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Sep 28 2010

Good luck with that, Larry

Larry Moran offers an interesting challenge:

I challenge all theists and all their accommodationist friends to post their very best 21st century, sophisticated (or not), arguments for the existence of God. They can put them in the comments section of this posting, or on any of the other atheist blogs, or on their own blogs and websites. Just send me the link.

Try and make it concise and to the point. It would be nice if it’s less than 100 years old. Keep in mind that there are over 1000 different gods so it would be helpful to explain just which gods the argument applies to.

Thing is, we’ve been asking this same question for many years on our show. We always rush callers to the front when the screeners tell us they claim to have proof that God exists. So far, we’ve been disappointed.

Pretty much everyone says he or she has proof that God exists winds up landing in one of the following categories, roughly in descending order of frequency:

  1. They wish to make a first cause argument.
  2. Before the call ends they will admit to being an atheist in disguise; they either thought it would be funny to offer a fake proof, or they (correctly) believed that they wouldn’t get on the show unless they lied. Hot tip for people fitting this category: You almost certainly aren’t funny and didn’t impress any of the viewers. Try keeping the lines clear for actual theists instead.
  3. They offer some poorly drawn refutation of a particular scientific principle, and then assume that the only alternative to the science is their god.
  4. [Inserted after reading the comments] They cite a personal encounter with the supernatural which cannot possibly be verified, investigated, or duplicated.
  5. They have some pseudo-scientific argument that is based on some kind of misapplication of a science they barely understand, such as quantum mechanics.
  6. They have some kind of even worse pseudo-scientific argument that involves making up “laws” that don’t actually exist.
  7. They have some kind of linguistic argument that relies on proving that “God” exists based on purely semantic properties rather than observed evidence.

When these various tactics fail, about half will resort to threatening us with some form of Pascal’s Wager, most likely without knowing who Pascal is.

That about covers the supposedly sophisticated arguments that theology has had to offer in the last 200 years. Seriously. If there are many more then few theists are aware of them.

258 comments

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  1. 1
    Improbable Joe

    You know the bit that irritates me about this whole kerfuffle? Somehow, we atheists should take theists seriously even though very nearly 100% of them are not theologians and are completely ignorant of any deep religious thought. On the other hand, theists and accommodationists claim that atheists must take religion and theology about a thousand times more seriously than theists do, or we should sit down and shut up.

  2. 2
    BeamStalk

    The ones I have seen lately are the Pressup crap where they assume God exists to prove God exists and try to make the other person disprove God exists, but won't accept anything the person disproving god says unless they admit there is a god.And the Strong Anthropic Principle or the Fine-Tuned Argument.

  3. 3
    Mark B

    I have a challenge for these theologians: Peddle your bullshit at the biggest, gnarliest Fundylicious Mega-church and see how well your "sophisticated modern" apologetics are received. Hint: leave the car running.

  4. 4
    James

    But Russell, you forgot all the sophisticated arguments that aren't presented, so clearly you are just straw-manning the theists!

  5. 5
    penguinman

    I'm currently an atheist because I see no evidence of any "god-like" entity. However, if those former US Air Force officers currently coming forward to the press do provide concrete evidence that extra-terrestrials have been watching over us, and it turns out that these aliens have "god-like" qualities (to us mere humans), then I might as well treat them as gods and worship them. In this case, I think Pascal's Wager applies, we have little to lose and everything to gain.

  6. 6
    PaulJ

    The argument from personal experience comes up pretty often. Either 1) "God exists because he told me so," or 2) "A miracle (i. e. something I can't explain) happened to me, therefore God exists."

  7. 7
    MethodSkeptic

    I guess I would call myself a cosmological agnostic, because I don't see any direct evidence against there being *some* kind of first cause.However, I don't know anything about it. At the moment of the big bang, the electromagnetism, gravity, and the nuclear forces were folded into each other, time and space were knotted together incomprehensibly, there was at or near infinite energy and zero entropy. If whatever caused this to collapse into the universe we now inhabit could be called a "being," I'd certainly say it was a contender for God.For what it's worth. William Lane Craig groupies like to insist that this first cause must be omnipotent, timeless, acausal, and personal (whatever that means.) They've got no observations of this directly. And even if they did, I would expect such an entity to be so utterly, in every sense so completely abstruse and alien that mutual comprehension would be so infinitely unlikely that I can't quite figure why we would concern ourselves with it.Certainly it's no reason to believe it had a hand in our existence, is preoccupied with our moral choices (or that "morality" is a coherent concept for it at all) or to believe there's any evidence for any kind of afterlife.And then I remember that even *if* the first cause argument could prove that "something" exists, that there's no actual, direct evidence for it. My grandma used to say the quickest way to double your money is to fold it in half and put it back in your pocket, and that's where I keep my "belief," too. Haven't seen any of these dark-side intergalactic encyclopedia salesmen who's peddling anything to make me open my wallet.

  8. 8
    rrpostal

    I first read this as asking for "atheists" submit their best argument for the existence of god. I'd actually like to read that one. Don't get me wrong. I hate the fake theist calls more than the average bear.

  9. 9
    Andy

    Mark B.:I have a challenge for these theologians: Peddle your bullshit at the biggest, gnarliest Fundylicious Mega-church and see how well your "sophisticated modern" apologetics are received. Hint: leave the car running.Well put.Funny how it needn't even be fundies. There are plenty of "moderate" Catholics and Protestants who would boo these "sophisticated theologians" off the pulpit. The difference between sophisticated theology and the everyday doctrinal beliefs of most believers couldn't be clearer.

  10. 10
    ChaosSong

    My favorites are the semantics. If I define a god as "something with much greater power than a human" – they are everywhere. The sun, the other stars, the Earth itself, the moon all fit this definition. One could make a good case for an elephant, an ancient tree, or flesh-eating bacteria.I've heard this from someone who self-identifies as an "animist." I had to agree that by that definition, there are lots of gods out there. And since this person's beliefs did not extend past a vague reverence for these "entities" and mild environmentalism, I didn't feel the need to scoff further at the woo factor.

  11. 11
    Puzzled

    I don't think if it's a theistic position or an atheistic position, but my favorite argument on this topic is Roderick Long's theological logicism. On your list, I suppose it falls into fallacy 6, but I'm not sure that the argument is fallacious since it isn't meant to establish much anyway.

  12. 12
    James

    "It would be nice if it's less than 100 years old."This might be a reasonable restriction for arguments based on physics or biology, but the older philosophical arguments age far better. By this principle, should we ignore the problem of evil as a reason to disbelieve in the Christian god?

  13. 13
    Raymond

    @JamesI think you are missing the point slightly.Apparently us atheists are ignorant of some new, modern, sophisticated applogetics.We are not abandoning old arguments, we just wanna hear this new stuff that is oft quoted to be doing the rounds.As far as we can tell these new arguments don't exist or are a regurgitation of old stuff.

  14. 14
    Sean (quantheory)

    "This might be a reasonable restriction for arguments based on physics or biology, but the older philosophical arguments age far better."I think you are missing the context, which is that Moran is responding to a fellow atheist (John Shook), who complains that atheists are arguing based on outdated arguments. Moran's request for new arguments is thus a ploy to draw out whatever he's supposedly missed, not a general-purpose investigation of God arguments.

  15. 15
    JT

    @JamesTo be fair, the problem of evil isn't really a reason to disbelieve the god, as much as the 3 omni's.

  16. 16
    robert

    Personally, I think having Pascal's Wager throw at you is useful in that it gives you an insight in to exactly how much critical thinking they have either done or are capable of.From there, you know whether your rationally based refutations will start a proper dialogue or whether they'll just be stunned into silence (and likely want to leave as quickly as possible)

  17. 17
    Aaron Deemer

    James,"It would be nice if it's less than 100 years old."I think it just means that all the older arguments have been heard a million times and they've been refuted. No reason to go over the same old "look at all the trees" again.

  18. 18
    Jeremy

    Improbable Joe said: On the other hand, theists and accommodationists claim that atheists must take religion and theology about a thousand times more seriously than theists do…I think that may be one of the things that lead me to being an atheist: taking the claims made by religion seriously and at face value. After all, this was supposed to be the most important decision one could make in their life and it had disastrous consequences if you made the wrong choice.

  19. 19
    scepticool

    Or they make an argument akin to "if there was no god, we'd all be immoral" or "life would have no meaning". Even if these assertions were true, it doesn't make a god more likely

  20. 20
    Sparrowhawk

    I once heard an argument from an apologist named Frank Turek. I dunno if he still uses it or not, and it's not technically an argument for the existence of his god, but rather an argument for the veracity of the New Testament. He actually said that it has to be true because the stories are too self-deprecating to have been made up. Who would make up stories that make them look so bad?RI-DI-CU-LOUS.It's a big mistake to assume apologetics has ANYthing to do with making good arguments to non-believers. Sure, on its face it is and the people who do it will say it is, but it isn't. All apologists ever do is muddy the waters and give believers science-y sounding but still bad arguments to strengthen their faith.

  21. 21
    Don

    He actually said that it has to be true because the stories are too self-deprecating to have been made up. Who would make up stories that make them look so bad?I've heard that one, too, and am completely puzzled by it. I read it in an issue of Skeptic Magazine, no less.My counter to that is any Anansi story, or any Coyote story, or any story where Loki gets humiliated, or Thor gets humiliated, etc. and so forth.The Norse eddas and sagas, at least, were written and conceived of as true. The stories they tell about the Aesir are often far more humiliating to their divine subjects than anything in the Bible. That doesn't mean they're true.

  22. 22
    Lukas

    I think that may be one of the things that lead me to being an atheist: taking the claims made by religion seriously and at face valueThat's what got me. I really believed. I actually expected my religion to fit the real world.So, when the inconsistencies piled up, I had no choice but to reject it.And let's face it: most theists don't act as though they really believe. They act as if they don't believe, but think it's really important that they pretend.

  23. 23
    Dorkman

    Sparrowhawk: that's similar to the argument from misogyny I've heard more than a few times. You see, women were looked down upon in those days and had little social or political power. But women were the ones who found the empty tomb of Jesus and spread the word. If the stories were made up, surely they would have cast men in those roles. Therefore God.

  24. 24
    penguinman

    In one of the previous shows, a caller ( can't remember his name ) claimed that God was some "wave function" of the universe or something like that. I didn't understand much of it, but it sounded like a new theist argument to me.

  25. 25
    Valerie

    No reason to go over the same old "look at all the trees" again.You have to give those theist a special reward for, while not proving their own "One True God", have proved the existence of the pantheistic god (which is inherently pagan for being nature worship – and they love being told that they just proved a pagan deity). It gets even better if afterwords, when they are backpedaling, they yell out that god can't be real.

  26. 26
    Ing

    You know the "woman witnessed it" may not be an proof via embarassment but an old ad hoc excuse"Oh yeah…how come no one saw this? This is the first anyone heard of it and there's no way YOU were there?""Ummm well…you see there were witnesses we heard it from….but they were women so no one but us believed them, that's why no one else repeated the story!"

  27. 27
    George From NY

    Sparrow,It's called the 'Criterion of Embarrassment,' and it has been ripped to shreds time and again.

  28. 28
    ChaosSong

    @ penguinman"In one of the previous shows, a caller ( can't remember his name ) claimed that God was some "wave function" of the universe or something like that."This was an argument from an imperfect understanding of quantum mechanics. He was talking about the "probability wave function" or "quantum uncertainty" of a quantum particle that collapses when a measurement is taken – as described by the Schrödinger equation. It's a central idea of quantum mechanics but doesn't really have anything to say about Bronze Age Religions.The idea is usually explained with the metaphor of a box that contains a cat which is in an uncertain state (i.e. dead or alive) before the box is opened). If that explanation confused you further you are really starting to get a grasp on quantum mechanics.

  29. 29
    Lone Primate

    if those former US Air Force officers currently coming forward to the press do provide concrete evidence that extra-terrestrials have been watching over us..Aliens have been watching over us? Really? Has anyone told the hundreds of thousands of dead civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan in the past decade, or the victims of the Boxing Day tsunami or Hurricane Katrina or the Haitian earthquake…?What exactly are these "watchful" aliens doing? Sitting on their asses (or whatever it is they sit on) till we actually push the Button?

  30. 30
    Matti

    ChaosSong:No offense but you're mangling quantum mechanics pretty bad there yourself. Universal wave function is a concept that comes out of MWI, the Many Worlds Interpretation of QM rather than the Copenhagen one (which is becoming more and more obsolete, mainstream media and woo meisters just haven't caught up with that fact). When you generalize the idea of a wave function of a single particle to the product of wave functions to describe a system of particles, you eventually end up with a product of wave functions describing every particle in the universe, hence the universal wave function. Each state of said function describes one of the possible states that universe can be in; in other words of the many quantum worlds of the MWI.With that said, it still makes no sense whatsoever to call the universal wave function God.Also, the thought experiment known as Schroedinger's Cat was actually meant as a critique of the Copenhagen interpretation which even at that time was deemed unsatisfactory because it divides reality into "quantum" and "macro" worlds as well as puts the observer into an inexplicably privileged position. The thought experiment specifically illustrates the problem with the notion that only "very very small things" experience quantum effects like being in a superposition; the cat may not be in a superposition (both alive and dead) itself but it's alive/dead-state can be tied to a particle which IS (the box spares or kills the cat based on the measurement of the particle); hence the cat is effectively in a "superposition" as well. In the MWI there is nothing absurd or mysterious to explain in the situation at all: the cat is dead in some quantum worlds and alive in others; measuring the state of the particle and opening the box to check on the cat simply tells you in which such world are YOU in.Lastly I'd like to add that there's nothing inherently mysterious about quantum mechanics. Mystery is a thing of the map, not the terrain.

  31. 31
    penguinman

    @Matti & @ChaosSong,As I recall, the caller did use words like collapsing wave function. Let me try to understand this… perhaps he was applying the same Schroedinger's Cat thought experiment to the whole universe, i.e. replace cat with universe and observer with God. Until the universe is observed from the "outside", the universe is in an indeterminate state. Does this sound right?Personally, I find it hard to argue against this sort of theist argument. Any ideas?

  32. 32
    ChaosSong

    @ MattiMy understanding comes from an amateur reading of dated material so I'm neither surprised nor offended if I got some stuff wrong or if I'm a bit behind the curve.What I remember from the caller's, (uh…) presentation was that he was talking about the wave functions of individual particles. I definitely recall his definition of God as a "particle with a self-collapsing wave function." Which is of course just silly.@ penguinmanThe trick is to not get stuck on something silly. If you get stumped by a small point you're having trouble refuting. Try saying something like: "I'm still skeptical of the argument, but let's for the moment concede the point and you can proceed to demonstrate why you think this observer has to be the specific deity you are pushing."

  33. 33
    JAFisher44

    Any argument about things "outside" the universe mean nothing to me. They are unfalsifiable and have no bearing on my reality. How would I be able to tell the difference between a universe which "is observed" by a god, and one which "is not observed"? Perhaps we should tally up all the differences between ours and all the "unobserved" universes we have experienced… oh, wait.I understand that for some people the mental exercise of imagining some sort of impersonal "power" and calling it god, or calling it not god is good entertainment, but for me I set aside any arguments about a non-interfering god long ago. Maybe there is one, maybe there isn't. If it has no effect on me and I can't detect it in any way, what does it matter to me? It is as important as the fact that we are all surrounded by jdglorlb, a cloud of magical material that is invisible, non-corporeal, and permeates every area of the entire universe.

  34. 34
    Lukas

    In case someone hasn't seen it, Pharyngula had a thread on this very subject. The fireworks are mostly over, but through the miracle of the internet, a complete record remains of theists and (allegedly) agnostics, making hilariously bad arguments.No new arguments, though, and certainly no sophisticated ones.

  35. 35
    penguinman

    @Mattithere's nothing inherently mysterious about quantum mechanics.Not too sure about that. Even top scientists are still trying to piece together how everything works. Personally I'm still puzzled by the double-slit experiment. According to MWI, how can a single photon decide to behave like a wave when we put 2 slits in front of it? Wouldn't it just go through one or the other depending which "world" the observer is in, just like the cat experiment? Its all very confusing.Of course none of this is evidence for a God.

  36. 36
    Seismedia

    Aquinas' treatise on "Cause" is flawed by it's premises:Premise: every event has a cause.Premise: there can be no infinite regress.Premise: there exists some initial event.I agree with the first premise, but the other two are restricted by finite understanding shaped by the mortal experience of birth and death and no clear headed theist subscribes to the finite as a binding principle in the "eternities". Fail.

  37. 37
    maddogdelta

    [lame joke follows]Can I just use for my argument that Jessica Alba is a goddess and for proof just look at her?[end lame joke]

  38. 38
    Ing

    @ PenguinHow about the fact that any "god" is indistinguishable from a random particle? It's no argument for sentience, only existence.

  39. 39
    Sean (quantheory)

    @penguinmanNo-collapse interpretations of quantum mechanics (the most popular being the Many Worlds Interpretation that Matti discussed) are becoming accepted by more and more physicists. In my opinion they also make way more sense than the once-popular "Copenhagen interpretation" that still seems to dominate in pop-sci. If there's no collapse, the universe never leaves an "indeterminate state", and there's no need for an outside observer. On the other hand, if there is a collapse, it may not happen that the universe as a whole is ever in an "indeterminate state" (whatever that means; "indeterminate" is usually with respect to some specific measurement). Then only parts of it collapse, triggered by other parts. Still no outside observer.In general, if a theist promotes an argument based on science, and if they seem to know a lot more about it than you, I wouldn't argue it on those grounds until I had more information. However, it might be interesting to point out that most physicists consider themselves atheists or agnostics, and of the remaining minority, very few are highly involved in any revealed religion. Is this what one would expect from a community with very strong competition to be smart, creative, and open-minded enough to find the next big universe-shattering idea? Only if they don't, in fact, have any good evidence for any god.

  40. 40
    Lukas

    [lame joke follows]Can I just use for my argument that Jessica Alba is a goddess and for proof just look at her?[end lame joke]Quite seriously, that's a better argument than most theists manage. Granted, Jessica Alba might not live up to all the definitions of a goddess, but at least she's available for inspection (if you'll pardon that phrasing).We can actually try to evaluate your statement and come to some determination about its truth status. That's more than can be said about most claims regarding god.

  41. 41
    George From NY

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but…The whole S-Cat thing seems to depend on the opacity of the box. We have to open the box to see the state of the cat, resulting in a live or dead cat accordingly.But the whole thought experiment would seem to collapse if the cat is in a transparent box; we don't need to open it and therefore trigger (or not) its death.So what is the S-Cat thing really about – quantum this or that, or merely the limits of observation?

  42. 42
    Curt Cameron

    George, here's a quick summary of the S-Cat "experiment."You rig up a particle detector that triggers a hammer breaking a vial of poison gas, and put that in the box with Fluffy. You also have a material which may undergo a quantum event, and the detector is what detects when it does. If the atom decays (if that's what you're using), the detector breaks the vial and kills the cat. You leave the setup in the box for some while, and the question is whether the cat is alive or dead. Schrodinger's point was that until the measurement is observed, it's in some indeterminate state. I think you must be understanding the setup wrong – it's not the act of opening the box that kills the cat. A transparent box would just let you make the observation at an earlier time and there wouldn't be this indeterminate state that's the crux of the problem.

  43. 43
    George From NY

    Schrodinger's point was that until the measurement is observed, it's in some indeterminate state.And therefore, observation affects the condition of that which is observed? Meaning, at least in this and similar cases, one cannot observe without also influencing?

  44. 44
    Marymanard

    The greatest thing about God is that if you WANT to KNOW him, you can, it is very easy, it is a million times repeatable hence all the theists in the world who have testimonies of such. you have to EXPERIENCE it for YOURSELF! all the studies and statistics in the world cannot PROVE to anyone anything at a certain point you must CHOOSE to believe or not to believe. Proving there is a God is like proving to a blind man there is light. you can see the light, you know it is there, you can interact with it, and test it, you have your proof, it is good enough for you.you are excited to know there is light, and you tell your blind friend there is light. but that is a testimony and he wants proof. you say to him, just open your eyes and you will see it, and he refuses to try, because he has no proof. he is blind for the rest of his life believing that he is right, because he is keeping his eyes closed. he choses to be blind.Another blind man listens to you, he opens his eyes, he sees the light, interacts with it, and is JOYOUS at what he has found, and yes he wants to share it with his other blind friends. but will they listen? only they can decide. God exists. I KNOW it from my own personal testimony, I can duplicate my interactions with God on a regular basis, and I do. because I am not blind I see Gods work in my life for what it is. though there are studies that show prayer works, and there are studies that deal with the afterlife, and studies that show the bible to be historically accurate… that is not enough evidence for you. you are asking for men to command god to give you proof, as if Man is greater than God. Does God need to prove to himself that he exists? I wouldn't think so. Why should he bother to prove to you that he does. He has given suffecient evidence, and has given you an avenue for gaining more understanding. but even if he were to hang a big sign in the heavens that says God is here you would call it a strange occurrence, and try to see how it happened scientifically instead of seeing that it is God answering your prayers.So if YOU want proof there is a God, I suggest you ask him yourself. I know that All Men (& women) Who lack wisdome, are encouraged to ask to God with faith and a sincere heart, wanting to know the truth, and it shall be given unto them. ask and you shall receive knock and it shall be opened unto you. BUT – There are key ingredients! you must ASK, WANTING to know the truth, with a SINCERE HEART, having Faith that you will get an answer. like bungee jumping, you have do it to know what it feels like!This from a self proclaimed theologian having studied MANY religions and faiths, with a scholarly work to come combining ALL truths into one great whole, including how Atheists are absolutely correct – The God in YOUR mind, does not exist.

  45. 45
    Martin

    FYI to readers: Marymanard, perhaps unaware comments were being held in moderation queue, made four attempts to post the previous comment, rewriting it slightly each time. I decided to choose the one that felt most complete.In short, Mary, all your verbiage ultimately boils down to "you just have to have faith." Fine, and we've heard that for many years. But if you are offering the above as an example of sophisticated theological thought, I'd say you have a way to go.You make the basic mistake that John Shook has made: you think we don't believe because we are ignorant of theism and its attitudes and practices. In point of fact, the majority of us came from theism. The host of our television show was training to be a minister, and has a more solid grounding in scriptural knowledge than many pastors I've known.We are also aware of the so-called "studies" theists bring to bear as "evidence" for their beliefs, such as those supposedly validating intercessory prayer. In point of fact, every one of these studies has methodological flaws obvious upon the most cursory examination. How, for instance, does one propose to set up a control group in order to direct the responses of an all-knowing being in a certain way? And why would a loving God only feel compelled to assist those who are being actively prayed for by groups of Christians, when his omnipotence leaves him no reason not to rid every human being in the world of all sickness and strife in an instant? These "studies" fail as evidence every bit as badly as those that "prove" some cheap TV psychic is talking to my dead grandmother, and that is why we don't consider them good enough.The simple fact is that an all-knowing and all-powerful God would know exactly what evidence would convince me of his existence, and it would be trivially easy for him to ensure that I encountered this evidence. That he is not doing so tells me one of two things: either he doesn't exist, or he exists but is indifferent to whether I believe in him or not. As there is little empirical difference between a being that provides no credible evidence for his existence, and one that does not exist at all, Occam's Razor leads me towards the simpler answer.You're a little out of your league with us, Mary, but thanks for offering your viewpoint all the same.

  46. 46
    Sean (quantheory)

    Mary, Mary, Mary…a) Truly blind people can't see whether they open their eyes or not.b) People who are not blind can't stop themselves from seeing things just by disbelieving in light.c) People who are truly blind can have the existence of light (and electromagnetic radiation in general) proven to them in a multitude of ways! You can have excellent evidence, even physical evidence, for something without being able to perceive it directly.d) There are atheists who have sincerely asked God to show himself only to find that he doesn't answer. After all, many of us (I'd say about half?) used to be religious! Hell, there are even agnostic Christians who admit that Jesus hasn't done much for them directly, even though they think he exists.In short, nothing you said makes sense, and it's not just because we all "refuse to see". It's because you are either a) not communicating well, or b) communicating a confused notion that makes sense only in your head.

