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Jan 16 2012

The “I Can’t Believe It’s Not God” Hypothesis

Just as intro to the explosion of text I’m about to post, I want to say that I viewed it as more fallacies that you can shake a stick at, infused with a good smattering of pseudo-science; however, I’m pretty sure the writer thinks it’s brilliant. And, well, perhaps it really is the case that I should just bow to his sources, which he assures me, below are much “smarter” than I am. To keep it less long (to call it short would be, well, a lie), I’m posting only his responses to me. Not only does this keep it less long, it also should provide him with full advantage in presenting his case. Let me know if you find his case more convincing than I did, and if I’m being too harsh a critic. For your reading pleasure:

Eben’s First Letter:

I just have a few simple questions for you.

I have noticed on your show that you repeatedly say that until some good evidence comes along for the existence of God you will not believe in this entity. Of course one would have to come to an agreement as to who and what God is I suppose to adequately answer such a question. So for the moment let’s agree that this “God” is some sort of original mind-a primal consciousness that has creative and directive powers and is responsible for the fine tuning of this universe for life (not paradise-just life) and the unlikely and nigh limitless intricacy of molecular mechanisms (not to mention the quantum zero-point gravity field that destroys and recreates universes) that without direction coincidentally arranged atoms one successive improbability multiplied by another until they teleologically resulted in DNA and cellular machinery and tissues and organs and an organism which became self-aware and capable of subjective experience which ultimately became a means whereby the universe could inwardly look  upon itself and remark on the stars and even the atoms that comprised this sentient being which is circularly and retrospectively self-analyzing metacognitively. In other words, this God is, dare I say it? The DESIGNER of the universe. And let’s agree as to what God isn’t-an old man with a white beard and a sceptre murdering anyone who happens to disagree with him.

First Question: So then, with the aforementioned description of God in mind, I would like to ask Matt and everyone else at the Atheist Experience to give me an example as to what sort of evidence would lead you to believe in a God? What would it take to convince you there is, in fact, a designer of the universe? Or at least, what sort of evidence would lead you to consider the possibility there may be a God though you still may not lean that way? What would it take, evidence wise, for you to respect, as reasonable, a believer and their choice to believe? This is a reasonable question to ask as your answer should determine for any theist or even deist whether or not they should waste any time trying to convince you-you know-the “pearls before swine” thing? And that is no insult but only a parallel parable that describes a situation whereby the one bringing the good news finds it only falls on deaf ears. And worse, it causes the recipient of such news to turn and attack the messenger-like you do whenever a Christian calls in.

Second question: Every caller that calls in seems very uneducated and ill-prepared to defend their faith. There are great apologists out there such as Oxford Mathematics professor John Lennox who is informed theologically and scientifically but of course guys like that are too busy debating the big wigs in the atheist camp I suppose. They are not calling the Atheist Experience. Either you are posting cherry-picked stuff or this is the most coincidental and auspicious material ever seen. And Ray Comfort doesn’t count-a lousy apologist! Sorry Ray. The heart’s there but the arguments are not! His bent leans more experiential and less evidential.

I was going to ask a third question but I’ll hold on that for a while.

Keep up the good work. You guys really know how to shake up the young and the uneducated and defenseless. I’m impressed.

Eben

 

Eben’s Second Letter:

Hi Tracie, nice to meet you. I missed the hour but hopefully I can address your point(s) and call at a later date.

I had no idea you were going to send me an algebraic truism but fortunately I like algebra.

You said:

Answer to Question 1: I imagine that the evidence that anything-“X” exists would be the same regardless of X. A demonstration of how it manifests in a way that measurably differentiates it from *nothing*.

To paraphrase this answer in context and in reference to the question about what it would take for you to believe in God, would this next phrase be a fair interpretation of your axiom?:

“I imagine that the evidence that (God) exists would be the same regardless as to whether or not God existed. To believe in God you would need a demonstration of how he manifests in a way that measurably differentiates him from a condition or an environment whereby he didn’t exist.”

So in your mind there would be nothing in this universe to distinguish a god universe from a godless universe? If the above rendition or axiom fairly parallels what you were trying to say, then I think it’s fairly easy to deal with. I believe there are plenty of things in this universe that wouldn’t be here if God didn’t exist. In fact, many would argue that nothing would be here if God didn’t exist borrowing from Heideggar’s “Why is there something rather than nothing” statement. But unfortunately, and given my experience with atheists, this will only lead us to the standard scenario whereby we will both have the same evidence but will come to entirely different conclusions. The motivation in either case is based more on a worldview and what has been objectively measured by MRI that both belief and atheism fires up the regions of the brain that makes us feel most comfortable. This reminds me of that line from the movie “Hero” where the son asks his father, “What is truth?” His father answers with concern coming from a measure of experience, “There is no such thing as truth son. There’s nothing but bullshit-layers upon layers of bullshit. And you choose the layer that makes you feel the most comfortable.” Neither posit of belief or disbelief will be necessarily less logical than another presuming each postulation is derived from lack of absolute knowledge as to what constitutes reality (what you would refer to as the God of the gaps argument which still resolves nothing as those gaps are included in either side (one for science and one for God) which leaves us at square one. As to the evidence of a universe with a God vs a universe without a God, the Christian apologist counters with things like the teleological argument (The one that swayed the famous atheist Anthony Flew to convert to his own brand of deism), the first-causal argument in the cosmological argument, and the moral argument, and the fine-tuned universe (I stress finely tuned for “life” not “paradise”-so you can dispel of the argument pointing to the ultimate collapse of the universe, nature’s disharmony and biological imperfections that the constants were not finely tuned for life) that even the likes of physicist Paul Davies, an agnostic, finds questionable and seems to recognize that these principles are the very thing that would distinguish a God universe from a Godless universe. And why? Because so far there is nothing in physics which suggest that the universal constants, the electromagnetic constants, the atomic and nuclear constants and even the physic-chemical constants are required by any laws to be as they are. To counter, the atheist believes these are not sufficient points and ordinarily conjure up the anthropic principle which says “The fact of our existence as intelligent beings who can measure physical constants requires those constants to be such that beings like us can exist,” which amounts to nothing more than “things are the way they are because things are the way they are”-which again, solves nothing.

There’s enough evidence to distinguish a godless universe from a universe with a god-or at least the strong possibility for a god. I say evidence and not proof-huge difference. That is why atrophysicist Vilenkin said in regards to the big bang looking auspiciously biblical, “”It is said that an argument is what convinces reasonable men and a proof is what it takes to convince even an unreasonable man. With the proof now in place, cosmologists can no longer hide behind the possibility of a past-eternal universe. There is no escape: they have to face the problem of a cosmic beginning.”

Therein lies the basis for first causal arguments and the case for the supernatural-unless you’re a fan of infinite regression on either side of the fence which gets us, again, nowhere.

It’s a matter of faith gentlemen. But faith, dissimilar to your insistence, can be based on evidence. But most theists rely upon a personal experience and think it more than a delusion. But unfortunately, most will not seek to evidentially defend their faith. It begins by asking, is there something more substantial to this personal experience? Seek and ye shall find…knock and the door will be opened. Maybe as former Christians the door was opened for you but then slammed the door in God’s face. As to the reasons you did that, it’s between you and God. But then again, I’m making flat assertions without having resolved the problem as to whether there’s a God in the first place, right?

The evidence is strong enough for me, it just isn’t strong enough for you. But make no mistake, there is evidence, of that there is no doubt. Call it weak evidence if you like but to say there is no evidence is less than genuine…less than honest.

Sincerely,-Eben

 

Eben’s Third Letter:

>>I believe there are plenty of things in this universe that wouldn’t be here if God didn’t exist. In fact, many would argue that nothing would be here if God didn’t exist

>My microwave is broken. I can’t figure out why. I suspect it’s gremlins. My microwave would not be inexplicably broken if gremlins didn’t exist. Therefore gremlins exist.

First, we’re not talking about gremlins or microwaves, we’re talking about some primal bearer of intention implied by the constants hitherto mentioned. It’s not that simplistic and rather…well, you fill in the blank. As for my microwave, I can think of many reasons other than gremlins as to why my microwave is broke. But you cannot give me a reason as to why the constants are the way they are. If you can, congratulations on your Nobel prize in physics Tracie. And gremlins are imaginary constructs with an obvious origin. God is a concept shared by many cultures across time. Huge distinction there. That’s why the flying spaghetti monster doesn’t cut it either.

>The universe exists. I suspect god produced it. It would not exist without a god. Therefore god exists.

This is downright silly. I never said that and marginalizing me by paraphrasing to strawman effect doesn’t help your case. Do you have something better? You are forgetting all the evidence mentioned in my last email-evidence that challenges the likes of Davies-a man much smarter than you or me. Stop airbrushing my points. That only makes you disengenuine as stated prior.I didn’t just say this universe couldn’t exist without a god therefore god exists. I sure hope your degree isn’t in philosophy.

>>this will only lead us to the standard scenario whereby we will both have the same evidence but will come to entirely different conclusions.

>No, because I say only “the universe is here,” and I don’t make further claims

You’d have to demonstrate your claim by showing how something as inanimate as the universe could have arrived at something as self-reflective and subjective as consciousness to convince me. And you would also have to define the borders of all that exists to make such a claim that there is nothing beyond what you taste, hear, touch, or see. I am also waiting for your proofs that demonstrate how qualia and the subjective experience can be accounted for physiologically to convince me that the only things that are real or materially substantial. Put a thought in a bottle and we’re getting somewhere. You want material evidence? Give me some material evidence that thoughts are real. A neuronal impulse doesn’t count. That is only circumstantial correlation and nothing more. It also falls short of explaining qualia-ask atheist Steven Pinker. Max Planck tells us there is no material in the universe, nothing really substantial so in your materialism you are clinging to “ghosts.” Neuroscientist John Eccles would assert the materialist is the mystic not being able to account for how the first thought gets initiated. And your reason for how this complexity just happened to fall together? Natural selection only goes so far (which requires a mutating replicator immune to any arguments suggesting anything less than teleological reasons) and chance and necessity which supposedly accounts for the 3 billion letters of the human DNA molecule, is far more complex than a simple letter from the alphabet which both carry semiotic meanings and if we chanced upon the letter A on the beach we would assume an agent behind it. How odd to believe that random chance accounts for us-things that are infinitely more complex than a letter.

>Do thAnd I can demonstrate my claim corresponds to reality—that for all we label “existent”—there is, in fact, a universe here. You, however, say some god produced it. But unless a god exists, it has not caused anything. So, we are compelled to *demonstrate* this god exists, not that the universe exists, in order to have actually produced “evidence” that (1) god exists and (2) god can therefore reasonably be put forward as a cause of anything whatsoever.

God can be reasonably postulated as the cause for everything in the sense that conscious direction is a good suspicion given the immense complexity of life. As to what made God? If things had a beginning it follows that something was non-contingent. I choose mind over matter. You choose inanimate stuff that just coincidentally arranged itself to create self-awareness. Now that strikes me as odd.

>We don’t know what a god is, as you’ve produced nothing I can examine to determine what a god is or what it might cause.

Like I asked in my original email, what would it take for you to believe? I gave you evidence whether you recognized it or not. What you want is proof. The evidence isn’t enough for you because your atheist worldview makes you feel more comfortable.

>So, any *claims* you make about what a god is or does are useless to me, until you provide me something to examine

Examine??? You want to centrifuge and dissect God and place him in a bottle?. Read “irreducible Mind”, study the universal constants, proteinomics. It just means you’ll have to look at the counter arguments to atheism a little closer which you refuse to do.

>And if you can’t provide me any method to verify your god exists—then I must wonder, how have you done this?

I never said I gave verification which in this case can be read as “proof.” Remember what Vilenkin said, “Even a fool can accept a proof. It takes a reasonable man to accept a good argument which I have given you here. I will state adamantly here and now-there is NO proof for God-just evidence for the likelihood. You have made a caricature of me similar to the characters that call into your show.

>>There’s enough evidence to distinguish a godless universe from a universe with a god.

>Not until we have a god to examine.

There you go with your examination again. Can you imagine God walking into Dr. Tracie’s office for a prostate exam? That would mean he would be coming to you on your terms rather than the other way around-making YOU God! That seems unlikely.

>Without it—who can speak in an informed way on what a god does?

Hardly anyone. I agree and that is why I’m not a fundamentalist Christian, or Muslim, or whatever.

>You’ve asserted many things about god

Really?,

>but offered no verification that anything you’ve claimed corresponds to reality.

No verification-just evidence-but just enough to sort out who wants to know God-the source of all love,  and who doesn’t-that is one strong reason for this god’s invisibility. It may not be THE reason. But if there is a possible reason, that only accrues as evidence along with the universal constants.

>We have the problem of Sagan’s dragon in the garage. The only difference is that you are asserting the dragon has produced the universe, and that since the universe exists, there must be a dragon.

I’ve read all of Sagan’s books. Good stuff but the man was on a tirade against unverifiable spirituality. Men smarter than him have believed. I’ll pull out the ole’ argument from authority no less than you.

>http://www.users.qwest.net/~jcosta3/article_dragon.htm

>Thank you for informing me more clearly about what you believe and why you believe it. Circular logic has been put forward on the show before, however. If this is good reasoning, then it’s been represented on the program many times. I’m sure if you keep watching the Youtube clips, you’ll come across one or two.

That wasn’t circular and you failed to recognize that. I was hoping for something smarter and I have been left disappointed. Your arguments seem to be pulled out of a hat-like doing algebra but not understanding why it works. Your points were meant for someone else and misapplied here Tracie. You are just desperately trying to win what you perceive as an argument. And your hidden insults were meant for children. Try again.

 

A dump of “evidence” that Eben then followed up with. And you can thank me later for sorting out the formatting, as it was more than *I* got when it was sent to me:

Some good stuff for you

Maybe some circumstantial evidence will help. Upon closer observation the NDE is unlikely to be accounted for by the usual materialist explanations due to their veridical nature. Two years of research has allowed me to find what has to be the best accounts that support the authenticity of the NDE. Take the advice from a Harvard neuroscientist who was an atheist and ontological materialist. I will take firsthand experience over cynical conjecture any day of the week:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4qUGV4n23dY

And below is his interview on Skeptiko with details concerning his assertion that brain models cannot account for the utter clarity of his perceptions at a time his brain was comatose.

Here’s one that defies the physio-chemical explanations:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u-91QXXsyEc

And another:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ArfUILUr-SA

Here’s a woman born blind from birth who sees for the first time during her NDE:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YjymdATERXY

This may not be empirical evidence Tracie but given the numbers these things take place even circumstantial evidence hold weight in a court of law if they are in sufficient numbers.

Here’s that interview:

Today we welcome Dr. Eben to Skeptiko. Eben has been an academic neurosurgeon for more than 25 years, including 15 years at Harvard Medical School in Boston. In November of 2008, he had a near-death experience that changed his life and caused him to rethink everything he thought he knew about the human brain and consciousness.

Dr. Eben, welcome to Skeptiko.

Dr. Eben: Thank you. It’s good to be here.

Alex Tsakiris: Well, your story is really quite amazing. For those who haven’t heard of it and aren’t aware of what you went through, do you want to tell us a little bit about your experience?

Dr. Eben: Yes. It really struck out of the blue. I’d been quite healthy up until that time. In fact, I was in reasonably good shape because my older son had been putting me through a big workout, anticipating a climb of a 20,000 foot volcano in South America.

Alex Tsakiris: Wow.

Dr. Eben: Luckily I was in pretty good shape. At 4:30 in the morning, November 10, 2008, I got out of bed. I was getting ready to go up to work. I was working in Charlottesville at the time and I had severe sudden back pain, much worse than I had ever experienced. Literally within 10 or 15 minutes, it got me to a point where I could not even take a step. I was really in tremendous agony.

My wife, Holly, was rubbing my back. Then my younger son, Bond, came in and saw I was in a lot of distress and he started rubbing my temples. I realized when he did that that I had a severe headache. It was like he took a railroad spike and put it through my head. But I was already really going down very quickly. I didn’t know it at the time.

I found out much later that I had acute bacterial meningitis and it was a very unusual bacteria. One that the incidence of spontaneous E. coli meningitis in adults in the U.S. is about 1 in 10 million per year. So it’s really rare. We never found out where it came from. But at any rate, it was in about 2 to 2-1/2 hours it drove me deep down and in fact, my last words really were to my wife, “Don’t call 911. Trust me, I’m a doctor.”

Luckily she overruled that and she did that because she saw me having a grand mal seizure on the bed. Of course I don’t remember that and I really don’t remember anything that happened for the next week because I was gone. I was very sick during that time as I heard later. In fact, I was so sick that I was on a ventilator the whole week.

They did several lumbar punctures trying to guide therapy. I was on triple antibiotics very early on, due to a very good medical team. They did a lumbar puncture about the second or third day into this and my cerebral spinal fluid glucose, which is normally around 60 to 80 and in a bad case of meningitis might drop down to about 20, well my glucose went down to 1. So I was really sick.

Alex Tsakiris: So at this point, nothing should be going on in your brain and yet something was happening in your conscious awareness.

Dr. Eben: Yeah, I’d say that’s correct. To me, and I’ve spent a lot of time in the last three years trying to explain this and that explanation initially, all I was doing was trying to explain it neuroscientifically. Meningitis is very helpful because it’s probably better than anything else at really diffusely wiping out the neocortex. But one can always argue that there’s some idling function at a deep level that might still survive.

In fact, one of the hypotheses that I entertained about all this was because the experience that I’ll describe to you seemed very hyper-real and extremely crisp and vivid, much more real and interactive than sitting here and talking with you right now. I mean, it was extraordinary. That is something that is often described in near-death experiences and of course one of my early hypotheses was well, maybe there’s some differential effect against inhibitory neuronal networks that allowed over-expression of excitatory neural networks and gave this illusion of kind of a hyper-real situation.

I can tell you from having lived through it that it was so powerful and so beyond that kind of explanation that I wasn’t very hopeful that that would work out in the end. But I figured I needed to give it a chance and look at the microanatomy in the cortex and the different connections with the thalamus and basal ganglia and see if I could come up with some way that one might have an illusion of hyper-reality.

I can tell you because of the kind of content of the experience and the powerful, overwhelming nature of it and the fact that it was so complex, I think much of what I remembered from that experience, I don’t think my brain and mind could possibly manage that even now.

I mean, the kind of mental function that occurs when you’re in that hyper-real state, the way that information comes in from spiritual beings and kind of the interaction with them is so intense and extraordinary, it’s really inexplicable in earthly terms. But it would basically outrun any of those kind of theories. That was something I was looking for. In fact, I never found an anatomic distribution that would support that over-activity of excitatory pathways.

Alex Tsakiris: Great. Thanks for doing that. I think we’ve jumped a little bit ahead of the story. For those who don’t know, tell us a little bit about your NDE.

Dr. Eben: Okay. Well, you were asking what it is like when one has their cortex shut down like that, and in fact, for one thing I was surprised that I remembered anything because as a neurosurgeon having had many patients who were in comas for various reasons and had a lot of them recover, my understanding was that in general you don’t really remember anything.

Even when the patients seem to be interacting I knew that usually if they’d been sick, for instance with meningitis, that they really wouldn’t remember much of it. Occasionally there were exceptions to that. You’d have patients who would remember very remarkable things from deep inside, but before I had always kind of explained that away with the standard answers. “Oh, that’s what the brain does when it’s very sick.”

What I do remember from deep inside coma, for one thing my first awareness was I had no memory whatsoever of my life. I had no language, no words. All of my experience in life, knowledge of humans, Earth, the universe, all of that was gone. The only thing I had was this very kind of crude existence. And I call it in my book the “earthworm’s eye-view,” because it really was just a crude, kind of underground.

I have a vivid memory of dark roots above me and there was a kind of monotonous pounding, a dull sound in the background pounding away eternally. It was just murky and gross. Every now and then a face, an animal or something would boil up out of the muck and there might be some chant or roar or something. Then they’d disappear again.

It sounds very foreboding to talk about it right now, but in fact, since I knew no other existence I don’t remember being particularly alarmed when I was in that setting. I think that that was the best consciousness that my brain could muster when it was soaking in pus. It turns out that that seemed to last for a very long time. Given that it was my first awareness of anything, it actually seemed to be years or eternity. I don’t know. It seemed like a very, very long time.

Then there was a spinning melody, this bright melody that just started spinning in front of me. Beautiful, beautiful melody compared to that dull pounding sound that I’d heard for eons. It spun and as it spun around, it cleared everything away. This was the part that was so shocking and so hard to explain. It was as if the blinders came off and the reality there was much more crisp, real, and interactive and fresh than any reality I’ve ever known in this earthly existence. That part is very shocking and hard to explain when you go through it, and yet what I’ve found since then is that a lot of people who have had NDEs discuss the same kind of hyper-reality. But it’s very shocking to see it.

For me, I was a speck on a butterfly wing. I had no body awareness at all. In fact, I had no body awareness through this entire kind of deep coma experience. I was a speck on a beautiful butterfly wing; millions of other butterflies around us. We were flying through blooming flowers, blossoms on trees, and they were all coming out as we flew through them.

Beside me on the butterfly wing was a beautiful girl. I remember her face to this day. Absolutely beautiful girl, blue eyes, and she was dressed in–what I was trying to write all this up in the months after I came back—I described as a kind of peasant garb. I can remember the colors very well. Kind of a peach/orange and a powder blue, just really beautiful.

She never said a word to me and she was looking at me and her thoughts would just come into my awareness. Her thoughts were things like, “You are loved. You are cherished forever. There’s nothing you can do wrong. You have nothing to worry about. You will be taken care of.” It was so soothing and so beautiful, and of course as I said, my language wasn’t really working then. So those particular words were words I had to put on it when I came back out. But a lot of this flowed perfectly when I came back out.

In fact, I didn’t read anything about near-death experiences or about physics or cosmology because of the advice my older son, Eben IV, who was majoring in neuroscience at the University of Delaware advised me. Three days after I left the hospital, when he came home for Thanksgiving back in 2008, he said, “Well, if you want to write this up as a useful report, don’t read anything. Just write everything down you can remember.”

I spent the next two months typing everything I could remember in the computer. It came out to about 100 pages of memories from this deep experience within the coma. I think from that beautiful valley scene on the butterfly wing, waterfalls, pools of water, indescribable colors, and above there were these arks of silver and gold light and beautiful hymns coming down from them. Indescribably gorgeous hymns. I later came to call them “angels,” those arks of light in the sky. I think that word is probably fairly accurate.

On this butterfly wing, the first time I was there, I remember having this sensation. It was as if there was a warm summer breeze that just blew by. Then everything changed and the scene stayed the same but I became aware. Again in looking back on it, that was my awareness of a Divine presence of incredibly indescribable, kind of a superpower of divinity. Then we went out of this universe.

I remember just seeing everything receding and initially I felt as if my awareness was in an infinite black void. It was very comforting but I could feel the extent of the infinity and that it was, as you would expect, impossible to put into words. I was there with that Divine presence that was not anything that I could visibly see and describe, and with a brilliant orb of light. There was a distinct sensation from me, a memory, that they were not one and the same. I don’t know what that means.

In my awareness, when I say I was aware, this goes far, far beyond the consciousness of any one—this is not Eben’s consciousness aware of being in that space. I was far beyond that point, way beyond any kind of human consciousness, and really just one consciousness. When I got there they said that I would be going back, but I didn’t know what that meant.

They said there were many things that they would show me, and they continued to do that. In fact, the whole higher-dimensional multiverse was that this incredibly complex corrugated ball and all these lessons coming into me about it. Part of the lessons involved becoming all of what I was being shown. It was indescribable.

But then I would find myself—and time out there I can say is totally different from what we call time. There was access from out there to any part of our space/time and that made it difficult to understand a lot of these memories because we always try to sequence things and put them in linear form and description. That just really doesn’t work.

But suffice it to say that I would find myself back at the earthworm eye-view. What I learned was that if I could recall the notes of that melody, the spinning melody, that would start the melody spinning again and that would take me back into that beautiful, crisp, clear hyper-real valley on the butterfly wing. My guardian angel was always there and she was always very comforting.

Then we would go out into what I came to call “the coal,” which was outside of the entire physical universe. Again, they would show lessons and often those lessons would involve becoming a tremendous part of what they were demonstrating.

So much of it is just indescribable and so much of it there are reasons why we cannot bring a lot of that back. And there are reasons, in fact, it’s why I’ve come to see that we’re conscious in spite of our brain. To me that makes a lot more sense.

I go into detail about all that in my book, but it turns out that I would oscillate from this beautiful, idyllic place in the core, coming back down into earthworm eye-view, and it seems it was three or four times. Like I said, sequencing was so strange because when I was in the earthworm eye-view, everything seemed to be one kind of soup of just mixed foam. It was very hard to put sequence on it but it was very clear to me that several times I would use the memory of those notes and spin that melody and go back in. They would always say, “You are not here to stay.”

Alex Tsakiris: Dr. Eben, a couple of questions. First, what is the title of your book?

Dr. Eben: Okay. Well, I’m going through several possible agents right now. I don’t have a publisher and I have a feeling that agents and publishers will have their own ideas. What I can tell you is that the tentative working title right now, and this could easily change, is Life Beyond Death: A Neurosurgeon’s Life-Changing Near-Death Odyssey.

Alex Tsakiris: Let me hone in on a couple of things. It’s an amazing experience, an amazing account. Tell us a little bit about coming back into this world. I want to hone in on a couple of things that we need to nail down if we’re going to really try and understand this account from our world.

One thing I want to nail down is the time perspective. How do we know that these memories were formed during the time when you’re in a coma? You’ve already laid out a couple of points about that in that normally we wouldn’t even expect you to have a lot of clear, coherent memories three days after coming out of this coma. But you said that’s when you started writing down this account. You also said you tried not to contaminate your memories with talking to other people. So those are good parts of your story.

What are some other aspects of it that you can tell us that make you confident that these memories were formed while you were in this severely compromised mental state?

Dr. Eben: I can tell you that when I first started waking up, it was very shocking because as I said, I didn’t have memories of my life before and my family, loved ones, sisters, my wife and sons, they were there. So initially I have a very distinct memory as I was emerging, which was on the seventh day of coma. I was still on the ventilator and still had the endotracheal tube in.

My awareness was of several faces. I remember one was my wife and one was a good friend of ours who is also my infectious disease doctor and a neighbor, Dr. Scott Wade. Then one was also my 10-year-old son. These faces were there. I did not recognize them. They would say words. I didn’t understand the words, but I had a very powerful visual memory. They would kind of boil up out of the muck and then they’d go away.

I’m fairly sure that was Sunday morning because much, much later, after I’d written everything down and I did start asking people about things that had happened, it seemed that that’s when people were doing that. Now in fact, they’d been doing it all week but I think I was unaware of it during the week. That’s mainly based on the people that I do remember seeing who only those who were there that Sunday morning were.

My language started coming back very quickly and so did my visual cortex, because I think—again, it’s so hard to put a time label on this. But in talking with people who were there, I think that probably over an hour or two or three I started getting language back quickly. My auditory cortex started coming online. My ability to understand speech, so what’s called Wernicke’s area in the dominant temporal lobe was starting to come back up to speed and I can understand things. I could then start making speech.

So I was having a very rapid return of cortical function, but I was still kind of in and out of reality. In fact, in my book I go into great detail describing what I call the “nightmare,” which was kind of a paranoid, crazy thing where I was halfway in and out of reality. My younger son, Bond, he can describe it to you. It was kind of a very frightening thing because I would seem to be with it and then I’d be saying things that were just out of my mind.

Of course, initially as I explained to some of my physicians, what I remembered was this incredibly powerful hyper-real spiritual experience. They would say, “Oh, yes, well you were very, very sick. We thought you were going to die. I can’t even believe that you’re back.” They were predicting that I would have two to three months in the hospital and then need chronic care for the rest of my life. So they were obviously quite shocked that I came back like I did. It was just so strange.

Initially I thought, “Gosh, it was almost too real to be real.” That hyper-reality that people describe, I just wish we could bottle that up and give it to people so they could see what it’s like because it is not something that is going to be explained by these little simplistic kind of talking about COand oxygen levels. That just won’t work. I promise you that won’t work.

Alex Tsakiris: That’s an interesting point because as you mentioned briefly, you know it won’t work because you actually went and tried to see if there was a model that you were aware of from your training that could fit your experience, right?

So you became a near-death experiencer who became a near-death experience researcher from a neurophysiological standpoint. I think that’s one of the things that really draws people to your story. Tell us a little bit more about your quest to understand this from the perspective of your background as a neurosurgeon.

Dr. Eben: Okay, well I can tell you that I mentioned a few minutes ago that initially I was getting the message from my physicians that I was extremely sick and it doesn’t surprise them that I had very, very unusual memories. There was one other thing that really got my attention that I’ll mention, and that is I told you about the faces I saw kind of floating in the muck, which I think—again, it’s hard to put a time on it. I know that some of them appeared that Sunday morning and maybe the Saturday afternoon. Some could have been earlier.

There was one that I think was earlier, although she seems like all the rest. Her name is Susan Reintjes and she’s a friend of my wife’s. They worked together 25 years earlier teaching in Raleigh. Susan’s had a lot of experience helping coma patients. She wrote a book called, Third Eye Open. It’s about her going into a state or trance and then going to them in whatever fashion. That’s not something I claim to understand. But not through the physical material realm.

In fact, she had done that with a lot of patients and she discussed that in her book. Holly called her up, I think it was Thursday at night that Susan heard all this and said, “Yes, I’ll try and help.” I remember her being there very clearly. I mean, just like all the rest. She was there and she never was physically there. She did this from Chapel Hill where she lives.

Of course, in the first few days as I was coming around and I told my wife about the six faces that I remembered, that does not include my guardian angel who I still didn’t know at that time, but those six faces. And Susan Reintjes was there. Holly said, “She did come to you channeling. She came to you in the psychic realm.” I can tell you when Holly told me that I said, “Of course. Don’t need any explanation for that.”

Of course, as I healed—it probably took three or four weeks for a lot of my neuroscience and neurosurgical training to come back—all along that time I was still writing all this down and not reading anything. I was very tempted but my son had told me, “You want this to be worthwhile, don’t read anything else. Just write it all down.” I just was shocked; I was buffeted because my neuroscience mind said, “No, that couldn’t happen.” The more I heard about how sick I was, my cortex shut down, “No, that’s impossible, your cortex was down.”

Of course, for a while I was going after the hypotheses that involved formation of these very complex, intricate memories either right before my coma or right coming out of it. That really did not explain it at all. Part of the problem, when you get right down to it, is that whole issue of remembering the melody because that was a very clear part of it. I remember the elation when I figured that I could just remember that melody and that spun the melody in front of me.

Then all of a sudden, boom! Everything opened up and I went back out into that valley, so crisp and beautiful, and my angel was with me, as I came to call her, my companion on the butterfly wing. And then out into the core, outside of the universe. Very difficult to explain in that fluctuation.

I guess one could always argue, “Well, your brain was probably just barely able to ignite real consciousness and then it would flip back into a very diseased state,” which doesn’t make any sense to me. Especially because that hyper-real state is so indescribable and so crisp. It’s totally unlike any drug experience. A lot of people have come up to me and said, “Oh that sounds like a DMT experience, ”or“ That sounds like ketamine.” Not at all. That is not even in the right ballpark.

Those things do not explain the kind of clarity, the rich interactivity, the layer upon layer of understanding and of lessons taught by deceased loved ones and spiritual beings. Of course, they’re all deceased loved ones. I’ve kind of wondered where it is that these people are coming from. They say, “The brain was very sick but it was very selective and made sure it only remembered deceased loved ones.” They’re just not hearing something.

Alex Tsakiris: You know, I think that brings up a very interesting point and one that we’ve covered a lot on this show. To be fair—well, not only to be fair but to really understand the entire phenomena and understand how it fits in our culture, in our society, which I think is important because here you are, someone like yourself with your obvious intellectual capabilities but also medical understanding and you have this experience and you have to come back and try and make it make sense with all your training.

I think all the rest of us are right there with you trying to make sense of these completely counter-intuitive experiences and then trying to jam them back in our head and in our experience. In that sense, I do have a lot of empathy and appreciation for the NDE researchers, both the skeptical ones and the non-skeptical ones. So let me talk a little bit about that NDE research and get your perspective on it. Of course there are a few of these brave researchers out there who have stuck their neck out—really only a very few—and have tried to tackle this.

It seems to me that they’re really barely making a dent in the medical model that we have. The medical model that we have sees us as these biological robots and death as kind of the ultimate Boogeyman. Can we really believe that we’re really going to change such an entrenched system?

Dr. Eben: I think so. I think that is very much a possibility. There’s this whole issue of mind and brain and duality versus non-dualism and the physical material reductivist models. I go into this in great detail in my book but I think you have to go back about 3,000 years to really get to the beginning of the discussion and to start to see why certain things have transpired.

I think most importantly was the part of this discussion that happened between Rene Descartes and Spinoza back in the 17th Century. They started us into our current era. Our current era is one of mind/consciousness/our soul has been put in the realm of the church more-or-less. There was kind of a truce of sorts that I guess Descartes came up with back then to say there’s mind and then there’s body and just let the natural scientists, those with an interest like Francis Bacon and Galileo and Newton, let’s not burn them all at the stake. Let some of them survive.

So I think it was a good thing to have that truce so that science survived. I mean, I’m a scientist and I love science and the scientific method. I’ve just come to realize that the universe is much grander than we appreciate. So I have to simply broaden my definitions.

I think science is still very important to get us there. Getting back to that mind/brain issue, what happened over time is science kind of grew up and got to be more and more powerful at giving us many things. Science has been a real wonder. But I think that it’s been somewhat at a price and that price came from splitting out mind and body back then and that dualistic approach because as science gained more and more of an upper hand, people were losing track of the kind of mind part of it, the consciousness part.

Alex Tsakiris: Let’s talk about that a little bit right now because part of that does seem to be contradictory to your experience and the experiences we’ve heard from other folks who have had these transformative spiritual experiences in that if there is this broader knowing—and much broader—broader doesn’t even begin to describe it but that we hear over and over again.

We hear it from your account; we hear it from many near-death experience accounts. We also hear it from all sorts of transformative spiritual accounts, kundulini accounts, spontaneous spiritual awakenings. There’s this sense of knowing, much, much greater knowing that then must be crammed back into our body and it doesn’t fit, you know? So your account says that and others do, as well.

Can we really then hope to get out of the consciousness loop that we’re in now? Is it just going to be a matter of a philosophical shift like we had back in the 1700’s? Or is there something fundamental to the way that we’re constructed that’s going to keep us limited in how much we can really tap into and understand that knowing that you experienced?

Dr. Eben: In my view, what I think is going to happen is that science in the much broader sense of the word and spirituality which will be mainly an acknowledgement of the profound nature of our consciousness will grow closer and closer together. We will all move forward into a far more enlightened world. One thing that we will have to let go of is this kind of addiction to simplistic, primitive reductive materialism because there’s really no way that I can see a reductive materialist model coming remotely in the right ballpark to explain what we really know about consciousness now.

Coming from a neurosurgeon who, before my coma, thought I was quite certain how the brain and the mind interacted and it was clear to me that there were many things I could do or see done on my patients and it would eliminate consciousness. It was very clear in that realm that the brain gives you consciousness and everything else and when the brain dies there goes consciousness, soul, mind—it’s all gone. And it was clear.

Now, having been through my coma, I can tell you that’s exactly wrong and that in fact the mind and consciousness are independent of the brain. It’s very hard to explain that, certainly if you’re limiting yourself to that reductive materialist view.

Any of the scientists in the crowd who want to get in on this, what I would recommend is there’s one book I consider the bible of this. It’s a wonderful book but it is really for those who have a strong scientific interest in it. It’s called Irreducible Mind, Edward Kelly, Emily Williams Kelly, Bruce Greyson, Adam Crabtree, Alan Galt, Michael Grassa, the whole group from Esalen and also based in the Division of Perceptual Studies at the University of Virginia, have done an incredibly good job. Toward a Psychology for the 21st Century is the subtitle and that’s exactly what it is.

I felt their book was quite illustrative and of course it caused a huge splash when it came out in 1987, but again a lot of the reductive materialists like myself were not really going to put in the work to go through all of that. We just thought, “We can’t understand it so it can’t be true.”

Alex Tsakiris: I think you’re being a little bit too generous there because some of the folks do do the work. Do tap into the research and still come out the other end holding onto that materialistic model that we’re stuck with here because there’s a lot invested in it. With that, what I wanted to do was I sent you a couple of audio clips that I thought you might like to respond to because it fits in with what you were just talking about–people who have walked in your shoes and are still there in that model.

The first clip I’d like to play for you is a former guest on this show, Dr. Steven Novella, who is a clinical neurologist at Yale University. He’s a well-known and outspoken skeptic of near-death experiences but a nice guy who’s willing to engage the topic. What I thought I’d do is play this little clip and see any response you might have to it, okay?

Dr. Eben: All right.

Dr. Steven Novella: The three basic kinds of explanations are one is spiritual; that it represents the fact that the mind can exist separate from the brain. The second one is a psychological experience of some sort. And then the third is that it’s organic; it’s neurophysiological. The evidence and some of the best explanatory models that people are putting forward are blending the second two, the psychological and the organic, the neuroscientific. I think what we’re seeing is that there’s a core experience that’s primarily organic. It’s just the kinds of things that can happen to the brain under various kinds of stress.

Alex Tsakiris: Now, I’ve got to add that if you really listen to the whole interview with Steve and the follow-up that we had, what he’s talking about is really a bunch of fluff. [Laughs] There really isn’t any research that shows any neurophysiological cause for near-death experience. I really held his feet to the fire and he was unable to produce anything of any real substance about that research.

But maybe you can talk because it speaks so much to the position that you were in just a few years ago, about that position and that kind of entrenched “It has to be in the brain” kind of thing and how you think that relates to near-death experience.

Dr. Eben: I would say for one thing I think that a healthy skeptical approach to all this is a good thing because it helps us get to the truth. It helps us know the answer. What we have to be careful of, of course, is not getting in the trap of having our prejudices rule the day. A lot of these experiments and studies, how you interpret them will depend a lot on what your prejudices are going in.

I found early on in my experience, I had to do as Descartes recommended when he was talking about getting to the truth, and that was to really ignore or to reject everything I had ever accepted as real. That was the only way to start getting to where I could figure any of this out. I

know that a lot of the reductive scientific crowd out there—I have a favorite quote from Stephen Hawking. He says, “There’s a fundamental difference between religion, which is based on authority or imposed dogma and faith, as opposed to science which is based on observation and reason.” What I would say is I think his statement is true as a general statement but that science, and certainly those who believe in science and scientists, are as prone to addiction to imposed dogma and faith as our religious zealot. So one has to be very careful to really step back and want to know the truth. That’s what I think we all would like to know.

Alex Tsakiris: In this case, if we really do step back one of the things that’s troubling to me, and you touched on it a minute ago, is how overwhelming the evidence seems to be. At this point, we can confidently say that near-death experiences didn’t just start happening in the last 20 years since we had advanced resuscitation techniques.

We can confidently say that 4% to 5% of everyone who has a cardiac arrest is having this. There’s obviously hundreds of millions of people over time who have had these accounts and we have thousands and thousands of well-documented, consistent accounts across cultures, across times. These are the measures that we would normally use to say, “This is a real phenomenon.”

And then when the skeptics, and really the mainstream scientists have pounded against it for 20 years with really what amounts to a bunch of very silly explanations but ones that have been carefully looked at and dismissed—was it CO, a fear of death, other psychological factors? Is it all the different things like REM intrusion? All these things.

Clearly this would normally be something where we’d be putting a lot of attention into it. Or that it would then become the presumed explanation for it. But none of that’s happening. They have managed to hold back the dyke, you know? So what do you make of that?

Dr. Eben: Okay, I think in trying to get back to your original question with the previous guest, to me one thing that has emerged from my experience and from very rigorous analysis of that experience over several years, talking it over with others that I respect in neuroscience, and really trying to come up with an answer, is that consciousness outside of the brain is a fact. It’s an established fact.

And of course, that was a hard place for me to get, coming from being a card-toting reductive materialist over decades. It was very difficult to get to knowing that consciousness, that there’s a soul of us that is not dependent on the brain. As much as I know all the reductive materialist arguments against that, I think part of the problem is it’s like the guy looking for his keys under the streetlight. Reductive materialists are under the streetlight because that’s where they can see things.

But in fact, if you’re keys are lost out in the darkness, the techniques there are no good. It is only by letting go of that reductive materialism and opening up to what is a far more profound understanding of consciousness. This is where I think for me as a scientist, I look at quantum mechanics and I go into this in great detail in my book, is a huge part of the smoking gun. It shows us that there’s something going on about consciousness that our primitive models don’t get. It’s far more profound than I ever realized before.

That’s where I’m coming from because my experience showed me very clearly that incredibly powerful consciousness far beyond what I’m trapped in here in the earthly realm begins to emerge as you get rid of that filtering mechanism of the brain. It is really astonishing. And that is what we need to explain. Thousands or millions of near-death experiencers have talked about this.

Not only that but as you mentioned a few minutes ago, people don’t even have to go to a near-death situation. There are plenty of mystical experiences that have occurred over millennia that are part of the same mechanism. That’s why all this talk about oxygen, tension, COand all that you can pretty much throw out the window. You really need to be working towards explaining all of those phenomena. Part of the problem is they’re hard to explain but that is a clue.

