proof. As you might know in the USA the burden would be on the prosecuting (note that PRO in front of that word, as in a PRO-stance) to establish beyond reasonable (not any, reasonable…note that damn it) doubt using their evidence. You can't just rule out everything else in favor of the remaining. You need positive evidence. If I say had a victim who was not murdered, strangled, poisoned or stabbed; you're not justified in saying that he was either immolated, drown, or bludgeoned until you have evidence pointing positively to one of those. You would rule out possibilities because of the lack of positive evidence. The tell tale signs of burning would be missing, as would water in the lungs, that along with the existence of pre-mortum bruising and the swollen head makes bludgeon the most likely scenario. And now I belittle you, in REAL science we start with NO possibilities and build up hypothesis based on the evidence, test it and either throw it away and start again or refine it. We haven't gone and ruled OUT that Earth is on a giant turtle, or that Mars houses a giant alien inside that eats satellites, or that Barrack Obama is a lizard man, but those ideas are silly and not scientific because there's not an ounce of positive proof. continued more…

  53. says

    continueing…Look at the god thing. Have you disproved Thor? Sono-o-no? Quixicotal? Allah? Xenu? Joseph Smith's alien gods? Cthulhu? St. Cuebert? Bahamet? Vishnu? White Buffalo Woman? Raven and Crow? Trickster Coyote? Wicca's Horned God and Goddess? The Gnostic evil God? Annansi the spider god? Jade emperor? Buddha? Why not?You dismiss the Young Earth creation of an In medias res creation, why? How did you disprove it. It could be true, what evidence do you have to disprove it? You can't rule it out!

  54. says

    @Jonathon"I believe that if God created the universe, then there are things in the universe that we can learn, call it General Revelation."I'm presuming there's a mis-statement in there somewhere, because it doesn't quite add up. If there was no god, there'd still be things in the universe that we can learn.On your latter post, I mostly agree, but it seems to me that it's making the case that you must disprove all possibilities before they can be discarded – which is incorrect.Yes, refuting possibilities (ie falsifiability) is extremely important, but what's more important is that those possibilities are evidence driven. It's implied in your "likely possibilities" – but how do you figure out what's likely? Evidence.If the guy's throat is cut, you don't all sit around and have a brainstorming (Free associating) about what all possibilities exist for the cause of the event.Instead, those possibilities arise because there's positive evidence to support it. If there's broken glass next to the body, that's a good start for investigating if the cut was due to glass, or not.The point is, the burden of proof is still on the person making the claim, because, if the person making the claim has no good evidence to support it, it doesn't qualify as a "likely possibility".This is why we don't have to disprove god. There's no good evidence for it to qualify as a likely possibility. Even then, no one is required to accept it until it's been demonstrated beyond a reasonable doubt.

  55. says

    In short, you don't accept what hasn't been disproven, it's you accept what has been proven AND hasn't been disproven.The primary reason for this is that, if you consider 'how proven' an assertion is on a numeric scale, -10 would be absolute disproven, 10 would be absolutely proven, and 0 is neutral – neither confirmed nor denied.For an assertion that hasn't been disproven, the best it can get is 0. You can't gague what is true based on what you've refuted. You just have a bigger list of what isn't true. The possibilities are endless, and the truth might be something that people haven't even considered yet.Ultimately, the only accurate and dependable way at determining reality is to make sure you have a ton of evidence to back it up, and not accept it until then.Okay, that wasn't so short.

  56. says

    Jonathon, I don't think I agree with your theory that for something to be accepted that other explanations have to be disproved. And you say "every possible explanation", I would change that to say "every reasonable explanation". In your lawyer example, suicide, homicide, and accident are reasonable explanations, but not every possible explanation. Another 'possible' explanation was that the circular saw was possessed by a demon and attacked the man. I am assuming you didn't worry overmuch about disproving such a possibility because it obviously isn't reasonable given what we know about the nature of the world and circular saws. I classify god in the same way, that it isn't a reasonable explanation that needs to be disproven given our knowledge of the world.But you missed my point. When you entertain the 'possibility' that god created the universe. Suppose you accept that. Now tell me, what more do you know about the creation process that you didn't know 5 minutes ago? Nothing. It it is an explanation that explains nothing, it tells us nothing about the process, how to observe it, test it, replicate it (even if we lacked the power to do so). I believe you used the first cause argument before. I assume you understand that in order to map cause and effect you need a clear line from one event to the other. If a god created the universe what line can you draw from agent to effect? Saying we don't have another explanation is not a causal link. Saying that something might look complex and designed is not a causal link.I know you are trying to paint a corollary where we atheists are supposedly not considering all the evidence, but I am trying to point out that you haven't actually provided any evidence to consider. You are just arbitrarily sticking god into the gaps in science.

  57. says

    Jonathon,I think the example you gaveis very interesting example you gave there. But I have a feeling that you are using it to shift the burden of proof to the atheists, as if to say you have to disprove that god exists. Unfortunately the example you gave is not a very good analogy for determining what someone believes or lack thereof are. In your case the subject matter is very clear (i.e. a dead man in a room) there is proof he is there because his body is lying all bloody in a room. when you are talking about the existence or non-existence there is no point to start backwards from, unlike the dead man which is physically there, God is not. At least so far no-one has been able to demonstrate that he actually exists in reality. and there lies the problem with your analogy. If there is no dead man there is no trail to work backwards from to try and prove or disprove anything. First you'd need a dead man before you can start your research. someone may claim there is a dead man, but unless they actually demonstrate there is there is nothing to prove or disprove. In this example the person who claims there is a dead man is the theist. Before any investigating can be done there first needs to be a dead man. If there isn't there is nothing to prove or disprove. Taking this example a bit further. Theists do claim there is 'dead man'(god) and say it's right there. However when the non theists look at where the 'dead man'is supposed to be there is actually nothing to see, no body nothing. The theist therefore would first need to prove the 'dead man' is actually there. and unless they can, the non theist has nothing to prove or disprove.

  58. says

    @JonathanYou talk about considering things…And I cannot speak for anybody else here, but I have considered the God possibility for most of my life. Trust me, it isn't as if I had never been exposed to the concept, had never given it a fair hearing, never believed it, and have never held a religious mindset.But, as a forensic investigator, wouldn't you do more than disprove alternatives? Ultimately, the method you described is an argument from ignorance; you came up with some ideas about how things work, poked holes in most of them, and now conclude that the one you didn't poke holes in must be the answer, because you can't think of any viable alternative.But, shouldn't there be some standard of credibility in the process? I've often thought that our legal system would collapse if the CREO/ID mindset were applied there. I.E. A girl is found dead, with a knife wound. You'll never know what happened. Period. So, she was stabbed with a knife, and you found a bloody knife, covered in the killer's DNA. The killer confesses, and you find a video of it happening.If a god exists, then the laws of the universe are now up for question. How do we know that the killer wasn't framed by a supernatural entity? God, the devil, or otherwise? Couldn't a demon fake a DNA sample, photoshop your head onto camera footage, and brainwash the "killer" into confessing?Sure, there are plenty of questions, and no good evidence, but you're being closed-minded if you haven't considered it. Besides, how did the killer get to the victim's house? His car was in the shop that day. If you want me to believe this "killed by a mortal" theory, then you need to explain every detail. As for me, I think "supernatural meddling" is all we really need to explain, here.