  47. 47
    Ing

    I can shine my laser pointer into my blind relatives eye. He's blind but has some connections to the nerve still and although he can't process the stimuli into sight he is still annoyed from the bombardment.

  48. 48
    Lukas

    @MarymanardI've already had to delete my two previous attempts at composing a reply because they collapsed into barely coherent ranting and finished in a shower of insults and blaspheme. I felt that they weren't very constructive.My problem is this:So if YOU want proof there is a God, I suggest you ask him yourselfI find this incredibly arrogant. Like so many other theists before you, you seem to suffer from the delusion that we've never heard that kind of bullshit before. What makes you think we haven't done this already? I have and I know many others have as well. We didn't get an answer.Then comes the next part, where it really goes over the edge:you must ASK, WANTING to know the truth, with a SINCERE HEART, having Faith that you will get an answer.You do realize that you're implying that we're not sincere, right? You're essentially accusing us of being dishonest, simply because we didn't have the same experience as you did. What kind of discussion do you think we're going to have when your first comment on here is an accusation of deceit?Understand this: We're not atheists because we don't know about the glories of your faith. We're not atheists because we hate god and refuse to believe. We're atheists because we have honestly investigated the subject and found that there is no good reason to believe. Feel free to give us one. Make an argument. Cite evidence. Just please don't rely on the old faith gambit. It's quite frankly stupid. You're insulting my intelligence by even mentioning it.

  49. 49
    Ing

    I also recall a physicist explaining to me that an "observer" need not be sentient. That technically one particle hitting another "records" it's velocity or position and thus counts as an observer or something like that.

  50. 50
    JT

    Count me among the ranks of former theists who sincerely prayed for any kind of sign that God existed.Take a good guess as how that turned out.

  51. 51
    Afterthought_btw

    Mary – I have a question:What do you mean when you use the word 'God'?What is god? What is it made of? What does it look like? Where does it live? What are its physical and mental attributes? What does it consume to survive? Is it eternal? If so, how can it survive eternally? Can you be sure that you aren't being deceived by either the being you call God, or another being you don't know of? If so, how?If you are willing to answer, please don't just reply 'the god of the Bible' because I've read the Bible, and the description of god – such as it is – in there is self contradictory, so I know that the god described in there doesn't exist. Also, please don't say something along the lines of 'god is mysterious' because what you are saying there, is that you don't actually know what god is.That isn't too much to ask, is it?

  52. 52
    Marymanard

    I actually each time I attempted to make the post, I got an error that said it was too long. which I get verbous so I shortened. thanks for including it

  53. 53
    Marymanard

    You are sign seekers. yet even if you get a sign you deny the truth of it. but God has said, "He that seeketh signs shall see signs, but not unto salvation. signs come not by faith, not by the will of MEN, nor as they please, but by the will of GOD."So what if it takes FAITH It also takes a microscope to see an atom. it takes proper tools to get a job done correctly. just because you are lacking the correct tool, does not make the job impossible. you are waiting for someone to say they have the power to command GOD and to walk up to you and have God srtike you with lightening. but you have no understanding of GOD, he does not do our will, remember hence being God, he is the boss, and not us. studies have been done on prayer and many other aspects of God's power, but just like in a courtroom there are just as many experts to confirm an opinion as there are to deny it. eventually it comes down to you personally to make a choice to believe or not to belive. no amount of studies on ANY subject changes that. you might BELIEVE that vaccines work, others do not, you might belive that calories make you fat while others say it is carbs. none of it is EVER going to be provable 100% to all people you even if every scientist in the world said the same thing on any topic (as if that could happen) it would still come down to MY choice to believe or not. so yes EVERYTHING comes down to FAITH. but you don't want to look at it that way, and so I can't prove it to you, no one can, because you close your eyes to the truth.

  54. 54
    JT

    @MaryYeah, now you're just accusing us (at least me) of lying.I genuinely wanted some kind of sign. I never got one. I would have taken almost anything. ..nothing.It's funny how when it's other peoples' "personal experience", it's gold, in terms of evidence. But the atheists' personal experiences are just obtuse denials of obvious events.It's a nice double standard you have there.

  55. 55
    Martin

    Mary, setting aside the obvious detail that you cannot see atoms through microscopes, if you do not understand the basic difference between direct observation of a physical phenomenon and having "faith" in an invisible magic being for which not even circumstantial evidence exists, then you are simply not ready to have this discussion with us. You need to learn about something called epistemology, which is the study of how we know what we know, and the difference between justified and unjustified beliefs. Until then, you are making a fallacious false equivalency argument, and indeed you do not seem to understand what evidence even is at all, since as far as I can tell, "truth" to you is simply a matter of "he said, she said" and therefore anyone is equally justified in believing whatever they want. Here is a simple experiment to show why your ideas about belief are foolish: Climb to the roof of a skyscraper and jump off. If it is in fact the case that nothing is provable, and everything is down to faith, and what you believe without evidence is just as valid as what can be supported by evidence, then all you have to do to survive the fall is to believe and have faith you will fly instead of fall.Perhaps you aren't willing to perform that little experiment. That's fine. But until you can demonstrate to us you have any concept of the difference between belief and knowledge, I repeat, you are not ready to have this conversation with us. You're like someone who's only ever watched one football game on TV thinking she can coach an NFL team.By the way, the regulars here? Almost all of them are former Christians. Many of them have advanced degrees in various scientific disciplines as well as mathematics. A number of them are well versed in philosophical disciplines you have likely never even heard of. You are in position to whine that any of us "closes our eyes to the truth" simply because we dismiss your religious beliefs, especially as, if actual effort is to be figured into it, most of them definitely have a greater passion for understanding the marvels and mysteries of life than you have shown.

  56. 56
    Martin

    In my last paragraph I should have written You are in no position to whine that any of us "closes our eyes to the truth"…

  57. 57
    Marymanard

    though there are many sad souls out there who have not figured out that it takes ALL the proper equipment to do something properly and sucessfully doesn't mean it can't happen, sure there are devout religious out there who still don't get it, they are still not working with all the right stuff. but there are plenty enough out there who do.God interacts in my life daily, and with the lives of THOUSANDS that I know of personally if not much more than that. their testimonies are strong because they have studied, discovered HOW, experimented, and found success. Most of the people I know who say God does not answer prayers is saying it becaue God did not give them what they wanted. my husband is agnostic because his parents got a divorce even though he prayed they would not.Should God force two people to stay together so that the boy praying gets his prayers answered. very often the answer to a prayer is NO. and for good reason. Should God stop all of the evil in the world and force us all to make good choices? How would we then know what was good and bad if there was no bad to compare it to. how could we prove to God that we would be good people if given the chance if never given the chance. If you think you prayed and you did not get an answer I suggest you ask a different question.even today, I had a sincere desire to know something for a surety and after praying, it was made known to me beyond a doubt, that one way was correct, and the other was not. and if I were to describe it as anything except Godly or divine intercession I would be lying

  58. 58
    Marymanard

    Afterthought – What do you mean when you use the word 'God'? My Heavenly Father, the Creator of this World universe and many others.What is god? He is a Man, Who knows ALOT more than we do, and is our literal spiritual Father, What is it made of? Flesh & bloodWhat does it look like? A Man in his most perfect stateWhere does it live? in his heavenly kingdom near Kolob – What are its physical and mental attributes? Physical again like that of a Man – Mental I'm not sure what you mean you may have to rephrase the question – but he thinks like we do, but he knows all the secrets of being. all the celestial lawsWhat does it consume to survive? I would think that since it is a man made of flesh he would consume though your concept of consumption for nutrition may not apply the same. (And yes, I think there will be poop in heaven, which also means there will be someone to work the sewers) hahahIs it eternal? Define Eternal my definition of Eternal comes from the Hebrew wich mean for a time therefore yes. if you mean never ending in the same sense that your generations can be never ending I suppose so. is he in his current physical state from the unbegining to the unending? so the scriptures say, but again in hebrew it means for a time. If so, how can it survive eternally? oh thats a silly question the tree of life haha joking but seriously something similar manna from heaven giving fruit for eternal life. I'm really over simplyfing here..but I've been accused of that recently too.Can you be sure that you aren't being deceived by either the being you call God, or another being you don't know of? Personally I am sure that I am not, though I do know of some who see "angels of light" or communicate with familiars who I am quite sure are being deceived.If so, how? I am sure, because I have personally experienced things I will not put on the internet, that have given me more than just a mear testimony of feelings, but actual personal experiences of both Good and evil, and no I was not high or on some other mental state. and no it does not happen every day. I do not keep familiars I am not a "psychic" but I have had very Sacred expereinces.Also I have questioned much like many of you have I once disbelieved having been raised in a church then deciding that God must not care about me went about to prove as much, and was quite clearly proven wrong. that not only does god care hhe cares alot. about each of us. we are all literally his sons and daughters. and he is our Father and yes there is a heavenly mother there too.Hope this helps.and if you want scriptural evidence of these things I can give it to you, but it is not all contained in the bible. You do know the Bible is not the ONLY word of God?

  59. 59
    Marymanard

    Martin – You judge me freely, you have NO CLUE who I am or what I have studied, where I come from, or what I know. but YOU asked a question of theists. though I'll admit I have not read all 57 comments I skimmed and only saw a bunch of Atheists talking amongst themselves, and congratulation themselves on how clever they are.I have seen your fallacies too like your empty jar experiment.you just make stuff up with random conclusions and generally have no clue what you are talking about, then tell me what I know…see the problem I have with that, is that I KNOW there is a God, and you don't. I have my proof for me. I have succeeded in searching, and not because I am ignorant or just some random believer. but because I have read nearly every relgious text I can get my hands on I sell books online to pay for "hobby" of collecting and reading from as many religious, TEXTs as possible. whether it is yogi, or hindi, or muslim, the be here now, the bhagavad gita, the Lost Books of the bible, the book of enoch, the Kolbrin. I have greatly simplified it all for you. because you are obvious not able to get passed the very basics. learn how to recognize the higher power that is working in our world. you name the religion they do just that. EXCEPT the atheists, they say there is no higher power. not at all my fault that you cannot feel the force that is working in this world that is just as strong as gravity if not a million times stronger. but you have to learn to harness that power.God loves us and provides for us, much of the scriptures of ANY religion are teaching us how to harness that celestial power. to learn how to be a celestial people. those laws he is working with and trying to teach us, science may still one day be able to identify. I know some scientists are trying. but …. KARMA works, because it is a CELESTIAL LAW, one that GOD gave to MAN to teach us if we behave one way we will get better results than if we behave another.how much more simple does it need to be. instead of telling me how stupid I am. and how I am not in league with you, which is fine, I am happy to be in a league of my own, why not take your greater intellectual mind and ask some intelligent questions. then let the proof be in the pudding. insulting people does not make you a better person or even a smarter one.

  60. 60
    Marymanard

    JTI am not accusing anyone of lying.you were easily just asking god for the wrong thing. he does not "GIVE SIGNS" you pray to god please god give me a sign that you are there. GOd says Here you are, here are the trees, here are my words, what more proof should he give you without you giving him something. if you want to know search it out. and if you do not get an answer right away… keep trying. God has said if you are slow to liste to him, he will be slow to answer. I am not accusing you of being slow, only that not everyone gets a warm fuzzy feeling every time the pray. you have to take the first steps into the dark tunnel with faith that there is an opening on the other side and as you walk through holding on to the rail you find your way and the light reveals its self. sometimes I wish the world were smaller I would encourage each of you to come to study in my library and to ask questions readily and what I don't know ( I don't know all) and you could find the faith I hear screaming from inside each of you wishing to be discovered.I'm sorry you had a bad experience, sometimes you have to know the bitter before you can know the sweet.

  61. 61
    Marymanard

    Moderator – incase you doubt me. one of my last messages. may not go through to you I'm really not sure, but because you accused me of changing my texts I give you proof. that your blog does not like long messages, this is what I get, when I get verbose GOOGLE _ Request-URI Too LargeThe requested URL /comment.g… is too large to processI would appreciate it if you didn't accuse me of changing my texts as if I'm an ignorant moron. and that you are not moderated…. like a can't read the message above the box….

  62. 62
    George From NY

    eventually it comes down to you personally to make a choice to believe or not to belive. no amount of studies on ANY subject changes that. you might BELIEVE that vaccines work, others do not,And yet, they do. "Belief" in them is not relevant or material to the facts of virology.you might belive that calories make you fat while others say it is carbs.Calories are a measurement of food energy. Carbohydrates are organic molecules. You have never eaten a calorie in your life, in the same way you have never filled a car's gas tank with MPGs. You very likely have eaten carbohydrates – in fact, you'd need a specialized diet to avoid them. And yeah, too many of them, absent sufficient exercise, will make you fat. none of it is EVER going to be provable 100% to all people you even if every scientist in the world said the same thing on any topic (as if that could happen) it would still come down to MY choice to believe or not. so yes EVERYTHING comes down to FAITH.To this, I can only quote PK Dick:Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away.You could, tomorrow, wake up and have "faith" that applesauce cures blindness.You could "believe" it as totally, devoutly and unreservedly as anyone has every believed anything.Guess what? Applesauce does not cure blindness. I can only hope that you don't actually live your life according to the kind of nonsense you have espoused here. But if you do, it is just a matter of time before the brute, immutable facts of reality hit you like a baseball bat to the shins.

  63. 63
    felix

    Marymanard,with all due respect, it appears that you know woefully little about how the brain works and human psychology.

  64. 64
    JT

    though there are many sad souls out there who have not figured out that it takes ALL the proper equipment to do something properly and sucessfully doesn't mean it can't happen, sure there are devout religious out there who still don't get it, they are still not working with all the right stuff. but there are plenty enough out there who do.Oh okay. It was because I used 9 stones, instead of 10 around my altar that I sacrifice chickens that god ignored me. I suppose I should go find my micro caliper so I can exactingly measure their positions, because if I don't get it 100% absolutely correct, he won't be pleased. God interacts in my life daily, and with the lives of THOUSANDS that I know of personally if not much more than that. their testimonies are strong because they have studied, discovered HOW, experimented, and found success.Oh yeah? I know MILLIONS of people who've never had a god interact with them. They've studied and investigated their religions, and evaluated the evidence (or lack thereof). Their testimonies are stronger than yours.It's time for a testimony-off!Most of the people I know who say God does not answer prayers is saying it becaue God did not give them what they wanted.You don't know many atheists, do you? Most atheists don't believe because of the severe lack of supporting evidence in any way, whatsoever.my husband is agnostic because his parents got a divorce even though he prayed they would not.That's a dumb reason to be an atheist/agnostic.(Cont.)

  65. 65
    JT

    Should God force two people to stay together so that the boy praying gets his prayers answered. very often the answer to a prayer is NO. and for good reason.Clearly, god is incompetent in this situation, because it would have been easier to simply have the two right people get together to begin with, who wouldn't divorce. Plus, he wouldn't have lost a minion in the process. Should God stop all of the evil in the world and force us all to make good choices?I don't think he should do anything. I'm perfectly fine with a lazy god, if one exists at all.How would we then know what was good and bad if there was no bad to compare it to.This is where the terminology can get confusing. I believe such a thing as 'good' and 'bad' exist, however, they have nothing to do with the supernatural.To say that we need 'bad' to know 'good' is sort of an inane reason to have 'bad', nor do I buy your premise that it's necessary. If we have good and neutral data points, we can extrapolate what 'bad' would be.how could we prove to God that we would be good people if given the chance if never given the chance.Why would I care about proving anything to god if that god has not been proven to exist? If you think you prayed and you did not get an answer I suggest you ask a different question.Right, when I asked for any sign that he existed, what I really should have asked was "God… what's 2 plus 2?"even today, I had a sincere desire to know something for a surety and after praying, it was made known to me beyond a doubt, that one way was correct, and the other was not. and if I were to describe it as anything except Godly or divine intercession I would be lyingI would have to know the exacting details of this, whether the knowledge you had wasn't simply lingering from some past experience, and whether or not you were hallucinating.What did you ask about, and what was the answer? Was it correct? Was it obscure enough that you couldn't simply reason out the most likely answer?

  66. 66
    Lukas

    I guess I shouldn't have bothered to try to be reasonable. This:You are sign seekers. yet even if you get a sign you deny the truth of itI consider a slap in the face. Already I'm wondering if you're even capable of having a rational discussion.But… let's give it one more go, shall we? Benefit of the doubt and all that.Before we can really have any discussion on this matter, we need to clarify what you mean by 'god'. So, please define the word.

  67. 67
    Kingasaurus

    Mary, there is zero evidence that people who pray get the things that they pray for with any more frequency than people who don't. There isn't one one set of rules or statistics for people who pray, and a different set for those who don't.If your god answered prayers at all (nevermind all the time, just more than chance would be enough to notice) we should be able to tell. But in the real world, we don't see any such thing.Reporting that you had a "feeling" that some god gave you an answer in your head to a question you had doesn't cut it. Anyone can claim any such thing, but demonstrating it or showing that that same thing wouldn't have happened if I had prayed to my TV set instead, is where the problem is. If you've never heard of something like confirmation bias, then Martin might be correct and you may be completely ill-equipped to have this conversation.If you're claiming something like obviously-divine answered prayer, BE SPECIFIC. Your last paragraph is hopelessly vague, as is usual with people who claim answered prayer. What did "god" reveal to you through prayer that you couldn't possibly have known any other way? Without specifics, you're claim can't be evaluated. Nor can we tell that you wouldn't have received the same answer by praying to anything at all, rather than just an invisible man who only appears to exist inside certain peoples' heads.

  68. 68
    Mark B

    Mary,What it sounds like to me is that I'll believe when I've made myself believe.What is it I'm supposed to believe? I know, "God", but what is that? What will I know when I believe? What truth will I see?Please be specific.

  69. 69
    Pombolo

    "I repeat, you are not ready to have this conversation with us. You're like someone who's only ever watched one football game on TV thinking she can coach an NFL team."Mary clearly isn't even listening to you Martin: she's just typing in cookie-cutter religious testimony regardless of any responses she gets.The sad thing is, this kind of behaviour is what causes people to switch off from listening to the religious. Mary's conduct guarantees the very result she is trying to avoid.

  70. 70
    Valerie

    Why should I get to know god? Why put the effort in? God isn't even willing to introduce himself. What is he too busy so he sends someone else? Why would I call a being who is too lazy, or not powerful enough, to introduce himself to me personally "god"?And from watching his followers around me, god seems to be completely evil anyways – a diabolical mob boss I don't want to get to know. The moral abomination that is the bible and other sacred books aside, why are the people who claim to be "doing god's will" always acting sinister and inhumane towards their fellow citizens? "No homosexual marriage!" "How dare you use stem-cells to advance medicine!" "This is a Christian Nation, if you don't like it, then get out!" "God made us only male and female!" Quite frankly, as a transsexual women living in the southern biblebelt, people loudly claiming to know god and follow "god's perfect word" are the most intolerant asshats I don't want to ever meet again. Thankfully, not everyone who listens to god is like that. There are some very nice people who are only acquaintances of god, and not on the payroll of God the Hutt. They don't act in god's name, and don't claim to go out and do god's will. They attribute the goodness they have and would do anyways to god, but that might just be so god's thugs won't go after them. It's like they are being extorted to keep the name of god "respectable".So why should I get to know god? Why put the effort in to know a being like that? People claiming to follow god are committing evil acts left and right, and people who are just attributing their good acts to god are just avoiding taking the credit for actions they would do anyways. God is not needed, or wanted, or even beneficial.There is no reason to accept god, and if god has an ounce of morality and ethics then no ill should come of rejecting him – if he's not benevolent and ends up torturing me for questioning his infinite love, then I made the right choice to not associate with a being as evil as him.

  71. 71
    leslie.nearing

    Let's take this discussion down a notch. After all, this is the only person with a differing view I have seen on this blog in some time. Maryanne, I have no doubt that you truly believe that you are right and correct however you must concede the point that you are opening yourself up for a great deal of criticism when you consistently confuse fact with opinion on a blog that asks for facts. You said some believe in vaccines and some don't. The belief in vaccines is not what makes them work. By comparison, in the 1300's everyone believed that our bodies were controlled by humours that mingled within our bodies. Their belief did not make it true. EVERYONE once believed that the Church could by a simple purchase of a trinket insure a person's fast flight to heaven (indulgences). Did that make it true? Fact is something that can be proven with reasonable certainty and repeated by anyone, not just you. By your own admission one must only ask with a sincere heart for their prayers to be answered. Then you add caveats like he may not answer in the way you choose. This is an old argument. How can the child who is being brutalized at the hands of government supported militia phrase his prayer so that God may grant it? By your argument perhaps the needs of that mob outweigh the safety and health of that child. While I always encourage people to confront those whose opinions differ from their own I also challenge you to cite the "prayer studies" or the "bible proof" studies or the "historical accuracy" studies that you alluded to twice now, so this group can have some common ground to then have a meaningful discussion. Do some research of your own. One last question; in your own words “their testimonies are strong because they have studied, discovered HOW, experimented, and found success." This sounds suspiciously like there is some formula or method by which only learned people can experience God. So the weak, young, ill, mentally dull and uneducated should not then by what you just stated, be able to have any relationship with God because they have not researched and studied how to communicate with him. Is that what you implied?

  72. 72
    Raymond

    * Raymond switches to try not to be a dick modeMary, take Martins advice. You are out of your depth here.Stop insulting us with the same old same old that we have heard many times before.BTW testimonials do not constitute evidence in themselves, they indicate an area where study MAY need to be carried out.Take people who claim to have been abducted by aliens…they have made many testimonials and there is a phenomenon at work, but the least likely answer is visitors from Alpha Centauri.

  73. 73
    Jeremy

    Marymanard said: though there are many sad souls out there who have not figured out that it takes ALL the proper equipment to do something properly and sucessfully doesn't mean it can't happen, sure there are devout religious out there who still don't get it, they are still not working with all the right stuff. but there are plenty enough out there who do.Then how do you tell the difference between those who believe yet, as you say, are not working with the right stuff? Afterall, if they are not working with the proper tools, then the result will contain flaws. All that you have said indicates that you believe some have the proper tools and thus better understanding. What do you use to decide who has an accurate belief versus those who have flawed beliefs? Is it something tangible or yet something else that would need to be accepted on faith?

  74. 74
    JT

    @martin – apologies for the double post. I do wish it'd give some prior indication as to the length limitation.@Maryyou were easily just asking god for the wrong thing. he does not "GIVE SIGNS" you pray to god please god give me a sign that you are there.That's pretty useless, as well as an overly convenient answer. Half of apologetics is obfuscation, so it isn't surprising.After I woke up and realized that religion=delusion, it became important to me to be able to objectively verify my beliefs. I did not want to be deceived and lied to anymore, thus, a verification method is needed.Without the ability to provide objective, logical evidence for your claims, I have no way of distinguishing your claims from complete unencumbered insanity. Becoming insane myself is not an appropriate method. We rely on the scientific method because it works.GOd says Here you are, here are the trees, here are my words, what more proof should he give you without you giving him something.If he wants me to believe in him, it's his burden to give me the proof – no one else's. If he cannot meet that burden, then that's not my problem. if you want to know search it out. and if you do not get an answer right away… keep trying. God has said if you are slow to liste to him, he will be slow to answer. I am not accusing you of being slow, only that not everyone gets a warm fuzzy feeling every time the pray.You're making assumptions about me. I gave him 15-20 years. How much longer does he need? 500 years? My "Deconversion" was a 10-year long process. At the end of that process, I looked back at my entire life, and could not recall one single shred of evidence that indicated one single supernatural indication of anything… ever.Ever.(Cont.)

  75. 75
    JT

    you have to take the first steps into the dark tunnel with faith that there is an opening on the other side and as you walk through holding on to the rail you find your way and the light reveals its self.More assumptions. I already believed. Sincerely. I was already there. After awhile, I realized how empty and devoid of backing that belief had.I woke up.sometimes I wish the world were smaller I would encourage each of you to come to study in my library and to ask questions readily and what I don't know ( I don't know all) and you could find the faith I hear screaming from inside each of you wishing to be discovered.That sounds fairly insane to me – the way you describe it.I'm sorry you had a bad experience, sometimes you have to know the bitter before you can know the sweet.Yet more assumptions. Who said anything about a bad experience? (Well, at least in regards to a god, I'm not going to count getting a concussion for instance)At the end of that 10 year deconversion, it was more like I admitted I was an atheist. I was no longer convinced.My life hasn't been that bad (I've been more privileged than the average bear). In fact, life has gotten better since I abandoned superstition.