Willy Lomans was asked, “Why do you rob banks?” He said, “Because that’s where the money is.” Well, same kind of thing. They are hard issues and the whole understanding of what consciousness really involves. I came a lot closer to that in my coma experience and coming out of it and in doing all the very intense homework for the three years since then to try and understand it. It’s a difficult question because it’s close to the real truth that we’re going after. If it were easy it would be widely available. It would already have been written up by somebody who wanted to publish or perish. That’s not how it works. It’s not that easy.

Alex Tsakiris: Dr. Eben, in the little bit of time we have left what’s it been like being so public about your experience?

Dr. Eben: Well, many people have come up to me and said, “Wow, this takes a lot of courage to do this.” You know, it probably would have taken courage to talk like this right after I came out of it. I learned to put the lid on it but then as I did more and more work and talked with more people and started realizing, “Oh my gosh, this is all real.” Then I can tell you, it takes no courage at all. It simply is so powerful to know this.

One thing I’m trying to do in my book is to show why it’s so logical, why this is a very rational way for things to work, especially when you really delve into the profound mystery of conscious existence. Again, I’d recommendIrreducible Mind to any people with a scientific bent who really want to get into it.

Go in there because the whole issue is far, far deeper than we would like to think. It’s absolutely wonderful to realize this. I think it’s going to change this world in wonderful ways. But a big part of it, of course, is to try and broaden the boundaries of science and of what we accept and will use to get towards truth. I’m very hopeful that science and spirituality will come together hand-in-hand and go forward to help with getting these answers and help people to understand the true nature of our existence. A side effect will be that humanity and the grace and harmony that we will see around this world will expand tremendously as we move forward in that fashion.

Alex Tsakiris: Great. It’s certainly an amazing account and you do a great job of bringing forth this information. We wish you the best of luck with that and we’ll certainly look forward to your book, coming out when? Probably next year maybe?

Dr. Eben: I certainly hope so. I’m hoping to finish it now. I do have a web page which is lifebeyonddeath.net for any people who have an interest. I tell you, I’m so busy on the book. You can send me email or sign up for the newsletter or whatever, but I won’t be responding for a few months. If people are interested, they’re welcome to get in touch and sign up for the newsletter, which won’t come out until I’m done on the book. Then we’ll move from there.

It’s just a wonderful gift and I think people will see that it actually makes more sense than anything else has so far. That’s why I think it’s of inestimable value to get this out to the world.

Alex Tsakiris: Thanks so much for joining us today.

Dr. Eben: Thank you very much. I appreciate it, Alex.

 

Eben’s final note, with even more attached “evidence.” He also links me to “who he is.” Apparently he’s a comic artist, which is meaningful because…? And once again, you can thank me later for fixing the lousy formatting that came with it to me…

SEE THE ATTACHED FOR EVIDENCE!!!

This is who I am for your knowledge:

 [link removed to protect his privacy. But comments on the attachments at the bottom.]

Or you can Google search my name in quotation marks for more info: [name removed to protect his privacy.]

Then read my responses below and we are finished unless you want to add something. But I would be remiss to not include this attachment for your review. If you don’t look at it you are deliberately remaing ignorant to reinforce an old idea. NOT very scientific! NOT very honest! You’re getting your information from one side only. I can see that. This is the evidence you asked for. I complied now the ball is in your court.

>> First, we’re not talking about gremlins or microwaves, we’re talking about some primal bearer of intention implied by the constants hitherto mentioned.

>That is irrelevant.

Irrelevant to someone who chooses not to aknowledge improbable statistics as an indicator.

>How you pretty it up doesn’t matter.

Hey, I’ll even put a pink dress on it for you.

>I can say it’s large, green, primal gremlins,

You could but that’s not the same as the notion of a primal consciousness which so closely resembles human consciousness which itself is so highly improbable and yet still is-think about that one.

>>who have bestowed humanity with love and goat milk…etc. And you’re not strawmanning me?

>You can insert anything you like. It’s still “X exists” that you are claiming, and nothing else matters until we have some X to examine.

Some have examined it but it was a personal and one time event for them-not a replicable event for city hall. And they have proof-for them, not for you or anyone else. Your sense of entitlement is showing. You dispel the experiential accounts as hallucinations or delusion and for the sake of fortifying your worldview. As Max Planck said, you have nothing akin to the classical matter you think is there and must anknowledge you yourself have examined nothing if you really understood what he did.

>Before then, we can’t say anything informed about X. No more talk until I can have a look at this thing to see if your claims about it align with the reality of what it is.

So tell me, what is real? You have a corner on that market? I have a quote from Max Planck below that may interest you as to what is real. Some argue the subjective experience of God is no less real than the matter that seems to surround us. And I say ‘seem’ due to what the physicists have to say. None of us knows what’s real Tracie. We can only guess as there is little agreement between the noumenon and the phenomenon. Your brain is enclosed in bone so how is it that you perceive light? It isn’t light that’s getting through your optic nerve-it’s only electrical signals that create the subjective experience of light. So tell me, what’s real?

>> It’s not that simplistic and rather…well, you fill in the blank.

>Actually, it’s not that *hard*.

No, I meant your gremlin analogy is too simplistic. The notion of God crosses geographical borders, time, ethnicities and it’s origins are not so obvious. The same cannot be said for gremlins. I wax philosophic on this point and agree with CS Lewis when he points out that if the atheists are right then the only thing we desire that cannot be realized would be meaning, purpose, and God. Seems a strange quirk of evolution to bestow a need or even a craving for anything that isn’t real. And quirks of evolution usually lead to extinction and yet we’re still here. This is not a proof, it’s only an indicator. I hope I’ve made myself clear on this point.

>> As for my microwave, I can think of many reasons other than gremlins as to why my microwave is broke.

>First of all, I said it was inexplicably malfunctioning. But this area seems to trip up a lot of people. “I have a better explanation” is *not* why the argument fails. It fails because it’s circular. Even if we had no competing explanation for why microwaves break, the construct of the circular reasoning would still be the problem.

But I never made that argument. I have seen many lucid adults who have come to believe in God but never gremlins-unless they’re in a rubber room wearing a straight jacket.

>I never claimed So, the competing explanation is not even relevant to why the example was problematic.

I will concede this point and missed the “inexplicable” part.But none of this negates the evidence you refuse to acknowledge.I’m talking about the sort of evidence which compels former atheist Fred Hoyle to say

“ Would you not say to yourself, “Some super-calculating intellect must have designed the properties of the carbon atom, otherwise the chance of my finding such an atom through the blind forces of nature would be utterly minuscule.” Of course you would . . . A common sense interpretation of the facts suggests that a superintellect has monkeyed with physics, as well as with chemistry and biology, and that there are no blind forces worth speaking about in nature. The numbers one calculates from the facts seem to me so overwhelming as to put this conclusion almost beyond question.”

This quote followed an interesting use of the anthropic principle. In trying to work out the routes of stellar nucleosynthesis, he observed that one particular nuclear reaction, the triple-alpha process, which generates carbon, would require the carbon nucleus to have a very specific resonance energy for it to work. The large amount of carbon in the universe, which makes it possible for carbon-based life-forms of any kind to exist, demonstrated that this nuclear reaction must work. Based on this notion, he made a prediction of the energy levels in the carbon nucleus that was later borne out by experiment.

These energy levels, while needed to produce carbon in large quantities, were statistically very unlikely.

>  This may be why you feel you were strawmanned. If you think your argument is better due to a lack of a competing explanation, then you don’t recognize the circular logic you’re employing is the real concern.

Again, my argument isn’t better due to a lack of scientific understanding but instead by the things I do understand-as I have pointed out repeatedly. Are atheists completely devoid of speculation? Get a little Wonder in your life.

>> But you cannot give me a reason as to why the constants are the way they are.

>Unless you think the Argument from Ignorance

We’re all ignorant Tracie –mine is the argument from what we do know and improbable statistics-not ignorance. I’m not throwing sticks at the moon here.

>and the Argument from Incredulity are compelling , I shouldn’t have to.

Unless you are willing to concede that God is probable, you are also making the argument from incredulity-you find the idea of God so unbelievable that you cannot believe he is real-argument from incredulity. There’s a flip side to every argument and in the end the criticism makes no point at all and we’re left back where we started.

>We’re talking about “a god exists.” If you claim god is the reason for the constants (or green apples, or anything), you must first produce that god. If you can’t, then you cannot make any informed statement that (1) the god exists or (2) what it causes.

As I suspected and as pointed out in my first email, you won’t be satisfied until God walks up and shakes your hand. That is why I said that if that is what you require trying to convince you otherwise is an utter waste of time-the pearls before swine thing-remember?? Evidence won’t satisfy you-you need physical proof-and the most radical kind like Jesus appearing before you in a nimbus of light and giving you the winning lottery numbers in all 50 states.. I can’t give that to you and neither can anyone else

>You have not examined a god. You do not know if a god would cause anything or even if it exists. Call the effect “the constants” or “a broken microwave.” A god must exist, before you can claim any attributes for it that can be validated and agreed upon.

Do you have any idea just how finely tuned these constants are? This isn’t just one simple fluke-these are improbabilities stacked one upon another working auspiciously in concert to allow sentient life. Think that’s chance? And my idea of God is much larger that what I think you suspect. Even Dawkins has said a reasonable case could be made for a deist God-not one he’d agree with, but still one that is reasonable. You need a better analogy than a microwave to account for the constant’s-you think the complexity of either doesn’t matter and that the simpler example is tantamount to the more complex example. But I don’t see it that way at all. I think it’s a category mistake. It is highly probable that something I don’t understand about my microwave could make it defunct and neither would I suspect gremlins as I see no reason to imagine them. But given the constants, me, Paul Davies, Fred Hoyle, Robert Lanza, Francis Collins, Max Planck and many others see that point (and I’m comparing my convictions with these men not my intellect). As for argument from authority, what about your Carl Sagan? And who would you have me quote, the Avon Lady? The kid down the street flipping burgers for minimum wage? If I did that you’d really have a hay day with me then. So either way, it seems the believer can’t win-you have a reply to everything and that should suffice as a reason to suspect your mind is closed to possibilities beyond what you’ve indoctrinated yourself with. For example, let me quote Max Planck, the “father of quantum physics” who best understands the material world you worship and see why I say you are chasing ghosts:

  • As a man who has devoted his whole life to the most clear headed science, to the study of matter, I can tell you as a result of my research about atoms this much: There is no matter as such. All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force which brings the particle of an atom to vibration and holds this most minute solar system of the atom together. We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent mind. This mind is the matrix of all matter.

>> If And gremlins are imaginary constructs with an obvious origin. God is a concept shared by many cultures across time. Huge distinction there. That’s why the flying spaghetti monster doesn’t cut it either.

>Argument from Popularity. How many people believe in a proposition is irrelevant to whether or not it’s correct. A widespread misconception is no less a misconception.

No less than your atheism would be a misconception if God does exist.

>And I need to note that the god you put forward is not universal in the least. In fact, the deist model is quite a rarest form of a god. So your god is not “shared by many cultures,” anymore than gremlins (as mischievous spirits are quite common universally). However, we don’t need to debate this, as, again, the number of people who believe an error does not make it true. This is not an argument from popularity. It seems you have mistaken me for someone else. I have always argued that ideas that are popular are not necessarily right. At one time the Earth was once thought of as residing at the center of the universe but we now know that’s false. Though it may seem an argument from popularity what I meant to convey is the idea that it seems strange that that particular “misconception” has gained acceptance in areas of the world in times when borders closed people off to one another and yet they coincidentally shared the same concept-however vague-deist or theist. If you choose to splice the various concepts of God then you can say that gremlins are as popular as god but that wouldn’t be correct as an analogy as gremlins are not non-contingent beings and again, gremlins as a myth never crossed borders in their origins. I was also focusing on the idea that gremlins have obvious origins whereas God does not. That implies that God was always a part of the conscience of the human condition. Doesn’t that strike you as even minimally odd? But it isn’t the strongest argument so as you suggested let’s move on.

>>> The universe exists. I suspect god produced it. It would not exist without a god. Therefore god exists.

>>This is downright silly. I never said that and marginalizing me by paraphrasing to strawman effect doesn’t help your case.

>Actually, you did say it, and you repeated it above. Please see your own note. Are you not asserting god is responsible for “the constants”?

I assert the high probability for a god due to the constants.

>And are you not saying it’s because you can’t think of how else to explain it? Argument from incredulity and circular reasoning.

Everyone makes the argument of incredulity as pointed out above-including you. You find it incredulous that a God exists.That in and of itself doesn’t prove or disprove anything. In fact, whole papers could be written to defend incredulity-it’s all about statistics and probabilities-the likelihood of such immense complexity being guided to its teleological end vs mere chance to account for the same. Yes, I am asserting it is more likely a mind is behind this phenomenal universe due to what appears to be necessary intervention for its complexity and especially the phenomenon of consciousness-in all things including paramecium that can learn despite their lack of a brain and nervous system. And there are plenty of mechanisms that account for the universe’s workings but mechanism is not the same as agency. You cannot dispel with Henry Ford simply because the engine of a Model T runs by internal combustion. I would never ask anyone to choose between Henry Ford or internal combustion to explain the Model T as much as I wouldn’t ask anyone to choose between god and science. And laws never created anything- The law of 2 plus 2 never deposited $4 into my bank account.

>>>God exists. God causes the constants. The constants exist. Therefore god.

>> Do you have something better?

>Do you?

>> You are forgetting all the evidence mentioned in my last email-evidence that challenges the likes of Davies-a man much smarter than you or me.

>You made a load of assertions. I didn’t see any evidence offered, however. You asked questions and made assertions. I asked for you to provide measurable manifestation of your god.

Again, remember my first email? I said if this is what it takes to make you believe I can’t help you. You’re not looking for evidence, you’re looking for proof.

>Once we can examine it, we can talk about what it’s capable of—and at the very least be able to then say “OK, it actually exists.” At this time, however, you’ve only offered talk. I haven’t seen this god yet.

We can only examine the circumstantial evidence-not some corporeal God that lies within the realm of physics. The big bang required something prior to space and time and thus this causation lies outside space and time. And physicist Roger Penrose argues that the 2nd law of thermodynamics speculates that the further you go back in time the more cohesive and complex and organized a system is. This upholds the top-down theory of god. Now THAT’s evidence-but still not proof. Sorry!

>> Stop airbrushing my points. That only makes you disengenuine as stated prior.I didn’t just say this universe couldn’t exist without a god therefore god exists. I sure hope your degree isn’t in philosophy.

>All I have honestly seen is you assert that what exists couldn’t be without a god. I have yet to see you verify that god exists, though, which you are obligated to do, in order to validate your claim that a god exists and can do *anything*. You cannot call any effect the handiwork of a god, without being able to examine the god to see what it is and what it’s capabilities are. Have you done that? Or are you just asserting that *whatever is*–god did it?

See above (I’m getting bored)

>> You’d have to demonstrate your claim by showing how something as inanimate as the universe could have arrived at something as self-reflective and subjective as consciousness to convince me.

>Actually I haven’t claimed anything.

Actually you have. You have said it’s the only thing that exists and I assume those things you think you see and hear and touch-see above regarding our brains being enclosed in bone and the subjective experience of light. Fascinating stuff.

>I’ve merely said the universe exists–in the only meaningful way the word “existence” can be used. I haven’t made any claims about the universe beyond that–so it is amazing to me you’re asserting I have to demonstrate anything here. I haven’t claimed anything that requires a demonstration–unless it’s your contention that the universe does *not* exist? What else, exactly, do you think I’ve claimed?

I guess you’d have to demonstrate what the universe is before making a claim that it exists and that your conscious perceptions are true. The smaller we get in our observations the less we know.See the attached. You wanted your proof and this is the closest I can get. It doesn’t prove the Judean Christian God but it does prove that consciousness is primal and irreducible. God is just a stone throws away from this observation. Anyone who says otherwise is deliberately neglecting the facts. Let me guess-argument from incredulity??? You bet! And a little empiricism too.

>You, on the other hand, are making a very solid claim that god caused it.

Kind of…

>>I’m not claiming to know what caused it.

>That’s very wise of you Tracie. Thank you. I don’t really insist anything either but I feel supremely confident there’s the big cheese kahuna intellect out there laughing at us all. Personally, I believe atheists are here to hone our skills and force us to inspect our faith. Good job.

>So, how is it that *I* have to demonstrate *anything* to you?

You don’t. Unless you want to convert me.

>You’re asserting that what appears to be a nonexistent cause is responsible for this. I don’t have to offer a competing explanation to point out you have failed to support your own.

I have provided clues-that is all. I never offered proof-look at my first email.

>So, if you can’t find the reason my microwave failed, then it is, in fact, gremlins? You can plug in god and universe, or god and consciousness, or fairies and blooming flowers

(don’t forget the Leprachauns).

>It doesn’t matter. You must demonstrate your claim is valid by producing your god.

I cannot produce a being that is higher than me and chooses to remain invisible corporeally and for good reasons.

[I will insert one thought here. You also cannot produce a being that does not exist. I said further above he was making a lot of claims about this god, he replied with an incredulous “Really?” But see here, he is still doing it.]

Besides, I only side with faith and am quick to point out I may be dead wrong. I just don’t believe that I am. I am VERY certain consciousness is primal. The god thing in its more primitive expression seems a bit hard to swallow and that is strictly a faith issue-strictly.

>I’m just saying, you claim a god did it—but I still don’t see any god, so I don’t believe you.

That is your choice. Evidence doesn’t cut it for you. Only proof will suffice and I’m fresh out-except for the consciousness thing-see the attached.

>> And you would also have to define the borders of all that exists to make such a claim that there is nothing beyond what you taste, hear, touch, or see. I am also waiting for your proofs that demonstrate how qualia and the subjective experience can be accounted for physiologically to convince me that the only things that are real or materially substantial. Put a thought in a bottle and we’re getting somewhere. You want material evidence? Give me some material evidence that thoughts are real. A neuronal impulse doesn’t count. That is only circumstantial correlation and nothing more. It also falls short of explaining qualia-ask atheist Steven Pinker. Max Planck tells us there is no material in the universe, nothing really substantial so in your materialism you are clinging to “ghosts.” Neuroscientist John Eccles would assert the materialist is the mystic not being able to account for how the first thought gets initiated. And your reason for how this complexity just happened to fall together? Natural selection only goes so far (which requires a mutating replicator immune to any arguments suggesting anything less than teleological reasons) and chance and necessity which supposedly accounts for the 3 billion letters of the human DNA molecule, is far more complex than a simple letter from the alphabet which both carry semiotic meanings and if we chanced upon the letter A on the beach we would assume an agent behind it. How odd to believe that random chance accounts for us-things that are infinitely more complex than a letter.

>And put a nice big bow and you favorite shiny wrapping, and you still just have a big lump here of argument from ignorance and argument from incredulity. You don’t understand it, therefore god exists. Whatever is here is here, therefore god exists.

Hey Tracie, you have no argument for god’s non-existence and not even the big show to go along with it (sorry, now I’m being rude). Let me guess, you don’t need to prove anything as a negative can never be disproven. The burden of proof is on me, right? I was an atheist Tracie I know your bag of tricks. Know what? When I walked around claiming atheism something tugged on my heartstrings saying, “Who are you kidding?” Know why? The improbability thing. Yeah, incredulity-it’s overused by the atheist camp. I imagine it was marginalized strictly because it is so convincing. Hell, you could discredit any reality making these points meaning there is nothing to anything. We should all just pack our bags and go home.

>> God can be reasonably postulated as the cause for everything in the sense that conscious direction is a good suspicion given the immense complexity of life.

>I know that is what you *believe*…but are you going to do anything to VERIFY that for me (or yourself)? Or am I supposed to just believe you that a god is responsible, without even a shred of evidence a god even exists?

It’s already been verified in the observations. Why do I need to recreate the improbability that is already there? The evidence speaks loudly and in volumes. You just choose to turn a deaf ear to it. That is your choice.

>> As to what made God?

>I didn’t ask what made god. That’s irrelevant until we know there even *is* a god. There is no point going down paths of what god is, where god came from…and so on, until we’ve demonstrated there is a god.

[Here let me insert something about what he is about to say. I never touched the infinite regress argument. So, this was him just responding to something I never even brought up, as I see it as irrelevant. Again, where god came from can’t be addressed without any god to examine, so what’s the point of discussing the origins of any being-X that we have not yet established is even there?]

>That point is made in reference to the infinite regressive argument and first causal arguments. I’ll give you a quote from Dr. Kenneth Miller who debated an atheist  at the Veritas Forum (Miller by the way wants creationism out of schools and he’s an evolutionary biologist-and a Christian):

“I view the hypothesis the notion that nature is self explanatory, that the universe exists without a cause, and that there is no need to posit a reason for its existence; I look at all three of those things and I regard them as unsupportable hypothesis. In other words, I am deeply skeptical of the claims that the universe exists without cause and without purpose. In the debate I had with Christopher Hitchens, he basically ridiculed the “first cause argument” which goes back to Aristotle, which basically posits that there must be a cause to the universe. And he (Hitchens) said that theists usually say that cause is God, and if that’s true, then what caused God? That’s the refutation of the first cause argument. But the interesting thing is, if I accept that argument at face value, Mr. Hitchens, I then have to say, what are you left with? You are left with an infinite regression of causes, going back as far as you possibly can with no beginning and with no special cause. Now, that’s not evidence for God, but it strikes me as profoundly illogical to propose an infinite regression of causes without beginning. It’s one of the reasons why the hypothesis of God makes sense to me.”

- “Why Do You Believe? David Helfand and Ken Miller at The Veritas Forum at Columbia University” Retrieved from:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e7hoCb3SvK8

>In the end, the universe is here. You’ve constructed a huge explanation based on imagination for why it’s here and why it is as it is. And you wonder why I don’t believe you. I’m stunned you’re asking.

Look at the attachments-no imagination-pure facts from the world of physics. If you don’t understand it, don’t worry, nobody does, including Hawkings and Einstein. We are forgiven

>I’m not wasting further time. Do you have anything better than an argument from ignorance, argument from popularity, circular reasoning and the argument from incredulity? Yes, the better is attached.  Is there a demonstration forthcoming of a god, or just more claims and assertions that all this just *has to be* because of your nonexistent god that you can talk about although you’ve never actually examined it? I have letters waiting from serious people with real problems dealing with discrimination and families rejecting them for their rational views. So, your need to validate that your belief in this being—for which you apparently have no evidence other than fallacies (the same ones, I should note, you condemned our callers for making)—should be considered reasonable to others is something you’re going to have to cope with on your own, I think, for now.

Don’t look at the attachments. It will bother your head and challenge your beliefs. It certainly has mine. And frankly, given the arguments presented, you are being most highly unreasonable-but you are smart. Even smart people can be unreasonable. You are no exception-and you seem so angry. Most atheists are. Therein lies their motivation I think. I should know-I used to be that angry atheist.

>Feel free to call us, however, as I really think the viewers would love to hear this on the air.

>Thanks for your letter.

###

This was Eben’s final statement. Again, seems like fallacies and pseudo science to me. But I don’t want to stifle a brilliant argument for god simply because I’m too stupid to understand it. So, I offer it here to help those atheists who are smarter than I am, and who see what I can only hope one day to understand.

I opened the attachments. They were JPG files of scans. I expected peer reviewed journal articles demonstrating the consensus view of neuro-scientists that qualia and NDEs are evidence of the supernatural. But I was surprised to find it seems to be a scanned chapter from a book. Page one shows the first page of the chapter—half a page of text that just describes in high level terms (read popular language) some thoughts about what quantum mechanics are about. It didn’t seem too objectionable. The rest of the scans appeared to possibly be the rest of the chapter, but they were low resolution, and when magnified, they were unreadable. A link to a neuroscience or physics journal explaining the hand of the supernatural is evident within these fields of study would have been sufficient, however. But why does a popular book scan as his evidence not surprise me? Pseudo-science, an interview, youtube videos, subjective experiences of others that he simply takes at face value, what amount to popular essays (as opposed to actual published, and peer-critiqued opinions), and reasoning glued together with countless fallacies–that’s all I see here.

When asked to provide any direct evidence this being exists, you get the “Finding BigFoot” reply that said being is really good at hiding, and doesn’t want to reveal itself, ironically as the writer is claiming that the existence of the being is so obvious you have to try to not see the being exists. Is the being so inept then at hiding, and I’m deluded? Or does it truly wish to remain hidden, but is showing its hand all over the place for anyone to see it? It makes no sense to me.

But I’m open to correction.

228 comments

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  1. 1
    Aquaria

    Is that Kenny from the old Pharyngula?

    Hey, Eben? Do you know where you go wrong?

    RIGHT FROM THE BEGINNING, that’s where!

    . So for the moment let’s agree that this “God” is some sort of original mind-a primal consciousness that has creative and directive powers and is responsible for the fine tuning of this universe for life (not paradise-just life) and the unlikely and nigh limitless intricacy of molecular mechanisms (not to mention the quantum zero-point gravity field that destroys and recreates universes) that without direction coincidentally arranged atoms one successive improbability multiplied by another until they teleologically resulted in DNA and cellular machinery and tissues and organs and an organism which became self-aware and capable of subjective experience which ultimately became a means whereby the universe could inwardly look upon itself and remark on the stars and even the atoms that comprised this sentient being which is circularly and retrospectively self-analyzing metacognitively.

    Holy run-on sentence from hell, Batman!

    First of all, you didn’t ask if the other side would agree to those terms.

    And, quite frankly, that’s just word salad. You’re not making any sense. At all. We don’t accept that there’s an original mind to the cosmos–you haven’t established that. We don’t accept that the universe is fine-tuned–you haven’t established that, either. And so on.

    So, your premise fails–from the fucking beginning, so we can reject it right here.

    Start over. With shorter sentences.

    Please.

    And welcome to reality. Sucks to be you.

  2. 2
    Cafeeine

    I’ll try to read this after work, but just scrolling down to post this was tiring. I don’t know how you do it Tracie.

  3. 3
    Orlando

    Believers like Eben are unable to remove their god glasses; thus they see everything as evidence for their imaginary father figure. I suspect he was raised to believe in a god and is now so desperate to rationalize his unwarranted belief that he frenetically quotes or quote-mines various authorities to support his muddled presupposition.

    It is clear that he has no real understanding of science as he does not comprehend what a physical law actually is. Christians love to equivocate the word law. And the fine-tuning argument makes no sense if you argue for an all powerful being who would not need to tune anything.

    Moreover, he redefines his god in an attempt to make it irrefutable, and in doing so, as Tracie points out, his god cannot be distinguished from an imaginary being.

    But he reveals his real motivation when he repeated talks about being comfortable with beliefs, even though he imputes to atheists a need for comfort. He simply will not relinquish the comfort of his god-belief. For Eben, comfort trumps truth value.

    Now for some painkillers. His treatise was that painful to read. Tracie, you were outstanding (as usual).

  4. 4
    philipbannor

    Holey moley – you guys at AE have patience!! Wow! I think someone has NO friends or human interaction in their lives whatsoever – and then happened upon AE! I would have given up LONG ago and told him what to do with himself! If he had phoned in he would have taken up 3 episodes just asking his questions! I ran out of breath just reading the 1st paragraph! :)

    Well done guys! :)

  5. 5
    joshhedgepeth

    Faith isn’t based on evidence, otherwise, it isn’t faith. And you can’t just presuppose that life isn’t possible without god, and then say therefore it must be god. It assumes god must exist to prove god exists. And for honesty’s sake, proof and evidence are not two completely different things. Proof requires logic and evidence. Otherwise it proves nothing.

  6. 6
    Hazzard

    That’s a lot of text to digest, but it seems like your interlocutor fails in the first paragraph:

    let’s agree that this “God” is some sort of original mind-a primal consciousness that has creative and directive powers and is responsible for the fine tuning of this universe for life

    Um, let’s not. The definition is circular. If we define “god” as “that which caused the universe to come into being,” then yes, the universe was caused to come into being by “god.” (And we know no more than we did before the concept was introduced.) If we define “god” as the reason the constants of nature are what they are, then the constants of nature must have been determined by “god.” (And we know no more than we did…)

    If we strip all that away, we have “god” as “some sort of original mind, a primal consciousness,” the existence of which cannot be demonstrated or reasonably inferred.

  7. 7
    Matt Meeks

    His entire argument seems to be a very well self-rationalized Argument from Ignorance cloaked in cherry-picked quotes and name-dropping. He also seems to be quite skilled at debating. Notice how he never actually answers Tracie’s challenges? In particular, Tracie accused him of using the Argument from Ignorance, and he quite deftly sideslipped addressing it by saying that we are all ignorant. In fact, it seems like most of his responses to being challenged amount to “oh yeah, well atheists do that too”.

    He also ducked the Argument from Ignorance challenge with the microwave/gremlin challenge by asserting that the origin of the universe is different than a broken microwave, which true, but by doing so he avoided the real challenge in that analogy, which is using the Argument from Ignorance.

    Also, using an interview with Alex Tsakiris as “evidence”? Just the fact that he allowed himself to be interviewed by Alex is enough to discredit him for any claim that he “has devoted his whole life to the most clear headed science”.

    1. 7.1
      timuhren

      I noticed his evasive techniques as well, furthermore noting he never seemed to falter in he conviction, merely changing the subject, claiming victory while blaming the subject change on Tracie.

  8. 8
    Muriel

    Wow, that was painfull.
    Does anyone know why so many theists spend so much time explaining over and over that they don’t believe in “an old man with a beard” but in a “metaphysical trans-dimensional supernatural transcendental all-powerful non-corporeal [...] being”, calling the first idea simplistic and ridiculous, as if making the claim more complex and convoluted gave it any plausibility?
    I mean, we know that old men with beards exist. Believing in old men with beards is completely reasonable.
    Believing in supernatural transcendental what-have-you entities… not so much.

    1. 8.1
      heicart

      Muriel:

      I can’t explain it, but you are correct. Many of them fall prey to this. The idea that you take unsubstantiated claim X, add layers of description to make it more convoluted, then claim “it’s not the same” as the unsubstantiated claim X any longer. I think it has to be that they don’t grasp *why* the original unsubstantiated claim failed, so their response to it fails to address the actual problem with it. They don’t add substantiation, just complexity to the description of the unsubstantiated claim of causation. So, nothing pragmatically changes about the claim, but they somehow see it as “not the same” anymore.

      Additionally, see the emphasis on the need for completing explanations–as though that matters in the least if a claim is unsubstantiated. If a claim is not substantiated, whether or not a competing claim even exists is irrelevant. While it’s true that a more plausible claim would be more accepted/acceptable–pointing to a lack of any competing claim, or any good one for that matter, does nothing to address the problem that one’s own claim is not substantiated.

      So, they repeatedly fail to offer substantiation, but don’t see *that* as the problem. And I don’t know how to *make* them recognize that is the sole problem with their propositions.

      1. Muriel

        Thank you.
        I think there might be another aspect, which is also related to theists not understanding epistemology. They see that “old man with a beard” as comparable to other physically existing gods like Odin or Hercules, and they understand intuitively that those are ridiculous – because hey, no sane person would seriously believe in those guys. So they try to emphasize that their God is different, without addressing…
        Oh. I just realized that’s not just related but exactly the same point you were making.
        Sorry.

        1. Orlando

          As an old man with a beard (well, relatively old), I resent christians retreating from my venerable deistic image. Who wants to worship transcendent nothingness? Oh Holy Higgs Boson, I bow and grovel to your ineffable wonder.

      2. Graeme

        I think related to that is that they have the idea that if they make their claim impossible to substantiate it becomes reasonable to believe in it.

        That is, they think that if a claim is possible to substantiate but has no substantiation (like the old man in the sky) it is not reasonable to believe it. But if the claim is impossible to substantiate then it becomes a matter of opinion and so ok to believe it.

        They don’t realise that if a claim is impossible to substantiate, it can never be reasonable to believe in it.

        1. heicart

          Bravo. This is brilliantly and concisely worded. In fact, I wrote to a young atheist last night, saying something very similar, but not nearly as simplistically expressed (and here that is intended as complimentary toward your comment). He said he was approached by theists asking if science can prove anything. He said it could–but they then asked him how science would go about proving a historic event. I replied that *some* historic events could be substantiated by evidence produced using science, but that we can’t recreate the past thoroughly using science. I then warned him, however, that this is not a problem for the critic, but for the claimant–that inability to substantiate the claims *means* it should not be taken at face value and can only be judged using the “extraordinary claims require extra ordinary evidence” concept. A theist who asserts it is plausible that a Rabbi wandered the Mid East area preaching a reformist Jewish doctrine isn’t asserting too much that pushes the boundaries of credibility. But a theist who asserts this person walked on water, changed water into wine instantly, healed people born blind with spit and mud–needs to put up a lot more evidence than old stories. If it can’t be verified better than that–then the person making the claim should be willing to understand why that claim won’t be accepted as true by anyone until better evidence can be produced. I took a longer route–but it’s the same principle.

      3. jerrydecaire

        What’s your interpretation of this? What is your conclusion?
        http://grad.physics.sunysb.edu/~amarch/Walborn.pdf

    2. 8.2
      Otrame

      I think you get this from the better-educated theists. They know they have no evidence for “god-of-the-bible” beyond their feeling that there is “something out there”. That feeling is important to them–because it makes them feel less inconspicuost-so they try to defend the feeling. Defending a feeling instead of an idea leads to bastard philosophy.

      Feel sort of sorry for these guys. They are often quite bright, and they work so hard at it. Yet this well educated person actually wrote that first paragraph and expected it to be accepted.

      They are really trying to convince themselves, not you. Still, it is as important to point out their circular reasoning as that of the “bible is the word of god because it says so” type. The circle is just a little bigger so it takes a LONG time to make it all the way around.

      Well done, Tracie.

      1. heicart

        I agree the idea is to just have *someone* validate that they’re being reasonable. They want that feeling to be reasonable. And see how he goes into the idea of “I’m not saying it’s true…just really, really likely…” [and I assume that's supposed to mean "therefore I'm not unreasonable."] But it’s not “likely” that a thing that doesn’t exist is causing anything. If there is no Yeti, there is no reasonable basis upon which to claim I’ve found a pile of Yeti poo–even if nobody can’t say for sure what sort of animal left the poo. For a Yeti to be in the running for the cause of a pile of poo, people who believe Yeti’s should be considered as the cause must produce one so that its poo can be examined and we can then know what Yeti poo is like and see if it’s similar to our unidentified poo. He wants me to agree it’s Yeti poo. When I object he hasn’t yet actually demonstrated Yetis exist nor that they poo, he then begins do offer more convoluted descriptions of both they Yeti and the poo–utterly ignoring the “lack of a Yeti” problem.

        1. colubridae

          It’s why atheists piss them off so much more than other believers.

          believers of other sects are simply mistaken.
          Atheists, on the other hand, by their very nature imply believers are crazy.

          1. garnetstar

            I have always thought that, too.

            Also, the mere existence of atheists shakes the faith of believers, in that the atheist demonstrates that it’s possible to live without belief. That brings into question why the theists do believe. And, the answers to that aren’t pretty.

  9. 9
    Mike

    That’s an hour of my life I’ll never get back. The only thing this man’s wall of verbal vomit proves is that if a million monkeys were set down to a million typewriters you would have a waste management problem that could cause a scoop shovel to weep in despair.

  10. 10
    lordshipmayhem

    “I Can’t Believe It’s Not God”

    Now in spray cans!

    1. 10.1
      Otrame

      *shly hands you a nice! sniny, new Internet

  11. 11
    timuhren

    I wearily hoped for the promised evidence in favor of god, but as I continued reading it became clear that it would only come in the form of anecdote and appeal to personal testimony, leaving me sadly disappointed. And yet, he feels quite secure in his assertion that he has provided some tangible, ground-breaking, evidence… I am still waiting.

  12. 12
    John Stabler

    Thanks Tracie. I’m going to use this with my friends when we play our logical fallacy drinking game. Need I spell out how smashed we’ll be getting?

    1. 12.1
      Matt Meeks

      Good luck with that. Some of the fallacies were so convoluted that it’s difficult to spot them. Some were combined, some wrapped inside each other, and the convuluted, run-on sentences don’t help. You’d be better off just getting pissed without trying to count the fallacies.

      1. John Stabler

        On the contrary, I thought they were very easy to spot, even in combination. I actually think he has been very creative in managing to get so many of them into a coherent combination. So good in fact that I may call poe (joke).

  13. 13
    Mr. E.

    This process used to drive me batshit. Too often, people pretend to enter honest discussion, while real motivations are thinly veiled. Most suffer too much from the delusional opiates &/or unjustified egos. The greedy fools don’t reflect upon what’s communicated, they just wait on their turn to speak…unless they’re impatient.

  14. 14
    Ronnie A

    Despite the remaining mystery of why there is something at all. Why assume that there is an agent eternal who creates ex nihilo, an act both scientifically and philosophically dubious? As for myseelf, I’m not a materialist, but I subscribe to a less crazy idea than you. That something don’t appear out of nothing despite if anyone eternal wishes it to be true. That means all of reality is eternal or infinite. By that I mean that nothing which exist has nothing as its origin and all of realty is connected to an ever existing entity we could call nature or eternal nature. No external entity. Call it God evolving if you agree and don’t want to call yourself an atheist. I call myself an atheist, cause pantheist always make people assume I believe all of nature is conscious.

  15. 15
    Cay

    I loved his/her first qualification in describing god: “is responsible for the fine tuning of this universe for life (not paradise-just life).” Seems to be an attempt to preempt any theodicy arguments.

  16. 16
    davidct

    It is little surprise that someone who finds apologetic arguments convincing would also be impressed by a presentation on a crank site like Skeptiko. I don’t know which is worse, his logical fallacies or his rude superior manner. Thank you Tracie for showcasing the power of arrogant ignorance in action. The interesting thing is the way “Eban” is so completely committed to confirmation bias. I guess I will just go back and roll in the mud like the ignorant swine that I am. These pearls of wisdom are certainly wasted on me.

  17. 17
    Gberry

    My brain hurts. This guy comes off as a theistic stalker. His rambling essay is at bottom nothing more than a series of rationalizations and a keen desire to seem intelligent. There also seems to be several “I know you are but what an I?” type arguments such as when he attempts to turn the burden of proof and accuses Tracie of using arguments from ignorance and incredulity. It’s a service to post this type of dialog because these kinds of arguments are often stand alone articles and posts on Christian web sites that pass for good reasoning and hard science over there. Why he thought this would stump Tracie is beyond me. This guy won’t call in is my prediction. My take is most verbose letter writers lack the verbal skills to expound in real time. But I hope he calls.

  18. 18
    michaelbuchheim

    It looks like behind all his assertions and arguments, is the simple demand to reverse the burden of proof. And coating this simple problem in his way of thinking are hundred of anecdotes, philosophical notions and context free scientific observations. All organized in a protected shell which he demands you dismantle before addressing his core argument. I think I used to do a very similar thing to protect beliefs I had no real evidence justifying them.

  19. 19
    eben-a rebuttal

    Tracie,

    That book was published by Robert Lanza-a world renown biologist. He was one of the first to demonstrate reversal in aging and has contributed greatly to the life sciences. His unrelated papers are peer reviewed: http://www.robertlanza.com/

    Here’s some info on him but the resume is much larger:
    Dr. Robert Lanza, M.D., is considered one of the leading scientists in the world. He is currently Chief Scientific Officer at Advanced Cell Technology and a Fulbright Scholar. He has hundreds of publications and inventions, and over two dozen scientific books: among them, “Principles of Tissue Engineering,” which is recognized as the definitive reference in the field. His mentors described him as a “genius,” a “renegade thinker,” even likening him to Einstein.”
    Dr. Lanza was part of the team that cloned the world’s first human embryo for the purpose of generating pluripotent stem cells. Dr. Lanza’s work has been crucial to our understanding nuclear transfer and stem cell biology. In 2001 he was also the first to clone an endangered species (a Gaur), and in 2003, he cloned an endangered wild ox (a Banteng) from the frozen skin cells of an animal that had died at the San Diego Zoo nearly a quarter-of-a-century earlier. Even more amazing is that Lanza and his colleagues were also the first to demonstrate that nuclear transplantation could be used to reverse the aging process and to generate immune-compatible tissues, including the first organ tissue-engineered from cloned cells. One of his greatest early achievements came from his demonstration that techniques used in preimplantation genetic diagnosis could be used to generate human embryonic stem (hES) cells without embryonic destruction. He and colleagues have also succeeded in differentiating human pluripotent stem cells into retinal (RPE) cells, and has shown that they provide long-term benefit in animal models of vision loss. Using this technology some forms of blindness may be curable.
    Do you think he’s smarter than the people who post here thinking they have a handle on science?

    Explain the two-slit experiment in classical causal terms and how consciousness is NOT a key player in decoherence of a wave function collapsing into a singular particle reality. Do that and you will have license to scoff at the believers. Instead, you will get back in political fashion with nothing but debunkery and in mocking style. That is NOT an argument! I was hoping for a civil discussion but I guess that was far too hopeful. Dispel of the adhominems-they have never made a case.