  59. says

    Jonathon: Regarding abiogenesis, YouTuber cdk007 has about the most easily-understood series of videos I've ever seen on the subject. The one you really want to watch is here. The bottom line is that there's no real division between early proto-life and organic chemistry, and processes which we take for granted (growth, reproduction, metabolism) are, like organisms, far more complex and structured now than they would have been four(ish) billion years ago.Regarding your discussion on explanations: you're singing a familiar tune, Jonathon, and I doubt you'll find anyone who disagrees with the general points you made. Science works in much the same way: draw a hypothesis from the evidence, then try to disprove the hypothesis (or, more accurately, disprove the null hypothesis by supporting the positive one). The hypothesis that stands up despite all your attempts to disprove it is the one you provisionally accept. The problem I have is mostly with the word "possible," because it has two problems. The first is that it's impossible to disprove all "possible" explanations: anything is possible, and there are an infinite number of explanations for any set of facts. That's why science starts by assuming the null hypothesis (that the proposed explanation is wrong–since most are) and tries to refute it first. The second is the matter of probability; since "possible" is such a useless term, we can instead use what we already know (to a high degree of certainty) to evaluate which hypotheses are most probable, and work from there, allocating resources to testing the most probable hypotheses first. So, to take your buzzsaw example: you don't know specifically how that person died, but you can take what you know from other situations (how buzzsaws work, how people die, what evidence you would expect to find at a murder scene vs. a suicide scene) to prioritize your investigations. Based on the evidence, the hypothesis "some person killed this person with a buzzsaw" was likely high on the list. Somewhat lower, as you said, was "this person killed himself with a buzzsaw." I suspect that "the buzzsaw came to life and leapt out of the man's hands into his throat in a fit of mechanical rage" was not among the highly-prioritized hypotheses, nor was "a ghost killed the man with the buzzsaw, but left no evidence of its presence." We rank these hypotheses low because they contradict what we know from other fields and other situations. That's generally why scientists look down on supernatural explanations for natural phenomena: they don't correspond with what we already know about reality. On the other hand, probability is only meaningful if we have some data from related fields to determine the likelihood of some event. In the case of, say, universe-making, we only have the example of the current universe, and we have very little data regarding its earliest moment. We can't know what constraints there are on the physical properties of universes, which universes are possible or impossible, and so forth, because we only have a single sample. We can say some things by drawing from the properties of the universe as we know it, but those properties may or may not apply to the origins of the universe itself. Which is why the "where did physical laws come from" or "the universe couldn't have happened by chance" arguments are such failures: without other universes to look at or more data regarding the early universe, we can't say anything knowledgeable about how probable or improbable this particular universe may be.

  60. says

    I also want to note the Johnathan's friends were CORRECT in being skeptical despite being ultimately incorrect. Johnathan proposed a highly extraordinary explanation (suicide with such a messy and exotic tool?) and if he failed to show positive evidence for that would have failed to show his acceptance of that theory is valid. If i disappear for 3 days and come back claiming aliens and point out how i can disprove every other theory. NO one is justified in believing my alien story. Now if i come back and show the tentacle of an alien I ripped off in my escape, well then we can talk.

  61. says

    Bringing in stuff from the Answering Right Questions post.If this is the case, WHY do you accept god when there are an infinite number of other explanations for the universe that are not disproven. The metaphor in that case isn't even What caused the murder but "was anyone even murdered?"

  62. says

    I'm actually reminded of a news story of an FBI worker who was killed. Original investigation focused on her ex-husband. He was potentially violent, ex-marine, had training, potential motive etc. Out of the original suspects he was also the only one with no alibi and couldn't be immediately ruled out.However, there was no evidence linking him there. The more they looked at it the more inconclusive the forensics was. They went back to square one to see if they could find their killer back at 0 suspects and found it to actually have been the neighbor. And the evidence DID match him. Disproving the other theories didn't work because they had never considered the real killer in their initial probabilities. If they had gone by process of elimination rules, the husband would be in jail unjustly and a serial offender would still be free. I'm sure glad the FBI and their forensics team isn't as sloppy as you claim to be.

  63. says

    "he bottom line is that there's no real division between early proto-life and organic chemistry, and processes which we take for granted (growth, reproduction, metabolism) are, like organisms, far more complex and structured now than they would have been four(ish) billion years ago."Yeah that's what I was trying to get at. Also looking at biochemistry, damn if a lot of the structures don't act as if they are 'alive' in some cases in the precision and response to environment. It's all ultimately controlled by structural properties, but it's still cool.

  64. says

    If victim died of a gunshot wound, that pretty much rules out being mauled by a land shark doesn't it?"You look at evidence, analyze the data, come up with the hypothesis and then go and test that. "What the hell do you think I just explained? And what the hell do you think a hypothesis is? One possible explanation. And if you really want to test a hypothesis, you try and disprove it. You can make up anything that supports whatever you want. If, after your experiment, the results do not support your hypothesis, what have you done? Disproven your hypothesis. But if you really try, and cannot disprove your hypothesis, then it becomes… da da da da… a THEORY. And I hope everyone knows the process required for a theory to become a law.So either you are a hypocrite – believing in something while telling other people to be "open minded", or you have proof that a god exists. What is it?So either you are a hypocrite – believing in something while telling other people to be "open minded," or you have proof that no god exists at all.Which is it?

  65. says

    People, read what I wrote, "When trying to determine past events, a crime is always a good example, you start with possible explanations using the evidence as given."Clearly, I must have written that poorly, because everyone seems to be restating it as if I did not think of it. So, I will restate it in more words.Look at the crime scene, the evidence. Upon first glance, you have already begun inductive logic. Dead body, spent bullet casing, looks like our victim was shot to death. If he was, then you would find a gunshot wound. Search the body, wait, no gunshot wound, just incised wounds (knife wounds) but the victim was laying on top of gun. You have just disproved your first hypothesis. The next one you've should have already thought of is that the victim used the gun is self defense. Well, if the gun's magazine is loaded to the max, and there is one round in the chamber, and a search of the scene turns up no other magazine, then it looks like the gun the victim had was not fired at the scene. You check the firing pin impression on the bullet casing and compare it to the gun the victim had… etc. Ruling out everything ensures that you do not come to a wrong conclusion. That is what every experiment is about, making sure you do not come to the wrong conclusion because, believe what you will, if what you believe does not correspond to reality, then you have no logical reason to believe it.

  66. says

    Tom Foss,Your right, I should have used the word probable.Lukas,Very good question, one that all christians should think of. In fact, Thales, circa 500 BC, started asking that question and western philosophy and science has never stopped. That is the goal of science. To deduce the big T.O.E. Theory of Everything.I am excited to see science really close to explaining how life started. Restated, I can say, "I am excited to see science really close to explaining process that God put in place to create life on this planet." I have chosen to look at it from that side and I have viable and reasonable explanations as to why my belief in God is a logical and rational belief.Tom Foss,I have started watching those videos you suggested. They are great. I do not think, however, his use of the word spontaneous(ly) is warranted though. Of course, that's the big debate. If I flip a coin, it does not really land a certain side spontaneously. As it spins and flips in the air there is gravity, air resistance, inertia, etc., exerting their respective forces on it. What force does chance exert on the coin? I have said before, saying 'by chance' or 'spontaneous' is only saying that you do not know. Of course, I am not saying that I can explain details that are behind using those words. But isn't saying, "Spontaneous," or, "By chance," equivalent to saying, "God did it." Either way, a person is filling in what is previous and/or unknowable.JT,Yep, that was a typo. It should have read, "I believe that if God created the universe, then there are things in the universe that we can learn that reveals certain things about Him, call it General Revelation."

  67. says

    It boggles your mind that someone can claim that they are moderately intelligent when their grammar is so atrocious, it's simple GOD writes BEST-SELLERSGood grammar or good logic I (ME )wouldn't even bother… Did you know that you can match almost all the bones in your skeletonwith those in a GOD skeleton?Main Parts Characteristics of GODGOD made MAN and if Man is similar to God, and GOD is GOODbut not perfectGod have a Skull contains brain, jaws, and teethVertebrae bones that form the backboneShoulder blade and pelvic girdle plate-shaped bones for limbattachmentThe GOD or GOOD plan evolved long ago (about 15,000 million years ago)and the proto-gods ancestors of the Large and big Gods of todayinherited this faulty characteristics und so their descendantscapisce oh atheistic people god is not alone is sorrounded by itself in many shapes und forms

  68. says

    "And I hope everyone knows the process required for a theory to become a law."Of course we do, there isn't one. You know how there's the Law of Gravity, and a Theory of Gravity, and they're not the same thing? (There's also the fact of gravity, which is basically just the simple observation that things fall)That's the kind of crap that creationists use to cast doubt on stuff they know nothing about."So either you are a hypocrite – believing in something while telling other people to be "open minded," or you have proof that no god exists at all."Except that doesn't work, the atheist position isn't that no gods exist. Its not a belief, its a rejection of a claim that hasn't been supported.