  76. 76
    George From NY

    Let's take this discussion down a notch. After all, this is the only person with a differing view I have seen on this blog in some time.Well, I'm a political Conservative, which I gather would put me at odds with most of TAE's staff and audience. But we don't come here to bang on about politics, so I take your point.However, I rather think the dogpile on Mary results from the sheer incoherence and sanctimony of her posts, as opposed to the mere fact of her theism.Whether or not coherent theist arguments even exist to be employed is another question entirely, of course, but Mary isn't even trying.Respect is a two-way street; I dare say we TAE'ers will give as much as we are shown.

  77. 77
    JT

    @mary though I'll admit I have not read all 57 comments I skimmed and only saw a bunch of Atheists talking amongst themselves, and congratulation themselves on how clever they are.You're right. You really didn't read our responses.Please cite specific examples of this happening, with person and timestamp indicated.I saw none of what you assert. We've all been dismantling your posts.

  78. 78
    Marymanard

    Jeremy – by their fruits you may know. are they successfully doing all the things that scriptures says that a follower can do? if yes then they are doing thing right with the right tools. if not, then they are lacking some tools, or may have the tools but are using them improperly…. certainly some are lacking more than others.

  79. 79
    Marymanard

    Raymond – I absolutely agree, testimonies are just enough to give reason to investigate more. to be willing to try. proof can only be gained individually and personally

  80. 80
    Marymanard

    MArk B – You will see God's interaction in your life. the answer to your prayers, the guidance that brings you to more understanding. you will know the real meaning to the purpose to life, and have that void in your sole filled with meaning and purpose. you will find peace that surpassed all understanding, an eternal perspective. and really much more

  81. 81
    Lukas

    What is god? He is a Man, Who knows ALOT more than we do, and is our literal spiritual FatherVery nice. Now, what does that mean; "Literal, spiritual father"? Father implies a biological relationship. What does it mean to say he is our spiritual father?What is it made of? Flesh & bloodShow me, then. If he's flesh and blood, then you can show me. I can see him, touch him, sit down and have a conversation with him. More importantly, it shouldn't require any special knowledge or faith to be able to do so.Where does it live? in his heavenly kingdom near KolobWhich is where? If god is physical, then his location must be physical. Show me on a map, so I can go there and take a look.I am sure, because I have personally experienced things… more than just a mear testimony of feelings… I have had very Sacred expereinces.You're not the first person to say that and you won't be the last. We'll need more than that.You do know the Bible is not the ONLY word of God?Your profile says you're a mormon, so it's no wonder that you hold that position. However, there are plenty of people, who also claim personal experience, who would say that the bible is the ONLY word of god. There are also people who would claim that the bible is not the word of god at all.How do we tell who's right?Let's get down to brass tacks, as they say:1. Do you care whether or not your beliefs are true?2. If yes, how can they be objectively verified?3. Most importantly, how could they be falsified? How would you know if they were wrong?

  82. 82
    Marymanard

    Valerie The reason you should get to know God, is because what all these ignorant zealots are out misrepresenting the real God, because Satan is as real as God and Satan LOVES to twist the truth into whatever evil is out there. but Satan is as necessary as God is because there can be no good with out evil and vice versa. God is not too LAZY to show himself to you, he is happy to show himself to anyone who is willing to prove themselves worth showing himself to. with all the billions of people out there who claim to want to see God, but would instantly deny it the moment they saw it, or even worse mock it, Why exactly should he bother? Though I happen to agree that MARRIAGE should be between a man and a women I really don't care if that is your choice or not. right or wrong that is not my decision to make, I am truly sorry that theists who are ignorant of the full truth make the truth seem so crappy. but it doesn't have to be. billions of morons, doesn't make the truth any less true, just harder to believe

  83. 83
    Raymond

    Regarding the dogpile on mary;I initially checked her profile which lead me to her personal blog.I thought she may have endulging in some poe-try.I was soon convinced that she is a true beleiver.Her summary of her blogs aims are and I quote"Here I will attempt to bring together the essence of sacred texts of the Major religions of the world and show how they are all true, and they point to the same God, and though there are differences, I will show the truth in all things As a Blog and not the book I will one day create, I am open to correction, and discussion. I am LDS but I do not represent the LDS Church here nor their stated beliefs. though nothing I say should go against those teachings either."She is talking to the wrong audience here thus dogpile.

  84. 84
    JT

    @MaryLet me see if I can describe to you why it is we reject your method for "proving" god.Let's say there's this group of people who claim to be able to interact with the spirit world. I ask them to demonstrate that this spirit world exists.At least two possibilities exist about their claim:1) They're correct.2) They're delusional/hallucinating/lying/mistaken in general.They agree to "prove" it to me by instructing me how to see this spirit world. This process they describe involves meditation and fasting for a period of a week or so.Here's the problem. Even if I were to follow their procedure exactly as they describe, and even if I do indeed experience this spirit world, I still haven't many any progress on distinguishing whether we're experiencing something real, or experiencing a hallucination.We haven't made any progress in proving anything. For all I know, I'm hallucinating alongside the others.This is why objective evidence based investigation wins out – because it doesn't rely on an incredibly error-prone and biased brain to make conclusions.

  85. 85
    Marymanard

    JT – So you think that God should force us to do whatever HE wants us to do, He should force us to marry the right person in the first place or you consider him to be incompetent? God does not force us to marry the right person, though if we bother to pray about it we CAN know the right choice before we make it, through God who does answers those prayers.You ASSUME that because you have Good without bad there would be neutral to extrapolate bad from. If you remove BAD then all that is left is Neutral. the moment you say that some act is Good there is an equal and opposite BAD. the only way to have good and bad is to have rules, and those who follow those rules and those who brake them etc.When you asked God for a sign that he existed, you should have asked "GOD are you there?" Do you exist?" HELLOOOO IS THERE ANYONE THERE!?"God does not give signs to sign seekers, but he will give you identifiable yes and no answers, as well as more detailed answers to specific questions. Where should I live … THere etc.Though this is VERY personal, I wish to answer your question even though I am probably throwing Holy Things to the pigs……I have for many years doubted my marriage, because I did not ask God when I got married, I was ignorant of God, and was rather agnostic at least. but I got married, and its been 10 years+ and just the day before I had expressed to my husband my personal doubts that I had made the right choice. as I am now very religious with an eternal perspective and greatly desire an eternal marriage and my husband is not interested in such, it is a bit heart wrenching. I have been building up to the conclusion that I should divorce him we have very little in common, we have grown into very difffernt people and I rather wanted out.but While studying a book on revelation (no S) I was reminded of a certain promise and law, and as such I was entitled to a specific answer to my question. so right there standing in my room I asked God if I should stay with my husband or not, fully expecting that I would get a response about not being married to heathens. etc. but the response I got was an OVERPOWERING impression and thought bubble suddenly placed into my head, that I AM married to EXACTLY who I am supposed to be married to and to just be patient, God is well pleased. This … yes feeling….but only for lack of a better word….. was 100 times more powerful than the adrenaline I get from bungee jumping, it is not the answer I was expecting, or even somewhat hoping for, but it is the answer I got. and that Feeling caused involuntary crying even before I completely understood the message I was being given, because as I have learned when the Spirit of God talks, that is our bodies response. a FEELING like sticking your finger in a light socket but not painful, and yet we cry like blithering idiots because of the power of God. you can say oh well there we go a feeling….. well yes I FEEL when I get electrocuted to0, but there is an outisde cause to the feeling, and I'm not talking an emotional feeling though I may have cried, much like I might if I got electrocuted, it is a physical nerve endings kinda feeling. one in which I would LOVE to get some electrodes on someone while they are having those feelings to identify that they are not coming from the inside of the body but the outside. but thats another discussion altogether…Do me the slightest courtesy. if you think what I told you is a bunch of crap I really don't care. but don't tread it under you feet. You wanted to hear the details. so I openly gave them to you, judge how you want

  86. 86
    Marymanard

    Kingasaurus – I have evidence that when I DONT pray for things I don't get nearly the blessing I get, when I DO pray for them. God himself challenges you to PROVE HIM HEREWITH. though he is specifically speaking of the law of tithing. I know that he is happy to prove all of his promises. you do your part, and he will open the windows of heaven and pour out blessings on you more than what you can handle.but as I have said before, you need to pray for the right things. if your requests is against one of his many rules he will not grant it… God give me that persons house – Envy not going to be answered. God give me a house of my own that has this and that and this other thing. do it sincerely desiring not to make yourself better off than others, not to puff yourself up or any other unrighteous behavior, but because that is a thing that you desire honestly and for good cause.

  87. 87
    Marymanard

    Leslie – Thank you – Your last question first.it is not the amount of education you have or even get, it is the effort you put into it. there is a simple formula. You want to know about a subject you seek answers in that subject according to the level of education you are able to handle, and as you learn alittle more will be added unto you. line upon line precept upon precept God will add to your understanding. If all you are able to do is look at the sky and cry out to God to know him, because you cannot read. he will help you to know him better. perhaps by providing someone to read to you until you can move forward from there if that isn't a possibility I know that God will enlighten the mind of the individual even without having ever read a book or listened to one in their life. it is the sincere desire and honest effort that God LOVES to respond to.I welcome the criticism, but perhaps you misunderstand my point, I said that some believe in vaccines as a matter of point that others believe that they do not. because science cannot prove that the flu shot is in fact more beneficial for you that not getting one, which is why many people (i've heard the stastics but don't remember them something like 1 in 3) don't get the shot and something close to half of that 1/3 never get the flu. while half of the 2/3 that do get the shot still get the flu. science does not prove things. they just lay out their thoughts opinions reports and dare I say testimonials at which point we have to decide to believe the claim or not to and then to act or not act according to our beliefs…. just watch any late night infomercials and you know what I mean these educated "superiors" make outrageous claims and we are supposed to BELIEVE them, but it comes down to a choice. there is no such thing as proof.though belief in things can make a difference as science has proved a study where a person believing he was being prayed for was healed fast than the person who believed that he was not being prayed for. even Christ say "Thy faith hath healed thee" not the faith of those praying for you, but your own. but I have also seen studies where people who did not know they were being prayed for but were, healed faster than those who also did not know and werent…. these were double blind scientific studies etc. I'm sure you can google them and find them. then there is EMOTO who published his results of prayer on water which seems to be wuite a hot debate, as some studies seem to conclude he is right and others conclude he is wrong. everyone goes into the study with a bias. wether they admit it or not. and it is impossible to PROVE anything as I said earlier.Consider he "proof" that music effect plants. an old study. a person put two plants in two identical environments with equal care etc. placed Good music in with one and bad music in with the other.was it the good and bad music that made them grow differently… or the preconceived thoughts that one would receive that which is good while the other would receive that which is bad. was it the music or the thought that made the difference? can you ever prove it? not without taking humans completely out of the equation at which point there could be no experiment because there could be no human to raise the question to set-up the equipment and still have no human contact with the experiment…. do you see at some point no matter the "proof" you have to choose to believe or not to believe.Your ABSOLUTELY RIGHT, choosing to believe or not to has nothing to do with it being true or not. that applies to God religion and science et al.

  88. 88
    Marymanard

    Felix – thanks for getting to know me so well.

  89. 89
    Marymanard

    JT – also thanks for getting to know me, you do NOT know my testimony. my life experiences, why or how I got to be where I am. but you like to think you know more about me, as you label me like every other theist you have ever met…… good luck with that.as I see you like to twist words it is hardly worth the bother to correct you. I did not say that you had to do things to the point of using a microscope to make it right, but yes there are right ways and wrong ways to go about things. if you deny that you deny science.Just because you cannot see gravity keeping you here on earth, doesn't mean it is not interacting with you. constantly…. but with the right tools you can observe its interaction.I very much so agree, but then that is the usual reason for being atheist/agnostic. you prayed for something God did not give you what you wanted so like a whining little kid you tell you parent (heavenly Father) you don't want to be his kid any more, he does not exist, you decide if he doesn't love you enough to give you what you want he must not love you, and if god is love and god doesn't love you there must not be god….tell me does that sound familiar? isn't that exactly what all of you are saying…. you know some previous theists who couldn't get God to give them what they wanted so now they are atheists?

  90. 90
    Marymanard

    Afterthought – I responded with a great and lengthy response, I hope you found it…

  91. 91
    Raymond

    Mary,you said in response to my post about testimonies;"Raymond – I absolutely agree, testimonies are just enough to give reason to investigate more. to be willing to try. proof can only be gained individually and personally"I am gonna call you for a bit of dishonesty here.Your 1st post on this blog started with"The greatest thing about God is that if you WANT to KNOW him, you can, it is very easy, it is a million times repeatable hence all the theists in the world who have testimonies of such."You are clearly citing these millions of testimonies as evidence of "if you WANT to KNOW him, you can". Otherwise what is the reason for mentioning these testimonials?I gave the example of people who believe that they have been abducted by aliens. Lets reword your 1st blog post.!!The greatest thing about ET is that if you WANT to KNOW him, you can, it is very easy, it is a million times repeatable hence all the abductees in the world who have testimonies of such!!If we now investigate these claims they are found lacking.An abductees insistence that ET exists but we just haven't been looking is correct place does not affect the truth value of the claim.

  92. 92
    Marymanard

    George from NY – certainly all of you recognize that the safety and effectiveness is a big topic of concern these days, especially among parents, it is GREAT that you believe in them, even have faith in them enough to get them, if that is your choice. but to the millions that do not believe in them even believe that they are evil or bad, there is not enough proof in the world that is going to change their mind, until they choose to change their mind."Reality" is a choice you make it, and it changes every day, today your reality is safety and free from concern, tomorrow the reality of the impending tornado gives you a new reality. just because you stopped believing in God doesn't make him go away. just like closing your eyes doesn't make the tornado stop coming.and YES I do live my life every day praying and getting answers to my prayers and basing my life according to the answers of those prayers. if I did not live what I teach I would be a Hypocrite. though I will admit, it is not easy to do the thing I know rae needed every day, it takes hard work and effort & I struggle from time to time, but I see the fruits of my labors

  93. 93
    Marymanard

    JT interesting, I don't feel dismantled at all…DID YOU THINK THAT YOU HAD SHAKEN MY FAITH? thats kinda funny

  94. 94
    Afterthought_btw

    Mary said: What is god? He is a Man, Who knows ALOT more than we do, and is our literal spiritual Father,'Literal spiritual Father' – what does this even mean? I know he is not my literal father, so I'm guessing 'spiritual' is the important word here. Thing is, the word spiritual is absolutely meaningless to me. Perhaps you could elaborate? Whenever I hear it used, it usually coincides with one of things I requested you not to reply with – i.e. not material. So, what is spiritual? Like god, can you show it to me, can you demonstrate what spiritual is?What is it made of? Flesh & bloodAh, excellent. Thing is, this seems to me to contradict anything to do with spirituality – perhaps you can elucidate for me? It's just that flesh and blood is definitely material.What does it look like? A Man in his most perfect stateWhich is? It sounds to me like you are claiming there is an objective way of determining what is clearly a subjective thing. The 'perfect' human body in terms of appearance obviously depends on who you ask. (See the old phrase: 'Beauty is in the eye of the beholder'.)Where does it live? in his heavenly kingdom near KolobWhich is where? That means nothing to me. If I told you I lived in the town of 'Gabroffifal', would that mean anything to you? Similarly your answer isn't an answer to my question.What are its physical and mental attributes? Physical again like that of a Man – Mental I'm not sure what you mean you may have to rephrase the question – but he thinks like we do, but he knows all the secrets of being. all the celestial lawsBy mental, I mean things like, say, its capacity for thought, if for example, it is omniscient (infinitely knowledgeable) then we know that it must be different physiologically to us, because a human brain would need to have infinite space to store the infinite knowledge in.To rephrase the question – what abilities and attributes does it have (common attributes for god include omnipotence and omniscience), and how does its physiology allow it to have these abilities?Is it eternal? … (edited)Okay, I'll rephrase the question because I'm not sure what you mean by your answer. Was there a time when god did not exist? If so, what created god, if not, why does it not need a creator, and yet (supposedly) the universe we are in (and us) does? (There are other things I could go into detail about her, but I have limited time and space.)If so, how can it survive eternally? oh thats a silly question the tree of life haha joking but seriously something similar manna from heaven giving fruit for eternal life.Convenient – could you now show that this manna from heaven exists too? Show me an example of it, perhaps?Can you be sure that you aren't being deceived by either the being you call God, or another being you don't know of? Personally I am sure that I am not, though I do know of some who see "angels of light" or communicate with familiars who I am quite sure are being deceived.And if I asked these people who are being deceived (according to you) whether or not they were being deceived, what do you think their answer would be?Clearly, they too would be just as justified in giving the exact same response you just gave (which I haven't quoted). (Incidentally, if you doubt me, I can tell you right now that I have been given similar answers by a number of other people. For example, I know someone who believed they had exorcised daemons.)So my question still remains. How can I know which one of you (if any) is correct? How can you know which of you is correct?You do know the Bible is not the ONLY word of God?Literally billions of people around the world would disagree with you when it comes to that statement. Many would say it is not the word of god at all, and many would say only the Bible is the word of god. Why should I believe you over them?

  95. 95
    Marymanard

    george I'm sorry that you are struggling to grasp my points, I will try to make it easier or you in the future

  96. 96
    Marymanard

    JT, just because the belief you had was founded on A god that doesn't exist doesn't mean there isn't one that does. you just weren't talking to the right guyYou are right it is an assumption, when someone says they prayed and it didn't work so well for them, I would assume that would be a bad experience certainly not a good one, but I can see that it is an assumption.I'm sure that you are correct, I'm sure your life got better after you stopped worshiping false Gods. but as I said before, that doesn't mean there isn't a true one.

  97. 97
    Marymanard

    JT although he wants you to believe in him, he will not force you, it is called free agencyI'll bet you were pretty angry at him too as you counted on your fingers all the blessings you didn't get. too bad you didn't bother to count the blessings you did get. maybe its rather PaulyAnna of me, but I see the blessings in even the worst of circumstances. God CANNOT take away from us every bad thing that happens to us. he gave us free agency the freedom to choose for ourselves what we will do. sometimes that means that bad people do bad things to good people. but those good people can still be loved and blessed.suppose your a father (i don't know maybe you are) and your child goes out and walks to school, a drunk man runs your child over. did you stop loving your child because you let him get run over? or was it just one of those things that is outside your control…. yes I said it….. outside the control of GOD. HE made a promise to give us free agency and sometimes that means bad things happen to us. but he didn't stop loving us, and just because bad things happen doesn't prove there is no God

  98. 98
    Marymanard

    JT – I love your example. the only flaw is that at some point your objective evidence is really subjective you trust the work of science I get that, but that is your choice to believe in it and have that faith.I personally have NO such faith in science as I see it is constantly changing and is completely unprovable, unpredictable and usually financially backed in such a way to be untrustworthy…. Look at all the medicine that is FDA approved and scienctists all agree this drug is great, but 3 years later oh look it caused cancer, blood clots and killed people. that was REAL SCIENTIFIC PROOF…..Science Taught the world was flat, because they could not see it, were they right? no, but a God fearing man came along and proved them wrong.and yes I know that not all scientists believed he world was flat but then not all scientists believe in any report it is in their nature to be argumentative

  99. 99
    Lukas

    science does not prove things. they just lay out their thoughts opinions reportsMay I suggest that you employ your own method and study a bit of science? You obviously don't know that much about the subject. After all;just watch any late night infomercials and you know what I mean these educated "superiors" make outrageous claimsyou're citing informercials as an argument!You also seem quite confused:there is no such thing as proof…though belief in things can make a difference as science has proved…and it is impossible to PROVE anything as I said earlier.Seriously?Then there's this bit:you do NOT know my testimony. my life experiences, why or how I got to be where I am. but you like to think you know more about me…you prayed for something God did not give you what you wanted so like a whining little kidI have a hard time expressing how much I loathe this kind of hypocritical behavior. You will receive no respect from me until you show a bit yourself.tell me does that sound familiar? isn't that exactly what all of you are sayingNO! It's not. I know I personally said the exact opposite. Allow me to quote myself from previously:Understand this: We're not atheists because we don't know about the glories of your faith. We're not atheists because we hate god and refuse to believe. We're atheists because we have honestly investigated the subject and found that there is no good reason to believe.If you're not going to listen to us, why should we listen to you?How is it even possible for us to have a discussion if you're just going to ignore what we say?

  100. 100
    Marymanard

    Lukas – lets start at the begining…. well almost the begining. OUR Father literally physically created our spiritual bodies in much the same manner that we create physical bodies for our spirits. do I need to explain the birds and the bees here? Heavenly Father ad Heavenly mother ….. and Oh shit I forgot to take my pill (joking) …… a Spirit body was formed in the womb of the mother and an intelligence entered into the spirit body, a season later out popped spirit Body Lukas, . . . the very same spirit body that is right this very second and has been since conception in your physical body…. well when he gets here I'll introduce him to you… though I think you will see it, scriptures say the whole world will know at once and every knees will bow and tongue confess that he is the God.(sounds a bit scifi I know… but at a certain point science and God meet, and they are one.)Hmm well Kolob. that is a tough one though… scriptures reference it, I figure that our telescopes either don't see it, or don't call it by its proper name, but I guess if you look up long enough with a powerful enogh scope in just the right place you might be able to see it… some scientists speculate it is in the center of one star system or another. but being that 1 day to him is a 1000 years to him does that make is 1000 light years away…. don't actually know the conversion there.if you stopped crapping on the sacred things they did tell you, they might share it with you, but until you do, no one will, do you share you deepest secrets with your enemy's? probably not.The Bible – its a bunch of books that some catholics grouped together and called the word of god. the truth is God spoke and speaks to LOTS of people all the time and anything they write that IS the word of God would be scripture I personally believe that ALL of it holds some measure of truth. the Book of Mormon does not make up all the scripture int he world either. we are taught as Mormons to seek out understanding from all Good booksYes I care if my beliefs are true. I have questioned them many many timesevery time I do I re-conclude with the same answers. I do not know all there is to know of God, but what I do know is true…..you suggest a way I can objectively prove my beliefs to myself to be true or false. without having to demand of God signs. I am willing to try. though it is funny… I think I already have. once I read that if I paid my tithing (law of karma etc) that when the time came what I needed would be there. I had heard stories of people who didn't have money to pay the rent were about to be homeless and got a flat tire on the way home from wherever and there under their back tire was exactly enough to do what they needed. well I thought haha that sounds like a great story to bad it never happens to me, just a bunch of crap I think… but I figure why not lets prove God. and I say God I hear this story I read your promise in the scriptures, I have diligently paid my tithing all this time and what has it profited me. I desperately needed 5K by the end of the week. I said God come on dp your thing I did my part…. and you know what…. the very next day a man walked to my door and said not sure why, but I'm supposed to give this to you. it was money I had planned to use on a vacation to hawaii but apparently you need it more than me. don't have to repay it, though if you can here is my information. OMG what was that! can you get more objective than that? since then I have had a testimony that the law of tithing is a true law. and it has paid itself off many many times just as promised. but I am still open to suggestions

  101. 101
    Marymanard

    Raymond – Thank you – Though I came to this dogpile on request of a friend who felt I should get involved in this particular conversation. and as such I have… Thanks for reading my blog. such as it is.. with 4 kids and a business I havn't spent nearly enough time typing in my written notes

  102. 102
    Raymond

    Mary said"george I'm sorry that you are struggling to grasp my points, I will try to make it easier or you in the future"Yeh, George, you conservative types are so stoopid. :-D

  103. 103
    Kingasaurus

    "Kingasaurus – I have evidence that when I DONT pray for things I don't get nearly the blessing I get, when I DO pray for them."What the heck does that even mean? I said BE SPECIFIC. You're speaking in generalities and platitudes, which are useless for the purposes of this discussion. What is your "evidence"?Give me one CONCRETE example of how you KNOW that when you talk to yourself (pray), you aren't just talking to yourself and are actually communicating with an invisible, all-powerful, disembodied mind who supposedly created the universe.I'm waiting.