    Also, those pages were about the two-slit experiment that has been peer-reviewed on many occasions since the thirties. No matter how the test is run consciousness seems to be a prime player in determining the collapse of a quantum wave into a particle reality. They have taken into consideration all controls and variables and the results keep coming up the same-consciousness is inextricably tied up with what you would refer to as matter. What does this mean? That consciousness is not some secondary spin-off or epiphenomenon of dead matter like you believe-it is irreducible and primal. As for peer reviewed, I actually like to listen firsthand to the accounts. Where do you think peer reviewed papers come from? Open your mind! Far too simplistic.

    Also, Pim Van Lommel did the largest prospective study on near death experiences and was included in a peer review paper in the Lancett on this very topic. Van Lommel is a cardiologist in the Netherlands. He backs up the non-local consciousness theory and his paper was, not surprisingly, ridiculed by Shermer. Of course, Van Lommel hit back with an equally scathing rebuttal only he had the science while Shermer only had his cynical conjecture with no personal research into this field. He cherry picks science’s results to maintain his reader base. You can read that if you request it but as the posts here are quick to point out my papers are too long and boring.

    I’ll bet you also didn’t know that Michael Persinger who created the God helmet was also a reductive materialist like everyone here and Michael Shermer always loved quoting him as a ploy to debunk the believers in the supernatural. The God helmet supposedly recreates the NDE but upon closer observation it does nothing of the kind. And when Persinger himself demonstrated telepathy in the lab and the results made it into mainsteam media, you can be sure the skeptics dropped him. And why? Because like you, they just didn’t want to know. I am willing to go the extra mile with this and provide as much material as you like to post as much as you like. Have at it. Why the long stuff? Unlike what your readrers believe I do have a life. Most of what I post are excerpts from a book I am writing and illustrating so it’s a lot of copy and paste. Why rewrite?

    And here’s one mild burden of proof on your readers. Here’s an actual account of a veridical NDE whereby three attending physicians corroborate the report of a man who details their activities while having left his body at a time he was completely under and even had his head covered up. Explain that away with chemicals. And what of the blind NDE? What conjecture do you have for that? Here it is and don’t attack me without an addendum explaining it away (and don’t take the cheap way out saying that this patient and 3 reputable physicians were in a conspiracy-BS!) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u-91QXXsyEc

    And I challenge Tracie to post the results of the two-slit experiment which has been peer reviewed a multitude of times since the thirties and the results keep coming up the same. And why do they keep running these over and over again? Because they can’t believe it-just like all of the people here would refuse to believe it as they would run scared thinking, “Oh crap! Maybe this consciousness really is primal! And maybe that implies there is a primal consciousness. Oh no!!! Maybe there really is a God!!!

    This is a quantum issue debated by Einstein and Planck.

    [I can't accept quantum mechanics because] “I like to think the moon is there even if I am not looking at it.”-Albert Einstein

    Turns out Planck was right and Einstein was wrong.

    “The doctrine that the world is made up of objects whose existence is independent of human consciousness turns out to be in conflict with quantum mechanics and with facts established by experiment.”-Bernard d’Espagnat

    “[T]he atoms or elementary particles themselves are not real; they form a world of potentialities or possibilities rather than one of things or facts.”-Werner Heisenberg

    Sounds sorta’ like consciousness or God-doesn’t it? If you can’t see that get some new glasses!

    “Anyone not shocked by quantum mechanics has not yet understood it.”-Niels Bohr

    Does this look like incredulity to you? Does to me and it makes sense!

    “Observations not only disturb what is to be measured, they produce it.”-Pascual Jordan

    I’ll bet the old-time classical materialists that post here find that rather unsettling.

    “When the province of physical theory was extended to encompass microscopic phenomena through the creation of quantum mechanics, the concept of consciousness came to the fore again. It was not possible to formulate the laws of quantum mechanics in a fully consistent way without reference to the consciousness.”-Eugene Wigner

    “Is it not good to know what follows from what, even if it is not necessary FAPP? [FAPP is Bell's disparaging abbreviation of "for all practical purposes."] Suppose for example that quantum mechanics were found to resist precise formulation. Suppose that when formulation beyond FAPP is attempted, we find an unmovable finger obstinately pointing outside the subject, to the mind of the observer, to the Hindu scriptures, to God, or even only Gravitation? Would that not be very, very interesting?”-John Bell

    Bell was the first to demonstrate this quirky behavior-and its peer reviewed! Mainstream! Old school academics and at the highest levels!

    Now check this out. Seems to be stretching things but it’s based on the results of quantum behavior and the two-slit experiment which I will send to anyone requesting those pages which Tracie so casually dismissed: [email protected] Seems atheists don’t want to deal with this phenomenon. Hmmmmm…I wonder why?

    “In the beginning there were only probabilities. The universe could only come into existence if someone observed it. It does not matter that the observers turned up several billion years later. The universe exists because we are aware of it.”-Martin Rees

    Now to everyone here, the burden of proof is now on your shoulders. Demonstrate to me and everyone here the classical causal explanation for how this is possible? How consciousness causes decoherence in a wave function which results in a singular particle reality? I’ll send those pages to you at your request. Lanza has the information that should take you to any peer-reviewed papers you require if you are willing to look. Explain that and I’ll give up my idea that consciousness is primal and that the original consciousness is God. Do that and you have a new atheist in your ranks. Come on now, let’s see it. Until I see that you have nothing to say unless you want to be supremely illogical and defy the replicable science. Now the ball’s in YOUR court geniuses!

    1. 19.1
      Orlando

      Well, Eben, that convinced me. I now worship your infinitely transcendent god. To whom do I give the requisite donations?

    2. 19.2
      John Stabler

      I’m not ready to read another few pages of trash (which appears to just be an attempt to change tact) until we finish with the first lot of logical fallacies. Do you now concede Tracie’s point that your fine-tuned argument is circular?

    3. 19.3
      Matt Meeks

      Apparently you’ve been spending too much time with Alex. The burden of proof is NOT on us to prove you wrong. You’ve just spewed a bunch of very verbose claims with a great deal of science and scienc-y sounding arguments. You still haven’t proven anything, all you’ve done is cite one source and you expect us to do the legwork to determine if your source actually says what you claim they say, have the credentials you claim, and also become experts in quantum physics to address it. And the heart of your argument is still “you can’t explain THIS, therefore it must be God”.

    4. 19.4
      Jesus Christ

      “Do you think he’s smarter than the people who post here thinking they have a handle on science?”

      Is it relevant? No. I don’t care how much you suck anyone’s dick, actually.

      “Explain the two-slit experiment in…”

      Oh, I’m sorry, I had no idea you were a quantum physicist. Maybe you should write in to Stephen Hawking and let him know there’s a god after all. Apparently he is unaware of the double-slit experiment the way you describe it.

      You know, I’m no physicist, but I have read up on the double-slit experiment and don’t recall “consciousness” ever being mentioned. The way I understand it, observation at that level causes a disruption. You’re not just “seeing” at that point, you’re taking measurements with instrumentation, which can interfere with the natural momentum of the atomic particle/wave. Observation interferes, yes, but consciousness…? Sorry, I’m not buying this at all.

      “As for peer reviewed, I actually like to listen firsthand to the accounts.”

      So you’d rather listen at a conference, before the peer review process has taken place, and then tout such talks as fact? That’s backwards. You should be more interested in articles AFTER they have passed through the inferno. Anyone can talk about anything and be wrong. Why not put more weight in science than anecdote?

      Regarding NDE’s… I had one while taking magic mushrooms. The brain does all sorts of funny things, especially given certain stimuli. You can have out-of-body experiences easily by taking ketamine as well. Yet what is the evidence that such things are “real”? How about you summarize it for us, since, as you pointed out, we don’t want to wade through long, boring papers? Can you give a one-paragraph synopsis, please, or is that beyond your power?

      “Unlike what your readrers believe I do have a life. Most of what I post are excerpts from a book I am writing and illustrating so it’s a lot of copy and paste. Why rewrite?”

      Then where are the references? You aren’t actually going to include YouTube links in your BOOK, are you?? Maybe you should cut out the illustrations and focus on the footnotes… that is, if you want to be taken seriously.

      “And here’s one mild burden of proof on your readers.”

      That makes no sense. Do you know what “burden of proof” means? It means that he who makes the claim must justify the claim or STFU. If you want us to believe that NDE’s are real, you had better provide more than videos on the Internet and anecdotes.

      No conspiracy need exist, just bias. NDE’s are a neurological phenomenon. Here is a “burden of proof” for you: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Near-death_experience (Wikipedia trumps YouTube, by the way.)

      ““Anyone not shocked by quantum mechanics has not yet understood it.”-Niels Bohr”

      Okay — yes, quantum mechanics is shocking. No, no one has to accept your delusions and extrapolations for it to be shocking. Somehow you imply it’s schocking because you’re right about there being a god. It’s weird whether there are gods or not. This is the kind of ‘evidence’ you present? Sad.

      Quotes from scientists, possibly taken out of context, are not evidence of anything. We want references to published papers, not conjecture, quotes, anecdotes, and YouTube videos.

      “Bell was the first to demonstrate this quirky behavior-and its peer reviewed! Mainstream! Old school academics and at the highest levels!”

      Awesome! And since this is going in your book you should have the footnote handy! Well?? Let’s see it!

      “Now to everyone here, the burden of proof is now on your shoulders.”

      HOWSO? Again, do you know what “burden of proof” actually means? If you’re unable to convince your audience with solid evidence, you have not met your burden of proof — period. We have no burden because we are making no claim — only asking for evidence. And your ‘evidence’ is shoddy at best. Try again.

      Eben, you STILL have not responded coherently and directly to the idea that you’re merely committing an argument from ignorance. You talk of god as if we’re supposed to have some idea of what that could mean. You make up some bizarre definitions, apparently pulled from your ass-crack, and expect us to just go with it. Well, I’m NOT just going to go with it. How do you justify these attributes and where did you get your definition? What’s more, how do you distinguish this god who refuses to be seen from ‘nothing’? I have a pet unicorn, you know. He’s invisible and lives under my bed, and he’s mute, and he bathes so-as not to smell… but he’s THERE, I PROMISE! The notion is absolutely absurd.

      1. JD

        JC-I send you what you asked for and you’re still complaining I don’t back up my arguments. I spent 2 hours driving across town to scan those and sent them out and you can’t download them. Maybe you don’t want to download them. As for me being a physicist, I listen to the physicists as anyone can or will. As for the point that the partial observation of an observer only partially collapses a wave function as evidence that a conscious observer plays no role in particle behavior, that makes no sense on the surface. Sounds like that’s support for my point. Give me your source and I’ll run that by a physicist to see if that’s correct. I have an ego to and I would love to send that material to you again as I already have to make my point. One solution is to give me a step-by-step instruction as to how I may download those images myself rather than having me type out all those pages. OR-send me an email address that can handle those attachments.

        And let me ask everyone here a question, if this is not phenomenal and if this does not imply that consciousness is primal, why do we get quotes like this:

        “I regard consciousness as fundamental. I regard matter as derivative from consciousness. We cannot get behind consciousness. Everything that we talk about, everything that we regard as existing, postulates consciousness.” -Max Planck

        “Whatever matter is, it is not made of matter.” -Prof. Hans-Peter Dürr

        “Physics is the study of the structure of consciousness.
        The “stuff” of the world is mindstuff.” -Sir Arthur Eddington

        As a man who has devoted his whole life to the most clear headed science, to the study of matter, I can tell you as a result of my research about atoms this much: There is no matter as such. All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force which brings the particle of an atom to vibration and holds this most minute solar system of the atom together. We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent mind. This mind is the matrix of all matter.
        Das Wesen der Materie [The Nature of Matter], speech at Florence, Italy (1944) (from Archiv zur Geschichte der Max-Planck-Gesellschaft, Abt. Va, Rep. 11 Planck, Nr. 1797)

        “Everything we call real is made of things that cannot be regarded as real” -Niels Bohr

        “I think it is safe to say that no one understands quantum mechanics. Do not keep saying to yourself, if you can possibly avoid it, “But how can it be like that?” because you will go “down the drain” into a blind alley from which nobody has yet escaped.” –Nobel physicist Richard Feynman

        Feynman’s quote almost seems to suggest we ought to look away and disregard the evidence that a new theory of the universe that involves consciousness is called for-something that explains the apparent interconnections between consciousness and the behavior of quantum particles. Robert Lanza describes this behavior of mainline science as “being thrown off the trail (referencing the mythical Sherlock Holmes) by the prejudices of three-hundred years of science.” Lanza adds; “The reason scientists go ‘down the drain into a blind alley’, is that they refuse to accept the immediate and obvious implications of the experiments. This dichotomy between conceptual and physical reality continued with a vengeance even with the advent of quantum mechanics. Despite the central role of the observer in this theory-extending it from space and time to the very properties of matter itself-some scientists still dismiss the observer as an inconvenience, a non-entity.”

        You know what’s really incredibly stupid? Whenever I make any claIMS TO THIS EFFECT I get some jackass asking me, “Are you a physicist?” Then when I quote some of the most brilliant physicists on the planet I get this, “That’s argument from authority.” You figure out the obvious contradictions you employ to support your anti-god views. And for the sake of everyone here, find a way to post what I sent you or count yourself lazy. And do I expect this from you? Damn right when you accuse me of being full of shit and keep saying I have nothing. Put your money where your mouth is.

        1. Simon

          You’ve misunderstood what Dürr, Bohr and especially Feynman said. (As for Eddington, he was always a bit of a populist and a crank. The two quotes from Planck surprise me, I thought he was more down to earth than that, but I guess not.)

          The quotes of Dürr, Bohr and Feynman just say that what we as humans intuit as fundamental physics and matter is not what is really fundamental. That is not to say the underlying structure of the universe is not completely physical. It’s just that humans will never grok it as humans. We need math.

          Feynman often gave a shorter quote “Shut up and calculate!”. That is, understand what is going on by using the math. Don’t try to interpret it using everyday human expectations.

          If you want to understand modern physics, don’t read Lanza. Instead pick up Penrose’s “The Road to Reality”. Although Penrose has some non-mainstream ideas, this book is really solid and if you can work your way through it, then you would obtain a good picture of how physicists understand the world.

          Finally, you have still not backed up your claim that consciousness has anything to do with quantum mechanics! I don’t consider the quotes as evidence. Tell me why the experiments or theory require conscious observers.

    5. 19.5
      Se Habla Espol

      1. NDE reports are memories, not realities. An NDE report, at best, is evidence that the reporter’s mind contains memories that he interprets as indications of an NDE. An NDE report has no further evidentiary value unless and until the NDE is observed and reported in real time, while it’s occurring.
      2. Observation, in the quantum sense that’s meaningful for the two-slit (and other) experiments, has no implications of consciousness. This was demonstrated recently by instrumentation that only partially observed the subject wavicle, causing it to only partially resolve. Since Eben has not met his burden of proof, I won’t bother digging up the report.
      3. The “definition” Eben proposed for his god is not at all definitive. In addition, as a definition, it provides a target-rich environment: if any one of its clauses fails, the whole thing fails. I did notice, though, that he later backs off his allegation that it’s a definition and calls it a description, as if the words don’t have a significant difference.

      1. JD

        I gave that burden of proof to JC-no one here apparently has the werewithall to find a way to download my efforts.

        What follows is burden of evidence if not burden of proof so don’t complain about its length-you can’t ask for that and expect a short reply. Also, stop your prejudice and watch the damn video I am posting here at the bottom. LISTEN! WATCH!! 3 physicians with no stake in this corroborate a veridical account of an NDE-scares you, doesn’t it? One even asks us to explain that away by some chemical process-now the burden of proof is on YOU! Don’t reply without that. HEAR ME! No reply without that!!! I also don’t want to hear its not peer reviewed-you be the peer-you review it! Experience it directly and be your own judge.

        This was peer reviewed and included in the Lancet-a well recognized medical journal.

        If anyone thinks debunkers and the naturalist scoffers have Dr. Pim Van Lommel over a barrel when it comes to the science of the NDE, then I bid you read further and into detail Dr. Pim Van Lommel’s thorough rebuttal addressing Michael Shermer’s criticism of his conclusions in regard to the nature of the NDE (*You can read that skeptical analysis in Scientific American, ‘Demon-Haunted Brain’, page 25, March 2003). This is one of the more foundational building blocks for the case of the NDE’s authenticity that I have ever seen. It’s fair to point out that Shermer is only a professional skeptic with a large subscription base who has made a business out of debunking the “believers”. He is as dispassionate in his skeptical views as any of the fundamentalist preachers were, circa 1950’s Old South USA. Pim Van Lommel is a scientist who has studied the NDE phenomenon first-hand and has the science to back up his belief in the reality of non-local consciousness. Yes, there are men who are similarly as scientific as Van Lommel who are stuck in the old “brain equals mind” paradigm, and they represent the majority of scientists, but they, like Shermer, have no real science to back up their conjecture and premise their arguments solely on the assumption that this phenomenon simply cannot be real. Largely, this category of scientist knows nothing of this subject “first hand”. That is hardly a scientific position and is, instead, a metaphysical assertion no less than those who believe. What is interesting to me is that any real science we have at the moment lends support for the authenticity of the NDE. This may largely be due to the idea that the materialistic scientists who cannot believe in man’s dualistic nature may be inclined to think such research is a waste of time and their professional careers. Personally, I think the scientific believers, like Dr. Van Lommel, are the ones who place more credibility into the anecdotal accounts given them by their patients. They believe that what they are telling them is true. And when you experience, first-hand, a patient recounting things that have transpired in their hospital environment when by all accounts they were unconscious and scientifically unable to gather, let alone retain, such memories, you are then moved to take a closer look at this phenomenon with the confidence that comes from the realization that this isn’t a waste of your time or career. I believe this is the motivation behind Dr. Pim Van Lommel’s work.
        Reading further you will find one of the older veridical accounts of a heart patient of Van Lommel’s and then the rebuttal letter to shermer which should lay to rest any assumption that this kind of research is a “waste of time”.

        Dera Jerry Decaire,

        You can quote (from)the rebuttal letter I wrote to Shermer.

        About your question: It has never been possible to induce an NDE by local stimulation/inhibition of the brain.
        My book ‘Consciousness beyond life’ will be released by Harper Collins June 8th 2010, and in this book you can read much more about my concepts on the continuity of our consciousness.

        With kind regards,

        Pim van Lommel, cardiologist

        Citeren jerry decaire :
        I was certain I misunderstood him when he said, “It has never been possible to induce an NDE by local stimulation/inhibition of the brain”. I mean after all, hasn’t it been demonstrated that they can, in fact, artificially induce an NDE by stimulation of the angular gyrus or temporal lobes? I immediately got back with Dr. Van Lommel:

        > Dear Dr. Lommell,
        >
        > Thank you for allowing me to quote that rebuttal letter. If you will bear with me, I am confused when you say an NDE cannot be replicated by brain stimulation. The detractors claim that they can do that. Can it be that what you are saying is that their results do not match up with the characteristics found in a natural NDE? I genuinely hope that is the case. That would make for a strong argumant against the nay-sayers. Dr Bruce Greyson has also informed me that Dr Karl Jansen recently recanted on his original position and admits ketamine, at best, only serves as a door to that reality rather than as a mechanistic explanation for the NDE experience.
        >

        > Thanks again Dr. Lommell,
        >
        > Sincerely,
        > Jerry deCaire
        >

        Van Lommel’s response:
        Dear Jerry,

        The effects of stimulating the brain do not match with the characteristics found in a natural NDE. You are right. And I have written about this extensively and into detail in my book.

        With kind rgeards,

        Pim van lommel

        Citeren jerry decaire :

        Thank you Dr. Van Lommel. I stand corrected!
        Essentially, Shermer takes the stance of the naturalist whose reductionist outlook insists that brain and mind are the same. Van Lommel argues that evidence leads to another hypothesis whereas brain and mind are not the same. One argues for locality of consciousness and the other, non-locality.
        This is unequivocably the most thorough and scientific rebuttal of skeptical arguments against the validity of NDE’s that I know of. Van Lommel takes us point-by-point through the various criticisms, and I am left satisfied.

        English isn’t Van Lommel’s first language so the reply letter is minimally paraphrased thus:
        A Reply to Shermer
        Medical Evidence for NDEs
        Dr. Pim van Lommel
        Only recently someone showed me the “Skeptic” article* by Michael Shermer from a well respected and, in my opinion, scientific journal like the Scientific American. I always expect a well documented and scientific article from SA, but I don’t know how thoroughly peer-reviewed the article from Shermer was by the editorial staff before publication. I am giving the following reaction to this article by Shermer because I am the main author of the study published in The Lancet, December 2001, entitled: “Near-death experience in survivors of cardiac arrest; a prospective study in the Netherlands”. What he writes about the conclusions from our study, as well as from the effect of magnetic and electrical “stimulation” of the brain, forces me to write this paper, because I disagree with his theories as well as with his conclusions.

        We performed our prospective study in 344 survivors of cardiac arrest to study the frequency, and the cause and content of the near-death experience (NDE). A near-death experience is the reported memory of all impressions during a special state of consciousness, including specific elements such as out-of-body experience, pleasant feelings, and seeing a tunnel, a light, deceased relatives, or a life review. In our study 282 patients (82%) did not have any memory of the period of unconsciousness. Sixty-two patients (18%) however reported a NDE with all the “classical” elements. Between the two groups there was no difference in the duration of cardiac arrest or unconsciousness, intubation, medication, fear of death before cardiac arrest, gender, religion, education or foreknowledge about NDE. More frequent NDE’s were reported at ages younger than 60 years, patients with more than one cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) during their hospital stay, and patients with a previous NDE. Patients with memory defects after lengthy and complicated CPR reported less frequent NDE’s.

        There are several theories that should explain the cause and content of the NDE. The physiologic explanation: the NDE is experienced as a result of anoxia in the brain, possibly also caused by release of endomorphines, or NMDA receptor blockade.

        In our study all patients had a cardiac arrest, they were clinically dead, unconscious caused by insufficient blood supply to the brain because of inadequate blood circulation, breathing, or both. If in this situation CPR is not started within 5-10 minutes, irreparable damage is done to the brain and the patient will die. According to this theory (anoxia), all patients in our study should have had an NDE; they all were clinical dead due to anoxia of the brain caused by inadequate blood circulation, but only 18% reported NDE.

        The psychological explanation: NDE is caused by fear of death. But, in our study, only a very small percentage of patients said they had been afraid in the seconds preceding the cardiac arrest, it happened too suddenly to realize what occurred to them. However, 18 % of the patients reported a NDE, and the given medication made no difference.

        We know that patients with cardiac arrest are unconscious within seconds, but how do we know that the electro-encephalogram (EEG) is flat-lined in those patients and how can we study this?

        Complete cessation of cerebral circulation is found in cardiac arrest due to ventricular fibrillation (VF) during threshold testing at implantation of internal defibrillators. This complete cerebral ischemic model can be used to study the result of anoxia of the brain.

        In VF complete cardiac arrest occurs with complete cessation of cerebral flow resulting in acute pan cerebral anoxia. The Vmca, the middle cerebral artery blood flow, which is a reliable trend monitor of the cerebral blood flow, decreases to 0 cm/sec immediately after the induction of VF (2). Through many studies in humans, as well as in animal models, cerebral function has been shown to be severely compromised during cardiac arrest and electric activity in both the cerebral cortex and the deeper structures of the brain have been shown to be absent after a very short period of time. Monitoring of the electric activity of the cortex (EEG) has shown ischemic changes consisting of a decrease of fast high amplitude waves and an increase of slow delta waves and, sometimes, also an increase in amplitude of theta activity, progressively and ultimately declining to isoelectricity. More often initial slowing (attenuation) of the EEG waves is the first sign of cerebral ischemia. The first ischemic changes in the EEG are detected an average of 6.5 seconds after circulatory arrest. With prolongation of cerebral ischemia it always progresses to an isoelectric (flat) line that is monitored within 10 to 20 (mean 15) seconds from the onset of the cardiac arrest (3-6).

        In case of a prolonged cardiac arrest of more than 37 seconds, the EEG activity may not return for many minutes to hours after cardiac arrest has been restored depending on the duration of cardiac arrest(in spite of the maintenance of adequate blood pressure during the recovery phase). After defibrillation, the middle cerebral artery flow velocity recurred rapidly within 1-5 seconds regardless of the arrest duration. However, the EEG recovery takes more time, depending on the duration of cardiac arrest. EEG recovery underestimates metabolic recovery of the brain and cerebral oxygen uptake may be depressed for a considerable time after restoration of circulation because the initial overshoot on reperfusion (hyperoxia) is followed by a significant decrease in cerebral blood flow. (7)

        Anoxia causes loss of function of our cell systems. However, in anoxia of only some minute’s duration, this loss may be transient. In prolonged anoxia cell death occurs with permanent functional loss. During an embolic event a small clot obstructs the blood flow in a small vessel of the cortex resulting in anoxia of that part of the brain with loss of electrical activity. This results in a functional loss of the cortex similar to hemiplegia or aphasia. When the clot is resolved or broken down within several minutes, the lost cortical function is restored. This is called a transient ischemic attack (TIA). However, when the clot obstructs the cerebral vessel for minutes to hours it will result in neuronal cell death with a permanent loss of function of this part of the brain with persistent hemiplegia or aphasia, and the diagnosis of cerebro vascular accident (CVA) is made. So, transient anoxia results in transient loss of functions.

        In cardiac arrest, global anoxia of the brain occurs within seconds. Timely and adequate CPR reverses this functional loss of the brain because definitive damage of the brain cells, resulting in cell death, has been prevented. Long lasting anoxia, caused by cessation of blood flow to the brain for more than 5-10 minutes, results in irreversible damage and extensive cell death in the brain. This is called brain death, and most patients will ultimately die.
        SPECIAL NOTE: Alan Pring, a former Royal Air Force pilot experienced both oxygen deprivation as a pilot and an authentic NDE and claims the experiences are quite different.
        ADD FROM LOMMEL: One of the most popular theories is that anoxia in the brain causes brain cells to die, resulting in an NDE. Another explanation is that medication is involved, or the fear of death. But we found that none of these explanations work. There was no correlation with medications or fear of death. As for anoxia, we know from other cardiac work on patients who have had internal defribillators implanted, that when you stop the heart, within 10 seconds the EEG goes dead and flattens. In other words, when the heart stops and there is no oxygen in the brain, within seconds the activity of the cortex ceases. That doesn’t say anything about your brain stem, which takes five or ten minutes to cease activity. But the cortex is where you do your thinking and imagining. So anoxia is not responsible.
        The psychological explanation is that the NDE is caused by fear of death. But in our study only a very small percentage of patients said they had been afraid in the seconds preceding the cardiac arrest; it happened too suddenly to realize what had occurred to them. However, 18 % of the patients still reported an NDE. Also, the given medication made no difference.
        In acute myocardial infarction the duration of cardiac arrest (VF) on the CCU is usually 60-120 seconds, on the cardiac ward, 2-5 minutes, and in out-of-hospital arrest it usually exceeds 5-10 minutes. Only during threshold testing of internal defibrillators or during electro physiologic stimulation studies will the duration of cardiac arrest hardly exceed 30-60 seconds.

        From these studies we know that in our prospective study of patients that have been clinically dead (VF on the ECG) no electrical activity of the cortex of the brain (flat EEG) must have been possible. Also, the abolition of brain stem activity like the loss of the cornea reflex, fixed dilated pupils, and the loss of the gag reflex, are clinical findings in those patients. However, patients with an NDE can report clear consciousness in which cognitive functioning, emotion, sense of identity, and memory from early childhood was possible, as well as perception from a position out and above their “dead” bodies. Because of the sometimes reported, and verifiable, out-of -body experiences (like the case of the dentures reported in our study) we know that the NDE must happen during the period of unconsciousness and not in the first or last seconds of this period (This derails skeptic Susan Blackmore’s insistence that NDE’s take place either prior to or after loss of consciousness).

        So we have to conclude that the NDE in our study was experienced during a transient functional loss of all functions of the cortex and of the brainstem. It is important to mention that there is a well documented report of a patient with constant registration of the EEG during cerebral surgery for a gigantic cerebral aneurysm at the base of the brain while operated on with a body temperature between 10 and 15 degrees. She was put on the heart-lung machine; with VF; with all blood drained from her head; with a flat line EEG; with clicking devices in both ears; with eyes taped shut; and this patient experienced an NDE with an out-of-body experience and all the details she perceived and heard could later be verified. (8) –(The Pam Reynolds case)

        There is also a theory that consciousness can be experienced independently from the normal body-linked waking consciousness. The current concept in medical science states that consciousness is the product of the brain. This concept, however, has never been scientifically proven. Research on NDE pushes us to the limits of our medical concepts of the range of human consciousness and the relationship between consciousness and memories within the brain.

        For decades, extensive research has been done to localize memories inside the brain, so far without success. In connection with the hypothesis that consciousness and memories are stored inside the brain the question also arises how a non-material activity such as concentrated attention or thinking can correspond with a visible (material) reaction in the form of a measurable electrical, magnetic and chemical activity at a certain place in the brain. Different mental activities give rise to changing patterns of activity in different parts of the brain. This has been shown in neurophysiology through EEG, magneto-encephalogram (MEG) and at present also through magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and positron emission tomography (PET-scan). (9-11) Also, an increase in cerebral blood flow is observed during a non-material activity like thinking (12). It is also not well understood how it is to be explained that in a sensory experiment following a physical sensation the person involved in the test stated that he was aware (conscious) of the sensation a few thousandths of a second following the stimulation even while the subject’s brain showed that neuronal adequacy wasn’t achieved until after a full 500 msec. following the sensation. This experiment has led to the so-called delay-and-antedating hypothesis (13).
        SPECIAL NOTE: The following and final part of Van Lommel’s rebuttal letter to Shermer will begin to delve into areas that tend to “ruffle the feathers” of the conventional wisdom. Here, Van Lommel steps out of his comfort zone of empirical and naturalistic physiology and begins to steer towards speculation, and this is where the skeptics begin to have problems. Van Lommel mentions “Quantum coherence phenomenon” as it applies to non-quantum levels of brain processing which most skeptics reject as speculation at best and voodoo at worst. Featured later in this book, Physicist Sir Roger Penrose and Dr. Stewart Hammerof address this potentially real phenomenon with an “ORCH” model as a hypothesis for how this may actually occur. Nevertheless, I have seen Hammerof mocked for his assertions as so many scientists can’t seem to see much beyond what is available in their text books or in peer-reviewed papers that have been more empirically established. They seem to have a problem with speculation and too often define it as sheer fantasy merely because it projects theorems farther down the road than what they feel the evidence would warrant. The skeptics argue that legitimate research must not only state the observed phenomenon, but it must also present with an explanatory model to be considered real research. Hammeroff has offered that model but has received little more than ridicule by those who cling to the established paradigm. But I must contend with that narrow view that speculation counts for nothing without an explanatory model. This suggests that until we have an explanation we are required to deny our experiences or observations of any phenomenon we encounter and that we ought to abandon the search for an explanation. It’s circularly self-defeating and flies in the face of the pioneering spirit of science. Given that attitude, one has to wonder how research ever gets off the ground in the first place. Speculations are nothing more than ideas that sometimes carry with them a scientific objective; they give us direction and purpose and they are, in reality, the first step towards scientific inquiry and discovery.
        Van Lommel continues:

        Most body cells, and especially all neurons, show an electric potential across cell membranes formed by the presence of a metabolic Na/K pump. Transportation of information along neurons happens by means of action potentials, differences in membrane potential caused by synaptic depolarization (excitatory) and hyperpolarization (inhibitory). The sum total of changes along neurons causes transient electric fields and therefore also transient magnetic fields along the synchronously activated dendrites. Neither the number of neurons, the precise shape of the dendrites (dendritic tree), nor the accurate position of synapses, or the firing of individual neurons are crucial, but the derivatives, the fleeting electric and/or magnetic fields generated along the dendrites, are. These should be shaped as optimally as possible into short-lasting meaningful patterns constantly changing into four-dimensional shapes and intensity (self-organization), while mutually interacting between all neurons. This process can be considered a biological quantum coherence phenomenon.

        The influence of external localized magnetic and electric fields on these constantly changing electric and/or magnetic fields during normal functioning of the brain should now be mentioned.

        Neurophysiological research is being performed using transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) in the course of which a localized magnetic field (photons) is produced. TMS can excite or inhibit different parts of the brain, depending on the amount of energy given and allowing for the functional mapping of cortical regions and the creation of transient functional lesions. It allows for assessing the function of focal brain regions on a millisecond scale, and it can study the contribution of cortical networks to specific cognitive functions. TMS is a non-invasive research tool to study aspects of human brain physiology including motor function, vision, language, and the pathophysiology of brain disorders as well as mood disorders like depression. It may even be useful for therapy. In studies TMS can interfere with visual and motion perception as it interrupts cortical processing with intervals of 80-100 milliseconds. Intracortical inhibition and facilitation are obtained by paired-pulse studies with TMS, and they reflect the activity of interneurons in the cortex. Also TMS can alter the functioning of the brain beyond the time of stimulation, but it does not appear to leave any lasting effect. (14).

        Interrupting the electrical fields of local neuronal networks in parts of the cortex also disturbs the normal functioning of the brain because localized electrical stimulation of the temporal and parietal lobe during surgery for epilepsy, as demonstrated by the neurosurgeon and Nobel prize winner W. Penfield, could sometimes induce flashes of recollections of the past (never a complete life review), experiences of light, sound or music, and rarely a kind of out-of-body experience. These experiences did not produce any transformation (15-16). After many years of research he finally reached the conclusion that it is not possible to localize memories inside the brain. Olaf Blanke also recently described in Nature a patient with induced OBE by inhibition of cortical activity caused by more intense external electrical stimulation of the gyrus angularis in a patient with epilepsy (17).

        The effect of the external magnetic or electrical stimulation is dependent on the amount of energy given. There may be no clinical effect or sometimes stimulation is seen when only a small amount of energy is given(for instance during stimulation of the motoric cortex). But during “stimulation” with higher energy inhibition of local cortical functions occurs by extinction of the electrical and magnetic fields resulting in inhibition of local neuronal networks (personal communication Blanke). Also in the patient described by Blanke in Nature stimulation with higher electric energy was given, resulting in inhibition of the function of the local neuronal networks in the gyrus angularis.

        And when for instance the occipital visual cortex is stimulated by TMS, this results not in a better sight, but instead it causes temporary blindness by inhibition of this part of the cortex. We have to conclude that localized artificial stimulation with real photons (electrical or magnetic energy) disturb and also inhibit the constant changing electrical and magnetic fields of our neuronal networks, and so influence and inhibit the normal function of our brain.

        In trying to understand this concept of mutual interaction between the “invisible and not measurable” consciousness, with its enormous amount of information, and our visible, material body it seems wise to compare it with modern worldwide communication.

        There is a continuous exchange of objective information by means of electromagnetic fields (real photons) for radio, TV, mobile telephone, or laptop computer. We are unaware of the innumerable amounts of electromagnetic fields that constantly, day and night, exist around us and through us as well as through structures like walls and buildings. We only become aware of these electromagnetic informational fields the moment we use our mobile telephone or by switching on our radio, TV or laptop. What we receive is not inside the instrument, nor in the components, but thanks to the receiver the information from the electromagnetic fields becomes observable to our senses and hence perception occurs in our consciousness. The voice we hear in our telephone is not inside the telephone. The concert we hear in our radio is transmitted to our radio. The images and music we hear and see on TV is transmitted to our TV set. The internet is not located inside our laptop. We can receive at about the same time what is transmitted with the speed of light from a distance of some hundreds or thousands of miles. And if we switch off the TV set, the reception disappears, but the transmission continues. The information transmitted remains present within the electromagnetic fields. The connection has been interrupted, but it has not vanished and can still be received elsewhere by using another TV set. Again, we do not realize us the thousands of telephone calls, the hundreds of radio and TV transmissions, as well as the internet, coded as electromagnetic fields, that exist around us and through us.

        Could our brain be compared with the TV set that electromagnetic waves (photons) receives and transforms into image and sound, as well as with the TV camera that image and sound transforms into electromagnetic waves (photons)? This electromagnetic radiation holds the essence of all information, but is only conceivable to our senses by suited instruments like camera and TV set.

        The informational fields of our consciousness and of our memories, both evaluating by our experiences and by the informational imput from our sense organs during our lifetime, are present around us as electrical and/or magnetic fields [possible virtual photons? (18)], and these fields only become available to our waking consciousness through our functioning brain and other cells of our body.

        So we need a functioning brain to receive our consciousness into our waking consciousness. And as soon as the function of brain has been lost, like in clinical death or in brain death, with iso-electricity on the EEG, memories and consciousness do still exist, but the reception ability is lost. People can experience their consciousness outside their body, with the possibility of perception out and above their body, with identity, and with heightened awareness, attention, well-structured thought processes, memories and emotions. And they also can experience their consciousness in a dimension where past, present and future exist at the same moment, without time and space, and can be experienced as soon as attention has been directed to it (life review and preview), and even sometimes they come in contact with the “fields of consciousness” of deceased relatives. And later they can experience their conscious return into their body.

        Michael Shermer states that, in reality, all experience is mediated and produced by the brain, and that so-called paranormal phenomena like out-of body experiences are nothing more than neuronal events. The study of patients with NDE, however, clearly shows us that consciousness with memories, cognition, with emotion, self-identity, and perception out and above a life-less body is experienced during a period of a non-functioning brain (transient pancerebral anoxia). And focal functional loss by inhibition of local cortical regions happens by “stimulation” of those regions with electricity (photons) or with magnetic fields (photons), resulting sometimes in out-of-body states.
        As for the mechanistic explanation from the reductionist point of view, NDE’s are only a phenomenon related to a naturalistic trigger meant to ease the horror of impending death. But even that in itself implies a cause and a mind with an obvious, and from a reductionist point of view, pointless intent-but an “intent” nevertheless. For the person who believes in an afterlife but no God, that cause is the collective consciousness of the quantum world while for the theist, God is that cause. The atheist will argue that nature is the cause except this begs the question, since when has nature acquired the wherewithal to possess such cognizance in the first place? We go back to that original argument in regards to inanimate matter organizing itself towards such unimaginable complexity against an entropic ladder, and all of this to emerge a property that is concerned with my well being and state of mind. How strange that a particular arrangement of molecules just happened to form into my own personal nursemaid just so that I can be happy. As for the probability of this, I may be happy, but I’m not that happy.

        WATCH: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u-91QXXsyEc

        1. LykeX

          OK, I watched it. I was particularly struck by the statement of the last doctor, “I’m not afraid to say that I don’t know.” I wish the guy claiming an OOBE had a bit of that attitude.
          I can’t explain it. I don’t have near enough information to make any serious statements about it. The video itself contains very little real information, although we can chalk that up to it being so short.
          Anyway, given the lack on information, I think it would the completely irresponsible to draw any conclusions from this one way or another, but I would highlight a few things: The unreliability of human memory, specifically our tendecy to forget annoying facts and otherwise fudge the memory to fit our ideas; the fact that in every case where serious investigation has been done, the researchers have come up with nothing (I’m reminded of the doctor who placed a sign above the operating table that could only be read from above – anyone remember who that was?); the ignorance of the guy concerning what the brain can do and the extent to which drugs can duplicate such experiences (If it wasn’t for the mention of the arm-flapping doctor, I’d have written the whole thing off as a hallucination without a moment’s hesitation).

          In conclusion, I don’t know and neither do you. No conclusion can be reached on the basis of this data. It may form cause for research into the matter, but that’s as far as it goes.

          I also don’t want to hear its not peer reviewed-you be the peer-you review it

          Ok, I’ll do that. As a reviewer of this data, I reject it entirely on the basis of poor documentation and sloppy conclusions. It might be submitted as a case study, but even then, I think it’s lazy work.
          To accept this, I would need much more information on the situation itself, the time of reporting in relation to the experience, how many people know about the doctor’s habits, etc. etc. etMFc
          There’s tonnes of work that could be done on this, but haven’t. Work that’s absolutely essential if we’re going to seriously consider it. Do not resubmit unless you fundamentally alter your approach.

          Sincerely, LykeX Journal of Medicine

          This was peer reviewed and included in the Lancet

          Citation, please? Is this the same article mentioned later?

          According to this theory (anoxia), all patients in our study should have had an NDE

          Why? Why is it required that all patients respond in exactly the same manner? Do we all dream the same dreams every night? Do we all respond to drugs the exact same way? Do people have identical reactions to shock and trauma?
          Obviously not. You can’t rule out a physiological cause simply because people don’t all have the same reaction.

          As for anoxia, we know from other cardiac work on patients who have had internal defribillators implanted, that when you stop the heart, within 10 seconds the EEG goes dead and flattens.

          I’m not convinced that the memory really forms during the trauma itself. It may well be a result of processes occurring while the brain is recovering. That would make the EEG flatline irrelevant. Not sure how you would test this, since the patient is obviously incommunicado for the entire duration.

          Because of the sometimes reported, and verifiable, out-of -body experiences (like the case of the dentures reported in our study) we know that the NDE must happen during the period of unconsciousness and not in the first or last seconds of this period

          My emphasis. Is the study mentioned here the one in The Lancet, Dec. 2001 ?

        2. jacobfromlost

          I share LykeX’s concerns.