  69. says

    So either you are a hypocrite – believing in something while telling other people to be "open minded," or you have proof that no god exists at all.Which is it?Oh my, apparently you can't even read. My whole post was about pointing out that you are not following your own anecdote.You say: be open minded and follow the evidence until you can prove your case.And at the same time, you are a theist. Someone who claims and beliefs "there is a god".And i explained why atheists are open minded.1. Atheism does NOT require an positive belief. Its NOT a positive claim. Its a response to your belief, to your claimWe don't make claims, we lack a belief in a god, we didn't make one up.2. You theists have to prove your belief and claim that there is a god. You are making a positive statement.Its pretty embarrassing and scary that someone that doesn't grasp (or doesn't want to) such a simple train of thought is "in the field of forensics"

  70. says

    @Jonothan"What the hell do you think I just explained? And what the hell do you think a hypothesis is? One possible explanation."Actually, no, not exactly. A hypothesis is an assertion that is formulated to be testable, and falsifiable. Hypothesis aren't meant to explain anything, more to build a set of data and evidence.And if you really want to test a hypothesis, you try and disprove it.And, more importantly, you try to see if it works. If the hypothesis holds true, that's at least as important, or more.You can literally sit around and disprove infinite hypothesis, but you don't really get anywhere until you find something that DOES pass.But if you really try, and cannot disprove your hypothesis, then it becomes… da da da da… a THEORY. And I hope everyone knows the process required for a theory to become a law.Oh my, you really don't understand the scientific process, do you?A Hypothesis DOES NOT become a Theory.A Theory DOES NOT become a Law.A scientific theory is an overall explanation, as well as the knowledge about, a phenomenon. Theories are build around a large set of passed and failed hypothesis. If one can establish a constant, quantitative or qualitative axiom that's related, the Theory may have a Law added to it.That's why we have the Theory of Gravity AND the Law of Gravitation.That's why Thermodynamic Theory has 3 Laws.You need to brush up on Science 101.So either you are a hypocrite – believing in something while telling other people to be "open minded," or you have proof that no god exists at all. False dichotomy.We usually take another position:The person making a claim hasn't made their case, so we don't accept it yet.We do not have to disprove something before not accepting it. It just doesn't work that way.

  71. says

    Yes, disproving things is important. However, that's only half the equation. If you don't have any positively verified hypothesis, you haven't made any progress.Perhaps it's there's a misunderstanding of meaning here.If we have a hypothesis that pressing this Red Button will make the Light turn on… and we push it, and the light turns on…I would say we've positively verified the hypothesis.You would seem to say that we haven't disproved it yet….but we don't run around believing things that we haven't disproven yet. We run around believing things that we have proven, because there will always be infinite unproven things.

  72. says

    @JonothanApologies if I come across as a bit condescending.It can be frustrating because it's the million-and-oneth time I've pointed out this particular error.Theists will enter a debate, throwing around things like "Why are we teaching evolution? It's just a theory. It hasn't been proven yet!". The irony being that because it's a theory implies that its more or less true.If atoms didn't exist, we wouldn't have atomic theory.If electromagnetism didn't exist, we wouldn't have electromagnetic theory.If germs didn't exist, we wouldn't have germ theory.If evolution didn't exist, we wouldn't have evolutionary theory.We can never seem to get past Science 101 – trying to update people on their education about the basic terms and process of science. Most of them don't care to know.I think we'd be quite a bit less jaded if intellectual honesty was more common, and people tried to learn.

  73. says

    Jonathon: I do not think, however, his use of the word spontaneous(ly) is warranted though.Based on what you go on to say, I think you misunderstand what is meant by "spontaneously" in that context. It's referring to what certain molecules do under certain conditions. When baking soda and vinegar are brought together, the molecules react spontaneously to form carbon dioxide and water. When water is brought below a certain temperature (depending on conditions like air pressure), the water molecules will spontaneously crystallize. This just means that the reaction occurs without any external prodding. We could argue what this means for notions of causality, but it's irrelevant to the point. Unless you believe that God must intervene in the construction of each individual snowflake or the reaction of any two chemicals, the term "spontaneous" shouldn't be controversial.Of course, that's the big debate. If I flip a coin, it does not really land a certain side spontaneously. As it spins and flips in the air there is gravity, air resistance, inertia, etc., exerting their respective forces on it. What force does chance exert on the coin?Chance isn't a force. It's certainly possible that, if you knew all the relevant data–exact position of the coin before flipping, exact distribution of the coin's mass, air currents in the room, forces acting on the coin when you flip it, etc.–you could exactly model each coin flip. The problem is that it's wildly impractical to gather all that data, and there's an actual limit to how certain you could be. In practice, systems like coin flips and dice rolls rely on so many complex factors, and are so sensitive to initial conditions, that they are more easily modeled in a probabilistic fashion than a deterministic one–which is all that "chance" really means in a classical Newtonian physics sense. It's not saying that the causes are unknown or unknowable, but that the system follows a probabilistic model. This is opposed to quantum mechanics, where some systems are objectively random, and are in principle unpredictable, even given all data on initial conditions. I want to say again that I appreciate your willingness to listen and research, Jonathon. I hope you'll forgive some of the commenters here for being terse; they're used to dealing with a different class of theist, and old habits die hard.

  74. says

    The example about a red button is a good one. If the button is pushed, then the light will turn on. Trying to disprove that hypothesis in turn supports it. Everyone is thinking the same way here. The difference is the glass is half full or half empty. Those two statements do not oppose each other. Trying to disprove a hypothesis does not oppose trying to prove it. When considering a crime, it much more efficient to attempt to show a suspect is not guilty than trying to show that he is. I posit that the same is true when considering a hypothesis of most kinds.However, I did not say that a hypothesis unproven means that it corresponds to reality. When there are multiple variables to deal with, it is far quicker to deduce to the correct one instead of induce the correct one. The red button example is simple, all variables are known; the conditions have been dealt with and set up already.I was simply meaning to say that Atheism is ultimately going to face a burden of proof. Once all the arguments for Theism have been offered, and all have been rejected, Atheism will have deduced to the point where there will be something they must prove. When considering likely explanations to a crime, a group of investigators sit around and offer what they have thought of and the others try to poke holes in it using the evidence from the scene and past experience. Eventually, when all explanations have been considered (hopefully all), there will be something left to prove. No suspect is charged unless something holds up to the burden of proof (hopefully no one is charged), until then no official conclusion is stated. The case remains open.

  75. says

    I was simply meaning to say that Atheism is ultimately going to face a burden of proof. Once all the arguments for Theism have been offered, and all have been rejected, Atheism will have deduced to the point where there will be something they must proveNO.1. we-are-not-claiming-anything, YOU ARE!!!!2. What the hell is there to prove? Replace God with ghosts and you will see how ridiculous your argument is. Wait i will do it for you since you never listen anyway.Your argument: I was simply meaning to say that ghost non-belief is ultimately going to face a burden of proof. Once all the arguments for ghosts have been offered, and all have been rejected, nonbelievers will have deduced to the point where there will be something they must prove!See, that sounds ridiculous…because it is.You want us to prove a negative, after "all arguments" for it have been offered and rejected.Are you serious?Besides, "all arguments for theism", will never be offered. There is literally an infinite amount of arguments you could make for a god, since you can "define" god as you wish.I recommend you to watch this video. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5wV_REEdvxo

  76. says

    No suspect is charged unless something holds up to the burden of proof (hopefully no one is charged), until then no official conclusion is stated. The case remains open.Well, welcome to atheism. We are the ones saying the case is open.Ironically, you, as a theist, are the one claiming the case is closed. Since you are the one believing (positive statement) that there is a god.Kinda sad that don't see the hole in your logic. This is the third time you are telling atheist to be open-minded (we are) and not jump to conclusions until there is evidence, while being the one with the positive belief that there is a god.I don't know how much clearer i can say this. You-jumped-to-a-conclusion without meeting the burden of proof! You closed the case!I sense cognitive dissonance:Hey atheists stay open minded! Don't jump to conclusions! Until the burden of proof is met, the case is open! Oh btw, im a theist, there is a god and therefore atheism is false.facepalm 2000

  77. says

    @JonathanI was simply meaning to say that Atheism is ultimately going to face a burden of proof.No, it isn't. Default atheism does not make a claim. We just aren't buying what you're selling.Once all the arguments for Theism have been offered, and all have been rejected, Atheism will have deduced to the point where there will be something they must prove.Why do you figure that? Have you even read what we've been saying about the process of hypothesis, evidence and science?When considering likely explanations to a crime, a group of investigators sit around and offer what they have thought of and the others try to poke holes in it using the evidence from the scene and past experience.You've got it ass backwards. Perhaps in forensics they do things in a sloppy way, but in science, it's much more rigorous and precise.You don't just sit around and conjure up explanations. You form an explanation only when there's positive evidence to indicate it, and not before.Eventually, when all explanations have been considered (hopefully all), there will be something left to prove. No suspect is charged unless something holds up to the burden of proof (hopefully no one is charged), until then no official conclusion is stated. The case remains open.Basically, the way you describe it, the focus is totally off. You're focused on disproving things as the primary mechanism. Science focuses on Proving things (as much as science can) as its primary mechanism.Concepts are accepted when they're positively demonstrated, and not because they haven't been disproven. Until they've been positively demonstrated, all the disproving in the world doesn't make you much progress.