  104. 104
    Marymanard

    I am quite enjoying this conversation buy I must prolong it until Monday TTFN – Family & religion and all to attend to I will respond to posts to don't take this as a cop out

  105. 105
    JT

    @MaryJT – also thanks for getting to know me, you do NOT know my testimony. my life experiences, why or how I got to be where I am. but you like to think you know more about me, as you label me like every other theist you have ever met…… good luck with that.I don't think I know you at all. Your (or anyone else's) testimony is entirely irrelevant. Personal testimony is incredibly unreliable as a tool to evaluate reality with any kind of accuracy at all.I'm not saying that you're "insane". I'm saying that without hard evidence, there's no way to distinguish your claims between real and insane.as I see you like to twist words it is hardly worth the bother to correct you. I did not say that you had to do things to the point of using a microscope to make it right, but yes there are right ways and wrong ways to go about things. if you deny that you deny science.I understand. That wasn't my point, exactly. For every time we say "Yes, but I did do that.", you always have a convenient excuse as to what went wrong, or how we "didn't do it right".Just because you cannot see gravity keeping you here on earth, doesn't mean it is not interacting with you. constantly…. but with the right tools you can observe its interaction.I can actually demonstrate, objectively, that gravity exists and manifests in this reality.Please give an objective method for demonstrating god.Here's a hint: Your current method is 100% subjective, as it depends on warping the mind to work.

  106. 106
    JT

    I very much so agree, but then that is the usual reason for being atheist/agnostic. you prayed for something God did not give you what you wanted so like a whining little kid you tell you parent (heavenly Father) you don't want to be his kid any more, he does not exist, you decide if he doesn't love you enough to give you what you want he must not love you, and if god is love and god doesn't love you there must not be god….You seriously are clueless, and a hypocrite. What was it you said before?Oh yeah…"you do NOT know my testimony. my life experiences, why or how I got to be where I am"You'll find atheists/agnostics that go through that process are an extreme minority.tell me does that sound familiar?Not in the slightest.isn't that exactly what all of you are saying…. you know some previous theists who couldn't get God to give them what they wanted so now they are atheists?Not really, no.Continue lying more about us. Please.

  107. 107
    JT

    @maryJT interesting, I don't feel dismantled at all…DID YOU THINK THAT YOU HAD SHAKEN MY FAITH? thats kinda funnyNope, I hadn't. Usually, discussing reality with folks like you is fairly pointless.

  108. 108
    JT

    @maryJT, just because the belief you had was founded on A god that doesn't exist doesn't mean there isn't one that does. you just weren't talking to the right guyRight, I must have dialed the wrong extension – I should have adjusted those stones again.The point is, unless there's any good evidence that one exists, there's no point in believing in one.I'm sure that you are correct, I'm sure your life got better after you stopped worshiping false Gods. but as I said before, that doesn't mean there isn't a true one.I agree. Anything is possible. Now, when you, or anyone else can objectively demonstrate that one does exist, I'll care.

  109. 109
    JT

    @maryJT – I love your example. the only flaw is that at some point your objective evidence is really subjectiveWrong.Objective operates outside of a mind. Subjective operates from within a mind.Objective data can actually be shown to someone else.you trust the work of science I get that, but that is your choice to believe in it and have that faith.You have no understanding of what faith is.Faith is accepting a claim as true without evidence, or in the face of contrary evidence.Science works. That computer you're using wasn't "faithed" into existence. Science investigating the underlying physics and chemistry made it work.When something is supported with good evidence, it is not faith.I personally have NO such faith in science as I see it is constantly changing and is completely unprovable, unpredictable and usually financially backed in such a way to be untrustworthy….Yes, science improves on itself, verifies its results. It's changing is good. At this point, you're being a massive hypocrite. Please stop using any and all advanced technology. That includes your computer, cell phone (if any), car, as well as stop going to the doctor or flying in any airliners. All of that depends on the accuracy of science.Science is the #1 most demonstrably effective means that humans have ever conceived for accurately and precisely determining the fundamental mechanics of how the universe works.All religion has is fairy tales and superstition.

  110. 110
    JT

    @maryLook at all the medicine that is FDA approved and scienctists all agree this drug is great, but 3 years later oh look it caused cancer, blood clots and killed people. that was REAL SCIENTIFIC PROOF…..Please cite the source of a scientist claiming that science gets it 100% right all the time.Otherwise, you are lying, as usual.The ability to correct past mistakes is a success of science.Science Taught the world was flat, because they could not see it, were they right?Your are woefully wrong here. Pathetically wrong. The common folk thought the world was flat, because it appeared that way. It took the rigors of science to demonstrate, not just that the Earth was round, but its radius.no, but a God fearing man came along and proved them wrong.Did this god fearing man USE religion/theism to prove it, or did he just happen to be religious?He used science.and yes I know that not all scientists believed he world was flat but then not all scientists believe in any report it is in their nature to be argumentativeNot all scientists believe anything mutually. The competition, disagreement, review and refutation are at the core of how science eventually determines the truth.

  111. 111
    Lukas

    OUR Father literally physically created our spiritual bodies…the very same spirit body that is right this very second and has been since conception in your physical body….Is the physical and the spiritual the same or are they different? If they're the same, then how can the spiritual be in the physical. If they're the same, then how could he have physically created something spiritual?scriptures reference it…I figure that …I guess if … some scientists speculate…So, in other words, you have no clue, but are only going by what some book told you?If you haven't observed it, then how do you know it's real?If you stopped crapping on the sacred things they did tell you, they might share it with youWell, I know you're wrong. I can even prove it. But I won't until you apologize.The Bible – its a bunch of books that some catholics grouped together and called the word of god. the truth is God spoke and speaks to LOTS of people all the time and anything they write that IS the word of GodSays you. Why should I believe you over them?I do not know all there is to know of God, but what I do know is true…..How do you know? If you can't verify or falsify your ideas, how do you really know?God I hear this story I read your promise in the scriptures…I said God come on dp your thing I did my part…and you know what…. the very next day a man walked to my door and said not sure why, but I'm supposed to give this to youHow is this not asking for a sign?can you get more objective than that?Easily. You could start by not being so eager to conclude anything from it.You asked god to help you. Your problem was solved.How many people have their problems solved without asking god to help them?If I asked god for the same thing and I received nothing, would you accept that as evidence against god? We both know the answer to that.Falsification is the most important thing. IF you were wrong, how would you know?you suggest a way I can objectively prove my beliefs to myself to be true or falseIt's your hypothesis. You come up with it. I don't know your beliefs nearly well enough to do that sort of thing. You do. Get to work.

  112. 112
    Marymanard

    Lukas – you prayed for something God did not give you what you wanted so like a whining little kid-I have a hard time expressing how much I loathe this kind of hypocritical behavior. You will receive no respect from me until you show a bit yourself.I want to apologize before I go. this was not meant as a personal attack on you or any other atheist I again apologize for the hurt it appears to have causedI will as I said respond the remainder on Monday

  113. 113
    JT

    @maryPlease don't mistake being impassioned for hurt or anger.For most of us, epistemology is a very important topic.

  114. 114
    Mark B

    Mary,Thank you for responding to my post. Sorry, but all I got from it was a bunch of assertions about something that I find to be ridiculous and unbelievable.If I have a problem, it's up to me to fix it. Or it doesn't get fixed. Period. The world and universe make perfect sense without needing to splice a god onto it. Effect follows cause, things run down without energy, systems wear out and fail eventually. The universe doesn't care about us so we've created a society where we care about each other, at least to the extent that things run in a fairly safe, comfortable and predictable manner.Not enough for you? Sorry. I suppose believing in the Man from Kolob might make you happy. It just seems ridiculous to me. About science; why the hell do you people have such a problem with science? Observation. Hypothesis. Experimentation. Repeatable results. In other words, it's how you run your life EVERY DAY. You figure things out. You fix them. It's not some scary, new religion that's out to destroy your soul, it's just about thinkin'. Your complaint about science is that it changes? Are you a Jew? No? A Christian? A Muslim? No. As far as I can tell your not even a Mormon, but some kind of Mormon Phase II? And you accuse SCIENCE of changing? Do you get my point? If religion was about the eternal truth you'd be worshiping Marduk, Enlil and the rest of the Babylonian pantheon, not Yahweh, Jehovah or whatever the hell you call him. I mean, you gotta go back to the source, right? The truth doesn't change, right?But I'll give you props for the sheer volume of text you've generated. Kudos to you. I just needed to tell you that it's more about quality than quantity, that just telling a story isn't proof, especially when it's an incredible (and I mean that literally) story about a god-man from Kolob who existed before the universe but needed to be in the form of a human being. Or whatever. I probably got it wrong but hey, so did you.

  115. 115
    James Francesco

    This is a question for the other atheists, not Mary:Why should we even keep trying? I try to be an optimist, but sometimes I feel we must simply admit there are people out there who are HOPELESS.She said "science cannot prove that the flu shot is in fact more beneficial for you that not getting one". She tried to talk about a study about music and plants and used the terms "bad music" and "good music". She (for the love of god!) cited INFOMERCIAL SALESMEN AS EDUCATED SUPERIORS!In such a situation, where she has no idea what science is, what a scientist is, or how logic works, can anyone give me an actual reason we should call her a some stupid name and run her off the blog?If theists (or anyone) want to join here and have a discussion or ask questions, I can't be more open to that. But more than her poor education, the woman has shown her horrible attitude toward those that don't believe as her. She called us whiny brats, blind, fools, etc. Is that not more reason to ignore or even block her?As for this woman's motives, she's clearly here just to proselytize and insult, especially evidenced in her post that was practically a sermon.We wouldn't give any respect to an atheist that goes on a theist forum and rants "you're all ignorant assholes!" And we even get into heated debates WITH EACH OTHER on whether or not to be a dick! So why should we tolerate, even for just a few posts, a theist who is nothing but a dick.And that's what Mary is: a dick. An ignorant troll dick.

  116. 116
    rrpostal

    In summary- Mary's god is physical yet spiritual. He's a man yet also super being. He wants to be known yet is not apparent except if you agree you see him. He will help you, but only if you do things the right way so that you will succeed. He will answer prayers, but only if you are willing to accept what happens as an answer. Testimonies are not important but wow, you should hear the testimonies. God is testable, but nobody has been able to think up the right test.And finally…He's real, yet he's all in Mary's head. (or he may be the patron saint of quality footwear just playing a trick on her)

  117. 117
    Jeremy

    Marymanard said: by their fruits you may know. are they successfully doing all the things that scriptures says that a follower can do? if yes then they are doing thing right with the right tools. if not, then they are lacking some tools, or may have the tools but are using them improperly…. certainly some are lacking more than others. Can you be a little more specific? What fruits should one look for? Further, how do people's actions tell you whether they believe in a god, properly or otherwise, or if they believe in a god at all?

  118. 118
    Marymanard

    Having just a moment. I have read the posts left in my email. I am otherwise going to unsubscribe to this blog as much as anything because this is a mutual waste of time, and I have wasted enough of it already, I have much more important things todo than to argue.I think (though I could be wrong) a few of you would like to continue an actual conversation if it is correct, you may feel free to email me – [email protected] and I would be happy to continue conversations where I am not bombarded with 50 emails to respond to in one day, the majority of which are closed mined or even down right mean. If I offended anyone and you feel I should apologize, then please accept my apology. I am not backpedaling on any topic, but if I came accross as rude or hurtful I do not intend to cause harm of any kind.and as to being a mormon II you should study mormonism a little better. Kolob is standard LDS doctrine, we even have hymns on the matter, and I worship the God that created the world who is the same God that adam and eve worshiped as far as I see it you can't get any more stable than that. but if you think science is stable I challenge you to go buy any elementary science book more than 10 years old and see how much has changed, just to bring it into focus for yourself.Good luck with your investigations.

  119. 119
    MI Dawn

    Darn. Mary's running away, and I wanted to ask her how she just KNEW that god is a "perfect MAN". Why man? Why not a woman? Except her book of mormon or her bible or her whatever insists that god must be a man, because, of course, men are so much better than women.I just wanted this answered:If Jesus died for our sins, and Adam and Eve brought sin into the world, but Adam and Eve never existed because we evolved, then why did Jesus have to die for sins of imaginary people, and thus for everyone?

  120. 120
    JT

    @Marybut if you think science is stable I challenge you to go buy any elementary science book more than 10 years old and see how much has changed, just to bring it into focus for yourself.Multiple fallacies here.0) No one is saying science is "stable". We say it works.1) Don't equate different book publishers and authors with science. Of course things are going to change in their descriptions.2) Science is supposed to change. That's how it works. That's how we've figured out how your magical computer's root mechanisms work.Each time science "changes", it's a convergence on the right answer. Of course we aren't going to get it right the first time. Our first proposed models for physical phenomenon are going to be fairly crude, yet they provide the basis for better models to be developed.It's an ongoing process, but each iteration of this process produces better, more accurate knowledge.Saying that science is unreliable because it changes is like saying that your current computer doesn't work because it's changed from computers 10 years ago.Of course they have. They've gotten better.If you don't understand that, you do not understand the fundamentals of science, and are once against coming from complete ignorance, like you have been on essentially any topic you've brought up outside of your fantasy world.

  121. 121
    Mark B

    Mary,OK, you're a standard Mormon. That wasn't clear when you mentioned it earlier. It's also not my point.We have all witnessed the evolution of religion from Judaism to Christianity to Islam to Mormonism. If god is eternal, why all the changes in doctrine?Also, if I check a ten year old elementary schoolbook on science I'm betting most if not all of it will be the same. We all know about science, and we all know how it changes–and more importantly WHY it changes. If you don't believe in science you don't believe in the PC you're saying it with.Also, MOST importantly. My mind isn't closed. You just haven't said anything that is convincing enough to change it.

  122. 122
    JT

    Apparently I must post a comment in order to enable the "Email follow-up comments" option.*shakes fist at blogger*

  123. 123
    Foot

    I could see the Mormon/LDS teachings in everything Mary was saying, because I used to be a believing LDS member at one time myself… I was for 25+ years.I had devoted all of my youth and early adult life to what I was taught about god when I was a member. I served a mission in the Michigan Lansing Mission from December of 95 to December of 97.The only criteria I used to determine the truth was what some members would call a burning in the bosom… which I consider now to nothing more than an unreliable emotional state. Evidence of god? Hardly. I have felt that same "burning" when testifying that skepticism against god belief is perfectly justified. The scientific method is the best tool we have for understanding how the world works, not some feel-good mumbo-jumbo that only proves that humans have emotions.The key to Mormon doctrine/beliefs is the Book of Mormon (BOM). It is also very unreliable.The more we learn about the history/archaeology/biology of the Americas, the further we have moved from what is stated in the Book of Mormon. The evidence discovered of the ancient inhabitants continue to show that the BOM is not a historic record, and the only conclusion that can be made is that it was made up. I know Jeffery R. Holland has a few words to say about that, but the faulty logic he used in that past general conference talk only hurt his case for the BOM's truthiness™ even more.I still have a good relationship with members of the LDS church, but most of it is despite the church teachings that an apostate like me is to be shunned. I have had mostly positive experiences in my activity in the church, I just can't find the beliefs attached to it as justified in any way. It took me a wile to figure out, but the second I started thinking critically is when everything started to crumble.Once I realized I believed things for bad reasons, I began to let those beliefs go.I am kind of bummed out that I will miss an episode of the show thanks to General Conference(I listen to the TAE podcast). General Conference is a semi-annual occurrence where the leadership of the LDS church get together and talk for 8 hours over Saturday and Sunday. (10 hours for the men).

  124. 124
    Foot

    Oh, good grief. My comment is just as incoherent as Mary's. One could blame my Mormon upbringing, but it is just how my mind works. It jumps around on the topic of religion… especially the LDS/Mormon religion.I need to work on my writing a bit more.

  125. 125
    Leisha Camden

    OUR Father literally physically created our spiritual bodies in much the same manner that we create physical bodies for our spirits. do I need to explain the birds and the bees here? Heavenly Father ad Heavenly mother ….. and Oh shit I forgot to take my pill (joking) …… a Spirit body was formed in the womb of the mother and an intelligence entered into the spirit body, a season later out popped spirit Body Lukas, . . . the very same spirit body that is right this very second and has been since conception in your physical body….Hmm well Kolob. that is a tough one though… scriptures reference it, I figure that our telescopes either don't see it, or don't call it by its proper name, but I guess if you look up long enough with a powerful enogh scope in just the right place you might be able to see it… some scientists speculate it is in the center of one star system or another. but being that 1 day to him is a 1000 years to him does that make is 1000 light years away…. don't actually know the conversion there.This is a joke, right? I mean, seriously … you guys know something I don't and this is some kind of elaborate joke? Right? I mean … wut?

  126. 126
    PaulJ

    @Foot:"Oh, good grief. My comment is just as incoherent as Mary's."Not at all, and it's always interesting to hear someone's deconversion story.(One of the oddest I heard was of a Jehovah's Witness who incorporated his story into a novel, Blood Witness, about a vampire who falls in love with a JW. You can listen to the whole thing for free at Podiobooks.com.)

  127. 127
    JT

    I was probably a bit harsh. I have a low tolerance for BS, wilfull ignorance, strawmen or misrepresentation – all of which are her first choices in her argumentative armoire. This is why I wouldn't do well on the show.The kiddie-gloves came off when she started accusing us/me of things that were untrue. For example, that we must have had a 'bad experience', or that none of us have experienced faith, etc.This is the problem with "testimonial evidence". Our testimony conflicts with hers, so now we're just having a testimony showdown. She has a stark double standard, where the peoples' testimonies that agree with her are valid, and those testimonies that do not agree with her… well, clearly they're mistaken.. somehow… even if we have to make shit up about them, on the spot, to explain it.She left after trying to rationalize our existence away as though we're just whiny kids, who had an emotional knee-jerk reaction our magical genie not granting our wishes.Of course that's offensive. I'm pretty sure it wouldn't go over well with her for me to say, "You just believe in a god because you're a moron."Both are ad hominem attacks, and neither are worth considering. Once we can bring the discussion back to objective evidence, we can make some progress.

  128. 128
    Ing

    I saw Mary's lines as "Too long didn't read"…mostly because I skimmed it and know I've heard it a thousand times.I'm stuck on that "Man in his perfect form" statement. I can't get past it.Mary, I have to ask, since we're talking about a perfect man, what color is his skin?

  129. 129
    George From NY

    James F, Yeah, I see your point. I have spoken to actual, diagnosed schizophrenics who've made more sense, and could follow and respond to questions better, than Mary does.This woman has "drunk the Kool-Aid" to the point where it's practically pouring out from her ears.Abandon ship.

  130. 130
    Foot

    Thanks Paul J. I will probably look that up in the morning and listen while I work.@JT:I think the main problem here is that most LDS/Mormons like Mary are trained to suspect disbelievers as defective in some way. When god(s) don't answer us, it is our own fault in their view. …Or we are simply dishonest and believe in god, but decide to punish god with our unbelief because he didn't help us find our keys when we wanted him to.There is a story in the BoM that tells of a man named Korihor, who led many people "astray". He was a sign seeker (similar to what Mary has accused the atheists here of being). He was an "evil" man that was able to get people to turn away from belief in the church, religion, and god. Eventually, he came up against the church leader (named Alma) at the time and asked for a sign of the power of god, and received a sign in the form of a curse that rendered him deaf and mute. He later died, ignominiously. All because he wanted some form of evidence, or a sign. Most True Believing Mormons think of sign seeking as an inherently wicked thing, so by asking for evidence outside of just believing whatever you are told is a sin and will probably preclude you from ever receiving a spiritual witness of the truth through the power of the Holy Ghost.Also, Mormons are taught to be suspect of critical thinking in the context of the Mormon religion because that leads to a "loss of the spirit" (critical thinking is ok for Mormons to use elsewhere).She won't be able to step back from the mormon mindset and examine her beliefs honestly. At least not right now, because she is on the defense.Unfortunately, you won't get a new philosophical perspective from most Mormons, as you can see here it is mostly just the "Use faith to get faith" type of thing that is as old as the Bible.

  131. 131
    Foot

    @ INGMormon theology teaches that god (heavenly father) is white. He has a body of flesh and bone. I should probably add: Jesus also has his own body of flesh and bone, but has scars to mark his hands, feet and side so that everyone will know who he is I guess. The Holy Ghost is some ethereal presence separate from the two, but it is a he, and he works for god and Jesus.

  132. 132
    Marymanard

    very interesting programming on BYU tv this morning…..that talked about the God fearing scientists that were inspired to invent such thin gs like the TV Farnsworth (LDS) and the great Chemist Henery Eyring (LDS) so to all those who say science and not god gave us technology they should check their sources

  133. 133
    Lukas

    There seems to be a general sentiment that discussion with Mary is futile. I can quite understand that and maybe it's correct, but I'd like to acknowledge that she did offer an apology for any offense caused.Maybe I'm being overly optimistic, but it I think it signifies that she's not a complete lost cause. At least she's not terminally arrogant.Of course, we're still very much at an impasse of understanding. I think, if Mary decides to continue the discussion, it would be a good idea to go to first principles. Personally, I'd like to turn the discussion to epistemology, i.e. how do we know things. If we don't get that point settled, I don't think we could possibly get anywhere at all. I'd like to talk about it in the abstract before going into specifics.So, Mary, since you've said that you care about truth, how do we as human beings determine what's true?

  134. 134
    James Francesco

    @Lukasher apology is worthless. She says it only to retain (that's retain because only in her mind does she think she even started with) any sense of superiority. She might as well have said she'd pray for us.Look at her latest post, full of BS. She's trying to tell us god gave us technology THROUGH Scientists? It's utterly ridiculous.

  135. 135
    Lukas

    so to all those who say science and not god gave us technology they should check their sourcesAnd how did they invent these things? Did they read about it in their scriptures? Did they receive the design specs as an answer to prayer?OR, did they do scientific work, leading to the knowledge employed to make these things?How many scientific discoveries are made by theists with no scientific training? How many are made by atheists with no faith?What's the deciding factor here; their faith or their training?You know the answer to this one, Mary.

  136. 136
    Martin

    Mm-hmm. Present any examples of a scientific discovery that was made with no research or peer review done whatsoever, but simply by someone praying and receiving scientific knowledge by divine revelation. While we're waiting, we'd also like an explanation as to why God didn't provide the human race with knowledge of germ theory and vaccines back in the early 14th century, so they could have avoided that whole Black Death thing. I mean, if God is in the business of handing the human race its scientific knowledge, it's obvious he dropped the ball on that one.

  137. 137
    Truckle

    @ Martin"While we're waiting, we'd also like an explanation as to why God didn't provide the human race with knowledge of germ theory and vaccines back in the early 14th century, so they could have avoided that whole Black Death thing. I mean, if God is in the business of handing the human race its scientific knowledge, it's obvious he dropped the ball on that one."Ah but Martin, you know the answer to this one already! Our puny minds would not have been able to understand in the 14th century that being dirty might spread disease. God witheld that knowledge until our minds were capable of comprehending this fact, exactly in line with the time people experimented and found out that washing your hands/equipment helped reduce the incidence of infection during surgery and dealing with open wounds.In fact god has only revealed nuggets of information based upon the work done previously by all those men working on and performing science on the universe to verify the previous pieces of divine inspriation as he doesn't want it to be too obvious that he exists, otherwise faith would be useless wouldn't it?/snark offI would give a non-snark answer but JT has been skewering each argument so far spot on.

  138. 138
    Lukas

    her apology is worthlessIndeed it remains to be seen how sincerely she meant it and certainly her understanding is less than perfect, but I'm still holding on to a bit of hope.I'll admit to overoptimism here, but I'm willing to give it one more shot. Of course, we will have to go back to first principles, as I mentioned above. Discussion of specific points will be useless until we settle the matter of how we know thing to begin with.If we can make some headway on the matter of epistemology, I think we could seriously reduce the number of absurd arguments Mary makes.Then we can start having a real discussion.