          This isn’t a controlled experiment. There are controlled experiments out there, as LykeX said, but thus far no one has “returned to their body” to verify the controls. Electronic readerboards that can only been read from the ceiling of the operating room display a series of numbers, or a nonsense phrase (Such as “The popsicles are in bloom”). As I understand it, a computer determines what is being displayed on any given day so that not even the doctors know what it says on a given day (double blind). NO ONE has “returned to their body” to verify what it says. If this phenomenon were real, there should be millions of confirmations. The absence of evidence is evidence of absence.

          Also, if we look at the claims with just a LITTLE skepticism, they fall apart. We don’t know what was said during the operation–by the doctors, nurses, etc. Remember, doctors use language to communicate with each other also, and spoken language can be heard by the ears of a person whose eyes are covered (and we don’t have verification that the eyes were fully covered–it doesn’t take much to move your eyes downward to see under an eye cover, and see–in an altered state–the sillouette of the doctor’s movements projected on that curtain with a single surgical light). We don’t know what was said AFTER the operation. When you are in an altered state, you can project sights from sounds–or even verbal suggestions. My mother has RBD, REM Behavior Disorder as a consequence of Parkinson’s disease. She often begins conversations in her sleep, and you can carry on conversations with her and even guide the events of the dream. (Often when she has a nightmare of intruders, I merely tell her that they have left, that the police have come to take them away, that they will be punished for breaking and entering, and that it is time to go to sleep now. Voila. Nightmare ended.)

          Besides, the fact that this guy’s “life has changed” or “perspective has changed” is exactly what one would expect when the brain has gone through an altered state. In fact, it is what one would expect of ANYONE who has a heart attack and nearly dies. Of COURSE your perspective has changed.

          I would be more impressed if, when the guy returned, he had any empirically verifiable knowledge (not silly stuff like the doctor’s elbows). That he could make specific predictions, the outcomes of which could not be contrived by him or others. That he could tell me what I’m thinking right now. The claims he is making are easily explained.

          Also, the OBE claimant claimed the doctor was flapping his arms like a chicken (with hands by his arm pits).

          The recreation showed the doctor with his hands on his hips and twisting back and forth (not up and down).

          The doctor said that Takata puts his hands on his chest and points with his elbow so not to contaminate his hands.

          These three things are not REMOTELY similar. What has happened here is confirmation bias. The doctor wanted to make the OBE claimant’s story fit, so “flapping your arms like a chicken” somehow becomes pointing with your elbow while hands are on your chest. Now, I want you to imagine a doctor pointing with his elbows during an operation. Would that in any way look like someone “doing the chicken” the way the claimant demonstrated? No.

          Textbook confirmation bias.

  20. 20
    Garnetstar

    Let me just say that I sure don’t want anyone who reasons like that to cut into my brain.

    I’m sick and tired of creationists who seem never to have heard of chemistry throwing around statements like “coincidentally arranged atoms one successive improbability multiplied by another”, “…chance and necessity which supposedly accounts for the 3 billion letters of the human DNA molecule”, and “inanimate stuff that just coincidentally arranged itself”.

    Read a book. A freshman chemistry text, for instance.

    “You want to centrifuge and dissect God and place him in a bottle?”

    Yes.

    1. 20.1
      eben-a rebuttal

      I did study chemistry and biology you silly mechanistic oaf.And so did Robert Lanza with much greater credentials than you. And you didn’t send me what i asked for. Where is the addendum? Where is the evidence? You atheists are so big on evidence -give me some!

      1. timuhren

        What evidence exactly are you looking for? I am not clear how evidence is needed when rejecting your unsubstantiated claims. I won’t go as far as to say we cannot have a discussion regarding your claims until you provide satisfactory evidence in support of it, but do understand that your position is that of conjecture without support. As a neuroscience student, I have yet to come across any literature that supports your position, wherein humans have a separate locus of being(ie a soul) from the underlying biological processes that CAN be observed and documented. Localization of function coupled with a global understanding of consciousness do not a soul make. Moreover it has long been understood how consciousness and behavior become impaired when the brain is damaged(consider the fusiform gyrus, or Broca’s and Wernicke’s areas). When a portion of the brain is damaged, it has significant impacts on cognition. How should the complete loss of function(ie death) result in a consciousness unaffected, transcending the body? A rule of thumb is, the more brain matter is destroyed the more function is destroyed as well, thus complete loss is complete loss respectively.

        1. eben-a rebuttal

          Actually, neuroplasticity and placebo effects challenge the reductionist models. And I never said there are not brain correlates to sensation and experience. That is referred to as the Easy Problem of consciousness. The hard problem deals with subjective experience which physiological models or at least attempts at them, cannot explain.

          You may find this interesting. This is some quotes from Harvard neurosurgeon Eben Alexander who once thought like everyone here but has had an NDE and has changed his mind. You may disagree and it isn’t proof, but to say this isn’t interesting and doesn’t lead one to wonder seems a bit strange to me. Here they are:
          That hyper-reality that people describe, I just wish we could bottle that up and give it to people so they could see what it’s like because it is not something that is going to be explained by these little simplistic kind of talking about CO2 and oxygen levels. That just won’t work. I promise you that won’t work.

          A lot of people have come up to me and said, “Oh that sounds like a DMT experience, ”or“ That sounds like ketamine.” Not at all. That is not even in the right ballpark.
          Those things do not explain the kind of clarity, the rich interactivity, the layer upon layer of understanding and of lessons taught by deceased loved ones and spiritual beings. Of course, they’re all deceased loved ones. I’ve kind of wondered where it is that these people are coming from. They say, “The brain was very sick but it was very selective and made sure it only remembered deceased loved ones.” They’re just not hearing something.

          One thing that we will have to let go of is this kind of addiction to simplistic, primitive reductive materialism because there’s really no way that I can see a reductive materialist model coming remotely in the right ballpark to explain what we really know about consciousness now.
          Coming from a neurosurgeon who, before my coma, thought I was quite certain how the brain and the mind interacted and it was clear to me that there were many things I could do or see done on my patients and it would eliminate consciousness. It was very clear in that realm that the brain gives you consciousness and everything else and when the brain dies there goes consciousness, soul, mind—it’s all gone. And it was clear.
          Now, having been through my coma, I can tell you that’s exactly wrong and that in fact the mind and consciousness are independent of the brain. It’s very hard to explain that, certainly if you’re limiting yourself to that reductive materialist view.

          Any of the scientists in the crowd who want to get in on this, what I would recommend is there’s one book I consider the bible of this. It’s a wonderful book but it is really for those who have a strong scientific interest in it. It’s called Irreducible Mind, Edward Kelly, Emily Williams Kelly, Bruce Greyson, Adam Crabtree, Alan Galt, Michael Grassa, the whole group from Esalen and also based in the Division of Perceptual Studies at the University of Virginia, have done an incredibly good job. Toward a Psychology for the 21st Century is the subtitle and that’s exactly what it is.

          one thing that has emerged from my experience and from very rigorous analysis of that experience over several years, talking it over with others that I respect in neuroscience, and really trying to come up with an answer, is that consciousness outside of the brain is a fact. It’s an established fact.
          And of course, that was a hard place for me to get, coming from being a card-toting reductive materialist over decades. It was very difficult to get to knowing that consciousness, that there’s a soul of us that is not dependent on the brain. As much as I know all the reductive materialist arguments against that, I think part of the problem is it’s like the guy looking for his keys under the streetlight. Reductive materialists are under the streetlight because that’s where they can see things.
          But in fact, if you’re keys are lost out in the darkness, the techniques there are no good. It is only by letting go of that reductive materialism and opening up to what is a far more profound understanding of consciousness. This is where I think for me as a scientist, I look at quantum mechanics and I go into this in great detail in my book, is a huge part of the smoking gun. It shows us that there’s something going on about consciousness that our primitive models don’t get. It’s far more profound than I ever realized before.

          There are plenty of mystical experiences that have occurred over millennia that are part of the same mechanism. That’s why all this talk about oxygen, tension, CO2 and all that you can pretty much throw out the window. You really need to be working towards explaining all of those phenomena. Part of the problem is they’re hard to explain but that is a clue.

          One thing I’m trying to do in my book is to show why it’s so logical, why this is a very rational way for things to work, especially when you really delve into the profound mystery of conscious existence. Again, I’d recommend Irreducible Mind to any people with a scientific bent who really want to get into it.

          Enjoy my friend and good luck with your studies. But remember, I never offered any proof-only circumstantial evidence and belief-that’s enough for me. I guess I’m a pushover.

          1. LykeX

            A lot of people have come up to me and said, “Oh that sounds like a DMT experience, ”or“ That sounds like ketamine.” Not at all. That is not even in the right ballpark.
            Those things do not explain the kind of clarity, the rich interactivity, the layer upon layer of understanding and of lessons taught by deceased loved ones and spiritual beings

            It doesn’t sound to me like he’s rejecting this idea because of experience and facts, i.e. that he’s had the NDE and drug experiences and could see they were different.
            It sounds more like he just doesn’t like the idea that profound, even life-altering experiences could come from something as mundane as a chemical.

            Clarity, rich interactivity, deep sense of meaning; these are hallmarks of psychedelic drug experiences, so I don’t think his rejection of the comparison holds much water. His comment here basically amount to “no, it’s not.” The flowery language doesn’t change that.

          2. Aratina Cage

            @eben-a rebuttal #20.1.1.1

            The hard problem deals with subjective experience which physiological models or at least attempts at them, cannot explain.

            Have not yet explained or duplicated. This is merely a black swan for theists/supernaturalists. Enjoy the ignorance while it lasts.

            Harvard neurosurgeon Eben Alexander who once thought like everyone here but has had an NDE and has changed his mind.

            Could it be that his brain was damaged itself, leading him to become susceptible to such nonsense?

      2. Ronnie A

        With all do respect Mr. Eben. This all is just speculation from a misconception of naturalism. First of all, naturalists include consciousness into natural phenomenons. The rest of the problem is to explain its existence through some means and from different points of reference to other knowledge that we have, which you certainly haven’t done.

        Why can’t it be a product of later configurations in space and time? Perhaps you can’t imagine that being the case, but that is just a problem with your imagination and that fact certainly doesn’t give any intellectual credence to your argument that this can’t be the case. It could be the case. It certainly looks like it is the case, from what we know so far.

      3. Garnetstar

        Sorry, but my chemistry credentials are much “greater” than Robert Lanza’s or yours.

        You may have passed freshman chemistry, but you actually have to learn it, not just skim through the book and sleep through the lectures.

        If you knew if, you wouldn’t be making such embarrasingly wrong assertions.

        1. JD

          Lanza is changing the world-are you??? You have more credentials than this?:

          Resume of an “Argument from Authority”
          Dr. Robert Lanza, M.D., is considered one of the leading scientists in the world. He is currently Chief Scientific Officer at Advanced Cell Technology and a Fulbright Scholar. He has hundreds of publications and inventions, and over two dozen scientific books: among them, “Principles of Tissue Engineering,” which is recognized as the definitive reference in the field. His mentors described him as a “genius,” a “renegade thinker,” even likening him to Einstein.”
          Dr. Lanza was part of the team that cloned the world’s first human embryo for the purpose of generating pluripotent stem cells. Dr. Lanza’s work has been crucial to our understanding nuclear transfer and stem cell biology. In 2001 he was also the first to clone an endangered species (a Gaur), and in 2003, he cloned an endangered wild ox (a Banteng) from the frozen skin cells of an animal that had died at the San Diego Zoo nearly a quarter-of-a-century earlier. Even more amazing is that Lanza and his colleagues were also the first to demonstrate that nuclear transplantation could be used to reverse the aging process and to generate immune-compatible tissues, including the first organ tissue-engineered from cloned cells. One of his greatest early achievements came from his demonstration that techniques used in preimplantation genetic diagnosis could be used to generate human embryonic stem (hES) cells without embryonic destruction. He and colleagues have also succeeded in differentiating human pluripotent stem cells into retinal (RPE) cells, and has shown that they provide long-term benefit in animal models of vision loss. Using this technology some forms of blindness may be curable.
          Lanza has been a major player in the scientific revolution that has led to the documentation that nuclear transfer/transcription factors can restore developmental potential in a differentiated cell. One of his recent successes was showing that it is feasible to generate functional oxygen-carrying red blood cells from human pluripotent stem cells. The blood cells were comparable to normal transfusable blood and could serve as a potentially inexhaustible source of “universal” blood. His team also discovered how to generate functional hemangioblasts – a population of “ambulance” cells – from hES cells. In animals, these cells quickly repaired vascular damage, cutting the death rate after a heart attack in half and restoring the blood flow to ischemic limbs that might otherwise have to be amputated.
          Robert Lanza and a team lead by Kwang-Soo Kim at Harvard University reported a safe method for generating induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells. Human iPS cells were created from skin cells by direct delivery of proteins, thus eliminating the harmful risks associated with genetic manipulation. This new method provides a potentially safe and non-controversial source of patient-specific stem cells for translation into the clinic. The Editors of the prestigious journal Nature selected Lanza and Kim’s paper on protein reprogramming as one of five “Research Highlights” of 2009.
          Dr. Lanza has received numerous awards, including an NIH Director’s Award (2010) for “Translating Basic Science Discoveries into New and Better Treatments”; the 2010 “Movers and Shakers” Who Will Shape Biotech Over the Next 20 Years (BioWorld, along with Craig Venter and President Barack Obama); the 2007 100 Most Inspiring People in the Life-Sciences Industry (PharmaVOICE, “For his discoveries ‘behind the medicines making a significant impact on the pipelines of today and of the future’”; the 2007 Outstanding Contribution in Contemporary Biology Award (Brown University, “For his groundbreaking research and contributions in stem cell science and biology”; the 2006 All-Star Award for Biotechnology (MA High Tech, for “pushing stem cells’ future”); and the 2005 Rave Award for Medicine (Wired magazine, “For eye-opening work on embryonic stem cells”).
          Lanza is listed in Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who in the World, Who’s Who in Medicine and Healthcare, Who’s Who in Science and Engineering, Who’s Who in American Education, and Who’s Who in Technology, among others. Dr. Lanza has served in numerous national and international leadership capacities, including Conference Co-Chairman, International Symposium on Stem Cells (Tianjin, China 2008); Stem Cell Advisory Committee, International Stem Cell Registry; He has given keynote addresses at dozens of national and international societies, including ASAIO (2001), Annual Molecular & Cellular Biology Symposium (2002), Biotechniques Live/Drug Discovery Technology & Development World Congress (2005), International Stem Cell Conference (2007), Tissue Engineering & Regenerative Medicine International Society (TERMIS)(2007), Translational Regenerative Medicine Forum (2010), among others.
          Dr. Lanza and his research have been featured in almost every media outlet in the world, including CNN, TIME, Newsweek, People, as well as the front pages of the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, among others. Lanza has worked with some of the greatest thinkers of our time, including Nobel laureates Gerald Edelman and Rodney Porter, renowned Harvard psychologist B.F. Skinner (the “Father of modern behaviorism”), Jonas Salk (discoverer of the Polio vaccine), and heart transplant pioneer Christiaan Barnard. His current research and work at Advanced Cell Technology focuses on stem cells and regenerative medicine and their potential to provide therapies for some of the world’s most deadly and debilitating conditions.
          In 2007, Lanza published a feature article, “A New Theory of the Universe” in The American Scholar, a leading intellectual journal which has previously published works by Albert Einstein, Margaret Mead, and Carl Sagan, among others. His theory places biology above the other sciences in an attempt to solve one of nature’s biggest puzzles, the theory of everything that other disciplines have been pursuing for the last century. This new view has become known as Biocentrism. In 2009, he co-authored a book “Biocentrism: How Life and Consciousness are the Keys to Understanding the True Nature of the Universe” with leading astronomer Bob Berman. In biocentrism, space and time are forms of animal sense perception, rather than external physical objects. Understanding this more fully yields answers to several major puzzles of mainstream science, and offers a new way of understanding everything from the microworld (for instance, the reason for Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle and the double-slit experiment) to the forces, constants, and laws that shape the universe. Nobel laureate E. Donnall Thomas stated “Any short statement does not do justice to such a scholarly work. The work is a scholarly consideration of science and philosophy that brings biology into the central role in unifying the whole.”
          This hefty resume was added to emphasize that there are contemporary scientific geniuses on board the principle of primacy of consciousness. Reductionist detractors would have us believe that such beliefs are past us now given our modern science; the dualist scientific giants like Descartes and Newton are merely victims of their times. Tell that to the contemporary Christian theist Francis Collins (Head of the Human Genome Project); tell that to Robert Lanza.

          Here’s your problem-and it’s so dumb!:
          Imagine a discussion between an atheist mechanic by the auspicious name of Pierre-Simon Laplace and his client, Mr. Lennox, who brought his pristine Model-T Ford in for mechanical repairs. The mechanic is quite gifted in his science but his knowledge of the evolution of the automobile is quite limited. A dialogue ensues as Laplace pops the hood and inspects the engine…
          Lennox: I’ve had this charmer for many years now and she’s always been faithful to me when I do my road shows. I guess even ole’ Henry Ford couldn’t design the immortal machine
          Incredulously, Laplace asks….
          Laplace: Henry Ford? Who is that??
          Lennox: Are you kidding me? Henry Ford was the engineer and designer of this sweetheart.
          Laplace: Indeed! With all due respect sir, I see no need to conjure up a “Henry Ford” to explain the workings of this vehicle. And any mechanic worth his salt would also have no need for such a silly hypothesis. Here, let me take a closer look…
          Laplace tucks his head under the Model T’s hood and inspects its many component parts and takes an especially close look at the block and its pistons…
          Laplace: Why, there’s no need to evoke a Henry Ford! With all due respect sir, any fool can see this engine runs on internal combustion. As for “Ford,” and as I said before, I have no need for that hypothesis.
          Merely observing mechanisms hardly accounts for their origins. Laplace had made a category mistake between mechanism and agency. He felt compelled to choose between the two and thought it inelegant to do otherwise. But mechanism is not agency: You need both to account for the Model T-Ford and you need both to explain life in all its myriad forms. You can call the agent God or something as nebulous as primal consciousness, but only direction and intention could realistically explain teleological complexity, the universal constants ripe for life, and the mystery of subjective experience evolving out of unguided dead matter as Laplace would insist.

  21. 21
    mikepage

    Simply put, Argumentum Verbosium. It’s an intimidation tactic designed to overwhelm an opponent in a debate with convoluted argumentation so that they question their reasoning and intelligence.

    1. 21.1
      eben-a rebuttal

      come on Mikepage-wheres the addendum I asked for in regards to the quantum behavior thing? I said dont respond without some evidence. Helloo? And this is short Argumentum Brevis!

      1. John Stabler

        Please address the original points/fallacies before dumping a load of text of us in an effort to shift the burden of proof.
        Please demonstrate your god. In a bottle or otherwise…

      2. mikepage

        I did respond with proof, proof of your fallacious argumentation. The entire premise is a logical fallacy. I’ll argue the proofs of scientific theory when you empirically prove to me where your god came from.

    2. 21.2
      Orlando

      LOL. I was thinking Argumentum Ad Crack-Potium.

  22. 22
    Gberry

    Wow, yet more quote mining from “guys smarter than us” with a huge serving of quantum quackery. Mikepage summed up the primary M.O. here: Argumentum Verbosium. The old Gish Gallop tactic.

    What I really need from Eben is more of his exclamation points and questioning of atheistic motives to convince me of the strength of his arguments.

  23. 23
    Another Byte on the Web

    Actually none of these arguments matter. Concepts that don’t come with a “negation” clause are completely useless, and should be ignored until such is present.

    So, when asked about “why don’t you believe in a god”, I find the best answer is simply to say that it can’t be disproved, so it can’t be taken seriously. And if they do concede of a real way of disproving the concept of a god… I think we all agree how well these tend to go, right?

  24. 24
    heicart

    Eben:

    >His unrelated papers are peer reviewed

    Does he have anything peer-reviewed that is *related*—or should I add an argument from authority fallacy here as well?

    >Explain the two-slit experiment

    I can’t imagine who would know more about this experiment than the people who have done the study. Have they indicated a god is implicated in their results? Does anyone even need to look up the study to answer that question? Why do you suppose that is?

    >And I challenge Tracie to post the results of the two-slit experiment which has been peer reviewed

    No problem:

    I assume it has been published repeatedly for anyone who wants to look it up. I don’t mind posting the results, because before I even went to grab the interpretations of the data, I already knew your “god did it” answer would not be among them. Did the researchers conclude “god exists”? Or is it your proprietary interpretation of the data?

    Here is the breakdown of the interpretations by actual physicists:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Double-slit_experiment#Interpretations_of_the_experiment

    I don’t see the explanation that says “god’s responsible.” If physicists had demonstrated the existence of a god, don’t you think they’d have published that? Again, there is science, and there is pseudo-science.

    >Also, Pim Van Lommel did the largest prospective study on near death experiences…

    Again, neurologists would be the people to discuss the brain and what it does. Is it their consensus a god is causing this event? If not, why do you suppose they aren’t saying that? If neuro-science could demonstrate the existence of a god–it would be the biggest breakthrough in the history of their field of study. But they don’t account NDE as “god did it,” because god is not implicated.

    >Here’s an actual account of a veridical NDE whereby three attending physicians corroborate the report of a man who details their activities while having left his body…

    So, three doctors have evidence you can leave your body? And it hasn’t been published for peer review, because…?

    And so on. Claims, claims and more claims. Still no god to examine.

    Do you have a demonstration this god exists? It must be demonstrated to exist before it can reasonably be put forward as the cause of *anything*. “Things that do not exist cannot be the cause of other things,” should be a simple thing to digest. First show what exists that is your god. THEN we can discuss your claims about what it causes. It’s very simple.

    1. 24.1
      eben-a rebuttal

      Planck, Bell, Heidenberg-are all real physicists and they concur consciousness is the key player without ever mentioning God. But God is only a breath away from material like that. And Eben Alexander IS a Harvard neuroscientist who also had an NDE and realizes his former atheism and materialism is quite primitive and bunk. You need to read stuff that counters the material that agrees with your worldview-I do. And where’s that addendum? The most brilliant and accomplished nobel prize winning physicists on quantum behavior agree-consciousness is a player. And the atheists want to ignore it while believers embrace it-where’s my addendum?

    2. 24.2
      eben-a rebuttal

      Claims claims claims…where’s my evidence that the quantum results are wrong? Demonstrate that consciousness does not play a key role in determining wave collapse. Hellooooo?

      1. Simon

        Eban says: “Claims claims claims…where’s my evidence that the quantum results are wrong? Demonstrate that consciousness does not play a key role in determining wave collapse. Hellooooo?”

        You still haven’t provided any links to original articles on the two-slit experiment. I don’t remember reading any serious article that claims consciousness is needed to collapse a wave function. Merely measurement/observation.

        It is common in quantum woo circles to conflate “observation” with “conscious observation”. But when physicists say “the wave form nature collapses when observed” what they are saying is that the quantum aspects become quasi-classical when interactions with large scale objects (such as measuring apparatus) occur.

        Few practicing physicists believe that wave form collapse is fundamental – rather it is a useful approximation of what happens when a system with obvious quantum properties interacts with a large “classical” system. The complete details of the mechanism are not understood, but normally something like quantum decoherence or einselction is invoked (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Einselection).

        Please proved good references or reasonable explanations (such as some maths or data showing that known physical causes can not account for waveform collapse). Please note that I’m a practicing physicist (focusing on quantum field theory) so feel free to post some maths.

  25. 25
    atheist from hell

    Wow, that is core dump. Couldn’t get past the first letter.

    So he wants to know what evidence would convince me of a supernatural designer God.

    How about he ask his God to design me a heat engine that exceeds Carnot efficincy. I will then agree that a supernatural designer exists. I would not mind calling this entity a God.

  26. 26
    Orlando

    Eben, is your real name Chris Langan, the bar bouncer who is the smartest guy in the world (another self-refuting assertion).

  27. 27
    Jesus Christ

    I’ll repeat here what I said on Tracie’s FB wall. This guy does not strike me as a deist at all, but as a Christian masquerading as a deist. The arguments for God are all basic and ignore major challenges that would be present if he were actually proposing that his personal beliefs in a scriptural god were valid. As another poster wrote, the real motivations here are thinly-veiled. All the same, you can’t prove a deist god either; it’s nonsensical and all comes back to one massive argument from ignorance.

    Personal experiences, anecdotes, interviews, and YouTube videos are evidence of NOTHING. He insists that his ‘evidences’ are worthy of our consideration and that we merely ignore them, but no serious scientist would ever consider such nonsense to be real evidence. Every single link he shared was from YouTube! That just smacks of unprofessionalism.

    This guy reminds me of a Mormon I know who uses philosophy in a similar way — to obfuscate his real beliefs, which he will not speak openly about (not to an atheist, anyway), and to attempt to run circles around any defiant person who has not spent countless hours reading apologists and theologians. Lots of name-dropping, lots of avoidance of the real issues, and lots of gibberish is what it all comes down to. If you can’t answer a question directly and meaningfully, you’ve got a problem; that’s all I can say.

  28. 28
    eben-a rebuttal

    The very fact I’m getting such fast replies implies you are not really looking into my claims. Your minds are made up-that’s called being closed minded

  29. 29
    D

    First of all, I don’t give a shit what a neurosurgeon has to say about physics. I care what physicists have to say about physics. That said, I find it curious as to why physicists, the people best equipped to study the phenomena mentioned, don’t all agree with this guy’s conclusions. If it is so obvious, why isn’t it universally accepted? Why is it not, at the very least, the majority opinion?

    I’m also a bit curious as to why this asshole (which is exactly what this guy comes off as, a total condescending asshole) is even bothering to write into an atheist show. If his argument is so solid, why is he not bringing it to the attention of other scientists? Why spew so many words at people he clearly thinks cannot understand them? Real scientific validation will come from within the scientific community, not from a bunch of people who spend an hour on public access television every Sunday.

    I’m really sorry but this all sounds to me like the egomanical ravings of a man who clearly realizes he is outmatched on his home turf so he has taken to the internet to spread the word to a bunch of people he thinks he can definitely one-up on the IQ meter.

  30. 30
    heicart

    Eben:

    >The very fact I’m getting such fast replies implies you are not really looking into my claims.

    >Claims claims claims…where’s my evidence that the quantum results are wrong? Demonstrate that consciousness does not play a key role in determining wave collapse.

    First of all, you assume that your expression of the claims is the first time anyone here has heard them or looked into them. That’s a mistake. I did not dismiss NDE out of hand because I didn’t want to look it up. I dismissed it because I have looked it up. Neuro-scientists do not assert god is involved. They are the experts on the brain and what it can do. So, I can believe you, or experts involved in research in this area, whose consensus *you* seem to dismiss rather lightly, in fact.

    With the double slit–you invoked this, asked me to post the results. I posted the interpretations of physicists–why wouldn’t I–since I already knew it doesn’t include “god”? The researchers do not interpret the data in the way you do. You want to claim the results as supportive of your god claim, then dismiss the expert interpretation and consensus view of the studies and go with your own proprietary interpretation–since they don’t assert any god is indicated in their results. You pick out what you want, and disregard what the actually researchers conclude–which is not “god did it.”

    Let’s add confirmation bias to your list of errors now.

    1. 30.1
      Orlando

      Let me add that the “consciousness causes quantum effects” idea touted by new-agers hinges on a misunderstanding of the word Observe. You see, when humans observe sub-atomic particles, they do so by poking them with other sub-atomic particles such as protons, elections, etc. And when you poke something small, you disturb it.

      But consciousness itself has nothing to do with it; a programmed robot could do the same thing. Yes, we are conscious, but it is not our consciousness that affects reality at the quantum level, it is mechanical devices that extend our senses by bouncing sub-atomic particles off of other sub-atomic particles.

  31. 31
    eben-a rebuttal

    Hah! Nothing but emotional attacks. You have strengthened my resolve and have demonstrated what I believed all along;that atheists are so desperate to make their case so that they can sleep well at night that whenever anyone proffers up any counter evidence, they go ape-shit-my email box is filled with rebuttals-atheists going crazy over something they regard as stupid. Verrrry interesting! And to Heicart-which neuroscientists??? I can give you ones who are also respected in their fields who disagree with you. They are in a minority but since when has any atheist agreed to the popularity vote to make an argument? And those links provided did not resolve the paradox of quantum behavior-they only described its surface mechanisms without addressing the phenomenon mentioned.

    Hey, I was hoping for a balanced exchange but what i found was a stupid site only harboring atheists patting each other on the backs making themselves feel comfortable with their worldview.

    Until I have that conscious issue explained, keep your emotional and stupid attacks to yourselves. I will only answer personal and civil responses that include an addendum that explains this phenomenon. So I better see an attachment.

    I gave you my best and it vwasn’t good enough for you. You sure do expend a lot of energy fighting an issue that doesn’t exist. I wonder, do you spend that much time debunking Santa Claus? I want thyat addendum! Any other replies will be ignored! I want evidence!!!

    1. 31.1
      Matt Meeks

      The only one getting emotional here is you. All I see is someone who automatically thinks that everyone who disagrees with them is either just plain wrong or hasn’t looked into the issue the same way they have. Sounds remarkably similar to the way conspiracy theorists argue, when their evidence has been thoroughly debunked. You failed to bring convincing evidence to the table and now you’re throwing a tantrum, all the while completely avoiding addressing any criticisms of your arguments and “evidence”.

      1. eben-a rebuttal

        No, this site failed to post the evidence. If you want it email me personally at [email protected] I’ll attach those pages for you. And READ it! Don’t give me the peer reviewed nonsense. Go with the concrete information. And many are saying he physicists disagree with me. Have you read all my posts? Nobel prize winning giants agree with me. What the @ are you talking about??? Hey, I really do have a masters to work on and a lot of other stuff like a comic to illustrate. Maybe later until then email me for that evidence you keep saying I don’t have. I’m willing to listen to any counter evidence. Are you?

        1. Garnetstar

          The chemists disagree with you too.

    2. 31.2
      mikepage

      Simmer down, petulant child. Perhaps you should distance yourself from the fawning sycophants who buy into your little delusion with unquestioning awe. It’s embarrassing to watch a grown man stomp his foot like a 3 year old demanding to be taken seriously. smfh

      1. eben-a rebuttal

        Hey Mikepage,

        I have a father who is suffering baldness. Have a cure? Until you send in a cure for something as trivial as growing hair, I’ll take more seriously your grand cosmological conjecture that insists there is no god.If you can’t do something as simple as that, why should I trust that you know something I don’t?

        1. mikepage

          It’s rare that I get to type LOL and actually mean it. Thanks for that. Tell you what…submit your mystical hypothesis for peer review and send us the link that proves what a genius you are. Dazzle us with your Nobel Prize and the admiration of the scientific community. Until then, you’re just another overblown self-mastubator, flogging away to fantasies of your own delusions of grandeur. Adios.

        2. oldebabe

          Baldness…???

          What are you, some kind of nut?

    3. 31.3
      Skemono

      have demonstrated what I believed all along

      So just a few scant minutes after the author says you’re displaying confirmation bias, you go ahead and flat-out admit that’s all you’re doing. Nice.

    4. 31.4
      Jesus Christ

      As a reply to comment #30, Orlando posted a very reasonable explanation to what you’ve been demanding. It matches the thought I had when I first read of your equating the double-slit experiment to evidence of consciousness. He said it better than I could, so here it is again:

      “Let me add that the “consciousness causes quantum effects” idea touted by new-agers hinges on a misunderstanding of the word Observe. You see, when humans observe sub-atomic particles, they do so by poking them with other sub-atomic particles such as protons, elections, etc. And when you poke something small, you disturb it.

      “But consciousness itself has nothing to do with it; a programmed robot could do the same thing. Yes, we are conscious, but it is not our consciousness that affects reality at the quantum level, it is mechanical devices that extend our senses by bouncing sub-atomic particles off of other sub-atomic particles.”

      This explanation makes perfect sense to me. If you reject it, please explain why.

    5. 31.5
      Raging Bee

      Hah! Nothing but emotional attacks.

      And with that obvious lie, eben destroys whatever credibility he might have had left. If he’s stupid enough to even think he sounds plausible saying something like that, then for all practical purposes, he’s uneducable.

  32. 32
    heicart

    >Planck, Bell, Heidenberg-are all real physicists and they concur consciousness is the key player without ever mentioning God.

    Eben: Please point me to the published conclusions that demonstrate consciousness as the consensus view of physicists in their interpretation of these results.

    The link I provided, in the section on interpretations of the double-slit results, does not include this as part of any of the interpretations by physicists. Is this a view that some physicists hold personally, or that they’re publishing for critique in peer-reviewed journals?

    Many scientists believe in god, but they know they cannot professionally support those views under critical scrutiny. Francis Collins, for example, writes about his personal beliefs, but does not try to assert his beliefs are supported by evidence in any critical arena within his field. Behe, as well, has a similar problem. His irreducible complexity was such an embarrassment that his university had to post a statement at their site saying that his views are his own and do not align with consensus of his peer community. Do not confuse the personal ideas of a scientist with professional or valid support by the scientific community. It isn’t the same thing at all.

    1. 32.1
      eben-a rebuttal

      That’s silly. These thoughts of God are not peer reviewed and you should know that-this is metaphysical conjecture-not science.These ideas over and beyond the results reflect the personal opinions of these men-what they really believe about the results without ever testing any of that. How do you test for God? But the test results do serve as a pointer and at least demonstrates the world is not what we think it is and should make anyone with any semblence to humility realize that and be less quick to assert there is no God. Thequ antum behavior determined by consciousness is a pretty sealed deal. All variables have been accounted for. Or so it seems…

      1. Matrim

        “Thequ antum behavior determined by consciousness is a pretty sealed deal. All variables have been accounted for. Or so it seems…”

        Yeah…except, you know, not. It seems like you just Googled “Quantum Information Theory” and picked out the bits that you think sounded good.

  33. 33
    Jacob

    This guy’s main argument is the finely tuned universe argument. But as far as I can see, the finely tuned universe argument has two main problems:
    1) It assumes that the constants of the universe could be different, that is to say they had some kind of freedom of choice to be any other value. The problem with that is that it is unknown by physics whether or not the constants of the universe could be any different. It could be that they could have been any other value, and thus not supporting life. Or it could just as easily be that they are fixed and unchanging reflections of higher level laws of the universe.
    It’s as if someone said “2+2=4, but if we change 2 to any other value, we get a different result, therefore a being had to design mathematics so precisely to make that possible”. Alas, mathematics is always true in every universe and cannot be designed by any being.
    2) And even if we do assume that problem 1 isn’t a problem, then we’re still left with an argument from ignorance, as Tracy points out every time. If we can’t account for it, that doesn’t mean YOUR account is right.

    And I personally hate this whole non-contingent crap he throws out constantly. It’s basically just defining a God into existence and saying “hey he exists because he’s non-contingent! I don’t have to explain why he exists because he’s non-contingent”. Maybe Gremlins are non-contingent. Who knows. Non-contingent to me is a placeholder for non-existent.

    1. 33.1
      Matt Meeks

      Beyond that, the fine-tuning argument does not take into account what might happen when more than one constant is changed. I can’t find it, but a few months ago I came across a well-written rebuttal of the fine-tuning argument by a physicist who demonstrated that when more than one constant is changed, we no longer have as narrow a band for the presence of life in our universe.

      Additionally, I find that the proponents of the fine tuning argument are actually claiming that the universe is fine-tuned for HUMAN life. What they’re missing is that we don’t know of any lifeforms other than those on Earth, and it may be entirely possible, or even probable, that life could arise under conditions that we currently consider impossible for supporting life.

  34. 34
    atheist from hell

    Eben,

    I have venture capitalist lined up. We are just waiting for the specs for an engine that exceeds Carnot efficiency. You and I can make a lot of money. And atheists on this website might even start believing in supernatural designer.

    Win win scenario for all.

    Send in the designs soon.

    1. 34.1
      1. atheist from hell

        Why will I bother providing explanation to your nonsense?

        Remember, it was your email that started with “What evidence will convince the atheists of the existence of a designer God?”

        Ask your God to design the engine I ordered. Have the design published in peer reviewed journals. Then I will accept that a designer God exists. At that point we really don’t have to worry about the explanation for your nonsense phenomena, right?

  35. 35
    Orlando

    Eben, you should watch the movie “What the Bleep Do We Know?” It will validate your new age belief system.

    1. 35.1
      eben-a rebuttal

      Straw man. That film was ridiculous. Esp, the Ramtha part. I almost lost my lunch. Nice try…or maybe not.

  36. 36
    heicart

    >Until I have that conscious issue explained, keep your emotional and stupid attacks to yourselves.

    And the argument from ignorance and incredulity again.

    I did not include my replies to Eben in this–the ones I’d offered to him originally, but I had noted to him that it was helpful to see what convinces people a god exists. And I still believe that. I hope that others who come here will see what has convinced Eben a god exists. And I hope they’ll ask themselves why a person would *accept* science, but only until it stops supporting their beliefs. I hope they will see that no matter how much window dressing you put on a fallacy–it doesn’t change the underlying foundational *problem* of the fallacy being employed. I hope they perhaps look up things like “Argument from Ignorance,” “Argument from Incredulity,” “Argument from Popularity,” and “Circular Reasoning,” and really apply themselves to see if they’re likewise employing these fallacies in the way Ebon has demonstrated.

    I also suggest to anyone who stumbles upon this that they *do* absolutely look up what Eban has offered as “evidence.” Look up his claims on consciousness–NDEs and Qualia. Go to Pubmed and find articles published in good sources. See where the researchers are headed and what they describe as the conclusions and what they mean. See if neuro-scientists are supportive of the idea that god causes NDE and that qualia is beyond the capacity of a brain (in fact, many other species have demonstrated self-awareness–including birds–it’s not that impressive, and neuroscientists have identified a lot of the neural networking that is connected to it). Ask yourself: If self-awareness is not a function of a brain–why does damage to the brain affect different aspects of conscious thinking?

    Look into cosmology. Read the posted public lectures of physicists like Hawking, such as The Beginning of Time. See if he believes a god is indicated in his observations on matter and the universe. Look up Lawrence Krauss and his “Universe from Nothing” presentation–explaining what matter has been observed and verified to demonstrate. See if he posits a god is behind it all.

    Any scientist that could demonstrate a god, or even a universal consciousness, would jump at the opportunity. They’d be world famous overnight. It would cement their career and their fame for all time. If they had this smoking gun, they’d be the first ones to publicize it. But they don’t–why not?

    Ask, ask, ask. And don’t be afraid to look for information. And know that you don’t have to understand neuroscience and physics. It’s fine to say “I am not a neuro-scientist” or “I am not a physicist”–and just see what these fields have to say about conclusions. You don’t even have to personally adopt those conclusions–just know what the most educated, most informed people, with the best access to the most recent and accurate data in these subjects are asserting is indicated. It’s no different than understanding “most plumbers would use tool-X to address plumbing problem-Y.” If one plumber, or some smart person who isn’t a plumber doesn’t agree, be skeptical. If that minority is correct, and they can demonstrate it–then the majority will eventually see the evidence and the demonstration and the consensus will shift to that new model. And when that happens, you’ll know that good evidence has been presented to overturn prevailing theories. And, again, you still don’t have to accept it or understand it. But when some guy on the Internet says X about physics, and you can’t find where that is the professional consensus of physicists, it’s fine to discount it. If he can’t make his case to people who are informed on the issue–you’re under no pressure to believe him/her or anyone. Just avoid being gullible, I guess, is my only point here. If sufficient evidence isn’t available or you don’t understand what someone is saying, then don’t lend your belief to the claim.

    1. 36.1
      eben-a rebuttal

      I do know these:
      I hope they perhaps look up things like “Argument from Ignorance,(like because we don’t have evidence there is a God today that means there is no God?)” “Argument from Incredulity,”(I can’t believe there’s a God therefore there is no God?) “Argument from Popularity,” (Like asking me which peer reviewed journals i had or what neuroscientists would agree with me?)and “Circular Reasoning,” (Nothing circular here but your misapplication of the aforementioned arguments is appaling) and really apply themselves to see if they’re likewise employing these fallacies in the way Ebon has demonstrated. (I have-every day.

      1. LykeX

        like because we don’t have evidence there is a God today that means there is no God?

        That would indeed be an argument from ignorance. Of course, nobody here is saying that. What we’re saying is that since there’s no evidence for a god, we shouldn’t conclude that there is one. That’s not the same as saying we should conclude that there isn’t one.

        I can’t believe there’s a God therefore there is no God?

        Nobody has said that either. We simply require evidence before we believe it. Just like you do in every other part of your life.

        Like asking me which peer reviewed journals i had or what neuroscientists would agree with me?

        Peer review is not about popularity. It’s about having educated people who seriously investigate the matter. It’s about not just trusting an authority or the public opinion, but critically checking to see if a conclusion is really supported.

        And on that note, we might add strawman argument to the list.

        1. Hucksterfoot

          C’mon, journals are published to amuse and entertain researchers and specialists. :]

  37. 37
    eben-a rebuttal

    I’ll just answer personal emails looking for an attachment. It was nice throwing stones with you all. Adios!

    1. 37.1
      Matt Meeks

      Not so much throwing stones as throwing poo. Yet another example of a theist thinking they have something new to offer, and flouncing out of a serious discussion when they realize they’re just dressing up old arguments in the latest emperor’s clothes.

    2. 37.2
      Orlando

      Love the Old Testament allusion to throwing stones. Very revealing.