  78. says

    If you have any interest in accuracy, you must follow where the evidence leads you, which denotes relying on positive evidence for a claim.Sometimes, the reality of what you're investigating is so bizarre, that that brainstorming group of yours would never guess it. By following the evidence you can cut through bias, subjective interpretations and a whole host of other interference, to arrive at the real conclusion, even if it seems anti-intuitive.Sitting around brainstorming ideas assumes the answer is "normal" enough for the people to think up.

  79. says

    Apologies for my repeat posts. Sometimes I keep thinking about a topic for awhile after the discussion is paused.You keep trying to find ways to shift the burden of proof from the person making a claim, to the people you are trying to convince of the claim. It's nonsensical.The burden of proof is always on the person making the claim. It's not up to us to prove you wrong. Falsification is handy when a piece of evidence supports multiple possibilities.There's many practical reasons for this, ranging from the sheer amounts of claims being made from day to day, to claims being unfalsifiable.I detect that you seem to think that atheists claim positively that there is no god. This is true for some, but you'll find that it's actually a minority viewpoint. Most of us are on a neutral/pending status. We aren't accepting the claim that a god does exist, nor are we necessarily accepting the claim that one doesn't exist (And please don't bring up the "Well, you're an agnostic then", because that's a whole other topic, and the fact is, there's a ton of atheists out there, and this is how we describe ourselves).Until you've demonstrated that there's a good reason for us to buy your product (god), we aren't required to prove to you, the salesman, that there's bad reasons to buy it, else we're forced to purchase it. That's essentially the shift in burden that you're advocating.

  80. says

    "Once all the arguments for Theism have been offered, and all have been rejected, Atheism will have deduced to the point where there will be something they must prove."Johnathan. Why do you except Christianity over Buddhism or Hinduism? Have you disproved the Hindu or Buddhist theology? Are you aware of what special pleading is? Have you ever talked to a conspiracy theorist? They insist on being disproved and have an infinite number of ad hoc rationalizations to make that a Sisyphean task. No one is falling for the bullshit that "THIS IS HOW WEZ DO IT EVERY TIME". Because a lot of us ARE in scientific or investigatory fields and KNOW that you're bullshitting. The first part of the scientific method is really determining if there's anything there to study at all. Since the God idea cannot be demonstrated, it is not the default position that has to be disproved.

  81. says

    "No suspect is charged unless something holds up to the burden of proof (hopefully no one is charged), until then no official conclusion is stated. The case remains open."Yes, and this goes against your claim. The question of whether there is a god is an open case. It is not reasonable to take a firm stance and believe either side. The stance "is there god" is unproven and thus unworthy of acceptance. The great lack of evidence pointing towards a god thus makes most of us conclude that there probably isn't one. The fact that you've redefined god over the millennium into a nebulous untestable and unfalsifiable concept does not mean you're rewarded with it being a default given. The rational result is that one cannot accept the "god is real' premise, thus atheism. I'm going to go even further and say that while god is probably not real or not shown to be real, the Christian God and Christ are most definitely not real. Christian scripture and theology is an incomprehensible mess that defeats itself right out of the gate. All powerful BUT needs blood sacrifice in order to save peopleAll loving BUT has forgiveness and salvation hinged on a conditional basis. Salvation from a threat he created…but he loves you!All just BUT has created an elaborate loop hole to help the guilty escape the punishment they deserveAll knowing BUT can't find a way to communicate well enough to convince most of the world and history in his existence, not even looking at his horrendous communication on his desires with people in direct telepathic communication with himWhy haven't you accepted Buddhism which appears to have far less glaring problems? At least it's not dead right out of the gate.

  82. says

    "I want to say again that I appreciate your willingness to listen and research, Jonathon. I hope you'll forgive some of the commenters here for being terse; they're used to dealing with a different class of theist, and old habits die hard."Please, Johnathan is the same class.

  83. says

    "I was simply meaning to say that Atheism is ultimately going to face a burden of proof." Jonathan,I do not believe in leprechauns. Why not? Because leprechaunism has not met the burden of proof – any burden of proof – for its truth claims. We aleprechaunists do not have to turn the world upside-down looking for them – and not find any – before we can withhold belief.Indeed, how would we conduct such a search, given that we're talking about magical creatures here? A census of the Tuatha Dé Danann? "Well, no leprechauns here. I guess our disbelief is justified." Please.The moment at which my aleprechaunism carries a burden of proof arrives when an actual leprechaun walks up to me and says, "Top o' th' mornin' to ye!"From that point forward, from the point at which real evidence for leprechauns exists, the burden of proof does indeed shift to those denying their reality.It's the same with theism, Jon.

  84. says

    "Once all the arguments for Theism have been offered, and all have been rejected, Atheism will have deduced to the point where there will be something they must prove."I am sorry, but this is just nonsense. My neighbor Bob has a theory that Leonardo Dicaprio rides a magic dragon called Puff back forth to the movie studios each day. I say, I don't know how Leonardo gets to work but I don't believe for a second that it is on the back of a magic dragon. Once all Bob's arguments for dragonism have been offered and all have been rejected will my non-dragonism have something to prove? That argument just doesn't make any sense at all.

  85. says

    Also you said:"if what you believe does not correspond to reality, then you have no logical reason to believe it."This is why we are athiests and exactly why atheism doesn't have the burden of proof. You say you have good reason for your belief, so supposedly you have some answers so lets hear them. If you have some evidence of god that corresponds to reality please share it. You keep saying what an open-minded fellow you are and that is all well and good but you also keep implying there is good reason for your belief without stating what those reasons actually are.

  86. says

    …Atheism will have deduced to the point where…Jon,I hate to do the Grammar Police thing but you're missing a direct object.Atheism will have deduced… WHAT?

  87. says

    JT, I just hope it dawns on Jon that he cannot hit us with anything we haven't seen, heard and knocked down dozens of times.Not because we atheists are oh-so-smart, but because apologists simply have nothing new in their game. They've shot their collective bolts.Jon could be the most articulate, rhetorically expert, fast on his feet-thinking theist who ever walked the Earth and nothing would change.Because he has no evidence. If he did, he would show it; put his cards on the table and call our skeptical bluff. But he doesn't, so he won't.

  88. says

    Theists are suggesting that the cosmos came about due to a force that is outside and different than the cosmos. The universe does exist. There is something tangible to study here. There is no tangible evidence for leprechauns or a real puff daddy dragon. If one decides to explain the origin or cause of this tangibility, hypotheses will be necessary. Eventually, a willing person will deduce down to an explanation that he agrees with. At that point, if he is still willing, he must then prove this to himself, and if he is zealous, he will share his belief. I suppose, then, that Atheism is a rejection of the attempt to explain the tangibility of the universe…? And I did not choose Buddhism because I don't think it has answers that would satisfy me. Also, to be honest, I have never been effectively exposed to Buddhism. What I have read about it though, makes it seem like a dead end. I have not had the chance to converse with a Buddhist.

  89. says

    "You keep saying what an open-minded fellow you are and that is all well and good but you also keep implying there is good reason for your belief without stating what those reasons actually are."1) I exist.2) I am within a finite temporal universe.3) This universe has not the ability to include actual infinities (as opposed to potential infinities).4) Since it is finite, it must have a beginning (and eventually an end).5) Since it is finite and has a beginning, it must be contingent upon something other than itself.6) Therefore, something exists (being) outside of and apart from my universe that has the power to have caused this universe.Is that well enough? Of course, this only gets us to Deism, but once (if) we get past this, we can then move on to show why Theism is the most likely situation.

  90. says

    @JTI blame Martin for apparently having something more important to do than sit around approving blog comments all day. :)*shakes fist angrily at the moderation queue*

  91. Martin says

    I am enjoying reading all of this, so don't worry that I'm blowing you all off (though it has been a crazy busy month, keeping me away from actually writing new stuff).