  139. 139
    JT

    @Maryvery interesting programming on BYU tv this morning…..that talked about the God fearing scientists that were inspired to invent such thin gs like the TV Farnsworth (LDS) and the great Chemist Henery Eyring (LDS) so to all those who say science and not god gave us technology they should check their sources*facepalm*You're saying that god downloaded schematics into their brains?Can you prove that this was the case, and not just more lying theists? "Inspiring" someone to produce something isn't the same thing as "giving them the information/data" to do so. I can be inspired to create a fusion reactor because a flower petal landed on my keyboard. That doesn't mean the flower petal channeled infinite knowledge through me.Also, keep in mind that engineering != science. Engineering uses scientific principles without having to investigate and discover those principles in the first place. Without scientific knowledge, it wouldn't matter how "inspired" they were, they couldn't invent what they did.I'm not talking about making TVs. I'm talking about understanding the core physical principles for which the TV operates.(I'm probably going to be beaten up by an engineer now)

  140. 140
    JT

    I dare say that she could be described as fractally wrong.

  141. 141
    Raymond

    Mary said"God fearing scientists that were inspired to invent such thin gs like the TV Farnsworth"I don't know whether to accuseyou of dishonesty or ignorance this time.If you know the history of the invention of TV you will find that it is a slightly more complicated situation where giving the credit to one person is not entirely accurate.tryhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_televisionSorry about the facts getting in the way of your point.

  142. 142
    JT

    They key to faith is the procedure, as she says. You have to do it right.You first need to tune your prayer to a frequency of 314.159GHz on a tri-axial modulation, and direct your prayer tangential to Polaris within a tolerance of +/- 0.001 radians.Next, you need to transmit the 256bit security key that only Mormons know in order to initiate handshaking. With that, you've successfully established a connection to God.Make sure you follow the ISO-80085 format, complete with little edian byte order, and make sure you sent the correct content type declaration in your headers, or God will drop the connection.At this point, you can send and receive properly constructed GTP messages and conduct your business with God. Be sure to check that certificate, so as to avoid a man-in-the-middle attack from a false god.

  143. 143
    Ithonicfury

    @JTAnd make sure your clock is set perfectly right, God won't communicate with someone with a dead CMOS battery.

  144. 144
    Hermes

    In a way, she's right in the general case about 'god inspiring' people, even if her specific story is totally fabricated or simply detached from reality.[ I know, I know. Hold that thought and bear with me for a moment. I'm a long time atheist, first time poster. ]Many fiction writers know the phenomenon she misattributes to an external entity quite well. You experience a character, and if the character is worth anything it has a mind of it's own in some sense. You even make an effort not to manipulate the character, and let it make it's own choices. Additionally, people are inspired by seemingly separate entities all the time.That they aren't actually separate entities doesn't mean that they aren't treated like different entities. It is practical — natural — to let part of you go off and do a chore if you don't need to exert conscious control of each step. As an example, if you have trained yourself to type, you don't think about your fingers. Yet, there aren't finger-gnomes listening to your homunculus and pressing the keys for it.When you first learned how to type, you did have to train your brain to make it all automatic. You had to practice so that your conscious self didn't have to worry about the details each time you wanted to press the e key. If you switch keyboard layouts, there is a short period where you stumble over the wrong keys, and you may occasionally or even frequently type the wrong keys because your little helper — your reflexive memory of how to type — makes mistakes.You may also notice that if you try and explain how you can type to someone else while you type, you tend to slow down and make more mistakes because the separate process (your buddy; the trained part of your brain) is being impacted by the conscious thoughts that get in the way during the explanation. It's simply inefficient to talk about the process you've learned that is reflexive.So, she has a set of characters she taps into. One of them is named God. They're all her, but she attributes them to some other being because that's one of the aspects of some of those characters, and more importantly she's been trained to treat them as independent yet able to get in to her mind and talk directly with her.With that in mind, I would suspect that many religiously tied mental disorders are based on the brain being trained to not realize what fiction writers know; you can change and modify or even discard your characters even if 'they want' to show up and influence a story.

  145. 145
    Hermes

    (NOTE: I had an error posting a slightly better version of this a moment ago. If the previous version is in your queue, disregard this one. If this one fails, I'm going to chunk this post into two parts.)In a way, she's right in the general case about 'god inspiring' people, even if her specific story is totally fabricated or simply detached from reality.( I know, I know. Hold that thought and bear with me for a moment. I'm a long time atheist, first time poster. )Many fiction writers know the phenomenon she misattributes to an external entity quite well. You experience a character, and if the character is worth anything it has a mind of it's own in some sense. You even make an effort not to manipulate the character, and let it make it's own choices. Additionally, people are inspired by seemingly separate entities all the time.That they aren't actually separate entities doesn't mean that they aren't treated like different entities. It is practical — natural — to let part of you go off and do a chore if you don't need to exert conscious control of each step. As an example, if you have trained yourself to type, you don't think about your fingers. Yet, there aren't finger-gnomes listening to your homunculus and pressing the keys for it.When you first learned how to type, you did have to train your brain to make it all automatic. You had to practice so that your conscious self didn't have to worry about the details each time you wanted to press the e key. If you switch keyboard layouts, there is a short period where you stumble over the wrong keys, and you may occasionally or even frequently type the wrong keys because your little helper — your reflexive memory of how to type — makes mistakes.You may also notice that if you try and explain how you can type to someone else while you type, you tend to slow down and make more mistakes because the separate process (your buddy; the trained part of your brain) is being impacted by the conscious thoughts that get in the way during the explanation. It's simply inefficient to talk about the process you've learned that is reflexive.So, she has a set of characters she taps into. One of them is named God. They're all her, but she attributes them to some other being because that's one of the aspects of some of those characters.With that in mind, I would suspect that many religiously tied mental disorders are based on the brain being trained to not realize what fiction writers know; you can change and modify or even discard your characters even if 'they want' to show up and influence a story.

  146. 146
    Hermes

    In a way, she's right in the general case about 'god inspiring' people, even if her specific story is totally fabricated or simply detached from reality.( I know, I know. Hold that thought and bear with me for a moment. I'm a long time atheist, first time poster. )Many fiction writers know the phenomenon she misattributes to an external entity quite well. You experience a character, and if the character is worth anything it has a mind of it's own in some sense. You even make an effort not to manipulate the character, and let it make it's own choices. Additionally, people are inspired by seemingly separate entities all the time.That they aren't actually separate entities doesn't mean that they aren't treated like different entities. It is practical — natural — to let part of you go off and do a chore if you don't need to exert conscious control of each step. (continued…)

  147. 147
    Hermes

    (…continued)As an example, if you have trained yourself to type, you don't think about your fingers. Yet, there aren't finger-gnomes listening to your homunculus and pressing the keys for it.When you first learned how to type, you did have to train your brain to make it all automatic. You had to practice so that your conscious self didn't have to worry about the details each time you wanted to press the e key. If you switch keyboard layouts, there is a short period where you stumble over the wrong keys, and you may occasionally or even frequently type the wrong keys because your little helper — your reflexive memory of how to type — makes mistakes.You may also notice that if you try and explain how you can type to someone else while you type, you tend to slow down and make more mistakes because the separate process (your buddy; the trained part of your brain) is being impacted by the conscious thoughts that get in the way during the explanation. It's simply inefficient to talk about the process you've learned that is reflexive.So, she has a set of characters she taps into. One of them is named God. They're all her, but she attributes them to some other being because that's one of the aspects of some of those characters.With that in mind, I would suspect that many religiously tied mental disorders are based on the brain being trained to not realize what fiction writers know; you can change and modify or even discard your characters even if 'they want' to show up and influence a story.

  148. 148
    Marymanard

    JT. Quite clever, I honestly enjoyed reading that…. the thing is as you are trying to make a point at how riduclulous it is, take out the only mormons know how to do it part and I think you might be getting it….. shake your head all you want, but seriously thats how silly the idea of radio waves seemed before it was well understood. take all the right equipment from this end to send and to receive and there you go now if only there was a physical box we could put all that equipment into so we could see it and use it…. oh wait, god did that…. its called our bodies…..Lukus – my answer to define truth will be argued with, tell me your answer and perhaps we can work with it…yes I know the history of the tv, and its comlicated. but research how many scientists believe in God… god downloads IDEAS into our heads, do you know how many thousands of people get the idea to invent something but have to ability to do anythings about it so they are never given credit, God is the light of the world and that light is intelligence, and during the DARK AGES god was not giving light to the earth because we killed him and his apostles and his was a little pissy so he let us sufffer for a while. guess God is a bit human afterall, he has emotions… but look at the spiritual revolution that came at the same time as the intellectual enlightening.I've unsubscribed, but I will check back periodically, your conversation is addicting.

  149. 149
    Jeremy

    Mary- BYU would want to highlight those two as they were LDS, and quite high in the hierarchy in the case of Eyring IIRC. However, you may want to be careful making the claim that you are. If you equate the scientific accomplishments of these two men to their god- belief, then you must also equate all of their thoughts, opinions and actions to it as well and you may not want to go there. This is especially since these two men were LDS when that religion was quite explicit and unabashed about the racism in its teachings*. Unless I’ve overlooked a comment, no one here said anything about theists being unable to carry out good science or make amazing discoveries**. Many scientists have been theists and many scientific advances have been made by theists all throughout history and today. Indeed, many have even been inspired by their god- belief to explore the natural world. In spite of this, it is just as erroneous of you to claim that their theism was the source of their achievements as it would be for an atheist to claim that only atheists can do science. Mary, what is being said is that a scientist’s god- belief does not grant them greater ability to discover truths than a non- believer. Their belief in scripture, no matter how strong, has ever led to a medical cure, a technological marvel or scientific breakthrough. What did this was their work with their own minds and hands. Sure Eyring asserted that the only conflict between science and religion was in the mind of man and not god’s, but he failed to show that there was a god in the first place.Also, you may want to follow your own advice and check your source first.*Which, by the way, just like the Mormon belief in polygamy, changed because of societal pressures and not religious. **If they have I would like to see the comment.

  150. 150
    Adam

    @mary stated"but if you think science is stable I challenge you to go buy any elementary science book more than 10 years old and see how much has changed, just to bring it into focus for yourself.No Mary, I don't think it is stable and it shouldn't be. Science is ever taking steps in the right directions. The greatest two greatest phrases in the English language are "I was wrong" and "I don't know". You are apparently capable of neither. Although I do have an example of some stability in my history and science texts. There is not one single shred of evidence for the scientific and historic claims of the Book of Mormon. Not one. Where is the evidence of this civilization? Where is this planet your god lives on? To say that he "lies beyond our telescopes" is as useful as Russell's teapot. Give us a break here.My last point is a matter of taste and probably childish. But please make a cursory attempt at spelling and grammar. Excessive improper use of grammar makes your posts hard to read. I am not a great writer myself, but spaces in the middle of words and a general lack of capitalization make for a difficult read, especially when the actual content of the post is patent non-sense.Just to reiterate. Not one person, place, event, tribe, or claim from the Book of Mormon has ever been verified. EVER

  151. 151
    Michael

    Marymanard said…so to all those who say science and not god gave us technology they should check their sources.God also gave us delicious stones, so we could make delicious stone soup.Yeah! My first ever comment on AETV blog.

  152. 152
    Marymanard

    Looking for HARD Evidencce and not finding any buyt this is close. what is the statistical data of theist sceients to athesit scientist….. this is the closest answer I could find… though it appears to confirm my opinion… can you find better results?"In the course of her research, Ecklund surveyed nearly 1,700 scientists and interviewed 275 of them. She finds that most of what we believe about the faith lives of elite scientists is wrong. Nearly 50 percent of them are religious. Many others are what she calls “spiritual entrepreneurs,” seeking creative ways to work with the tensions between science and faith outside the constraints of traditional religion…..only a small minority are actively hostile to religion. Ecklund reveals how scientists–believers and skeptics alike–are struggling to engage the increasing number of religious students in their classrooms and argues that many scientists are searching for “boundary pioneers” to cross the picket lines separating science and religion"

  153. 153
    Marymanard

    your scientific method for providing evidence to confirm or deny as I understand it,(simplified) is to come up with a theory get some data analyze the data create a report and then put it out for peer review…The problem with theologians providing proof is in the peer review.. a mathematician would not send his reports to a paleontologist for review, as such a theist should not send his reports to an atheists for peer review, but to another theist. sending such a mathematical report to a paleontologist would result in confusion and lack of understanding. (Am I wrong?)that though seems to be what atheists are requesting of theists. to send our reports to non-peers and expect to reach an understanding.

  154. 154
    James Francesco

    Well she did ask an honest question I guess: "(Am I wrong?)"Yes, Mary, you are wrong. You don't know what theory means, you don't know what scientists do with facts, or "reports".This is what I find most annoying: the fact that "theologian" is a title. Whenever I hear anyone has a PHD in theology or religious studies I can't help but laugh my ass off. So you have a PhD in "make believe", really? Was it hard to get? Maybe I'll try to get a PhD in Atlantean Geology this year, or a Masters in Astrology.

  155. 155
    Marymanard

    Jeremy -Previously – I personally have NO such faith in science as I see it is constantly changing and is completely unprovable, unpredictable and usually financially backed in such a way to be untrustworthy….Yes, science improves on itself, verifies its results. It's changing is good. At this point, you're being a massive hypocrite. Please stop using any and all advanced technology. That includes your computer, cell phone (if any), car, as well as stop going to the doctor or flying in any airliners. All of that depends on the accuracy of science.my point is, I'm not a hypocrite, I believe that yes advancements were direct relation to revelation. upon asking a question to God, theist scientist received an answer. etc. as such my OPINION though admittedly biased, is that God gives us much technology, but not everything out of the mouth of Prophets is God's direct words equally not everything out of the mouth of a scientist is gods revelations and so much of what scientists "prove" is their own ideas and not gods. mans ideas get changed. Gods ideas get improved upon, not changed.Mormons, though took a while to understand, are not racist. it was not peer pressure to allow blacks to hold the priesthood. polygamy is still an eternal law, but when Utah became a state, the ordinace that we obey the laws of the land came into conflict with the law of polygamy, when the prophet asked what we should do, he was told to let go of polygamy as God only allows it for a season anyways. see book of Mormon. God hath ordained that one man and one wife and no concubines and other wives….. except when I(god) shall declare it unto you to raise up righteous seed unto myself) (paraphrasing but pretty close to verbatim). it is the same in the bible Adam – I really don't care about my punctuation in a blog or my canalization. as I am managing a household of rampant kids while attempting to type and then retype what the baby just erased or erase what he typed. be happy with what you get….as to the evidence of the Book of Mormon. I supposed you have never heard of the mounds builders or the Hopewell Tradition, or the amazing decolauges found in america that could only have been transported here around 600bc and the bags of biblical coins found in america from the same era.my point to proof is that, I see the great civilizations of ancient america as proof of the Book of Mormon. it even goes farther that 600 BC the Jaredites came here at the time of babel 1500-2000 BC, and there is certainly evidence of civilizations here in America at those times. and this proves to me the BoM…. Not sure what you see in all of that, but it is obviously not the same as what I see.Really shouldn't be bashing my religion or my views though, I thought you wanted intelligent conversation about the proof of God. if there is a God he came be the biggest ass hole racist bigot in the universe if he wants, that would not stop him from being the creator (not that I believe those things of God)lets stick to the topic and not be bashing each other…. ok

  156. 156
    TroopDawg

    @ mary's last comment, It's very absurd to assert that scientific revelations are the result of scientists asking god for insight, especially considering most scientists did their research under massive scrutiny and in some cases the threat of death.If not for secular research, you would not receive penicillin and other medicine or watch your favorite Evangelical TV show. God is not behind inventions of man no matter how many ways you string it.If you would have addressed any refutes to your original "evidence" (or lack there of) and stayed away from name calling people who don't/haven't had the same super natural experiences you have had with god, then the conversation would have stayed on topic instead of turning into a rant about how illogical Mormonism(is that a word) really is. By the way, Ing asked if you knew the skin color for the god you described above? I was curious as well.

  157. 157
    JT

    JT. Quite clever, I honestly enjoyed reading that…. the thing is as you are trying to make a point at how riduclulous it is, take out the only mormons know how to do it part and I think you might be getting it….. shake your head all you want, but seriously thats how silly the idea of radio waves seemed before it was well understood.As it should have been for radio to be ridiculous, however, the primary difference between your advocation and radio waves is that radio is objectively measurable and demonstratives.Your advocation cannot be objectively distinguished from a delusion. take all the right equipment from this end to send and to receive and there you go now if only there was a physical box we could put all that equipment into so we could see it and use it…. oh wait, god did that…. its called our bodies…..That's assuming what you say actually exists, which you haven't given a way to objectively demonstrate yet.yes I know the history of the tv, and its comlicated. but research how many scientists believe in GodSo what? They ultimately use science and engineering.Many more scientists are atheists. Does that prove that there is no god?… god downloads IDEAS into our heads, do you know how many thousands of people get the idea to invent something but have to ability to do anythings about it so they are never given credit, Do you have any objective evidence to demonstrate this, or is it among the plethora of baseless unsupported assertions you've made so far?God is the light of the world and that light is intelligence, and during the DARK AGES god was not giving light to the earth because we killed him and his apostles and his was a little pissy so he let us sufffer for a while. guess God is a bit human afterall, he has emotions… Isn't he supposed to be perfect?The dark ages happened because religion took over.Add another on to The Plethora.

  158. 158
    TroopDawg

    @ mary – "The problem with theologians providing proof is in the peer review.. a mathematician would not send his reports to a paleontologist for review, as such a theist should not send his reports to an atheists for peer review, but to another theist. sending such a mathematical report to a paleontologist would result in confusion and lack of understanding. (Am I wrong?)that though seems to be what atheists are requesting of theists. to send our reports to non-peers and expect to reach an understanding."You have already posted that anybody not sharing your connection with god isn't using the right tools or asking the right questions. The response from several people(including Martin) was these people were once devout and wanting of this kind of communication. Point: your religious texts/ideas/theories should be given to these 'now-athiests' for review. what better peer review group than that? if there is a flaw, they are sure to find it.

  159. 159
    Foot

    Mary, atheists are asking theists to support their claim that god exists. Without any substance to the claim, atheists are in a perfectly rational position when they reject it.The "peer" comparison is wrong. Your god wants everyone to have faith in him, not just your special class of human being that ends up believing whatever they are told. Your god also cannot fault anyone for doubting his existence, because there is no good reason to believe in him. Your god is pretty incompetent at even taking simple steps of making the Holy Ghost indistinguishable from emotions of awe and wonder. Doubt is completely justified.

  160. 160
    Michael

    Marymanard said…(Am I wrong?)Yes. You are wrong.I'm not a scientist, so I might be wrong here too, but I don't think peer review occurs simply by scientists sending their results to each other "for review." They publish their results, which are then open to scrutiny by anyone who is qualified. Generally a paleontologist will be ill equipped to refute mathematical claims, but if the mathematician's methods and findings are obviously flawed, then yes, anyone, even a paleontologist might be qualified to refute them. There's no reason to call in experts if the proposed theories contain basic algebraic errors, for example.as such a theist should not send his reports to an atheists for peer review, but to another theist.You are implying that atheists are not qualified to understand the theist arguments. The only difference between the atheist and theist here is that the theist already believes in god(s). What sense does that make? "You can't refute my arguments because you don't already believe them?"Well then, you can't disagree with my assertion that Ilúvatar made the world, because you don't already believe in him, and probably don't even know who he is.

  161. 161
    JT

    @MaryLooking for HARD Evidencce and not finding any buyt this is close. what is the statistical data of theist sceients to athesit scientist….. this is the closest answer I could find… though it appears to confirm my opinion… can you find better results?"In the course of her research, Ecklund surveyed nearly 1,700 scientists and interviewed 275 of them. She finds that most of what we believe about the faith lives of elite scientists is wrong. Nearly 50 percent of them are religious. Many others are what she calls “spiritual entrepreneurs,” seeking creative ways to work with the tensions between science and faith outside the constraints of traditional religion…..only a small minority are actively hostile to religion. Ecklund reveals how scientists–believers and skeptics alike–are struggling to engage the increasing number of religious students in their classrooms and argues that many scientists are searching for “boundary pioneers” to cross the picket lines separating science and religion"[Citation needed]Let's say that was true. So what? They're ultimately using the rigors of science.The majority of people jail believe in a god.It's funny that when a set of theists disagree with you, it's because they're worshiping a false god. When it's convenient for an argument you're trying to make, you'r more than willing to include those false-god-believing theists.BTW, what is 'hard' evidence? I'm curious what you think.

  162. 162
    James Francesco

    This is why we should ignore this bitch!:"At this point, you're being a massive hypocrite."is she serious? She sits before a machine that is the real culmination of hundreds of years of research, engineering, and genius and she dares spit on it by saying god did it? Is she for real?She is now a liar and just a plain idiot. This is the type of woman you drag around to public schools and cite "this is your brain on god, children. Any questions?"

  163. 163
    Don

    Slightly OT, but Mary here is the latest in a long pattern I've noticed on the 'net: people who don't know what they're talking about and who believe silly things tend to punctuate 90% of their sentences with more than one period. I'd say "with ellipses," but they'll use two periods, four periods, five periods, or whatever else strikes their fancy.I don't know what it means, but I thought I'd see if anyone else has noticed the same thing.

  164. 164
    JT

    @Maryyour scientific method for providing evidence to confirm or deny as I understand it,(simplified) is to come up with a theory get some data analyze the data create a report and then put it out for peer review…Almost.1) Observe a phenomenon.2) Collect data on it.3) Conduct a series of hypothesis and tests for those hypothesis.4) Compile the data and propose a theory as a conclusion for that data.5) Submit for peer review.After a bunch of rounds of repeating steps 2 through 5, you might have a theory that stands.The problem with theologians providing proof is in the peer review.. a mathematician would not send his reports to a paleontologist for review,Agreed, however, your scenario is wrong.Science is about determining what's real and how it works.Theologians are making claims about what's real. It's very very much within the same realm.It's just that they utterly suck at logic-based objective evidence gathering an analysis.Most theologian claims are riddled with logical fallacies. as such a theist should not send his reports to an atheists for peer review, but to another theist.That's silly. It's even better if your publication can pass the muster of the opposing voices.What you're advocating is making sure to have your data "reviewed" but a group of Yes-men.I'm sorry, but you can't weasel out of your burden of proof.(Cont.)

  165. 165
    JT

    sending such a mathematical report to a paleontologist would result in confusion and lack of understanding. (Am I wrong?)Perhaps, but that's not at all what's happening here.It's more like sending a mathematical report to a bunch of (though not all) EX-mathematicians.Additionally, no matter how inept those paleontologists are at math, they can have the process explained to them in a verifiable objective way, and they certainly should not be able, within the first minute, be pointing out errors like, "Wait, right here you state that 2+2=5…"Additionally, even if those paleontologists have no clue about math, are you saying that they're just supposed to take their word for it, on faith?That would be completely unacceptable to anyone who cares about what the truth is. If it cannot be explained and demonstrated, there's no basis for being able to accept it as true.that though seems to be what atheists are requesting of theists. to send our reports to non-peers and expect to reach an understanding.And, as usual, you'd be completely pathetically wrong.

  166. 166
    Michael

    By the way, "I have evidence for the existence of god, but you won't understand it unless you already believe" is not a new argument. It's not much of an argument at all, and betrays a lack of confidence in any arguments you may have.

  167. 167
    Foot

    You are right Mary, you still have to prove god exists at all.The archaeological discoveries in the Americas are moving so far away from what is said in the book of Mormon, that the only conclusion that can be made is that it is fiction.-You have civilizations here that are of Asian decent from over 10,000 years ago, not 2,600 year old Hebrew settlements.-The geography described in the BoM is all wrong.-Anachronisms abound, from descriptions of animals that never were around less that 2,600 years ago, to technologies that were never discovered here from the BoM time period, to technologies that didn't even exist before Lehi left for the "promised land".-God didn't need to take the golden plates from Joseph Smith as a test of the world's faith. God belief would still be just as difficult to justify as it is now. Golden plates were beside the point. All that can be deduced is that they never existed because there was no reason to take them away.And yes, the Mormon church does change it's stances toward controversial views. It would have been much more convincing if the Mormon god had told the prophets to allow black people into the priesthood before the civil rights movement, not after.Brigham Young has said some of the most racist and hateful things about black people, and god never bothered to correct him personally. Yes, racism was part of Mormonism for a long time.