      1. eben-a rebuttal

        Even atheists use sayings like that. Not good thinking that revealed anything at all. I am NOT a fundamentalist but i am open to the possibility that Jesus MAY be special. Now theres an area that requires faith. I have no evidential basis for belief that will sway anyone here. I struggle with that one and have a real problem with some logical issues in the Bible-like God sending us to hell, but he loves us. Seems if he wanted us to believe in something it should have been love or some worthwhile ethical concept rather than a person. Now I KNOW the atheists will agree with that one. Confounding for sure…

        1. Jesus Christ

          Eben, grats on at least being reasonable regarding the Bible and Christian theology. You know it makes little sense and struggle with it, so what more can we say about that.

          I will say, however, that no one needs to send you a personal email asking for your evidence, as you have been given ample opportunity to provide it here and have not. You link YouTube videos, we object, and you throw a fit. Why must the pattern continue by email? Also, you demanded an explanation for the double-slit experiment, and that has been given. If you ignore that much, how could a personal email conversation be any more productive? We’re fairly certain you have no more to offer here. If you do, just give it. What are you afraid of?

          1. eben-a rebuttal

            I’m afraid of nothing. I just don’t know how to post and can only send these 11-12 pages by attachment. That is why the offer is made and I also don’t want to waste time on anyone who really doesn’t want to know. I want the truly open and curious to make that request. That’s all. I haven’t got one request. That’s interesting. That’s one of the major complaints of people into PSI research-how this is all treated as taboo and there are so many assumptions about it due to mainstraem media. Again, here’s my email [email protected] and I’ll send those to you prompt-if you are open to spending time doing that, And if anything, look at it as an opportunity to debunk me. Maybe you can…maybe you can’t but you’ll never know until you look at that stuff. It’s the premise for why i believe in the first place coupled with personal subjective experiences which seem to agree with Lanza’s interpretation.

  38. 38
    eben-a rebuttal

    This really is my last email as i am busy. This is absurd. But for the record, I want everyone here to know that I got over 30 emails from Atheist Experience notifications and not one personal email asking for that evidence aforementioned-NOT ONE! And you are the ones saying you want the evidence. Your prejudices prohibit you from looking into this any deeper than you already have. Sleep well my darker counterparts…

  39. 39
    Torbjörn Larsson, OM

    give me an example as to what sort of evidence would lead you to believe in a God

    Reversal of the burden of evidence, reversal of falsification needed to get said evidence of a working hypotheses.

    An atheist may either continue to hold to that no gods are in evidence or he can be a physicalist (only natural processes) based on evidence.

    Eben is an anti-science troll.

    the fine tuning of this universe for life

    I picked an especially egregious example of anti-science.

    We _know_ that the universe is not finetuned. We can vary ratios of parameters many orders of magnitude and still have ~ 50 % of universes with stars (so life). Se physicist Stenger’s et al work.

    This is the religious finetuning argument. It predicts nothing on parameter values and hence can’t be tested.

    Scientifically, anthropic selection on universes _predicts_ a finetuned parameter, the cosmological constant, to good enough value that it passes test.

    Which may mean that there is a multiverse out there. But not gods.

    1. 39.1
      eben-a rebuttal

      All of those proclamations and nothing to back it up. Didn’t you learn in school that your main thesis statement needs a body-an argument?

      1. Torbjörn Larsson, OM

        No, but what do I know, I am just a lowly PhD in physics. We didn’t do thesis and theology, we did research and peer reviewed papers.

        But you are trolling. I gave references to the specifics on fine-tuning. All the rest on falsification, anthropic selection vs the cosmological constant is generally known and can be located in Wikipedia.

        1. eben-a rebuttal

          Wikipedia is run by an atheist who is quick to conclude every contrary post with an atheist skew. So Mr. PhD, are you saying your opinion is weightier than Planck’s? That you have a counter to the attachments I am willing to send upon your request? I’ll even provide you the link to Lanza’s email and you can ask him to clarify it if there seems to be anything missing. It’s a popular interpretation meant to be understandable to the layman but if you dig deep enough you can find the research to support what it is saying.I really think scientists have their heads so immersed in the mechanics and detailks that they miss the big philosophic picture. It’s like that mechanism vs agency thing. And the anthropic principle explains nothing. Check out what mathematics professor John Lennox has to say about it online.

          1. Ilumi

            Wait, seriously? You seriously believe that Jimmy Wales personally goes through every single Wikipedia page with possible connections to religion/spirituality/other superstitions and edits everything out so as to make atheists look good?

          2. heicart

            Why not? I mean, he’s also suggested its the case that neuro-scientists and physicists are conspiratorial materialists who *know* that god is watching us and creating our thoughts, but who simply won’t admit it, due to…? Can’t be they just don’t see this god hypothesis as not being a valid interpretation of the data–it’s just they’re that obstinate. I love the irony of the people who use science to support belief in god. It’s all “Look at the science! It supports what I’m saying!” until the moment you show them that’s not actually what scientists are saying. Then it turns to “What do scientists know? Do you believe everything science tells you?!” How soon they forget. I would call the Wiki comment an ad hominem. It definitely was intended to imply that the person who created it is an atheist, therefore Eben can throw out anything that comes from anywhere on the Wiki. However, I’m happy to see links to the actual published papers for the double-slit, and not just what wiki has posted. I’d like to see an original paper so I can search on “god” and “consciousness” and see how many times that comes up in their conclusions. But seriously–does anyone really need to do that to know the answer will be “zero”? Eben wants to use the data provided by the research, but then throw out what the researchers (experts in the data) say it means/doesn’t mean. That’s confirmation bias–accept it when it agrees with you, toss anything out that conflicts. Support the belief at any cost. It’s a meme talking, not a person, in a case like this.

        2. eben-a rebuttal

          Dr. Walter L. Bradley (C.V. here) is the Distinguished Professor of Engineering at Baylor University. He was also a professor and department head at Texas A&M before going to Baylor. He had his Ph.D at age 24 from the University of Texas and was a tenured professor at 27.

          The first argument presented by Bradley in that post is the same argument that Craig used against Hitchens in their debate. (It’s Craig’s second argument in the set of five). Bradley’s version of the argument has been presented live, in-person by Bradley at dozens of universities here and abroad, in front of students and faculty. The lecture I linked to in that post is an MP3.

          The fine-tuning argument

          The argument goes like this:

          1.The fine-tuning of the universe to support life is either due to law, chance or design
          2.It is not due to law or chance
          3.Therefore, the fine-tuning is due to design
          What does it meaning to be fine-tuned for life?

          Here are the facts on the fine-tuning:

          ◦Life has certain minimal requirements; long-term stable source of energy, a large number of different chemical elements, an element that can serve as a hub for joining together other elements into compounds, etc.
          ◦In order to meet these minimal requirements, the physical constants, (such as the gravitational constant), and the ratios between physical constants, need to be withing a narrow range of values in order to support the minimal requirements for life of any kind.
          ◦Slight changes to any of the physical constants, or to the rations between the constants, will result in a universe inhospitable to life.
          ◦The range of possible ranges over 70 orders of magnitude.
          ◦The constants are selected by whoever creates the universe. They are not determined by physical laws. And the extreme probabilities involved required put the fine-tuning beyond the reach of chance.
          ◦Although each individual selection of constants and ratios is as unlikely as any other selection, the vast majority of these possibilities do not support the minimal requirements of life of any kind. (In the same way as any hand of 5 cards that is dealt is as likely as any other, but you are overwhelmingly likely NOT to get a royal flush. In our case, a royal flush is a life-permitting universe).
          Examples of finely-tuned constants

          Here are a couple of examples of the fine-tuning. Craig only gave one example in the debate and didn’t explain how changes to the constant would affect the minimal requirements for life. But Bradley does explain it, and he is a professional research scientist, so he is speaking about things he worked in his polymer research lab. (He was the director)

          a) The strong force: (the force that binds nucleons (= protons and neutrons) together in nucleus, by means of meson exchange)

          ◦if the strong force constant were 2% stronger, there would be no stable hydrogen, no long-lived stars, no hydrogen containing compounds. This is because the single proton in hydrogen would want to stick to something else so badly that there would be no hydrogen left!
          ◦if the strong force constant were 5% weaker, there would be no stable stars, few (if any) elements besides hydrogen. This is because you would be able to build up the nuclei of the heavier elements, which contain more than 1 proton.
          ◦So, whether you adjust the strong force up or down, you lose stars than can serve as long-term sources of stable energy, or you lose chemical diversity, which is necessary to make beings that can perform the minimal requirements of living beings. (see below)
          b) The conversion of beryllium to carbon, and carbon to oxygen

          ◦Life requires carbon in order to serve as the hub for complex molecules, but it also requires oxygen in order to create water.
          ◦Carbon is like the hub wheel in a tinker toy set: you can bind other elements together to more complicated molecules (e.g. – “carbon-based life), but the bonds are not so tight that they can’t be broken down again later to make something else.
          ◦The carbon resonance level is determined by two constants: the strong force and electromagnetic force.
          ◦If you mess with these forces even slightly, you either lose the carbon or the oxygen.
          Either way, you’ve got no life of any conceivable kind.

          Is the fine-tuning real?

          Yes, it’s real and it is conceded by the top-rank of atheist physicists. Let me give you a citation from the best one of all, Martin Rees. Martin Rees is an atheist and a qualified astronomer. He wrote a book called “Just Six Numbers: The Deep Forces That Shape The Universe”, (Basic Books: 2001). In it, he discusses 6 numbers that need to be fine-tuned in order to have a life-permitting universe.

          Rees writes here:

          These six numbers constitute a ‘recipe’ for a universe. Moreover, the outcome is sensitive to their values: if any one of them were to be ‘untuned’, there would be no stars and no life. Is this tuning just a brute fact, a coincidence? Or is it the providence of a benign Creator?

          There are some atheists who deny the fine-tuning, but these atheists are in firm opposition to the progress of science. The more science has progressed, the more constants, ratios and quantities we have discovered that need to be fine-tuned. Science is going in a theistic direction. Next, let’s see how atheists try to account for the fine-tuning, on atheism.

          Atheistic responses to the fine-tuning argument

          There are two common responses among atheists to this argument.

          The first is to speculate that there are actually an infinite number of other universes that are not fine-tuned, (i.e. – the gambler’s fallacy). All these other universes don’t support life. We just happen to be in the one universe is fine-tuned for life. The problem is that there is no way of directly observing these other universes and no independent evidence that they exist.

          Here is an excerpt from an article in Discover magazine, (which is hostile to theism and Christianity).

          Short of invoking a benevolent creator, many physicists see only one possible explanation: Our universe may be but one of perhaps infinitely many universes in an inconceivably vast multiverse. Most of those universes are barren, but some, like ours, have conditions suitable for life.

          The idea is controversial. Critics say it doesn’t even qualify as a scientific theory because the existence of other universes cannot be proved or disproved. Advocates argue that, like it or not, the multiverse may well be the only viable non­religious explanation for what is often called the “fine-tuning problem”—the baffling observation that the laws of the universe seem custom-tailored to favor the emergence of life.

          The second response by atheists is that the human observers that exist today, 14 billion years after the universe was created out of nothing, actually caused the fine-tuning. This solution would mean that although humans did not exist at the time the of the big bang, they are going to be able to reach back in time at some point in the future and manually fine-tune the universe.

          Here is an excerpt from and article in the New Scientist, (which is hostile to theism and Christianity).

          …maybe we should approach cosmic fine-tuning not as a problem but as a clue. Perhaps it is evidence that we somehow endow the universe with certain features by the mere act of observation… observers are creating the universe and its entire history right now. If we in some sense create the universe, it is not surprising that the universe is well suited to us.

          So, there are two choices for atheists. Either an infinite number of unobservable universes that are not fine-tuned, or humans go back in time at some future point and fine-tune the beginning of the universe, billions of years in the past.

          Why the fine-tuning argument matters

          We need to make a decision today about how we are going to live. The evidence available today supports the fine-tuning of the universe by a supernatural mind with immense power. The progress of science has strengthened this theory against determined opposition from rival naturalistic theories.

          Those are the facts, and we must all choose what to do with them.

          1. Anonymous

            >>”The problem is that there is no way of directly observing these other universes and no independent evidence that they exist.”

            As opposed to this God fella who is directly observable and backed up by tons of independent evidence?

            Also, you can’t say “there is no way” to observe this. Can you see into the future?

            >>”The second response by atheists is that the human observers that exist today, 14 billion years after the universe was created out of nothing, actually caused the fine-tuning. This solution would mean that although humans did not exist at the time the of the big bang, they are going to be able to reach back in time at some point in the future and manually fine-tune the universe.”

            That’s not at all what the excerpt is saying. How did you get that interpretation?
            It’s just saying that the universe exists because we are here to see it, as in “conscious observer”. Kind of like “if a tree falls and no one’s there to hear it”.

            >>”We need to make a decision today about how we are going to live. The evidence available today supports the fine-tuning of the universe by a supernatural mind with immense power.
            Those are the facts, and we must all choose what to do with them.”

            Choose what, exactly?

            Suppose this God you describe created the Universe. So what? What does that tell us? How does that influence our lives in any way? Does it explain WHY the Universe exists? Why God created it? Why did he fine-tune it for life? What does he get from that? What does it matter for him if we believe in him or not? Did he have a choice or a purpose? Does he care about his creation? Does it tell us we should follow a specific religion? Why is he hiding? Why would he fine-tune it for the existence of life just to leave people to suffer? Are there other gods? Is this the only universe he created?

  40. 40
    Torbjörn Larsson, OM

    I forgot: The converse notion is that it is Eben that should present his evidence: how do we test for gods? He doesn’t, instead we get from an even more egregious anti-science comment on the notion of quantum woo (here, “quantum consciousness”):

    “How do you test for God?”

    Exactly. Eben has no evidence for gods, he says so himself.

    Hence gods can’t be an explanation for _any_ observation. If you can’t tell what is wrong, how can you eventually tell what is right when you have eliminated all erroneous hypotheses?

    1. 40.1
      Orlando

      And if there were an omnipotent creator who fine-tuned the universe, why would he have “tuned” his believers to be so incoherent and inarticulate? Conversely, why would he have “tuned” atheists to be better critical thinkers? Something to think about, believers!

  41. 41
    articulett

    I have yet to see evidence that consciousness of any sort can exist absent a material, living brain. I’m sure that if there was any evidence that such a thing could exist, scientists would be testing, refining, and honing that evidence for their own benefit as well as for benefits it would bring to humanity (not to mention the funds and accolades that would follow).

    Without a material brain, a being cannot thing, feel, process incoming sensory information, believe, remember, or do anything else. The evidence clearly shows that invisible beings– like gods, souls, demons and fairies –are clearly the product of human material brains. They do not exist outside the human imagination. Without a material brain you have the consciousness of a rock– that is, no consciousness at all.

    I don’t even know what it means to exist without any of the properties associated with existence– and I don’t think theists do either. I do think that if the theist didn’t imagine themselves saved for “faith” or damned for doubt, that they really wouldn’t care that an atheist didn’t share their faith. Ebans chatterings seem to be a desperate attempt to convince HIMSELF that his “woo” is true.

    Consciousness is clearly a byproduct of evolution– something that grew out of a brain that evolved over time.

  42. 42
    Tom

    TLDR

    I should have heeded your warning. The concentration of fallacies in just the little bit I managed to read is amazing. You guys must be masochists for wanting to bear through it all.

    1. 42.1
      Orlando

      We had to read it to chart his devolution from a quantum woo-ster to a standard Jesus freak.

  43. 43
    heicart

    Eben:

    >I hope they perhaps look up things like “Argument from Ignorance,(like because we don’t have evidence there is a God today that means there is no God?)”

    You keep ignoring the reality that you have supplied no evidence there is a god. This, again, means you can’t reasonably assert a god exists or reasonably assert it causes anything. Just as we can’t claim Big Foot exists and causes anything, even though there is far more evidence for Big Foot, and we know primates exist. The argument from ignorance is about you asserting that the things you do not know can be reasonably explained by a thing that you cannot even reasonably assert exists–because you don’t know what causes them. And you don’t see that as problematic, which is stunning. Your god offers the same demonstration of existence as nothing. That is why I don’t believe it exists–because your description of it, as offered, is cannot be differentiated from nothing.

    > “Argument from Incredulity,”(I can’t believe there’s a God therefore there is no God?)

    If there is, as you admit, no evidence for the existence of this god–if faith is required and all you can do is offer unsubstantiated claims of what you think god causes (which cannot be reasonable without a demonstration of an existent god), then you’re missing that it’s not about what I do or don’t believe. I don’t assert that god’s existence is *impossible* *because* I don’t believe it. I assert I don’t believe it because no demonstration has been offered to indicate such a thing exists–and can be identified as different than nothing. You admit this freely–saying god is in hiding and won’t allow direct, measurable demonstrations–so it appears to be nothing, and yet you fault people for simply saying this outloud. You have admitted it seems to be just like nothing–that is how you’ve described it’s existence.

    Unreasonable claims of causation for a god that has not yet been demonstrated to even exist, are not “evidence.” And again, it’s amazing you keep failing to understand that unless it exists, it doesn’t cause things. You keep focusing on what god causes, adding more and more layers to what you think a god is causing, and you seem to not understand you have an obligation to demonstrate it actually exists, before you go off building a word of make-believe, imagination and fantasy all about this god–talking about what it is and what it does. Nothing you claim about god can be informed, as you can’t even say it exists and you’ve never tested or examined it. You say it can’t be demonstrated to exist and can’t be examined, so all you know about can only be imagination. Your god, as described, cannot be differentiated from just the plain old universe as it is. You just claim the universe would be different than it is without a god, but I don’t see how you can confirm that unless you have another universe to examine? We have this universe, it is what it is, and there is no manifestation of any gods. But you declare they’re there anyway–and that without them, the universe would be very different. However, experts in this field do not agree with your interpretation of the data.

    > “Argument from Popularity,” (Like asking me which peer reviewed journals i had or what neuroscientists would agree with me?)

    You don’t understand the Argument from Popularity fallacy. Using expert opinion where expert opinion *is* relevant, is not fallacious, and is not the definition of the fallacy–that would be quite idiotic. The argument from popularity is what you used to assert god is different than gremlins–basically arguing that if more people believed in gremlins then it would be reasonable to think the claim they exist and cause things.

    The number of people who believe a claim has no bearing on its truth value; but when we’re talking about properties of matter, then what experts in research dealing with matter assert, would be rational to defer to. They could be wrong–but we simply have no better source of information about the situation. In other words, if physicists don’t count in questions of physics–then nobody can say anything of value on the subject, because nobody is better qualified to speak to it. Asking three plumbers what is the best course for your stopped up sink is not erroneous reasoning. And it is not an appeal to popularity. To even claim that demonstrates a lack of understanding of why science works and what peer-review adds to understanding and consensus views in fields of science. What scientists believe is not based on popular vote, but upon reasonable conclusions of experts in the relevant data.

    >and “Circular Reasoning,” (Nothing circular here but your misapplication of the aforementioned arguments is appaling) and really apply themselves to see if they’re likewise employing these fallacies in the way Ebon has demonstrated. (I have-every day.

    It sort of just cut off here. But whatever. You don’t even know what these fallacies mean or how they even apply apparently. So it’s not surprising you fail to recognize when you’re applying them in your reasoning.

  44. 44
    michaelbuchheim

    Eben, perhaps this is where you are having difficulty: Atheist don’t usually claim that a god doesn’t exist. We just don’t believe it exists. disbelief is not a claim, obviously. Otherwise you would have to prove the nonexistence of magnetic fish and explain what sort of fish would make you believe in them.

    God’s existence can’t be proven by the process we use to measure, ascertain and study every other phenomena and physical events in our world. Neither can it support the existence of extra-dimensional entities taking the earthly form of mice. And we are equally justified in disbelieving either until we encounter a manifestation that we can study.
    If you want me to accept the possibility of god existing based on my ignorance, I would have to accept that it has roughly the same probability of existing as vampires, unicorns and magnetic fish. Accepting god based on these criteria would force me to at least consider the existence of thousands of things and entities of which I have not enough knowledge to prove their nonexistence. That would be unpractical as well as irrational. Which is why I prefer to believe and consider believing only in things that can be proven to exist.
    Do I need a PHD in physics to believe that the chair I sit on exist? Perhaps, but my standards are not so high as to require it.

    But that’s just me.

  45. 45
    heicart

    Michael:

    If I could just expound for a moment on the “chair I sit on” statement. There is an entire universe full of countless things that I accept as existent. Theists who assert it’s hard to get atheists to believe a god exists, due to atheist stubbornness, seem to ignore the nearly infinite things atheists accept, easily, as existent.

    It isn’t that atheists are stubborn, willful, angry people who just don’t like to admit things (even gods) exist–many atheists had very strong belief in the existence of god prior to deconverting, in fact–and not a few were loathe to let that belief go. However, theists don’t have as much evidence their god exists, as the average person has for the existence of a Lima bean. And once a theist recognizes this, deconversion sets in. When asked to provide as much evidence for god as they could for a Lima bean, all that is offer is an endless slew of excuses for why such a comprehensive, easy-for-anyone-to-see-who-is-willing, thing *can’t possibly be demonstrated*. Then they assert the atheist is unreasonable, after they explained, at length, they can’t offer *that* sort of evidence–the same evidence everything that can be said to exist has offered to humanity.

    Until it’s demonstrated to exist and can be examined, there is no basis upon which to assert anything is there. Telling me at length what someone thinks it is, where it might have come from, what attributes it might have, what it’s believed it can do, does not help, since it doesn’t address the problem–it just offers an invitation to ignore the problem (that its existence hasn’t/can’t be demonstrated), but proceed as though that’s been established, anyway. But when I have no means to assess these claims against an existent god, to see if they correspond to what that god is/does, because no god has been provided to which to compare these claims, I’m not being stubborn. I’m paralyzed–unable to assess the claims–without something to which I *can* compare the claims. I can’t move on from “we can’t demonstrate this god exists,” because that’s the sole basis for confirming any further claims are valid–about the god. Without knowing what it is and in what way it “exists”–I can’t verify any claims about it.

    So, the conversation cannot proceed without the god to examine. If we proceed, we can claim anything at all about gods, and unless we self-contradict, any claim is as valid/invalid as any other–as there is no basis for verifying the claims.

    “God hates Golden Delicious apples” or “god imperceptibly is aiming every lighting bolt that hits the planet,” are just as valid as “god keeps the constants in line in the universe.” I can’t confirm any of them. And, as far as I’m aware, nobody else can, either.

  46. 46
    pyrobryan

    I quit reading pretty early on when it became obvious that his entire argument was a long-winded appeal to ignorance. Kudos to anyone who made it all the way through without breaking something from all of the epic facepalms.

  47. 47
    MichaelBraun

    Admittedly, I’ve not read this whole exchange in great detail, so please forgive me if this has been stated already. I’ve run into this type of argument before on the internet and I’ve usually walked away from them because (i) these arguments are futile, but more importantly, (ii) I’m no expert in the academic arenas from which Eben’s evidence originates. A while back I got into it with a well-read chap who kept listing off cosmological phenomena (most of which I’ve never heard of) and would conclude, ad nauseum, that the occurrence of said phenomena was evidence for his god. This issue was linking the “evidence” to a creator and it seems that Eben takes the same logical leap. If Eben’s evidence seriously were to call into question the current scientific consensus, then why is this being discussed here on this internet posting board? It seems that this discussion has come to a point where I wouldn’t deny the phenomena that Eben presents, but I’m not willing to accept that “Goddidit”. Folk such as Eben need to get off their high horse and remain humble: we don’t know Eben! We simply just don’t know and I’m not about to accept a conclusion that has in its origins, some Bronze Age creation myth. To me, that’s taking the science backwards say about 3000 years give or take.

    1. 47.1
      jerry decaire

      Epicurus was the first obvious ontological reductionist atomist and that goes back 3000 years-and the philosophy even longer

  48. 48
    kbex

    It strikes me that people like Eben are taking the ‘mystery’ and ‘romance’ out religion.

    Back in the good old days of the dark ages, when the everything was just a scary mystery, it was probably comforting, to put your faith in your God, worship him, cut an animals throat every full moon, safe in the knowledge that these actions, whilst even then slightly irrational, were going to make life bearable. Life was simple, the guy with the funny outfit, that yells all the time, says this is what we gotta do, so what the hey.

    Fast forward to today and most of the mystery is gone and people like Eben have reduced the once fearsome God to an entity that lives in another dimension and is a Designer of sorts !

    What about the fire and brimstone stuff, Eben?

    You’ve reduced God to a spectacularly intelligent architect !!!

    Does he wear Armani suits?

    All flippancy aside, the more these people try to ‘explain’ the presence of a God, using modern concepts, the more they are undermining the things that make ‘God’ worth worshiping.

    A sterile unit of consciousness floating about in a dimension outside of space and time, kinda falls down in the awe inspiration department, doesn’t it?

    Somethings definitively reducing in the cosmos.

    1. 48.1
      atheist from hell

      Not sure about the spectacularly intelligent architect. But they sure do create a wishy-washy deistic-fine-tuning-designer character called God.

      Whenever I meet these clowns in real life I ask them, “OK, so what next, are you going to pray to this vague God?, Or are you just content with saying that this God exists?”.

      That is when you realize that they not only want to pray to this God but that this God has other characteristic like he had a son who is also God and who was crucified and died for our sins and other such nonsense.

      You poke them further and you learn about their homophobia and misogyny.

      1. heicart

        Totally able to confirm what you describe is a common phenomenon. I can’t say I’ve never seen a dyed-in-the-wool deist, but it’s REALLY, REALLY rare. There are some people who I’ve met who will say “I just like to think something is behind it all/started it all” — and they absolutely mean some sort of intelligence, but leave it at that. The belief gives them some sort of comfort–just the mere thought of it. But these aren’t normally the people who are reading W. L. Craig and pulling out ID arguments and shredding physics and invoking NDEs. That’s nearly always the mark of someone who is chomping at the bit to get this over with so they can start selling you their specific brand of god.

  49. 49
    Orlando

    If Eben cares, this is a great, secular explanation of photons and the 2 slit experiment, by a world renowned expert:

    Anton Zeilinger

    Physicist, University of Vienna; Scientific Director, Institute of Quantum Optics and Quantum Information, Austrian Academy of Sciences; Author, Dance of the Photons: From Einstein to Quantum Teleportation

    Einstein’s Photons:

    My favorite deep, elegant and beautiful explanation is Albert Einstein’s 1905 proposal that light consists of energy quanta, today called photons. Actually, it is little known, even among physicists, but extremely interesting how Einstein came to this position. It is often said that Einstein invented the concept to explain the photoelectric effect. Certainly, that is part of Einstein’s 1905 publication, but only towards its end. The idea itself is much deeper, more elegant and, yes, more beautiful.

    Imagine a closed container whose walls are at some temperature. The walls are glowing, and as they emit radiation, they also absorb radiation. After some time, there will be some sort of equilibrium distribution of radiation inside the container. This was already well known before Einstein. Max Planck had introduced the idea of quantization that explained the energy distribution of the radiation inside such a volume. Einstein went a step further. He studied how orderly the radiation is distributed inside such a container. For physicists, entropy is a measure of disorder.

    To consider a simple example, it is much more probable that books, notes, pencils, photos, pens etc. are cluttered all over my desk than that they are well ordered forming a beautiful stack. Or, if we consider a million atoms inside a container, it is much more probable that they are more or less equally distributed all over the volume of the container than that they are all collected in one corner. In both cases, the first state is less orderly: when the atoms fill a larger volume they have a higher entropy than the second one mentioned. The Austrian physicist Ludwig Boltzmann had shown that the entropy of a system is a measure of how probable its state is.

    Einstein then realized in his 1905 paper that the entropy of radiation (including light) changes in the same mathematical way with the volume as for atoms. In both cases, the entropy increases with the logarithm of that volume. For Einstein this could not just be a coincidence. Since we can understand the entropy of the gas because it consists of atoms, the radiation consists also of particles that he calls energy quanta.

    Einstein immediately applied his idea for example to his well-known application of the photoelectric effect. But he also realizes very soon a fundamental conflict of the idea of energy quanta with the well-studied and observed phenomenon of interference.

    The problem is simply how to understand the two-slit interference pattern. This is the phenomenon that, according to Richard Feynman, contains “the only mystery” of quantum physics. The challenge is very simple. When we have both slits open, we obtain bright and dark stripes on an observation screen, the interference fringes. When we have only one slit open, we get no stripes, no fringes, but a broad distribution of particles. This can easily be understood on the basis of the wave picture. Through each of the two slits, a wave passes, and they extinguish each other at some places of the observation screen and at others, they enforce each other. That way, we obtain dark and bright fringes.

    But what to expect if the intensity is so low that only one particle at a time passes through the apparatus? Following Einstein’s realist position, it would be natural to assume that the particle has to pass through either slit. We can still do the experiment by putting a photographic plate at the observation screen and sending many photons in, one at a time. After a long enough time, we look at the photographic plate. According to Einstein, if the particle passes through either slit, no fringes should appear, because, simply speaking, how should the individual particle know whether the other slit, the one it does not pass through, is open or not. This was indeed Einstein’s opinion, and he suggested that the fringes only appear if many particles go through at the same time, and somehow interact with each other such that they make up the interference pattern.

    Today, we know that the pattern even arises if we have such low intensities that only one, say, photon per second passes through the whole apparatus. If we wait long enough and look at the distribution of all of them, we get the interference pattern. The modern explanation is that the interference pattern only arises if there is no information present anywhere in the Universe through which slit the particle passes. But even as Einstein was wrong here, his idea of the energy quanta of light, today called photons pointed far into the future.

    In a letter to his friend Habicht in the same year of 1905, the miraculous year where he also wrote his Special Theory of Relativity, he called the paper proposing particles of light “revolutionary”. As far as is known, this was the only work of his that he ever called revolutionary. And therefore it is quite fitting that the Nobel Prize was given to him for the discovery of particles of light. This was the Nobel Prize of 1921. That the situation was not as clear a few years before is witnessed by a famous letter signed by Planck, Nernst, Rubens and Warburg, suggesting Einstein for membership in the Prussian Academy of Sciences in 1913. They wrote: “the fact that he (Einstein) occasionally went too far should not be held too strongly against him. Not even in the exact natural sciences can there be progress without occasional speculation.” Einstein’s deep, elegant and beautiful explanation of the entropy of radiation, proposing particles of light in 1905, is a strong case in point for the usefulness of occasional speculation.

  50. 50
    Jesus Christ

    I emailed him to ask him for the attachments he said we needed to see. There were 11 JPEG files of scanned documents, only the first of which was readable due to file size. It’s a copy of Chapter 8 of some book (I’m not sure which, he never said, and a Google search didn’t return anything useful). The first page basically said what we would agree with concerning quantum mechanics: that plenty of people use it in a mutilated way to justify newage (pronounced like ‘sewage’) belief systems, and then though weird, quantum mechanics cannot be used to support such bull. I’m paraphrasing, of course. Maybe the rest gets worse, but so far so good. He said he’d try to fix the problem so that the text is viewable, and that he’d get back to me this week. Of course, this episode will be all over by then and there will be new believers to which we will want to turn our attention. But whatever… I’ll see what he has to say. So far I’m seeing nothing provocative, as I expected. He also has not responded to Orlando’s explanation of the double-slit experiment, and that would be the third time it was given. I just don’t see anything else useful resulting from this. I’ll humor him if I have time and patience, but if it devolves into more tantrums, I’m done.

    I would like to include one paragraph he wrote to me, for kicks:

    “It will take some time to absorb [the attachment] and I once bought into the materialist arguments that anything can cause a collapse including the photons necessary for observation. That What the Bleep Do We Know film didn’t do this justice as the following test results took all variables into account and still came up with consciousness as a key player. It’s okay if you can’t debunk it but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a classic explanation. But even entanglement defies our conceptions of space and time which I am not sending here. That is why all the nobel big wigs are scratching their heads and think it’s a fairy tale. I’ll share this with you Christopher, if there is a God and “he’s” something akin to the loving Christ, then I’m very interested in this God. If he’s really that God who commanded Saul to butcher babies, then I guess I’m going to hell similarly to an antitheist like Hitchens. I could never love a god like that (notive i spell that with a small “g”)”

    So, he’s clearly Christian and he also thinks Hitchens went to hell. Mr. Hitchens would be proud: continuing to piss off theists even in death. Maybe there’s something to be said for some sort of afterlife after all…? :D

  51. 51
    Fatima

    Wth man … I couldn’t even bring myself to read more then a quarter of that … how you guys managed to muddle through it is beyond me … I must say, this individual appears to be in love with slapping words together to form sentences and explaining simple concepts in the most complex manner possible and is irritated when someone removes the bombast to expose the argument, or perhaps they are incapable of even realizing what their actual argument is anymore …

  52. 52
    F [i'm not here, i'm gone]

    Look. A lot of people have seen the “Hyper-Reality”. Not all of them attribute it to a spiritual reality or cosmic consciousness independent of “normal” reality.

    Mostly, it seems you have had a life-altering experience that you don’t know how to process. Or, you may be more like a philosophy student who takes way too much LSD alone.

    Funny thing is, it is exactly the sort of experience you have had that convinces some theists that god is not a real thing at all.

    So, you are going to have to produce some actual evidence other than NDE &c. anecdotes and bad interpretations of quantum physics to have an argument at all, let alone convince anyone.

    You know, Francis Collins is a decent scientist and a good organizer. He claims to have turned from atheism to belief over seeing a frozen waterfall. We should accept sloppy thinking from him due to his credentials and other work? Why? That is an argument from authority only, and nothing else. Totally evidence-free. Same for you, Lanza, or anyone else.

    1. 52.1
      Otrame

      He spends an awful lot of time quoting that doctor, the one who had a devastatining neurological event and claims to have had a series of “hyper-real” experiences.

      What he did not do is explain why I should accept that those were anything other than hallucinations. The doctor claims that 1) he used to be a materialist, and 2) that his understanding of neurology does not explain his experiences. I admit to being somewhat skeptical of 1) (sounds too much “I used to be an atheist”). #2 may well be true, but since other experts in the human brain are apparently not impressed, I’ll wait until they are before I get out the prayer rug. Parsimony suggests his illness has left a few sequelae.

  53. 53
    jacobfromlost

    I go away for half a day and come back to read this? lol

    I hate to say it, but this poster reminds me a lot of “Mark”–I’m not saying it IS “Mark”, but its screaming that vibe to me…which makes me ambivalent about responding with the vigor that some of you have. (Is this emailer claiming to BE “Dr. Eben”? By the time I got to reading the interview, my eyes started to glaze over. If he is claiming to be “Dr. Eben”, at least there should be a means to verify that so we know we’re not dealing with a “Mark” or “Mark-wannabe”.)

    Anyway, what would convince ME of a particular god would be several mutually confirming pieces of evidence along these lines…

    * A holy book that makes specific, falsifiable, ongoing predictions over thousands of years that are such that humans can’t make them happen themselves (and are “ongoing” in such a way as to be occurring every few months or years).
    * Personal revelations that can be and are verified empirically (for instance, “Look for the Higgs around 125 GeV) on an ongoing basis in conjunction with the message that “Specific God X” is passing that message along.
    * Clear and verifiable knowledge that comes from believing in the correct god (without study), and ONLY comes from believing in the correct god. It would be quite compelling if the only people who could write computer code, fix my car’s engine, or develop a model of quantum mechanics that works in reality were those who believed in Specific God X.
    * A continuing demonstration that those who believe in the correct god do not get sick, and those who believe in the wrong ones do, with no disconfirming examples of either of these (no one with correct belief sick, no one with incorrect beliefs getting sick).
    * A continuing demonstration that once one begins believing in the correct god, their sicknesses instantly heal, and they gain instant knowledge per above that can be demonstrated empirically.
    * A continuing demonstration that anyone who believes in the correct god cannot be defeated in any way, shape, or form by those who don’t believe in the correct god.
    * A continuing demonstration that belief in the correct god results in broad, observable, verifiable, predictive, and falsifiable outcomes that are MARKEDLY DIFFERENT than the outcomes found with confirmation bias, wishful thinking, groupthink, peer pressure, mythmaking, pareidolia, brainwashing, hysteria, or any belief that is NOT in the correct god.

    If all of these things mutually confirmed each other in falsifiable ways (while accompanied by correct belief), and yet were never falsified, I would believe as surely as I believe in anything. Would I be absolute sure that the object of this belief was real, or even existed? No, as I can’t be absolutely sure of anything, but the evidence would be such that I WOULD believe it until presented with disconfirming evidence…and that disconfirming evidence would have to be pretty spectacular among all of that mutually confirming evidence.

    1. 53.1
      Jerry DeCaire

      not sure how this answers anything. I thought you were evidence based? This is terrible-“goofball!” See my latest post and read em and weep…and I’m not Mark. I think I like this guy…
      and oh yeah, email me at [email protected] and I’ll give you those results which were just recently backed up by experimentation with the results personally emailed this goofball by the PhD himself and will be published in Phiysics Essay in the ensuing months-it was accepted formally.
      If your email box can handle large TIFF files and you canb post here for all to see-then put your money where your mouth is and email me-I don’t know how to post it and the files were too large for JC.

      1. jacobfromlost

        Jerry: not sure how this answers anything.

        Me: It’s an abundance of mutually confirming evidence in which the simplest explanation would be that the specific god existed.

        Jerry: I thought you were evidence based? This is terrible-“goofball!”

        Me: What is terrible about it? Are you telling me with a straight face that if all of those conditions were manifested in reality, that YOU wouldn’t say that is evidence of a god? Of course you would. That kind of evidence is equal to evidence we have for gravity, relativity, evolution, computer science, etc. It would be as conclusive as we can get.

        Jerry: See my latest post and read em and weep…and I’m not Mark. I think I like this guy…

        Me: Mark was an atheist. I read your latest post. What is it supposed to be evidence of? More bald claims? You’ve already made those. Hint: they are not evidence.

        Jerry: and oh yeah, email me at [email protected] and I’ll give you those results which were just recently backed up by experimentation with the results personally emailed

        Me: Personal email is not impressive. I get personal email from Nigerian Princes every day.

        Jerry: this goofball by the PhD himself and will be published in Phiysics Essay in the ensuing months-it was accepted formally.

        Me: Well, when it is accepted by a peer reviewed journal, you can come back and point it out. Asserting it has been accepted and will be published, or has been peer reviewed or will be, does nothing for me.

        Jerry: If your email box can handle large TIFF files and you canb post here for all to see-then put your money where your mouth is and email me-I don’t know how to post it and the files were too large for JC.

        Me: What do you mean you don’t know how to post it? You discover the mysteries of the universe, but you can’t handle a little computer work? I’m not impressed. Although I’m considering emailing you. There is a 1 in 42 chance that I will.

  54. 54
    TerranRich, Yet Another Atheist

    God made my toaster. My toaster exists, therefore God must exist. That’s basically what this Eben guy is arguing from the beginning. Using the existence of the universe as proof that a God created it.

    It doesn’t work that way.

    1. 54.1
      atheist from hell

      God designed my toaster. My toaster blew up. God is not an intelligent designer.

  55. 55
    ChaosSong

    Weak Sauce.

    A completely inscrutable god like the one he’s describing could be anybody.

    Cthulhu, Quetzacoatil, Vishnu, or the Great Green Arkleseizure

    …who cares if a god is real if we have no idea what he wants or how to kill him?

  56. 56
    Drivebyposter

    I nominate Eben for the first Annual Chris Langan Award For Exceedingly Excellent Excellence in the Field of Awe-Inspiring Dumbassery.

    1. 56.1
      jacobfromlost

      This reminds me of “Mark” also, as his handle was “ChrisLanganFan” when he posted on the blog (and he trolled as a caller shortly before that pushing Chris Langan garbage). Switching to another person to center on (Eben) is consistent with Mark’s previous modus operandi. Mark (and all his aliases) had a solid handle on the atheist perspective, even when he was trolling. Everything he said had a pattern consistent with an atheist attempting to play a foil for a tempestuous argument.

      Thus far, I just don’t buy it. If he is claiming to BE “Dr. Eben”, that should be easy to confirm, and would establish we have a crackpot pushing a book. But even THAT I find hard to believe, as even crackpots know who to sell their books to, and it ain’t us. Starting a controversy HERE isn’t going to sell any books. (And sending out PDFs that are too blurry to be read of books uncited…is a bridge to far for me to believe him.) So again, this email and the subsequent comments suggest a troll very much like ChrisLanganFan/ Mark/ lordandsavior332 to me. I could be wrong (a confirmation that he IS Eben would make it clear that he isn’t a troll, but a crackpot who cares nothing of book sales).

      1. Jesus Christ

        Hey, Jacob. He introduced himself with his real name to both Tracie and me through email. I’ll keep in line with Tracie and not mention it here so that we can keep his info relatively private. I Googled his name and, unless he’s pretending to be someone else, he’s a comic book artist. I’m sure he’d be happy to tell you his name as well by email, though I wouldn’t necessarily be anxious to get on his radar. I’ve had 5 emails from him so far, probably with more to follow.

        I remember Mark, though I didn’t realize he had been using aliases as well. Maybe it is Mark; but it wouldn’t be absurd to think that there is more than one person like this in the world. I have personally known one myself.

        And, yeah, the attached JPEGs seemed quite dubious. I asked him point blank what the name of the book was and got no answer. He can tell us to go verify all of HIS statements, but he can’t provide actual references… how odd.