  92. says

    @ JonathanYou did not prove deism. You assumed that the universe is finite, and then said "well, it must have come from somewhere". I could just as easily argue that the existence of gold points to some gold-making entity. I'm not saying it's a leprechaun, but Buddhism doesn't have any answers to satisfy me, and I've never spoken to anyone else who disagrees with me on the subject.

  93. says

    I agree with George.In fact, we're so familiar with these apologetics that we're now on a first-name basis.

  94. says

    "Theists are suggesting that the cosmos came about due to a force that is outside and different than the cosmos"Some scientists suggest similar concepts like our universe is a bubble inside a larger construct etc. But that says nothing about an intelligent force."There is no tangible evidence for leprechauns or a real puff daddy dragon."If I propose that Puff lived outside the universe and created it, does the fact that the universe exist suddenly mean I have tangible evidence for Puff the magic dragon? This is the fallacy that you are falling into."I suppose, then, that Atheism is a rejection of the attempt to explain the tangibility of the universe…?"This statement is simply flat wrong. I don't think I have ever met even one atheist that says we shouldn't attempt to understand the universe. It is just that atheists (generally) want to keep our hypothesis for how it happened in accordance with what we actually observe and can verify in the universe.

  95. says

    Thanks for your reasoning on why you believe Jonathon but there are some problems. First, point 3 I don't agree with, our minds are notoriously bad at understanding and conceptualizing infinities. I would say that infinities is still an open question and not something that can serve as a premise in a syllogism. Of course, I don't think that the answer either way is really that relevant to the god question.Again #4 is simply an assertion. I don't accept it and I don't think most atheists would accept it as proof of god because either:1) All things must have a beginning2) It is possible that some things do not have a beginning.That is it, no middle ground so from that we get1) If #1 above then even if a god existed, it also had a beginning and what created god?or2) If #2 above then why can't the universe be the thing that does not have a beginning?And finally you state your point 6 in very neutral terms. You say something outside our known universe exists that caused our universe to exist. But could that not simply be another cosmological process like the big bang or black holes? You haven't bridged the gap from, "something happened out there" to "and it was a sentient all-powerful creator being". Until you cross that gap you haven't shown evidence for a god at all. So I disagree that it even gets us to deism.

  96. says

    OK I can't resist.The whole "every effect must have a cause" in particular is a problem. Why do you think that? Because we've never seen it happen?There's a ton of stuff about the universe, and how it works, that can boggle the mind. Much of it is non-intuitive. I don't know how many times I heard "What keeps satellites from falling down?" in high school science.It could very well be that there is an infinite chain of events going back forever (And we just can't see past the big bang yet).You asserting that it can't be is like primitive man looking around and declaring that there's no way the Earth could be round, because it look flat to you. Once you're in extreme enough conditions, it starts to become apparent, when, from your limited experience before, it wasn't.You've cornered yourself into a conundrum:If you think that there can't be an effect without a cause, because we've never seen it, you must accept that there's no god, because we've never seen it.If you accept that there could be causeless effects, then you're admitting that you're simply arbitrarily picking a conclusion/assumption out of a hat, without any justification as to why you've chosen that one over others.This sort of goes back to the fact that its not our burden of proof to disprove a claim. Most atheists understand that we have basically no evidence of anything happening before the big bang. There's nothing to draw any kind of conclusion from. So, our status, in regards to what started the universe is "We don't know.", and it's silly to start positing conclusions without any solid evidence, especially when the circumstances get bizarre (Think black hole physics).Keep in mind also, that the ratio of confirmed naturally occurring things we've discovered, compared to the number of confirmed supernaturally occurring things, is literally something like 100,000,000,000,000,000 to 0.Thus, if I were to, based on "past experience" intuitively gauge the likely cause of a new phenomenon, I'd think it'd be much much more likely that it's a natural mechanism.

  97. says

    Jonathan said"Theists are suggesting that the cosmos came about due to a force that is outside and different than the cosmos. The universe does exist. There is something tangible to study here. There is no tangible evidence for leprechauns or a real puff daddy dragon."With that logic; If I claim that Puff the Dragon creates all fire then that must be the case because the fire is a tangible effect. I would just have to claim that Puff is "outside and different than the cosmos" and that is why there is no other evidence for him needed other than the existence of fire.(BTW Jonathan – the burden of proof lies with me and my dragon fire claim.)

  98. says

    Goddamn it John. Did you not pass Calc I? #3 is just flat wrong. Also I'm calling bullshit. No one believes BECAUSE of the first cause arguement, they rationalize with the first cause arguement. As everyone else pointed out First Cause doesn't point to a god even if it is/was valid. It points to a first cause, which could be a freaking virtual particle, an extrademensional something, or that first cause is wrong and time is infinite (again there's no reason to presume nothing is the preferred state over something…Entropy tends to be favored and something has a damn lot more of that than nothing). Hell technically, first cause doesn't' rule out retro causality (insanely advanced life forms going back in time and creating the universe in a time loop). First cause is one of the best arguments for God, IMO, but just because it's a possibility and might justify belief if you really really want it to, doesn't make it a) rational or b) a good argument. I believe in a big bounce universe, because i like the idea of cycling rebirth. It has some evidence which is why I latch on to it, but isn't proven and I'm not going to argue that it's the most likely or the rational system to accept.

  99. says

    I believe the universe does not contain any Actual Infinities because there is simply no room. If one thing was Actually Infinite, in energy or mass, it would literally be all there is and the only thing there is; it would take up everywhere; all potential for anything else would be non existent. And in calculus we learn about Potential Infinities. Like a clock that perpetually ticks on and on infinitely will never become and Actual Infinity because there will always be one more second to add. This is why if the universe did not have a beginning, i.e., a cyclical big bounce universe, today would never arrive because there would always be one more second to traverse before today, and Now would never Actually arrive.But here we are, in the Now. So, even if the universe is bouncing, it still has only bounced a finite number of times and has still has a beginning.And yes, I did leave the first cause open to be anything because whatever the first cause is, is God. This idea is what God was hinting at in Exodus when talking to Moses. He told Moses to say that, "I AM," sent him. Oops, I just hinted that I think at least the Jewish God is the most likely case.

  100. says

    Oh, and the only 'ism' that the First Cause argument supports completely is Deism, that is God created the universe, set it in motion, and is now only outside watching and has never intervened since. I, however, am a Theist, not a Deist.Thomas Jefferson is said to have been a Deist.

  101. says

    "And yes, I did leave the first cause open to be anything because whatever the first cause is, is God."Well, with that statement it appears we are at a dead end. You are simply asserting without evidence that whatever is beyond the edge of current science is going to be god. I find this foolish.So much apologetics (TAM, kalam, first cause, etc) is geared toward getting you to the edge of scientific knowledge and then just assuming that anything unknown, well that is where god is and what he does. 2000 years ago that edge was lightning, earthquakes, and the sky. Now it is black holes and abiogenesis. It doesn't seem to matter to theists that each time we push the curtain that rests over our knowledge back a little more that god isn't revealed. Also, theists you don't have to go through all these hoops to get to "I don't know". Any skeptic will fully admit that there is plenty we don't know. But the difference is for the skeptic "I don't know" means simply, that we don't know and for a theist "I don't know" seems to mean "god did it". If we can't agree that lack of knowledge doesn't constitute proof of something then the rest of the discussion is moot. "Thomas Jefferson is said to have been a Deist."Oh, well since all the cool kids are doing it I'm going to become a deist too.

  102. says

    "today would never arrive because there would always be one more second to traverse before today, and Now would never Actually arrive."Thats the same misunderstanding of Zeno's paradox that theists use all the time, and its wrong. I'm sure others can explain it better, but I might as well take a stab at it. Time being infinite has no bearing on the actual passage of it. Time doesn't really have to "start" somewhere and then build up to today, its just a label we put on events and movement of matter.

  103. says

    This is why if the universe did not have a beginning, i.e., a cyclical big bounce universe, today would never arrive because there would always be one more second to traverse before today, and Now would never Actually arrive.But doesn't the exact same argument apply to god? So, god also had a beginning.

  104. says

    Let me make that a bit clearer. 1. God created the universe2. The universe has existed for a finite period of time3. God is eternal4. Therefore an eternal period of time had to pass before god created the universe5. Therefore the universe hasn't been created yetSince this is an absurd conclusion, at least one of the three premises must be wrong.