  168. 168
    JT

    @MaryI'll address this point, since (I Think) it's addressed to me.my point is, I'm not a hypocrite, I believe that yes advancements were direct relation to revelation. upon asking a question to God, theist scientist received an answer. etc. as such my OPINION though admittedly biased, is that God gives us much technology, but not everything out of the mouth of Prophets is God's direct words equally not everything out of the mouth of a scientist is gods revelations and so much of what scientists "prove" is their own ideas and not gods. mans ideas get changed. Gods ideas get improved upon, not changed.Your entire belief system appears to be a house of cards. It's a phenomenon I see frequently with theists.What I mean by that is the process in which we network knowledge.When science investigates, say, fire, we first the phenomenon with no real knowledge about it. Through investigation, we begin to learn things about it, such as:1) It's hot.2) It seems to spread to other materials that are dry.2) Most stones seem immune.We investigate further to discover particular temperatures for particular materials for which it ignites. We begin to understand the chemical reaction that it is and start corroborating it with other chemical reactions.We start being able to support verified claims with more verified claims with more verified claims.Your process is the opposite.

  169. 169
    JT

    You make a baseless unsupported claim. We ask you to back it up, where you then dutifully provide additional baseless unsupported claims. We ask you to back those up, and we get even more baseless unsupported claims.Eventually, you get this complex house of knowledge, where if a single piece falls out, the entire thing collapses.First, you claim that science is unreliable and "unproven".I inform you that you're busy using the vast successess of that "unproven" "unreliable" method at your fingertips.And your response is: ".. but but… it was because ALIENS BEAMS SCHEMATICS INTO THEIR HEADS.. yeah! that's it!", thus bypassing the problem of the objective demolition of your argument against science… supposedly.But this argument of yours is just another baseless assertion… especially when ANY atheist can go through the notes and publications of these theistic scientists, and verify that they've followed the scientific method very well.Can you demonstrate that your claim is true, or are you going to support it with yet another baseless unsupported assertion?This is why you come across as a kook.

  170. 170
    Martin

    James, while we all feel your pain and share your frustration and irritation at Mary's obtuseness on subjects where her ignorance is bountiful (to put it mildly), let's leave the B-word out of it, mkay? Not trying to censor you, or imply that you're a sexist, just that there's something about flinging around that particular insult that's rubbing me the wrong way. I'm sure you could find any number of other insults that are just as nasty that I'd be fine with. (And no, "cunt" is not one of them.)

  171. 171
    JT

    @michaelBy the way, "I have evidence for the existence of god, but you won't understand it unless you already believe" is not a new argument. Someone was asking before "What's the point of arguing with her?".I've been struggling to explain why that approach to "knowledge gathering" is rediculous. In this discussion with mary, I think I finally hit on a good analogy (The fasting spirit-world seekers). Likely, it still needs to be honed, but it's a start.This is all practice, in a sense, because in her version of this argument, I finally converged on the idea. So it's been productive.That, and I can't help myself.

  172. 172
    James Francesco

    Martin, you're right, I apologize. Normally I end up going through my post and removing those colorful words that come out naturally as I type frantically still in amazement of what I just read. I'm still just reeling over her "scientists don't do science, god does" line of thought.

  173. 173
    Raymond

    Mary said "The problem with theologians providing proof is in the peer review.. as such a theist should not send his reports to an atheists for peer review, but to another theist."Does this mean only UFO-ologists (yes, there are people who label them self as such) should peer review each others work and that makes it science? Remember peer review is only one element of the scientific method. It is a big part of the self correcting mechanism. But it is not the be all and end all.

  174. 174
    Marymanard

    Andrew – I'm afraid that's all your opinion.As to the color of God, he is described as fleshy bronze. – make of that what you will.Raymonmd – you said earlies – You are clearly citing these millions of testimonies as evidence of "if you WANT to KNOW him, you can". no I am saying if you want to know him you can talk to him yourself and gain your own testmony. Kingasaurus said…you are wanting hard evidence concrete proof of what I claim about prayers being answered. being that you must experience it for yourself. there will never be physical evidence that I can hand mail or etc to show you. but you want tests, I have tested it, God has given me specific answers to my prayers that could be explained No other WAY….. and I am not the only one with miraculous stories to tell. who blame it all of God. ie. today cancer tomorrow healthy only thing different between today and tomorrow is prayer. not oopse it really wasn't cancer, but hey what the F! where did it go???? I guess you could call it my mind having healed itself spontaneously caused by the fervent direct focus of healing (a little alvin maker), I would accept that answer but I call it God.

  175. 175
    Marymanard

    JT – about gravity and my object lesson….you cannot prove to me gravity without my interacting with it… I consider observing it as interacting with it… even as such I must then believe that what I see is in fact Gravity as defined by whomever is showing me the lesson. not sure I can get any more objective than this, because I believe that all is eventually boiled down to subjectivity – but If a man is walking down the street and suddenly has an idea that he needs to buy a gallon of milk, he thinks I don't need any milk but the suggestion is strong and he just can't loose the impression that he NEEDs to buy some milk. so he think ok whatever I'll get some milk no big deal. he goes to the store and gets some milk… continuing on his way home he walks by some houses and hears a baby crying in that house.. the urge to leave that milk at the house is strong, so he, walks to the door, and knock, a man holding a baby answers the door and sees the milk in his hand, the man opening the door is shocked and the man with the milk stammers and not sure what to say, but get something out about wanting to give him the milk. then he finds out they havn't had any money and have been praying for milk to ease the baby's hunger, and there you are.. he gives them the milk and maybe the contents of his wallet too, and leaves.maybe sometimes you get those promptings and you don't listen to them, eventually they stop coming to you they go to others who are willing to follow through with them, thereby acting on behalf of god as a servant of god to fulfill the prayers of others.but it is repeatable if you listen once and see what it takes you, it will come again and again. and from this I can conclude only one of three things. that person is physic, God himself (hearing the prayers of others) or is getting guidance from God through the Holy Spirit.not really sure if that helps. but I'm afraid I'm to the point of repeating myself here. you have to experience it to know. and then know you are not God finally only the last two are possibilities….

  176. 176
    Marymanard

    Michael – am I wrong….well put, I'll have to continue to consider that a bit….

  177. 177
    JT

    @Maryno I am saying if you want to know him you can talk to him yourself and gain your own testmony.Let's say I do that.How can I verify that I'm not hallucinating, other than consorting with other people who may be hallucinating the same way?

  178. 178
    Marymanard

    lUKAS – You do realize that you're implying that we're not sincere, right? You're essentially accusing us of being dishonest, simply because we didn't have the same experience as you did. What kind of discussion do you think we're going to have when your first comment on here is an accusation of deceit?ACTUALLY I was not accusing you of anything, only telling you the formula. though to be honest I suspect as an athesit it is more the not having faith you will get an answer part that is the problem, I couldn't possibly know for sure why it didn't work for you. but what I do know, is that God is not a liar, and this is the formula he has laid out..not just to mormons, as I have said I have studied many great and little religions and they ALL have the same basic formula. and I will say that it works for me. and many many that I know personally whether they are hindi or muslim or mormon or catholic. This is a guess as I said I don't know. you want to come to my house and we can pray together so you can prove your point. I'm open to it, but all I can go on is a perspective admittedly not having all the evidence. just throwing out suggestions…kinda like a mechanic complaining about his car not running and another mechanic throwing out suggestions. no need to get mad. obviously I don't know what you have tried or not, but like the basics of mechanics the answer is going to be one of only so many options. you include the option that God doesn't exist like the option that the car will never run. with enough effort and correct principles knowledge and application of all that the car will run, and God will answer prayers. sometimes we don't realize god answered the prayer, we are too busy working on it to stop and listen to the motor running

  179. 179
    Marymanard

    Lukas – is the physical and the spiritual the same or are they different? If they're the same, then how can the spiritual be in the physical. If they're the same, then how could he have physically created something spiritual?They are differentThe spiritual is made of (something don't know what but it is a shell over our intelligences just like our physical is a shell over our spirits.Having thus both physical and spiritual he can create both

  180. 180
    Raymond

    Mary said"Raymonmd – you said earlies – You are clearly citing these millions of testimonies as evidence of "if you WANT to KNOW him, you can". no I am saying if you want to know him you can talk to him yourself and gain your own testmony.Sorry but that is just bollocks.I have used the example of Alien abductees several times.You have yet to differenciate between the delusion of someone who is absolutely sincerely convinced that they communicating with ET's and someone who is absolutely sincerely convinced that they communicating with god.I am fairly certain that the abductees are not talking to aliens but a flying saucer landing in my backyard may go some way to convince me. Until then I am with-holding belief. To do otherwise is irrational.

  181. 181
    Marymanard

    JT – I rather agree that this argument is non-productive, I am not by any means hoping to covert or even to win. I am rather addicted (as you say can't help yourself) to this conversation. and I suppose it is fun to me to be questioned to the rest of you… there are so many posts to reply to and so little time. just because I don't reply is not my way of avoidance, though I am ignoring dirty words…

  182. 182
    JT

    @maryno I am saying if you want to know him you can talk to him yourself and gain your own testmony.I should have thought of this before:How would you propose that we could falsify your claim?

  183. 183
    Jeremiah

    Well, I'm late to the party but…The claim that prayer works is simply a contradiction by your own definitions. You claim that god does not listen to what people tell him to do but isn't that exactly what a prayer is? A plea for assistance? In answering any prayer at all a god would reveal certain aspects about himself. For one it would reveal that it can change its mind. That it was going to allow events to unfold a certain way and then was convinced to change such an outcome based on the prayers, the begging of humans. This also indicates it is imperfect, either in correcting an original mistake or by mistakenly changing something that was correct to begin with. It also clearly demonstrates that it is not all-knowing, else it would have foreseen the person making the prayers and knowing it would agree with the request could have arranged a different outcome from the beginning. The only way the prayer would be feasible is that if god was just extremely powerful but also equally faulty in the same way humans are. Of course none of that changes the fact that there really is no good evidence for prayer working at all or that such a being exists.Secondly, it is ridiculous to compare science and faith and try to paint a picture where they are equally valid. You said being electrocuted is 'just a feeling' like faith but we can reproduce the feeling of electrocution with 100% success rate and can apply it to everyone without exception. It doesn't matter if you 'trust science' or not, if we hook you up to an electrical current you will feel it just the same as I do. Your faith experiences completely fall apart in this regard in that there is no repeatable way that works 100% with everyone. And no, saying that 'if you just open your heart' or some other such nonsense does not excuse away this fact. In fact saying that you don't have faith in science is rather dishonest. You place your faith in science every time you get into your car or turn on a light switch or go on the internet. Those things work and work with a high degree of reliably because of science. It isn't a crapshoot and I am still waiting for my faith powered light bulb.Cont'd

  184. 184
    Jeremiah

    Trying to imply that scientific knowledge comes from god is simply another unproven assertation, not to mention it is entirely nonsensical. As others have pointed out, god could have provided the science to allay all manner of illness yet choose not to. Why doesn't he provide a cure for cancer? I'm sure you would say that suffering is all part of the plan, but what about smallpox? Is death from smallpox part of the plan in the past and now it isn't part of the plan because god changed his mind and sent us the cure? What about the science behind nuclear weapons? Did god send us that? Or birth control? Or any other tech that is used to defy the will of your god? It would seem pretty ridiculous for god to send us science to do things he doesn't like. Or is only some science from god and some we come up with ourselves? If so, how do we tell which is which? Or better yet instead of just talking religious nonsense how about we cut the BS and just recognize that what we created, a.k.a science, comes from our own efforts.The fundamental misunderstanding that you seem to either be unaware of or willfully ignoring is the fact that the only 'test' you have only applies to yourself and that means that it is exactly no test at all. A test requires that it can be reliably reproduced by anyone at anytime. If it fails to hold to that standard it isn't evidence at all despite your repeated kidnapping of the word.Honestly all this conversation is is a variant of "Jesus said it, I believe it, that settles it." Despite you wanting to paint a scholarly picture by saying you have studied all these religious texts you are clearly not applying a scholarly attitude toward the facts presented by the world around us. I doubt you will change your mind but you have to understand that nothing you are saying is even a tiny bit convincing.

  185. 185
    Jeremiah

    One more thing about the peer review. Submitting anything for a theological 'peer review' is not acceptable in the same way that homeopathy 'peer reviews' would not be. Neither field of study, if you even want to charitably call them that, has produced repeatable results that stand up to scrutiny. Until theology produces such results it isn't a science at all. We believe the results of scientific studies not because "The Journal of ABC" said so. We trust science because at any time we can follow the same procedures and see the same results for ourselves. Again, this is where theology and all your arguments fail miserably, and because they fail to be repeatable they can quite rationally be dismissed as complete nonsense.

  186. 186
    Marymanard

    ok I'm going to go a different way just for a moment, only out of curiosity, not as a matter of proof by any means. or even a matter for argument, just wanting your input.Do atheists believe in Satan? or that prohibited based on the idea that if there is no Good God there can be no evil God?

  187. 187
    Marymanard

    Yogi Philosophy teaches how to see auras. anyone of any faith should be able to follow the same rules to be able to do this. would someone's lack of ability to do it, despite thousands of others who can do it falsify the auras existence?

  188. 188
    Martin

    Do atheists believe in Satan? or that prohibited based on the idea that if there is no Good God there can be no evil God?Sigh. That's right, Mary. We don't believe in Satan either. And this is because there is no more credible evidence for a Satan than there is for God. Or Shiva. Or Zeus. Or Apollo. Or the Great Pumpkin. Or the Loch Ness Monster. It's got nothing to do with what is "prohibited," only what can be demonstrated.Yogi Philosophy teaches how to see auras. anyone of any faith should be able to follow the same rules to be able to do this. would someone's lack of ability to do it, despite thousands of others who can do it falsify the auras existence?What a person sees in an altered state of mind is only an indication of their altered brain chemistry, and not that any of the visions they're seeing are replicable or real.I'm guessing the rest of you have tried explaining to Mary that personal anecdotes are not evidence, right?

  189. 189
    Michael

    Mary,Real quick – Milk Story: Sweet, but I hope the baby was at least a year old. It's dangerous to give infants cow milk. If the man had the strong urge to go out and buy breast milk or formula, I think that detail might have been included. This man probably inadvertently caused harm to the baby. It's really better to use your head that trust random urges and see what happens. If you have a tendency to do this, I would avoid Las Vegas at all costs.Mechanic Analogy: it looks to me like you're trying to fix the engine with magic beans. It's not going to work.Ok, but for reals now:Why do you feel the need to make up sappy stories and analogies? Logic and reason are the trade here. I could make up a feel-good story about how you turn Atheist when you get hit by a Care-Bear stare, but what does that prove? I scanned your older posts again, and I don't really understand what your argument for the existence of god is. At best, there are some semi-coherent instructions on how to maybe get god to reveal himself to you if he feels like it.

  190. 190
    Marymanard

    asking a father to help his child is not the same thing as demanding him to do something for no good reason except our own personal gratification…if you think of God, as a Father figure with Fatherly attributes it becomes less confusing. If your child is obviously struggling do you help right away or do you wait until he asks for help, or at least has tried a few times by himself first, so that he can learn and grow.If that child demands you do something just because they want it, do you give it to them? even if it is something you were planning on giving them anyways, because of his attitude wouldn't you hold out until he asks nicely or really needed it?God is just like us…. He even thinks like us…… you want world peace, God can give it to us, but that would require a lot of lost lives. you want everyone to get a yes to their prayers? thats a lot of lottery winners. we've all watched the movies and scifi etc. God gave instructions in biblical times on how to be healthy, no trichinosis from dirty pigs, and being sanitary (ie washings and anointing) if people would have heeded his warnings not nearly as many would have been ill. many diseases of the dark ages were caused by unclean things, that the doctrines of God would have helped had people paid attention to it…. ever notice that there were no widespread illnesses amongst the Isrealites as long as the obeyed the laws of the gospel. the people were too stupid to be able to understand viruses and germs etc. so God gave them rules to follow to keep them healthy and clean, all the way down to identifying specific sores that were contagious and needed to be quarantined.

  191. 191
    Ing

    Fleshy bronze?Citation from the book of Mormon please? Yes, I cheated I knew the answer before I asked the question. I was just curious as to whether it's still taught that your God matches the Aryian Ubbermesh ideal.The idea of a perfect human is itself an absurdity. By whose standard? Apparently by your standard the asian demographics are hideously deformed humans? Human traits are so diverse arguing that there is a perfect model is inane.As for the scientists, let me offer some counter pointsDNA: discovered by two jackass atheistsComputers: largely pushed foward by a homosexual man who was basically chemically castrated because of God's law. One of the greatest minds of the 20th century died alone and miserable and mad because of people like youGE food and the green revolution: The man responsible is 100% silent on the issue of godEinstine: disbelieved in a personal god of any sorts and thought religion was sillyNot to mention that the revelations of medicine and anatomy were gained by disobeying the church and breaking religious taboos.ANd of course let us not forget, any revelation on curing disease earns God, ZERO credit. You don't; get points for solving a problem you intentionally created in the first place.

  192. 192
    Michael

    Ok, I will try to summarize the argument for god, as I understand it:1) God will reveal himself to you if you:a) Ask.b) Are sincere.c) Really want to know.d) Use the right tools.2) Upon asking (in prayer) God reveals himself. If you didn't get a response, you:a) Didn't ask the right question or for the right thing.b) Weren't sincere.c) Didn't really want to know.d) Used the wrong tools.or God responded, but you:e) You are spiritually blind.f) You are not interpreting the results correctly.e) Can't really understand God anyway.Basically, you have to ask God to reveal himself, then interpret anything (including silence) as a personal revelation. How close am I?

  193. 193
    Jeremiah

    "Do atheists believe in Satan?"No, and not because it is prohibited but because there is no evidence of a Satan either."would someone's lack of ability to do it, despite thousands of others who can do it falsify the auras existence?"Would billions lack of ability, which is the reality of the situation, falsify it? Yes, for that definition of how to see aura's."Ever notice that there were no widespread illnesses amongst the Isrealites as long as the obeyed the laws of the gospel"This is a problem Mary. You have no proof of this claim and you know it. This is the great divide between believers and skeptics. You make a claim that there were no widespread illness which we know is most probably wrong since illnesses has been with all cultures during all periods of our history. Then you follow it with a caveat that "as long as they obeyed the laws of the gospel" so you can cheerfully excuse any examples of illness by saying they were the ones not following the gospel. Among skeptics simply making shit up isn't an acceptable form of debate. Oh, and how about this for some swanky Bible healthy cooking advice?"And thou shalt eat it as barley cakes, and thou shalt bake it with dung that cometh out of man, in their sight."- Ezekiel 4:12or how about this wonderful cure for Leprosy?"Then shall the priest command to take for him that is to be cleansed two birds alive and clean , and cedar wood, and scarlet, and hyssop: And the priest shall command that one of the birds be killed in an earthen vessel over running water: As for the living bird, he shall take it , and the cedar wood, and the scarlet, and the hyssop, and shall dip them and the living bird in the blood of the bird that was killed over the running water: And he shall sprinkle upon him that is to be cleansed from the leprosy seven times, and shall pronounce him clean, and shall let the living bird loose into the open field." – Leviticus 14:3-7But of course you weren't going to mention those bits of advice from your god since it would completely invalidate your point of god being such an awesome health advisor.

  194. 194
    Lukas

    Lukus – my answer to define truth will be argued with, tell me your answer and perhaps we can work with it…To clarify: I didn't ask you to define truth. I asked you how we would come to know what's true. I'm not going with TRUTH here, just ordinary everyday truth. If you want to go into details about this, we can, but that wasn't my goal.Now, to borrow a phrase from Matt, here at AE; "I want to believe as many true things as possible and as few false things as possible." Since you care about truth, I'm sure you'll agree that this is a good standard to have. But… how do we do that?My suggestion would be this:1. If there's a conflict between your hypothesis and the world, the world takes precedence2. Due to the inherent tendency of personal bias, all data must be objective, i.e. it must be verifiable by people other than yourself3. All hypotheses are provisional and subject to change with new information4. No hypothesis is valid unless it can be falsified. If we're wrong, we need a way to find out5. If more than one hypothesis is consistent with the world, we go with the simplest one, i.e. parsimony6. Point 5 is not a reason to stop investigation, viz. point 3Pardon me if this is a bit rough. I'm still working on actually articulating my position. On a side note, this position itself is also subject to the same rules, i.e. it's recursive.Now, based on this, it should be clear that faith is not an acceptable method for obtaining knowledge. Faith fails on literally every single point. It's dogmatic, subjective, out of sync with the world, needlessly complex and unfalsifiable. As a result, faith can never be more than a description of your personal state of mind. It is invalid, unproductive and simply foolish to apply it to the world.Almost.1) Observe a phenomenon.2) Collect data on it.3) Conduct a series of hypothesis and tests for those hypothesis.4) Compile the data and propose a theory as a conclusion for that data.5) Submit for peer review.After a bunch of rounds of repeating steps 2 through 5, you might have a theory that stands.I will add one important clarification. When you submit your work to peer-review, it's not enough to submit your conclusion. You have to submit ALL your work. You have to show HOW you got to the conclusion in enough detail that others can replicate your work and possibly critique your methodology.If they're the same, then how could he have physically created something spiritual?Pardon me, that should of course have been "if they're different how could he have physically created something spiritual?" The question still stands. Since the spiritual and the physical are different, what does it mean to physically create something spiritual?

  195. 195
    Truckle

    "God is just like us…. He even thinks like us…… you want world peace, God can give it to us, but that would require a lot of lost lives."Mary, do you believe your god to be omnipotent? If so then; yes… yes he could, he is all powerful. He could implant the ideas of peace in everyone whilst concealing his actions in the minds of everyone, rather than making it look exactly like we are an ape which has evolved intelligence.Then comes the question, if he IS omnipotent, why does he not? Is he cruel? Does he enjoy watching suffering?I already know the answer you would give, that being "God want's us to have free will" and I don't want to begin to tell you how much this answer annoys me… Because my next question to follow on from this is: Is there free will in heaven? If yes, then god CAN create such a place, if no, then I really dont want to go to heaven…I believe the word is: BazingaThere is the chance that you believe that your god is NOT omnipotent however, then you raise many theological issues with yourself over the limits of your gods power, and all sorts of mental contorsions have to happen that would be painful to watch.

  196. 196
    Ing

    Yeah I'm thinking there's no arguing with Marry. She's so functionally illiterate, innumerate and historically and culturally ignorant that I can't find a way to even imagine communicating with her. I'm sorry your parents and religion and culture robbed you of the decent education you were entitled to, the previous knowledge of humanity was your birthright and it was sacrificed upon a stone alter to your god.

  197. 197
    JT

    @MartinI'm guessing the rest of you have tried explaining to Mary that personal anecdotes are not evidence, right?Repeatedly. My internet voice is starting to get raspy.She doesn't seem to be getting why, other than some offhand statement that the object really is subjective. Yet, this approach to "data" is at the crux of her argument.All this talk of the attributes of god is completely irrelevant.Step #1 is to demonstrate that it actually exists outside of a subjective mind.

  198. 198
    Roanoke Valley Locavore

    God has given me specific answers to my prayers that could be explained No other WAY….. and I am not the only one with miraculous stories to tell. who blame it all of God. ie. today cancer tomorrow healthy only thing different between today and tomorrow is prayer. not oopse it really wasn't cancer, but hey what the F! where did it go???? I guess you could call it my mind having healed itself spontaneously caused by the fervent direct focus of healing (a little alvin makerMary, this contradicts my direct experience of working with thousands of cancer patients who pray fervently for such cures, but who have to suffer the indignity of aggressive and debilitating treatments or who ultimately die. I worked with cancer patients for many years and you can bet there was a steady diet of prayer for those afflicted. From my point of view, if there was such a thing as a "curative miracle" it so randomly granted that one would have to conclude that God's a pretty big dick about it. That is, there's lots of prayers that go unanswered in that regard. How nice it worked for you though. Lets get back to your account of your illness because it really gets to the root of how different your process of thought is to a scientist's. Summary of claim: Cancer, Prayer, Miracle,No Cancer. Cancer is really vague term. What kind of cancer did you have? What was its pathology. You know these things right? Because if you want to substantiate your cliam, this is exactly the kind of information you are obligated to provide to back it up. Was the disease staged? That's how oncologists describe how far advanced it was finally, how did you know it was gone. I should also ask if the Cancer, Prayer, Miracle, No Cancer also included medical treatment. Lots of time God gets the credit when well thought out treatments are applied. For those of us who involved in treatment, our test of cures is measurable and objective. We know these things about about the patients and can make objective and empiracle observations about the state of disease. Right now your claim is just a personal feeling and there's no reason to believe you had cancer or that you were cured of it.