        1. jacobfromlost

          (It is weird to quote “Jesus Christ” here, lol.)

          Jesus Christ: I Googled his name and, unless he’s pretending to be someone else, he’s a comic book artist.

          Me: It’s not hard to pretend to be someone else (as you know, Mr. Jesus Christ, lol). Is there a webpage, or some other objective connection, that connects the name he gave you with the email he is using here? (A page that has his “real name” in conjunction with the email he gave us? The fact that his email doesn’t show up anywhere in a google search for me seems odd, as I just googled my real email and DOZENS of sites came up, lol, going back years.)

          Jesus Christ: I’m sure he’d be happy to tell you his name as well by email, though I wouldn’t necessarily be anxious to get on his radar. I’ve had 5 emails from him so far, probably with more to follow.

          Me: I’m not keen on opening attachments from slightly hostile crackpots. :-)

          Jesus Christ: I remember Mark, though I didn’t realize he had been using aliases as well.

          Me: He has called in as Mark, Mike, Andrew, Bob, George, and Thomas (and probably others).

          Thomas: /watch?v=7Ar8qjI1-zI

          George: /watch?v=2GCwCuVcKec

          Andrew: /watch?v=YO8eubj23dQ

          Mike: /watch?v=lGGDKJlVX_o

          Bob: /watch?v=F4RP8WpVSmE (skip to 36:00)

          Last attempt: /watch?v=OLegSvENJjQ (skip to 14:45)

          He also used “lordandsavior332″ in the chatroom, and I suspect “binkman” from a week ago Sunday was the same person. He showed up in the blog as “ChrisLanganFan” before finally coming clean as a troll and being banned. (It can’t be that hard to change names and show up again, can it?)

          Jesus Christ: Maybe it is Mark; but it wouldn’t be absurd to think that there is more than one person like this in the world. I have personally known one myself.

          Me: Sure.(Do you mean a troll, or a crackpot? I’ll assume you mean crackpot for a moment…) But it isn’t often where such people tangentially demonstrate an understanding of the burden of proof, logical fallacies, etc. It reads like a taunt to get atheists to reply, much the way “Mark” operated under all his aliases. There were absurd and obvious set up for responses that at first could have been real (ie, when he said there was no Bigfoots because there were no transitional forms), but a pattern emerged over time, and this email exchange (and the subsequent comments) resembles that pattern.

          Jesus Christ: And, yeah, the attached JPEGs seemed quite dubious. I asked him point blank what the name of the book was and got no answer. He can tell us to go verify all of HIS statements, but he can’t provide actual references… how odd.

          Me: I connected the email address to some LOTR-themed site (at least the “spiderhulk36″ part of it, so that would jibe with a comic book dude, but only very tenuously, lol (nerd connection). Is there a way to connect the email with Canada? (Mark was traced back to Canada, which is what made me think “binkman” in chat from a week ago Sunday was also Mark–previously “lordandsavior332″ in chat–, as I tricked binkman into thinking I had already traced his location, and then got him to admit he was in Canada.)

          If the “real name” he gave you can be connected objectively to the email he gave you (such as on a website that looks sufficiently complex enough to put fakery into doubt), and the email did not originate in Canada, I’ll believe he gave you his real name and is probably not Mark. But I still won’t believe he actually BELIEVES the stuff he’s spewing here. It reads too much like an atheist troll, so I would need more evidence that he actually believes this stuff–and a blurry, unreadable, uncited scan of a book chapter is more evidence of trolling than belief to me.

          1. Jesus Christ

            Hey again, Jacob.

            Gotta say, I’m impressed with how on top of the Mark situation you are. Eben does give a web site. I’ll check it to see if his email appears there.

            ::checking::

            … … …

            Okay, so the web site itself seems legit, though there is no explicit connection between the real name he gave (he says Eben is just a pen name) and the email address, that I can find. The web site does not include any address, only a contact form. Googling the name returns the site he linked to and a Wikipedia entry, among other things, so the name is definitely real. But Googling the email address returns nothing at all — zip, in fact. It could be that he wanted to create a ‘dump’ address for these sorts of debates… I would be interested to know if he is who he says he is. I traced the email headers and it appears the message was sent from Mt Pleasant, Michigan. That’s roughly the center of Michigan, surrounded by the Great Lakes. What part of Canada is Mark from? And, any other ideas?

            Yeah, the guy I know isn’t really a troll, he would never actually call the show or post on here… I’ve asked him and he was basically offended at the notion. But you try cornering him about his beliefs at all and it starts to look a lot like the above verbose pile of steaming biological waste, except focusing around existentialism for some reason. Maybe the gist is, “life is hard, so I’ll believe what makes me feel better about it.” Not very good truth-seeking, if you ask me.

            Who said I’m pretending to be someone else? I AM JESUS CHRIST. How dare you question my authoritah.

            While we’re on the subject, last night he sent me another message, a YouTube video link of a conference that he says I would be very interested in. The video is nearly 2 hours long. Here’s what I replied to him:

            “Eben, you didn’t even respond to the points I raised, yet you now send me a 2-hour-long video? What the hell is wrong with you? I’m not interested in spending two hours of my morning watching something you claim I should because it’s “very interesting.” Chances are high that I will not find it nearly as interesting as you do. You don’t have a whole lot of credibility in my book at this point, know what I mean? If you couldn’t convince me of your position in the least bit when you were writing to me (and everyone else) directly, what makes you think a video of a lecture/discussion will do the trick? … If, at some point, you want to fix the attachment and send it again, I’ll take a look. Just get an OCR program, scan the pages again, and convert them to plaintext. There are tutorials online of how to accomplish this. When you’ve done that, post them to the blog. The fact that you ignore my requests of knowing the title/author of the book, among other things, makes me think you’re just full of shit.

            “In short: tl;dw.

            “Christ”

            I don’t know, maybe he thinks we’re friends now or something. Sorry dude, not every Jesus Christ wants to be your friend; just the imaginary kind, it would seem.

          2. jacobfromlost

            Jesus Christ: I traced the email headers and it appears the message was sent from Mt Pleasant, Michigan. That’s roughly the center of Michigan, surrounded by the Great Lakes. What part of Canada is Mark from? And, any other ideas?

            Me: I don’t remember where in Canada Mark was from. I’ll take your confirmation of Michigan as conclusive evidence he’s not Mark. And you’ve also confirmed he’s not “Dr. Eben”, so he’s either a troll or Crackpot with a capital “C”. I’m still leaning toward “troll”.

            I do find it interesting that he asked for what evidence it would take to believe in a god, and I supplied what I thought was a pretty good list of evidence. I thought he would have responded by now, especially given his logorrhoea earlier.

        2. Skemono

          unless he’s pretending to be someone else, he’s a comic book artist.

          Neal Adams!?

          1. Jesus Christ

            LOL, Skemono.

            I’ve been thinking the same thing since he told me he draws comics. Ever hear that interview between Dr. Novella and Neal Adams on the Skeptics’ Guide podcast? It’s absolutely unbelievable to me that anyone could build up such an elaborate system based on false premises and unwarranted assumptions. It took Christianity almost 2,000 years to get that convoluted. Apparently some people accomplish it in a mere lifetime.

        3. jerry decaire

          Just to let everyone know, I never got those points from JC-I guess he sent that to anonymous.

          The pages are not questionable which I sent him except the reolution. When I scanned those they were good. I can’t imagine how they ended up like that but in time Ill scan again and send to JC who prefers to be my enemy. Sounds good to me. My army experience should come in handy.

  57. 57
    William Hamby

    Oh wow. You know, as much as I generally detest the phrase, I think it’s completely appropriate:

    TL;DR

  58. 58
    Eddie Hsu

    Where most go wrong is assuming that there must be a God to create the Universe when there could be other possibilities.
    For example: Who created God? Oh the silly answer of he always existed before time and does not need to be created. Then I too can equally give my version of the Universe where it has always existed and does not need to be created. In fact the law of conservation of energy even proves that energy lives forever but simply changes form. Basically with infinite time, energy would eventually manifest into the basic building blocks to build basic life that slowly evolves into more complex life (think gazillion years for each stage). If you disagree with this, then that means you disrespect “infinite time” and “eternal energy”, both of which have more proof, and is one level less abstract than God.

    1. 58.1
      heicart

      >Where most go wrong is assuming that there must be a God to create the Universe when there could be other possibilities.

      Yes, I pointed out this fallacy to Eben–that he was employing the argument from ignorance. His response “We’re all ignorant” demonstrated he didn’t really understand the fallacy and what it implies. It isn’t calling a person ignorant. It’s about them doing exactly what you just described–assinging an explanation out of a lack of foundation/information and then saying they’ll stick to that until it’s disproved. Eben, repeatedly employs the “you can’t disprove it” response–using the Argument from Ignorance over and over again–and trying to shift a burden of proof at the same time.

      I also pointed out above where he tried to conflate accepting expert testimony–as in expert concensus over minority or nonexpert opinions–with an Argument from Popularity fallacy, which it is not. I find it ironic that he has made condescending statements about other people’s levels of understanding of reason and philosophy when he not only repeatedly employs fallacies, even after they’ve been explained to him, but responds to them (I assume without looking up what they mean first), with input that demonstrates he doesn’t even understand them after they’re pointed out. He’s confused by basic fallacies of logic, but keeps insisting he’s offering such a better argument than all our other TAE callers–who he initially wrote to us to say aren’t very good at defending their beliefs. I think Dunning-Kruger was mentioned, and I couldn’t agree more with that assessment.

      I’m very glad to see so many good responses to these points. I’m especially grateful to people who posted to say they are physicists and to explain some of the errors being made. I didn’t post Eben’s letters here to humiliate him or anyone. Someone posted asking if Eben is his real identity–and it’s not. I purposely deleted references to his real identity to protect his privacy as best I could. But after the third private exchange with Eben on the TAE e-mail list, I realized that Eben isn’t intereseted in honestly examining evidence–he’s into confirmation bias and firmly entrenched there. We get letters often from people telling us that their minds were changed after seeing someone else’s arguments fail on the phone to TAE. And so when I see an opportunity to lay bad arguments bare in a public format–where others who *are* looking for honest answers can find them–I think that’s when it’s useful to do so. While I was OK with my responses to Eben. I did know that some people on our list here at the blog would be able to offer more and better input in some areas–and that is exactly what happened. I can’t imagine a better dialog than the one we have produced here, for people in the future seeking answers over these sorts of issues. I think this is a very helpful thread. And I thank everyone who contributed. Ironically, none of it would have been possible without Eben–so frustrating as he is, he’s probably contributed more here to deconverting theists than any of us could have individually.

    2. 58.2
      Jerry DeCaire

      Yes and Penrose says that borrowing from the 2nd law of thermodynamics, as we go backward in time the universe grows more organized. If we go back to the point of the big bang, would that be the most organized state? Top down?? GOD??? Bottom up says we evolved from simpler things to more complex things (and I do believe this biologically) but in regards to what actually started it all, the first mutating replicator, and the universe at large, I’ll go with Penrose. You can go with Dawkins-“It’s Lets Make a Deal!!! Is it door number one, door number two…or door number three??

      1. jacobfromlost

        Jerry: Yes and Penrose says that borrowing from the 2nd law of thermodynamics, as we go backward in time the universe grows more organized. If we go back to the point of the big bang, would that be the most organized state? Top down?? GOD???

        Me: Only if you want to say black holes are god also. Also, the 2nd law of thermodynamics applies WITHIN the universe only. It doesn’t apply to conditions that lead to a space-time bubble like our universe.

        Jerry: Bottom up says we evolved from simpler things to more complex things (and I do believe this biologically) but in regards to what actually started it all, the first mutating replicator, and the universe at large, I’ll go with Penrose.

        Me: You’re confusing entropy of energy with biology. The fact that the energy is spreading out doesn’t mean it is disappearing. There is the same amount of matter/energy in the universe now as at the Big Bang. Biological evolution requires a constant supply of energy–say, from the sun. Once that energy runs out (and it is running out), then life dies. Moreover, if you are trying to suggest God is very complex because complex things come from complex things, then where did god come from? He had to come from something even MORE complex. (And if he doesn’t have to, why does ANYTHING complex have to come from something more complex? We have no examples of complex things coming from things that are more complex. Even if you want to say that humans made cars, and cars are complex, but humans are more complex, you are forgetting that humans are made of constituent parts and processes that are much simpler.)

        Jerry: You can go with Dawkins-“It’s Lets Make a Deal!!! Is it door number one, door number two…or door number three??

        Me: You seem very confused about a great many things. We’re here to explain whatever you need help with.

        1. jerry decaire

          Funny that you say that because the last email I sent it was an email from a PhD in physics/psychology, Princeton emeritus who told me his recent results on the Two-slit experiment tell us what I’ve been saying all along. And most people here told me I was wrong and my science was messed up but this scientist I won’t mention until that paper is out (it’s officially peer reviewed and headed that way) who just got accepted for publication by the peer-reviewed journal Physics Essays. http://www.physicsessays.com/ gave me the thumbs up and said I was in fact correct and to not worry about this blog. And I am referring to the universe not biology and so was Penrose-he’s not a biologist!
          I am not a practicing scientist so I rely on them to clear this up for me as the novices on this site seem to not be able to agree amongst themselves what is right. Some are more right than others im sure, but how can I tell if I’m not a scientist? That’s why I like to refer to practicing scientists.That’s why I go to the horses mouth. Most atheists will say your science is messed up simply because your conclusions differ. Theres a dif between science and a worldview. And in regards to Penrose, I am only saying what he said though I’ll never claim to always understand it. He’s much smarter than I.

          1. jacobfromlost

            Jerry: Funny that you say that because the last email I sent it was an email from a PhD in physics/psychology, Princeton emeritus who told me his recent results on the Two-slit experiment tell us what I’ve been saying all along.

            Me: What the hell have you been saying all along? I still don’t know what the heck you are claiming, nor how this experiment supposedly supports it. A partially observed, partially collapsing wave function doesn’t demonstrate consciousness is involved with anything, UNLESS you think you can observe something without any physical means of observing it. Observation without observation is like evidence that is not evidence–ie, nonsense. Moreover, we’ve already observed collapsing wave functions, so how is observing a partially collapsing wave function evidence of transcendent consciousness? It’s not. You just keep saying it is for unknown reasons.

            Jerry: And most people here told me I was wrong and my science was messed up but this scientist I won’t mention until that paper is out (it’s officially peer reviewed and headed that way) who just got accepted for publication by the peer-reviewed journal Physics Essays. http://www.physicsessays.com/ gave me the thumbs up and said I was in fact correct

            Me: What were you correct about, and how is this evidence of that? Observing partially collapsing wave functions doesn’t get you there any more than observing collapsing wave functions, which we have already done. You might as well say, “Look at the trees!” It’s the same argument, but on a quantum scale where you think you can observe trees without light or sound or sonar or any other means to observe…and somehow still call it observation. Good grief.

            Me: and to not worry about this blog.

            Jerry: You were worried about this blog? It sounds to me like you really, really want to believe something, and are desperately looking for some kind of validation of that belief. Coming here and hitting atheists over the head with unfalsifiable nonsense may make you feel better, as we can’t arguing against unfalsfiable nonsense–so, in your mind, it must feel like a validation. Good for you. Problem is, anyone can come in here and claim a tribe of brainless Bigfoots live on the far side of the moon, and we can’t argue against that either. I have no way to observe the far side of the moon…and if I did, suddenly the claim would be that they live UNDERGROUND on the far side of the moon. Or they are invisible. Yeah, that’s the ticket. Invisible. That explains why no one has ever seen them! It all makes sense now.

            Jerry: And I am referring to the universe not biology and so was Penrose-he’s not a biologist!

            Me: Then you need to quit mentioning evolution in the same breath as cosmology. So you aren’t going to even comment on the fact that the same amount of matter and energy is in the universe now, tomorrow, a billion years from now, and at the moment of the Big Bang?

            Jerry: I am not a practicing scientist so I rely on them to clear this up for me as the novices on this site seem to not be able to agree amongst themselves what is right.

            Me: Why would you think it is up to atheists to have answers about things? If you don’t know something, you are not required to pick an answer anyway. I know you said we are forced to choose fallacious arguments, but that’s, ironically, fallacious.

            Jerry: Some are more right than others im sure, but how can I tell if I’m not a scientist?

            Me: You’re serious, aren’t you? I have no idea how to draw a comic book, but I can tell if what I’m looking at looks like a person, a werewolf, or a buxom beauty, and can then judge that the person drawing it before my eyes knows how to draw. I have no idea how to fix a car engine, but if the car does not run before I give it to the mechanic, and I watch the mechanic do something to the car, and then I watch him start the car, and then I drive away in the car, I know he fixed the car, and it isn’t required that I know how to make that judgment.

            Jerry: That’s why I like to refer to practicing scientists.That’s why I go to the horses mouth.

            Me: Quantum physicists do not claim that matter is conscious, or that the universe is conscious. I think you’ve gone to the Jackass’s mouth by mistake.

            Jerry: Most atheists will say your science is messed up simply because your conclusions differ.

            Me: No, we’ve said your science is messed up because your SCIENCE is messed up. See how you still haven’t offerred any evidence for your claims? If there WAS evidence, it wouldn’t take more than a sentence to present it. Yet you continue with the Gish Gallop.

            Jerry: Theres a dif between science and a worldview. And in regards to Penrose, I am only saying what he said though I’ll never claim to always understand it. He’s much smarter than I.

            Me: How do you know you are saying what Penrose said if you don’t even understand what he said? You can’t claim to be saying something that you don’t understand any more than I can claim to be telling you HOW the mechanic fixed my car by virtue of the fact that my car actually runs after he worked on it. The problem is, YOU DON’T EVEN HAVE A RUNNING CAR TO POINT TO. You just assume it must be running. You ain’t got no running car, dude–no peer reviewed paper, no single sentence of evidence, no hint at anything that suggests transcendant consciousness exists. Just wishes and rainbows, hopes and dreams. That’s fine for the cosmology of a comic book. It doesn’t work in reality.

  59. 59
    HRG

    Eben says that he knows of no physical law which says that the famous constants have the value that they have.

    If there is no region of the total universe (not just our local region) where those constants are different, then it is a physical law that they have those values. We could also imagine that conservation of electric charge does not hold – which does not remove it from the set of physical laws.

    If there are regions of the total universe where they are different, his argument reduces to the almost-tautology that life arose in a life-friendly region of the universe.

    1. 59.1
      heicart

      I like this point. If it seems to hold true universally, then why suggest it could be any other way. And if it doesn’t we’re just saying it works when it works, but not when it doesn’t. Seems reasonable.

    2. 59.2
      jacobfromlost

      Also, when people start making the “fine tuning” argument, they seem to forget that life is a PART of the environment and a PART of the universe. In order for the fine tuning stuff to make sense, one has to, on some level, think that life (or, maybe, humans specifically) is separate from its environment and separate from the universe. It’s not, in either case. We can only exist in a context of our environments–heat, oxygen, food, gravity, etc–and that existence as a living thing is VERY tenuous. Put us under water for 10 minutes, naked in a blizzard for 20 minutes, or alone among lions for 30 minutes…and its all over (although we live on as shark food, polar bear popsicles, or a mild brunch for lions, which cycles throught the food chain to something else, and something else, etc).

      And in regard to the “Necessary Creator” and “First Cause” arguments, theists often try to conflate that which exists with “the universe” and hope no one notices. We have evidence that some things exist without relation to space-time, and, hence, without relation to “cause and effect”.

      Therefore, there is a major problem with these arguments. If god created existence, did he exist at the time he created it? If he did, he didn’t create it as he existed before creating existence. If he didn’t exist before he created existence, then he couldn’t have created anything as nonexistent things cannot create existent things.

      Thus, the logic that theists try to use to show that god is NECESSARY actually shows, at best, that god is not necessary, and at worst, CAN’T exist–at least not as a creator god. (They often say god “exists outside the universe”, but you CAN’T say god exists “outside of existence”. The only category of things outside existence are things that don’t exist, by definition and by necessity. To suggest something exists by virtue of not existing is, well, outside of a logical argument.)

  60. 60
    Runolfr

    That’s one of the most dense and cryptic walls of ignorance I’ve ever seen, and I’ve seen quite a few in geek debates.

  61. 61
    jerry decaire

    Some typos and deletions in the last post:
    To all concerned and who have responded most venomously to my posts complete with gnashing teeth, slurs, unsubstantiated arguments, and whatever.
    Even atheists use CIRCULAR ARGUMENTS like “The universe is all there is therefore there is no God.” I then ask, “How do you know there is no God?” And they follow up with their aforementioned non-sequitur: “Because the universe is all there is.” (We are aware of 4% of this universe so premise one is an absurd claim which makes it an unsubstantiated premise so that the conclusion doesn’t follow.) You do the math. That’s no less circular than the schmoe who tells us that the Bible is the word of God because the Bible tells us so-an argument I have never made.
    Then there’s the ARGUMENT FROM AUTHORITY: 90% of top scientists today are atheists (therefore the smartest people are atheists??) First, there could be other reasons as to why they disbelieve such as psychological reasons: they are intellectually gifted to the point whereby they become far too impressed with themselves and their egos fancy themselves gods and they’ll be damned if some imaginary big guy in the sky will usurp their rightful place of worship. Don’t believe this is a possibility? Have you ever studied under a PhD??? You know, the guy who insists that you refer to him as “Dr?” as if he was some judge in the Supreme Court of America insisting you refer to him as “honor.”? Additionally, the major share of world changing scientists over history were theists or at least agnostic- including contemporary scientists. http://www.adherents.com/people/100_scientists.html
    Or how about the ole’ ARGUMENT FROM PERSONAL INCREDULITY which, by the way, is not as bad as you insist as that argument deals with mathematical probabilities: “I just can’t imagine a top-down theory of everything. I cannot believe there’s a God therefore God doesn’t exist.” –You know, the same point made in reverse in the heading on this page by not so clear in the head, Tracie.
    She opens her big mouth without stopping to think of the counter applications-there’s a flip-side to every coin. And talk about being impressed with oneself-only there’s no justification here. I have seen more humility coming out of the mouths of true intellectual giants who really are changing the world unlike me and the other dolts posting on this site.
    Now here’s the fallacious argument atheists like to employ but it is no less fallacious than any other”
    Burden Of Proof:
    The claim that whatever has not yet been proved false (That God is real) must be true (God isn’t real). Essentially the arguer claims that he should win by default if his opponent can’t make a strong enough case.
    There may be three problems here. First, the arguer claims priority, but can she back up that claim ? Second, she is impatient with ambiguity, and wants a final answer right away (Can we spell TRACIE?). And third, “absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.”
    I’ve also gotten a schlew of these arguments from atheists which you rarely find from Christians:
    Ad Hominem (Argument To The Man):
    Attacking the person instead of attacking his argument. For example, “Von Daniken’s books about ancient astronauts are worthless because he is a convicted forger and embezzler.” (Which is true, but that’s not why they’re worthless.)
    In fact, after having reviewed a list of about 1000 fallacious arguments on the web I had an epiphany: Those fallacious arguments covered just about any argument anyone could ever make either in favor of the atheist or the Christian. Do I need to spell out the obvious? If we are to take those arguments as fallacious seriously, then there are no arguments at all-there is nothing. So whenever an atheist tells me I am making an argument from this or from that as if it’s a knock-down win, I could always retort with a , “Ah yes, the ole argument from there is nothing argument.” Which is silly, don’t you think? And simply alerting someone to their argument as fallacious is not, in and of itself, an argument as many atheists, like Tracie, believe. That is why we must choose from our fallacious arguments those we feel are most compelling. That is why I go with the fallacious argument of incongruity as it deals with probabilities which may imply the case you are trying to make: That there is a God (In my case). And given all arguments are fallacious in one context or another, we shouldn’t be having any discussion at all.
    Yes, I have used many arguments identified as fallacious and so have you referring back to the flip side of the coin. Because if I could only choose an argument that has never been identified at some place or time in philosophic history as “fallacious” I and everyone else would have nothing to say.
    In my original question to Tracie, who apparently didn’t get it, I had asked:
    “what sort of evidence would lead you to believe in a God? (NOTE: I said EVIDENCE-not PROOF) What would it take to convince you there is, in fact, a designer of the universe? Or at least, what sort of EVIDENCE (There’s that word again) would lead you to consider the POSSIBILITY there may be a God though you still may not lean that way? What would it take, EVIDENCE wise, for you to respect, as reasonable, a believer and their choice to believe?”
    Now here’s the clincher and the whole point to my original question which most here have missed:
    “This is a reasonable question to ask as your answer should determine for any theist or even deist whether or not they should waste any time trying to convince you-you know-the “pearls before swine” thing?”
    And indeed, swine is what I got judging from the hateful atheist’s emails glutting my email box, and a lot of wasted time as well. And Tracie’s response will tell us why:
    TRACIE: “Answer to Question 1: I imagine that the evidence that anything-“X” exists would be the same regardless of X. A demonstration of how it manifests in a way that measurably differentiates it from *nothing*.”
    Note here that Tracie is really impressed with herself by taking some philosophic axiomatic algebraic tool which supposedly was supposed to be too much for me to handle (And I was accused of being verbose to cover up faulty reasoning-sheeesh!). I quickly translated it into third grade language:
    “I imagine that the evidence that (God) exists would be the same regardless as to whether or not God existed (ME: That in itself presumes an awful lot of knowledge-as in INFINITE knowledge. Your arrogance is showing Tracie in childlike fashion. According to you your imagination relies upon whatever your randomly cobbled together Dennett’s brain can muster. I wouldn’t rely too much upon an end product such as that. Your atheism is a defeater for your insistence that you have anything worthwhile to say. Whatever imagination you have would surely be VERY limited-no less than anyone else’s. Maybe that is why theists believe in special revelation: They know their limitations unlike you). TRACIE: To believe in God you would need a demonstration of how he manifests in a way that measurably differentiates him from a condition or an environment whereby he didn’t exist.”
    And then I get something like this from Tracie somewhere along the way and there is where I should have stopped:
    TRACIE: “We can’t say anything informed about X. No more talk until I can have a look at this thing to see if your claims about it align with the reality of what it is.”
    So there it is, the very thing I was looking for and I should have stopped there because if you recall I said that if you were looking for PROOF (as in “until I have a look at this thing”-meaning you will need to actually SEE God) I couldn’t help you. In fact, as far as I know, no one can. And it is that very fact which invigorates atheists as it serves for them a reason for rejecting their creator. Their position is a safe one and their argument an easy one to make: we DO live in what appears to be a reductionist model on the surface and we DO live in what seems a causal universe with time flowing in one direction. But when you look closer at the many auspicious UNIVERSAL CONSTANTS which allow for life (NOT PARADISE-LIFE!), teleology that seems to require agency, etc., etc., the evidence that even the most brilliant theoretical physicists will agree suggests time does not flow in one direction, therein lies the EVIDENCE not PROOF! Let me say that again for the schmuck who still doesn’t get it: I HAVE NO PROOF!!!
    Now that being said, I BELIEVE there are reasons for God’s invisibility. Firstly, have you noted how behavioral biologists observe animals in their natural environments from afar? The scientist knows that if the animal were aware of his presence it would not behave as it would naturally thereby not giving the sort of information the biologist needs to better understand this animal. This works well for a God that can learn, but if you are a staunch fundamentalist who believes God can learn nothing, the argument could still be made that God remains invisible for OUR BENEFIT. I say this on the issue of ACCOUNTABILITY in defense of God’s FAIRNESS: wherever you end up on the spiritual plane will be because of the choices YOU MADE! These will be choices that you made without prompt or force. I recall a poster which read something like this: ‘True ethics is doing the right thing when no one is looking.’ If you really think no one is looking, you will behave in a way reflective of the true inner man-your true moral and ethical fortitude. Now imagine the reverse of that scenario: God is VERY visible and sitting on a throne in Times Square-he’s 1000 feet tall and holding a scepter crackling with the most obscene cosmic energies which are also issuing forth from his eyeballs. What’s more, he will meet out the just reward for good and bad behavior immediately and with extreme prejudice. I can assure you that the atheists here would behave well whether or not they wanted to, but only because of fear-a bad motivation.
    So on that Day of Judgment the God that was invisible will point out to you that if you were inclined to existentially pursue ethics, truth, and love, you would have naturally been inclined to pursue HIM-the quintessential manifestation of truth and love. He will also point out how you ignored the plea to your hearts and out of convenience evoked empirical proofs as a reason for doing so (Thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness-Ezekiel 28:13-18). The EVIDENCE-NOT PROOF for his existence should have led you to conclude there was a source for you to investigate experientially (NOT EMPIRICALLY as said above-empirically would be analogous to God in Times Square) that would satisfy your need for truth and love. But there is only just enough evidence to weed out those who don’t even care to know (the proverbial wheat from the chaff). God has left the atheist an out. And unfortunately it’s an out he’s too often and willing to take (many take the road to destruction but few find salvation).
    Let me quote an insightful prose from a very wise man, Oswald Chambers. It explains why the atheist doesn’t “get it” and the theist does (not that that will stop anyone here from ridiculing it and still add the ole’ “show me the evidence” quip):
    “When we speak of the call of God, we are apt to forget the most important feature, viz., the nature of the One who calls. There is the call of the sea, the call of the mountains, the call of the great ice barriers, but these calls are only heard by the few. The call is the expression of the nature from which it comes, AND WE CAN ONLY RECORD THE CALL IF THE SAME NATURE IS IN US. The call of God is the expression of God’s nature. There are strands of the call of God providentially at work for us which we recognize and no one else does. It is the threading of God’s voice to us in some particular matter, AND IT IS NO USE CONSULTING ANYONE ELSE ABOUT IT. WE HAVE TO KEEP THAT PROFOUND RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN OUR SOULS AND GOD. THE MAJORITY OF US HAVE NO EAR FOR ANYTHING BUT OURSELVES, WE CANNOT HEAR A THING GOD SAYS. TO BE BROUGHT INTO THE ZONE OF THE CALL OF GOD IS TO BE PROFOUNDLY ALTERED.-Oswald Chambers
    That is my BELIEF system (not PROOF system) and this is my last post because I have nothing else to offer to anyone who doesn’t want to listen. I have no PROOF only evidence. And by the way, all the counter arguments about the fine tuning being disproved is nonsense. There are only unsubstantiated theories (multiverse theories, serial universe theories, etc) that atheists like to evoke to support their need to dispel of God for whatever personal reasons. Paul Davies, and even Hawkings recognizes that as a problem so just because we get these responses from practical physics professors who never theorize anything and who think they have negated the problem of the constants doesn’t make it so…PHewww! And the multiverse theory may not be the sort of refuge advantageous to the atheist: If an infinite number of universes given infinite time accounts for an infinite number of possibilities and even improbabilities (including us and the mystery of consciousness) and virtually anything else as atheists claim, then the atheist must defer that in one of these universes there must be a God. And if only one universe has a God, then by definition this God would be the God of all universes following the characteristics of an omnipotent, omniscient God. So you may want to look for another refuge to make your case for atheism-the multiverse theory won’t help you.
    This is my last post. I have said all that I can. Accept it or reject it. No prob. I can’t respond to everyone so this is my final say. If you want to discuss personally, email me. If you’re too lazy to do that and can only find the energy to insult and holler, I have no time for that. I will only accept a reasonable discussion and a listening ear. Not an ear that will agree-just one that respects other ideas. [email protected]
    Goodbye!

    1. 61.1
      Jesus Christ

      Jerry, this is what you say atheists say:

      - “The universe is all there is therefore there is no God.”

      Wrong. The universe is all there is plainly observed to be, therefore that’s all we can definitively say about it. If I get a box in the mail, and I don’t know what’s in the box, all I can reliably say is that I have a box of yea dimensions and weight. You can’t tell me, without evidence, “There’s a puppy in there” and expect me to believe you. If the box began barking and shifting its weight around, that may lend credence to your notion, but this universe doesn’t seem to be barking…

      - “ARGUMENT FROM AUTHORITY: 90% of top scientists today are atheists (therefore the smartest people are atheists??)”

      That’s not why atheists mention this. It has nothing to do with being smart and has everything to do with having to think like scientists and being exposed to information that seems to contradict the traditional religious models. 90% are atheists when it comes to biology. That’s not true of all disciplines. However, there is definitely an inverse correlation between education and religiosity, as studies have shown; atheists also tend to know more about religion than religious people do. I’m sure this has nothing to do with people being influenced by what they study and everything to do with having big egos… right.

      - “The claim that whatever has not yet been proved false (That God is real) must be true (God isn’t real).”

      Wrong again. Burden of proof means that the one making the claim has to substantiate it. By saying, ‘I am unconvinced there is a god,’ I am not saying ‘there is no god,’ just that I see no evidence of one. Since I’m a skeptic, I’m compelled to reject unsubstantiated claims, especially far-out ones like the one you’ve made regarding a supernatural god. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. Look, I have a box that’s 8′x8′x8′ and I’m claiming there’s a unicorn inside of it. Would you be inclined to believe me without hard evidence? This is exactly the amount of gullibility you are asking us to exhibit. Until I show you a unicorn, why should you believe me? If you did believe me based on my word alone, that would make you very gullible. You know that the way you stated the above is false anyway, since the two terms can be reversed: “The claim that whatever has not yet been proved true (That God isn’t real) must be false (God is real).”

      - And third, “absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.”

      Suppose I insist there is a unicorn in this box, but when you ask to see it, I tell you it’s invisible. You ask why it doesn’t make a sound and I say it’s mute. You ask why it doesn’t smell and I say it keeps super-clean; after all, it is a unicorn. You ask if you can touch it and I tell you, you could, except you’d evaporate because you aren’t worthy. Wouldn’t you expect there to be evidence of a mythical creature if it exists? What I have done is removed the unicorn from experimentation and demanded you believe me about it anyway. At this point you are perfectly right in demanding evidence and for complaining that you can’t even test it to see if it’s there.

      - “I just can’t imagine a top-down theory of everything. I cannot believe there’s a God therefore God doesn’t exist.”

      Why can I not imagine this? I’d like to believe that things are that simplistic, actually. This is simply something atheists don’t say, once again. I can imagine a top-down organization of the universe. After all, I was religious most of my life and believed exactly that, so I can certainly imagine it. I just think that given the evidence it doesn’t look at all likely. You sport the above as if our conclusions aren’t based on evidence. To give an example, I find the theory of evolution by natural selection to be far more compelling than the Adam and Eve story — not based on personal incredulity, but on evidence.

      - First, the arguer claims priority, but can she back up that claim? (re: burden of proof)

      Tracie isn’t the arguer, you are. You said, in more-or-less the following terms: ‘there is a god X that I am going to try to convince you exists.’ You made the claim, so it is your duty to establish it. Tracie is under no obligation to accept your claims — unless you provide enough evidence for your position. That’s how burden of proof works. The most you can say at this point is that we remain unconvinced by the ‘evidence’ you’ve brought forward. Maybe that’s because we’re dense and don’t want to admit we’re wrong — or maybe your evidence really is weak. Either way, burden of proof is always yours. All you can do is explain your position rationally. You probably think you have; I disagree.

      For someone who cries ‘strawman’ so much, you certainly do a lot of strawmanning of atheism.

      - “given all arguments are fallacious in one context or another, we shouldn’t be having any discussion at all.”

      I really don’t understand what you mean by this. Are you saying that logic is subjective? If so, how can you justify that? Logic is universal for the very reason that it isn’t based on mere opinion, similar to math. Context comes into play, yes, but that doesn’t mean logic is subjective. Remember that some fallacies and arguments are inductive (informal) and others are deductive (formal). You seem to be saying that because the argument from personal incredulity isn’t formal that it should be discounted, which simply isn’t the case. Where you are trying to convince an audience and show evidence of your position, inductive arguments really don’t work for your cause, so it’s entirely appropriate for us to knock them down as such, ie, ‘your argument doesn’t seem to have any kind of external basis, so it cannot be said to be formally reliable and we should therefore ignore it.’

      - “if I could only choose an argument that has never been identified at some place or time in philosophic history as “fallacious” I and everyone else would have nothing to say.”

      Just because you call something fallacious doesn’t make it so. Your accusation has to have a foundation in logic. Therefore, it is not easy to call everything you want fallacious, as you claim. Where we’re dealing with strict logic, that sort of thing doesn’t fly. Now, does that mean that everything philosophers say should be ignored if they can’t prove what they are saying? Of course not. Speculation is speculation, and that is a large part of philosophy. Not all writers are trying to prove a point, just explore. You, on the other hand, have a burden of proof. You said you’re right about there being a god, so you do need to prove that, and you are subject to being called out on fallacies. Take Pascal’s Wager, for instance. He wasn’t merely exploring what could be, he was making an objective statement about reality based on a very weak argument. Since the argument is faulty, the conclusion is faulty also. Now, maybe there is a god, even though that particular argument was horrendous. If that’s the case, a valid argument still needs to be put forward in order to demonstrate the point. That hasn’t happened yet.

      - “What would it take, EVIDENCE wise, for you to respect, as reasonable, a believer and their choice to believe?”

      Let me answer your question with a question: What would it take for YOU to believe I have a magical unicorn inside this 8′x8′x8′ cardboard box sitting in my living room? Pictures, maybe? Eye-witness accounts? A book about unicorns? Some poop I claim was excreted from a unicorn? What, exactly, would it take for you to be confident that I indeed have a unicorn here? When you can answer that reasonably, you’ll understand what I would require in order to believe a god exists.

      “swine is what I got judging from the hateful atheist’s emails glutting my email box”

      Jesus Christ. (Oops, shouldn’t take my own name in vain…) First you complain that no one emails you, then you complain when they do. And talk about glutting one’s inbox! I got, what, 20 separate emails from you last night with huge TIFF files? I’m not necessarily complaining about that, because I requested the attachments you promised — but for you to complain about your inbox being full is fairly hypocritical. I still don’t understand why you don’t just run your files through an online OCR program FOR FREE so I can delete it all so that my inbox isn’t 50% full anymore. Then you could post for EVERYONE to see.

      - “Tracie is really impressed with herself by taking some philosophic axiomatic algebraic tool which supposedly was supposed to be too much for me to handle”

      Yeah, it was meant to be simple. The rest of us had no trouble understanding it, and it has been used many times on the show before. It was supposed to make it easier for you to handle. Must be those damn god glasses on your face, preventing you from seeing naked logic…

      - “I was accused of being verbose to cover up faulty reasoning-sheeesh!”

      You’re seriously comparing Tracie’s TWO sentences with your… MILLION? Jesus Christ, dude! (Oops, there I go again, taking my own name in vain.)

      Your main complaint with Tracie’s answer seems to be that you think gods shouldn’t require physical demonstration. Yet, in the world we live in, that’s all there is. What else is reliable? How else can you prove that Thor does or does not exist, or the unicorn in the shipping box, without physical evidence? You’ve essentially removed your god from all testability and then complained when we say we can’t test it and therefore can’t acknowledge it. I would maintain that there is no such thing as non-physical evidence. If a supernature existed, how could you even prove it? You set up the test for us, and remember that circumstantial evidence won’t cut it where you’re trying to establish an absolute, such as “X exists.” If circumstantial evidence cut the mustard in this arena then we would be believing in Big Foot, the Loch Ness Monster, Zeus, and dragons, to name just a few out of an endless list of things purported to exist.

      I’ll just stop here. Others have responded to this as well, probably with better answers than mine, so I’ll save everyone some time. I know some of these issues have been explained to you earlier, and you continue to make the same mistakes over and over, regarding what burden of proof means and how fallacies can be applied. I wouldn’t expect you to change your tune any time soon, but I would hope that you’ll reconsider your approach.

  62. 62
    jerry decaire

    I meant “argument from incredulity-not incongruity-talk about a mind slip. Any ad-hominems?

  63. 63
    Jesus Christ

    He sent me more emails, one of which is long and looks to be addressed to everyone here. I asked him if he plans to post it. If not, I will.

  64. 64
    Aquaria

    Everything this guy writes is a Gish Gallop on steroids.

    1. 64.1
      jerry decaire

      See what I mean-adhominem-which is no argument.
      “Jesus Christ” has the pages and promises to post. You sort it out. Those earlier images were so low res I seriously doubt any free internet software could have resolved the problem.

      What am I claiming? That it seems consciousness is primal and not secondary. That means it’s support for the top-down argument meaning that it’s support for God (not necessarily Jehovah-if that’s the real God we’re all gonna’ be in a world of hurt-atheist AND believer!. If these tests are correct (and they have been replicated for 80 years now), and the interpretation is sound, the premises allow for the outlandish sequitur-consciousness is foundational to reality.

      Now if you physicists out there have a counter that leaves me a bit confused and I’ll tell you why. This is the white elephant that our best physicists are left confounded over. Atheists don’t want to know and believers embrace it for obvious reasons. But I do not support the nonsense that a single individual can skew reality to suit their ends. This reality is like the Matrix-we are plugged in and there isn’t shit we can do about it-we have to obey the rules. That’s why if you get into a car wreck you’re mince-meat. Ever notice that the guy who believes in the Secret and that sort of nonsense and says you control reality is bald and not so good looking? If he’s right, he should look like Fabio with a host of babes clinging to his arms. My off the wall supposition is that our consciousnesses share this primal foundation and that is why we share the same reality for agreement and functionality and no one person can alter it for selfish reasons. Just a speculation so don’t ask for either evidence or proof-except what “Jesus Christ” will send you soon. Even that proves nothing but is a pointer-and a strong one until proven otherwise. I really have to run and I won’t be back until I get some work done. Yes, unlike what someone here said I am not a what is it you say? “TROLL? This is new to me and I do want to stop-I’m tired.