  105. says

    I like it Lukas. :)Although you could probably drop steps 1 & 2 and still make the point. The idea that infinite time would prevent you from reaching today doesn't square with the idea of an eternal god.

  106. says

    @JonThe problem with pure logical 'proofs' is that ALL the premises must be 100% absolutely, unambiguously, 100% exclusively demonstrated.As soon as one of the premises is "as far as we know", or "I'm assuming" or "It seems reasonable that..", the pure-logical-argument fails.That's why evidence is so important.What makes you think the "first-cause" is intelligent? How do you know it isn't just another natural mechanism? How do you know that time doesn't "Start over" on separate timelines for each potential universe?Once you exit the "known universe", as we know it, literally anything goes in terms of explanations. Attempting to use our limited perspective to try to gauge what happened outside of the basic mechanics that we even know if is pretty much taking blind stabs in the dark.It's absurd that you're pitching an argument that assumes so many things, and then declare that deism, at least, is now established.On another note, I don't really care if Jefferson was a deist. If Einstein walked up to me and said, "There's a god", I, and along with most other skeptics/scientists, would say, "Show me the evidence." Einstein is famous because he figured out some sciency stuff, AND was able to produce a theory that could be analyzed/studied/tested by others. We didn't just accept what he had to say, just because he said it.

  107. says

    @JeremiahYou're right, it's not strictly necessary. You could make this argument in many different ways as a response to the argument Johnathon gave.E.g.1. God is eternal2. If anything eternal exists, we would never have gotten to today3. Therefore god does not exist

  108. says

    "And yes, I did leave the first cause open to be anything because whatever the first cause is, is God. This idea is what God was hinting at in Exodus when talking to Moses. He told Moses to say that, "I AM," sent him. Oops, I just hinted that I think at least the Jewish God is the most likely case. "God also showed his backside to MOses, do you think God has an anus? —————————————Also potential infinity? I don't remember the term "Potential" infinity showing up at all in all my math classes, and I went pretty high up in the advanced math. Is potential infinity like "micro evolution"?————————————-"Oops, I just hinted that I think at least the Jewish God is the most likely case."Ok, so going by your insistence on how forensics works, what is your disproof of Hindu pantheism, Shinto animism, Islam Theism, Zoroastrianism, Scientology, Mormon theism, and Pagan polytheism? Word of advice is that you want to stay as vague and far way from the biblical God as possible in this argument, cause now you've just justified the Problem of Evil being brought up. Not to mention all the other absurd self contradictory qualities of Jebus-Tri-God that you very conveniently ignore. Like I said, John doesn't believe because of first cause at all or any of the crap he's arguing for. He's bullshitting us and believes because the bible says so. I am trying to be nicer and not fly off the cuff as its clearly not a good representation, I scoff at John because he is clearly deliberately wasting our time.

  109. says

    I CAN HAZ RELIGION?The illiteracy of these people is the biggest religious atrocity! Well, not really, but it's pretty bad.

  110. says

    Hey, we have not gotten far enough yet (in this discussion) to enter the 'Problem of Evil', or start showing how other 'isms' are less likely or wrong. However, a new blog could be started for that.

  111. says

    First, Zeno's paradox is not relevant. It calls for dividing a finite space into infinite pieces so that you can never cross that many pieces. The reason it doesn't work is because nothing infinite can exist within something finite. However, if you change it to always adding one more inch in front of you until you arrive at a destination, you will never arrive at the destination. And that is not relevant to Zeno's Paradox.Second, the First Cause does not have a beginning. The argument states, "What has a beginning has a cause." God does not have a beginning, therefore, He does not have a Cause. How could He be a First Cause if He has a cause? The First Cause is outside of space-time. The Kalam argument shows that when you arrive at the First Cause, it must be infinitely powerful and infinitely existent (eternal). The only other alternative is infinite regression, which does not work on two counts. 1) An effect cannot be greater than its cause. Therefore, each cause must be smaller than the one before it. If there were an infinite number of causes before, the effect now would be infinitely small (non existent), but here we are. 2) Going the other direction, each cause must be larger than the one after it. Because we are here now, every cause before now must already be actual. But how can every cause be larger and larger going in the past infinitely but not be actually infinite? That is violating the law of non-contradiciton. You cannot say, "the past is potentially infinite" and also claim that, "the past is actually infinite." It self contradictory.You must claim one or the other because both cannot be true and there are no other alternatives. I have demonstrated that the past cannot be potentially infinite, that is infinite regression. So I believe that the universe is finite both in space and time and that whatever caused the universe must be infinitely powerful in every way. Which means that this Cause has been, is, and will always be, all at the same time (eternal) because time is a part of this universe.

  112. says

    Also, I used to believe, not because the Bible says I should, but because the church said I should. Then, when I was 19, I realized I had no rationale to support what I believed. I became scientifically skeptical. I tested everything I read and heard. I realized that religion actually does more harm than finding out the truth. May I here, then, apologize for every horrible thing that has been done in the name of Christianity. To be honest, most of you probably know of more atrocities in Christian history than I do. However, I have heard and read of some horrible things. And I am sorry that it was done in the name of religion. I have learned that religion will condemn you. I actually said that when addressing a congregation at the church where I am a member. I became a member of that church because it was the only way they would let me teach a class. I am really sorry for things that may have been done, especially to the reader of this message, in the name of Christianity. I implore you to not be blinded by what people have done. Especially since Jesus Christ was crucified by the church in the name of Religion. They said he was a heretic. He said he was God. That is a pretty powerful statement. One that is worth looking into. Mohammed said he was a prophet and wrote the Karan. That is a powerful statement, one worth looking into. By the way, Islam claims that the Bible is one of their holy books. The problem, though, is that the Karan and the Bible contradict each other, so at least one of them is wrong.

  113. says

    Jonathan says"First Cause does not have a beginning"10 Let universe=firstcause20 Goto 10Look,the universe has no beginning and is infinite.

  114. says

    There are also people in insane asylums that claim they are god. I don't consider it to be a powerful statement worth looking into."Second, the First Cause does not have a beginning. The argument states, "What has a beginning has a cause." God does not have a beginning, therefore, He does not have a Cause. How could He be a First Cause if He has a cause? "That is kind of the point. And I suppose you have some reason why god gets a pass on needing a cause and the universe can't. If god can 'just exist' and can be 'eternal' lets just say that the universe 'just exists' and is 'eternal'. Why add an extra step? But see we are just back at square one again. We followed you down the path and at the end of the road all you have to offer is blanket unsupported assertions. So yeah… the conversation is pretty much done. If you want to continue you can scroll back up to the top and start reading again since we have created a nice little loop here.And I am not sure why you are apoligizing for Christians. I am not an atheist because some Christians did some bad things. I am an atheist because religious doctrines don't stand up to logical reasoning.

  115. says

    Second, the First Cause does not have a beginning. The argument states, "What has a beginning has a cause." God does not have a beginning, therefore, He does not have a Cause. How could He be a First Cause if He has a cause? The First Cause is outside of space-time.The whole point is that you've arbitrarily chosen god as the 'first cause', instead of other possibilities, such as the UNIVERSE being the first cause… assuming there's a first cause at all.Again, you're making baseless assertions about a state of existence (if there's one at all) outside the scope of our knowledge, outside the scope of our understood mechanics, outside of this universe, and especially outside of any kind of solid evidence whatsoever. You've just chosen this one thing out of a hat that happens to be most comfortable to you.1) An effect cannot be greater than its cause. Therefore, each cause must be smaller than the one before it. If there were an infinite number of causes before, the effect now would be infinitely small (non existent), but here we are...Assuming our basic logic and mechanics apply at all. Again, you're projecting a set of understandings into a realm where they may not apply at all.2) Going the other direction, each cause must be larger than the one after it. Because we are here now, every cause before now must already be actual. But how can every cause be larger and larger going in the past infinitely but not be actually infinite? That is violating the law of non-contradiciton. You cannot say, "the past is potentially infinite" and also claim that, "the past is actually infinite." It self contradictory.What are you babbling about, in regards to "smaller" and "larger"? It seems to be the crux of your argument, besides everything being assumed. Going "forward", there's no guarantee that the chain of cause-and-effect won't die out. It only violates logic when you've established a false syllogism.You must claim one or the other because both cannot be true and there are no other alternatives.1) We call that a "failure of imagination". 2) You're assuming the basic concepts of cause-and-effect apply outside of existence, as we know it.I have demonstrated that the past cannot be potentially infinite, that is infinite regression. So I believe that the universe is finite both in space and time and that whatever caused the universe must be infinitely powerful in every way.Which means that this Cause has been, is, and will always be, all at the same time (eternal) because time is a part ofthis universe.No, you haven't. You've asserted a handful of assumptions and stitched them together into some kind of monster.Again, what makes you think it's intelligent? What makes you think it isn't just another natural mechanism? Don't you have to disprove that it wasn't a natural mechanism first? It's like you're asserting that a forest fire was started by a supreme being, when it's perfectly possible, that given the right conditions, that a natural even sparked it (lightning).I actually agree with you that I don't think THIS universe is infinite, even though there are infinite things, as far as we understand it, within this universe (See singularities). It's like you're into Harry Potter physics, and have simply decided that it applies equally to everything else, whether it be quantum physics or mowing the lawn. You can't seem to dislodge yourself from that MASSIVE assumption.