  199. 199
    JT

    @maryyou cannot prove to me gravity without my interacting with it… I consider observing it as interacting with it… even as such I must then believe that what I see is in fact Gravity as defined by whomever is showing me the lesson.I agree.A layer of subjective interpretation exists. That's one of the most important points of science – to find ways to minimize the error of subjective interpretation and bias. Your approach embraces it.When evidence is objective, it exists outside of a mind, and does its own thing no matter what we think about it.Even though you disagree with it, convincing people who disagree with you, or are biased against you, through the peer review, means you've succeeded. Despite the error generated while attempting to deal with objective data, it is much more effective to demonstrate to a skeptic than telling them it's real because its happening in your head.Keep in mind, that even if you had objective evidence, it might not be enough. There's rarely a silver bullet in science. It's even better if your have quantifiable measurements that can be independently verified through mathematics. When one has assembled a collection of collaborating evidence, one can attempt to make a case, through the construction of a theory that explains the whole of your data, to those who don't believe you.If you succeed there, your theory has a fairly high degree of confidence.(Cont.).

  200. 200
    JT

    @maryScience is about converging on a result with ever increasing confidence. The probability of one being wrong versus one being right diverge for the better, the more collaborating objective evidence one can gather, and have pass peer review…. until you get to a point that you've made your case beyond a reasonable doubt (Aka "prove", in science)not sure I can get any more objective than this, because I believe that all is eventually boiled down to subjectivity – butWell, that's not my problem. You must supply evidence that exists outside of a subjective fantasy world, else you won't convince anyone of anything (Other than others who have standards of evidence as low as yours)If a man is walking down the street and suddenly has an idea that he needs to buy a gallon of milk, he thinks – CONDENSING A BIT – he gives them the milk and maybe the contents of his wallet too, and leaves.Can you demonstrate that such events occur beyond statistical probability?There's about 7Billion of us on this planet. Most of us drink milk. There's a ton of babies around. We collect into societies, most of us. Multiply this across years to decades and beyond.Even if the probability of this example occurring are 1:100,000,000,000 … given enough time and the sheer amount of potential opportunities for this to happen, the probability of it occurring on pure chance approaches 100%.Again, you must objectively demonstrate that a supernatural entity exists, and that it beamed these thoughts into the guy's head.. as well as the mechanism for doing that… else we can't distinguish the set of events from coincidence.My late CS professor had a saying, "There are so many potential coincidences that can occur on any particular day, that it becomes almost inevitable that a good deal of them do."(Cont)

  201. 201
    JT

    @MaryHere's the thing. We could use your anecdote as an argument that an alien species in a cloaked UFO from Alpha Centauri saw the baby and the guy and used telepathy to fix the situation.Your example would 100% equally demonstrate that claim as it would yours about a magical sky daddy.In fact, your example could be used to demonstrate an infinite set of possibilities equally. You've just magically chosen one over the others.but it is repeatable if you listen once and see what it takes you, it will come again and again. and from this I can conclude only one of three things.Repeatability is only part of the equation. There's little sense in repeating a hallucination, because all you're doing is verifying that the hallucination exists, and nothing about the veracity of what the hallucination was about. that person is physic, God himself (hearing the prayers of others) or is getting guidance from God through the Holy Spirit.Can you demonstrate that this is true without additional unsupported claims?not really sure if that helps. but I'm afraid I'm to the point of repeating myself here. you have to experience it to know. and then know you are not God finally only the last two are possibilities….Ultimately, if you want to convince us of anything, you'll need to operate on our framework.

  202. 202
    Lukas

    Ultimately, if you want to convince us of anything, you'll need to operate on our framework.And, if I may butt in, that's not just some arbitrary demand. We can argue for why our framework is better and more likely to lead to the truth.Nice posts, JT.

  203. 203
    Marymanard

    a totally different approach……Quantum mechanisBorrowed from – http://www.lifetrainingonline.com/blog/the-power-of-intention.htm& Cause & effect – fromhttp://www.stevepavlina.com/blog/2005/10/cause-effect-vs-intention-manifestation/Two much more eloquent speakers than I am, but if you read these two links throw out some of the personal experiences that go with it, and keep to the basic principles of each.if we know these universal laws as described in the links then we can effect change in our lives and the lives of others. . . These laws includePrayerTithingServiceLoveGratitude but each are a small part of the greater law, you get back more than what you send out. the fact of these laws existing does not prove God. the fact that people without science learned these laws 3-4 thousand years ago.(from prophets/from God) should help to provide Good evidence…..

  204. 204
    Marymanard

    JT – I'm ok with you calling my GOD an alien, because with proper understanding, I'm not so sure there really is a difference. Someone I don't remember who, and I'm sure I'll quote it wrong but get the essence of it..at some point God starts looking less like magic and more like science. tell me a man appearing/disappearing in a beam of light isn't scifi. but that is Bible doctrine of Christ's ascension. a more intelligent alien race if they are the creator of earth and the one guiding us is still "God" to me….Which reminds me of a project I've been working on…… I am curious to know what individuals call "GOD" what are his traits and characteristics etc as you all have asked me. not that you believe in him or not, just what does this "mythical" creature look like, act like, general characteristics. and don't tell me you can't know because you've never met him, you can describe a unicorn having never met one, you should be able to do the same about God. (I'm not going to argue to points you bring up. I am going to copy them into a collection of other such responses I'm gathering for "data" and your responses will be listed under Atheist/Agnostic perception of God. and if you just don't want to, don't yell at me for all the reasons you don't want to.

  205. 205
    JT

    @LukasAnd, if I may butt in, that's not just some arbitrary demand. We can argue for why our framework is better and more likely to lead to the truth.That's not even remotely kidding.What we should do is establish a double-blind trial, where we'll have a "black box" with some function or phenomenon going on inside.We'll use the scientific method to determine what's going on, and she can use her telepathic link to the invisible database in the sky.Then we'll see who figures it out first… if at all.

  206. 206
    Marymanard

    Roanoke-I will not proclaim I know the mind of God and why he does cure some people and not others except to give a cop out answer that it was the will of God.'as to my personal cancer experience, it was ovarian cancer, I had had it for several year apparently but had generally just been discovered and confirmed, no treatment had yet begun as I was praying quite desperately I would not have to go through all of that as I was only 25 at the time. I made a covenant with God, that if he would grant this I would do something specific, the response was immediate this week cancer, next week no cancer. just gone.I have heard other similar experiences in such sharing groups couldn't tell if they are all full of crap or not, but that is my specific experience. but God has never stopped showing such profound miracles in my life. since I was a small child such things have happened and it is a conclusion after many years that all of this is evidence to me of a higher power at work. I would agree that if it were only my and few scattered experiences that it was just coincidence or I'm a lucky person or etc. my there are millions and millions of people with such experiences. so its not just me.

  207. 207
    Marymanard

    JT – I agree.A layer of subjective interpretation exists.This is my point… you can not prove anything to anyone. because of the subjective layer. your science proves things to you, because you believe in it, you find what you are looking for. others believe in their science which may 100% disagree with yours because they found what they were looking for. and the same is true with religion. if you want to disprove it, it is just as likely to find evidence against it, as if you want to prove it to find evidence for it. it all rests on what the individual wants to find.There are some like glenn beck who seek out to disprove a point and become convinced of its authenticity anyways, but who is to say subconsciously he did want to find it, which is why he looked so hard. There are just too many layers and possibilities, to be able to prove to everyone a whole world over any single point. and "good evidence" is going to be subjective also good enough to me is not good enough to you. so define good evidence. is it only when god appears to you that you believe? many of you here have even said it might be a hallucination at what point will you be willing to believe that what you see is God, what you prayed for was answered, or that any part of religion is true. That thin subjective layer is where faith in anything comes in. faith in the persons ability to gather data and report it honestly and effectively having run the tests appropriately etc. and when you lack that faith you test it for yourself. but if you are looking to disprove it, then you will find good evidence for you to disprove it, but it may not disprove it to the original….isn't this exactly why there are so many scientists with opposing views on nearly every topic… nothing is provable, except to yourself.which brings me back to my original post, you can know God, but you have to experience him for yourself.

  208. 208
    Marymanard

    Roanoke – I got distracted but I wanted to add before I posted, that not only those experiences but the studying I didI continue to do which reinforced and led to knew experiences is how I conclude Gods existence

  209. 209
    Jeremiah

    It is wrong to imply that science is subjective. I will try to explain why. Pretty much everyone agrees that absolute certainty is an impossibility. Now the picture you are attempting to paint is that since we don't have absolute certainty then anything is possible. I could be right, you could be right, there could be different kinds of 'science' and so on. The problem is that between certainty and possible exists a third option. Probable. In fact it would be impossible to function as a human being if you thought only in terms of the possible. You might wake up one day and decide that it is equally possible that eating razor blades is just as good as apples or that you can fly when jumping off a building. Nobody goes through life based on the possible, yourself included Mary. We get thru life based on the probable. It is how we can function as a species.And when you get right down to it that is what science is. It isn't subjective, it deals with the extremely highly probable while faith deals with the merely possible, only saved from oblivion by the admission that absolute certainty is impossible.You are attempting to buttress your reliance on faith and downplay the utility and reliability of science by presenting a false dichotomy between absolute certainty and anything is possible. We exist in the realm of the probable and telling us what is probable, reliably, and not just for me, but for you or anyone else is the great strength of science while being the Achilles heel of faith.

  210. 210
    James Francesco

    Sorry Mary, "others believe in their science which may 100% disagree with yours"you are just dead wrong. No one person has a "science". You sound like an old man asking to buy "an internet".Science is science, objective and separate from all of our (mostly your) delusions of faith.

  211. 211
    Jeremiah

    In regards to the link you posted about intention and quantum mechanics. That is nothing but taking a very rudimentary understanding of a subject and twisting that to make up some clever sounding nonsense about people being able to make your wishes come true just by believing hard enough. The effect on the path of an electron by the use of a photon to observe it does not mean that you or I have the ability to mold the universe into giving us a better job just by focusing our thoughts. Stuff like this isn't even remotely compelling or interesting, it is just flak used by snake-oil salesmen to sell their crappy self help books by taking advantage of the public's rather shallow understanding of certain fields of science.It is like saying that since there is space between atomic particles then obviously I can not be solid and since I am not solid I cannot pick up this cup in front of me. It is taking a basic understanding of something on the quantum scale that applies under very specific circumstances and trying extrapolate it to our macro interactions. It simply doesn't work.

  212. 212
    Robert

    "JT -I agree.A layer of subjective interpretation exists.This is my point… you can not prove anything to anyone. because of the subjective layer."Mary, I've read the entire comments section here including your back and forth so I don't expect you to get anything more out of my post than you did out of anyone else's but I'll post anyways:You cannot hope to be taken seriously if you quote mine people as you did above. You took JT's post, read the very beginning and then, whether you read the rest or not, you edited out an integral part of it.While he conceded that there is a layer of subjectivity he then went on to add that science minimizes this.So you ended up replying to something he never said – you made it look like he said there's subjectivity and said nothing more. Whether you intended it or not, you essentially lied about what he said, misrepresented him (bearing false witness). It doesn't matter that this might not have been your intention, what matters is your result.You can prove things, after all as has been pointed out to you before, your computer works for reasons that can be explained and most importantly, be independently verified by others and replicated by others.But again, others have gone over those points. I wanted to focus simply on the quote-mining you engaged in. It was dishonest and you cannot be taken seriously until you do a better job of understanding what you read instead of just picking and choosing.

  213. 213
    Raymond

    Mary said"which brings me back to my original post, you can know God, but you have to experience him for yourself."Hey guys/gals all this discussion is getting nowhere.As a wise man once said"There are none so blind as those what won't listen"

  214. 214
    Lukas

    I would agree that if it were only my and few scattered experiences that it was just coincidence or I'm a lucky person or etc. my there are millions and millions of people with such experiences. so its not just me.Cancer is a complicated issue. All cancers are not equal, some being far more dangerous than others. Without more information, it would be difficult for me to address your case directly. Besides, it would be largely pointless to go into detail with a single case.Instead, I will try to make a point with some statistics.Some of the following numbers will probably be a bit off, but that's ok. I'm not going for absolute precision here, just a ball park figure.Incidence of breast cancer in the US is around 130 per 100.000 (source)The number of women in the united states is around 155 million (source) (we'll look only at women because they account for by far the greatest number of breast cancer cases)Approximately 22% of all breast cancer cases will undergo spontaneous remission (source)Roughly 80% of US adults are religious (source)We can assume that any religious woman diagnosed with breast cancer will most likely pray to god for healing at least once during the course of the illness.So we can calculate:155,000,000 * 130/100,000 * 0.22 * 0.8 ≈ 35,500In plain words; every single year, there are over 30,000 women who will be diagnosed with breast cancer, where the cancer will subsequently go into remission and they will report having been healed of their cancer by the power of their chosen deity. This will occur simply as a matter of statistics, without any divine interference required.30,000Every yearIn the US aloneI believe this is what JT was referring to with "given enough time and the sheer amount of potential opportunities for this to happen, the probability of it occurring on pure chance approaches 100%"

  215. 215
    Roanoke Valley Locavore

    as to my personal cancer experience, it was ovarian cancer, I had had it for several year apparently but had generally just been discovered and confirmed, no treatment had yet begun as I was praying quite desperately I would not have to go through all of that as I was only 25 at the time. I made a covenant with God, that if he would grant this I would do something specific, the response was immediate this week cancer, next week no cancer. just gone.Mary, I asked several specific questions about your disease and you added precious little to substantiate your claim of disease or cure. I'll ask again just to clarify where you stand with evidence about this incredible claim. Do you have medical records including pathology reports, disease staging or imaging results to substantiate what you've said. Again, how did you "know" you had the disease and how did you "know" it was gone. What you have added in your response is an even bigger claim that it was disease that you had for several years. Ovarian cancer is particularly pernicious and sneaky. It's often the case that women don't have symptoms until the disease is quite advanced. This contributes greatly to morbidity associated with the disease. You readily admit that you don't know why God chose to heal you, but you must also know that the same God dismisses such petitions for cure to about 90 percent of women who have have stage 3 ovarian cancer. It's a very deadly cancer. Your account of healing fits with everything else people have been telling you with this long discussion. You provide nothing but that certain feeling that's personal to you as evidence and that just doesn't work for rational people. I've seen a lot of cancer patients Mary, and I've seen some miraculous things happen, but they always happened because the years of research, observation and treatment coverged to provide a better understanding of disease and treatment. The same process that others on this blog have tried to introduce you to is the process that has led to better treatments, longer survival rates and better quality of life for those who do have cancer. I'll take that over the possibility of random Godly selection any day.Mary, out of all the stories about prayer and healing, have you every met an amputee that was healed?

  216. 216
    Thumper

    Mary has not even remotely tried to meet the criteria of then original challenge and between her reference to infomercials as science and the links she just provided, clearly needs help with reality. Her arguments all boil down to personal experience and some stuff which is an insult to those pursuing pseudo-science the world over. I wasn't going to comment at all but this is getting increasingly bizarre.

  217. 217
    Michael

    I have a story about cancer I’d like to share as well. I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. I did not pray at all, but trusted science instead. Doctors, using science, determined I had a follicular cancer cells in the tumor on my thyroid. Although thyroid cancer is relatively mild compared to other cancers, the follicular variant is somewhat more aggressive. I believe it was stage T2, as the tumor had grown rather large, but was still fully encapsulated in the thyroid. A surgeon, who was trained at a medical university, which in turn relies upon years of scientific research, then removed the tumor and my entire thyroid. Science told the doctors that this was not enough, and that they had to get rid of any remaining thyroid cells in my body. I still didn’t pray. Rather, I ingested radioactive iodine in an effort to wipe out any remaining cells, trusting only to the science that said this would work. If I am to believe the results of subsequent tests, it did!But that’s not all. Now I don’t have a thyroid, but I still need thyroid hormone in my body. No, I don’t ask any supernatural beings for assistance with this either. I don’t have to. I just take Synthroid. Let me assure you, I can feel it working. I once didn’t take Synthroid for three weeks, and I felt like crap. Then I started taking it again, and felt better within days. You will have to take my word for it, as this is just a personal experience, but millions have had the same result. If you don’t have a thyroid, you too can feel the love of science!(Results are typical in nearly 95% of young patients with small lesions, using science and western medicine)

  218. 218
    rrpostal

    Okay folks, if interested, there is plenty more insight available at Mary's blog, such as…I believe There is a God.why? because the evidence supports such a notion. what evidence?1 we are here2 the complexity and harmony of all things suggests design.3 Witness testimonies of millions of individuals over thousands of years have testified of their experiences relating to their being a God4 I have experienced for myself the divinity of God5. Most of you have experienced God in their life in one way or another.6. when man kind is in peril where do they turn? to GOD., and does he deliver? our existence proves that he does.I give up. Seems pretty iron clad.

  219. 219
    Jeremiah

    6. when man kind is in peril where do they turn? to GOD., and does he deliver? our existence proves that he does.Since children get axe murdered I assume god doesn't deliver on a personal level, maybe god only delivers on global threats, Bruce Willis Armaggedon style? And apparently the only way to falsify this would be the extinction of the human race. How convenient.

  220. 220
    Marymanard

    as to quote mining… I'm doing no different that many of the other posters here so if that is dishonest then it seem sto be prevailing. I read every last word of every post, and have replied to the vast majority of it, but being that I am one person with many posts to respond to I have chosen to respond to some not all, not selectively, much more randomly simply because of the volume and time involved simply inreading each not to mention replying to each. I stand by my opinions as I'm sure that you do too. this has been fun, but seems to be over with, so thanks for the conversation. to be honest everything you say to me sounds just as impossibly an uneducated as what I say to you. they are just two very different prospectives.as to the cancer, I don't remember what stage they said it was, to be honest I was rather upset, as I'm sure you could imagine. I was told I would be losing my ovaries and my uterus, had lots of scans and I'm sure there is medical records of such, as I spent well over 115K just getting properly diagnosed. but as I have had 3 kids since then and have had no symptoms and my followup's continue to be clean. I am convinced, perhaps it is those spontaneous healing etc. coincidences. whatever, something I call it God.I am confident that God has his reasons for things, sometimes those reasons we don't understand until later if ever in this life. but if I'm right we will all understand them in the next life.to all you scientists wanting to have an experiment…. I'm obviously not as intelligent as you all but that is quite ok…… I would love to have someone take a religious zealot who has the holy spirit with them all the time be hooked up to some electrodes while having some sort of religious experience. I am curious to know if you could identify whether those physical "feelings" emanate from within our without the person. probably didn't phrase that well, but thats ok too. Good night Y'all and if you ever figure out a way to do that experiment would love to hear results.Keep watching my blog if you like, personally my favorite part is the beginning but then that is because its mine :) 50 years from now when I've finished my work it will probably make a lot less since to you then it does now.

  221. 221
    James Francesco

    "to all you scientists wanting to have an experiment…. I'm obviously not as intelligent as you all but that is quite ok…… I would love to have someone take a religious zealot who has the holy spirit with them all the time be hooked up to some electrodes while having some sort of religious experience. I am curious to know if you could identify whether those physical "feelings" emanate from within our without the person. "Yeah, that's been done.Part 1 – V.S. Ramachandran at Beyond Belief 2006Ramachandran does that in part of this speech, which goes over several topics.So, yeah, Science FTW

  222. 222
    Jeremiah

    to be honest everything you say to me sounds just as impossibly an uneducated as what I say to you. they are just two very different prospectives.If you would like to point out specifically what claim sounds 'uneducated' to you I am sure people here would be happy to offer evidence for their postion. That is the key point about scientific claims is that they can be backed up and why the idea that the two sides are just different but equally valid perspectives is simply mistaken.I am glad you beat the odds with your cancer but as Lukas patiently pointed out, for every person like yourself there are countless others that do not beat the odds. Can't you see how that from a third party perspective this inconsistency in results would render your argument from personal experience invalid to anyone other than yourself?Finally, experiments similar to the kind you describe actually have taken place. There have been studies where brain scans have been done on altered brain states and what people tend to describe as 'religious experiences'. One very well done, if lengthy write up can be found here. It is a good read if you can commit the time to it.

  223. 223
    Saurian200

    Mary,You've stated that you don't find science to be reliable because it changes. I don't believe that this is an accurate way to look at science. You seem to be suggesting that you believe that science regularly changes completely. As if, when a new theory comes along, the old theory and every idea it contains are thrown away and replaced by a completely different set of ideas. Such dramatic overhauls (if they happen at all, off the top of my head I'm having trouble thinking of an example) are very rare.Rather, when a new theory comes along and replaces an old one, most of the new theory is usually the same as the old one. There will be some changes sure: some of the details will be altered to better account for new data, some new ideas will be included that allowing the theory to explain additional things that the old one couldn't. Most of the theory however will be that same.To make things clearer, think of software programs. Let's say at your job you regularly use a certain software program; Worksoft 7. (If there's a software program you use in real life then just use that in this analogy.)Now, imagine that the company that made that program came out with a new version; Worksoft 8. You go out and purchase it and load it onto your computer and start playing around with it. Is this new program going to be completely different than the old one? Probably not.Most of the features are going to be exactly the same as version 7. There will be changes, that is true. You may find that several new features have been added and that some features have been changed to either improve upon their performance or to address complaints people had with them. Still, most of the program will be that same. Most (or even all) of the features from past versions will still be there.Well, that’s what changes are like in science. When one theory replaces another some of the details may change and some new ideas may be added but most of the previous theory is still present in the new one. Just like Worksoft 8 is not completely different from Worksoft 7.Don't be so quick to assume that because there is some subjectivity that therefore science is 100% subjective. That's a very big leap and in my opinion, not a justified one. There is a lot between 100% objective and 100% subjective.If no one has already done so then I strongly recommend that you read The Relativity of Wrong by Isaac Asimov. He does a good job of explaining why the fact that science changes does not mean that it is unreliable or 100% subjective.

  224. 224
    Saurian200

    (Continued from my previous comment.)Most of the features are going to be exactly the same as version 7. There will be changes, that is true. You may find that several new features have been added and that some features have been changed to either improve upon their performance or to address complaints people had with them. Still, most of the program will be that same. Most (or even all) of the features from past versions will still be there.Well, that’s what changes are like in science. When one theory replaces another some of the details may change and some new ideas may be added but most of the previous theory is still present in the new one. Just like Worksoft 8 is not completely different from Worksoft 7.Don't be so quick to assume that because there is some subjectivity that therefore science is 100% subjective. That's a very big leap and in my opinion, not a justified one. There is a lot between 100% objective and 100% subjective.If no one has already done so then I strongly recommend that you read The Relativity of Wrong by Isaac Asimov. He does a good job of explaining why the fact that science changes does not mean that it is unreliable or 100% subjective.

  225. 225
    sean slater

    MaryPlease can you tell me if this was a miracle? The following is true, not a story for the comments: I was diagnosed at the age of 10 with a growing hole-in-the-heart condition. The consensus was that I would be lucky to even reach adulthood. I had several EEG tests and even a procedure where the surgeon pushed a tiny camera up my artery from my groin to take pictures of the hole. There was no doubt that I had a hole and that it was going to get bigger as my body grew. It would eventually get so bad my heart could no longer function. My parents were devout Catholics and prayed ferverently to "Holy Mary Mother of God" and to St Andrew.Yet here I am nearly 40 years later. Subsequent scans just a few weeks later showed that the hole was no longer there and my heart developed normally. My parents put it down to the intervention of St Mary and St Andrew our country's patron saint. What do you think? Were they wrong? Did Mary and Andrew not help? how do you know?