      1. jacobfromlost

        Jerry: Yes, unlike what someone here said I am not a what is it you say? “TROLL? This is new to me and I do want to stop-I’m tired.

        Me: Does anyone here believe that this person works in comic books, writes never-ending emails, responds ad absurdum and ad infinitum on the comments of blogs…with comments like the above…and DOESN’T know what a “troll” is?

        I’m just curious if ANYONE believes this dude’s feigned ignorance. I don’t.

      2. Jesus Christ

        Let’s get something straight, Jerry. While I would love to upload what you’ve sent me for everyone to see, I currently can’t even DOWNLOAD what you’ve sent me. As I’ve explained to you, I’m using my cell phone’s data plan to tether and do not have broadband. I never “promised” to upload anything, though I will still try. I will have to go to the library to possibly make that happen. YOU can upload them, though, yourself. You can do like I said and use an OCR program to convert the images to text and then post that directly here. I sent you a link to a site that does this for free, without requiring registration. It’s easy, considering that you have a decent connection. Hell, if you have your own scanner you probably already have an OCR program installed. You’re literally only one step away from being able to post it all right here.

      3. Aquaria

        You braindead sack of dog vomit, that’s not an ad hominem.

        Here’s how ad hominem works:

        jerry fuckface clare is a dishonest fucking moron, therefore he’s wrong about creationism.

        That’s a fucking ad hominem, asshole. Insulting a scumbag christard’s rampant, rampaging dishonesty isn’t.

        Go back to the toddler’s table, where you belong. People who don’t know the difference between ad hominem and insult are too fucking stupid to even look at the grown ups.

        Fuck off.

  65. 65
    heicart

    Since Eben’s latest post indicated he had some unwanted typos and deletions from the prior post, I moderated to only release the second version. So, just fyi, where he indicates it is a corrected comment, the “incorrect” one, I just didn’t post, as it seemed unnecessary as he’d issued a corrected one.

  66. 66
    heicart

    Eben:

    I’m not sure how far into this latest I will get, but already saw some errors that ought to be addressed. It seems Eben still hasn’t quite grasped what these common fallacies actually are trying to encompass.

    >Even atheists use CIRCULAR ARGUMENTS like “The universe is all there is therefore there is no God.” I then ask, “How do you know there is no God?” And they follow up with their aforementioned non-sequitur: “Because the universe is all there is.” (We are aware of 4% of this universe so premise one is an absurd claim which makes it an unsubstantiated premise so that the conclusion doesn’t follow.) You do the math. That’s no less circular than the schmoe who tells us that the Bible is the word of God because the Bible tells us so-an argument I have never made.

    This is not an example of circular reasoning, and not even a good representation of the position expressed. First of all atheism what ideas about the universe aren’t even related. Atheism is just not believing a god exists. It doesn’t mean that an atheist doesn’t believe in god because of the state of the universe. Any atheist may not believe in god for a number of different reasons.

    1. The universe can be demonstrated to exist.
    2. God (and Ebon admitted this repeatedly) cannot be demonstrated to exist.

    I cannot agree it is reasonable to assert something exists when it cannot be differentiated from nothing. It has nothing to do with the universe. It has to do with the *fact* that nothing can be shown to exist to which we can attach the label “god.” This is not circular. It is merely stating the obvious.

    >Then there’s the ARGUMENT FROM AUTHORITY: 90% of top scientists today are atheists (therefore the smartest people are atheists??)

    No citation for this statistic. I could only wish that 90% of scientists were atheists. The number is nowhere near that in fact. There are a great number of theist scientists, and so to imply they’re biased toward atheism makes no sense. This stat of 90% atheist is simply not aligned with any statistical representation of theists in science that I’ve ever seen before. Even the figures that offer the highest percentages of atheists within scientific fields don’t come close to 90%, and this is often including positions such as “doubt” about the existence of god, which could still fall under theism:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_atheism

    From the link: A study has shown atheism in the West to be particularly prevalent among scientists, a tendency already quite marked at the beginning of the 20th century, developing into a dominant one during the course of the century. In 1914, James H. Leuba found that 58% of 1,000 randomly selected U.S. natural scientists expressed “disbelief or doubt in the existence of God” (defined as a personal God which interacts directly with human beings). The same study, repeated in 1996, gave a similar percentage of 60.7%. Expressions of positive disbelief rose from 52% to 72%.[15] (See also relationship between religion and science.)

    >First, there could be other reasons as to why they disbelieve such as psychological reasons:

    Here, you’re simply admitting that the majority of scientists don’t agree with you that science implicates a god or a universal consciousness. Rather than admit that scientists may, as a majority of people expert in their fields of study, be better able to interpret scientific data, you simply try to say scientists can’t be trusted. You sure were wanting us to pay attention to them when you thought they were saying that there was a god and a universal consciousness. Now you see they’re not—and suddenly we shouldn’t trust researchers—the same ones you’ve been begging us to pay attention to throughout your letters. Now they aren’t so supportive of your amateur interpretations of their data—suddenly you don’t trust them anymore.

    > Additionally, the major share of world changing scientists over history were theists or at least agnostic- including contemporary scientists. http://www.adherents.com/people/100_scientists.html

    Which is what I was saying above. Scientists *aren’t* biased in favor of atheistic worldviews, because many of them aren’t even atheists. Even those who believe in god do NOT assert that science demonstrates what you are saying it demonstrates. Why don’t scientists who believe a god exists publish the science that supports the existence of a god? Do you think if the evidence was there, they would withhold it? Why—if they believe that god exists? If they had evidence that implicated god’s existence, why would theistic scientists *not* publish that research? You contradict yourself. On the one hand you assert scientists are atheists, and refuse to be honest. On the other you provide a list of scientists who aren’t atheists, thereby undermining your original claim. The reason they don’t publish conclusions saying this god is demonstrated to exist—is because the data doesn’t support it. You can’t win with atheist scientists, and you still can’t win with theistic scientists. You lose in the arena of science, Eben. The evidence you are looking for—it’s not there.

    >Or how about the ole’ ARGUMENT FROM PERSONAL INCREDULITY which, by the way, is not as bad as you insist as that argument deals with mathematical probabilities: “I just can’t imagine a top-down theory of everything. I cannot believe there’s a God therefore God doesn’t exist.” –You know, the same point made in reverse in the heading on this page by not so clear in the head, Tracie.

    I’m not saying I don’t believe god exists because it’s too incredible a proposition. I’m saying that you haven’t demonstrated anything that you’re calling god exists. That’s why I don’t believe it exists. If you tell me you have a mug in your hand, and your hand is empty, and I say “there is no mug in your hand,” that is not a fallacy or the argument from incredulity. That is me saying there doesn’t appear to be anything there to call “mug” in your empty hand. If you say a god exists, and I say “where?” and you say there is no way to examine or measure it—then you’ve just described it as nothing. I can’t call a thing “existent” when it shares all the same attributes as nothing. If you’re saying I’m incredulous that “nothing” can be “something”—then I admit, you have me there. Guilty as charged. But that’s not a fallacy. If nothing could be something, then it wouldn’t be nothing now, would it?

    >.She opens her big mouth without stopping to think of the counter applications-there’s a flip-side to every coin. And talk about being impressed with oneself-only there’s no justification here. I have seen more humility coming out of the mouths of true intellectual giants who really are changing the world unlike me and the other dolts posting on this site.

    Oh, flatterer!

    >Now here’s the fallacious argument atheists like to employ but it is no less fallacious than any other” Burden Of Proof: The claim that whatever has not yet been proved false (That God is real) must be true (God isn’t real). Essentially the arguer claims that he should win by default if his opponent can’t make a strong enough case. There may be three problems here. First, the arguer claims priority, but can she back up that claim ?

    It’s not “priority.” If I say there is mug in my hand, and you look and there is nothing there. Isn’t it up to me to explain what I mean by “there is a mug in my hand”? Or do you think people should just believe me, even though I have what appears to be nothing in my hand? It isn’t because I made the claim *first*–it is that I made the claim *at all*. Once I assert something, if it’s challenged, I should be willing to support the claim. Why would that even be a problem?

    > Second, she is impatient with ambiguity, and wants a final answer right away (Can we spell TRACIE?). And third, “absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.”

    So, if I tell you I have a mug in my hand, and you see only empty hands, it’s your opinion that is not a demonstration that I have no mug. Gotta love that. Nice quote from Matt here that summed it up nicely in today’s viewer mail: “Absence of evidence isn’t absolute confirmation of absence, but is most definitely evidence FOR absence…and the absence of evidence where evidence would be expected is actually good evidence for absence.”

    Something that manifests exactly like nothing cannot be differentiated from nothing. And if you present nothing, you can’t be upset when people say it’s nothing. If you want to have people agree it’s something—you need to figure out a way to make it demonstrable in some direct, measurable way. That’s when people will agree with you that it’s different than nothing. You want your god to resemble nothing in every way, but have people say you’re reasonable for calling it something. That’s asking too much.

    >I’ve also gotten a schlew of these arguments from atheists which you rarely find from Christians:
    Ad Hominem (Argument To The Man): Attacking the person instead of attacking his argument. For example, “Von Daniken’s books about ancient astronauts are worthless because he is a convicted forger and embezzler.” (Which is true, but that’s not why they’re worthless.)

    I admit there are a lot of posts on this thread. But I just did a search for “embezzler” and found only this comment above. Did anyone actually say this here? And if I missed it, fair enough. Let me know. I’m not going to proof read over 100 comments searching for this word, but a page search function did not yield this for me. So, who said this? I did indicate you used this earlier, and you did. You noted that someone over at Wikipedia is an atheist, and the clear implication was that the Wiki was therefore untrustworthy–even though it uses countless editors with all manner of backgrounds. Why even bring up the religious leaning of someone involved in the project *unless* your point was that, as he’s an atheist, we can just toss out anything posted at Wikipedia? That certainly seemed to be your aim. And I wasn’t the only person who saw that as your intention.

    >In fact, after having reviewed a list of about 1000 fallacious arguments on the web I had an epiphany: Those fallacious arguments covered just about any argument anyone could ever make either in favor of the atheist or the Christian.

    Only if you totally fail to grasp the core of what they mean. Just as you keep trying to assert that using scientific consensus to apply to the interpretations of scientific research represents things like “argument from authority” or “argument from popularity.” You don’t understand what those fallacies actually *mean*. If you’re dealing with actual authorities in their field of expertise and applying their views to that field, that is quite reasonable and not a fallacy. But if you say “expert X says Y, and he can’t be wrong,” that would be a fallacy. And if you say “Jim is a lawyer, and he says the best way to fix a leaky pipe is…XYZ,” that would be a fallacy. But saying “most plumbers polled said the best way to fix a leaky pipe is XYZ” is not fallacious. There is a reason we give credence to expert opinion in the fields of their expertise.

    In other words (paraphrased from “expert witness” entry at the wiki): An expert … is a person, who by virtue of education, training, skill, or experience, is believed to have expertise and specialized knowledge in a particular subject beyond that of the average person, sufficient that others may rely upon the expert’s specialized (scientific, technical or other) opinion about an evidence or fact issue within the scope of his expertise, referred to as the expert opinion.

    You keep confusing expert opinion with mere popular opinion. And you keep confusing the *fact* that it’s correct to appeal to expert opinion when you’re talking about a specialized field of research. The opinions of the people who do that research matter a great deal, and carry more weight than some guy on the Internet.

    > Do I need to spell out the obvious? If we are to take those arguments as fallacious seriously, then there are no arguments at all-there is nothing.

    Because you aren’t able to tell when they correctly apply and when they do not. And I have actually tried, several times to help you understand this failing, but it’s futile apparently.

    I knew when I started this I probably wouldn’t make it all the way through. And, you know, I was right about that, too.

    I will leave it here, because I can’t imagine it improves as it goes on. Again, the major benefit to this isn’t responding to Eben. It’s offering insights to other theistic visitors to the blog who find this conversation and will be able to judge who is actually speaking from reason and who is merely desperate to maintain their position. I’ve supplied sufficient info above to show Eben doesn’t understand these fallacies. And again, I encourage anyone who isn’t familiar with them to look them up and see whether Eben or I have the correct understanding of how and when reasoning errors occur.

    1. 66.1
      jerry decaire

      How strange. I agree with most of what you say in regards to the experts. What’s the problem? I just have a few experts of my own that will disagree with your experts conclusions. And???

      1. heicart

        The problem is two-fold:

        If you reject the major consensus in favor of extreme minority views, you’re not accepting expert opinion, but searching for a deviant view to support your notions. Again, the idea that “Joe is a physicist, and therefore any view he has on physics is valid,” is a fallacy. If Joe is a physicist, but his perspective can be demonstrated to deviate extremely from the vast majority of other qualified experts in his field, then you’re not really adhering to the consensus of physics on the issue, but seeking for any expert that will support your own perspective. That is called “confirmation bias.” You reject the vast majority of experts and search for those few who hold a deviant view that is not accepted broadly by his professional peers, then try to claim that your view is supported by “physics”–while flatly rejecting what the vast majority of physicists are saying the data means.

        Also, a physicist who believes a god exists personally, is not evidence of physics supporting the existence of god. And that *would* constitute a fallacy of the Argument from Authority. If he’s not publishing research that demonstrates god using his expertise as a physicist, then his personal views about god are not related to his professional status as a physicist. Earlier you noted that one of your experts had published in peer-reviewed journals on “unrelated” topics. This is the problem you didn’t seem to recognize. If he’s a physicist, and his physics research does not involve god, then his view of god is not validated by, or demonstrably related to, his position as a physicist.

        The fact is, you appealed repeatedly to the double-slit experiment. The results do not implicate god or consciousness–when you look at the published conclusions from the researchers themselves. You reject those opinions, and simply go and seek anyone to say it’s what you want it to be. This is the *wrong* way to use data and expert consensus.

    2. 66.2
      Raging Bee

      Thanks, heicart, for slogging through this guy’s word-salad so we won’t have to. Your “non-mug in hand” analogy nailed things pretty nicely, and you seem to have debunked just about all of the obscurantist sophistry we’ve come to expect from these theists.

      Neil Stephenson’s novel “Anathem” described a secular monastic order, where the standard punishment for breaking the rules was to be forced to study, and answer questions about, totally insane, nonsensical bullshit, until your mind was warped from being forced into such painfully irrational thought-patterns. I could easily see Eben’s writing used as an instrument of such punishment.

      Come to think of it, I suspect that a lot of religious writing and evangelistic arguments are designed for just that purpose: to warp minds and prevent them from functioning properly.

  67. 67
    jacobfromlost

    Jerry: Even atheists use CIRCULAR ARGUMENTS like “The universe is all there is therefore there is no God.”

    Me: Actually, no. I was very careful to avoid this.

    Jerry: I then ask, “How do you know there is no God?”

    Me: I don’t.

    Jerry: And they follow up with their aforementioned non-sequitur: “Because the universe is all there is.”

    Me: No. Actually, I discussed things that exist, no matter HOW they exist. Do you claim god is outside of existence, or only outside the universe? Did god create existence, or only create the universe? If god didn’t create existence, the first cause argument is moot.

    Jerry: …they become far too impressed with themselves and their egos fancy themselves gods…

    Me: Maybe they are just waiting for evidence. That’s what I’m doing.

    Jerry: Additionally, the major share of world changing scientists over history were theists or at least agnostic- including contemporary scientists.

    Me: You can’t accuse atheists of making arguments from authority, and then turn around and do it yourself. lol

    Jerry: Or how about the ole’ ARGUMENT FROM PERSONAL INCREDULITY … that argument deals with mathematical probabilities: “I just can’t imagine a top-down theory of everything. I cannot believe there’s a God therefore God doesn’t exist.”

    Me: Probabilities have to have actual data backing them up. You have to know the number of instances where something is true, versus the number of instances when it isn’t true, to determine how probable it is to be true in any given instance. There is no data in regard to your god question, so you can’t apply probabilities.

    Jerry: She opens her big mouth without stopping to think of the counter applications-there’s a flip-side to every coin.

    Me: Yes, there is a flip side to logic and evidence–illogic and nonevidence. Guess which side you are on?

    Jerry: Burden Of Proof:The claim that whatever has not yet been proved false (That God is real) must be true (God isn’t real).

    Me: No, the burden of proof is on the one making the claim. If you can’t prove your claim, it doesn’t mean your claim is false. It means it hasn’t been proven.

    Jerry: Essentially the arguer claims that he should win by default if his opponent can’t make a strong enough case.

    Me: They do “win” by default, but winning isn’t a claim nor a conclusion. It just means the claim hasn’t been demonstrated, so there is no rule to believe it.

    Jerry: And third, “absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.”

    Me: No, absence of evidence is evidence of absence if the claim is such that there SHOULD be evidence, but there is not. If the claim is such that there SHOULDN’T be evidence, then the claim is unfalsifaible, and is equal to all claims contradictory, false, imaginary, unknown, or unknowable.

    Jerry: Ad Hominem (Argument To The Man):
    Attacking the person instead of attacking his argument.

    Me: The reason I think you are a troll is because you are violating all of these in this very email. (Be nicer to Tracie. :-) ) You are setting up these obvious responses, purposefully it seems, so responders fall all over themselves in point this out. When I call you a troll or a crackpot, it is because those are the only two options given your comments. It’s nothing personal, and I’m not suggesting your argument is wrong because you are a troll or a crackpot. I’m saying you are a troll or a crackpot because your argument is unsupported nonsense. Hence, it is not ad hominem.

    Jerry: That is why we must choose from our fallacious arguments those we feel are most compelling.

    Me: Ok, please tell me (all readers besides Jerry) that this doesn’t strike you as a sentence written by an atheist troll.

    Jerry: I had asked:“what sort of evidence would lead you to believe in a God? (NOTE: I said EVIDENCE-not PROOF

    Me: I listed mine. You didn’t respond. Why didn’t you respond?

    Jerry: Your atheism is a defeater for your insistence that you have anything worthwhile to say.

    Me: My atheism is based on critical thinking and the burden of proof, the same as my a-Santa-ism. That is all.

    Jerry: if you recall I said that if you were looking for PROOF (as in “until I have a look at this thing”-meaning you will need to actually SEE God) I couldn’t help you.

    Me: I listed evidence, but even if you call “seeing god” proof, it still isn’t absolute. I could still be mistaken about what I’m seeing. See Star Trek V. lol

    Jerry: And it is that very fact which invigorates atheists as it serves for them a reason for rejecting their creator.

    Me: Not at all. I gave a long list of evidence that would make me believe in a specific god. I am not invigorated, and I don’t reject things for which I see no evidence of existence. I don’t even know how to do that.

    Jerry: But when you look closer at the many auspicious UNIVERSAL CONSTANTS which allow for life (NOT PARADISE-LIFE!), teleology that seems to require agency, etc., etc.,

    Me: You’re looking in the mirror and marveling at the coincidence that you see yourself every time you look in the mirror.

    Jerry: I HAVE NO PROOF!!!

    Me: Sure. Where’s your evidence, then? Remember, evidence is such that it indicates ONE thing, not many things, and certainly not ANYTHING.

    Jerry: Now that being said, I BELIEVE there are reasons for God’s invisibility.

    Me: Again, I invite other readers to read this sentence carefully and consider this person may be a troll.

    Jerry: …information the biologist needs to better understand this animal.

    Me: If god isn’t omniscient, he’s not god.

    Jerry: …God remains invisible for OUR BENEFIT. I say this on the issue of ACCOUNTABILITY in defense of God’s FAIRNESS:

    Me: Is it fair to withhold important information about reality, and then demand people make correct decisions while ignorant (a la abstinence only education, lol)?

    Jerry: wherever you end up on the spiritual plane will be because of the choices YOU MADE!

    Me: If you make choiced based on faulty or incomplete knowledge, then it is unjust to hold you responsible for those “choices”, and, even worse, unjust to call them choices at all. A choice must be among KNOWN QUANTITIES, not unknown ones.

    Jerry: So on that Day of Judgment the God that was invisible will point out to you that

    Me: So an invisible god during earthly life is bad, but a visible god for all eternity is ok? I take it you don’t believe in free will in heaven, and that Satan had no free will when he rejected a visible god?

    Jerry: That is my BELIEF system (not PROOF system) and this is my last post because I have nothing else to offer to anyone who doesn’t want to listen.

    Me: How ironic. You’ve stopped listening, run away, and claim we are stubborn and ignorant and not listening. We read your insane rantings. You should be thankful and note our patience and extensive listening/reading skills.

    Jerry: I have no PROOF only evidence.

    Me: You have no evidence. Evidence is a defined term. It indicates ONE thing, not many things, and not ANYTHING. The “evidence” you cite is not evidence.

    Jerry: And by the way, all the counter arguments about the fine tuning being disproved is nonsense.

    Me: That’s not what was said. The fine tuning hasn’t been proven, nor has there been any evidence for it. So why should anyone care?

    Jerry: There are only unsubstantiated theories (multiverse theories, serial universe theories, etc) that atheists like to evoke to support their need to dispel of God for whatever personal reasons.

    Me: We don’t know. We’re looking into it, and finding some intriguing observational support. Laura Mersini Houghton’s equations have had some subsequent observational support. Observations at the Supercolliders will also shed light on these ideas, supporting some, disconfirming others, until we get closer to the truth.

    Jerry: Paul Davies, and even Hawkings recognizes that as a problem

    Me: What? That science doesn’t come to absolute conclusions? Ever? That’s what science IS–ie, a process that is never ending and always contingent on new observations and new experiments.

    Jerry: and virtually anything else as atheists claim,

    Me: Atheists generally don’t claim anything in regard to atheism, except that they don’t believe in gods.

    Jerry: then the atheist must defer that in one of these universes there must be a God.

    Me: Maybe, but it wouldn’t be a god of all universes, only the one in which it would be found. Which wouldn’t be a god in the way you are implying.

    Jerry: And if only one universe has a God, then by definition this God would be the God of all universes following the characteristics of an omnipotent, omniscient God.

    Me: Nope. (Which god is more powerful? The one who is found to exist in one universe while being omnipotent, omni-yada-yada, or the one who is omnipotent, omni-yada-yada while not existing? The one who doesn’t exist is obviously more powerful.)

    Jerry: So you may want to look for another refuge to make your case for atheism-the multiverse theory won’t help you.

    Me: Atheism has nothing to do with multiverse theory. Atheism is a lack of belief in gods. Atheism is not a claim, assertion, theory, dogma, doctrine, religion, or pizza topping.

    Jerry: This is my last post. I have said all that I can.

    Me: We’re still waiting for evidence.

    Jerry: Accept it or reject it. No prob. I can’t respond to everyone so this is my final say.

    Me: Sounds like you are afraid and running away. It happens all too often.

    Jerry: If you want to discuss personally, email me. If you’re too lazy to do that and can only find the energy to insult and holler, I have no time for that. I will only accept a reasonable discussion and a listening ear. Not an ear that will agree-just one that respects other ideas. [email protected]
    Goodbye!

    Me: Please take your own advice. Remember, do unto others as you would have done unto you, and don’t do unto others the way you don’t want done unto you. The principle doesn’t change just because you think someone has violated the principle against you. If you truly believe in it, live by it or quit your whining. Doofus.

    1. 67.1
      jerry decaire

      Read again. Maybe you’ll get it.

    2. 67.2
      jerry decaire

      That’s funny…you tell me to be more polite and then call me “doofus.” That’s called an adhominem. Your inability to grasp what I’m saying despite that lengthy sojourn compels me to say you are unquestionably the most verbose “doofus” I have ever encountered. You ask for things that were already given. You misapply my statements and can’t even comprehend my points. And the fact you disagree with virtually everything from someone with a relatively high IQ just shows how combatant you are but not intelligent. I am smart enough to ascertain the size of a background substrate relative to the size of a foreground substrate relative to the distance from the eye and apply that to dramatic effect in a human figure. I travel the nation extensively doing presentations on how mathematics and science merges with art to create a human figure and you can see my theories applied and watch the character materialize right before your eyes using my methodologies. What that means is I’m smart enough to make theory work for me and my predictions testably pan out. I must be thinking right in a lot of ways for that to happen. Where’s the evidence for your intelligence? What do you create based on independently arrived at theories? Let me guess, you think art is only a magical thing that resides in the fingertips? You call it talent rather than intelligence. I wonder if you know what talent is? Define that for me. Here’s a quote from Albert Einstein: “The greatest scientists that have ever lived were also artists” And that’s probably because they are both creative and know how to put their money where their mouth is. As for you, all we get is hyperbole.

      1. jerry decaire

        By the way, it was said the faithful typically run away from the atheist experience with the implication they are scared. I’ll give you a clue, they go away because they were hoping for a more open dialogue-a friendly exchange of varying ideas-like most blogs. They tire of giving evidence which would be acceptable to any thinking person as at least a possibility and they finally realize the reason they are met with such resistance has nothing to do with intelligent choices but rather a dogmatic clinging to a worldview-a worldview that seeks any information it can find to support it without giving any heed to the counter argument. They never once hear something like, Hmmm…that’s something to think about. Instead they get adhominems whose only objective is to attack and humiliate –in short, they are deluged with a party of assholes. They also know they are dealing with people who have made their beds and are now comfortable sleeping in them. They visited your house and was rejected so they left your home and shaked the dust off their sandals. In short, they have better things to do. I really expected to see a fair and balanced exchange with various opinions coming over the posts. Instead I get this monochromatic sampling of thought that’s stuck in a rut. And you will viciously fight to protect that worldview as it is you who are threatened. That is why you hang out here-as my father once said, “birds of a feather cling together.” So stay there in your cosmic egg and pat each other on the back. I mean, this is one place where you are in the majority so that must bring you a measure of comfort. I’ll give you a clue-there is no better evidence for what is true than how a life is changed or expressed by adhering to that which is true. So far, every atheist I have encountered in my life is vile, dishonest, nasty, cruel, inconsiderate, sad, lonely, angry, immersed in alcohol, smoke and drugs and pissed off at the faithful –and to the point where they bristle whenever a counter point is made. Ask yourself why. Why do you think that is? Could it be they are missing the peace that surpasses all understanding? Now for all reading, hear me out, I kid you not-EVERY atheist I have encountered is suffering inside. Ever notice how an animal that is in pain lashes out? You don’t even have to mean any harm and that is what they will do. There is your EVIDENCE-besides the quantum stuff I sent to JC. This is the emotional appeal. And as we are emotional creatures, it may mean something.

        1. Mel Eder

          The problem is that emtional arguments adn what we want to be ture is not frequently what is true. In every day life you require evidecne for things. i could not presumably sell you a car that had a magic button that made it fly and invisible. You would presumably ask to at least see the car. If I then told you other people had seen or flown in this car and how dare you question me, would you then buy it? What if I produced a book about the car? Would that convince you?

          If other people told you they felt better because they knew this car was out there would that convince you? Having standrds of evidence and what we accept as evidence is important so we know what is more liekly to be true.

          Common ense would have told us that two objects that are very different size adn weight should hit the ground at different times. Now clearly what we expected to happen did not, but we determined what did occur by observation. This is why personal bias, emotional appeals have to be kept out of scientific tests to eliminate what we think should happen.

          Now keeping out books, personal experiences, emotional arguments adn the rest is not been closed minded it makign sure we do not taint the results so that the results are clsoe to reflecting reality as possible.

        2. Zen

          AND The Mask Finally falls to reveal the standard jesus freak. Desperate to cling to their DAY OF JUDGEMENT. Quite laughable.

          I have a suggestion for you. You should draw your god into existence, he’s relying on you.

        3. Aquaria

          I’ll give you a clue, they go away because they were hoping for a more open dialogue-a friendly exchange of varying ideas-like most blogs.

          Liar.

          The conversation is open. It is your tiny, putrid, jebus-wrecked excuse of a brain that is fucking welded shut.You’re not even entertaining the idea that we could be right. Has that even occurred to you? At all.

          Obviously not, because you offer no evidence, and nothing that makes sense. You can’t even bother to learn about science, or logic, or history, or–well, anything that isn’t in your genocidal scumbag manual or lied about from your equally idiotic and dishonest shamans. You can’t learn about the arguments that even other creationists are telling you not to be so fucking stupid as to bring up anymore.

          Open dialogue? What a fucking crock!

          What you want is for us to prostrate ourselves before you and thank you for showing us the light of your imaginary genocidal scumbag in the sky, no matter how stupid, dishonest, wrong or just plain laughable your delusions and lies are.

          And when we don’t buy your outrageous stupidity and lies, you run away and cry to mama.

          So you’re not only only intellectually lazy and inept, but also dishonest and cowardly as well.

          We’re laughing at you. I hope you know that.

        4. Raging Bee

          So far, every atheist I have encountered in my life is vile, dishonest, nasty, cruel, inconsiderate, sad, lonely, angry, immersed in alcohol, smoke and drugs and pissed off at the faithful –and to the point where they bristle whenever a counter point is made.

          First, how big a sample are you judging from here? And second, unless you can offer some sort of evidence to back up such a wild sweeping assertion, I’ll have to conclude you’re full of shite.

          Oh, and speaking of mean horrible dishonest people bristling whenever a counterpoint is made…we’re not the ones threatening you with eternal torture in the afterlife if you don’t agree with us.

          Now for all reading, hear me out, I kid you not-EVERY atheist I have encountered is suffering inside.

          And your proof of that is…?

      2. Jesus Christ

        Jerry, what the hell does being an artist have to do with your views on religion and science? Even if you’re a fantastic artist, that doesn’t make you right about every opinion that forms inside your skull. Just look up Neal Adams, another comic artist and a complete fruitcake. If you have a career that you’re good at and that you enjoy, more power to you, but that is the limit of the scope of your expertise.

        Now, you can have interest in science and other things in addition to being an artist, and you may tie some of that into your work, but that doesn’t give you any authority to make declarative statements about reality. Hell, not even scientists do that — not without solid evidence to back up their statements.

        I play the piano and study music theory. I think I’m fairly intelligent about it, but does that give me the right to lecture about other areas that I’m not trained in? Of course not. Notice that I was very cautious with what I said regarding quantum mechanics. Sure, I’ve read a little about it, but I would never pretend to be an expert, even if I read a whole lot more. People can be smart regarding one thing and idiotic regarding another. Maybe if you and JacobfromLost were to get into a different topic you would find that you largely agree and get along fine. But, my man… you need to take a step back from this religious stuff and reevaluate your positions. I don’t think science is saying what you think it’s saying. Of course, that’s just my under-educated opinion, though I do have precedent, based on many other false assertions and errors you have committed throughout these blog comments. That, and people with professional scientific training tend to disagree with you overall. Since I’m not an Einstein it’s most reasonable for me (and you) to go with the scientific consensus… If you think the consensus is wrong, and you have expertise on your side, then you know what the next step is: change your career, become a full-time quantum physicist, and show the world what you can do. There’s a Nobel Prize with your name on it out there, just waiting for your paradigm-changing papers to be submitted.

        Don’t give up by any means. Study what you like. Just… try to be more circumspect about it.

      3. Skemono

        you tell me to be more polite and then call me “doofus.” That’s called an adhominem

        Only by people who don’t know what an argumentum ad hominem actually is.

    3. 67.3
      jacobfromlost

      Jerry: That’s funny…you tell me to be more polite and then call me “doofus.” That’s called an adhominem.

      Me: It was a test to see if you are a troll, troll. Besides, it isn’t ad hominem because you are doofus BECAUSE your arguments are nonsense. Your arguments are not nonsense because you are a doofus. Doofusness is contingent on your bad argument and obnoxious logorrhea.

      Jerry: And the fact you disagree with virtually everything from someone with a relatively high IQ just shows how combatant you are but not intelligent.

      Me: I am not combative. And as regard to intelligence, as Jeff Dee once said, “Even stupid people can be right.” Being correct about something is not contingent on your intelligence or stupidity, nor on my intelligence or stupidity, but on an objective demonstration that claim is correct. Even complex things I don’t understand can be demonstrated to my satisifaction to be real.

      Jerry: and watch the character materialize right before your eyes using my methodologies.

      Me: Sure you can. Sure you can.

      Jerry: What that means is I’m smart enough to make theory work for me and my predictions testably pan out.

      Me: If you say so.

      Jerry: I must be thinking right in a lot of ways for that to happen.

      Me: Must be. There’s no other explanation.

      Jerry: I wonder if you know what talent is?

      Me: Yeah, before we go running off into another tangent, can you please acknowledge that your first question was for atheists to give you a list of evidence that would be evidence to them that a god exists. I gave you my list (perhaps not all atheists’ lists, but I think its a good one and no one objected to it). It’s still up there in the comments, with no response from you, which suggest to me you never really cared to get such a list.

      Jerry: Define that for me.

      Me: Talent is what you don’t have but desperately need. Trolling is an artform, and you are denigrating it here.

      Jerry: Here’s a quote from Albert Einstein: “The greatest scientists that have ever lived were also artists”

      Me: Einstein was a terrible violinist! Just…terrible. And not a very good family man, either. How disappointing. His EQ was very low.

      Jerry: I’ll give you a clue, [theists run away like frightened kittens] because they were hoping for a more open dialogue-a friendly exchange of varying ideas-like most blogs.

      Me: I’m very friendly and very open. Do you think a friendly, oopen dialogue requires your listener to agree with you a priori?

      Jerry: They tire of giving evidence which would be acceptable to any thinking person as at least a possibility

      Me: If evidence only indicates a POSSIBILITY, it isn’t evidence. If we’re neighbors, and I end up shot and murdered while typing on AE blogs, the police don’t go to your house, ask if you have a trigger finger, and when you say “yes”, arrest you for murder. Does a trigger finger mean it is POSSIBLE you are the murderer? Sure. But so does everyone else, save for some amputees that god refuses to heal because he hates them so. (See what I did there? THAT’s talent!)

      Jerry: and they finally realize the reason they are met with such resistance has nothing to do with intelligent choices but rather a dogmatic clinging to a worldview-a worldview that seeks any information it can find to support it without giving any heed to the counter argument.

      Me: Atheism is a disbelief in gods. If you have evidence for a god, present it already. Goofball. (Again, not an ad hominem as your behavior demonstrates goofballatry.)

      Jerry: They never once hear something like, Hmmm…that’s something to think about.

      Me: It is something to think about. I told you, it is on the same list as everything imaginary, false, unfalsifiable, contradictory, illogical, unknown, and unknowable. There are a lot of things on that list, and there is no reason to think about any ONE of them as REAL until evidence suggests we should. Evidence that is not evidence, such as your trigger finger, is just as much “evidence” as the trigger fingers of billions of others. So what? Who cares? It’s POSSIBLE Santa murdered me, as Santa does have a trigger finger, but that trigger finger might not exist since Santa might not exist. If you want to pin my murder on Santa, you have to demonstrate Santa exists first, not simply claim that Santa’s finger is evidence enough for a possibility…because, as they say, anything’s possible.

      Jerry: They visited your house and was rejected so they left your home and shaked the dust off their sandals.

      Me: Please don’t admit to being to my house while the murder investigation is still ongoing. (Why are you wearing sandals in the middle of winter? It’s very suspicious given the sandal prints in the snow leading up to my house. Also, why is my blood in the sandal prints?)

      Jerry: And you will viciously fight to protect that worldview as it is you who are threatened.

      Me: Not me. I gave you the kind of evidence I would need. You ignored it. Several times. It’s still up there. I invite you to scroll up to post 53. I also invite atheists to comment on it. Would that kind of evidence convince you? Why or why not? Etc.

      Jerry: That is why you hang out here-as my father once said, “birds of a feather cling together.”

      Me: Your father liked cliches? I wouldn’t repeat that.

      Jerry: So far, every atheist I have encountered in my life is vile, dishonest, nasty, cruel, inconsiderate, sad, lonely, angry, immersed in alcohol, smoke and drugs and pissed off at the faithful –and to the point where they bristle whenever a counter point is made.

      Me: I’m not bristling. I’m kind, honest, nice, considerate, happy, content, never drank a drop of alcohol, never smoked, never did drugs besides Tylenol and Prilosec (and Advil? can’t remember), and would be perfectly fine if a god idea met the kind of evidence I already outlined. Why would it bother me, exactly? You tell me what I’m thinking and feeling so I know.

      Jerry: Ask yourself why. Why do you think that is? Could it be they are missing the peace that surpasses all understanding?

      Me: Why I’ve never drank alcohol? Never saw the point, really.

      Jerry: Now for all reading, hear me out, I kid you not-EVERY atheist I have encountered is suffering inside. Ever notice how an animal that is in pain lashes out?

      Me: Lashes out? No, I’ve never heard of this. Please explain more.

      Jerry: You don’t even have to mean any harm and that is what they will do. There is your EVIDENCE-besides the quantum stuff I sent to JC. This is the emotional appeal. And as we are emotional creatures, it may mean something.

      Me: Trolling needs to be more subtle and more entertaining. Doofus goofball. This was not subtle, but mildly entertaining. I give it two out of four trolls and an “E” for effort, but you really need to put more thought into it next time.

      1. Aquaria

        So far, every atheist I have encountered in my life is vile, dishonest, nasty, cruel, inconsiderate, sad, lonely, angry, immersed in alcohol, smoke and drugs and pissed off at the faithful –and to the point where they bristle whenever a counter point is made.

        Shiny, shiny mirror.

        So what do you do in your spare time when you’re not projecting your more loathsome attributes onto people you know nothing about?

        1. Aquaria

          That was meant for jerry, the resident dishonest, pathetically ignorant bigot.

  68. 68
    Gwynnyd

    Ever notice how an animal that is in pain lashes out?

    Yep. Nods vigorously. I saw it a lot right here as you lashed out at all us happy, contented atheists when we pointed out the flaws in your arguments and reasoning.

  69. 69
    simon

    damn, i read all of that and at the end my conclusion?

    bunch of new age rubbish. same old same old. poor man must be new to the interwebz.

    i am surprised you lot kept trying to explain your points. he so fundamentally misunderstood the double slit experiment and its results that it should have been obvious from the start that he was on the road to David Icke-dom and not a person that in touch with the reality we all live in.

    still, do you think hes heard of crystals and the amazing things they can do?

  70. 70
    Jerry DeCaire

    I could try and address each point made (and many are so silly) but instead…

    READ ‘EM AND WEEP:
    To all atheists concerned,

    I keep getting demands for proof that mind and matter are somehow linked-a clue that some primal consciousness is at the bedrock of reality. I sent “Jesus Christ” Lanza’s test results and an explanation on this issue and JC has yet to post those-by no fault of mine. I expressed my concerns to a friend with a PhD in physics and emeritus Princeton researcher who has recently conducted the two-slit experiment himself to answer this question. He just had the article accepted in the well regarded, peer-reviewed journal Physics Essays. http://www.physicsessays.com/ Now I know that his name is not provided but he a cutting edge scientist and to give that out concerns me. The last thing I need is for anyone on this blog to contact this guy with the same slurs and berating and bogus logic that I have experienced. That doesn’t look good on me and he deserves better than that. I also cannot provide the link to the actual paper but I have provided the link to the site above. Some will insist this means nothing until you see that paper, but I KNOW it’s there and it’s real and your cynical conjecture does nothing to change that and I am satisfied!!! Want to know why? It was just accepted. It will be published in the ensuing months. I got the scoop before the fact. That’s what happens when neat people are on your side. So my research trumps yours!!! Na-na-na-na-na! My dog’s bigger than your dog, my dog’s bigger than yours…It’s the latest results!!! And the conclusion can be found below (on a more impersonal note) in anonymous’ email to me. And in defense of my position and for those who think me a mystic quack, note the skepticism in my letter. I would refuse to publish bogus results in my book just to satisfy my need to make money or to believe. I have heard all sides and judged them fairly. As for death being a motivation for faith as atheists accuse the faithful, explain the Sadducees who believed in God but not an afterlife? There are many reasons to believe in God and not just fearful, cynical and dark ones as you propose.

    READ ON TRUE UNBELIEVER and squirm in your pants (or dresses – your choice)

    JERRY DECAIRE’S SKEPTICAL QUESTION:

    Hello anonymous,

    The book is coming along nicely and I have a lot of substantial contributors allowing me free reign for quotes including Pim Van Lommel, Hameroff, Lennox, and others-and you! Thank you. Whatever sales come out of this will be divvied by % of contributions and given back as a thank you.

    I have one big question for you.

    I went to an atheist blog and have spoken of the quantum material out there as in a conscious observer creating a wave collapse and subsequently a particle reality, and I even talked about how Lanza’s biocentric theories shows how the tests have been done with virtually every variable taken into account and yet it still comes up that the observer plays a role (They had to eliminate influences from many factors as virtually any outside influence can cause a wave collapse as you well know).

    Well, firstly, I was attacked venomously by the atheists for even suggesting anything as inoffensive as a primal consciousness as it looked too much like god to them and one even said he was a physicist and has said the most recent test results tells us that’s nonsense. I wish I would have copied and pasted that here but it went something like this:

    “A partial observation causes only a partial collapse therefore disproving a conscious observer plays any role at all.”

    That sounds like double talk to me. If anything, it sounds like support for the theory-not a defeater. This concerns me because I will include this material in my book and if the quantum results are wrong, and outdated, I’ll look pretty stupid and will hardly make my case.

