Open thread on episode #814

On the schedule today are Matt and Tracie.

As cohost, I need to talk here about what I’ll be talking about. Depending on call volume and what Matt’s in the mood for, I’d like to do another dice demo to examine the statement “X is possible,” and what we mean by that.

Is god possible? I don’t know…and I’d like to talk today about the idea “It is possible a god exists.”

Is it? If I have a small opaque bag and ask you if it’s possible for me to roll a 21 with the dice in the bag–can you answer that question without a peak in the bag? I can’t. I could, I suppose, assert that since that many dice could be in the bag, it’s possible; but if they empty the bag, and it’s just 2 dice…then I’m using “possible” to describe things that are actually *impossible*. What are the implications of  using the word “possible” to describe impossible things? Is it correct to say that if a thing cannot be determined to be “impossible” it must, then, be considered “possible”? Or is it more correct to say “we can’t say if it’s possible or not, because we don’t have sufficient information”?

Hope we can discuss it further on the program. We’ll see.

Open letter to Corey Keplinger

Corey Keplinger from Schenectady emailed us after we took his call on the show yesterday.

I wasn’t rude or offensive. I don’t know why you hung up. To honestly answer Russell’s question… Am I always right? I guess I am, and if I said that last night, Russell would have hung up on me anyway. Matt say’s M&M’s created the universe: How does he know, they did not, since he claims he does not know? Your logic Matt, I am sorry, is self-refuting.

Dear Corey,

Not only would I have hung up on you, I wouldn’t have taken your call in the first place. I had to go back and reread our past correspondence to remind myself who you are. You’ve been emailing us obsessively since 2011. You are constantly rude, trolling, obnoxious, and in love with your own incredibly childish arguments and with yourself.

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Theists Have the Best P.R. Machine Ever III

Part I and Part II are also posted on this blog.

P.R. Claim: Religion fosters family closeness and family values.

 

Last night I watched “Polygamy USA.” I am aware that polygamous LDS is not standard LDS. And, further, LDS isn’t standard “Christian.” But what I saw that disturbed me, had nothing to do with the differences in these religious cultures, and represented, rather, obvious similarities. It had nothing at all to do with the polygamous aspect of the environment, and everything to do with how religion can strain ties between parents and children—putting distance between them by fostering irrational intolerance.

What I see over and over again, is that religion damages some aspect-X of society, but then successfully spins itself as beneficial to aspect-X. A commonly observed example would be religious groups that promote restricting access to both contraception and comprehensive sex education, as a means to reduce unwanted pregnancy. But sometimes the instances are not so obvious, even if they are just as common. Repeatedly, I see the P.R. claims slide through society unquestioned and unexamined. It appears that all religion has to do is continue claiming it’s good for aspect-X, and after a time, the claim, “it’s good for aspect-X,” takes hold, even among nonadherents.

What I’m about to discuss is not a problem restricted to religion, but rather a problem that religion compounds. In other words, without religion, there would be one less cause for this harm. Additionally, being a massive and well regarded institution, it has the potential to continue causing extensive damage, more than other ideologies that are not so socially far reaching, nor as lauded. [Read more...]

How the Problem of Evil uncloaks Christianity’s total moral bankruptcy

I don’t think Christians are evil. But the Christian God is evil, and belief in him runs the risk of non-evil people embracing evil through lazy moral and intellectual concessions to things that do not deserve to be conceded. And the Problem of Evil settles it.

The PoE came up on yesterday’s show, and in response to the show we got some correspondence from an atheist who’s having this very discussion with a Christian friend. As we see from the friend’s responses, theodicy isn’t so much an exercise in rebutting the Problem of Evil as making excuses for it. [Read more...]