  226. 226
    Roanoke Valley Locavore

    I spent well over 115K just getting properly diagnosed.Mary, that's a significant amount of money for a diagnosis. If fact that amount of money represents the kind of cost involved with exentsive treatment, not just diagnosis. I'm sure you were upset with a bill like that. You know, now that you are healthy with three kids and all, you could get those medical records and provide evidence of your miracle. What better way to provide a bunch of skeptical educated people with evidence to support your claims that prayer was responsible for cure. You could make us all look unbelieving fools with evidence, instead of personal testimony unsubstatiated by evidence. I'd bet the house that's not the case though. Nothing against you personally, but I suspect the evidence in bona fide medical records would paint a far different picture of your testimony. I have to say that my own life experience also had a phase in which I believed "god has reasons" for things. However, the implications of that philosophy are that God is a dick, randomly choosing whom to save and whom to let suffer and leaving the believer to think their own troubles are to be endured because God has some higher good from personal suffering. After acually caring for people who have endured such suffering, I choose to reject that point of view altogether and see it on the naturalistic terms: Our biology is fallible and occasionally cells get screwed up and we get cancer. It'that simple. Understanding the biology and using the process of science is the best way to treat and cure this continuum of disease. As I write this, I'm a care taker for my wife who is having her breasts reconstructed from a double mastectomy last year. It's a pain, but we do live in a time when the technology allowed physicians to identify a very small cancer, determine it's oncogenetic characteristics, and to recommend a drugs that reduce it's risk of recurrence. That kind of response to diagnosis has progressed exponentially of the last two decades.

  227. 227
    JT

    Note: My following posts were generated from one of hers.This is my point… you can not prove anything to anyone. because of the subjective layer. your science proves things to you, because you believe in it,It depends on what you mean by "prove". Personally, I dislike that term as applied to science, because it comes with too much baggage.Yes, you cannot 100% absolutely "prove" anything here in reality. You can, however, demonstrate something to, say, 97%. For most reasonable people, this might be good enough. In science, when we say "prove", we mean "demonstrate beyond a reasonable doubt".If I were to test a new bridge 1 time. My confidence interval might not be good enough to dare drive over it. If I test it 3 times, I might be more comfortable. If it's been tested 5000 times, that's more than enough for me.It's by no means an all-or-nothing deal. You couldn't function in life if everything had to be 100% absolute proven before you used it.Let's put it this way. Are you willing to fly in a new airplane design that's never been tested or flown before? Are you willing to fly in an airliner that's made thousands of successful flights without incident?According to you, you may as well pick the former because objective testing doesn't matter… science cannot "prove" anything, so they may as well be equal. If you don't chose the untested airplane, you're once again a hypocrite, because once again, you're making use of the very thing you're denouncing as ineffective and unreliable.(Cont.)

  228. 228
    JT

    Again, science is about converging on the correct answer with ever increasing confidence. You may never reach 100%, but even 90% might be good enough to convince most people. The goal is to understand reality, and we've constructed the best, most demonstrably effective tool that human kind has ever concieved to accurately and precisely determine what reality is, and how it works. It's not error free, or bias free, or absolute in any way. However, it still works, because its primary mechanism includes processes to minimize that potential error to the point it can be discarded.you find what you are looking for.Yet more lying. Doesn't your religion have some rules against lies?When science is conducted, it's because the answer is unknown. We investigate until we discover what the reality is.You're making accusations about what's going on in my mind, and all I can say is "nuh uh".I use science because it works. It's responsible for all advanced technologies in existence today. I've heard your delusion about being inspired about sky daddy, however, we have direct confirmable evidence that these people have utilized the scientific method, and zero evidence that they got any information from beyond. I asked you to support your claim that they do, and all I got was crickets.If you cannot back up such claims with stardard evidence, you cannot be distinguished from the average raving insane lunatic on the street corner.(Cont.)

  229. 229
    JT

    others believe in their science which may 100% disagree with yours because they found what they were looking for.Although I disagree with your mischaracterization of it, they are welcome to hash it out with me. That's part of the scientific process. If they cannot back up their refutations with evidence, logic and reason, then they are discarded as well. The scientific community is an incredibly ruthless, dog-eat-dog world, where competitors are constantly trying to prove you wrong. Surviving this process produces theories of incredibly high confidence.and the same is true with religion.And both the areligious and religious breathe, therefore, they're the same thing.And no, it's not. Science is evidence and logic driven. Religion is not. Religion simply makes stuff up and sticks with it for thousands of years. When those claims start colliding with objective reality, apologetics is born, and the flood gates of tsunamis of inane arguments crash through civilization, most of which are easily refuted within the first two premises.if you want to disprove it, it is just as likely to find evidence against it, as if you want to prove it to find evidence for it. it all rests on what the individual wants to find.See above. You're slandering a whole bunch of people right now.I became an atheist because I decided that I wanted to believe what was really true. A belief in god, along with the promise of heaven, etc, is a very desirable thing. If I was going to accept evidence based from what I "wanted to find", I'd still be a theist. I'm intellectually honest, and let the evidence guide my knowledge, no matter how many times it showed I was wrong. (Cont.)

  230. 230
    JT

    There are some like glenn beck who seek out to disprove a point and become convinced of its authenticity anyways, but who is to say subconsciously he did want to find it, which is why he looked so hard.And people who scincerely went to prove a god, maintain their belief, and just couldn't withstand the evidence that their beliefs didn't match up with reality – all of sudden those testimonies don't count.Your double standard is showing again. There are just too many layers and possibilities, to be able to prove to everyone a whole world over any single point.Yes, and science is about cutting through those possibilities and converging on the correct answer. That's its purpose, and it does it very very well. Science takes uncertainty by the horns. If you've ever taken any advanced physics classes, you'll spend a great deal of your time doing uncertainty calculations. If you measure the length of a board, you might come up with a measurement of 1.25m +/- 0.05m. If you start adding, subtracting, or other mathematical calculations, you'll also be processing that uncertainty interval. Once we've quantified that uncertainty, we can take it into account. If we want 100 of these boards end to end, the total length would be 125m +/- 5m. Now we know we need a leeway of about 8 boards. We've taken that uncertainty and managed it.It's not required to convince everyone on a particular point. What's required is the objective evidence, logic and reason, and being able to make a coherent case. In fact, if that disagreement didn't exist, science would stop working.It doesn't matter if 90% of the population thinks that cell phones don't work. They do.

  231. 231
    JT

    and "good evidence" is going to be subjective also good enough to me is not good enough to you.Negative. You don't undestand the standards of evidence, either. Like the scientific method has a set of procedures and processes that have been honed to maximize accuracy and precision in investigating reality, incurring a great deal of success, the standards of evidence have rules and protocols that one should follow as well, which has been honed to maximize effectiveness and accuracy. These standards are objectively determined because they work. so define good evidence.The first step is to realize that some evidence is better at helping to converge on the correct answer than others.1) Objective evidence. We need data drawn from reality, not from someone's mind. Objective evidence is demonstrably much more reliable that subjective.2) Exclusitivity. If a piece of evidence implicates 10,000,000 possibilities equallty… it's not that useful. If it implicates 2 possibilities equally, it's much better quality.3) Logical connection. A Snickers bar resting in middle of a desert doesn't logically implicate a tornado. A path of destruction through a field/forest, with trees knocked over and a twirling pattern on the ground, does.4) Repeatibility. If we only get one example of the evidence, it may just be a fluke. Bigger sample sets are better.The majority of theistic claims fail on #1 and #2. You're mostly #1. (Cont.)

  232. 232
    JT

    Frequently, theists bring up the argument of "Just look at the birds and the trees. THAT's your proof of god.". However, the birds and the trees are more direct evidence of nature occuring, so the two opposing possibilities are at least equally demonstrated by referencing the birds and the trees. The probability in this case is actually more stacked towards nature because he can demonstrate that nature exists, and is chugging along, and they haven't demonstrated that their god exists at all, in the first place. Their evidence is presupposing the claim its trying to demonstrate. is it only when god appears to you that you believe? many of you here have even said it might be a hallucination at what point will you be willing to believe that what you see is God, what you prayed for was answered, or that any part of religion is true.You'll get a lot of difference answers. The first thing you have to do is define what it is you're tyring to demonstrate, and ways it manifests.Let's say I were to tell you that an Glogemort exists. I can't demonstrate that it exists, because we have no idea what it is. I can start defining attributes of it:1) It has 4 legs.2) It has a long neck.3) It's very tall.4) It's yellow with brown spots.5) It eats leaves from trees.At some point, you'd say, "Oh! You mean a giraffe!" You can actually go out and find an object that fulfills those attributes.Those are all objective properties. You could argue that the colors are subjective, but they really aren't. Reflected light off a surface reflects with a spectrum of different frequencies of the electromagnetic spectrum, regardless of how we interpret the colors. We could do a spectrographic analysis of the giraffe to determine a histogram of those frequenceis as numeric values.(Cont.)

  233. 233
    JT

    The problem with the god claim is often a poor, vague and non-exclusive set of attributes. For instnace, I cannot distinguish your claims from a hallucination. Nor can I distinguish them from a "sufficiently advanced" alien race with telepathy. Personally, I don't know what it'd take to convince me. If a god claim has any of the three omnis (omnipotent, omniscient, etc), I find those unprovable. If someone claims to be able to do calculus, I might take his/her word for it if 1% of the knowledge is demonstrated. How do you demonstrate 1% of infinity?That thin subjective layer is where faith in anything comes in. faith in the persons ability to gather data and report it honestly and effectively having run the tests appropriately etc.And again, that's what science is for. It's not an all-or-nothing deal. It's about dealing with probabilities, converging on the correct result.It's not faith because it's backed up with evidence. Faith would be accepting something as true without evidence, or in face of contrary evidence.That thin subjective layer adds a layer of uncertainty, which can be accounted for, similar to the uncertainty calculations I mentioned. When you're driving down the highway at 65mph, you're taking in input through that subjective layer. How many accidents have you had on the highway? How many people per day drive on the highway without incident? You have a set of protocols and processes to reduce the impact of misinterpreting what's going on. Science minimizes the impact of the subjective layer as well.Do you know what a "double blind" trial is? It's a particular set up of an experiment where neither the testor nor the testee know what the correct answer is. That's a procedure to help minimize subjective error. It works very well. Do you know what a control group is? Do you understand why placebos are employed? These are all direct actions to minimize subjective bias, mimize error and maximize accuracy.On top of all that we have that peer review layer from opposing and contrary scientists to check on your work to make sure you did it right. Fame is to be gained from disproving something as well as proving something.(Cont.)

  234. 234
    JT

    Do you know what a "double blind" trial is? It's a particular set up of an experiment where neither the testor nor the testee know what the correct answer is. That's a procedure to help minimize subjective error. It works very well. Do you know what a control group is? Do you understand why placebos are employed? These are all direct actions to minimize subjective bias, mimize error and maximize accuracy.On top of all that we have that peer review layer from opposing and contrary scientists to check on your work to make sure you did it right. Fame is to be gained from disproving something as well as proving something.and when you lack that faith you test it for yourself. but if you are looking to disprove it, then you will find good evidence for you to disprove it, but it may not disprove it to the original….isn't this exactly why there are so many scientists with opposing views on nearly every topic…I've already addressed these concerns. Yes, there's a lot of differening opinions. That's how it's supposed to be. nothing is provable, except to yourself.Again, it depends on what you mean by prove. If you mean 100% absolute, then of course not. If you mean "demonstrate beyond a reasonable doubt", then of course you can. Your computer is running on science that's been "demonstrated beyond a reasonable double", but not "100% absolute".It still works.(Cont.)

  235. 235
    JT

    which brings me back to my original post, you can know God, but you have to experience him for yourself.Which brings me back to my original point.If I were to follow your method, how could I distinguish what I'm experiencing from pure hallucinatory insanity?Fin.

  236. 236
    Admin

    I find it odd that somebody who claims to be as well-read as Mary does is so poor at spelling and grammar. It makes me a little suspicious about her claim.

  237. 237
    JT

    Also, keep in mind that within the scientific community, there's an incredible amount of pressure to be unbiased and intellectually honest.It's not just how well you know the scientific method, or how well you know the material of your field, if you don't take all the precautions you can to minimize bias and assumptions within your publications, you quickly lose credibility. If you do this too much, you'll earn a reputation for being an scholarly hack.It's like your credit score. It can take years to build it up, but you can lose it in a day if you aren't careful.And believe you me, there's plenty of people out there perched, waiting to poke holes in your publication. They love pointing out assumptions. If they can successfully point that out in your publications, it basically ruins your efforts.Thus, the motivation is on the scientists to minimize subjective error.That's 100% not like religion.

  238. 238
    D-train

    I know I'm late to the game but Mary's childish inanity has forced me out of lurking. I'll admit Admin has a good point in questioning Mary's supposed literary prowess based on her typing ineptitude (by the way Mary, my brother has four kids whom I regularly babysit while doing homework, I'm inclined to think your "it's these damn kids" excuse is completely bunk.)However, criticizing Mary's functional illiteracy is not my point. I don't even mean to question her supposed "studies" (however I do find her claims in that regard extremely suspect). My main objection is to her hidden assertion that what she's studying has any relation to reality. For instance, I've read Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, and all seven Harry Potter books (shut up). All of those materials mention elves.Mary, do elves exist? If no then on what basis do you make this assessment?

  239. 239
    Neato Spiderplant

    take all the right equipment from this end to send and to receive and there you go now if only there was a physical box we could put all that equipment into so we could see it and use it…. oh wait, god did that…. its called our bodies….. So am I right in hearing that our bodies are designed with the ability to send prayer? So why is it you are saying us former theist must not have done it correctly? Sounds like a design flaw to me. If your omnipotent, perfect creator made our bodies with a built in communication system between us and himself, I would expect we'd ALL be able to pray successfully every time. (and if you're going to say that my "equipment" must be damaged, I'd blame that one on your god too)at some point God starts looking less like magic and more like science.When does this science you speak of start? We're all waiting. BTW, You gave the example of certain bible events looking like scifi. If that's the case, there's good reason for it. Scifi stands for Science FICTION. You are preaching to the choir by saying the bible resembles fiction. That's been our position all along. you can describe a unicorn having never met one, you should be able to do the same about God.You're right, existance is not necssary to be able to describe things. However, if something doesnt exist, you need to get your description somewhere. The description of a unicorn is fairly agreed upon so I can pass along how a unicorn has been described to me by others and in storybooks, but since I dont believe in a god, and there are many descriptions and ideas of different gods, I have no reason to choose one description over any other, except to say "non-existant" pretty much sums up my own personal views.

  240. 240
    Ing

    Jesus christ I can't believe all of you wasted so many lines of text and accumulated hours on Marry. She's so uneducated and willfully ignorant that trying to reason with her is just going to be like dealing with a kid throwing a temper tantrum. Give it up, she's not going to learn anything and nothing she says hasn't been refuted a zillion bejesus times before. Cept God as an alien because that's the whole Mormon stuff….again cause stuff written by a sex crazed con man is SO reliable.Know what pisses me off most though? She comes in, yells at us for being "sign seekers" or whatever and why does she insist god is real? Because she got a prayer answered. Congratulations on not only surviving cancer, but finding a way to convince yourself that doing so makes you morally superior to everyone else who dies from the disease.

  241. 241
    Plain Simple

    I'd like to interrupt your regularly scheduled program for a quick reply to the discussion at the beginning of the comments about the caller who talked about collapsing wave functions. First of all, I think this caller was poorly handled on the show. Either cut him off at the beginning and say "we don't want arguments based on quantum mechanics, because we think our audience doesn't understand them" or let him give his argument, instead of interrupting him all the time saying how the audience will not understand him. Okay, with that off my chest, let me give what I think was his argument. It's not a very good argument since most of his steps are highly speculative, but at least it's an idea I hadn't heard before.1) Every system can be described by a wave function and so can the universe.2) In the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics the collapse of a wave function is directly related to observing or interacting with the system.3) In one of his books Roger Penrose hypothesizes that since consciousness observes itself, it is a self-collapsing wave function.4) The universe as a whole is not in an undetermined quantum state and hence its wave function must have collapsed.5) There is nothing outside the universe, so there is nothing external which could have caused the collapse of the universe's wave function.6) Hence the universe's wave function must be a self-collapsing wave function.7) Thus there is consciousness to the universe.8) This consciousness is a candidate for god.Again, I think as it stands there are too many unsupported assumptions in this argument, but if you want to argue against the details of what the caller said (as opposed to general objections, such as "this is not the god the regular theist thinks of when (s)he says his/her prayers"), at least try to represent it correctly. For example, do not argue against anything existing outside the universe, because the impossibility of this was actually one of his points. So you're only agreeing with him on this. Arguing against that as if that somehow invalidates his argument, only shows that your not listening to or understanding his arguments.

  242. 242
    JT

    I think it was worth the effort, even though I never believed I'd change her mind.

  243. 243
    Neato Spiderplant

    Jesus christ I can't believe all of you wasted so many lines of text and accumulated hours on Marry. She's so uneducated and willfully ignorant that trying to reason with her is just going to be like dealing with a kid throwing a temper tantrum. Give it up, she's not going to learn anything and nothing she says hasn't been refuted a zillion bejesus times before. I'm okay with that. I dont have a lot of practice with counter-apologetics (or any at all really) so I'd rather try it out on someone who is a lost cause instead of doing a poor job with someone who might actually see reason.

  244. 244
    Jeremiah

    @IngWell, I can't speak for the others but at least for me the replies weren't really for Mary's sake. She never responded to any of mine and that's ok. My take is that maybe sometime in the future some internet wanderer will happen upon this thread. Maybe they have never given much thought to religion and were curious or they are currently trying to figure out what to believe in their own lives. In any event the goal for me is to try and provide solid counter-arguments so that maybe someone reading this might read it and say "Ah, that does make sense." and hopefully start investigating the issue more. I mean for me when I was trying to learn more about economics I would visits sites and read what someone wrote and think "Yeah, what DO we do about that?" and then read some follow up comment where someone else explains a different take on it and it would get me thinking. So that is kind of the goal in my own responses.

  245. 245
    Mark B

    At this point we're all just Spankin' the Mormon.

  246. 246
    Lukas

    I agree that it often seems pointless to have these discussions and it certainly doesn't look like we made much headway with Mary.Still, it's worth doing, both for the reason Jeremiah mentioned, but also because it helps to clarify my own thinking. Often my thinking remains a bit fuzzy unless I am challenged to make it clear.Also, it's an opportunity to try out new arguments, which might come in handy in future discussions.All in all, it's only a waste of time if convincing the other person is your sole purpose.

  247. 247
    Adam

    @Mary Really shouldn't be bashing my religion or my views though, I thought you wanted intelligent conversation about the proof of God. I am not bashing you at all. Believe what you want. I am fully bashing the Book of Mormon. You were asked to define the attributes of the god, whose existence you are arguing for. You derived these attributes from the BOM. I have every right in a reasoned discussion to question your sources. As for the evidence you stated for the BOM coins stones etc. Can you provide me a source for those assertion. Is there a reputable source that reports the connection between these items and the events of the BOM? Probably not. Is there eveidence of the providence of the BOM? Any? I seriously want to know if I am in error here.

  248. 248
    Spoondoggle

    Does this mean I can't invoke the 5th law of thermodeism?

  249. 249
    Ing

    "Really shouldn't be bashing my religion or my views though, I thought you wanted intelligent conversation about the proof of God."Yeah…when is that actually going to start again? Cause it sure as hell ain't from Marry.

  250. 250
    stan

    Atheists get away with murder. They should say what kind of god they don't believe in, but always seem to dodge the question. It's pretty cowardly to refuse to define the object of your disbelief. I hope atheists know what the word "definition" means…

  251. 251
    stan

    Larry, baby, put your money where your mouth is. If you want some good apologetics written, offer a $1000 (or more) prize to whoever can provide a convincing argument for the existence of a god. Do you think Thomas Aquinas wrote for free? Or if you don't have the courage of your convictions – just say that and we can all go elsewhere.

  252. 252
    Martin

    So Stan, by your own admission, Christians aren't prepared to show "the courage of their convictions" unless there's money in it? Well, that's an amusing reveal, though there may be more than a few Christians who take umbrage at your presumptuousness there. In any event, it probably explains why you haven't offered any arguments for belief in any of your comments so far, preferring to troll us with shifting-the-burden fallacies and sundry playground taunts.I'd say that if you can't pry a good argument out of a Christian without slaking his greed first, then Larry's point is pretty much made, isn't it.

  253. 253
    Lukas

    They should say what kind of god they don't believe in, but always seem to dodge the question. It's pretty cowardly to refuse to define the object of your disbelief.Are you trolling or are you really that phenomenally stupid?

  254. 254
    Jeremy

    stan said: They should say what kind of god they don't believe in, but always seem to dodge the question. It's pretty cowardly to refuse to define the object of your disbelief.That's funny because one of the reason I am an atheist is because believers can't give any reasonable definition of what it is they believe. Granted, they try but badly fail every time and always fall back to saying their god is simply ineffible. That or they try to subsume something else, usually love, as their god.Then again, I'm thinking you might be a Poe. Your posts are ridiculous but they are lacking in the signs (poor spelling, bad grammer…) that indicate the messy mind that they would originate from. Especially the post to which I am responding that ends with asking us if we know what the word definition means. That just strikes me as being too ironic to be done by accident for some reason.

  255. 255
    tracieh

    >you cannot prove to me gravity without my interacting with it… I may be misunderstanding, but I think I disagree with this. I was on a show with Russell once where he gave an example of an experiement where you demonstrate "sight" to a group of people living in a world where nobody can see–except for him.His suggestion was to create three identical boxes, where the only difference is one is a different color. To the blind species, the boxes would be no different; but to Russell there would be a visual difference. An object would be placed in the colored box. Russell would go away. The creatures would mix up the boxes, and Russell would come back and pick the right one without touching or examing them in any tactile way.He would be able to do this accurately every time. And even if the creatures didn't understand vision–they would be forced to accept that he is able to somehow experience a sense they do not have–a means of differentiating things at a distance, which none of them could do.So, without them being able to "interact" with vision, or experience vision, or even fully understand it–the repeatability and success of the results of the well devised experiement would demonstrate his claim to a degree they could not deny. He has "vision"–even if they don't know precisely–from an experiential standpoint–what "vision" is.

  256. 256
    Martin

    Lukas, Jeremy: I'm still both amused and bewildered by the notion that Christians should be handsomely paid before presenting sound arguments for God, and that failure to pay them constitutes a lack of convinction on the part of atheists!That's a notion that takes absurdity practically to the level of performance art, and it's tempting to attribute such meta-nonsense to a Poe. You should always remember that there really are people in the religious world whose thinking is this upside down, though.

  257. 257
    Spoondoggle

    "Atheists get away with murder. They should say what kind of god they don't believe in, but always seem to dodge the question. It's pretty cowardly to refuse to define the object of your disbelief."I don't believe in blue gods, pink gods, spikey gods, blunt gods, spider gods, two-faced gods, thousand-faced gods, no-faced gods, angry gods, loving gods, peaceful gods, warlike gods, tall gods, short gods, fast gods, slow gods, smart gods, sheep gods, dead gods, old gods, elder gods, monkey gods, two-headed gods, thousand-headed gods, no-headed gods, transcendent gods, fallen gods and bored gods.I am less certain about but still unconvinced in the existence of deistic gods, uninterested gods, evil gods, childish gods and gods who hold exactly the same views as I do.And that's not even the short list, which is why we tend not to define which god we don't believe in.

  258. 258
    seankehoe@rationalwiki

    I like Jack Dee's approach of asking that the theist provide their best reason for believing in God, and when refuted, getting them to acknowledge this rather than allowing them to simply move on to the next item in their grab bag of excuses to try to justify their beliefs.As he noted, most of these arguments appear to be post hoc rationalizations wheeled out to avoid the disconcerting feeling that comes from the realization that one's cherished beliefs are little different to the child who goes to sleep hoping that in the morning to find a coin in place of their tooth.

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