    Do you have any idea what they are talking about? Is there a site you can show me where the counter arguments are countered?? Is there an answer to this? I originally believed what they said months ago that anything causes wave collapse including the energy required to observe through the camera, but then I read Lanza’s book and it seemed resolved. Is it resolved?

    Thank you anonymous. I sure would appreciate your help on this.

    Jerry DeCaire

    ANONYMOUS’ ANSWER:
    Asking anything on an atheist blog is asking for trouble. The same goes for a theist blog. Those ideologies are held very tightly, so anything proposed there that looks or sounds like “the opposition” will be attacked with great emotion. The responses have nothing to do with reason.

    > A partial observation causes only a partial collapse therefore disproving a conscious observer plays any role at all.

    That statement is correct, and you are also correct in interpreting this as support for consciousness being related to matter in some way. Observations convey information, and it is possible to convey a little or a lot. The wavefunction “collapses” in proportion to how much information has been obtained.

    Apropos, I just had an article accepted in the well regarded, peer-reviewed journal Physics Essays. It describes six experiments we did over the last three years that were designed to look exactly at the consciousness-quantum collapse relationship. That paper will undoubtedly upset those who emotionally reject the possibility that mind and matter are related in some way, because the results of our study clearly shows that this does happen.

    The paper is embargoed by the journal while it’s in preparation, so I can’t share it with you until it has been in print for a few months.

    best wishes,
    anonymous

    1. 70.1
      jacobfromlost

      Why do you care what we think of your crackpot nonsense? Does our opinion really mean that much to you?

      1. Jerry DeCaire

        Not any more. Look at my latest post. I have my evidence and the results are looking disturbing for atheists. And by the way, it turns out my interpretation is the correct one while all the while the people on these posts were insisting I knew nothing of science. My confirmation came from a PhD in physics who actually ran the experiments and will be published in Physics Essay. And the usual reply by those who ignore the elephant in the room? Just do the math and ignore speculation. Speculation is about imagination-and there is nothing produced by science that is not a product of imagination-you know, people who were called crackpots-like you called me-GREAT ARGUMENT. Hope you teach philosophy. Ill sign up today to learn what NOT to say in an argument!

        1. jacobfromlost

          Jerry: Not any more.

          Me: Not any more what? You don’t care what we think any more? You’re not making any sense.

          Jerry: Look at my latest post. I have my evidence and the results are looking disturbing for atheists.

          Me: What is the evidence and why would it be disturbing?

          Jerry: And by the way, it turns out my interpretation is the correct one while all the while the people on these posts were insisting I knew nothing of science.

          Me: Your interpretation of WHAT was the correct one? What are you talking about?

          Jerry: My confirmation came from a PhD in physics who actually ran the experiments and will be published in Physics Essay.

          Me: Is it a peer reviewed article? Is what he is publishing related to the claims you are claiming? If so, what is the evidence?

          Jerry: And the usual reply by those who ignore the elephant in the room? Just do the math and ignore speculation.

          Me: I don’t believe I mentioned math or elephants.

          Jerry: Speculation is about imagination-and there is nothing produced by science that is not a product of imagination-you know, people who were called crackpots-like you called me-GREAT ARGUMENT.

          Me: Science doesn’t create things out of imagination. Science says, “Maybe this is true because it fits what evidence we have so far. How do we find out if it is true or not? Let’s develop a falsifiable experiment and invite others to do the same, while also inviting others to search for problems with it.” Science didn’t create gravity by imagining it, nor did Einstein create relativity by a flight of fancy.

          Jerry: Hope you teach philosophy. Ill sign up today to learn what NOT to say in an argument!

          Me: Good grief.

  71. 71
    Jerry DeCaire

    I could address each post and point but what a waste of time. Instead…READ ‘EM AND WEEP:
    To all atheists concerned,

    I keep getting demands for proof that mind and matter are somehow linked-a clue that some primal consciousness is at the bedrock of reality. I sent “Jesus Christ” Lanza’s test results and an explanation on this issue and JC has yet to post those-by no fault of mine. I expressed my concerns to a friend with a PhD in physics and emeritus Princeton researcher who has recently conducted the two-slit experiment himself to answer this question. He just had the article accepted in the well regarded, peer-reviewed journal Physics Essays. http://www.physicsessays.com/ Now I know that his name is not provided but he a cutting edge scientist and to give that out concerns me. The last thing I need is for anyone on this blog to contact this guy with the same slurs and berating and bogus logic that I have experienced. That doesn’t look good on me and he deserves better than that. I also cannot provide the link to the actual paper but I have provided the link to the site above. Some will insist this means nothing until you see that paper, but I KNOW it’s there and it’s real and your cynical conjecture does nothing to change that and I am satisfied!!! Want to know why? It was just accepted. It will be published in the ensuing months. I got the scoop before the fact. That’s what happens when neat people are on your side. So my research trumps yours!!! Na-na-na-na-na! My dog’s bigger than your dog, my dog’s bigger than yours…It’s the latest results!!! And the conclusion can be found below (on a more impersonal note) in anonymous’ email to me. And in defense of my position and for those who think me a mystic quack, note the skepticism in my letter. I would refuse to publish bogus results in my book just to satisfy my need to make money or to believe. I have heard all sides and judged them fairly. As for death being a motivation for faith as atheists accuse the faithful, explain the Sadducees who believed in God but not an afterlife? There are many reasons to believe in God and not just fearful, cynical and dark ones as you propose.

    READ ON TRUE UNBELIEVER and squirm in your pants (or dresses – your choice)

    JERRY DECAIRE’S SKEPTICAL QUESTION:

    Hello anonymous,

    The book is coming along nicely and I have a lot of substantial contributors allowing me free reign for quotes including Pim Van Lommel, Hameroff, Lennox, and others-and you! Thank you. Whatever sales come out of this will be divvied by % of contributions and given back as a thank you.

    I have one big question for you.

    I went to an atheist blog and have spoken of the quantum material out there as in a conscious observer creating a wave collapse and subsequently a particle reality, and I even talked about how Lanza’s biocentric theories shows how the tests have been done with virtually every variable taken into account and yet it still comes up that the observer plays a role (They had to eliminate influences from many factors as virtually any outside influence can cause a wave collapse as you well know).

    Well, firstly, I was attacked venomously by the atheists for even suggesting anything as inoffensive as a primal consciousness as it looked too much like god to them and one even said he was a physicist and has said the most recent test results tells us that’s nonsense. I wish I would have copied and pasted that here but it went something like this:

    “A partial observation causes only a partial collapse therefore disproving a conscious observer plays any role at all.”

    That sounds like double talk to me. If anything, it sounds like support for the theory-not a defeater. This concerns me because I will include this material in my book and if the quantum results are wrong, and outdated, I’ll look pretty stupid and will hardly make my case.

    Do you have any idea what they are talking about? Is there a site you can show me where the counter arguments are countered?? Is there an answer to this? I originally believed what they said months ago that anything causes wave collapse including the energy required to observe through the camera, but then I read Lanza’s book and it seemed resolved. Is it resolved?

    Thank you anonymous. I sure would appreciate your help on this.

    Jerry DeCaire

    ANONYMOUS’ ANSWER:
    Asking anything on an atheist blog is asking for trouble. The same goes for a theist blog. Those ideologies are held very tightly, so anything proposed there that looks or sounds like “the opposition” will be attacked with great emotion. The responses have nothing to do with reason.

    > A partial observation causes only a partial collapse therefore disproving a conscious observer plays any role at all.

    That statement is correct, and you are also correct in interpreting this as support for consciousness being related to matter in some way. Observations convey information, and it is possible to convey a little or a lot. The wavefunction “collapses” in proportion to how much information has been obtained.

    Apropos, I just had an article accepted in the well regarded, peer-reviewed journal Physics Essays. It describes six experiments we did over the last three years that were designed to look exactly at the consciousness-quantum collapse relationship. That paper will undoubtedly upset those who emotionally reject the possibility that mind and matter are related in some way, because the results of our study clearly shows that this does happen.

    The paper is embargoed by the journal while it’s in preparation, so I can’t share it with you until it has been in print for a few months.

    best wishes,
    anonymous

    1. 71.1
      zengaze

      This is why i dread and love Quantum Physics. I do not in the slightest pretend to understand it, and for the most part 99.9 per cent of the population don’t understand it, and that is why it is Nectar for woo woo heads.

      Our enquiry has opened a huge new gap for the woos to shove their god into, the gap will close in time but the woos would never acknowledge it.

      1. Jerry DeCaire

        See how closed your dogmatic mind is? I was like you once-haw-hawwing away the faithful-and then I TOOK A CLOSER LOOK and found it in my reservoir of talents to swallow hard and accept the evidence. Just by virtue of the fact you call it being made into woo woo demonstrates its mystery. And what is your reason for disbelieving the test results? Because you just can’t believe it!!! Incredulity!! Sound familiar?

        1. zengaze

          When the test results of PUBLISHED peer reviewed work POINT to a Wizard behind the curtain then i’ll take note, until then i’ll dismiss it as the wishful conjecture of fantacists.

          Now you will claim that this recent study POINTS to it. Firstly it isn’t published.

          Secondly Quantum mechanics does not point to a creator you just choose to point it there. See what i am refering to when i mention gaps in our knowledge and woo woo heads? Instead of actually trying to pursue the answer they have the answer.

          1. jerry decaire

            You don’t like it when you’re wrong, do you?
            Its been already peer reviewed and accepted for pub by a respectable journal-how many have you published???. I just happened to get it before the fact and you’re blushing behind a wall of skepticism. Quite frankly, this guy has actually done the work-3 years worth and he’s talking to me-not you. I won’t tell until it comes out because I don’t want emails coming from schmoes like you pestering him and telling him he’s full of it. That would really make him warm to me I’m sure.

          2. jacobfromlost

            Jerry: Its been already peer reviewed and accepted for pub by a respectable journal

            Me: Too bad that the results you have hinted at here wouldn’t be evidence for transcendent consciousness.

  72. 72
    sk

    It’s so funny how these people make such ever changing convoluted fuzzy definitions that contribute and prove nothing whatsoever.

    We say the universe exists. They say the universe exists + it’s because of god. Okay so what? What question or problem can this solve? Nothing. Look at North Korea. They also praise their dear leader for every single thing, yet don’t point out how their crappy living conditions are also due to him so maybe he’s not so great and nothing more than another imperfect human being.

    I’m more curious how they jump from an invisible creator to the “god affects the physical world” and “we should listen to some old book because it says so” part.

    The worst part is it seems so darn easy (from my biased non religious upbringing point of view I admit) to figure out the difference from reality, and stuff that exists only in the mind. We KNOW our senses are easily fooled. So corroborating what you are perceiving via the scientific method can only strengthen your case if the thing indeed exists.

    Believer or not, if you say you can’t see this tree, and there is a tree right in front of you, it’s obvious to anyone (who isn’t blind) that something’s wrong with you.

    Yet start talking about how god doesn’t exist or some miracle claim and all of a sudden you need faith. All of a sudden faith is reasonable.

    Bah.

  73. 73
    jacobfromlost

    Anonymous Discoverer of Universal Mystery: That statement is correct, and you are also correct in interpreting this as support for consciousness being related to matter in some way. Observations convey information, and it is possible to convey a little or a lot. The wavefunction “collapses” in proportion to how much information has been obtained.

    Me: Can we get a hint on how he separated out observing something in such a way that it is disturbed by physical forces (ie, photons or light), and observing it with only your mind? It might just be my ignorance, but I can’t observe something without light. How do we know it is our “conscious observation” that is causing this wave collapse and not what quantum physicist have always said–ie, the photons? Even if what he is implying here is true, it doesn’t imply anything about a conscious mind being involved, or influencing the results, whatsoever.

    If you or he are implying a partial collapse demonstrates the influence of a conscious mind, they why aren’t the observations we’ve ALREADY MADE of wave collapses demonstrations of that conscious mind also? Just curious.

    1. 73.1
      jerry decaire

      That is a very good question! I wondered the very same thing. I found out by reading Lanza’s book but as it’s a bit lengthy that is why I’ve been trying to figure out how to download those pages and asked if someone could do that for me. It will take more time than I got-but I am willing to send TIF attachments for those with an email box that can handle it. It’s explained very well and though it’s a popular book as my detractors have pointed out, it names names and research and it’s written by a world renown biologist (Robert Lanza) with many unrelated peer reviewed papers in the hard sciences and subjects that would not be referred to as “woo.” That is what I have now, but the latest paper mentioned won’t be out for a while. Nevertheless, it just verifies what has been reported for 80 years. People like doing this over and over for repeatability wondering if there was something they missed because they just can’t believe it. In a few months if I’m reminded I’ll let you know how to get access to that particular research when its out. Honestly, I hope like hell this is right because I’d be as embarrassed if one day some simple answer is there and I feel the sucker. But 80 years of replicable results and done a myriad number of ways to exclude possible contamination leaves me convinced-but convinced of what? I’ll admit here and now that I believe in strange unaccountable stuff-and even what’s referred to as the supernatural. But even the “supernatural” will end up being natural-but its effects may as well be “supernatural” as the wonders it bestows will parallel something like magic. My perspective is that life is a sort of “magic” we have all just grown accustomed to it and found a way to understand much of it through science. We label it and the mystery disappears. We grow calloused and forget how the world first looked as a baby. So if anyone wants to download this stuff until the latest comes in, let me know. I have the TIF files. But remember-its only a survey of what has already been done and its not heavy into math-its not What the Bleep Do We Know crap-even this book criticizes a lot of new age stuff as ridiculous. I know you’ll appreciate that. I do. I have spent two+ years looking for the real deal and have found very little. But the little has left me amazed.

      1. jacobfromlost

        Why didn’t you remotely answer the question? Answering it doesn’t require email, files, etc, it requires a sentence at most IF there is an answer. You have the ability to write a sentence here, but you refuse to answer.

        How do you observe something without some means to disturb (e.g. photons) that which is being observed? I’m still curious. If you don’t know, just say you don’t know.

        Also, I remember how the world looked when I was a baby. I thought Santa was real, and the Easter Bunny. I also thought that if you concentrated really hard, you could levitate, even though I never could get it to work. When I was 3 and going to sleep at night, I could hear the footsteps of an Evil Man on leaves–I knew he was coming to get me, and it scared the heck out of me. Later, I learned my presents from Santa were from my parents, the eggs the Easter bunny left (some of which I found multiple times and chalked up to Easter magic) were actually left by my parents, that gravity was a fact of life only overcome by mechanical means, and that the footsteps on leaves of the Evil Man I heard every night as I went to sleep was actually my heart beat in my ear against my pillow.

        When I was a baby, the world was filled with scary and marvelous magic. When I grew up, I realized reality was much more marvelous, and the magic of babyhood was fun but far too childish and naive to be useful. When you understand reality, you can solve real problems and finally realize that the problems of fantasy are not really problems.

        1. jerry decaire

          It isn’t just one line its very complicated and an ass like you will only criticize it if it isn’t complete. You have spent more time bitching about this than whatever time you would need to simply email me and get those files for yourself. Let me tell you why you won’t do that-you’re lazy and only looking for an opportunity to insult and debunk. You don’t want information, you want some punk to berate. Either that or your 600 pound ass is sitting on a couch watching NFL and the thought of having to download those is just too much for you. You haven’t gotten with me to get those and neither have you explained to me how to post myself and whether or not Tiff will be acceptable. I think you just want to look smart to your atheist friends. To me, you just look incredibly, unbelievably, the quintessential incarnation of stupidity. Go suck on a log! If you really want to work this out you be polite to me-I don’t respond otherwise!

        2. jacobfromlost

          Jerry: It isn’t just one line its very complicated and an ass like you will only criticize it if it isn’t complete.

          Me: Why are you so afraid of criticism? Science works on an engine of criticism, of an invitation to find what is, or could be, wrong with the results. All I want to know is HOW YOU OBSERVE SOMETHING WITHOUT ANY MEANS OF INTERACTING WITH THE THING BEING OBSERVED. If there is an answer, it only takes a sentence. If there isn’t an answer, a book the length of the bible isn’t going to make an answer of nothing.

          Jerry: You have spent more time bitching about this than whatever time you would need to simply email me and get those files for yourself.

          Me: Good grief. At long last, don’t tell me you don’t even understand what is in the files, lol. That’s it, isn’t it?! You just think it is an answer to something you made up in your own head! Oh, that’s rich. It’s exactly like the Penrose thing earlier! Oh, man. That’s so…sad.

          Jerry: Let me tell you why you won’t do that-you’re lazy and only looking for an opportunity to insult and debunk. You don’t want information, you want some punk to berate.

          Me: You’re not a punk. You’re a doofus and a goofball. I thought I made that clear.

          Jerry: Either that or your 600 pound ass is sitting on a couch watching NFL and the thought of having to download those is just too much for you.

          Me: I’m actually skinny, so tailor your jokes to the 165 range. I don’t often watch football.

          Jerry: You haven’t gotten with me to get those and neither have you explained to me how to post myself and whether or not Tiff will be acceptable.

          Me: Are you under the impression I am a host of the Atheist Experience? I’m just a commenter like you, lol. I’m getting a headache from the facepalming.

          Jerry: I think you just want to look smart to your atheist friends. To me, you just look incredibly, unbelievably, the quintessential incarnation of stupidity.

          Me: I’d rather be smart than look smart. It seems you’d rather look smart than BE smart. Just admit that the reason you won’t answer the question of how an observation can be made without a physical means to observe is because you don’t understand what’s in the Tiff you have. You just assume an answer is in it because it claims there is an answer in it, but you YOURSELF don’t understand it, which is why you keep claiming the answer is in it but cannot tell us what that answer is.

          Jerry: Go suck on a log! If you really want to work this out you be polite to me-I don’t respond otherwise!

          Me: I have been very polite to you. Now YOU respond by demonstrating an answer to how you observe something without a physical means to observe it.

  74. 74
    simon

    its funny how a misunderstanding of the word “observed” between the scientific community and the rest of the population has caused such a stream of new age nonsense.

    i googled double slit experiment, consciousness and shaping reality and was astounded by the results. its truly amazing at how its been misunderstood.

    so, basically if we suspend rational thought and concede to the theory that observation by the conscious mind creates reality then surely the problem is as follows.

    god could not come first and create everything (from outside of the reality) because there is not any conscious mind inside that reality to make it or him real before the reality is created. if you hold to that theory then surely its chicken and egg time.

    if there are no minds to observe the reality then no reality can exist.

    therefore no god can create a reality with consciousness in it. they have to happen at the same time for one to make the other real. if they come into existence at the same time then god did not create the reality. therefore no need for the god.

  75. 75
    Raging Bee

    Beneath all the word-salad, this guy is just trying to bat the ball back into your court. If he actually had any evidence of God’s existence, he’d present it, and explain in plain language why he considered it evidence. But he doesn’t have squat, so when you ask him ehat evidence he has, all he can do is stall you by asking what kind of evidence you’re looking for.

    And when his bluff is finally called, all he can offer is “I believe the universe can’t exist without God, therefore the entire universe is proof of God’s existence.” Which is, of course, just more subjectivist BS.

    I also note his desperate-sounding haste to dissociate himself from his less-articulate fellow believers. He’s trying to pretend that of all the people who believe in God, only a small elite are really smart enough to grasp the full picture — if his belief looks stupid, it’s someone else’s fault, I’m smarter than they are. That’s a pretty sure sign of a self-absorbed crank.

    1. 75.1
      HRG

      “I believe that edelweiss can only grow in the hoofprints of unicorns, thus the existence of edelweiss flowers is convincing evidence for the existence of unicorns”.

  76. 76
    Raging Bee

    You’d have to demonstrate your claim by showing how something as inanimate as the universe could have arrived at something as self-reflective and subjective as consciousness to convince me.

    Life forms evolve that are capable of self-reflection, therefore God? If a cat notices its paws are dirty and licks the dirt off, is that proof of God too? Does this guy even try to define what, exactly, “consciousness” is? Oh wait, he just labelled consciousness “subjective,” so that implies — again — that all his “evidence” is purely subjective and based on immaterial subjective concepts.

    And of course he can’t resist a reflexive dig at people who allegedly slam doors in God’s face. That’s a brain-stem-level reflex for most god-botherers.

    “Rational proofs” of the existence of God are a bit like diet plans: if they really work, why are there so many of them?

  77. 77
    Kes

    I love this “It’s all there in the manual” approach to arguing you have going Eben/Jerry. There are answers to all our questions, and they are all there, in this wondrous book you’ve been writing for years and years! And furthermore, you know it’s right, cause you’re in email contact with PhD physicists, and they’ve told you so!

    What’s that? Just the one physicist, *snicker* “emeritus”? And a few quote mines from dead scientists who would never have agreed in life with the belief structure you’ve built? And you have some files you’d love for us all to see, but it’s not your fault that they can’t be read properly and that rude atheists can’t figure out how to post them for you!

    Seriously. If you can’t sum up your evidence for a “primal consciousness” of the universe in less than 8 pages, you clearly don’t understand it yourself. And from what I’ve skimmed (ugh) you don’t even have evidence of that, just some vague association of observation with consciousness in the wave/particle slit experiments. How you get from there to a divine Consciousness which Fine-Tuned (snicker) the Universe, I don’t see and don’t care to.

  78. 78
    jdon

    After reading through the original letters I came to the same conclusion as jacobfromlost – this is basically the “look at the trees” argument. Something amazing exists ergo god. With a little argument from verbosity thrown in.

  79. 79
    zengaze

    I think the title pretty much sums up this guy’s approach to existence. Here is how it works:

    1) Find gap in our knowledge. Assert as evidence of deity.

    2) Ignore all and any other possible hypothesis outside of deity. Since deity hypothesis cannot be disproven all other hypothesis are invalid.

    3) After Deity hypothesis has been established, assert jesus is said deity, through personal testimony of awe, wonder and relationship

    4) Ignore all calls for evidence of such as invalid as the existence of deity was established in step 1.

    5) Remember scripture is true, it is only false to those who don’t understand it or take it out of context. You know what god means in your heart, listen..

    herefore anyone who refuses to acknowledge this is closed minded

  80. 80
    Jesus Christ

    *splat*

    Hey, I think something just hit the windshield. Turn on the wipers.

  81. 81
    Godzillanator

    He lost ALL credibility in my eyes the second he said that the universe was fine-tuned for life. Anybody who makes such an argument clearly has no conception of just how poorly designed the universe is if its purpose was to have life.

    1. 81.1
      dutchdelight

      He lost ALL credibility in my eyes the second he said that the universe was fine-tuned for life

      Didn’t you notice he made sure all his sources had fancy letters and titles around their names?

      That, and the pointless quotes are really tiring. This guy really doesn’t care about providing any evidence. He already has the truth, and everybody else should just bow to his quotes from important(tm) people.

      And if that’s not enough, he has a guy in princeton with a phd that agrees with him, and he’ll publish something with his name on it! None of this is anywhere near productive or evidence, but he thought he’d make some more arguments from authority just to pass the time. Also, his guy in princeton has a phd, and he’s publishing a real actual journal!!

      I’ll never get how these people can simultaneously disregard the consensus among the experts with all the right qualifications, and at the same time expect us drop to our knees in awe about the authority of their single individual. Talk about completely misunderstanding what he needs to be providing… EVIDENCE, when is it coming?

      Also, that Pim van Lommel guy is a bit of a crank and carries the wrong qualifications for many of the claims and conclusions he makes. His book was plain terrible.

  82. 82
    Unfamiliarwithyourways

    Man, gotta love the “it points to” arguments. Even if, for the sake of argument, we agree the composition of the known universe does imply some kind of conscious intent (though he got nowhere even close to substantiating THAT doozy), it points to what? The possibility of a god? Among how many other more plausible creator-type explanations? It always seemed more likely to me that on the far end of any arguments from design that we’d find responsible a team of alien scientists experimenting with a universe-creating machine (colliding hadrons, perhaps?? Lol). Would this (existent life) even be intentional, or accidental? Would they even be able to observe us?
    Oh, I see, you’re telling me they’re very-much concerned with me, personally, these physicist-analogs in another universe, and they’re willing to confer happy feelings on me if I guess close enough what the deal is.
    Hm.
    Jacobfromlost deserves repetition:
    “Evidence is a defined term. It indicates ONE thing, not many things, and not ANYTHING. The “evidence” you cite is not evidence.”

    We are still an infantile species. We know so so little. Solipsism is the default, and only through institutionalized doubt and double checking for ourselves (read: Science) can we claw away from total ignorance, and even then, just an inch at a time.
    After Hitchens died, I meandered through YouTube watching his best bits, and I found an awesome quote I’ll have to paraphrase (sorry):
    “Religion is actually our first science, and like a first draft, it is also our worst.”

    People like Eben/Jerry need to learn how to take a deep breath and say “we don’t know yet” without seeing it as another opportunity to reconfirm their obsolete placeholder explanation.

    Lol and I think I’ve got whiplash from all the ragequits he’s declared so far

  83. 83
    Jesus Christ

    Ahem… I HAD to post this. You’ll understand when you read. This was sent to me by Jerry since last night. I was explaining how skepticism works (how we need evidence before forming conclusions) and lumped a few pseudosciences in one: alien abduction, homeopathy, gods, etc. The following is his response:

    “You lumped UFO’s and spirits in the same pot. A Michael Shermer fan? I’m not 100 % sure there is an afterlife Chris. But I am certain flying saucers are real-100%!!! And I’m in good comany: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2SJXMBHByZY That makes me feel stronger about my points in regards to the afterlife. I don’t think you are wrong about UFO’s-I KNOW you are wrong and yet you refer to that as “irrational” similarly to NDE’s and whatever. If skeptiks are wrong about UFO’s they can be wrong about many things. I mean, after all, you have irrationally placed UFO’s and souls into the same pot so why can’t I? If UFO’s are real so are souls-I know that is illogical so you won’t need to point that out. But isn’t that similar to, if souls are not real, neither are UFO’s? But nevertheless, that brings me a measure of confidence in my beliefs as the skeptical arguments are very good and yet-they’re wrong!. True knowledge comes by experience-can you tell me who said that? I’m sure you can. You’re a learned man. So though I agree the light barrier thing sounds good and the argument people are looking for attention is good and that 90% of the so called photo evidence is nothing more than pie pans tossed in the air-it’s all good-and so wrong about those cases that ARE authentic. I have never taken drugs and I am not diagnosed with a mental disorder and yet one time in my life I saw the unthinkable and not just some light in the sky from a great distance-more like 100 feet away and very solid and easy to make out. Displayed anti-gravity effects-no sound, vertical descent/ascent, and a speed that defies description-so fast I couldn’t keep track. Yet so slow when it passed my car there was no mistaking what I saw. Can you imagine what my head is thinking when the Shermers of the world guffaw and mock me about that issue? I’m the one laughing knowing full well how arrogant and foolish they are and how so WRONG they are and without a clue!

    “Now that being said, let me tell you what I don’t believe in (even before I saw a UFO I believed those were very possible and for good reasons-look up Michiu Kaku).
    “The only eyewitnesses for Big Foot are drunken bums on the run-not governor’s of state like Fife Symington. Also, in all this time an animal as large as bigfoot should have left a corpse somewhere in all that western coastal area and yet we have nothing. The number of UFO sightings to bigfoot sightings are much more numerous as well.And being a mere biological organism we’d have something by now if it was real. Same as the lochness monster. Don’t believe it and I doubt it will ever be found. Strangely, the coelecanth was every bit as phenomenal as the LM and its aptly referred to as the living fossil. So it may be true but until proven otherwise, I don’t buy it. But the UFO thing-let me clue you-they’re real.That’s settled for me. But what isn’t settled is what exactly was it? Us? Someone else? Extra dimensional? Extraterrestrial? Time travelers-us, giving history lessons to students in the 23rd century? Other beings hidden away in the core or the marianna trench? The lost atlantis shit? I don’t know! I only know we’re not seeing it in Times square or the six o clock news. I like that though. It’s nice to know you can wake up in the morning and see something youve never seen before. It adds mystery and wonder to life. I like that.”

    – Jerry/Eben

    “I remember another gentle visitor from the heavens. Who came to earth… and then died… only to be brought back to life again. And his name was: E.T., the extra-terrestrial. I love that little guy.”

    – Reverend Lovejoy (The Simpsons)

    I haven’t even responded to this yet… I’m still flabbergasted. Though, I suppose I shouldn’t be…

    1. 83.1
      jacobfromlost

      Jesus Christ just made my head explode. That’s not a sentence you type every day.

      I actually spent more years believing in UFOs/aliens than I spent believing in god, so I might understand Jerry’s stance on that better (unless he’s one of those Christians who thinks aliens are demons–then I still don’t get it…although Whitley Strieber suggested that among dozens of other possibilities, lol). But when it came right down to it, I finally realized that (like Mulder) I really, really wanted to believe. Once you check that “want” at the door and try to determine if this is actually true, it falls apart. The couple of good cases (like that old woman with her daughter and grandson in Texas) was very likely a black ops test flight gone awry. There are a couple of others, but overwhelmingly circumstances suggest hoaxes or perception difficulties with the observers. Beyond that, you have unexplained lights in the sky. So what? I can’t even explain how the mechanic fixes my car.

      If anyone has netflix streaming, I suggest watching the X-Files episode “Jose Chung’s ‘From Outerspace’” (episode 20 of season 3). That episode still sums up the entirety of the UFO myth for me PERFECTLY, from the clashing of weird stories that change from teller to teller, to the warped psychology of those involved, to the desperate need of investigators to believe what they are investigating, and tying it all together with an “unreliable narrator” device for the telling of the whole. It even includes the style of alien myths told in the ’50s and ’60s, and how different they were to those in the ’90s and today. And just the IDEA of Jesse Ventura as a “Man in Black” in the exact style described by John Keel’s 1975 book “The Mothman Prophecies” makes it pitch perfect–the MIB movies totally destroyed a myth that was very, very cool (and as far as I know, this episode is the only movie/tv show to come close).

      And on a related topic, the movie “E.T.” HEAVILY used the very same archtypes of the Jesus myth, and specifically borrowed from the Jesus myth heavily. In the movie we have a family whose father is only there in “spirit” (“where’s Mexico?”), an extraordinary entity that comes from the heavens to take that father role, an entity who has the magical ability to connect emotionally with a human, an entity with healing powers and magic powers, an entity who is briefly forsaken by his sky people but COMES BACK TO LIFE because they are coming back for him and have, in essense, reactivated their spiritual/emotional connection with him (and, hence, reactivated it in the human boy Elliot). Even the mother in the movie is named Mary (and the children CALL her “Mary”, lol), and the space ship leaves a rainbow behind. You even have the suggestion that humans WOULD kill such a creature (“give him a lobotomy or something”) if given half the chance, and his persecution by the shady government dudes is very much like a crucifixion. (And the poster was a mock up of the Sistine Chapel’s “The Creation of Adam”! lol)

      Still, I love the “E.T.” myth more than the Jesus one.

      1. Jesus Christ

        Okay, Rev. Lovejoy… :p

        See all the fun you’re missing? You should go email Eben, maybe I won’t have to respond to 5 of his emails every day.

        1. jacobfromlost

          “Believe me, I’ve got a look at the real thing…and you wouldn’t want it marrying your sister.”

          watch?v=fMW3W-G43gI

          “Come on E.T. Let’s go save the world!”

  84. 84
    asfd

    Wow Alot of fucking Assholes here. What im i talking about. Its a bunch of Close Minded Anti-Theist. There All Fucking Asshols. Sorry im Agnostic. I have need to call it the way i see it.

  85. 85
    EthicistDan

    Unholy crap! This whole post is amazing and awful! There are so many issues with what he says, so I’ll only address the one that resonated with me and my particular area of expertise.

    At one point, Eben glibly remarks that he hopes your (Tracie’s) degree is not in philosophy. Earlier in the exchange (as I recall), he writes, “In fact, many would argue that nothing would be here if God didn’t exist borrowing from Heideggar’s “Why is there something rather than nothing” statement.”

    Well, my degree is in philosophy, specifically the German post-Enlightenment thinkers like Nietzsche and Heidegger (in addition to applied ethics). Unsurprisingly, since he evidently doesn’t even know the proper spelling of Heidegger’s name, Eben utterly butchers and misuses Heidegger’s ideas. This all comes from Heidegger’s 1929 lecture “What is Metaphysics?” whence also comes the famous formulation, “The Nothing nothings.” Heidegger’s main area of concern was ontology, or the study of Being. Without going into a lecture about Heidegger’s terminology or translation issues, I feel the need to point out that the explicit goals of his ontology were (among other things) to demonstrate the absurdity of metaphysics and to show that the question of the meaning of Being remains to be explored thoroughly by thinkers. In “What is Metaphysics?” Heidegger posits that what is beyond or outside the universe is other than Being, and if something is not-Being, by definition, it is Nothing. Only beings are and can be said to act or to interact in the universe (another term for which could easily be “Being” or “the totality of beings”). Being is, and beings act. The Nothing nothings. The Nothing reveals itself in the fear of death, of annihilation, for it is precisely the negation of all beings. It is in this sense that Nietzsche repeatedly pointed out that monotheism (and Christianity in particular) is nihilism par excellence because it the veneration above all else of the negation of the world.

    Check out Heidegger’s essay for verification. Here’s a link to a very thorough translation: http://www.wagner.edu/departments/psychology/sites/wagner.edu.departments.psychology/files/download/Martin%20Heidegger%20-%20What%20Is%20Metaphysics.pdf

    In other words, anything like God, even in the most basic sense of a deistic creator or monotheistic extra-universal arbiter, is absurd by definition. I have come to refer to this (somewhat satirically) as the “Ontological Argument for the Non-Existence of God.” How this guy got anything close to supporting his view from any of this is beyond me!

    1. 85.1
      heicart

      There are particular categories of mail we get. And on occasion I peg a correspondent as someone who is going to be all over the map–as this one became evident he would be. The benefit of posting someone like this to the blog is not feeding the person to the sharks, but being able to employ the brain power of many people well versed in many areas to hit on specific areas of error; as someone like Eben will reach out to as many areas to distort to his purposes as he can. He’s actually an “archetype” metaphorically speaking, of a TAE e-mail correspondent. And your response is exactly the sort of things I wanted to see. Specific notes from those able to make educated assessments in the many areas which he claims to be supported, but which I’m sure he isn’t, but would have to spend half my life debunking if I tried to go through and validate his every claim. So, thank you.

      1. EthicistDan

        You’re quite welcome! I’m really glad you liked my response. Addressing one specific point seemed like the logical thing to do as his claims/citations were indeed “all over the map.” And, of course, it always jumps out at me when someone who clearly doesn’t know what they’re talking about pretends to be a philosopher. I’m sure everyone feels that way about their particular area of focus.

        And it’s just for this reason that I’m thrilled this forum exists to complement what you guys do on the air every Sunday. Sometimes when I watch the show, I wish people had more specific claims or questions so that you could get into points of more nuance and depth (time pending, of course). Of course, you have to answer the questions from the callers you get, but they seem to ask the same questions over and over. Maybe I’ll call sometime to talk about ethical issues-my real area of interest. Then I’ll get really esoteric! (Just kidding.) Thanks again!

  86. 86
    GodisGood

    Some idiot sent me this quote as if somehow it proves God. I’m not sure how imaginary numbers equates into “proof” of a theistic god as you may as well attribute these improbabilities to a Unicorn. Here’s the crap that is supposed to make me hunker under and cry out for God’s mercy:

    Professor John Lennox’s substantial credentials in mathematics weighs in on this discussion concerning the enormous improbabilities that our universe is the way it is by some random fluke. Lennox quotes Sir Roger Penrose when defining what must be “the most mind boggling example” of “precision fine-tuning” there is:
    Our Universe is a universe in which entropy (a measure of disorder) is increasing; a fact which is enshrined in the Second Law of Thermodynamics. Eminent mathematician Sir Roger Penrose writes:
    Try to imagine the phase space…of the entire universe. Each point in this phase space represents a different possible way that the universe might have started off. We are to picture the Creator, armed with a ‘pin’—which is to be placed at some point in the phase place…Each different positioning of the pin provides a different universe. Now the accuracy that is needed for the Creator’s aim depends on the entropy of the universe that is thereby created. It would be relatively ‘easy’ to produce a high entropy universe, since there would be a large volume of the phase space available for the pin to hit. But in order to start off the universe in a state of low entropy—so that there will indeed be a second law of thermodynamics—the Creator must aim for a much tinier volume of the phase space. How tiny would this region be, in order that a universe closely resembling the one in which we actually live would be the result?
    Penrose’s calculations lead him to the remarkable conclusion that the ‘Creator’s aim’ must have been accurate to one part in ten to the power of 10123, that is 1 followed by 10123 zeros, a ‘number which it would be impossible to write out in the usual decimal way, because even if you were able to put a zero on every particle in the universe there would not even be enough particles to do the job. It is perhaps not surprising that Paul Davies says, “The impression of design is overwhelming.

    I guess because John Lennox, Roger Penrose and Paul Davies says its true, the debate is over…
    I have no need for that hypothesis!!!

    1. 86.1
      EthicistDan

      Yeah. This is guy is clearly wrong, but the egregiously, stupidly, obviously wrong part is right at the end. I just Googled “10 to the 10123″, and there a number of sites, mostly from creationists, churches etc., with this quote saying that you would need an incredibly large area to write out this number or that it is impossible to write out, like this one from above:

      “1 followed by 10123 zeros, a ‘number which it would be impossible to write out in the usual decimal way, because even if you were able to put a zero on every particle in the universe there would not even be enough particles to do the job.”

      Really? 1 followed by 10123 zeros is about 2-and-2/3 pages in Times New Roman, 12-point font. Anyone can do this. Type 100 zeros, copy/paste that 101 times, then type 23 more zeros, and put a 1 in front. Voila! They are clearly right to say that we are not good at conceiving of large numbers, but I don’t think this is what they meant. We can’t write 10124 characters? There are more than 12,000 characters in this post. There aren’t 10124 “particles” in the universe? What are these people talking about? This falls into the infamous category of argument called, “I Don’t Know What Words Mean.”

  87. 87
    phill Howden

    if I don’t understand words, how can I still be thinking of the game? Which I lost.

  88. 88
    mcginley kdda

    gilkes moore

  89. 89
    spiritdragon

    Holy crap!!! This Eben guy is a monumental idiot. I can pull out my $20 college words and string them into something vaguely resembling something complex and intelligent: doesn’t mean I actually said fuck all. And that’s exactly what this dumbass does. He’s just spewing words in an attempt to seem intelligent and hide his ignorant beliefs; but the transparency of it was painful to see unfolding before my eyes. This guy is so trite he might as well be an internet meme.
    Every time he responded with ‘I provided you with evidence’, there was a sharp spike of pain through my brain. Where the fuck was any of it? He became upset with Tracie over her simplification of his out-dated assertions, but that’s exactly what they are. In all his spinning and verbose ‘evidences’ riddled with complex-seeming words to beef it up and make it appear more than it was: boiled down, his claims are no more intelligent or better constructed that the ‘uneducated’ theists (as he labeled them) that call into the show. Are we sure he has the degrees he’s claiming to have earned? Because his veil of intelligence looks incredibly contrived to me.

  90. 90
    Meli G

    Eben redux: “All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force which brings the particle of an atom to vibration and holds this most minute solar system of the atom together.”

    Sure! That seems to be backed up by scientific consensus so far.

    “We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent mind.”

    NOPE! This is the precise point upon which the entirety of Eben’s argument hangs– and upon which it falls apart.

    Science shows, “Something exists.” It is Eben, and not science, making the assumption that “Something exists, therefore conscious, intelligent mind.” That is absolutely not warranted by any objective evidence to date.

  91. 91
    Tim C B

    cui bono?

    Why would this author write the book? Notoriety? Money? If he was a Harvard fellow then he probably already had a ton of $$ (neurosurgeons make serious coin).

    He settled a few malpractice suits out of court. Would he write a book to pay for those malpractice suits? For sure, there could be charlatans to make it through with pedigrees from Duke and Harvard, but considering a quarter century of brain surgery, a half dozen malpractice suits is a pretty small set of complaints.

    Why would a material reductionist suddenly claim to find God after denying the existence of a god or an afterlife for his entire career as a neurosurgeon? Fame? Notoriety? Psychosis? A sincere attempt to relate an experience? Why bother?

  92. 92
    heicart

    So, I want to post this latest update for anyone who might ever find this blog post:

    http://news.yahoo.com/proof-heaven-author-now-thoroughly-debunked-science-131711093.html

    Headline: The ‘Proof of Heaven’ Author Has Now Been Thoroughly Debunked by Science

    First Paragraph: A book called Proof of Heaven is bound to provoke eye rolls, but its author, Eben Alexander, had space in a Newsweek story and on shows like of Fox & Friends to detail his claims. Read into those endorsements — and nearly 15 million copies sold — whatever you will, but in a big new Esquire feature, Luke Dittrich pokes large holes in Alexander’s story, bringing into question the author’s qualification as a neurosurgeon (which is supposed to legitimize his claim) and the accuracy of his best-selling journey.

    Let’s hear it for vindication. Took awhile, but so, so worth it.

  93. 93
    steroids Canada

    I’m not that much of a online reader to be
    honest but your blogs really nice, keep it up! I’ll go ahead and bookmark
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