  116. says

    I need a better analogy than harry potter and mowing.But that's the point. The disparaging difference between what we understand and know to be true in this existence, versus how things might work outside of this existence is so great that I can't even conjure analogy that remotely comes close to conveying it.All you have to do is study up on quantum mechanics and black holes to see some real life examples of some of the most bizarre stuff you'll ever encounter. The mathematics of the space-time curvature around a singularity is mind-numbing (see tensor calculus).And yet, you have the audacity xor arrogance to project your (and our) feeble understanding of the universe far outside the scope for which those mechanics apply?You do not see the fallacy of that?

  117. says

    If you study up on the concept of singularities (Whether it be the big bang or black holes), you'll find that the concept of time gets warped pretty badly.It's possible that the concept of time doesn't exist "before" the big bang. Without time, there's no concept of "cause and effect", and without that, there's no "First mover"….then what happened? Who knows? We have zero data, zero evidence (and no, apologetics, which are full of error and assumptions do not count as evidence)… nothing to work with to discern ANYTHING about "before" the big bang. We have no fossils, no archaeology, no microwave background radiation that indicates anything "before" it – NOTHING.And yet, despite the fact that we have nothing to work with, you flatly assert a set of assumptions, declare its a god for no good reason, and figure that's good enough to believe.

  118. says

    An effect cannot be greater than its cause. Therefore, each cause must be smaller than the one before it.First, please define your terms ("greater than…" What does that mean? In what way? ) and demonstrate.Second, B doesn't follow from A. The effect could be equal to the cause without violating your premise.Of course, that wouldn't allow you to set up your argument.God does not have a beginningProve it.The First Cause is outside of space-timeTranslation: It's MAGIC!Please demonstrate that anything exists outside space-time.I am really sorry for things that may have been done, especially to the reader of this message, in the name of Christianity. I implore you to not be blinded by what people have doneSo we're back to how many people on here would say they had a really bad experience with a "christian" or something done in the name of religion that helped push them away from belief in God? (From Coming Out)I think we've already discussed the problems with that and why we find it offensive.

  119. says

    Ok, I know it's not PC to do this…but anyone want to do a show of hands on who believes that Johnathan was once "Scientifically skeptical" like the rest of us?

  120. says

    The arguement form "JESUS WAS SO NICE!"Well…no he wasn't. He said some good things, did some good things (in context of the story), but also said some really bad things and did some really really nasty things. He wasn't Mr. Myogi from Karate Kid, He was rude to his mother. He was rude to a woman who came begging him to cure her son, and border line racist. He preached infinite punishment for those who disagreed with him, and ultimate salvation for even the worse offenders who followed him. He encouraged followers to sell all they had and abandon their families and responsibilities. He told people to forsake this world in favor of following him. He claimed to bring the Sword not the peace. He claimed he would destroy families and turn people against each other. He justified luxuries on himself after all that by saying "the poor will always be with you". His followers stole from other's crops. He destroyed other's property on several occasions (livestock, trees, etc). He savagely beat merchants for breaking a rule he arbitrarily decided and thought it would be awesome to enforce on people who had never been informed of this. He started basically a riot in the temple. Not only was he not the prince of peace, but if he did all that, under Roman law he should have been punished for breaking the peace. And of course he'll come back, save only those who he likes, be they philanthropist or pedophile, and torture everyone else for eternity. THe Jesus in pop culture is not the Jesus in the bible. Oh and on Islam, the gospels alone contradict themselves. I can't see any reason to keep talking to John, he's just going to preach at us again and again while acting self righteous and superior with his lab coat on playing Mr. scientist looking down on us plebs. I'm just gonna say my default response to anything John says is a muttered "idiot…". Yes, John I'm saying you're not bright, because that's how you're acting.

  121. DementedSnake says

    I know it's a late response but…It's scary to think that I'm not sure if this is prank email or if this person really thinks like this.Poe's Law is terrifying sometimes.

  122. says

    I came up with a different take on itGoing the other direction, each cause must be larger than the one after it. Because we are here now, every cause before now must already be actual. But how can every cause be larger and larger going in the past infinitely but not be actually infinite?Seems to me this argument works against you.If the universe as it is now is finite and the first cause is infinite, wouldn't you have to go an infinite number of steps (and therefore an infinite period of time) back before you get to the infinitely big First Cause.See, a finite number of steps, no matter how many, will never leads us to the infinitely big First Cause. Only an infinite number of steps could do that, resulting in an infinitely old universe.I think a lot of the problems we run into here come from treating infinity as if it's a number.It's not. It's a concept. Math breaks down when you use infinity. The normal rules don't apply anymore. Do math with infinity and you get absurdity, as I think is clear by now. Your argument simultaneously says that the universe must be finite (your original argument) AND infinite (the argument I just made.)anyone want to do a show of hands on who believes that Johnathan was once "Scientifically skeptical" like the rest of us?I wouldn't want to speculate about John's personal history. All I can say is that I've heard that line too many times from too many narrow-minded people to be very impressed by it.To me, it's completely irrelevant. Who you were doesn't matter. The arguments you make now do.

  123. says

    the gospels alone contradict themselvesDon't get me started. I've had a little project going on lately: Cutting up the gospels and arranging the texts so that matching stories from each gospel are put together, allowing you to easily compare them.I knew there were differences, but OH BOY! The only things they can agree on are the places where one has obviously quoted directly from another.I encourage everyone to do this exercise. It's quite interesting. One might even say enlightening.

  124. says

    "The whole point is that you've arbitrarily chosen god as the 'first cause', instead of other possibilities, such as the UNIVERSE being the first cause… assuming there's a first cause at all."Arbitrarily? I don't understand how you figured that. No, I am OK with what I think God is. I don't think He is a black hole though.Ok, well, lets think about the universe being the first cause. If the universe was the first cause, well simply put, that would mean the universe is God. It would also mean that everything in the universe (God; infinity) would be the same, as in Monism, Pantheism, and Oprahism. Monism has not been accepted for a millennia. That would mean that Mount Rushmore would be God, you would be God, and so would a pile of horse apples.So you think a singularity is infinite? I suppose you mean infinitely dense. Funny, I was sure that there is a finite amount of mass that becomes, enters a black hole. If that is wrong, how is more mass added to something that is already infinite? Really, that is an honest question… I'll google it.

  125. says

    "If the universe was the first cause, well simply put, that would mean the universe is God"Why? Why doesn't that just make the universe the universe? Why are you so attached to this god label? You seem to assume that we have to include this god label somewhere but give no reason why. If the universe had no cause beyond the big bang how does that make Mount Rushmore god? My question would be what is your definition of god? If it is a sentient supernatural being then clearly labeling the universe god simply because it is all that exists doesn't make any more sense than labeling it a unicorn.Alternatively if you try to strip god down in definition to just be the base reality of the universe or something, well why use the label god? That doesn't really fit that definition at all and carries all sorts of other implicit meanings, not least of which is anthropomorphism. Lets call such a thing… Bob instead.

  126. says

    So, first you insist that the first cause must be god, no matter what it actually isIf the universe was the first cause, well simply put, that would mean the universe is God.Then you criticize the idea because it makes no sense calling the universe god.It would also mean that everything in the universe (God; infinity) would be the same, as in Monism, Pantheism, and Oprahism. Monism has not been accepted for a millennia.The you outright ridicule itThat would mean that Mount Rushmore would be God, you would be God, and so would a pile of horse apples.And yet you don't seem to realize that YOU are the one who insisted on using the word god in the first place.If YOU insist on using the word god, you can't criticize US when it doesn't make any sense.

  127. says

    @JonathanI do not know if the universe always existed or had beginning and whether even asking this question actually makes sense.I do not know if the universe is infinite.In fact nobody knows the above to a suitable degree of confidence that could be considered a knowledge claim.No crude attempts at a verbal slight of hand can change that.

  128. says

    "Well…if he killed himself with the circular saw that would make it a suicide…but that's ridiculous so lets ignore it!"Do you have any self reflection or internal irony meter at all? See you're not being honest and all intellectual. If the first cause was a moldy piece of bacon it would be god because damn it there just HAS to be A god!!!

  129. says

    @jonI wonder what your definition of "god" is, because you seem to use it fairly loosely.It's sort of a wildcard that you can place on anything, and then let the implied baggage filter through.If the universe was the "first cause", why would we need to label it "god". We already have a label for it. It's called "universe".Arbitrarily? I don't understand how you figured that. No, I am OK with what I think God is. I don't think He is a black hole though.Yes, arbitrarily. There's literally infinite possibilities, and you've chosen one without good cause. That's the definition of arbitrary, pretty much.Why don't you think the god is a black hole? Black holes are the single most powerful objects in this universe. It's possible that every big bang is the result of all matter and energy that falls into a black hole of another universe, which would basically make each black hole the creator (even as mormon-ish as that sounds).You seem to be willing to allow your preconceived conclusions about what you've already accepted a god to be to direct what you're willing to accept as a conclusion about any particular topic. You aren't even willing to admit that you're projecting understanding into a "realm" for which we have no knowledge or data to analyze. We can't even determine if "outside" the universe "exists", and yet you're more than comfortable to be launching assertions left and right about it, like an excited cowboy firing off his revolvers into the air.If the universe was the first cause, well simply put, that would mean the universe is God.Please show your work. I don't know how you got from A to B. You just made a blind assertion.It would also mean that everything in the universe (God; infinity) would be the same, as in Monism, Pantheism, and Oprahism. Monism has not been accepted for a millennia.This doesn't make sense either. It's like saying that religions cannot be wrong. I don't understand how you've magically applied god to everything IN the universe.That would mean that Mount Rushmore would be God, you would be God, and so would a pile of horse apples.This bit is moot unless you can explain how you arrived at this line of reasoning from above.So you think a singularity is infinite? I suppose you mean infinitely dense. Funny, I was sure that there is a finite amount of mass that becomes, enters a black hole. If that is wrong, how is more mass added to something that is already infinite?I didn't say that all of its attributes are infinite. It has infinite density because it's volume is zero. The mass is essentially irrelevant. The gravitational pull at the singularity is infinite. The singularity itself is infinitely small. In a sense, it's also "infinitely far away".But yes, you've picked one of the few attributes that aren't infinite, and are using that to dismiss all the attributes that are, which are examples of infinity in this universe.

  130. says

    On further thought, I think I get the "Everything in the universe is a god too" reasoning. I usually think of the universe as the container, not everything inside it. If you do think of everything IN the universe as being PART of the universe, the reasoning starts to make more sense.The failure is still in assigning the god attribute to the universe.You've started with a conclusion that the "first mover" is, by definition, a god. This is distorting your reasoning.If the 'god' isn't a supreme, intelligent and all-powerful being, it's not a god. If it's not a god, then this discussion is pointless. Why do you think the "first mover" is a god? From what evidence and data do you derive intelligence from?I notice that you didn't even address my point about cause-and-effect. If time is removed from the equation, then there's no concept of cause-and-effect, and thus, no need for a 'first-mover' at all.

  131. says

    One thing I think could be confusing in the first cause rebuttal, people say why not let the universe just be infinite and save a step.We know the universe (this universe) had a beginning, and so you saying it is eternal can confuse them, even though you're using it in another context. Wouldn't it be better to say the matter/energy is eternal, and its just the forms it takes (ie this universe) which are finite. Specially since we already know matter/energy can't be created or destroyed. Or am I just misunderstanding something?

  132. says

    @Ithonicfury Yeah, I was a bit concerned about the scope thing but didn't want to get too long-winded. It kind of depends on if your definition of the universe is the collection of matter and energy created by the big bang or simply the entire containing construct, empty space and all. But regardless of which label you use, universe, dimension, plane of reality, or whatever, that point is still the same.

  133. says

    @Ithonicfury Wouldn't it be better to say the matter/energy is eternal, and its just the forms it takes (ie this universe) which are finite. Specially since we already know matter/energy can't be created or destroyed. Or am I just misunderstanding something?Well that's the thing. We don't really know that. The only reason we think that you can't destroy matter/energy is because we haven't observed it. It gets ambiguous with black holes even.I don't know if it would be better to posit that matter/energy is eternal. It's not like I'm trying to obfuscate and/or confuse the topic. It is confusing because the topic we're talking about is beyond our comprehension, so it's silly to do anything more than imagine the possibilities.I think mostly that's what I'm trying to get through to him.

  134. says

    @JTTrue, its not so much I meant that "we know it can't happen ever under ANY circumstances even those outside our current knowledge". It would have been better to say "Which would align with the Law of Conservation of Energy", which still doesn't really mean it can't ever happen since Laws are true for a specific set of conditions, and we could discover conditions where it could not be true.I just think that when you say 'the universe could be eternal' they get the idea that you're positing a static universe, which would go against the big bang, and since the big bang is pretty established it kinda makes it look like you're backpedaling on accepted science for this one point, even though you're really not. Then you have to explain what you really meant.A major player in the theists bag o'tricks is swapping terms willy nilly, (information, kinds, logic, god, pretty much anything really), that I don't think they can really acknowledge when you actually do it CORRECTLY (like in their abuse of the word theory)Not saying you're wrong. Maybe I'm just not giving theists enough credit…

  135. says

    Something about this just reeks of Poe…round about the spot they claimed to be fairly intelligent in the midst of some of the most poorly constructed and spelled sentences this side of "My Immortal."

  136. says

    Hey guys!It was happened me to read ur blogs & comments here. Im wondering why ppl are just wasting their time rather thinking bout something which is not at all harm anybody but ‘maybe’ it cud be help them in the future.Im not calling myself as an ‘intelligent guy’ or a ‘smart guy’ since i have not much knowledge bout Christianity or Science. But i can bet that im a obedient child to my parents.I was thinking bout the million year before stories of science nd indefinite future stories of religions since i donno how long i wud be live in this world. But definitely not more than 100 year. :) Then why do i just wasting my time discussing things nd concluded it with ‘u r wrong’ nd ‘im right’.In fact, i donno anything bout my own forefathers history, then how cud i believe bout ‘million years before stories’ of Science. But, i do follow traffic rules which i cud see round me and thats why i called myself ‘im an obedient child’. It’s oblivious that it won’t be a harm me if u follow the rules unless ‘someone’ else not follow the rule.In the same manner Christianity is giving a ‘Warning” bout the future eternal life. Wud I be loose anything if i listen to that warning nd keep myself saved from future disaster which may or may not be happened.Wot if it wud happens in the future which Christianity ‘Alerts’ now? Wudn’t all those burdens come to my head if i avoid the ‘Warning’.Im not smart enuf to talk ppl like u all. But, i know im smart enuf to save myself by obeying things which i learn. I don’t wanna put anybody in trouble by making my own rules with my ideas which I donno how much it wud be work with at present situation. But i wud follow the warnings which is given to me.I guess its wud be good for us not leading others to wrong way with our own ideas nd let them to pay the ‘fine’. Remember, gonna paying for a everlasting thing either its good or bad. I mean Heaven or Hell. :D

  137. says

    @AugustineAllow me to sum up your post: Pascal's wagerA brief response:Pascal's wager is so fundamentally flawed that it's almost embarrassing to listen to people making the argument.In case you haven't yet been informed of the problems, let me just point out one:which is not at all harm anybody but ‘maybe’ it cud be help them in the future.This would be the "if I'm wrong, there's no harm" part. It's not true. Religion does great harm. It retards your thinking, stunts your emotional growth, inhibits the scientific development of society in general and generally causes fear, confusion and hatred.Even avoiding these dangers, if you're wrong, you've wasted a significant amount of time in the only life you know you'll have.

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